Barry Trotz

With Trotz gone, here’s the NHL’s coaching vacancy landscape

7 Comments

Barry Trotz was hired as the 17th coach in Washington Capitals history on Monday — a big move not just for D.C., but the league’s entire coaching landscape as well.

With the move, the list of available coaching jobs shrunk to three — it was as high as five, prior to Peter Laviolette taking Trotz’s old job in Nashville — and two of the most experienced candidates are off the market.

So, what’s left? Openings remain in Vancouver, Florida and Carolina and Dan Byslma’s fate remains up in the air in Pittsburgh. As for the candidates? John Stevens, Kevin Dineen, Jeff Blashill, Guy Boucher, Willie Desjardins and Brad Shaw are still available, as are recently dismissed bench bosses John Tortorella, Peter Horachek and Adam Oates.

(Kirk Muller and Mike Haviland, originally thought to be in the candidate pool, are out of the running; Muller took an assistant’s gig in St. Louis, and Haviland went the NCAA route with Colorado College.)

Here’s a look at the three available gigs, and the latest from each search.

Vancouver

The Canucks finally have their new GM in place, as the club introduced ex-Bruins assistant Jim Benning on Friday. During his introduction, Benning and president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said the search for a new coach would begin quickly, and a few names have already been thrown out: Stevens, who was one of the four finalists for the job last year before it went to John Tortorella, and Desjardins, who Brough wrote about earlier today.

Florida

GM Dale Tallon’s on record saying he wants an experienced NHL coach after hiring back-to-back first-timers in Dineen and Horachek. Marc Crawford, he of the 549 career wins, is reportedly in the mix for the job; according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, Tom Renney (he of the 260 wins) and Ron Wilson (648 wins) are also candidates. It’ll be curious to see if the Panthers would be willing to wait and see how the Bylsma situation shakes out in Pittsburgh, as he’d certainly have the requisite resume Tallon wants in a head coach.

Carolina

Very few details have emerged from Camp Hurricane. New GM Ron Francis confirmed interviews are ongoing and the club wants to have someone in place by the NHL Entry Draft (June 27-28), while TSN’s Darren Dreger said he’s heard Carolina wants to go “cheap” in hiring its next bench boss. In light of this, it’ll be interesting to see if the ‘Canes opt to promote AHL Charlotte head coach Jeff Daniels, who was in the running for the job in ’11 (before it went to Muller); at the time, former GM Jim Rutherford said Daniels was an NHL-caliber coach and that he thought “very highly of him.”

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

1 Comment

For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

2 Comments

The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
1 Comment

If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

2 Comments

It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.