James O'Brien

Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers

Babcock decision looms: ‘I’ve talked to all the teams I’m talking to’

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Plenty of teams have been said to show some interest in Mike Babcock, even if it sounds like it may come down to the Buffalo Sabres or Detroit Red Wings. Whatever the case may be, it sounds like #BabWatch won’t last a whole lot longer.

If nothing else, the lauded head coach told MLive.com that he’s close to making a decision, and his interviewing process is finished.

“Just going to re-visit everything one more time (with Red Wings GM Ken Holland),” Babcock said on Monday. “I’ve talked to all the teams I’m talking to.”

He noted that he expects to sit down with his family tonight and that he’ll probably announce his choice on Wednesday. Of course, with the nature of hockey news and these sensitive choices, it’s possible something will come up sooner (or perhaps even later).

Let’s hope for the former, because the scuttlebutt can get wild in times like these. Also, this Photoshop might be seared into a brain or two:

PHT Morning Skate: Blunder and Lightning

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Are the Chicago Blackhawks going to regret the fact that they didn’t add defense at the deadline beyond Kimmo Timonen? (Bleacher Report)

Too bad this possible Chicago signing can’t jump right in then, assuming he chooses the Blackhawks, huh?

Some of these troubles are just pure bad luck, really. (The Hockey News)

How to know you’ve made it in the NHL: people at least try to learn how to pronounce your name. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

It hasn’t been made official from the San Jose Sharks, but all signs point to them landing Joonas Donskoi:

It’s believed that the Oilers will confirm rumors of hiring Todd McLellan this afternoon.

This 8-Bit playoff bracket is pretty cute. (BarDown by way of Reddit Hockey)

The New York Post’s back page was devoted to the Rangers’ Game 2 loss (and Martin St. Louis’ reaction to that pun):

Conversely, Tyler Johnson gets some front-page love in Tampa:

Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing

Jonathan Drouin
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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