Scott Luce has been either the director of scouting or director of player personnel with the Florida Panthers since 2002. And like literally every other person in the talent evaluation business, he has some home runs and he has some skeletons in his closet.
So when the Panthers said they relieved him of his duties, saying they wanted a new voice when it came to scouting, there’s no reason not to take them for their word. Luce’s recent work has been splendid, but that many years in one position is a long time for anyone in this business.
Legend has it that when John Muckler was running the Long Island Ducks of the old Eastern Hockey League, he traded John Brophy six times and traded back for him seven times. Things sometimes become a little blown out of proportion when it comes to these larger-than-life legends, but that one is pretty easy to believe.
That’s because you couldn’t have made this stuff up. Brophy, who died over the weekend at the age of 83, was a true throwback. He kicked around the minors as a player for 20 seasons and with 3,848 penalty minutes to his name, is one of the most penalized players to ever play the game. He retired in 1973 at the age of 39, not because he could no longer play, but because the league he was playing in folded. As a coach, he was behind the bench for nine teams, all of them in the minors with the exception of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL and the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA, winning three ECHL championships and piling up almost 900 career wins.
The hockey world is mourning the loss of John Brophy, 83, who is one of the most iconic minor league coaches in the history of the game and one of the winningest bench bosses in professional hockey history.
In a statement released Monday, the ECHL, where Brophy coached for 13 seasons, announced his passing following “a lengthy illness.”
“The entire ECHL is saddened to hear of the passing of John Brophy,” said ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna in the release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Brophy family. There was no greater competitor than John Brophy.” Read more
Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch may be headed to unrestricted free agency a little early if a report by the Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch comes to fruition. According to Garrioch, there are major rumblings that the Ottawa Senators will not qualify the pending restricted free agent this summer, forcing the defenseman onto the open market.
Wiercioch would cost the Sens at least $2.7 million should Ottawa choose to qualify him and based on his recent returns, that’s a lot of money. At a lower cap hit (which any team could sign the blueliner to this summer) there is certainly some value in the 25-year-old, but new Senators GM Pierre Dorion seems to be taking a decisive stance early in his tenure. And I like it.
The Detroit Red Wings are looking for some added experience behind the bench, and the help the Red Wings are seeking could come courtesy of former divisional opponent the Columbus Blue Jackets.
According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, the Blue Jackets have granted the Red Wings permission to speak with former coach Todd Richards, who was fired by Columbus two weeks into the 2015-16 campaign after the team limped out of the gate to an 0-7 record. Richards was fired following the seventh loss to open the campaign, and was almost immediately replaced by veteran coach John Tortorella.
Portzline reported that Richards, 49, will not interview for the position until after he returns from the World Championships, where he’s currently an assistant for Team USA. Read more
Combining the regular season and post-season, the St. Louis Blues have been shorthanded 318 times during the 2015-16 campaign, which is more than any other team in the league. And according to San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, the Blues should have had at least a couple more calls against them in Game 1 of the Western Conference final.
In the opening game of the Western Conference final, the Sharks were awarded three power plays. Two of those penalties against the Blues were called in the first frame, with the last coming midway through the final period. And regardless of how many perceived missed calls there may have been, three minor penalties is about on par for the Blues. Their 318 times shorthanded in 97 games this campaign works out to 3.28 times shorthanded per game.
“We’re relying on the officials to do their job,” DeBoer said during the off-day Monday. “St. Louis is one of the most penalized teams in the league, regular season and playoffs. (The referees) need to call the game accordingly. (We) need to make them pay a price for being the most penalized team on the power play, which we didn’t (in Game 1).” Read more
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma isn’t going anywhere, but Buffalo will have a new look behind the bench next season.
It was announced Monday that the Sabres have shuffled the coaching staff ahead of the off-season, sending assistant Dan Lambert to head up the AHL’s Rochester Americans and taking Randy Cunneyworth from his spot as Amerks bench boss to a gig in player development with the Sabres.
“We had a plan in place going into last season to eventually promote Dan to head coach of the Americans and transition Randy back to player development,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said in a release. “With his experience as a Sabres assistant last season, we felt Dan was ready to take on the added responsibility of being a head coach and implementing our organizational philosophy in Rochester.” Read more
Darryl Sutter’s contract may be close to expiring, but the Kings coach will be back behind the bench in Los Angeles next season.
Sutter has reportedly agreed to an extension with the Kings, according to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, and the deal could be announced as early as Friday. Dillman reported that while no terms of the contract are available, it will pay the two-time Stanley Cup-winning coach more than $3 million per season.
The Kings locking up Sutter is huge for the continued success of the franchise and certainly helps give the franchise a clear direction before the off-season even begins. Had Los Angeles’ summer started with Sutter choosing to leave the club, the Kings would have needed to enter into the coaching search before they could really start moving forward. Sutter’s extension eliminates that need.
Sutter told Dillman that more important than his “own stuff” was the future of the club, which he wanted to ensure was in place before he signed back on. Read more