TSN’s Bob McKenzie shared, via Twitter, that one person the Vancouver Canucks are interested in to be their next head coach is current Kings assistant John Stevens. Jason Botchford of The Province says Stevens is a guy who could help out in a big way with the team’s defensemen.
Stevens is credited with helping develop Drew Doughty’s game to the level it’s at now as one of the best blue liners in the league. He’s also given credit for helping guys like Jacob Muzzin and Slava Voynov reaching new levels in their game. As Botchford notes, bringing Stevens in could provide a huge benefit for Alex Edler’s game in Vancouver.
The hang-up with desiring Stevens? The fact the Kings are still in the playoffs and could still be there deep into June. If Vancouver wants him to be their guy they’ll need to wait for the Kings to get knocked out to talk to him.
Stevens does have four seasons worth of head coaching experience after leading the Flyers from 2006-2007 through 2009-2010. He also served as the Kings’ interim head coach last year for four games after Terry Murray was fired and before Darryl Sutter took over.
Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier was a sudden surprise star last season. The 2011 first-round pick was able to crack the Flyers’ roster out of training camp and turned into a shutdown forward in the playoffs, giving NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin fits.
With the lockout firmly in place, Couturier is spending his time playing for the Flyers’ AHL team in Glens Falls, NY. With the Adirondack Phantoms off to a rough start, he’s finding out that adjusting to the AHL is tricky.
“It’s different. The game’s different, the speed’s different, the players are different. There’s adjustments to be made,” Couturier said. “I’m just trying to stay patient and play my game and try to stay at the same level and things will work out pretty good, I think.”
Couturier has more than a few familiar faces with him in Glens Falls. The Phantoms have 10 players with NHL experience, eight who played with the Flyers last season.
One of those players is fellow rookie stud Brayden Schenn. Couturier says keeping their groove from last season means getting their heads on straight.
“It’s different. You’re kinda stepping down a level but at the same time you gotta push yourself and try to get better every day and whenever the lockout ends you gotta be ready. At the same time, it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase ourselves and make the most out of it.”
Former NHL head coach Terry Murray is running the show for Adirondack so you can expect to see Couturier in prime shape when the NHL is back in action. For now, he’d like to improve his AHL numbers after scoring just one goal with three assists through the team’s first seven games.
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.
Thomas Vanek might be a former Minnesota Golden Gopher, but the lockout has him thinking of going back home to Austria. (Niagara Gazette)
Former Jackets coach Scott Arniel is itching to get going in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. (The Province)
Terry Murray is looking to do the same in Glens Falls, NY with the Adirondack Phantoms, his fifth stint with the Flyers organization. (Philly.com)
Dustin Byfuglien wants to be in the Norris Trophy discussion. (Winnipeg Sun)
David Clarkson is cool with staying at home for now. (Fire & Ice)
Sabres assistant coach is used to all this lockout stuff both as a player and now behind the bench. (Winnipeg Sun)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is itching to get things started in Oklahoma City during the lockout. (Globe And Mail)