Poll: Who should replace Patrick Roy as Avalanche coach?

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This is part of Colorado Avalanche day at PHT…

The start of NHL training camps are less than a month away and the Colorado Avalanche are sitting here without a head coach after Patrick Roy suddenly walked away from the organization earlier this month.

Given the lack of success the team had on the ice the past two seasons it is probably not the worst thing for the team to get a fresh voice and some new ideas behind the bench. The team was bad in a lot of key areas and wasn’t really showing any signs of noticeable improvement. In most other organizations the coaching change probably would have been made by the team itself earlier in the summer in a more routine manner.

But while the change could end up being a positive development, the timing of all of this is obviously not great. Not only because other head coaching candidates have already been hired by other teams this summer, but the new coach will only have a couple of weeks to get to know his players, develop a system, and start putting things into place for the season.

Most new coaches have an entire summer to do all of that preparation.  This yet-to-be-named coach will probably have a couple of weeks since the Avalanche are still in the early stages of the interview process.

Early reports from the Denver Post have the Avalanche focussing on a lot of new faces, including Jared Bednar, currently the head coach of the AHL’s Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters (previously the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets). Bednar also has some connections to some folks in the Avalanche organization, including assistant general manager Chris MacFarland who previously held the same position in the Columbus organization.

Other names mentioned included Travis Green, the head coach of the AHL’s Utica Comets, Washington Capitals assistant coach Lane Lambert, and former Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel, currently an assistant for the New York Rangers. Arniel has one-and-a-half years of head coaching experience in the NHL, all with Columbus, where his teams won only 45 out of 123 games.

The other name to throw into the ring, mainly because he is a reasonably big name with a lot of experience in the NHL, is of course Bob Hartley who was fired by the Calgary Flames earlier this summer. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2014-15. He also spent four-and-a-half years in Colorado in the late 90s and early 2000s and was the coach of their 2001 Stanley Cup winning team which had been making its way back into the organization one player at a time in recent years. At this point, there is nothing to indicate that he is a serious candidate for the job.

With that said, who do you think should the Avalanche look to as a replacement for Roy this season?

 

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.