James O'Brien

Jonathan Drouin

Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing

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Many have wondered why the Tampa Bay Lightning keep scratching Jonathan Drouin, and when they have played him, why he’s served a marginal role. It’s pretty clear that the trust isn’t there between Drouin and Jon Cooper just yet, though.

More specifically, Cooper made it clear that he doesn’t believe that the 20-year-old’s two-way game is there yet, as the Tampa Times’ Joe Smith reports.

“There is more than one net in a rink. There’s two. You have to be able to play in front of both,” Cooper said of Drouin.

 

On second thought, Game 1 made Lightning’s Cooper ‘want to vomit’

Jon Cooper
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The New York Rangers only beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 1, but they controlled much of the proceedings. It was surprising to see a fairly optimistic Jon Cooper after the contest, then.

… That optimism sure faded after Cooper got a hold of the game tape, though.

Just breathe in the (kind of hilarious) negativity Cooper shared after breaking everything down, via the Tampa Bay Times:

“There’s the times you think you played okay, and you watch the tape and you want to vomit,” Cooper said. “And that was a little bit of how (Saturday) night went. For two periods, I thought we were a little better than we were until I watched the tape. The Rangers played extremely well, but we were stubbing our toe all night. So we were just handing them tickets to the movie, and we were a turnstile and watching them go by. We can’t do that. We can’t be giving pucks away, we can’t be turning them over, we can’t not make them go the 200 feet.”

“We’ve got to be much better than we were. And I’m quite convinced we will.”

Great stuff.

Here’s the thing: Cooper’s assessment on Sunday was a lot more accurate than his post-game grading.

The Lightning were thoroughly outplayed on Saturday, allowing a troubling number of odd-man rushes and dangerous chances, with Ben Bishop almost keeping them in long enough to steal a win. By just about every measure, it seemed a lot more lopsided than 2-1:

source:

 

(Chart via Natural Stat Trick)

The question, then, is how much of this is the Lightning having an “off game” and how much is it the Rangers just playing like the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners?

Perhaps lineup changes may factor in? It sounds like Brian Boyle’s Game 2 availability is very much in doubt, but Cooper can still make some tweaks, including perhaps adding Nikita Nesterov back to the defensive mix.

Either way, there’s no doubt Tampa Bay needs to improve its play. At least Cooper realizes that now.

Report: Bruins interviewed former Caps GM McPhee

George McPhee, Troy Brouwer
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Former Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee (aka “GMGM”) is at least being interviewed for a couple GM openings, as HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned on Saturday.

It’s unclear how serious the Toronto Maple Leafs may be, but CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty believes that the Boston Bruins are more interested in B’s assistant GM Don Sweeney or New York Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton:

In other words, there’s no good reason to disassociate from the sense that Sweeney and Gorton are the two main people of interest for the B’s GM job with the current Boston assistant GM as the expected choice.

If a team is looking for experience, McPhee is the right man for the job. He spent a whopping 17 seasons as the Capitals’ general manager, enjoying the sort of longevity that’s truly rare in the NHL and sports in general (few beyond fellow ex-Caps GM David Poile can relate).

Again, Haggerty indicates that McPhee might not be a leading candidate for the Bruins’ gig. Still, last summer showed the front office situations can change on a dime, so we’ll see.

More Bruins front office rumblings

Rangers haven’t granted Gorton permission just yet

Bruins are interested

Boston fired Peter Chiarelli in April; fired scouts too

Coach Q denies Chicago’s depth issues, but Kesler suggests otherwise

Ryan Kesler
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The numbers argue that the Chicago Blackhawks leaned heavily on their top defensemen in a 4-1 Game 1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Kesler indicates that the Ducks plan on taking advantage of that fact.

When asked about the situation – David Rundblad had a rough afternoon, Kimmo Timonen received less than six minutes of ice time – Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was his typically terse self.

While that bottom pairing was scarce, Duncan Keith received 28:25 minutes of ice time and Brent Seabrook registered almost 27 minutes. That’s not much of a departure for Keith (he actually logged more ice time in each of the last three games against Minnesota), it was a two-minute boost for Seabrook.

However valid the questions may be, it’s clear that the Ducks hope to swing this situation – and their perceived deeper pool of options on D – to their advantage, as Kesler told the Chicago Sun-Times Mark Lazerus:

“When you get guys playing a ton of minutes, it’s gonna wear them down,” Kesler said. “We’ve got to invest in them physically.”

That’s an interesting bit of phrasing, huh?

The good news for Chicago is that they avoided much wear-and-tear in the second round thanks to a sweep of the Minnesota Wild. They’re also used to the rigors of the postseason, although injuries do provide questions about their defense beyond a strong top four.

It’s certainly a situation to watch, especially if the Blackhawks make this another battle, as they seem to expect.

Ducks’ Andersen: ‘Everyone in this room knows we can beat this team’

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
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Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen exuded confidence in a 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 on Sunday. He certainly didn’t seem to lose that swagger afterward, either, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus notes.

“Everyone in this room knows we can beat this team,” Andersen said.

Hey, when you make 32 saves (including plenty of challenging ones) in a big win like Andersen did, you probably earned a moment like this.

Ryan Kesler seconded him.

Bruce Boudreau likely enjoyed the result of a 1-0 series lead, yet he admits that the Ducks have room for improvement after Game 1.

The feeling was that Chicago dominated much of the contest, at least until the Ducks went into their “finding another gear in the third period” routine. Perhaps things were a little closer than they seemed, though?

Either way, the Ducks aim to hold serve at home by taking a 2-0 series lead on Tuesday. If nothing else, it sounds like Andersen isn’t shrinking from the spotlight.