Getty

Longtime Berenson assistant Pearson named new Michigan coach

Leave a comment

Michigan went the familiar route in replacing legendary head coach Red Berenson.

Mel Person, who spent 23 years as Berenson’s assistant before taking the head gig at Michigan Tech, has been named the ninth head coach in UM Hockey history, the school announced on Monday.

“I am thrilled to select Mel to lead our hockey program and for him to return home to U-M following tremendous success in leading the Michigan Tech program,” said director of athletics Warde Manuel. “I’ve known Mel for years and experienced his leadership ability when I was the sport administrator for hockey and he was an assistant under Red (Berenson).

“Mel’s qualifications are well known throughout the hockey community and reach far beyond his ability to coach. Simply put, I couldn’t have selected a finer person to lead our ice hockey program into the future.”

Pearson, 58, took Michigan Tech to a pair of NCAA Tournaments during his six years on the job. Several players advanced to the NHL on his watch including Chicago’s Tanner Kero, Edmonton’s Jujhar Khaira and New Jersey’s Blake Pietila.

Two weeks ago, Berenson stepped down from his post at Michigan after 33 years on the job. Together, he and Pearson captured two national championships.

Zach Werenski shares battle scars in selfie, gains Tortorella’s (colorful) praise

via Werenski's Twitter feed
8 Comments

Zach Werenski‘s horrifying wound might just unseat Taylor Hall‘s grotesque injury and Logan Couture‘s damaged mouth as the grossest hockey wound in recent memory.

If nothing else, Werenski gets the edge over Hall because that wounded moment came in the playoffs.

Werenski returned briefly (following a scary, bloody moment) during the Columbus Blue Jackets’ eventual 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but couldn’t return during OT. The reason why? He basically couldn’t see out of his right eye, as NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika and others report.

Stream Penguins vs. Blue Jackets on NBC Sports

We already saw some in-game evidence of the gore when he was able to come back but Werenski himself posted evidence that it (gag) got a lot worse.

As a comparison, here’s before the swelling got out of control:

To little surprise, Werenski’s willingness to battle through the injury as much as possible gained the respect of his Columbus Blue Jackets teammates:

To even less surprise, John Tortorella provided the money quote:

Oh, Torts. Never change. (Note: he might not even change the way he flatters … brave people.)

As a reminder, there’s still some debate surrounding the goal counting after Werenski was injured.

You’re unlikely to hear any quibbling about the rookie defenseman’s toughness, however … especially in the Blue Jackets’ locker room.

Matt Murray scratched for Game 1, Fleury gets the start

7 Comments

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting Evgeni Malkin back for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night, but will not have their starting goalie.

After being deemed “good to go” by head coach Mike Sullivan earlier in the day, Matt Murray was a late scratch for the game after leaving the ice with more than seven minutes to go in warmups.

That means Marc-Andre Fleury draws back into the starting lineup to begin the Penguins’ title defense.

Rookie Tristan Jarry, who started the regular season finale for the Penguins against the New York Rangers, will serve as the backup.

It’s kind of deja vu for the Penguins because the playoffs opened nearly the exact same way for them a year ago with Murray and Fleury both being injured, with Jeff Zatkoff being forced to make the Game 1 start.

Murray initially seemed to be shaken up in his last start against the New Jersey Devils when he stopped Taylor Hall on a breakaway. He remained in the game and everything since then seemed to indicate he would be ready for Wednesday.

Update: Sullivan said during the first period that Murray is dealing with a lower body injury that happened during warmups.

Video: Riley Sheahan (finally) scores first goal of the season to avoid historic goalless drought

Getty
1 Comment

On the final day of the NHL’s regular season, and the final game at Joe Louis Arena, Riley Sheahan finally scored his first goal — in the 80th game of his campaign.

Just over seven minutes into Sunday’s game versus the New Jersey Devils, Sheahan accepted a pass, made a move to the front of the net and beat Cory Schneider top corner with his shot.

He celebrated with a fist pump before he was mobbed by his teammates.

Sheahan has gone an entire year without scoring. His last goal? April 9, 2016, versus the New York Rangers.

A former first-round pick, Sheahan scored 14 goals last season and 13 the year before. But this has been an incredible drought for the 25-year-old forward, as outlined at PHT earlier today:

In the history of the league (at least as long as shot on goal data has been tracked) there have only ever been 11 players that have played at least 70 games in a season, recorded more than 100 shots on goal, and not scored a goal.

It has never happened to a forward.

Not only has it never happened to a forward, there have only been two forwards that have reached the 70-game, 100-shot markers and only scored one goal — Shawn Thornton in 2009-10, and Tim Jackman in 2011-12. And neither one of them had anywhere near the skill or offensive pedigree that Sheahan has.

“You hope the adversity turns out to be a positive,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told USA Today. “Maybe it will give him a different perspective on summer training.”

Goalie Nods: McElhinney gets the start for Leafs

Getty

With Frederik Andersen unavailable for tonight’s regular season finale for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Curtis McElhinney will get the start against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He made quite an impact on Saturday night, coming on in relief of Andersen and making a couple of huge saves late in the third period.

As we mentioned this morning this is still a relatively big game for the Maple Leafs. Even though their playoff spot is already clinched, they can still move up in the standings and avoid a first-round matchup with the Washington Capitals. But to do that they have to knock off the Blue Jackets.

McElhinney and the Maple Leafs are going to get a bit of a break on Sunday, not only because Columbus is riding a six-game losing streak, but also because the Blue Jackets have nothing (quite literally) to play for. Their playoff spot has already been locked in place for a week now, and they not only are still without defenseman Zach Werenski, but it also appears that Alex Wennberg, Seth Jones and Scott Hartnell will also be held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons.

The Blue Jackets are preparing for their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sergei Bobrovsky, perhaps the Vezina Trophy front-runner at this point, will also get the night off.

Joonas Korpisalo will start in net for the Blue Jackets.

Elsewhere on Sunday…

— In the final game at Joe Louis Arena it will be Cory Schneider for the New Jersey Devils going up against Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will be in net for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Buffalo Sabres. No word yet from the Sabres on their starter.

Mike Condon gives Craig Anderson a break for the Ottawa Senators in their regular season finale in New York against the Islanders. The Islanders are starting Thomas Greiss.

— It will be Calvin Pickard vs. Jake Allen when the Colorado Avalanche visit the St. Louis Blues.

James Reimer helps the Florida Panthers close out their season when they visit the Washington Capitals. Braden Holtby gets one more tune-up start before the playoffs begin after getting the day off on Saturday.

Eddie Lack will play for the Carolina Hurricanes when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers will start Anthony Stolarz.

— Magnus Hellberg goes for the New York Rangers when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. No word yet from the Penguins on their starter.

— The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks have not announced their starters.

Cam Talbot will get a much-needed break for the Edmonton Oilers as Laurent Brossoit gets the start as they have a chance to maybe win the Pacific Division. Talbot will finish with a league-leading 73 starts, seven more than any other goalie in the NHL. The Vancouver Canucks have not announced their starter.