George Gwozdecky is leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending two seasons as an assistant coach on Jon Cooper’s staff the club announced on Monday.
Gwozdecky joined the Lightning on Aug. 9, 2013 after serving as the head coach at the University of Denver for 19 seasons.
“Jon Cooper and I, along with the entire Lightning organization, would like to thank George and his family for giving us the past two years,” GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “He helped turn a young, unproven team into the Eastern Conference Champions and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication.”
“I have nothing but great memories, great things to say about the team, about the organization,” Gwozdecky said. “It was a great learning experience.”
Gwozdecky will attend this week’s NHL Draft with the Lightning and be apart of the coaches association meetings before heading home to Denver.
Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports that Gwozdecky could be an ideal candidate to replace Andre Tourigny in Colorado, but Gwozdecky says he has not heard from the Avs.
“Not leaning in any direction right now except to get some much-needed (rest and relaxation),” Gwozdecky told Chambers via text message. “I have not spoken with anybody in the Avs organization but I’m sure I would if they call.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Is Connor McDavid the second coming of Wayne Gretzky? The Great One chuckles at the notion, but agrees McDavid is going to be a game changer. “He’s as good as I’ve seen in the last 30 years, the best player to come into the league in the last 30 years, the best to come along since (Mario) Lemieux and (Sidney) Crosby,” said Gretzky. “He can definitely change a franchise’s fortunes.” (The Edmonton Journal)
Former Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Mikael Tellqvist and Justin Pogge are currently in a head-to-head battle for the Swedish Hockey League’s save of the year. (SHL)
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Some of the sights and sounds from the first Stanley Cup playoff game in Winnipeg since 1996:
Current Lightning GM Steve Yzerman had a huge impact on the Detroit Red Wings leading the franchise to three Stanley Cups. He’s also part of the reason why Pavel Datsyuk is still a member of the Wings. In 2007 Yzerman went to Ken Holland and told the GM to “Absolutely, get it done” with regards to contract negotiations with Datsyuk. Datsyuk eventually signed a seven-year contract worth $6.7 million per season. (Tampa Bay Times)
Todd McLellan, who “mutually agreed” to part ways with the San Jose Sharks on Monday, will have no shortage of offers for his next coaching gig. According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, McLellan’s coaching style would be a perfect fit with the Edmonton Oilers. (Sportsnet)
Sidney Crosby was locked out of the Pens’ room ahead of Game 3 on Monday night:
Investigative reporter Rick Westhead has further information on Jarret Stoll’s arrest last week in Las Vegas including the police report. (TSN)
The good news is Drouin hasn’t had any setbacks with the injury, but Smith says that GM Steve Yzerman could see the 19-year-old start the season on IR.
If Drouin starts the season on IR, he could participate in American Hockey League games with the Syracuse Crunch on a rehab assignment prior to making his NHL debut.
Drouin, the Lightning’s first-round selection (3rd overall in 2013), is coming off his final year with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he scored 29 goals and 108 points in 46 games.
Stralman, 27, spent the past three seasons with the Rangers and emerged as one of their top defenders during their run to the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings. He had a goal and 12 assists last season and had five more helpers during the postseason.
Stralman paired up with Marc Staal in New York and joins a Tampa team that’s seen their blue line corps become something worth watching. He joins Victor Hedman, Matt Carle, newly-acquired Jason Garrison, and Radko Gudas to make up a skilled and tough defensive crew.
The Lightning clearly made room for Stralman on Sunday night with the deals they made to send Teddy Purcell and Nate Thompson out of town.
The Detroit Red Wings are going to be hot after a defenseman when free agency opens at noon ET, but one they won’t be after is Christian Ehrhoff.
Ansar Khan of MLive reports the Red Wings are still in on Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle — two right-shooting d-men — but out on Ehrhoff, a lefty, as the former Buffalo Sabres blue-liner is seeking a five-year deal. Detroit was apparently only willing to go three years for the 31-year-old German.
Detroit is looking to add a top-four defenseman as they’re letting Kyle Quincey go to market. With a top pairing consisting of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, the Wings need help as they have Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, and Brian Lashoff under contract for next season. Danny DeKeyser is a restricted free agent.
One way or another the Wings will be adding to the blue line, but chasing after 27-year-old Niskanen means they’ll have to cough up big money and term to land him in what’s going to be a very competitive market. Boyle makes for a good option, but at almost 38 years old there are questions about how much he’s got left in the tank.
The fun subplot here? Detroit’s stiffest competition for both players comes from the Tampa Bay Lightning and GM Steve Yzerman.