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

Flames coaching search ‘fast-approaching the finish line,’ Gulutzan reportedly the frontrunner

Jared Clinton
Glen Gulutzan (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the Ducks’ coaching search over and Randy Carlyle set to step back behind the bench in Anaheim, the Calgary Flames are the only club without a bench boss for the upcoming campaign. That might not be the case much longer, however.

In speaking with Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 Monday, Flames GM Brad Treliving said the coaching search is nearing its close and that the team is “fast-approaching the finish line” in terms of naming a coach for the 2016-17 campaign. Treliving said, matter-of-factly, that he has his mind made up on who he wants to be the next coach, and added that he wanted to make sure he found someone who will be a long-term fit.

“It really wasn’t the object to get it done quickly,” Treliving said, via Sportsnet. “It’s to get somebody that’s going to fit with us for now, and really for the forseable future. This hire is one that you’re not just hiring for the next hopeful short-term. This is going to be somebody that’s going to be with us and grow with us and win with us over the long term.”

And, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Flames’ somebody — and the likely frontrunner for the Flames job — is Glen Gulutzan. Read more

Blues hire Mike Yeo as associate coach, will take over from Ken Hitchcock in 2017-18

Jared Clinton
Mike Yeo (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Yeo is set to become the next bench boss of the St. Louis Blues. The only catch is he’ll have to spend a season learning under current Blues coach Ken Hitchcock before taking over.

The Blues announced Monday that Yeo, the former Wild coach, has joined the team as an associate and Rick Wilson, who was Yeo’s assistant in Minnesota, will be the new assistant coaches in St. Louis. The Blues were in need of two new assistants after Brad Shaw and Kirk Muller both turned down one-year deals to remain in St. Louis to pursue other opportunities, and the hiring of Yeo and Wilson brings two members of the division-rival Wild’s former staff over to St. Louis.

Most interesting about the hire, though, is that the Blues wasted no time making clear that Yeo will in fact be the next-in-line for the coaching gig in St. Louis.

Instead of taking a wait and see approach, the Blues flat out announced Yeo will be taking over Hitchcock’s job at the culmination of the 2016-17 campaign, which the St. Louis coach said will be his final season coaching in the league before he retires. It’s not as if Yeo is getting a one-year tryout, either. Blues GM Doug Armstrong announced Yeo has signed a four-year deal, signing on to stick with St. Louis until the 2019-20 season. Read more

Michigan State legend Ron Mason passes away at 76

Ryan Kennedy
Coach Ron Mason (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Ron Mason, the legendary former coach of the Michigan State Spartans, has passed away at the age of 76.

Mason won 924 games behind the bench at Michigan State, Bowling Green and Lake Superior State. He guided the Spartans to the national championship in 1986 and again as athletic director in 2007. But his impact on college hockey went well beyond wins.

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Scott Stevens hired as Wild assistant coach, excited for opportunity

Jared Clinton
Scott Stevens (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Scott Stevens hasn’t stepped behind an NHL bench since the end of the 2014-15 season and spent the past campaign as an analyst for the NHL Network, but the longtime New Jersey Devils defenseman is ready to get back into coaching with the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild announced Tuesday that Stevens, 52, has joined Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau’s staff as the first member of two assistant coaches that will need to be brought aboard. Stevens’ last coaching job was as a co-coach alongside Lou Lamoriello and Adam Oates, but this will be another foray into the assistant coaching world, something Stevens hasn’t done since the 2013-14 season.

Stevens told the Wild’s Evan Sporer that there were “some opportunities” to get back into the league, but he was intrigued most by his chance with Boudreau in Minnesota. A big part of that is a roster that Stevens feels he can really work with and teach.

“(The Wild) has a lot of potential in it,” Stevens told Sporer. “I really have admired watching Ryan Suter his whole career, and this year was one of his better years as an all-around defenseman. That’s what I like about Ryan. He can play big minutes. I’m very excited to have him.” Read more

Pittsburgh’s defense has killed our pre-final assumptions

Brian Dumoulin (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Take away Kris Letang, and what do you see from the Pittsburgh blueline on paper? Olli Maatta, the oft-injured youngster. Justin Schultz, who barely survived the Edmonton Ruin Machine after choosing the Oilers over the Ducks. Ben Lovejoy, a player GM Jim Rutherford openly admitted he shouldn’t have traded Simon Despres for last year.

And yet, this crew (plus Brian Dumoulin and Ian Cole) has helped the Penguins to within a game of the Stanley Cup, despite losing Trevor Daley to injury before the final even began. How are they doing it?

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