It’s far too early to assess Duncan Keith’s career as a whole, but there’s also no denying that he’s accomplished more at the age of 31 than most defensemen will in their entire career. And it seems to be enough as far as retired defenseman Brian Leetch is concerned to assert that the Blackhawks blueliner will someday join him in the Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know how it couldn’t be looked at that way,” Leetch told NHL.com. “From the eye test. From watching him on the ice. His age. And then you bring up the individual and team awards, I’m not sure how you’d be able to keep him out.”
Another Hall of Fame defenseman, Scott Niedermayer, wouldn’t put up much of a counter argument. He agrees that if Keith hasn’t already secured his spot in the Hall of Fame, then Chicago winning the Stanley Cup this year would probably be enough to solidify his spot.
Keith has already won the Norris Trophy twice, two Olympic gold medals, and he’s currently battling for his third championship. He might also end up with the Conn Smythe Trophy as he’s recorded 19 points in 19 playoff games and is averaging 31:19 minutes per contest. That level of work is something that Leetch can relate to as he was also logging similarly big minutes with the Rangers when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1994.
Unsurprisingly, Keith’s biggest concern right now isn’t what happens after his career, it’s what will transpire over the coming days. Tampa Bay and Chicago are even going into Game 3 on Monday.
The Ottawa Senators have signed head coach Dave Cameron to a two-year extension, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
Cameron became Ottawa’s bench boss after Paul MacLean was let go on Dec. 8. Under his guidance, the Senators posted a 32-15-8 record, including a 21-3-3 finish to make the playoffs after all hope seemed lost.
His success was largely thanks to the trust he put in his young core. Rookie Mark Stone saw his playing time substantially increase under Cameron with him logging a then season-high 19:07 minutes in the new head coach’s debut. Stone went on to play a key role in Ottawa’s Cinderella Story and earned a Calder Trophy nomination.
Cameron was also the benefactor of goaltender Andrew Hammond’s improbable rise. The 27-year-old netminder had a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage in 24 contests.
Before joining Ottawa as an assistant coach in 2011, he served as the head coach of the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and led them to the 2011 Memorial Cup.
USA Hockey has announced that Ron Wilson will serve as the head coach of the 2016 National Junior Team.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Ron guiding our National Junior Team,” said assistant executive director for hockey operations Jim Johannson. “His resume speaks for itself, both as a player and a coach, and we know he’ll do an outstanding job.”
Wilson has 1,401 regular season games worth of NHL experience as a bench boss with Anaheim, Washington, San Jose, and Toronto. Over that lengthy stretch he posted a 648-561-101-91 record. Wilson also reached the playoffs on eight separate occasions and made it to the Stanley Cup Final with the Capitals in 1998.
On the international stage, Wilson led Team USA to the silver medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. He also won the 1996 World Cup with the United States and was the bench boss in the 1996 World Championships when America won the bronze medal.
Team USA won the World Juniors in 2013, but they’ve finished in fifth place in each of the last two tournaments.
The Boston Bruins will reportedly enter the 2015-16 campaign with head coach Claude Julien and he will be allowed to keep his staff, according to CSN New England’s Tony Massarotti, who was citing a source.
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The idea that Julien will be back meshes with previous reports. However, it sounded like the Bruins were, at least at one point, considering replacing some or all of his assistant coaches.
As the Boston Globe noted, Julien might be on a short leash even if he does return, giving him little margin for error.
Since joining the Bruins in 2008, Julien has led them to a 351-192-79 record. He inherited a team that had missed the playoffs in back-to-back years and led them to seven consecutive postseason berths. Over that stretch Boston made it to the Stanley Cup Final twice and won the championship in 2011. However, they’re coming off of a disappointing season where they failed to make the playoffs.
Scott Stevens wasn’t able to earn the head coaching spot after spending about half of the 2014-15 campaign as the New Jersey Devils’ co-coach along with Adam Oates. That job instead went to former AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins bench boss John Hynes.
Stevens wants to stay in the game though and he’d like to be part of Hynes’ staff if there’s an opening for him.
“I haven’t looked elsewhere,” Stevens told The Record. “The Devils are my first choice, no question about that.”
He’s not sure what Hynes’ plans are as far as his staff goes, but Hynes has stated that “there’s no closed doors.”
Stevens is a Hall of Fame defenseman who won the Stanley Cup three times with New Jersey. He rejoined the Devils in 2012 as an assistant coach, but resigned in September 2014 before returning as a co-coach in December. His tenure as co-coach was perhaps most notable for the progress made by 22-year-old blueliner Adam Larsson. Back in January, Larsson suggested that having the trust of the new coaching staff was a big factor in his breakout.