Barry Trotz

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


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.


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.


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.


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.”

Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

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The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

Here are the full rosters:


NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
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With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.

Torts: Jackets still need more ‘bite’

John Tortorella

The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.

The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.

Fifteen games in, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.

“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”

The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.


— The Canucks need ‘more bite’

The Rangers are better when they have ‘more bite’

Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer


The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.

Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.

The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.

“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”

In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.

Related: Where’s the depth in San Jose?