Author: Jason Brough

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings

Pulkkinen just wants a ‘chance’ with the Wings


No longer exempt from waivers, Teemu Pulkkinen is hoping that this is the year he sticks in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.

“I just need a chance,” the Finnish forward told MLive. “I know I can play in this league. It’s all about the chance.”

Pulkkinen, 23, split last season between the NHL, where he had five goals in 31 games for the Wings, and the AHL, where he had 34 goals (the most in the AHL) in 46 games for Grand Rapids and was named to the league’s first all-star team.

New Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill knows Pulkkinen’s game well from their time together in the AHL.

“He’s got to be accountable defensively, he’s got to stop in the D-zone, he’s got to play from the right side of the puck, but he also has to score goals,” Blashill said.

“I believe he will. Time will tell.”

Isles hire McPhee as special advisor to GM

George McPhee, Troy Brouwer

George McPhee has a new job with an NHL team. He’ll join the New York Islanders as a special advisor to general manager Garth Snow.

“George brings a tremendous amount of experience and insight to our front office,” Snow said in a release. “His ability to evaluate players along with his managerial skills, are an asset that we’re thrilled to add to our Hockey Operations Department.”

“I’m excited to join such a storied franchise,” McPhee said. “The Islanders have a great young team and I’m looking forward to contributing in any way I can to help them get to the next level.”

McPhee was let go as GM of the Washington Capitals in April of 2014. He’d held the position since 1997. Before that, he’d been an executive with the Vancouver Canucks.

Related: ‘Obviously I did something right,’ says McPhee

Yup, Torts is still Torts

John Tortorella

John Tortorella still believes he deserved to be fired after one season with the Vancouver Canucks. He reiterated that point today.

However, what he doesn’t believe is letting one “tough year” change a whole philosophy.

So to the future Team USA players that Tortorella’s been hired to coach at the 2016 World Cup, a message:

Don’t expect a different man to come walking into that dressing room.

You’re gonna get the one and only Torts.

“Don’t blow everything up,” Tortorella said. “Don’t blow your philosophy up because it was a tough year. You still need to have confidence in yourself, and stay with your convictions and philosophy.”

Consistent with those remarks, Tortorella plans to preach a “simple brand” of hockey at next year’s competition in Toronto.

“It’s about pressure,” he said. “It’s about attacking. And let’s forget about the X’s and O’s, it’s about a mindset. It’s about a team that needs to feel good about itself before this tournament even starts, needs to feel strong mentally about itself. I think intangibles in such a short tournament is huge.”

That’s not to say Tortorella hasn’t learned any lessons throughout the years. In fact, it was a willingness to admit his mistakes that really impressed Team USA GM Dean Lombardi.

“John’s had a lot of success, but what I was most intrigued by was that he was willing to admit he’d made mistakes,” said Lombardi. “He freely opened up as far as mistakes he’d made with players, maybe even times with his system, as well as the media. That takes a lot.”

Just don’t ask Tortorella to handicap the competition. When it comes to that, he hasn’t changed one bit.

“I don’t spend  too much time worrying about the other team, because I think it just sends the wrong message to your guys,” he said. “This is a short tournament. We are going to know who we are. And we are going to play our game.”

Welcome back, Torts.

Teravainen expected to start at center

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

Everyone knows that if the Chicago Blackhawks are going to remain Stanley Cup contenders, they’ll need to make up for the departures of Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, and Johnny Oduya.

The question is, how might they do that?

Teuvo Teravainen is a popular answer. After a productive playoffs (10 points in 18 games), and with 10 pounds of additional weight, the talented 21-year old forward is expected to start the season as a center. At training camp, he was skating between newcomers Viktor Tikhonov and Artemi Panarin. Apparently, the trio showed some chemistry together.

Of course, with so many new forwards, it’s likely we’ll see a number of line combinations in Chicago this season. Teravainen could see time on the wing, too. It all depends on how things play out.

Teravainen is trying to stay flexible.

“It doesn’t matter too much for me what position I’m playing,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “But I like playing center. I played it in my younger years, so I feel comfortable.”

Possible lines:


Related: Blackhawks remain Stanley Cup favorites at online bookmaker

Vanek isn’t ‘complaining’ about the Wild’s centers, but….

Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle

Maybe Thomas Vanek was just being honest when he told the Star Tribune, “If I wanted points and goals, I would have signed with the Islanders and had a center like Johnny [Tavares] and a winger like Kyle [Okposo].”

And maybe he was just being honest when he said of the team he did sign with, the Minnesota Wild: “We don’t have maybe the strongest depth in the middle.”

We recommend you read the entire interview before you pass judgment. (“I’m not complaining about centers and [frequent center Charlie Coyle],” the 31-year-old winger insisted. “I’m just explaining why I was less than a shooter last year.”)

But there’s a reason many pro athletes choose to say as little as possible. These comments are going to get a lot of play in Minnesota. 

Some will say that Vanek is absolutely right, that the Wild are lacking something down the middle with Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Coyle and Erik Haula.

Others will contend that Vanek is just making excuses for a poor season, one in which he scored just 21 goals in 80 games. 

Related: Everyone’s ripping Vanek again