Rumor Roundup: Sweeney’s decisions could shape Bruins’ future

Milan Lucic (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lost amid news of the Toronto Maple Leafs hiring Mike Babcock were reports of the Boston Bruins hiring a new GM. Over a month after firing Peter Chiarelli, the Bruins promoted assistant GM Don Sweeney.

The Boston media wasted little time dreaming up “to-do” lists for Sweeney. Along with re-signing restricted free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton and deciding if Claude Julien stays or goes as head coach, The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa and the Boston Herald’s Stephen Harris agreed a decision must be reached over left winger Milan Lucic’s future with the Bruins. Read more

Generational talents: McDavid vs. Gretzky, Lemieux, Lindros and Crosby

Connor McDavid  (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Connor McDavid provided scouts, fans and NHL GMs with plenty of eureka moments throughout his draft year. But none compared to what he did April 10 in a playoff game against the London Knights.

McDavid calmly, casually assaulted the OHL’s most prestigious franchise with five goals, leading his Erie Otters to a 7-3 victory. He wasn’t the first mega prospect to score five in a playoff game, but the way he did it bugged many eyeballs out of many skulls. It was just so…easy for him. He scored on a laser wrister through a self-designed screen. He blew past three Knights on a 1-on-3 rush to create his own breakaway. He picked a defenseman’s pocket and stuffed home a puck in the blink of an eye. He even scored accidentally when a Knight pokechecked the puck into his own goal, for Pete’s sake.

The performance carved McDavid once and for all into an echelon above Jack Eichel as the surefire No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. McDavid, by all accounts, is a generational talent, the most hyped player since Sidney Crosby, following in the footsteps of Eric Lindros, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. But how do we know McDavid’s game will translate into NHL superstardom? What evidence can we glean by looking at prior generational talents?

The best expertise comes from those who rubbed shoulders with the greats, so we turned to two of them for help: Hall of Famer and Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis and probable Hall of Famer turned Pittsburgh Penguins player development coach Mark Recchi.

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Top 10 coaches by points percentage: Where does Mike Babcock sit?

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been mired in the basement of the NHL for several seasons, but the hiring of coach Mike Babcock is giving Leafs Nation a reason for hope for a better and much brighter future.

While he hasn’t coached long enough to make the top 10 all-time wins list, Babcock does have the most of any coach to be behind the bench for fewer than 1,000 games. As such, he has managed to become one of the effective coaches in the history of the game.

In order to better represent who exactly the top 10 coaches by points percentage are, however, we have to set a limit of at least 100 games as an NHL bench boss. Otherwise some coaches, like Cap Raeder, who was the fill-in coach for the San Jose Sharks for one game – a victory – have near perfect winning percentages without really having control of the club.

Here are the top 10 best coaches by points percentage: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Next step for Oilers is building their blueline

Justin Schultz  (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Things certainly seem to be looking up for the Edmonton Oilers. After naming Bob Nicholson as their CEO, hiring Peter Chiarelli as GM and Todd McLellan as head coach plus winning the 2015 Draft lottery, there’s a sense this long-moribund team has finally turned the corner. While seemingly “winning” the off-season, the Oilers need to turn that into on-ice success.

Despite their plethora of promising youth, soon to be augmented by wunderkind Connor McDavid, significant roster issues remain to be addressed. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports bolstering their porous defense is their main priority. Read more

Should Don Sweeney consider trading Bruins captain Zdeno Chara?

Ken Campbell
Zdeno Chara Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

At first blush, the hiring of a guy like Don Sweeney by the Boston Bruins doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. After all, will the new boss be really all that different than the old boss. Sweeney has worked in the Bruins front office for almost a decade, the last six of them as the assistant to deposed former GM Peter Chiarelli. Presumably, he was an integral part of the decision making team that got the Bruins in this situation in the first place.

Well, thank you Brian MacLellan for smashing that particular notion. MacLellan was part of the Washington Capitals front office for even longer than Sweeney has been a part of Boston’s before he was named as George McPhee’s replacement almost a year ago. And all MacLellan did was distance himself from the former regime by making a big splash with his coach and in free agency and took the Capitals in a bold new direction.

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New Oilers coach McLellan: It’s not about playoffs – it’s about building a foundation

Adam Proteau
Todd McLellan  (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

After days of rumors, the Edmonton Oilers confirmed Tuesday they were hiring former San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan as their new bench boss. And in his introductory press conference with his new employer, the veteran coach wisely played down playoff expectations, instead talking about a new start – both for the freshly-remade front office, and for the roster itself.

“We’re not going to talk about playoffs here,” McLellan said. “We’re going to talk about building a foundation.”

That’s a savvy a way to phrase it, because it leaves ownership of the team’s failures to past administrations, and gives McLellan and new GM-president Peter Chiarelli a clean start. Although their fans will remember the Oilers’ struggles and ache to get into the post-season right away, Oilers brass can’t start making shortcuts or taking high-risk gambles to accelerate the process. Read more

Memorial Cup preview: How each team wins or loses

Leon Draisaitl (Melissa Baecker/Getty Images)

We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.

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