Coaching change for the Penguins, NHL and NHLPA must address expansion issues, Dylan Larkin showing star potential & more in your morning coffee headlines.
Check out the notable highlights from Saturday’s NHL action.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins fired head coach Mike Johnston and assistant coach Gary Agnew. MIke Sullivan, who coached their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, is the new Penguins bench boss.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this doesn’t come as a surprise. The Penguins were struggling at both ends of the ice and in danger of falling well out of playoff contention. This move should bolster the Penguins offense, which was uncharacteristically struggling to score this season. However, there are concerns about their anemic powerplay, which is still being run by Rick Tocchet, as well as with ownership and management. There’s also a lack of skilled blueline depth. The Penguins might not be out of the woods yet.
NEW YORK POST: The NHL and NHLPA will have to work out what the rules for the next league expansion draft will be, especially those regarding players currently carrying no-trade/no-movement clauses in their contracts. It’s believed these issues must be sorted out before the end of June 2016.
THE DENVER POST: While some in the media tend to play up the sparse attendance in so-called “non-traditional” NHL markets like Carolina and Florida, there’s not much attention placed upon the same poor crowds in Brooklyn and New Jersey
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin has the makings of a rising star, leading the Wings in goals this season and the league in plus-minus.
NBC SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks forward Nate Thompson faces a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety regarding an illegal hit to the head of Caroline Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk.
CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom suffered a fractured finger in a recent game and will miss the club’s upcoming four-game road trip.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klefbom is the Oilers’ best defenseman this season, so losing him is a significant blow to their blueline.
CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers have returned defenseman Andrew MacDonald to their AHL affiliate.