Mike Halford

New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano, who was hit with a puck during the third period, has a cut on his nose as he speaks to the media after Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. The Islanders defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP

No coaching changes coming for Isles, says Snow

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This won’t come as much of a surprise, but — after winning their first playoff series since 1993 — the Isles are keeping their coaching staff intact.

That’s the plan from GM Garth Snow, anyway.

“There’s a great respect from our players to the coaches and vice versa,” Snow told Newsday on Tuesday. “Sitting through these meetings with the players, there’s a respect that’s impressive to me. Our team is prepared, they’re in great condition, for me I’m very thankful to have the coaching staff we have.”

This means that Jack Capuano, currently the fourth-longest tenured coach in the NHL, will be back for his seventh year on the job. That also means all of Capuano’s staff — assistants Doug Weight, Greg Cronin and Bob Corkum — will be back for another kick at the can as well.

The question about a possible coaching change was posed because, on July 1, Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky take over as majority owners from Charles Wang. You know, the old “new bosses want their own hires” sort of thing.

But in addition to Capuano and staff deserving to stay on board, there’s also the issue of timing. If Malkin and Ledecky did want to make a change — and to be clear, nobody is saying that — July 1 would be a tough time to make it.

The NHL draft will have already come and gone, and July 1 also corresponds with the opening day of free agency.

Snow also told Newsday he doesn’t expect to make any front office changes this summer, either.

Quincey would rather re-sign in Detroit than test free agency

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets
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Kyle Quincey‘s spent eight of his 11 NHL seasons with the Red Wings organization and, to hear him explain it, he’d like to push it to nine.

Or even more.

“If Kenny [general manager Holland] offers me something I’d love to come back,” Quincey, a pending UFA, told Mive this week. “We love it here. But if not, just see what happens.”

Quincey, 30, was drafted by the Wings in 2003 and returned to the organization in 2011, following a three-year stint in Los Angeles and Colorado. He’s become a regular fixture on Detroit’s back end in his second go-around but, this year, he missed a ton of time to injury and didn’t emerge as one of Jeff Blashill’s personal favorites.

Blashill scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why.

Despite that, Quincey did form a pretty solid pairing with Danny DeKeyser this season, something that could prove valuable when Holland and Blashill decide how they want to address the defense moving forward.

Whatever the case, it’s pretty clear the ball’s in Detroit’s court.

That’s a similar situation to two summers ago when Quincey, a UFA, had to wait until July 1 for the Red Wings to make their move. Holland ponied up on the opening day of free agency with a two-year, $8.5 million deal, presumably after looking at the rest of the options out there — and not being overly thrilled.

Quincey expects this summer to go the same way.

“Two years ago I didn’t know anything until July 1,” Quincey said. “I’m assuming it’s probably going to be the same thing.”

Stralman practices fully — could he return for Eastern Conference Final?

Tampa Bay Lightning's Anton Stralman (6), of Sweden, avoids the check of Detroit Red Wings' Joakim Andersson, also of Sweden, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, March 20, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
AP
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Welcome sight at Bolts practice on Wednesday as Anton Stralman — who’s missed all of the postseason with a broken leg — returned to partake in his first full session since suffering the injury in March.

Stralman participated in all drills and skated on a pairing with regular defensive partner Victor Hedman, leading some to speculate Stralman could draw into the lineup when the Bolts take on the Pens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday.

Head coach Jon Cooper tried to tap the brakes on that theory, though.

“I will just set the record straight now, all injured players are indefinite,” Cooper said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Don’t read anything into anything until you see them at the game. It’s unfair to the players. When they’re in, we’ll let you know when they’re going to be in.

“No use in putting timelines on guys. They usually turn out to be wrong anyway. It’s all speculation.”

A 22-minutes-per-night guy that’s among the Bolts’ best possession d-men, Stralman is a valuable right-handed shot, on a blueline that doesn’t have many.

It’s why the club has been anxious to get him back in the mix, especially against a Pittsburgh team he’s fared well against this season.

Stralman was a key piece of last year’s Stanley Cup Final run, scoring nine points in 26 games.

Pens-Bolts Eastern Conference Final opens Friday

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 5:  Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning stickhandler past Trevor Daley #6 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the Amalie Arena on February 5, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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From the league:

The National Hockey League today announced that Game 1 of the 2016 Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning has been scheduled for Friday, May 13, at 8 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh. The game will be televised exclusively on NBCSN in the U.S.

Additional information regarding the schedules for the Eastern Conference Final and Western Conference Final will be released tonight after the conclusion of Game 7 of the Second Round series between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.

This marks Tampa Bay’s second consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference final, having defeated the Rangers in seven games last year to advance to the Cup Final.

For the Pens, this is their first trip to the ECF since 2013, when they were swept by the Bruins.

Ex-Pens coach Johnston expected to return to WHL Portland

Mike Johnston
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Things have come full circle for Mike Johnston.

Johnston, fired by Pittsburgh midway through the regular season, looks like he’s headed back to the place he’s enjoyed the greatest success of his coaching career — WHL Portland.

Johnston will reportedly be introduced as the Winterhawks’ new head coach and general manager on Wednesday, per various outlets. The move returns Johnston to the same club he coached from 2008-14, sending a number of talented youngsters to the NHL: Seth Jones, Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Sven Baertschi and Derrick Pouliot, to name a few.

Hired by Pens GM Jim Rutherford two years ago, Johnston never really clicked in Pittsburgh. He had a respectable record — 58-37-15 — but the team always seemed to be underachieving with him in charge, and was hovering on the edge of the playoff picture upon his dismissal.

Since taking over for Johnston, Pens head coach Mike Sullivan has enjoyed tremendous success, and has the club back in the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013.