Pre-game reading: The guy who benched Gretzky has a new job

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— Robbie Ftorek is back behind a bench. The former coach of the Kings, Devils and Bruins has been named the new coach of the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, replacing Rod Aldoff, who was fired. Ftorek may still be best known as the guy who benched Wayne Gretzky, to which the Great One responded: “Robbie, if you want to teach, go back to New Haven. We’re here to win the Stanley Cup.”  (The Virginia-Pilot)

— In Elliotte Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts” column, he notes that the Sabres have been watching a lot of Vancouver’s AHL team, the Utica Comets. Friedman assumes the Sabres are watching Jake Virtanen, whose relationship with the Canucks is maybe not so great right now. And Friedman is probably correct about that. But we also wonder about Jordan Subban, the undersized defenseman who’s unlikely to have a future in Vancouver with Troy Stecher already there. Subban (yes, he’s P.K.’s younger brother) has five goals and nine assists in 17 games this season. He might not be a fit for the Sabres, who already have Rasmus Ristolainen to run their power play, but some team in need of goals might be willing to give Subban a chance. (Sportsnet)

— The coach of the Saskatoon Blades has banned his players from using their phones at the rink. The Blades, in case you had to be told, are off to a tough start under their new bench boss, Dean Brockman. The new policy, according to Brockman, was implemented to see if it “helped our focus on the ice and in the dressing room.”  No word if the players had to be texted the new policy first. (CBC)

Alex Ovechkin scores lots of nice goals off the rush and on the power play. But he’d like to score more greasy ones. “Sometimes you just have to find different ways to score. Obviously in front of the net, there’s lots of rebounds. Especially with teams who play right now, the goalies give up lots of rebounds. You have to go out there and try to find it.” (NHL.com)

Dylan Larkin burst onto the scene last season, drawing comparisons to Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman in the process. But this season hasn’t gone so well. The 20-year-old forward has a respectable six goals, but only one assist. Said GM Ken Holland: “Dylan got off to a great start to his NHL career and then the league kicked in. Whenever you see a young player start to play good you’ll see the league start to make adjustments and it gets harder to produce offense.” (CBC)

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