Jason Brough

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 22:   Former Canadiens head coach Jacques Demers speaks during the Patrick Roy retirement ceremony before the game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 22, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Demers’ condition ‘improving’ after stroke

Former NHL coach Jacques Demers is in stable condition after suffering a stroke on Wednesday evening.

His “overall medical condition is improving to the point where physicians are planning his transfer to the inpatient stroke unit for the continuance of his care,” according to a statement by the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, per CJAD radio.

Demers has his family at his bedside and is able to interact with them.

The 71-year-old Canadian senator is a two-time recipient of the Jack Adams Award. He also coached the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup in 1993.

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    Red Wings to face Raanta, not Lundqvist, on Saturday

    Antti Raanta

    The Detroit Red Wings will face Antti Raanta, not Henrik Lundqvist, Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

    It’s a noteworthy decision by Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, for a couple of reasons:

    1. The Wings will clinch a playoff spot with a win, regardless of how the Bruins or Flyers fare.
    2. The Rangers still have a shot to catch the Islanders for third in the Metropolitan Division.

    Of course, the problem with finishing third in the Metropolitan is that it comes with a first-round match-up with the red-hot Penguins. The first wild-card spot, on the other hand, garners a series with the Florida Panthers.

    “Our focus has never been on trying to avoid a team or trying to pick a matchup,” Rangers forward Rick Nash insisted to the New York Post.

    “You start thinking that way and it would be horrible hockey karma,” defenseman Marc Staal added.

    It’s also worth noting that Raanta has been pretty solid this season (10-6-2, .918), while Lundqvist has struggled a bit lately.

    Still, the Red Wings have to like their chances against a Rangers side that will also be without regulars Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Mats Zuccarello and Viktor Stalberg.

    Related: To rest, or not to rest, healthy players in meaningless games

    Blackhawks GM not upset about Panarin’s bonus


    If Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin finishes in the top 10 in scoring among NHL forwards, he’ll receive a $1.725 million bonus that could force his club into making some tough decisions this summer.

    And it’s looking right now like he’ll achieve that goal.

    However, that doesn’t bother Chicago GM Stan Bowman.

    “Our team wouldn’t be where we are without him,” Bowman told Blackhawks Insider (audio).

    “What he’s done here as a rookie, I don’t want to say it’s unprecedented, but it hasn’t happened in a long, long time for a guy, his first year in the league, to finish in the top 10 in scoring. That’s why those bonuses are rarely earned. He’s done something very, very special this year.”

    Bowman — a guy who’s rather familiar with having to make tough decisions in the offseason — is just going to take whatever happens in stride.

    “As far as this summer,” he said, “there’s so many unknowns in the situation. We don’t know what the salary cap’s going to be, so at this point it’s premature to assume anything. We’ll get that figured out in due time. We always find a way to make that work.

    “But that’s not the focus right now. We’re excited for Panarin and I’m glad that he keeps scoring. We keep winning games when he keeps scoring and setting up plays, so we hope there’s more of that to come.”

    Chicago has one game left in the regular season, Saturday in Columbus.

    Looking at the Blackhawks’ cap situation, they have a number of pending unrestricted free agents, including deadline acquisition Andrew Ladd, who would like to be more than just a rental.

    But it’s pending RFA Andrew Shaw that some feel the ‘Hawks may have to trade, a la Brandon Saad. Though Shaw won’t command the kind of money that Saad got from the Blue Jackets, he’ll certainly get a raise from his current salary of $2.5 million. 

    The ‘Hawks have also said they’d like to get Panarin’s contract extended this summer. He’s currently signed through next season.

    Goalie nods: Kasdorf to make NHL debut for Sabres

    ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 25:  157th overall pick Jason Kasdorf by the Winnipeg Jets looks on during day two of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 25, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

    Only one game in the NHL tonight, and it’s not exactly a big one.

    Except, of course, if you’re Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf, who will make his NHL debut tonight against Columbus.

    Kasdorf was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 2011. A few years later, he was sent to Buffalo as part of the Evander Kane trade. Earlier this month, after finishing his fourth season at RPI, he signed his entry-level contract.

    “I’ll definitely be nervous but I kinda like the feeling of being nervous going into games so I’m feeling pretty good,” Kasdorf told the Buffalo News.

    Another rookie, Joonas Korpisalo, will be in goal for the Blue Jackets.

    Related: Lehner has ankle surgery, done for season

    Hynes named USA head coach for world championship

    John Hynes smiles after being announced as the new head coach of the New Jersey Devils during an NHL hockey news conference, Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes has been named head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the upcoming World Championship in Russia.

    “John has been involved with U.S. teams on multiple occasions in the past and we’re excited to have him leading our team at the men’s world championship,” said USA Hockey’s Jim Johannson. “John’s teams are always well prepared and his extensive knowledge of our player pool is a big benefit as well.”

    From the press release:

    Hynes will be making his debut as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. He previously spent six seasons (2003-09) behind the bench as a head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, and during that time led the U.S. to three medals at the IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship (gold—2006, silver—2004, bronze—2008). In 2004, he helped the U.S. to its first-ever gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship as an assistant coach. Hynes was previously named an assistant coach for the U.S. team that will compete in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

    The United States opens the tournament on May 6 versus Canada in Saint Petersburg.

    Earlier this week, Carolina head coach Bill Peters was named head coach for Team Canada.