Author: Joe Yerdon

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Flyers first head coach, Keith Allen, dead at age 90


The man who oversaw two Stanley Cup championship teams in Philadelphia is dead.

Keith Allen passed away at the age of 90. He was the team’s first head coach during the 1967-68 season and was the general manager of the Flyers in 1974 and 1975 when he put together the “Broad Street Bullies” coached by Fred Shero.

Flyers chairman Ed Snider remembered Allen fondly.

“Keith was the first coach in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers and a man for whom I have tremendous respect,” said Snider. “In my mind, he was and always will be one of the greatest General Managers in the history of hockey. He was known as ‘Keith the Thief,’ I never knew of a bad deal he made. This team would never have reached the level of success we have had over the past 48 years if it were not for Keith.”

Allen coached the Flyers until 1970. In 1969 he became the general manager, a job he kept until May 1983. Allen was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 and won the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1988.

While Allen is remembered as a great executive, he was also a solid player in his day and was a member of the 1953-54 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

Sabres’ Stafford returns vs. Oilers on Monday

Drew Stafford
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The game Monday night between the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers will see a couple of players re-entering the Sabres lineup.

Interim coach Ted Nolan announced injured forward Drew Stafford will return to action and likely start on the team’s top line. John Vogl of The Buffalo News shares the story.

“He looks like he’s ready to go, so hopefully he can resume where he left off,” Nolan told reporters today in First Niagara Center.

Stafford has been out since Jan. 25 and will be on a line with Tyler Ennis. Normally Matt Moulson would be on the left side, but with him out until after the Olympics with an injury, it’ll be Linus Omark lining up there against Edmonton.

As Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald shares, Nolan is trying to give Omark a jump start against his old team.

 “We want to see what everybody thought he was capable of doing when he came into this league,” Nolan said. “He’s a highly skilled player. But as we know, skill can only get you so far. It’s the will and determination that’s going to push you further. So we want to see him play with a little more grit combined with that skill set.”

Safe to say if Omark isn’t motivated facing the team that buried him in the minors after not meeting their expectations, there might be an issue.

Panthers’ Kulikov has no desire to play in KHL

Dmitry Kulikov

Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov hears the rumors about how he wants to go back to the KHL after going through the ups and downs that come with being a young blue liner in the NHL. He also knows those rumors are totally bogus.

Kulikov tells George Richards of the Miami Herald there’s zero truth to the KHL talk .

“Wanting to go back to Russia? Those words have never come out of my mouth,” Kulikov said. “I think the people starting that are just trying to create more drama for the league or whatever… I want to help turn things around here. I want to win here. The year we made the playoffs was like the best thing ever. It’s a totally different feeling. I want to feel that again.”

Kulikov said he’d love to meet the people who are spreading rumors of his apparent desire to go home. Feel free to picture him going “Jay & Silent Bob” on Internet rumormongers and have a laugh to yourself.

All told, while the Panthers have struggled Kulikov hasn’t been as bad some believe. His advanced numbers are average and he’s still producing points from the blue line. If the Panthers were winning more games, perhaps the perception of his play would be a little better.