Report: Warren Rychel has talked with Avalanche about joining front office

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Could the Colorado Avalanche be bringing back another familiar face into their front office?

According to a report from BSNDenver, current Windsor Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel has had discussions about joining the Avalanche front office.

Rychel has a connection with the Avalanche and current general manager Joe Sakic dating back to the 1995-96 team that won the Stanley Cup in its first season in Denver following relocation from Quebec City. After a stint in Anaheim, Rychel returned to the Avalanche to finish his playing career, which ended in 1999.

A three-time Memorial Cup winner as GM of the Spitfires, Rychel has confirmed to Mike Vlasveld of that he is speaking to NHL teams about management positions.

“I live five miles from the rink, I’m part owner of the team, I love dealing with the kids every day, I make my own schedule, I have great scouts, I have great office staff, I love coming here,” he said in a report published Thursday. “So for me to leave, it’s got to be pretty special.”

Despite a dreadful regular season, in which Colorado won only 22 games and finished dead last with 48 points, Avalanche president Josh Kroenke gave Sakic a vote of confidence last month.

Still, it would certainly seem like the Avalanche are trying to add to their front office. Beyond this latest development that they have been talking with Rychel, there were reports only a couple of weeks ago that Colorado had been given permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas, an analytics guru.

That has become a completely different story altogether.

The permission granted by the Maple Leafs has reportedly been rescinded, basically because Colorado had interest in hiring Dubas.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Maple Leafs did give Colorado permission to speak with Dubas, “…but only because the Maple Leafs believed that they were going to swap philosophical ideas and work on the world of analytics. They did not see Colorado looking at Dubas as a potential hire.”

Canucks name new head coach of AHL affiliate

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The Vancouver Canucks have finally settled on a head coach for their AHL affiliate.

Today, Trent Cull was named new bench boss of the Utica Comets.

Cull replaces Travis Green, the new head coach of the Canucks.

“Trent is a passionate head coach with significant AHL experience,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a release. “He understands the development path of a young player, including the challenges they face, and has been a part of many successful organizations. Trent is a teacher with a positive, energetic work ethic. We’re excited to welcome him and his family to our organization.”

The past four seasons, Cull has been an assistant coach for AHL Syracuse. The Crunch made it all the way to the 2017 Calder Cup Final, where they lost to Grand Rapids.

Cull, 43, has never been a head coach in the AHL, though he did hold that role for three years with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves from 2010-13.

It’s believed the Canucks’ first choice for the Utica job was Rocky Thompson. However, Thompson chose instead to become head coach of Vegas’ AHL affiliate in Chicago.

Construction worker dies after fall at Detroit arena


DETROIT (AP) A worker has died after falling 75 feet at the Little Caesars Arena worksite north of downtown Detroit.

Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner David Fornell says the 46-year-old man was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Other workers had started cardiopulmonary resuscitation which first responders continued. The man was taken to a Detroit hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Fornell says officials were told the man was an electrical worker and may have fallen from a catwalk. He says the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration likely will investigate.

The arena will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the NBA’s Pistons. It is scheduled to open this fall.

More on the story from the Detroit Free Press

Habs extend De La Rose — one year, $725,000

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Montreal secured some forward depth on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Jacob De La Rose.

De La Rose, 22, was taken 34th overall at the 2013 draft and has appeared in 64 games for Montreal over the last three seasons. He had a nice debut for the club in ’14-15 — appearing in 33 regular-season contests, and 12 playoff games — but has since spent the majority of his time in AHL St. John’s.

That might not be the case moving forward, however.

De La Rose’s deal is worth $725,000 (per TSN) and, importantly, is of the one-way variety. There could be more opportunities at forward next season. Montreal has already said it’ll pass on bringing back UFAs Brian Flynn and Dwight King, and it’s unclear if the club will get a deal done with Alexander Radulov.

It’s also unclear what GM Marc Bergevin plans to do with Alex Galchenyuk, who’s been the subject of numerous trade rumors.

Even after bad season in Buffalo, Kulikov generating strong interest as UFA

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Dmitry Kulikov had a bad season in Buffalo. There’s no debating that.

Not only did the defenseman struggle statistically, finishing minus-26 with just two goals and three assists, he also had trouble staying healthy, appearing in just 47 games for the Sabres.

But despite all that, Kulikov seems to be generating plenty of interest as an unrestricted free agent. Presumably, the hope among his many suitors is that he can bounce back, so long as he’s put in a better situation.

Kulikov is still just 26. And before he was traded to Buffalo a year ago, he’d had a number of respectable seasons with the Florida Panthers.

It’s why the Sabres were so happy to get him.

“He’s a good player,” then-GM Tim Murray said last June, per “I like guys that are honest, I like guys that are hard to play against, I certainly like guys that can make a tape-to-tape pass, and with our forwards, I think if he can make a tape-to-tape pass, good things are going to happen in transition with the skill and speed we already have here, so he’s just a great fit.”

Of course, it wasn’t a great fit, and Murray is no longer the GM.

As for Kulikov, there’s “about a dozen” interested teams, according to his agent. Ottawa and Winnipeg are believed to be among them.