Matjaz Kopitar has decided to step down at the head coach of the Slovenian national team, per the IIHF’s website.
Matjaz Kopitar, who is the father of Kings star Anze Kopitar, led Slovenia to a seventh place finish in the 2014 Winter Games. That’s the best Slovenia has ever done in men’s hockey at the Olympic level, including its time as part of Yugoslavia. However, Slovenia finished with the worst record in the 2015 World Championships and have been relegated to Division I as a result.
The elder Kopitar has coached the Slovenian national team for five seasons and during that time they were in something of a holding partner as far as the World Championships went. They would win Division I whenever they were relegated, but they would consistently follow that up with a 16th place finish at the Championships level.
Slovenia will once again have to fight to be promoted in 2016.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper didn’t want to completely rule out Ryan Callahan for Game 6 despite the fact that the forward underwent an emergency appendectomy on Monday. Callahan was unsurprisingly not part of the Lightning’s lineup for Tuesday’s contest against Montreal though.
As projected, Cooper instead inserted Jonathan Marchessault into the lineup over Jonathan Drouin. That decision raised a few eyebrows as Drouin is a highly regarded young forward while Marchessault has just four games worth of NHL experience.
That being said, Marchessault has excelled in the minors with 24 goals and 67 points in 68 AHL games this season. He’ll play alongside Cedric Paquette. Tampa Bay is going with seven defensemen with Nikita Nesterov serving as the extra blueliner.
Callahan’s absence is also projected to led to Brenden Morrow playing alongside Brian Boyle and J.T. Brown. Tampa Bay’s top two lines should stay the same.
The American Hockey League announced that its Board of Governors has approved the new division alignment for the 2015-16 campaign. Like the NHL did with the start of the 2013-14 campaign, the AHL is switching from a six division to four division format. In the AHL’s case, it’s also introducing a Pacific Division to reflect the number of teams that are moving west.
Here is what the divisions will look like next season, per the league’s release:
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (PHI)
Portland Pirates (FLA)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
Springfield Falcons (ARI)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)
Albany Devils (NJ)
Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
St. John’s IceCaps (MTL)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)
Utica Comets (VAN)
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Chicago Wolves (STL)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Iowa Wild (MIN)
Lake Erie Monsters (CBJ)
Manitoba Moose (WPG)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)
Bakersfield Condors (EDM)
Ontario Reign (LA)
San Antonio Rampage (COL)
San Diego Gulls (ANA)
San Jose Barracuda (SJ)
Stockton Heat (CGY)
Texas Stars (DAL)
Several teams have changed their affiliation andor will move over the summer, which you can read about via the links below:
Jackets, Coyotes, and Avs announce new AHL affiliate agreements
Busy day for deals as AHL, OHL clubs change locations
Fear the Gulls: Ducks unveil AHL team in San Diego
Report: Sharks to move AHL affiliate from Worcester to San Jose, will play at SAP Center
Welcome back, Manitoba Moose
While Alex Ovechkin is standing by his guarantee that the Washington Capitals will beat New York in Game 7, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault delivered what can be interpreted as a not-so-subtle jab at such promises.
“We need to let our actions do the talking,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard.
Which is fair because that’s really what this will come down to. This pregame banter is the appetizer, but it will only be memorable in the context of what happens in Game 7. If Washington wins then Ovechkin’s promises will likely be credited with motivating the team. If Ovechkin in particular has a strong game then it could be seen as the biggest performance of his career, in part due to his overall lack of playoff success.
That lack of favorable postseason results is probably at least part of the reason why Ovechkin’s statement has attracted so much attention and why Washington has perhaps gotten more attention than New York. Ovechkin is one of the best players of this era, but he hasn’t been able to lead Washington to the Stanley Cup. He’ll turn 30 in September and hockey fans are wondering when or if Ovechkin will ever win it all.
He’s not the only superstar fighting for his first championship though. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been further than Ovechkin in the playoffs, but the result is the same. Lundqvist is 33 years old and hasn’t won the Stanley Cup yet despite an otherwise tremendous career.
Both players have a chance to achieve their ultimate goal this year, but one of them will be forced to start from scratch yet again with a loss on Wednesday.
The Montreal Canadiens have fought back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Given that Game 7 will be in Montreal if necessary, an argument can be made that tonight’s contest is Tampa Bay’s best remaining chance to end this series.
That task got harder last night when forward Ryan Callahan had an emergency appendectomy that’s expected to keep him out of tonight’s contest. Jonathan Marchessault, who has just four games worth of NHL experience, might be inserted into the lineup as a result.
The contest will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN, but you can tune in as early as 7:00 p.m. for pregame coverage. You also have the option of streaming the game via NBC Sports Live Extra:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some relevant links:
With Callahan out, it may be Marchessault, not Drouin, who draws in
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight
Report: Callahan has emergency appendectomy, out for Game 6
Bolts are ‘angry’ heading into Game 6, says Cooper
Morrow believes Bolts’ ‘A-game has to come out here pretty soon’
Cooper on Price: ‘His numbers against the Tampa Bay Lightning are very pedestrian’
Subban expects Bishop ‘to be a lot better’ in Game 6