Jason Brough

MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 13:  Center Jason Spezza of the Binghamton Senators smiles before the start of the American Hockey League All Star Skills Competition on February 13, 2005 at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Sens announce Kleinendorst will coach Binghamton (again)

The Ottawa Senators announced today that Kurt Kleinendorst has signed a two-year contract to coach their AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

It’s a job he’s done before, with one great result.

From the release:

Kleinendorst, 55, returns to the city where he delivered the franchise’s only Calder Cup championship in 2011. In two years with the B-Sens, Kleindendorst posted a 71-70-8-7 regular season record and went 16-7 during the championship 2011 post-season. Assistant coach Steve Stirling has also agreed to return to the B-Sens coaching staff, reuniting the pair of coaches that led the team to the Calder Cup championship.

Kleinendorst jumped around a bit after leaving Binghamton in 2012. First he was the head coach of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Then he was the head coach of the AHL’s Iowa Wild. Last year, he coached ERC Ingolstadt in Germany.

The Wild fired Kleinendorst just 12 games (and 10 losses) into the 2014-15 AHL season. He was replaced by John Torchetti.

Related: Luke Richardson leaves Binghamton

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    UFA of the Day: Alex Goligoski

    Alex Goligoski, Boone Jenner

    Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

    Alex Goligoski

    Goligoski had 37 points in 82 games last season. He logged almost 24 minutes per contest. So yeah, letting him walk would be a risk for the Stars.

    But it could happen.

    “We had a great season, but we’re still in our infancy,” GM Jim Nill told Sportsnet recently. “We’re going to get younger, yet. Bigger and faster.”

    Goligoski, 30, is one of three Dallas d-men that could hit the open market on July 1, with Jason Demers, 27, and Kris Russell, 29, being the others.

    If the Stars don’t re-sign Goligoski, expect a team like the Boston Bruins to set their sights on him. They’re in the market for a d-man that can move the puck, and Goligoski does that well.

    Consider what former Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said when Dallas acquired Goligoski from Pittsburgh in 2011.

    “I think when you add a guy like Alex Goligoski it really improves your defense,” said Nieuwendyk. “He’s a two-way defenseman that is really going to help getting the puck to our forwards.”

    Goligoski’s expiring contract was for four years and $18.4 million, which gave him a cap hit of $4.6 million.

    Given the market, his production, and his age, he’ll be expecting a raise, and should get one.

    Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.

    Four games, no leads for the Sharks — ‘We’ve got to find an answer for that’


    SAN JOSE — It’s been four games of the Stanley Cup Final now, and the Sharks have yet to hold a lead in regulation. Their only win came in overtime of Game 3, and they had to fight back to tie that one late.

    “Yeah, it’s tough,” said veteran defenseman Paul Martin after Monday’s 3-1 loss at SAP Center. “We haven’t been able to get out and get a lead and we’re a different team when we do that. It’s been tough for us. We’ve got to find ways to produce when they get the first goal.”

    Or, just score first. That’s an even better idea.

    “I think when you have the lead, you can play differently,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “You feel a lot more comfortable getting in a four-line rhythm, putting your guys out there, trusting them. There’s not that pressure that we have to create a scoring chance or score a goal.”

    Deboer added, “We’ve got to find an answer for that. I don’t know what it is.”

    After losing the first two games on the road, the Sharks never did convert their crowd’s energy into the kind of starts they’d hoped to get when the series shifted to San Jose. They definitely didn’t make “like gorillas coming out of a cage,” as the saying went that one time.

    And it won’t get any easier in Pittsburgh, where Game 5 goes Thursday. Lose that one and it’s over.

    “You have to stay positive,” said Martin. “We have a lot of good leadership in this room, a lot of character guys who have been through a lot. We really believe in the group we have here and that everyone’s capable of chipping in.”

    Malkin puts frustration behind him, comes up big for Penguins


    SAN JOSE — It was Sunday morning at Pittsburgh practice, and Evgeni Malkin was looking frustrated.

    The Penguins’ superstar was pointless in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final, and now he couldn’t even make a pass during a 2-on-1 drill. Then he double-clutched on a shot. Then he nearly outright flubbed one.

    A couple of times, he halfheartedly swiped the ice with his stick. He shook his head, a lot. At one point near the end of the session, he skated slowly with his head down for a few, long seconds.

    Afterwards, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said mostly encouraging things, like Malkin had “been a big part of this playoff success,” and stuff like that.

    “But certainly I know that there’s another level that he has to help us win,” Sullivan added.

    It wasn’t the most aggressive example of a coach calling out one of his players. Perhaps it wasn’t even that at all.

    Whatever it was, Malkin got to that other level in Game 4, and now the Penguins can win the Stanley Cup on Thursday.

    It started in the first period, when he collected a stretch pass just outside the Sharks’ blue line. Instead of turning and dumping it in, he used his big frame to protect the puck, holding onto it until he found a streaking Phil Kessel with a perfect feed. Kessel raced in and shot. Martin Jones made the save, but the rebound went to Ian Cole, and it was 1-0 Pittsburgh.

    “Yeah, great play,” said Kessel. “You watch him there, he slid it through the guy. I came down, kind of got a little hooked, and I was fortunate to get it on net.”

    The next period, Malkin made it 2-0 off a sweet Kessel pass on the power play.

    “I think G’s playing good all the time,” said Kessel. “He always creates stuff out there. He always has the puck. He makes players better. Obviously, when he gets something done, it’s big for us.”

    “He demands a lot of himself,” said forward Matt Cullen, “so to see him come out like that in a big game when he kind of called himself out a bit, it’s pretty impressive. That’s what good players do.”

    Malkin said he didn’t change much about his game. He wanted to play a bit more with the puck, that’s about it. And he didn’t take too much credit for scoring.

    “My goal is like, Phil give me empty net,” he said.

    But whether he’d admit it or not, it can be tough for superstars when they’re not producing and everyone’s wondering what’s wrong. For players like Malkin, there’s a fine line between trying to make plays and forcing things that aren’t there.

    “He’s such an instinctive player, when he plays the game the right way and he doesn’t force things, he sees the plays that he needs to make,” Sullivan said.

    “When he plays that way, he’s so hard to defend. It seems like the puck follows him around. I just thought he had one of his strongest games of the playoffs at an important time for us.”

    Dubois: ‘I think in the long run, I can be a first-line center in the NHL’

    SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 06:  Top Prospect Pierre-Luc Dubois speaks during media availability for the 2016 NHL Draft Top Prospects prior to Game Four of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on June 6, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    SAN JOSE — Pierre-Luc Dubois is still getting used to it, still learning the intricacies of the position.

    But if it were up to him, he’d keep playing center.

    “I like playing center,” the top prospect said today during a visit to the Stanley Cup Final. “I think in the long run, I can be a first-line center in the NHL.”

    That’s worth mentioning, because Dubois could be drafted fourth or fifth overall later this month. Those are the spots currently held by Edmonton and Vancouver, respectively.

    This past season, Dubois had 99 points in 62 games for QMJHL Cape Breton. At Christmas, he moved from wing to center when his Russian linemates, Evgeny Svechnikov and Maxim Lazarev, left for the World Juniors.

    “And when they came back I was on a different line with two other wingers,” he said. “I played good, so the coaches kept me there.”

    Why does he think he’s a good fit in the middle?

    “I think my maturity on the ice, my attention to details,” he said. “I think center’s a big position for responsibilities. You have a lot of responsibilities, defensively and offensively. I want to be hard to play against. I like scoring goals, but I like winning the games. Faceoffs. D-zone battles. Stuff like that is key to winning games.”

    It doesn’t hurt that Dubois is a big kid — 6-foot-2, around 200 pounds — and he’s not even 18 yet. His birthday is June 24, the day he’ll hear his name called in Buffalo.

    But which team will call it?

    The Oilers, of course, couldn’t be more set at first-line center; they got Connor McDavid last year. What they need are NHL-ready defensemen, which is why there’s “a real legitimate chance” they’ll end up trading their pick to a team that covets Dubois or winger Matthew Tkachuk or whoever.

    Tkachuk was also in San Jose today. He’s read all the speculation.

    “Anything could happen on draft day,” he said. “There’s a lot of trades. Especially this year, there’s a lot of rumors and all that.”

    If Dubois is still available with the fifth selection, the Canucks may see him as a potential successor to Henrik Sedin. And hey, if it turns out he’s better on the wing, Daniel Sedin will need a successor, too.

    Related: Dubois is top-ranked North American skater