Francois Allaire, goalie coach for Roy and Giguere, retires after 32 seasons

Francois Allaire, a goalie coach who made a huge impact on the sport of hockey, has retired after 32 years working in the NHL, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Allaire’s most famous pupil was Patrick Roy, whom he worked with during his run as the first Montreal Canadiens goalie coach from 1984-1996. Roy is credited with popularizing the “hybrid butterfly” style, but Allaire deserves credit in sculpting that style as well, and in turn influencing many netminders (particularly French-Canadian ones).

As Corey Hirsch noted in a handy breakdown of goalie styles for Sportsnet in 2016, Allaire deserves some credit for modifying his methods once he mentored the likes of Jean-Sebastien Giguere with the Anaheim Ducks (and then the Toronto Maple Leafs). Allaire and Giguere employed a “blocking” technique that appealed to bigger goalies who might not be the most athletic of the bunch.

This style arrived when Allaire, in the early-2000s, took Jean-Sebastian Giguere of the Anaheim Ducks and adapted the Butterfly Hybrid he originally created. Allaire turned it into a style in which there would be very little chance for error, and even the least athletic goalies could successfully employ. It is all about using the centre of the body as the biggest blocking area and covering the ice at all times.

Allaire’s final years came with the Colorado Avalanche, overseeing the likes of Semyon Varlamov (likely with a good word from Patrick Roy).

Allaire also gets bonus points for being the target of Brian Burke’s ire during his Maple Leafs days. Allaire deserves credit for evolving his methods, yet at least some wondered if the game finally passed him by.

“The position has evolved in the last three to five years,” Burke said in 2012, via the Toronto Star. “Nobody plays the classic stand-up anymore either. Everything advances.”

Mile High Hockey notes that Allaire’s retirement comes to at least some surprise as it relates to his most recent employer, the Colorado Avalanche.

Lavoie and others argue for Allaire to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it’s difficult to argue with that rationale, even if you give Roy and Giguere the bulk of the credit for their peak moments. Francois and his brother Benoit Allaire both made an impact on the sport, whatever way you slice it.

This post’s main image nicely captures something of a “goalie tree” for both Roy, and to some extent, Allaire. You can see Allaire himself in the Getty photo below:

via Getty

Francois Allaire was also an author of hockey books, including “The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide: An Indispensable Development Plan” from 2009.

Here’s his retirement announcement:

Scroll Down For:

    Sidney Crosby scores incredible goal, again (video)

    AT&T Sportsnet
    Leave a comment

    Oh, Sidney.

    Just when you thought you’ve seen everything from Crosby, he has this uncanny knack and making sure you haven’t forgotten who he is and makes sure, once again, that you never will.

    Crosby did Crosby things one again on Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens. I can save you the explanation of the second-period goal, since it’s pretty incredible and, as a consequence, tough to explain in words.

    Let’s roll some of the footage here, shall we?

    And another angle:

    Carey Price didn’t have a chance.

    Crosby has grown pretty good at batting pucks out of mid-air. Poor Antti Niemi:

    Remember this from John Tavares?

    It was pretty special too and done in similar fashion:

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Panthers hold keys to playoff fate

    Getty Images

    Few teams have been hotter than the Florida Panthers down the stretch, something that had to be the case for the Cats to be in the spot they are currently in.

    No, they’re not in a playoff spot at the moment — as a Wednesday they sit one point back of the New Jersey Devils for the second and final wildcard spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But a massive game awaits them on Thursday against one of the few teams that have been hotter than them in the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have strung together nine straight wins.

    The Panthers hold two games in hand over the Devils, who squandered an opportunity to increase their slim lead in a 6-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. New Jersey has struggled as of late, going 4-6-0 in their past 10, including back-to-back losses now. The Panthers, meanwhile, eviscerated the Ottawa Senators 7-2 to pull within a point of them. Florida is five points back of the Philadelphia Flyers and six points behind their opponents on Thursday in Ohio. To thicken the plot, Florida holds three games in hand on Philly and Columbus.

    Since the All-Star break, the Panthers have gone 18-5-1, have scored more 5-on-5 goals than any other team with 35 and are third in expected goals percentage during that time. The Florida Sun-Sentinel also points out that the Panthers have more points since the ASG out of any Eastern Conference team and the great goal differential (plus-27).

    With 11 games to go, the Panthers sit in the driver’s seat when it comes to their own playoff fate.

    Panthers coach Bob Boughner slightly downplayed the Columbus game in a conference call with the media on Wednesday.

    “This time of year, it’s easy for these guys to get up for games, obviously how important they are,” he said. “It’s not going to be nothing over-the-top, extra special than what we normally do to prepare for a team. Obviously, it is an important game, but we have 10 more important games coming in.”

    Despite losing key pieces in Jonathan Marchesseault and Reilly Smith over the summer — both are having career years with the Vegas Golden Knights — the current crop for the Panthers appear to have bought into Boughner’s message. And with Roberto Luongo healthy after missing two-and-a-half months with a groin injury, Florida is peaking at the right time.

    “I think if you ask the guys, they’re having the time of their lives, having lots of fun,” Boughner said. “Let’s face it, we’ve been playing playoff hockey here for the last couple of months, just trying to dig in and scrape for points every night.”

    Coming into Tuesday’s game, Luongo had gone 8-2-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage with two shutouts in his past 11 starts — vintage Luongo, who’s been down this road before.

    “Lu means everything to our team, obviously,” Boughner said, adding that Luongo will be in the driver’s seat in Florida’s last 11 games.

    “He’s going to play a lot of hockey,” he said, saying it will be in the realm of an 80/20 split between Luongo and backup James Reimer.

    Boughner said Aleksander Barkov — who has eight goals and 26 points in his past 19 games — is his vote for the Selke Trophy and that Keith Yandle is the glue that helps keep the room together. Evgenii Dadonov, who has 12 goals and 13 assists in his past 19 games, shouldn’t be forgotten.

    Boughner said when the team was struggling earlier this season, consistency was the most frustrating part — noting that the team couldn’t string together more than two wins in a row.

    “There was too much individual work going on,” he said. “It took us a long time to sort of get the team convinced with sticking with the process and playing as a team… less selfishness and more about the team.”

    That changed with a five-game winning streak in the last half of December.

    “That’s probably where the light went on,” Boughner said.

    It’s burned brightly ever since.

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry – Bruins at Blues

    Leave a comment

    [Puck drop at 8 p.m. ET, CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.]


    Boston Bruins

    Brad Marchand / Riley Nash / David Pastrnak

    Ryan Donato / David Krejci / Danton Heinen

    Tim Schaller / Sean Kuraly / Tommy Wingels

    Jordan Szwarz / Noel Acciari / Brian Gionta

    Torey Krug / Brandon Carlo

    Matt Grzelcyk / Kevan Miller

    Nick Holden / Adam McQuaid

    Starting goalie: Anton Khudobin

    [Bruins – Blues preview]

    St. Louis Blues

    Jaden Schwartz / Brayden Schenn / Alexander Steen

    Patrik Berglund / Kyle Brodziak / Vladimir Sobotka

    Dmitrij Jaskin / Ivan Barbashev / Tage Thompson

    Nikita Soshnikov / Oskar Sundqvist / Chris Thorburn

    Carl Gunnarsson / Alex Pietrangelo

    Vince Dunn / Colton Parayko

    Joel Edmundson / Robert Bortuzzo

    Starting goalie: Jake Allen

    Will Coyotes give Dylan Strome a real shot?


    Aside from seeing who can tank harder, it might be tough to sell the Arizona Coyotes’ game against the Buffalo Sabres tonight. There is one interesting storyline, though: will Dylan Strome finally gain some traction? And will the Coyotes give him a solid chance to actually do so?

    A failure at one level

    Take a look at the top 10 picks of the 2015 NHL Draft, and you’ll see that nine of those prospects have played in at least 106 regular-season games.

    The lone exception is Strome, the third selection by the Arizona Coyotes, who’s only appeared in 18 games at the highest level so far during his fledgling NHL career.

    Strome’s development has been a frustrating process, as the book on Strome seems to be that he can dominate at lower levels, yet his strength and especially foot speed just isn’t there. This season backs up that even with Strome slowing down a bit at times in the AHL, as Strome generated 50 points in 47 games for the Tucson Roadrunners.

    No doubt, it’s distressing to see Strome struggle, especially with Mitch Marner (fourth overall), Noah Hanifin (fifth), Ivan Provorov (seventh), Zach Werenski (eighth), and Mikko Rantanen (10th) all looking like studs who were selected behind him.

    Sink or swim

    No doubt about it, that stings. Allow some advice, then: the Coyotes should give him a better chance to prove himself than Strome has been afforded thus far.

    Look, there’s no denying that his scant production (one goal, one assist in 18 games spread between last season and this one) is troubling. A can’t-miss prospect would probably be able to make every moment count, and you can’t really make that argument for Strome.

    Still, with very little to lose – in fact, with plenty of incentive to lose – why not really set the table for him? That hasn’t exactly been the case at the NHL level; Strome averaged a measly 12:26 TOI per game during that 11-game span this season, and that was slightly down from his seven games in 2016-17. Strome averaged 1:23 power-play time on ice per night.

    To Arizona’s credit, they’ve given him quality linemates during his brief window of action this season. According to Natural Stat Trick, his most frequent forward linemates have been Clayton Keller and Christian Fischer. Not too shabby, especially by the standards of Coyotes forwards.

    It’s unclear who the Coyotes will line Strome up with during tonight’s game, but it could be very helpful for them to get a better read on him by really rolling him out. Ideally, they’ll give him more reps on the man advantage, strong linemates, and more opportunities in general.

    Ten games won’t answer every question or solve any riddle.

    For a team that’s shown signs of growing impatience with a slow rebuild, it sure would be nice to find out if Strome has a better chance of helping them out in 2018-19. What better time to find out than now?

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.