Best of the Decade: Top Five NHL head coaches
Game recaps, Willie O’Ree honored plus updates on Corey Crawford, Bobby Ryan and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins spoiled the return of former head coach and Montreal Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien by defeating his Habs 4-1. Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each collected two points as the Bruins extended their points streak to 14 games.
Boston fans gave Julien, who coached the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011 during his nearly 10-year tenure with the club, a standing ovation during a video tribute. Before the game, the Bruins honored Willie O’Ree on the 60th anniversary of his NHL debut with the Bruins as the league’s first black player.
Long-time Bruins anthem singer Rene Rancourt also announced he will retire at the end of this season. The 78-year-old Rancourt began singing the anthems at Bruins games in 1975-76.
A four-goal second period powered the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Before the game, the Penguins announced starting goaltender Matt Murray is on an indefinite leave of absence following the death of his father, James.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Murray and his family.
SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman dismissed reports claiming Hawks starting goaltender Corey Crawford is suffering from vertigo, saying it’s likely post-concussion symptoms. Crawford’s been on injured reserve since Dec. 27 and there’s no timetable for his return. Prior to Bowman’s comments, there were some reports suggesting Crawford could miss the remainder of the season.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators received some good news as winger Bobby Ryan (hand injury) declared himself good to go as the club prepares to emerge from its bye week in the schedule. There were concerns Ryan could miss a significant amount of time.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets claimed veteran forward Jussi Jokinen off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. The move was made to offset the absence of winger Sonny Milano, who could miss four-to-six weeks with an torn oblique muscle.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals unveiled its Stadium Series jersey for their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 3 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Game recaps, another milestone for Jagr, Nyquist suspended & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, picking up an assist in his club’s 6-5 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored the winner in overtime while Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov each scored twice for the Panthers. Joe Pavelski scored twice and set up two others for the Sharks. Cramps forced Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo from the game late in the third, but he’s not expected to be ready for their next game.
Alexander Wennberg, Seth Jones and Zach Werenski each collected two assists as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Nazem Kadri scored both of the Leafs goals.
Matthew Tkachuk tallied a goal and set up another while Brian Elliott made 33 saves to give the Calgary Flames a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Flames forward Alex Chiasson was ejected from the game for spearing Flyers forward Nick Cousin. Earlier in the day, the Flames also signed free-agent defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a professional tryout offer.
Carter Hutton made 25 saves for his second straight shutout as the St. Louis Blues extended their win streak to five games by blanking the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Before the game, the Wings honored their late owner Mike Ilitch, who passed away Friday at age 87. Earlier in the day, the Wings learned forward Gustav Nyquist received a six-game suspension for high-sticking Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the face last Sunday.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette faces an automatic 10-game suspension as a result of his slashing a linesman during the Ducks’ 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.
TSN: The new contract of recently-hired Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien is a five-year deal at $5 million annually.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals yesterday acquired defenseman Tom Gilbert from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2017. He cleared waivers earlier this month and will report to the Capitals’ AHL affiliate in Hershey.
THE TENNESSEAN: For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators are poised to sell out every home game.
NBC SPORTS: Former NHL forward Mike Comrie is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police after a woman claimed he repeatedly raped her at his residence.
THE PLAYERS TRIBUNE: Former NHL goaltender Corey Hirsch writes about his battle with obsessive compulsive disorder, which nearly drove him to suicide during his playing career.
The Boston Bruins have fired head coach Claude Julien. He will be replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Bruce Cassidy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone’s really surprised by this. Julien’s in the final season of his contract, speculation over his future has dogged him since last summer and the Bruins are struggling to stay in the playoff hunt.
UPDATE: CapFriendly initially listed Julien as being in the final year of his contract. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports he had a year left at $3.5 million. Any team with interest in hiring Julien for next season will need the Bruins’ permission.
The 56-year-old Julien spent 10 seasons behind the Bruins bench, guiding them to two Stanley Cup Finals and a championship in 2011. In recent years, however, the roster’s been depleted via free agency and some questionable trades. The Bruins missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and could miss the cut this season.There was a sense that the front office might consider a coaching shakeup in hopes of bolstering their playoff chances.
It remains to be seen if the move improves the Bruins over the remainder of the season. They’re a one-line team offensively, lacking experienced and skilled defensive depth and in need a proven backup goaltender.
As for Julien, he probably won’t be unemployed for long. I suspect the expansion Vegas Golden Knights will be very interested in speaking with him. He could also land with another NHL club before next season.
Game recaps, injury updates, recalls and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: John Tavares scored twice and Thomas Greiss had a 23-save shutout as the New York Islanders blanked the Dallas Stars 3-0, giving Doug Weight a win in his debut behind the bench as Isles interim head coach.
Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Daniel Winnik and Andre Burakovsky each collected two points as the Washington Capitals thumped the St. Louis Blues 7-3. Blues goalie Jake Allen was pulled for the fourth time in six games. Alex Steen and Jaden Schwartz each had three-point performances for the Blues in a losing cause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s horrible midseason slump could push Blues management into the trade market for a goaltending upgrade.
Michael Grabner tallied two goal and Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 23 shots to give the New York Rangers a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ryan Ellis scored twice and Juuse Saros made 32 saves as the Nashville Predators took a 4-0 lead and held on to down the Calgary Flames 4-3. For the first time in his young career, Flames center Sam Bennett was a healthy scratch.
Nino Niederreitter scored twice as the Minnesota Wild, despite blowing a two-goal lead, went on to edge the Arizona Coyotes 4-3.
Nick Ritchie’s overtime goal gave the Anaheim Ducks a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The game was delayed nearly 45 minutes to replace a pane of broken glass behind the Ducks’ net. Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie missed the game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Aaron Dell turned in a 24-save performance and Logan Couture tallied the game winner in the San Jose Sharks’ 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Prior to the game, the Sharks placed forward Micheal Haley on injured reserve while Joonas Donskoi came off IR.
Mike Condon turned aside 42 shot backstopping the Ottawa Senators to a 2-0 shutout over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
BOSTON HERALD: Rumors abound suggesting Bruins head coach Claude Julien could be fired, but the real problem is the limited depth of roster talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Firing Julien won’t fix that issue. But that’s what general managers of struggling teams sometimes do in hopes of shifting focus away from their roster mistakes. Time will tell if Bruins management goes that route.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes demoted sophomore winger Anthony Duclair to the minors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair has only nine points in 41 games this season, a far cry from his 20-goal, 44-point performance in 2015-16.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm, sidelined since Nov. 15 with a dislocated shoulder, could return to action tonight. Forward Steve Ott (shoulder) could be placed on injured reserve to make room for Helm.
SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Florida Panthers placed forward Seth Griffith on waivers. It’s the third time this season Griffiths has hit the waiver wire.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes recalled goalie Michael Leighton.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: With goaltender Anders Nilsson sidelined by illness, the Buffalo Sabres recalled Linus Ullmark.
OTTAWA SUN: A bus carrying the Columbus (Georgia) Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League overturned on Interstate 74 near Peoria yesterday. No one on the bus suffered life-threatening injuries, though three are reportedly in serious condition.
Game recaps, Blackhawks re-sign Panarin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.com: Sidney Crosby tallied his league-leading 26th goal and Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves in relief of an injured Matt Murray (lower body) as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.
Murray suffered the injury late in the second period. No word yet as to the severity. Earlier in the day, the Penguins learned defenseman Brian Dumoulin will miss four-to-six weeks with a broken jaw.
Robby Fabbri’s hat trick carried the St. Louis Blues to a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, spoiling the return of Flyers center Sean Couturier from a knee injury.
Tyler Johnson’s overtime goal capped a 4-3 comeback victory for the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts were down 3-1 but third-period goals from Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat sparked their rally. The Lightning were playing without center Valtteri Filppula, who was scratched from the game for missing a team meeting.
Ryan Miller made 36 saves backstopping the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Tyler Toffoli (lower body) on injured reserve.
The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 2-0 lead in the third period against the Florida Panthers, but Mitch Marner’s shootout goal gave them a 3-2 victory. Panthers center Aleksander Barkov left the game with an undisclosed injury. No update yet as to his status.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks yesterday announced the re-signing of winger Artemi Panarin to a two-year, $12-million contract extension. The new deal, which pays Panarin $6 million per season, goes into effect in 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a compromise deal for both sides. Panarin, the 2016 Calder Memorial Trophy winner and current Blackhawks’ leading scorer, gets a fair and well-deserved raise. The Hawks aren’t locked into a more expensive long-term deal with him just yet, pushing that inevitability ahead by two years. It was assumed Panarin would seek an eight-year deal worth around $7 million annually, but he was obviously willing to accept a shorter deal for less money to stay with the Blackhawks.
However, this new deal creates a significant problem for the ‘Hawks next season. With over $66 million invested in 15 players for 2017-18, the Blackhawks could have at most around $9 million remaining (assuming a $75 million cap ceiling) to re-sign other players and fill out the rest of their roster. I’ll examine how they could handle this later today in the Rumor section.
YAHOO SPORTS: (stick tap to GJ Berg): Long-time San Jose Sharks stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau aren’t sweating questions about their futures. Both are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Thornton’s still playing well for someone who’s 37, I expect the Sharks will re-sign him to a two-year deal for perhaps around $6 million annually. Marleau, also 37, is in obvious decline. I think this season will not only be his last with the Sharks, but also the final one of his long NHL career.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Craig Anderson isn’t expected to return for a while. Anderson’s on a personal leave of absence to be with his wife Nicholle, who is undergoing cancer treatments.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty believes the struggling Boston Bruins are in need of a shakeup and advocates replacing head coach Claude Julien.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if the Bruins follow Haggerty’s advice. They could be reluctant to make that move while they’re still clinging to a postseason berth. If the losses start piling up and knock them out of playoff contention, Julien could be in jeopardy of losing his job.
CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Troy Brouwer (broken finger) is listed as week-to-week.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner (abdominal surgery) will miss the next four-to-six weeks.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets demoted Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev to the minors.