Oilers turn to Dave Tippett as new head coach

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New Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has found his head coach and has hired Dave Tippett to help turn the franchise around.

“Dave brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organization,” said Holland in a statement. “He is a great communicator and has consistently led teams known for their level of compete. I look forward to seeing Dave guide the Oilers this fall and we are all excited to have him on board.”

Tippett, who gets a three-year deal with the Oilers, had been working with the NHL Seattle expansion group as a senior advisor since June 2018. Before that, he worked for 14 straight seasons as a head coach with the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars. He won the 2010 Jack Adams Award in his first season with Coyotes, helping to snap the franchise’s six-year playoff drought and managed to get a lot of out a roster that didn’t exactly have the highest budget.

[MORE: Can Tippett overcome challenge ahead of him with Oilers?]

In speaking with The Athletic’s Craig Morgan earlier this month, Tippett, who reportedly interviewed for the head coaching job with the Buffalo Sabres, didn’t close the door on a return behind the bench. It’s a long wait until the 2021-22 season, which will be Seattle’s first in the NHL.

“I don’t think that coaching fire ever goes out, but we’ll have to see how things play out,” said Tippett, who will become the Oilers’ eighth head coach in the last 12 seasons. “If an opportunity comes along, it’s like anything in life. You look at that opportunity. It’s just like this opportunity in Seattle. I looked at it and it looked pretty good.”

Big on structure, Tippett’s Coyotes teams were known for being strong defensively early on in his tenure. The Oilers employing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are two good offensive pieces to start with up front. The work on the back end is something that needs improving in Edmonton, but much of that change will fall in Holland’s lap as he tries to get the team in better shape salary cap-wise.

MORE: Ken Holland handed keys to Oilers rebuild

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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.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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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.