The Philadelphia Flyers have named a replacement for ex-goalie coach Jeff Reese.
Kim Dillabaugh, who spent the last eight years in charge of the Kings’ goalie development, was hired on Friday, the club announced.
Dillabaugh comes to the Flyers from the Los Angeles Kings, where he spent the last eight seasons working in a goaltender development role for the club. In his time with the Kings, Dillabaugh contributed to the development of Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Martin Jones, while also working with goaltenders at the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, and prospects playing elsewhere in professional and amateur hockey.
During Dillabaugh’s time with the Kings organization, Los Angeles won two Stanley Cups and made the Conference Finals one other time, while Manchester won one Calder Cup and reached the Eastern Conference Finals two other times.
The goalie coach position in Philly is one worth monitoring, especially after what happened to Reese last season. A favorite of No. 1 goalie Steve Mason, Reese was fired abruptly in March after eight seasons on the job, amid rumors he had a “simmering relationship” with management and head coach Craig Berube.
Reese has since landed as the goalie coach in Dallas. Philly, meanwhile, added to its goalie depth on the opening day of free agency by signing Michal Neuvirth to back up Mason.
Is it too early to get excited about Crosby vs. Ovechkin again?
For all the star power that the NHL boasts outside of Pittsburgh and Washington, it’s difficult to resist the siren call of a spike in the Sidney Crosby – Alex Ovechkin rivalry. It’s perfectly plausible that we’ll never get a sequel to that memorable 2009 playoff series.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s be honest: it’s been a while since the Penguins and Capitals were in a better position collectively to pull this off.
It’s still strange to picture Phil Kessel in a Penguins uniform, firing home well-placed passes from Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin … but would it be that outrageous to imagine Kessel chasing Ovechkin in the Maurice Richard race now? As excited as Crosby and Malkin seem to be about the acquisition, Kessel and hockey fans should be especially thrilled.
Here’s the wrinkle that makes things even more fun: while the Penguins added the biggest name, Washington’s moves likely provide the Capitals with a deeper array of weapons.
Beyond the obvious in Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps now combine seasoned newcomers (Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie) with promising youngsters (Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky) to form a frightening forward group.
Hockey’s a team sport, and Crosby – Ovechkin can only be so riveting on their own … so how about Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Kris Letang vs. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Williams, Oshie and Washington’s bevvy of pricey blueliners? Yeah, that sounds like appointment viewing.
While they’re still young
As strange as it sounds, the window might be closing on this rivalry, at least as a true showcase of two players who are seriously considered two of the best alive.*
Ovechkin will turn 30 on Sept. 17, and his hair is already looking a little grayer these days. Crosby turns 28 in August and people are already wondering if he’s startingto slow down.
No, the Penguins and Capitals haven’t totally mortgaged their futures this summer, yet the complexion of each franchise changed in some resounding ways in the past few days. You never know what might happen – we’ve been fooled before – but it’s tough not to picture an epic 2016 playoff series between these two players (and teams).
If nothing else, it’s fun to think about.
* – One could quibble about where the two rank among the elite, but they’re at least up there, right?