<span class="vcard">Jason Brough</span>

Jon Cooper

Lightning sign coach Cooper to multi-year extension

The Tampa Bay Lightning have given head coach Jon Cooper a multi-year contract extension.

The club announced it today with a press release:

Cooper, a native of Prince George, British Columbia, has led the Lightning to 112-70-23 record and a .602 winning percentage in 205 games. He has guided the Bolts to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his two full seasons since coming to Tampa Bay, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. On April 11, 2015, Cooper earned his 100th career victory, making him the fifth-fastest coach to do so among those who debuted in the league since 2000. He was also named a finalist for the 2014 Jack Adams Award, given annually to the NHL’s top bench boss.

The Lightning didn’t say how long Cooper’s contract was extended, but it’s “believed to be two years,” according to the Tampa Bay TimesHe was reportedly in the final year of his current deal. 

Cooper’s team is in the midst of a three-game California road trip. The Lightning beat Anaheim Wednesday. They play in San Jose and Los Angeles this weekend.

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    Bruins focused on themselves, not Dougie Hamilton, who admits it’s been ‘frustrating’

    Dougie Hamilton
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    Dougie Hamilton will suit up against his old team tonight, after a trying first 25 games with his new one.

    Hamilton, 22, has just three goals and three assists for the Flames, who’ve won just three times in regulation all season.

    Yep, you read that right. Twenty-five games. Three regulation wins.

    “It’s a little bit frustrating,” Hamilton told NHL.com. “It’s not the start I wanted and maybe it’s more of an adjustment than I thought it would be. With how we’re doing as a team, it’s frustrating as well.”

    Not that everything has been roses for the Bruins. They lost in a shootout Wednesday in Edmonton. Though their 13-8-2 record is respectable enough — and they did string together five straight wins before falling to the Oilers — the holdovers from the powerhouse teams of years past know what good, structured hockey looks like, and too often this season the B’s have been lacking in that area.

    “If you think about playing successful hockey it’s playing solid, it’s playing strong and playing good defensively,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg told CSN New England yesterday.

    “It’s nice to win games, and it’s nice to be getting points,” captain Zdeno Chara said prior to the Oilers loss. “But I think we also want to improve our play systems-wise, and be better in certain areas.”

    So while most of the stories you’ll read ahead of tonight’s game will understandably focus on one player — a talented, young defenseman whose trade to Calgary was one of the biggest stories of the offseason — for the two teams involved, they’ve got more important things to worry about.

    “We’ll have to be aware of him,” said Boston’s Adam McQuaid. “But aside from that, when it comes time to play you put all of the other stuff aside and focus on what you’re doing.”

    Related: Jack Edwards says the Bruins’ blue line ‘is in a crisis right now’

    Prospective Seattle NHL owner was willing to explore KeyArena option: report

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    Victor Coleman is a rich guy who wants to own an NHL team in Seattle.

    His problem? An arena to put the team.

    To solve that problem, Coleman originally partnered with Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager who wants to own an NBA team in Seattle. Hansen struck a deal with the city and county to get $200 million in public financing to build an arena in the Sodo District; however, it was dependent on him landing an NBA team. That deal doesn’t expire until November of 2017, almost two years from now. The city recently pledged to honor the deal and says it won’t entertain any other arena options until it expires, even though the chances of Hansen landing an NBA team before then seem slim.

    For hockey fans in Seattle, that’s gotta be frustrating to have things tied up like that. Because guess what? It turns out that a renovated KeyArena might, despite what was previously assumed, be suitable for an NHL team. And based on an email that Coleman’s representative, Jeff Marks, wrote to the city on August 24, Coleman was willing to explore that option.

    “Our team wanted to follow up now that summer is behind us and our team is looking forward to hearing any updates around the Key Arena site,” Marks wrote, according to King 5 News. “We had a good call with Bob at AEG and we are ready to move forward with this option, if viable.”

    We’ll assume that “Bob at AEG” is Bob Newman, President, AEG Facilities. Since 2008, after the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City, AEG Facilities has been helping market KeyArena.

    Meanwhile, the NHL has been kicking the can down the road with regards to expansion bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City.

    Some have wondered if the league has been stalling to see if Seattle can come up with a solution.

    From King 5:

    Marks says Coleman is still interested in working out a deal in Seattle, preferably with Hansen, “beyond our previous non-binding agreement.”

    The NHL Board of Governors meets next week in Pebble Beach.

    Related: Pacific Northwest will ‘get serious consideration’ for expansion or relocation

    Still seeking ‘the coach’s trust,’ Mueller sent back to AHL

    Mirco Mueller, Joe Vitale

    Mirco Mueller is headed back to the AHL. The San Jose Sharks assigned him to the Barracuda today.

    Mueller, the 18th overall pick in the 2013 draft, is still seeking the trust of coach Pete DeBoer.

    Only natural for a 20-year-old defenseman.

    “Until you establish yourself, until you get the coach’s trust, it’s hard to get the benefit of the doubt. That’s what all young players battle,” DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “In order to get that benefit of the doubt you’ve got to string together eight or 10 really good games. That’s just the reality of it. That’s what all these guys have done at some point in their career in order to get themselves established.”

    Mueller is still young, so there’s no need to panic that he may not pan out. Not yet, anyway.

    “Whether he becomes a full-time valuable NHL player at Christmas or whether it’s next year at Christmas, this is all part of it,” DeBoer told the Mercury News.

    Still, DeBoer is hopeful that somebody beyond the top five of Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, Paul Martin, Brent Burns, and Brenden Dillon can step up and be trusted in that sixth spot.

    If neither Mueller nor Matt Tennyson can do that, and assuming the Sharks are in or around a playoff spot by the trade deadline, don’t be surprised if Doug Wilson is among the many GMs that tries to add a depth blue-liner sometime before March.

    Malhotra signs AHL tryout with Lake Erie

    Manny Malhotra Jonathan Bernier
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    Manny Malhotra is getting another chance to show he can still play. The 35-year-old center has agreed to a tryout with the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters.

    “Manny is a high character player who has a lot of experience having played nearly 1,000 games over his 16-year NHL career,” said Blue Jackets assistant GM/Monsters GM Bill Zito in a release. “We are happy to have signed him to a tryout contract and believe he will provide great leadership and contribute to our club both on and off the ice.”

    Malhotra played 58 games for Montreal last season, scoring one goal and three assists. Though he was excellent as usual at faceoffs, winning almost 60 percent of the 906 draws he took, the Canadiens cut ties when his one-year contract expired.

    The Rangers drafted Malhotra seventh overall in 1998. He appeared in 344 games for the Blue Jackets after being claimed off waivers from Dallas in 2003.

    Malhotra suffered a serious eye injury in March of 2011 when he was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. He’s since played NHL games for the Hurricanes and Canadiens.

    Related: NHL ‘satisfied’ with Canucks’ decision to place Malhotra on IR