What will the Buffalo Sabres do with Zemgus Girgensons?

Ryan Kennedy
Zemgus Girgensons  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

There is a lot of room for long-term optimism in Buffalo. Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly and now Alex Nylander are all gems up front, while Rasmus Ristolainen looks like a solid No. 1 defenseman in the years to come. But the team is still in transition and there will be bumps in the short-term. One of those storylines involves fan favorite Zemgus Girgensons.

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Devils bring Clowe on as assistant coach after concussions force retirement

Jared Clinton
Ryane Clowe (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

Ryane Clowe’s playing days aren’t officially over — he’s still technically a member of the Devils’ roster — but the gritty winger has already moved on to the next phase of his career, accepting a job to step behind the bench with New Jersey coach John Hynes next season.

The Devils announced Tuesday that Clowe, 33, will join Hynes, Geoff Ward, Alain Nasreddine and Chris Terreri as one of New Jersey’s bench bosses for the upcoming campaign. For Clowe, who scored 112 goals and 309 points in 491 NHL games, this won’t be his first foray into coaching. During the 2015-16 season, he spent time working closely with the Devils staff and he told Devils All-Access’ Julie Robenhymer that he spent a brief time coaching in ECHL San Francisco during the 2012-13 lockout.

“We are looking forward to Ryane joining our staff,” said Hynes. “His character, expertise as a player, knowledge of the game and passion to coach will be a benefit for our players and the Devils’ organization.” Read more

What’s the next wave of coaching strategy in hockey?

Matt Larkin
Willie Desjardins (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Few NHL teams in recent memory will put the copycat coaching theory to the test like the 2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins. Mike Sullivan’s group won the Stanley Cup with a north-south approach that used speed and stretch passes and generated oodles of shot attempts, catering to “analytics hockey,” and it thus may have broken a barrier. More and more teams may try to win with the possession game, and that will be drilled into new coaching recruits from the ground up.

“As a coach you have to be careful,” said Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, “because it’s one thing to run a system with one team, and then all of a sudden you have different personnel, and the system won’t work with different personnel. You always have to adjust what you’re doing to your personnel. Just because it’s worked for one team it doesn’t mean that system will work for you.”

It’s an interesting debate, and it’s one aspiring coaches might strike up with Desjardins at the 2016 TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference. He’ll appear there as a speaker when the conference comes to Toronto July 15 and 16. San Jose Sharks assistant Steve Spott and hockey journalism maven Bob McKenzie, former Hockey News editor in chief, will join Desjardins along with many other prominent names in the industry. The conference then shifts to Vancouver, where Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters, AHL all-time wins leader Roy Sommer and legendary NCAA Div. I women’s coach Shannon Miller headline the group of mentors speaking July 22 and 23.

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Steven Stamkos shows his true captain colors in re-signing with Tampa Bay

Steven Stamkos (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos has always been a pretty laid-back guy. I’ve been interviewing him for almost a decade now and his sunny outlook has been very consistent (though one time I accidentally called him during a high school English class – I still feel bad about that). But in speaking to reporters on a conference call Thursday, there was something weightier to Stamkos’ words. In re-signing with Tampa Bay, he may have broken hearts in Southern Ontario and Western New York, but he also proved just how worthy he is of that captain’s ‘C’ with the Lightning.

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Gulutzan named Flames coach, wants to make Calgary an ‘exciting, connected’ team

Jared Clinton
Glen Gulutzan (via Sportsnet)

Flames GM Brad Treliving opened up Friday’s press conference by saying it was the worst kept secret in Calgary. What followed was the announcement of Glen Gulutzan as the Flames’ new coach.

Gulutzan, 44, has been reported as the frontrunner for the job for much of the past week and had long been known as one of Calgary’s top candidates to take over behind the bench. Friday’s announcement made it official, as Gulutzan becomes the 17th in franchise history and the successor to Bob Hartley, who was fired in May.

One of Hartley’s downfalls as the Flames coach wasn’t just that his team didn’t get results, but that Calgary was one of the poorest possession teams in the league. Over the past four seasons under Hartley, Calgary posted the fourth-worst possession numbers of any team at a 46.5 shot attempts for percentage. So, of course, one major talking point in Calgary is turning the Flames, an abysmal possession team, into one that can control the puck and create opportunities not only on the rush, but through sustained zone time.

“There will definitely be a little of a style change in how we play,” Gulutzan said, wasting little time getting to the matter of possession. “It will lead to an exciting game. It will be an exciting, connected team that you’re going to see here and I look forward to it.” Read more

Tampa Bay associate coach Rick Bowness signs multi-year extension

Jared Clinton
Rick Bowness (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Over the past three seasons, Rick Bowness has been behind the bench for three playoff appearances, one Stanley Cup final, one Eastern Conference championship and another appearance in the conference final. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Tampa Bay Lightning want to keep their associate coach around.

The Lightning announced Tuesday that Bowness has been brought back on a multi-year extension that will keep him in Tampa for at least two more seasons. For Bowness, sticking with the Lightning — who have been close, but not quite there in terms of winning the Stanley Cup — probably gives the bench boss a solid shot at capturing the first title of his career.

“We know we’re close,” Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith. Read more