Shero, Bylsma reuniting in New Jersey? Report says Devils granted permission to speak with coach

Jared Clinton
Dan Bylsma. (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

From late in the 2008-09 season until the culmination of the 2013-14 campaign, GM Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma were the architects behind the Pittsburgh Penguins club that won one Stanley Cup and fell just a few wins short of returning to the final. Now it appears they could be reunited in New Jersey.

According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Penguins are looking for a way to acquire additional draft picks in the first few rounds of the 2015 draft and one option might be to land compensation for another team hiring Bylsma, who is still under contract with the club even though he was relieved of his duties following the 2013-14 campaign. And, Molinari reports, while it’s known that Bylsma has interviewed for the openings in Buffalo and San Jose, it’s believed that he has also been given permission to talk to New Jersey about their opening behind the bench.

With Shero taking over the GM duties in New Jersey, it would seem like Bylsma heading to the Devils could be a reunion waiting to happen. Read more

5 Stanley Cup-winning goalies who were “just OK”

Antti Niemi

A hot goalie can take his team deep into the playoffs, but a cold one can also go pretty far with a strong enough team in front of him. A goaltender has won the Conn Smythe Trophy six out of the last 20 years, but we’ve also seen some pretty mediocre performances from Stanley Cup champion goalies.

We may well be in for another one this year. The Ducks’ Frederik Andersen is the only remaining goalie in the playoffs with a goals-against average under 2.00, and the rest of the pack have all had their struggles this post-season. Henrik Lundqvist is just getting over allowing 12 goals in two games, and Ben Bishop just allowed five goals in back-to-back appearances. Then there’s Corey Crawford, who temporarily lost his net to Scott Darling earlier this post-season.

The goaltending hasn’t been great, but does that mean Andersen is the odds-on favourite to win the Cup this year? Or will a mediocre performance in net be enough to carry the Rangers, Lightning or Blackhawks to the final?

The latter is certainly possible. Just look at these five netminders. To quote former Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, these guys were OK. Just OK.
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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

Congratulations Hockeyville, USA: Watch out for the Stamkos one-timers

Ken Campbell
Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov  (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Like Dickie Dunn, I’m just trying to capture the spirit of the thing. Now that Johnstown, Pa., has been named the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA, the most pressing question is whether or not the members of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning will have to put on a pre-game fashion show. After all, nowhere in their contracts does it say they gotta make fools of themselves. Am I right?

(Note to reader: If you’re not familiar with the 1977 classic sports movie Slap Shot, which was robbed by Annie Hall for the Best Picture Oscar in 1978, move along because the rest of this will be completely foreign to you.) Read more

Bill Masterton Trophy finalists: Wild’s Devan Dubnyk, Penguins’ Kris Letang and Senators’ Andrew Hammond

Kris Letang (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced Thursday the three finalists for this season’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player best exemplifying “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, and Ottawa Senators netminder Andrew Hammond. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Senators need space to sign young stars, Blues could shake up core

Mark Stone

As more NHL teams are eliminated from the opening round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, there’s growing speculation over possible off-season moves for those clubs.

Finding cap room to re-sign key free agents could force the Ottawa Senators to make some significant moves.The Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren reports budding stars like Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Alex Chiasson and Calder Trophy nominee Mark Stone are restricted free agents. Zibanejad, Hoffman and Stone are in line for significant raises.

Warren also notes the Senators must decide what to do with veterans Chris Neil, David Legwand and Colin Greening, who have term remaining on their contracts. Given the rise of the Senators’ young forwards this season, the trio could be dealt or bought out to free up cap space to be invested in those youngsters. Read more

Prospect Hot List: Jack Eichel suiting up for Team USA again

Jack Eichel

Once again, Team USA has won the world under-18s thanks to a roster made up almost entirely of NTDP kids. Though one interesting takeaway from the tourney was goaltending. The Americans went with underager Evan Sarthou of WHL Tri-City, while Canada had a tandem of underagers in Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko and Saginaw’s Evan Cormier. Sure, 2015 looks like a thin goalie draft, but this was a pretty interesting trend. With that point behind us, let’s look at some of the other prospects making noise in the hockey world right now.

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Your 2014-15 Norris Trophy finalists: P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson

Drew Doughty (Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced its three finalists in Norris Trophy voting this season - Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty – and the fact none of the three were finalists in 2013-14 says something about the calibre of defenseman currently working in hockey’s top league. Read more