Leafs get their guy in Mike Babcock; now he needs his guys on the ice

Ryan Kennedy
Mike Babcock (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When elite hockey writers began scanning flight plan websites, you knew this was going to be a different kind of circus. And when it was finally confirmed that the Toronto Maple Leafs had hired Mike Babcock as their new head coach, the corresponding media bomb went off. Less than 24 hours later, the former Detroit Red Wings bench boss has his first press conference out of the way and the table has been set…somewhat.

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OT hero Nikita Kucherov proved himself early in North America

Nikita Kucherov (middle) celebrates his OT winner (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As part of Tampa Bay’s deadly “Triplets” line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, right winger Nikita Kucherov has enjoyed a breakout season. But some pretty impressive perseverance went into making the young Russian the player he is today, one capable of fooling Henrik Lundqvist on this game-winning shot:

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Arizona Coyotes clean house, fire entire AHL coaching staff

Jared Clinton
Ray Edwards (Portland Press Herald/Getty Images)

When the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons takes the ice for the beginning of the 2015-16 season, it will be under the watch of a brand new coaching staff.

According to Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy, the Coyotes have relieved just about every single coach from their duties, including coach Ray Edwards and assistants John Slaney and Trent Whitfield. The firing comes as somewhat of a surprise after the Portland Pirates, the Coyotes’ 2014-15 AHL affiliate, made the post-season this season and are preparing a big move to Springfield for next season.

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Reports say NCAA goalie of the year Zane McIntyre to sign with Bruins

Jared Clinton
Zane McIntyre (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Fear not, Bruins fans, as losing netminder Niklas Svedberg might not hurt that much after all. University of North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre is reportedly set to sign with Boston mere months after being named the Mike Richter Award winner as NCAA Division 1 hockey’s most outstanding goaltender.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, McIntyre, who was drafted by the Bruins in the sixth round, 165th overall, of the 2010 draft, is set to turn pro this off-season and would like to ink a deal with the team that drafted him. Read more

AHL releases divisional realignment for 2015-16 season

Jared Clinton
ahl-logo

The American Hockey League will be following in the NHL’s footsteps next season, realigning to four divisions instead of the six they used in 2014-15. The realignment was approved by the AHL’s board of governors Monday.

With massive turnover in franchise locations from last season to this season, including the expansion to the West Coast and the creation of a Pacific Division, the AHL realignment for 2015-16 will include fifteen teams in each conference. The Eastern Conference will be comprised of the eight-team Atlantic Division and seven-team North Division, while the Western Conference will include the eight-team Central Division and seven-team Pacific Division. Read more

Prospect Hot List: Travis Dermott the one to watch on Erie’s blueline

Travis Dermott (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Major junior playoffs have reached the final series, while the AHL post-season is well into the second round. An incredibly exciting 2014-15 campaign is nearing its end, so I’m opening up the Hot List a bit to younger prospects. Like those that came before them, they are the players you’ll want to know and that we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

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Quadruple-overtime AHL contest was so long the broadcast camera nearly died

Jared Clinton
ahl-logo

Thursday, we brought you the heroics of Zach O’Brien, the Manchester Monarchs winger who ended a four-hour, triple-overtime game Wednesday night with a wristshot early in the sixth period. Now, we bring you overtime heroics of another kind, one that kept a game broadcasted when it looked like the worst was about to happen.

In Game 1 of the second-round series between the Oklahoma City Barons and Utica Comets Thursday night, three periods wasn’t enough. With the triple-overtime game fresh in everyone’s mind, the Barons and Comets proceeded to play not one, not two, not three, but four overtimes in a game that began Thursday and ended Friday.

But in the third-overtime of the five-plus hour marathon, disaster just about struck the broadcast. In the final minute of play in the sixth frame of the evening, the broadcast was interrupted momentarily with a message for the camera operator that his camera was about to be drained of battery life: Read more