CHICAGO — Sounds like Chicago’s blueline won’t be even further thinned out at the Stanley Cup Final.
The day after a 3-2 defeat to Tampa Bay in Game 3, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said that injured defenseman Johnny Oduya — who played just 9:10 over the final two periods last night — looked to be OK and could be ready to go for Wednesday’s Game 4.
“I think he’ll be all right,” Quenneville said on Tuesday. “He looked all right today. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
The ‘Hawks can ill-afford to lose Oduya’s services. He’s averaging over 24 minutes a night as one of Chicago’s much talked-about top-four defensemen and, if he’s out, the club would suddenly then have to promote one of Kyle Cumiskey, Trevor van Riemsdyk, David Rundblad or Kimmo Timonen into a more prominent role — which could prove problematic given all four have their, ahem, limitations.
Not much is known on the severity of Oduya’s injury. It’s of the upper-body variety, and was believed to have occurred on a second-period hit from Tampa Bay forward Ondrej Palat.
Looks like Todd Nelson might get his desired head coaching gig after all.
Nelson, who finished last year as the interim bench boss in Edmonton, has been granted permission by the Oilers to interview for Pittsburgh’s AHL gig in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pens GM Jim Rutherford told the Tribune-Review.
Nelson, 46, was replaced in Edmonton by Todd McLellan, who was officially hired last month. While it was believed the Oilers wanted to retain Nelson — possibly as McLellan’s assistant — various reports said Nelson was chiefly interested in securing another head coaching gig, be it at the NHL or AHL level.
A return to the American League would make sense (the Wilkes-Barre job has been vacant since John Hynes was hired by the Devils). Nelson enjoyed a fair amount of success with Oklahoma City prior to taking the Edmonton job, taking the Barons to the Calder Cup playoffs four straight times from 2011 to 2014.
Nelson also has ties to the Pittsburgh organization. The Pens took him in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, and he later went on to appear in one NHL contest for the team.
Per the Trib, the Penguins won’t be required to send a compensatory pick to Edmonton if they hire Nelson.
The voice of the NHL on NBC will receive a high honor later this year — in November, Mike “Doc” Emrick will receive the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting, presented by WFUV Radio in New York.
“When I received the call from Vin Scully that I’d been selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award that bears his name, I was speechless, and that’s rare for me,” Emrick said in a release. “Although I am sure the event in November will be another lifetime memory, I have never forgotten the call and the knowledge of the past honorees who voted me this honor.
“I am grateful to Vin and to WFUV, and all on the selection committee.”
The honor will put Emrick alongside some of the finest sports broadcasters of this generation. Previous Scully Award recipients include inaugural honoree Scully (2008), Dick Enberg (2009), Ernie Harwell (2010), Pat Summerall (2011), Al Michaels (2012), Bob Costas (2013), and Verne Lundquist (2014).
Penguins defenseman Ian Cole, a pending restricted free agent, has “officially” started contract extension talks with the club, according DK on Pittsburgh Sports sources.
Cole, 26, is a former first-round pick (18th overall, 2007) that came to Pittsburgh in the Roberto Bortuzzo-to-St. Louis trade at the deadline. The former Notre Dame product played well upon joining the Pens, scoring eight points in 20 regular season games while averaging just under 19 minutes a night.
In the playoffs, with Pittsburgh’s blueline decimated by injury, Cole scored two points in five games while averaging 23 minutes per night.
Getting Cole back in the mix is fairly important for the Pens. While they do have some good young d-men on the horizon — Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta most notably — veterans Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff will be UFAs on July 1, and could be playing elsewhere next season.
Benn Ferriero, who spent last season with the St. Louis organization, has agreed to terms with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian League, the club announced on Tuesday.
Ferriero, 28, has appeared in 98 career NHL games with the Sharks, Rangers and Canucks. He enjoyed his greatest big-league success while in San Jose, scoring a playoff OT winner against Detroit in 2011, but has struggled to remain in the league since then, and spent all of lat season with the Blues’ AHL affiliat ein Chicago.
A Massachusetts native, Ferriero was drafted by the Coyotes in 2006 (196th overall) following his freshman year at Boston College.