Willie Desjardins may be a rookie head coach in the NHL, but he is going to have a veteran with him behind the bench.
The Vancouver Canucks announced they’ve hired Perry Pearn to assist Desjardins. Pearn spent the past two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets and was with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Ottawa Senators before that.
You might recall Pearn was fired in Montreal early during the 2011-12 season while the Habs were mired in losing and the power play suffered under his watch. It was believed he was canned so as to give then GM Pierre Gauthier a bit more time to try and figure things out. He did not.
According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Pearn will assist Desjardins from upstairs and help work on the power play. Fellow assistant Glen Gulutzan will work on the penalty kill.
While Desjardins has plenty of coaching experience in the AHL, having two experienced NHL guys in Pearn and Gulutzan should help get things going for him in Vancouver.
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.