Jason Brough

Boudreau doesn’t believe superstars are needed to win

13 Comments

Bruce Boudreau has coached some pretty good players in his time behind an NHL bench.

In fact, he’s coached some of the best.

In Washington, there was Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. In Anaheim, it was Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

But with all due respect to those guys, the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild doesn’t think superstars are an absolute requirement to win the Stanley Cup.

“As much as I like Ovechkin and Getzlaf and Perry, you don’t need those guys to win,” Boudreau said today, per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.

“You can do it the old-fashioned way. You do it as a team,” he added, per Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune.

At the risk of discounting the importance of coming together and working as a cohesive unit, recent history disagrees with Boudreau’s notion. The last team to win the Cup without a genuine superstar was…ummm… the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006?

And to buy that argument, you’d have to believe that Eric Staal, who finished seventh in league scoring with 100 points that season, wasn’t a superstar back then. (Sidney Crosby, for comparison’s sake, had 102 points.)

Now, granted, it’s not like the Wild are completely bereft of stars. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter may be on the wrong side of 30 now, but they remain very effective players. Suter just completed the best offensive season of his career, with 51 points in 82 games.

The real point that Boudreau was trying to make — and perhaps it was mostly a motivational ploy — is that the team is more important than the individual, and also that his experience can help put Minnesota over the top.

On Sunday, Boudreau told NHL Network that he thinks the Wild “can win in the next two years.”

With that sort of timeline, he understands the pressure is very much on. His new job isn’t like the “massive, massive challenge” that Mike Babcock accepted in Toronto. The expectations in Minnesota are to win, and win now.

“I’ve been in the business a long time, and we’re in a winning business,” Boudreau said, per NHL.com.

“So you have to win.”

Related: With an aging core, the Wild could be Boudreau’s biggest challenge yet

Report: Hamonic doesn’t want to be traded anymore (Updated)

Denis Potvin, Travis Hamonic
AP
13 Comments

Well, this changes a few things. Newsday is reporting that New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic has rescinded his trade request.

Hamonic’s request became public knowledge in November, forcing him to explain that it was a “personal, family matter” that was behind his desire to be traded closer to his Winnipeg home. While he was willing to play out the remainder of the season with the Islanders, it was seen as largely inevitable that he would be moved sometime in the offseason.

Not surprisingly, numerous teams were reportedly interested in acquiring Hamonic. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2019-20 for a cap hit just below $4 million.

Update:

Hamonic has confirmed the report.

Related: ‘There’s a real legitimate chance’ that Oilers trade fourth overall pick: Chiarelli

Blues sign promising Finnish goalie Ville Husso

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 2:  William Nylander #21 of Team Sweden is stopped by Ville Husso #30 of Team Finland during a quarter-final game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at the Air Canada Centre on January 2, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

Big morning for signing goalie prospects, apparently.

Not to be outdone by the Panthers, the St. Louis Blues announced today that they’d signed 21-year-old Ville Husso to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Husso was drafted 94th overall in 2014, when he was considered by NHL Central Scouting to be the top European goalie available. (In fact, GM Doug Armstrong told In The Slot blog that it was “a little bit of a surprise” that Husso was still there when they took him.)

Husso has spent the past three seasons with HIFK Helsinki in Finland’s top league. He had a .927 save percentage in 39 games this past season, then helped his squad all the way to finals, where he had two shutouts in a six-game loss to Patrik Laine’s Tappara team.

Schmidt will sit in Orpik’s return from suspension

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) levels Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) with a high hit during the first period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal series Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Washington. Pittsburgh won 2-1. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
AP
8 Comments

With Brooks Orpik set to return from his three-game suspension tonight in Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals have apparently decided to keep defenseman Taylor Chorney in the lineup, while sitting Nate Schmidt.

Per CSN Washington, the Caps practiced yesterday with Karl Alzner paired with Matt Niskanen, Orpik with John Carlson, and Dmitry Orlov with Chorney.

Schmidt, 24, took just 13 shifts in Saturday’s 3-1 victory. He also had a costly turnover in Game 3 that led to the Penguins’ winning goal.

In Chorney, Caps coach Barry Trotz has an older player with a bit more experience.

“He’s gone through a few more life experiences,” Trotz told reporters. “He’s gone through a few playoffs and those all help. They’re very important at this time.”

Related: It looks like Olli Maatta will be back for Game 6 as well

Panthers sign their top goalie prospect Montembeault

QUEBEC CITY, QC - DECEMBER 5:  Samuel Montembeault of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada makes a save against the Quebec Remparts during their CHL hockey game at the Centre Videotron on December 5, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)
Getty

The Florida Panthers announced today that they’ve agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with goalie Samuel Montembeault.

Montembeault, 19, was drafted 77th overall in 2015, among the first netminders to be taken that year. According to Hockey’s Future, he’s the Panthers’ top goalie prospect.

Florida, of course, already has a pretty solid goalie in Roberto Luongo, the 37-year-old who still has a couple of years of good money left on his back-diving contract.

In the meantime, the Panthers can be patient while Montembeault — who idolized Luongo growing up in Quebec — develops.