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)
The Philadelphia Flyers brought a pair of familiar faces into the fold on Thursday, naming former Flyer Ian Laperriere Director of Player Personnel and hiring Terry Murray to coach their AHL affiliate.
Murray, 61, returns to the organization for a fourth time. He played with the Flyers from 1975-81, then came back to serve as a head coach in 1994 (reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 1997.)
After a brief stint in Florida, he went back to the City of Brotherly Love in 2003 to serve as an assistant under Ken Hitchcock and John Stevens before taking the Los Angeles job in 2008.
He coached the Kings for four seasons before being turfed 29 games into 2011-12. LA would go on to win the Stanley Cup under Murray’s replacement, Darryl Sutter.
Of note, the Phantoms gig will be Murray’s first AHL assignment since coaching the Baltimore Skipjacks from 1988-90.
As for Laperriere, he joins the club after serving in a mentor/prospect development role over the last two years. The 38-year-old finished his playing career with the Flyers in 2009-10 after suffering a serious concussion, but immediately began grooming himself for front office work.
“It’s a job that suits me well,” Laperriere told the Flyers website. “It’s one of those jobs that you need a relationship with the young guys and you need to have some experience, and I think I have both.”
If you’re a Philadelphia Flyers fan, watching the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup had that distinct bittersweet taste to it.
These Kings came through with so many connections to the Flyers, fans had taken to referring to the Kings as “Flyers West” only now the Kings have the Cup and Philly is still without one since 1975. Dan Rosen of NHL.com highlights the numerous connections the Kings have to Philly and if you are a Flyers fan, you might want to look away. Check out these L.A.-Philly ties, they’re staggering.
- Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, and Justin Williams all had significant time playing for the Flyers in their career.
- Colin Fraser was originally drafted by Philly in 2003 but never played for the Flyers.
- Kings assistant coach John Stevens is a former Flyers head coach.
- Kings GM Dean Lombardi, while between GM jobs with the Sharks and Kings, was a scout for the Flyers in 2006.
- Kings Vice President and Assistant GM Ron Hextall won the Conn Smythe Trophy with the Flyers in a losing effort during the 1987 Stanley Cup finals against Edmonton.
- Former Kings coach Terry Murray used to play for and coach the Flyers.
At this rate they have to have a Cup parade through Philadelphia too, right?