James O'Brien

Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres

Habs assistant Daigneault goes from PK to PP duties

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Montreal Canadiens fans hoping to complain accurately about special teams will need to make note of Wednesday’s changes.

In an interesting swap, Habs assistant coaches switched duties; J.J. Daigneault (pictured to the left of Michel Therrien) goes from running the penalty kill to the power play while Dan Lacroix changes from PP to PK duties.

The reasoning is clear enough.

Montreal sported the eighth-worst PP unit, at least when it came to power-play efficiency, as they connected on 16.5 percent of their opportunities.

(One wonders how much luck is involved, as the Habs’ power-play shooting percentage was mediocre, according to War on Ice. Maybe they were a little closer to middle-of-the-pack than they seemed?)

“I have never been afraid to make that kind of change in my coaching career. We were not satisfied with the results we had last season on our power play. New voices, new ideas,” Therrien said. “Jean-Jacques is a guy who is creative offensively. I am convinced that he will bring good ideas to the team.”

Scheme only matters so much, as it often comes down to mixing the X’s and O’s with the right personnel. Montreal’s not that different in that area heading into 2015-16, although if there’s a most likely area where Alexander Semin could make a difference, it’s on the man advantage.

Are the Canadiens just “rearranging the deck chairs” or making a solid change? We’ll find out soon enough, but they’re at least shaking things up.

Flames sign undrafted free agent Nick Schneider

via Calgary Flames

Goalie Nick Schneider went undrafted, but he’s not going without a contract.

The Calgary Flames apparently were impressed enough with Schneider during training camp that they handed him an entry-level deal on Wednesday.

“It’s a surreal feeling right now,” Schneider told the team site. “I’m really excited to be a part of this organization. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s an incredible feeling.”

The 18-year-old generated rave reviews from Flames assistant GM Brad Pascall, who seemed especially enthusiastic about “his work ethic, his compete.”

(You have to love how “compete level” keeps getting drilled down to its most basic elements. Some day coaches will be saying “Great comp on that kid, great comp.”)

The Flames are crowded as far as NHL-ready goalies go, yet Schneider provides some organizational depth.

PHT Morning Skate: No Sparky in Brooklyn

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Mascot Showdown

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.

New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple tracks down word that mascot “Sparky the Dragon” won’t join the New York Islanders in Brooklyn. Dry (some) of those tears, though: Sparky will still show up for some Long Island-area events. (Staple’s feed)

Aside: here’s hoping the Islanders roll out a really obnoxious hipster mascot. Maybe just this album cover with mascot legs?

How will the presence of metal detectors at all NHL arenas affect fans? (The Hockey News)

Early thoughts on 3-on-3 OT. (TSN)

The Toronto Maple Leafs and biomechanics. (Sportsnet)

“The kid who was better than Gretzky.” (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Ranking the Metropolitan Division’s top 10 defensemen. (Japers’ Rink)

Pre-season clips: Kessel exhibits early spark

Phil Kessel

Yes, it’s true that these games don’t “count.”

Yes, it’s also true that we’ll forget about most incidents that don’t lead to 10-game suspensions or big injuries.

Even so, some hockey fans appreciate getting a rundown of the more interesting moments from a given night of the pre-season, so let’s glide through a few quick bits.

  • Plenty of eyes (at least in the hockey world) were on Phil Kessel as he made his “debut” with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He didn’t disappoint, scoring twice as the Pens beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-3.
  • Mathew Dumba scored the only goal, in OT, as the Minnesota Wild won 1-0 against the Winnipeg Jets:

NHL.com has a nice roundup if you want to catch up on all of the pre-season action from Tuesday. (Also, take a gander at Rotoworld’s NHL section.)

Oh yeah, and in case you missed it, Jack Eichel definitely stood out on Monday.

Report: Lawyers for alleged Kane rape victim to speak Wednesday

Patrick Kane

The lawyers for Patrick Kane‘s alleged rape victim are holding a press conference on Wednesday, WGRZ’s Scott Levin reports.

Few details regarding the press conference are clear at the moment, aside from the lawyers’ assertion that they’re going to address “recent leaks and rumors.”

The most recent bit of significant news came regarding reported DNA results from the case. We’ll find out more tomorrow afternoon if the attorneys will address that and/or other bits of information that have surfaced.

Kane has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

The 26-year-old forward participated in the Chicago Blackhawks’ pre-season game on Tuesday night.