Author: Mike Halford

Darryl Sutter

Darryl Sutter’s response to Brown’s first goal of the year was very Darryl Sutterish

20 Comments

Dustin Brown, more like Charlie Brown.

After 14 games and nearly 50 shots on goal, Brown finally scored his first goal of the year in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Coyotes. It looked like a potential turning point for the Kings captain, who finally seemed to be clicking with linemates Anze Kopitar and Tanner Pearson — until head coach Darryl Sutter came in and dumped a bunch of water on it.

From LA Kings Insider:

On whether it was good to see Dustin Brown score:

“Hopefully he remembers how he did it. He’s got to play a power game. I’m not sure that was a part of his game tonight. The goal didn’t mean anything at the end.”

Charlie Brown

To be fair, 1) Brown’s game-opening goal really didn’t mean much in the end, and 2) The Brown-Kopitar-Pearson line was ineffective after a strong first period, registering just two shots on goal over the final 40 minutes.

It should also be noted that Sutter called out Brown last week.

“He hasn’t played very well lately,” the head coach said, per the L.A. Times. “He gets the opportunity to play with a special player [Anze Kopitar] and he’s got to perform. We’re getting into regular-season performances, based not just this year but over the last couple of seasons.

“[He] needs to be a better player.”

If there’s a silver lining in any of this, it’s that Sutter’s harping on Brown seems to be working in some capacity. The captain is currently riding a three-game point streak — his first point streak of the year — and Tuesday’s 16:35 of ice time was his highest total for the month of November.

Report: Cooper, Tippett, DeBoer to join North America staff at ’16 World Cup

Jon Cooper
3 Comments

Looks like the Young Stars will have quite the coaching staff at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Having already named Edmonton’s Todd McLellan as head coach, the Young Stars — a.k.a. Team North America — will reportedly announce that Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper, Arizona’s Dave Tippett and San Jose’s Peter DeBoer will join the staff as McLellan’s assistants, per Sportsnet.

Also joining will be Oilers assistant Jay Woodcroft, who came to Edmonton with McLellan from San Jose.

It’s an interesting group of coaches, given that team North America will be comprised of players under the age of 24. Cooper is one of the youngest coaches in the NHL and has received high praise for his work with a talented young Lightning team (one of his players, Jonathan Drouin, is expected to challenge for a spot on the team.)

Tippett, who’d previously earned a reputation as a coach that prefers working with veterans over youngsters, has done impressive work with an inexperienced Coyotes team this season.

Like Cooper, he’ll have some players looking to crack the North American roster, specifically Max Domi and Anthony Duclair.

Farnham replies to Prust’s Twitter chirp: ‘To be 3,000 miles away and say something doesn’t seem right’

Jaroslav Halak, Bobby Farnham, Johnny Boychuk
11 Comments

For two teams that don’t see each other often and don’t have much history, the Devils and Canucks really got after each other on Sunday.

First, there was the Alex BurrowsJordin Tootoo incident (read about that here and here).

Now? Bobby Farnham and Brandon Prust.

The story goes like this. Farnham, the energy guy New Jersey plucked off waivers from Pittsburgh, took on 19-year-old Vancouver rookie Jake Virtanen in a scrap on Sunday. Afterward, Farnham threw his hands up in an effort to spur on the Prudential Center faithful, and had some words for Virtanen in the penalty box.

That led to injured Canucks tough guy having some words for Farnham — via Twitter:

When told of Prust’s comments, Farnham tried to take the high road.

He initially said it “would be wrong of me to respond,” telling the Record that Virtanen is “a tough kid” that “did a great job for his team.”

But after discussing it for a bit, Farnham had a response for Prust.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I play that role to get under the other team’s skin and do it that way. There was a lot going on in that game and to be 3,000 miles away and say something doesn’t seem right and it doesn’t seem respond to something like that either.”

If you’re a fan of these shenanigans, the schedule makers have done you a favor. The Canucks and Devils will meet again very soon — on Nov. 22, but this time at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Should be a fun one.

Flyers hold (another) closed-door meeting after ‘unacceptable’ loss to Avs

Claude Giroux
27 Comments

Things ain’t good in Philly.

The Flyers, who lost for the seventh time in eight games on Tuesday thanks to a 4-0 spanking from Colorado, held their second closed-door meeting of the young season afterward — and while players weren’t divulging what was said, they didn’t make it hard to guess.

“It’s unacceptable,” Mark Streit told the Courier-Post. “It was a really poor performance on our part.”

“We’re embarrassed,” Ryan White said, per CSN Philly.

That the Flyers were smoked, at home, by one of the Western Conference’s bottom-feeders was bad enough. But the way in which they were smoked was especially troubling.

Michal Neuvirth, arguably the team’s best player this season, looked mediocre and let in an ugly Jarome Iginla goal in the opening period.

Jakub Voracek, who at this point must be desperate to score his first goal of the year, fired a mere two shots on Colorado backup Reto Berra.

Wayne Simmonds, one of the few forwards to put up reasonable production this season, had an especially telling quote, suggesting that the team wasn’t just playing dumb hockey — it wasn’t even executing the game plan.

“We didn’t work smart,” he explained. “We send two guys in on the forecheck when the goalie is playing the puck. We’re not putting pucks in the proper spots and that’s what happens.”

When the dust finally settled on Tuesday night, the Flyers found themselves with a 5-7-3 record and the NHL’s second-worst offense. It’s tough to imagine the Dave Hakstol era starting any worse, and there will undoubtedly be questions about his ability to lead this group in the coming days.

Things don’t promise to get any easier for Hakstol and Philly, either.

On Thursday, they play host to the high-flying Washington Capitals.

Related: Hakstol: ‘We’re not happy. These aren’t easy times’

NHL on NBCSN: League-leading Habs take on Pens in Pittsburgh

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins
1 Comment

No Carey Price, no problem.

That’s been the story for the Montreal Canadiens over the last week, as Price — the league’s reigning MVP — has been sidelined with a lower body injury. All the Habs have done in his absence is win four of five, paced by the impressive play of backup netminder Mike Condon and the NHL’s top-ranked offense.

But tonight, a real test, taking on a Pittsburgh team that’s won nine of its last 11 while emerging as one of the stingiest teams in the league.

Watch the game with NBC Sports’ Live Extra!

The Penguins come into tonight’s action allowing the third-fewest goals in the NHL. It’s a bit of a strange turn, given all the offensive talent at head coach Mike Johnston’s disposal — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, the list goes on — but the Penguins are now committed to a more structured, defensively-oriented approach.

And it’s paid off.

Coming into tonight’s action, the Pens sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 9-5-0 record, and 18 points.

The team they’re looking up at in the standings?

First-place Montreal, off to the best start in franchise history (13-2-1) while sitting atop the league with 27 points.