Former NHL coach and current Canadian senator Jacques Demers is in stable condition after suffering a stroke on Wednesday, according to CBC.ca
Demers, 71, is a two-time Jack Adams Award winner and led the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup championship in 1993. He served in 1,007 NHL games as a head coach between his stints with Quebec, St. Louis, Detroit, Montreal, and Tampa Bay from 1979 through 1999.
His life is a story of a boy born into bad circumstances and finding success in spite of that. He came from an abusive household and left school after Grade 8. He revealed in 2005 that he was functionally illiterate.
Roughly a decade after he coached in his last NHL game, he was appointed to the Canadian senate and continues to serve in that capacity.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter this morning to wish Demers well.
With just a single point separating Minnesota and Colorado in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, every game is vital. Perhaps that was part of John Torchetti’s motivation when he yanked Devan Dubnyk just 17 minutes into Thursday night’s game against New Jersey.
Then again, Dubnyk might have been pulled under far less urgent circumstances after allowing three goals on eight shots. Devils forward Tyler Kennedy outmaneuvered the Wild goaltender within the first minute of the game and while defenseman Marco Scandella attempted to bail out Dubnyk, that sequence eventually led to Devante Smith-Pelly finding the back of the net.
Mike Sislo beat Dubnyk less than a minute later for his first career goal. Nino Niederreiter cut the lead in half, but not too long after that New Jersey’s Reid Boucher capitalized on a rebound that ended the Wild netminder’s night. To be fair to Dubnyk, Darcy Kuemper wasn’t able to stop the Devils’ onslaught either as New Jersey beat him another three times on the first 10 shots Kuemper faced.
This is the second time Dubnyk has been pulled in his last four starts as he only lasted roughly 30 minutes against St. Louis. He stopped just 13 of 16 shots in that outing, though he bounced back in his following game as he limited Montreal to one goal on 31 shots.
All things considered, there are certainly a lot worse times for goaltender Steve Mason to be dealing with a lower-body injury.
The ailment prevented him from being the starter or backup on Wednesday, but thanks to the All-Star break he doesn’t have to worry about another game until Feb. 2. And by the sounds of it, if he’s not back for that contest, he might not miss much more than that.
“It’s not too serious,” Mason told CSN Philly. “We’re in the stretch here where we have a little bit of time to take advantage of some rest. That’s what we’re doing.”
We’ll have to see if this proves to be a bigger deal than it’s being portrayed, but it is worth noting that he was at least on the ice Wednesday morning. Philadelphia has also returned goalie Jason LaBarbera to the minors, per the team’s Twitter feed.
That brings the Flyers back down to two goaltenders, but of course the decision to reassign LaBarbera could be more of a reflection of the All-Star break then it is of Mason’s status. This makes LaBarbera available to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms over the weekend and after that the Flyers can recall him if needed.
While the NHL’s All-Stars play and the remainder of the league rests, Kyle Clifford will be taking another step forward in his road to recovery.
The Los Angeles Kings announced that the 25-year-old forward has been assigned to AHL Ontario for a conditioning stint.
Clifford has been out since Dec. 6 with an upper-body injury due to a high hit from Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. Once Clifford is ready to return, the Kings will be close to full strength, with the notable exception of Matt Greene (shoulder), who isn’t expected to return this season.
Clifford has never been a major piece of the Kings’ puzzle, but since breaking into the league in 2010, he’s been a consistent presence in the lineup as a bottom-six forward.
The league has decided to hold a hearing with Dennis Wideman after the All-Star break in response to him knocking linesman Don Henderson to the ice during Wednesday’s game, but in the meantime the Calgary Flames defenseman has been suspended indefinitely, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.
As you can see in the video above, Wideman appeared to shove Henderson on his way back to the bench, but the blueliner argued it was “completely unintentional.” That’s an important distinction because rule 40.3 calls for an automatic 10-game suspension for players that apply physical force to an official, but only if such action was deliberate. So the league’s final judgment could ultimately be a reflection on whether or not they buy Wideman’s version of events.
Henderson spent the night in the hospital. He went through the concussion protocol and was dealing with neck pains and nausea.
Calgary’s next game will be on Feb. 3 against Carolina. If Wideman is suspended for 10 games, then he won’t be eligible to play until Feb. 23 versus Los Angeles.