With the NHL regular season completed, the fate of several coaches whose clubs failed to reach the playoffs is a hot topic of discussion. Much of the focus is upon Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins.
Since joining the Bruins in 2007-08, Julien’s guided them to four division titles, a Presidents’ Trophy in 2013, two Stanley Cup Finals and a championship in 2011. Over the past two seasons, however, the Bruins fell short of the playoffs. Their recent failure has some in the Boston media calling for a coaching change.
If Julien is let go by the Bruins, he won’t be unemployed for long. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests the Ottawa Senators could come calling if they decide to drop bench boss Dave Cameron. Read more
Status: Winnipeg Jets center.
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 188 pounds
DOB: January 5, 1988 In: Drummondville, Que.
First Hockey Memory: “You’re taking me back a long time ago [smiles]. I started skating at four years old and I had an older brother (Danny) fourteen months older. My dad took us to the outdoor rinks. We just learned how to skate and play hockey. Just fell in love with the game right away.”
Hockey Inspirations: “My mom’s brother played in the NHL – Daniel Marois. He played in Toronto, with Boston and with the Islanders. So he had a pretty long career. I guess it was in the family blood.”
The Jets’ youth movement is in full effect to end the 2015-16 season, and while that hasn’t made for many favorable results for Winnipeg, it certainly has lent itself to some awe-inspiring displays of skill. The latest display came from Andrew Copp.
Midway through the second period, Copp, 21, was able to make a play at the Jets’ blueline to knock the puck past the Wild forecheck and speed into the neutral zone. Copp was attacking the Wild defense with a head of steam and he decided to throw a few quick jukes on Minnesota blueliner Matt Dumba, ending with a forehand drag between Dumba and defense partner Ryan Suter.
With the defense behind him, Copp showed some slick hands, opening up Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk with a backhand deke before slipping the puck five hole: Read more
When Tobias Lindberg steps on the ice with the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Buffalo Sabres tonight, he’ll be part of a team record that hasn’t been matched in almost 100 years.
Lindberg, one of the prospects acquired from the Ottawa Senators in the Dion Phaneuf trade, will become the 12th player to make his NHL debut for the Leafs this season, joining William Nylander, Zach Hyman, Byron Froese, Nikita Soshnikov, Brendan Leipsic, Kasperi Kapanen, Rinat Valiev, Frederik Gauthier, Garret Sparks and Viktor Loov. It’s actually 13 if you include goalie Antoine Bibeau, who dressed as a backup for 11 games this season, but didn’t see any action.
Win or lose, one constant for the Winnipeg Jets at nearly every home game since their relocation has been the smiling, saluting, thumbs-up-giving face of Len Kropioski, a World War II veteran who is shown on the jumbotron during the Canadian anthem of every game he attends.
Over the past two months, though, Kropioski — known more commonly as ‘Kroppy’ — has been noticeably absent. The 97-year-old, who will turn 98 in July, was hospitalized in early February and hasn’t been able to fill his usual seat along the glass at Winnipeg’s home games.
However, Wednesday during a break in action, the Jets ran one of their common in-arena games called ‘Fan vs. Fan.’ Instead of putting the camera on two of the rowdier Jets fans in house, the game operations crew put the camera on Kropioski, who was returning for his first game since February. The 15,000-plus on hand to watch the Jets play the Senators rose to their feet and brought Kropioski with a lengthy standing ovation as he waved and blew kisses: Read more
It’s official: no Canadian NHL teams will be making the playoffs this season. We knew this in our hearts for at least a month, but now it’s written in stone. And other than the Rogers TV execs trying to remember which of their molars contains the cyanide capsule, there’s no need to worry if you’re a Canadian.
The most convincing argument that Dustin Byfuglien’s hit on Mark Stone Wednesday night was clean, ironically might have come in the fact that Stone was injured on the play.
Stone, the Ottawa Senators right winger who is in the midst of a second straight 60-point season, collided in the unscheduled freight train known as Winnipeg Jets defenseman Byfuglien in the second period of the Senators win in Manitoba. The good news was the victory by the Senators managed to keep the slim playoff hopes of the only Canadian team still in the playoff hunt alive. The bad news was Stone left the game with a chest contusion after being steamrolled by Byfuglien.
For shame, Great White North. For shame. A year after five of seven Canadian NHL teams booked tickets to the big playoff dance, 0.0 will participate in the post-season. Monday night’s results pretty much nailed the nation’s collective coffin shut. The Ottawa Senators would have to win their final six games, and the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings would have to lose out aside from their remaining head-to-head matchup. So, yeah, Ottawa won’t pull off a miracle two years in a row.
It seems most fan bases and local pundits accepted that fate several weeks ago, however, as no Canadian squad was anywhere near a playoff berth. The Sens still sit 10 points back. It’s time to move on and start asking about next year. Which Canadian team, if any, has the most realistic odds of returning to the post-season in 2016-17? It’s time to rank their chances, from worst to best.