Joel Quenneville is shaking things up for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final — Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen have been scratched in favor of Joakim Nodstrom and Kris Versteeg, who will both play for the first time since the Nashville series.
Vermette, who played over 21 minutes in the triple-OT win in Game 2, has been a lineup fixture after struggling to draw in to begin the playoffs. He’s emerged as one of Chicago’s better faceoff guys and played well against Anaheim on Tuesday night, finishing with three shots on goal.
Teravainen, like Vermette, got plenty of action on Tuesday — over 22 minutes — and finished with four shots on goal. That said, he’s been held pointless since Game 2 of the Minnesota series.
A healthy scratch since the first round, Versteeg impressed Quenneville recently in practice, and the head coach acknowledged how difficult sitting has been on the veteran forward.
“He’s had a great week of practicing,” Quenneville said earlier today. “He’s not happy. He wants to play in the worst way. Puts himself as a candidate to get in the lineup. We’ve had some decisions along the way. Last game we could have inserted him. We’ll see. I like his approach. I told him we expect him in this series.”
As for Nordstrom, he only appeared in two games this postseason — the first two of the Nashville series — and was parked after going minus-2 in a 6-2 loss on Apr. 17.
Teams wanting to interview Dan Bylsma for their head coaching position will no longer need to ask permission.
Bylsma, who’s been out of work since getting fired by Pittsburgh last season, is free to pursue any other job across the NHL, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said on Thursday.
More, from the Associated Press:
Rutherford made his comment Thursday in response to a question as to whether Sabres have asked him permission to interview Bylsma for their vacancy. Though Bylsma was fired last June, he remains on the Penguins’ payroll because his contract runs through the end of next season.
San Jose, New Jersey and Detroit also have openings.
Both the Sabres and Sharks have reportedly asked permission to speak with Bylsma. Many assume the Devils will eventually check in on Bylsma, given the strong connection at play; New Jersey’s new GM is Ray Shero, Bylsma’s former boss with the Penguins (the two won the Stanley Cup together in 2009.)
As for Rutherford, his first move upon being hired as Penguins GM was to dismiss Bylsma, so this latest move doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
To nobody’s surprise, the Lightning weren’t offering much in the way of a status report for defenseman Matt Carle, who was knocked out of Wednesday’s OT win over the Rangers following a collision with Derek Stepan.
“No update,” head coach Jon Cooper said on Thursday. “What’s the line? Day to day, but then again, aren’t we all?”
Here’s a replay of the injury:
Carle, 30, had appeared in all 16 of Tampa Bay’s playoff games prior to getting hurt, and was averaging 16:35 TOI per night. The Bolts are relatively well equipped to deal with his loss, should Carle be out any length of time; Cooper dressed seven d-men on Wednesday — as he has on numerous occasions this postseason — and has Mark Barberio waiting in reserve if need be.