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Two familiar faces return to Canucks coaching staff

As expected, the Vancouver Canucks have added Newell Brown and Nolan Baumgartner to Travis Green’s coaching staff.

Brown, a former Canucks assistant when Alain Vigneault was head coach, returns to Vancouver after four years with the Coyotes. He’ll be back in charge of the power play, which finished 29th last year.

Baumgartner, a former Canucks defenseman, has been on Green’s AHL staff the past four years in Utica. Baumgartner will be in charge of Vancouver’s penalty kill, which finished 28th last season.

“We are excited to add Newell and Nolan as assistant coaches for the upcoming season and to welcome them and their families back to Vancouver,” Green said in a release. “They both possess a familiarity with our staff and we are confident they will be a great fit and complement our returning coaches.”

Read more: Green will be judged on progress of Canucks’ youngsters

Doug Jarvis and Manny Malhotra will be the other assistant coaches under Green. Dan Cloutier is the goaltending coach, Glenn Carnegie the skills coach, and Ben Cooper is video coach.

The Canucks still need to hire a head coach to replace Green in Utica.

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    Bruins’ Pastrnak back skating in familiar spot following injury

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    It looks like the Boston Bruins are on the verge of getting one of their top players back from injury. On Monday morning, winger David Pastrnak was back on the ice with his teammates, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. He was skating on the right side of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, which means one of the top lines in hockey could be reunited as soon as tomorrow night.

    Pastrnak has missed the last 16 games with a thumb injury he suffered after a team function in Boston. The 22-year-old was having a career year before going down, as he had 31 goals and 66 points in 56 contests with the Bruins in 2018-19.

    The scary thing is that the Bruins hardly missed him while he was out of the lineup. Without Pastrnak, Boston went 12-3-1, and all three of those regulation losses came last week.

    “We’re in a good stretch, but that doesn’t mean it can’t go the other way,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier this month, per Boston.com. “We have to work hard to get our goals and to feel that we’re consistently a threat to get a good number of goals, but we need to stick with it and make sure we don’t get away from it. Some of it has to do with Jake [DeBrusk] getting hot and hopefully we get a few other guys going and we’ll go from there.

    “You know, Pasta [Pastrnak] should add offense. He’s done it consistently in the league. He did it last year in the playoffs. So you know, when he comes back we hope he finds it quickly, but again that’s not an automatic either.”

    Assuming Pastrnak returns to the lineup tomorrow against the Islanders, that will give him 10 full games of action before the start of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    Haggs also had an update on some of the Bruins’ other injured players:

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    Push for the Playoffs: Coyotes look to continue impressive stretch

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    Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2018-19 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

    The Arizona Coyotes have overcome several hurdles this season. They’ve been hit hard by injuries, but that hasn’t stopped them from being in a playoff spot during the final stretch. Heading into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the ‘Yotes have a one-point lead and a game in hand on the Minnesota Wild in the race for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

    They could have given up when they lost their starting goalie, Antti Raanta, back in late-November, but they didn’t. They also traded away Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini to Chicago earlier this season for Nick Schamltz, who has been out since the start of 2019, and only recently has Jason Demers returned to their lineup from a knee injury.

    The Coyotes are 10-2-1 in their last 13 contests, which has increased their odds of making the playoffs by a wide margin. As well as they’ve played lately, they’re going to have to sustain that during a tough upcoming road trip that will see them travel to Tampa, Florida, New Jersey and New York (Islanders).

    “McDavid is an elite player, and anything can happen 3-on-3. I’m proud of the guys, with five games in the last (eight) nights,” head coach Rick Tocchet said after Saturday’s OT loss to Edmonton, per NHL.com. “I thought the guys gave us juice (on Saturday). We’re fine. We got a point. We’re OK.”

    They’ll have their work cut out for them tonight, but they’ve been playing so well that it’s difficult to count them out, even against the best team in the league.

    IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY
    Lightning vs. Blue Jackets
    Islanders vs. Hurricanes
    Capitals vs. Penguins
    Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

    Flames vs. Coyotes
    Jets vs. Stars
    Sharks vs. Golden Knights
    Predators vs. Blues

    TODAY’S GAMES WITH PLAYOFF CONTENDERS
    Coyotes at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET
    Canucks at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET
    Jets at Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET
    Golden Knights at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET

    EASTERN CONFERENCE

    PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Hockey Reference)
    Lightning — Clinched
    Bruins — 100 percent
    Maple Leafs — 99.9 percent
    Capitals — 99.6 percent
    Islanders — 99.6 percent
    Penguins — 98.5 percent
    Hurricanes — 92.8 percent
    Blue Jackets — 81 percent
    Canadiens — 23 percent
    Flyers — 4.6 percent
    Panthers — 1 percent
    Sabres — Out
    Rangers — Out
    Devils — Out
    Red Wings — Out
    Senators — Out

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Hockey-Reference)
    Jets — 100 percent
    Flames — 100 percent
    Sharks — 100 percent
    Predators — 99.8 percent
    Golden Knights — 99.7 percent
    Blues — 98.1 percent
    Stars — 87.3 percent
    Coyotes — 61.2 percent
    Wild — 25..9 percent
    Avalanche — 14.7 percent
    Blackhawks — 11.7 percent
    Oilers — 1.2 percent
    Canucks — 0.4 percent
    Ducks — Out
    Kings — Out

    JACK OR KAAPO? THE DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE
    Senators — 18.5 percent*
    Kings — 13.5 percent
    Red Wings — 11.5 percent
    Devils — 9.5 percent
    Ducks — 8.5 percent
    Rangers — 7.5 percent
    Canucks — 6.5 percent
    Sabres — 6 percent
    Oilers — 5 percent
    Avalanche — 3.5 percent
    Blackhawks — 3 percent
    Wild — 2.5 percent
    Panthers — 2 percent
    Flyers — 1.5 percent
    Canadiens — 1 percent
    (*Senators pick belongs to the Colorado Avalanche)

    ART ROSS RACE
    Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lighting — 117 points
    Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers — 103 points
    Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks — 99 points
    Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins — 92 points
    Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers — 91 points
    Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames — 91 points
    Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche — 91 points

    ROCKET RICHARD RACE
    Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals — 48 goals
    Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers — 43 goals
    Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks — 41 goals
    John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs — 40 goals
    Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning — 38 goals
    Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks — 38 goals
    Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets — 38 goals

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    Joel Quenneville looking to offseason before deciding on NHL return

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    Speaking for the first time since he was fired in November by the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel Quenneville said that while there’s an “appetite” to get back behind an NHL bench, he’s “in no hurry right now.”

    Quenneville spoke to WGN TV’s Dan Roan during a Blackhawks alumni charity event on Sunday. The former head coach, who was replaced by Jeremy Colliton after a 6-6-3 start, said he wasn’t too surprised by the decision and appreciated his decade in Chicago.

    “I think in our business there’s not too many surprises anymore,” said Quenneville, who led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups during his tenure. “I was privileged to be in Chicago for 10 years. It’s part of the business, I understand all that. I know when I exited other places, the bitterness and the animosity was at a different level. And here the memories are so special and so good, and the people here are so special to me and our family that it was tough… I never [had the opportunity to] thank the fans since I left, but I’ve got nothing but appreciation and [I] admire all they’ve done and supported our team and our experience here in Chicago.”

    The Blackhawks have gone 26-24-6 under Colliton and still cling to hopes of grabbing one of the two Western Conference wild card spots. As of Monday, they sit five points out with 11 games to go.

    Quenneville said he doesn’t find himself watching his old team as much anymore, but has enjoyed their turnaround.

    “I try to not watch as much Blackhawks as I used to, but I watch most of the games,” he said. “It’s been a great race and it’s going to be fun to see how it all plays out.”

    Since Quenneville’s firing, five NHL head coaching jobs have opened up. He was rumored to be the one to replace Dave Hakstol in Philadelphia, but that never materialized. Still under contract to the Blackhawks through the end of next season with a $6M salary, once the offseason arrives and head coaching jobs open up, he’ll ponder his future.

    “We’re in no hurry right now,” he said. “We’ll see how things transpire in the offseason. I think we’ll have to think about it and we’ll see.”

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    PHT Morning Skate: Kane using hockey as distraction; impact of DeBrincat, Strome

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    Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

    Carey Price got to meet Jacques Plante’s son over the weekend. (NHL.com)

    Evander Kane is using hockey as a distraction from the heartbreaking situation he and his wife are going through. (Mercury News)

    • The Sharks probably want to avoid playing the Golden Knights in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (NBC Sports Bay Area)

    • Now that Nikita Kucherov and Connor McDavid have hit the 100-point mark, The Hockey News looks at which other players can reach that number. (The Hockey News)

    • The Canadiens will likely miss the playoffs, but at least they’re heading on the right track. (Habs Eyes on the Prize)

    • Even though the Devils have taken a step back this season, their fans need to be patient with Ray Shero. (Pucks and Pitchforks)

    • The Golden Knights are one of the more aggressive teams when it comes to pulling their goaltender. (Sinbin.Vegas)

    Josh Anderson continues to be one of the key contributors on the Columbus Blue Jackets roster. (The Cannon)

    • The Boston Bruins really embraced the aura of Conor McGregor on Saturday night. (Bruins Daily)

    • Shane Wright is embracing the challenge of being an exceptional player. (Canadian Press)

    Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome have changed the path the Blackhawks are on. (Sportsnet)

    • Finally, here’s Lee Stecklein with the OT goal to give the Minnesota Whitecaps the 2019 NWHL Isobel Cup: (The Ice Garden)

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.