Mike Halford

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Report: Vancouver interested in ex-Canuck Lowry for coaching staff

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Dave Lowry, the veteran NHLer that’s spent the last five years in WHL Victoria, could be on his way back to the bigs.

Per Chek News and Victoria Sports News, Lowry has been in talks with the Vancouver Canucks about joining the club in a coaching capacity. Since it’s believed AHL Utica bench boss Travis Green is the leading candidate to replace the recently dismissed Willie Desjardins, there are rumblings Lowry could come aboard as Green’s assistant, or possibly his replacement with the Comets.

(It’s worth noting that, in addition to firing Desjardins, the Canucks also cut ties with veteran assistants Perry Pearn and Doug Lidster.)

Lowry has ties Vancouver. He was drafted by the Canucks in 1983, and spent three years with the organization. During that time, he was teammates with Jim Benning — the club’s current GM — as well as Stan Smyl, who currently serves as Vancouver’s director of player development.

Recently, Lowry has expressed an interest in returning to the NHL. He was Brent Sutter’s assistant in Calgary for three years before taking the WHL gig.

“I’m not in a hurry to go anywhere. But like anybody, I like to explore opportunities. If one came up, I would have to look at it,” Lowry said, per the Times-Colonist. “I aspire to the next level. At some point, I would like to get back to the NHL.”

The 52-year-old could soon be there. Chek News noted that, unlike previous years, Lowry left Victoria immediately following his exit interviews last week. Traditionally, he stuck around to tend to various club matters and business.

Lowry is regarded as one of the best active coaches on the junior circuit. Last year, he captured the WHL’s coach of the year award and, two years ago, was an assistant coach on the Canadian team that captured gold at the world juniors.

 

Rangers extend d-man Kampfer — two years, $1.3 million

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Steve Kampfer didn’t dress for New York’s series-opening win over Montreal on Wednesday.

Thursday, things went a little better.

Kampfer agreed to a two-year, two-way extension with the Blueshirts, per TVA. It’s a $1.3 million pact worth $650,000 annually at the NHL level.

Kampfer, 28, was acquired from Florida midseason in the Dylan McIlrath trade. He appeared in 10 games for the Blueshirts, scoring two points while averaging just under 13 minutes per night.

A veteran of nearly 150 career NHL contests, Kampfer had spent time with Boston and Minnesota prior to Florida and New York. He announced confirmation of the signing on his Instagram account earlier this afternoon.

San Jose’s racking up the AHL awards

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The Sharks have to be thrilled with what the Barracuda are doing.

(This is a hockey post. Honest.)

Today, San Jose’s AHL affiliate earned its third major year-end accolade as Danny O’Regan captured the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award for outstanding rookie.

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With two games remaining in the regular season, O’Regan is pacing all AHL rookies in scoring with 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists) while skating in 61 games for the Barracuda.

The leading point-getter for the team with the AHL’s top-ranked offense, O’Regan has also notched 10 power-play goals and recorded five game-winning tallies, and has a plus/minus rating of plus-9 while accruing just 10 minutes in penalties all season.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers on Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET

O’Regan, 23, is a former fifth-round pick that joined San Jose this year after a solid career at Boston University. He’s appeared in three NHL contests — scoring once — and also represented the Barracuda at the AHL All-Star Game.

As mentioned above, O’Regan isn’t the only Barracuda to score some hardware this season. Yesterday, head coach Roy Sommer won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for coach of the year, after guiding the club to the Pacific Division title.

Prior to that, another Sharks farmhand — Troy Grosenick — took home the Baz Bastien Award for most outstanding goalie. Grosenick, 27, finished with a 30-9-3 record, 1.98 GAA and .930 save percentage while posting a whopping 10 shutouts.

Carlyle plays coy, but Gibson looks to be Game 1 starter

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John Gibson was first off at Thursday’s morning skate, and appears to be the Ducks’ No. 1 goalie as they open their series against the Flames.

Just don’t ask head coach Randy Carlyle to confirm it.

“Did I make that decision?” Carlyle said during today’s media availability, when asked about the choice to go with Gibson. “I didn’t make any decision on who’s going to play in net tonight. You guys, obviously, can surmise, and I know how much you like to have your input to what goes on.

Watch Ducks vs. Flames on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

“We think that we have both [Jonathan] Bernier and Gibson at our disposal.”

Anaheim’s starting goalie debate has been going on for the last six weeks. After Gibson missed significant time in March with an injury, Carlyle classified his netminding scenario as a “1A and 1B” situation. Bernier catapulted himself into contention with a brilliant month of March, going 10-1-2 with a .941 save percentage.

Gibson, meanwhile, only made one appearance over a 14-game stretch due to a lingering lower-body ailment.

But then the calendar turned to April, and Gibson returned to health. He’s started three games month and looked terrific, stopping 97 of 101 shots for a .960 save percentage.

He also had some things to say about the playoff starter debate.

“I didn’t forget how to play, right?” Gibson said, per the O.C. Register. “Just had an injury.”

When asked if he felt there was competition with Bernier to be the Game 1 starter, Gibson re-iterated his point.

“You’d have to ask Randy what he thinks,” he explained. “I’ve been here for the whole year. I got hurt for a month.”

Give the reporters credit. They tried to ask Randy what he thinks.

Tootoo clarifies remarks about being on ‘right side’ of ‘Hawks-Preds rivalry

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On Thursday, Chicago forward Jordin Tootoo discussed his comments about being on the “right side” of the Blackhawks-Predators rivalry.

“I think there was a little misinterpretation there,” Tootoo said, per the Tennessean. “I’m at a point in my life where I’m very, very happy and content and grateful for the opportunity to play for the Blackhawks.

“I respect the city of Nashville and everything that it’s given to me. It’s that time of the year where every man is for himself. I’m a Blackhawk now.”

Blackhawks vs. Predators: Stream on NBC Sports

Following Wednesday’s practice, Tootoo — who spent the first eight years of his career with the Preds organization — raised some eyebrows with remarks made to the Chicago Tribune.

“Personally, when you play a team in the playoffs you learn to hate them quick, and it’s obviously a divisional rival,” he said of his former team. “Nashville and Chicago has always been a heated battle and it finally feels great to be on the right side.”

Tootoo, 34, was a fan favorite during his time in Nashville, a period that included personal struggles with alcohol abuse. He’s often credited Preds GM David Poile and former head coach Barry Trotz for helping him into the NHL’s substance abuse and behavioral health program seven years ago.

Tootoo has appeared in 50 games for Chicago this season, scoring two goals and three points. Based on yesterday’s line rushes, it looks as though he’ll open this series on the fourth line with Tanner Kero and John Hayden.

The ‘Hawks and Preds have faced each other twice in the last seven postseasons, with Chicago winning both series. The third installment gets underway tonight at the United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).