Jason Brough

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USA Hockey to announce Olympic coaches and management on Friday

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Friday in Plymouth, Michigan, USA Hockey will reveal the management and coaching staff for the 2018 Olympic team.

The announcement will come on the heels of Hockey Canada’s last week.

There will be no NHLers at the Games in South Korea. Pros playing in Europe and those on AHL-only contracts, as well as college players in the NCAA, can be considered.

Eligible college players include Casey Mittelstadt (Sabres), the eighth overall pick in 2017 who’s off to the University of Minnesota next season. A couple of BU Terriers, Kieffer Bellows (Islanders) and Jordan Greenway (Wild), should also be in the mix.

Read USA Today’s story to learn more potential players.

NBC Sports releases ‘most diverse schedule ever’ for 2017-18 NHL season

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Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid will each make three appearances on NBC/NBCSN in 2017-18.

On NBC, Matthews’ Maple Leafs will take on the Capitals March 3 at the U.S. Naval Academy. The two NBCSN games featuring Toronto will be Jan. 24 at Chicago and March 5 at Buffalo.

McDavid’s Oilers, meanwhile, will make all three appearances on NBCSN: at St. Louis Nov. 21, vs. Los Angeles Jan. 2, and at Nashville Jan. 9.

“We’re proud to offer our most diverse NHL schedule ever to fans across the country,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer & President of Production, NBC Sports. “From classic rivalries and historic franchises, to young stars such as Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid, a hockey-crazed market in Nashville, and a new franchise in Vegas, this schedule represents our commitment to present the NHL’s diverse and emerging stars, teams, and stories.”

Click here for the full NHL on NBC/NBCSN schedule.

Highlights include:

— NBCSN will televise seven games through the first week of the season, highlighted by the season-opener between the St. Louis Blues and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins; the Detroit Red Wings’ first-ever regular-season home game at Little Caesars Arena vs. the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 5; the Vegas Golden Knights’ first-ever home game vs. the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 10; and a Wednesday Night Rivalry clash between the Penguins and Washington Capitals on Oct. 11.

— NBC will present the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres from Citi Field in New York City, home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, on Jan. 1, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET.

— NBC will air exclusive coverage of the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series in primetime on March 3, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET, when the Toronto Maple Leafs face the Capitals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., home of the U.S. Naval Academy.

— NBC will present coverage of the NHL All-Star Game from AMALIE Arena in Tampa, Fla., home of the Tampa Bay Lightning. NHL All-Star Weekend will take place Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Jan. 28, and will include the NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ and the NHL All-Star Game.

— The 2017-18 regular season on NBCSN will feature 23 Wednesday Night Rivalry telecasts, plus five Wednesday Nightcaps and five Sunday Night Hockey exclusive games. WNR will feature the biggest rivalries in the NHL, including Penguins-Capitals, Blues-Blackhawks, and Canadiens-Bruins.

— The defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators will make seven appearances this season on NBCSN, including a pair of home matchups against the Blackhawks on Nov. 28 and Jan. 30.

— The Blackhawks lead all clubs with 17 total appearances on NBC and NBCSN, followed by the Penguins and Flyers with 16, and the Capitals, Red Wings, and Bruins with 15 appearances apiece, respectively. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights will be featured on NBCSN five times this season. *Note: some games are subject to local blackouts*

— At least 53 of NBC and NBCSN’s 99 telecasts will feature at least one Western Conference team, and every U.S. team will appear on NBC or NBCSN in the regular season.

Coyotes add MacLean and Allen to coaching staff

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John MacLean will, indeed, be an assistant coach on Rick Tocchet’s staff in Arizona, as reported yesterday.

So too will Scott Allen.

“We are very pleased to have John and Scott join the Coyotes organization,” said Coyotes GM John Chayka in a release. “Both individuals bring a wealth of hockey knowledge and coaching experience to our team and we are confident that they will be great additions to Head Coach Rick Tocchet’s staff.”

MacLean — who had a short, unsuccessful stint as head coach of the New Jersey Devils in 2010 — was last behind an NHL bench as an assistant on Kirk Muller’s staff in Carolina from 2011-14.

Allen spent last season as an assistant in Florida, before being let go to make way for Bob Boughner’s new staff.

The Coyotes also announced Mike Van Ryn as the new head coach of their AHL affiliate in Tucson. Van Ryn will be assisted by John Slaney and Steve Potvin.

Mark Lamb, last year’s head coach in Tucson, and Mark Hardy, Lamb’s assistant, will not be back.

Lamb was only hired a year ago; however, he got the job thanks in part to a previous working relationship with Dave Tippett. So it’s no surprise to hear Lamb won’t be back — especially after the Roadrunners missed the playoffs.

Related: John MacLean could reportedly join Tocchet’s coaching staff in Arizona

Welcome Nick Holden to the trade rumor mill

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Last summer, when Nick Holden was traded from Colorado to the Rangers, Patrick Roy called Alain Vigneault to say, “You just got one of my better defensemen.”

Now it seems that Holden may be on the trading block again.

From the New York Post, in the wake of Mika Zibanejad‘s contract extension:

The Blueshirts are projected to start the season with just $445,556 of cap space if they carry eight defensemen (including Alexei Bereglazov) and 14 forwards (including Andersson and Boo Nieves with Jesper Fast on IR). The Rangers are expected to attempt to deal defenseman Nick Holden ($1.65 million) in order to bulk up in the middle, if possible.

Holden played 80 games for the Rangers last season, scoring 11 goals with 23 assists. The 30-year-old is signed for one more year before he can become an unrestricted free agent.

If Holden is traded, the Rangers could go into next season with a top four of Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith and Brady Skjei. That would leave Marc Staal, Bereglazov, Anthony DeAngelo, and perhaps even Neal Pionk to fight for minutes on the bottom pairing.

What’s unclear is Holden’s value on the trade market. After all, the Rangers only gave up a fourth-round draft pick to get him from Colorado. Has his value risen significantly since?

Johnny Hockey: ‘I love Calgary, don’t get me wrong’

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Johnny Gaudreau made headlines last week when he went on Philadelphia radio and said it would be “sweet” to play for the Flyers one day.

Gaudreau — a South Jersey native who grew up cheering for the Flyers, but currently stars for the Calgary Flames — has now been offered a chance to clarify a few things about that interview.

“I think if you ask any player in the NHL if they’d like to play in their hometown at some point they’d all say it would be pretty sweet,” Gaudreau told the Courier-Post in a Q&A. “You’ve got friends, you’ve got family, you’ve got kids you went to school with, you’ve got teachers, you name it. You’ve got people that will be supporting you. The people support me down here, like it’s crazy down here. I’m just really fortunate they follow me up in Calgary.

“I love Calgary, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great city and they’re so passionate about our team. It’s a real hockey city. I really enjoy it up there, don’t get me wrong, but I think if you ask any player if he wants to play in his hometown they’d say it would be pretty cool to do that.

“I’ve still got five more years on my contract and who knows…if we’re playing well up here in Calgary I could end up staying another four or five years there because I love the city so much. It’s tough to have all those articles come out when it’s something so small, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

It’s certainly possible that Gaudreau opts to explore unrestricted free agency when his contract expires. But he doesn’t have that option until 2022.

For now, Gaudreau’s excited about the next few years in Calgary, where the Flames are trending the right way, possibly soon into legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

Related: Stability, Stanley Cup aspirations ‘a breath of fresh air’ for Mike Smith