There may be no two goaltenders in NHL history whose names are linked like those of Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur.
Roy was an innovator, has four Stanley Cup rings to his name, two of which came as a member of the same Colorado Avalanche which he now coaches, and he won three Conn Smythe Trophies, more than any player who has ever played the game.
Brodeur was his immediate successor. Of all the records Roy set during his playing days, and there were several, the only one Brodeur has left standing is playoff victories, of which he has 38 less than Roy. Brodeur is the all-time leader in regular season wins, wins in a season, shutouts, and playoff shutouts. He’s also a two time Olympic gold medalist.
With an injury to Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, however, there lies a possibility they could be tied together for another reason: there’s a possibility Roy could become Brodeur’s coach. Read more
Phil Kessel picked up an outlet pass from Maple Leafs teammate Dion Phaneuf last Wednesday and sped down right wing into the Bruins zone. Near the faceoff dot, he snapped a shot past Tuukka Rask for the game’s first goal, the eventual game winner. Immediately Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and some teammates protested that Phaneuf’s clearing play had bounced off the glove of Toronto’s Roman Polak who was seated on the bench, and the play should have been killed, the goal disallowed.
During the next TV timeout, Boston coaches and players protested to the refs and, from his spot between the benches, the NBC Sports Network’s Pierre McGuire heard them and conveyed that to the US TV audience. Before the period had ended, NBC had shown the replay three more times as McGuire and his partner Mike Emrick batted around the topic of the NHL finally adopting a Coach’s Challenge. Read more
Here’s something you probably didn’t expect to see today: The Dallas Stars participating in a drill where three groups are connected to each other and have to scoot along their bottoms to cross the finish line.
It’s hard for the drill not evoke the image of horror/psychological thriller Human Centipede, which is a movie that needs no further explanation. Take a look for yourself (fast forward to 2:46): Read more
“Ping” may be the sweetest sound in the world for Vancouver Canucks fans today. Last night, with the game on the line, former Canuck Ryan Kesler skated in on Vancouver’s Eddie Lack in the shootout and rang one off the crossbar. One of the players he had been traded for, Nick Bonino, had already scored in the skills competition, so there’s your neatly-packaged storyline right there. But how about a shout-out to rookie GM Jim Benning for making that all possible in the first place?
The Quinnipiac Bobcats stonewalled Cornell 1-0 on the weekend and even though Big Red coach Mike Schafer did touch on the lack of scoring from his team in the loss, it was far from his first topic of conversation in the post-game interview. No, Schafer was much more fired up about Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold:
I can honestly say I’m not sure how I would react if I found out that someone coaching my son was a Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier who confined his opinions to social media and never brought them into the dressing room or on the ice.
But I do know I wouldn’t want a guy like Christopher Sandau around my kids. Now I have to wrap my head around whether or not it’s fair to think that way. It’s certainly the safe way to think and that might provide the answer right there.
The North Delta Minor Hockey Association in British Columbia, however, was not near as non-committal. It recently fired Sandau from coaching two teams in its rep program over “disturbing” social media posts from Sandau. The 33-year-old Sandau, who played six years of fourth- and fifth-division pro hockey in Germany, had a Facebook page that has since been taken down that was a shrine to Nazism and Adolf Hitler. In an interview with a local newspaper after he was fired, Sandau essentially denied the Holocaust ever happened, saying “these people were not that evil,” and that those in concentration camps were bald because of a “brutal lice infestation.”
When you see the actual material on-line and listen to Sandau justify his stance, it’s impossible to defend his views because they’re indefensible. This is clearly not a guy most people would want to invite for dinner and some casual conversation. But here’s the thing. The guy never breathed a word of it to his players or any of the families with whom he worked. The organization fired Sandau after being alerted to the posts from a concerned parent who came across them. Read more
What does a slow start mean in the NHL? In some cases, it’s a harbinger of more poor play. Other times, it’s bad puck luck, which is correctable. Regardless of the cause, however, poor starts make heads roll every year. The advanced stats tell us GMs are often too hasty to axe their coaches, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The most common victims are bench bosses who ended the season prior on thin ice. They often get the boot as soon as they give their GMs an excuse to do so.
Here are five coaches who have to think about updating their resumes in the near future.
The coaching business in the NHL is about to get crazier thanks to the pending free agency of Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock, who almost assuredly will set a new record for a coach’s salary whether he stays in Detroit or moves on to a new place of employment. So, that has to mean better times are ahead for all coaches, right? A whole, “rising-tide-lifts-all-boats” thing, right?
Not so fast. Because although Babcock’s pending spike in pay may very well result in higher salaries for more members of the coaching fraternity, there’s other forces at play here: the increasingly rapid turnover of coaches at the NHL level – and this year, the early success of most off-season coaching changes.
There were six such changes in hockey’s best league this summer. Let’s take a brief look at how they’re working out: In Nashville, Peter Laviolette has the Predators off to a 5-0-2 start (including a big 3-2 win over Chicago Thursday) that makes them the last team in the league without a loss in regulation. In Washington, former Predators coach Barry Trotz has steered the Capitals to a strong showing out of the gate (just one loss in regulation in six games) and his relationship with star winger Alex Ovechkin is beginning on the right foot. In Pittsburgh, Mike Johnston is working with a significantly rejigged roster, but the Penguins have points in four of their first six games and should be fine. In Vancouver, Willie Desjardins has reinvigorated a Canucks squad that had been wholly deinvigorated under John Tortorella.
Things aren’t working out that well for all the new coaches. Read more