"They're the cockiest last-place team in the league."
- Buffalo forward Adam Mair on the Ottawa Senators.
"They're the cockiest last-place team in the league."
- Buffalo forward Adam Mair on the Ottawa Senators.
Faced with the prospect of not being able to fly to a game this weekend, Jerry York wasn't about to let that stop him from coaching Boston College.
Back in the late 1970s, Jerry York was the youngest coach in the nation. Now he’s the second oldest, behind Red Berenson, who turned 77 yesterday. York is in his 45th season behind the bench of a Division I team and he’s coached a mind-boggling 1,740 games. He’s won 1,025 of them, which is exactly 100 ahead of Ron Mason, who’s No. 2 on the all-time wins list. He’s guided five national championship teams and put countless players in the NHL, from Hall of Famer Rob Blake to current NHLers such as Johnny Gaudreau, Cory Schneider, Brian Boyle and Patrick Eaves.
In other words, he had perhaps earned the right to sit this one out. The 71-year-old dean of Division I hockey could have told associate coach Greg Brown to take the bench for one night. But faced with the prospect of not being able to fly to South Bend, Ind., to coach his Boston College Eagles against Notre Dame Saturday night because he’s recovering from surgery to repair a detached retina, York instead went old school for the 900-mile, 18-hour journey.
While the rest of the team chartered out of Boston Friday afternoon for a 90-minute flight, York had his director of hockey operations, John Hegarty, drive him to Albany Thursday afternoon. From there, York hopped an Amtrak train bound for South Bend that got in at about 8:30 Friday morning. And the most stunning thing about all of this is that York did this coach one game, not a weekend series. In fact, he figures Saturday night’s game will go until about 10 p.m., which means he’ll be able to take an Uber from the Compton Family Ice Arena to catch the midnight train that will let him retrace his steps, meaning he should get back to Boston sometime Sunday evening.
York missed six games early in the season while he was recovering from the surgery, but wasn’t about to sit any more out. So there he’ll be Saturday night, behind the Eagles bench, sporting an eye-patch and trying to help his team improve on its 8-0-1 record in Hockey East. It’s already the best start of any team in league history, but that’s not what is motivating him. It’s the passion for coaching that still drives him.
“All I need is a parrot on my right shoulder and I’ll be a buccaneer,” York said. “I think for me, this was a telltale sign that I still want to do this, that I have the passion to do it. This was a key indicator, if I didn’t want to do it I think that would be telling me something. I see Red Berenson at coaching conferences and we both like golf and other things, but I’d still rather be coaching than doing anything else. I love being behind the bench and I love tying up my skates at 2:30 every day.”
And York has a lot to be excited about this season. Despite losing seven players to the NHL from last year’s team, the Eagles have been a Hockey East juggernaut this season. Despite losing seven underclassmen to the NHL, the Eagles are the top team in their league and with an overall record of 13-5-1 has them the No. 4-ranked team in the nation. They’re second in the NCAA in goals scored with 71 and their goal differential of plus-30 is No. 1 in the nation.
This is despite losing Miles Wood and Steven Santini to the New Jersey Devils, Alex Tuch and Adam Gilmour to the Minnesota Wild, Zach Sanford to the Washington Capitals, Ian McCoshen to the Florida Panthers and goalie Thatcher Demko to the Vancouver Canucks. And Jeremy Bracco, who sits third in the Ontario League scoring race with 50 points already this season, left the Eagles early last season to jump to major junior hockey.
“We have 13 freshmen this year,” York said. “That’s a lot of new guys. We were prepared to lose maybe three guys (to the NHL), but we got surprised and we had to scramble. We had to almost rebuild the whole program.”
It has helped that freshman Joe Woll, a third-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has more than filled the void left by Demko. The 6-foot-4, 202-pound native of St. Louis has been the team’s backbone and a large reason why the Eagles have given up only nine first-period goals in 19 games this season. They’re also outscoring their opponents 28-12 in the second period. The Eagles are led offensively by a small, skilled kid by the name of Gaudreau from New Jersey, just as they were two years ago. Matthew Gaudreau, whose brother Johnny won the Hobey Baker Award with the Eagles three years ago and turned pro with the Calgary Flames, leads the team with 6-16-22 totals in 19 games.
“This isn’t the most talented team I’ve ever had,” York said, “but it’s the most enjoyable for me to coach in a long time.”
The game against Notre Dame will be the last before the holidays. That means York won’t have to get on a plane until a trip to Pittsburgh after Christmas. He sees his doctor Dec. 23 and hopes to be cleared to fly after that. If not, he’ll likely be on the train to Pittsburgh because he’s not about to let a long travel day keep him from behind the bench.
“It’s not in my fabric,” he said of the prospect of missing games. “I feel just like Punch Imlach.”
Kevin Dineen father Bill Dineen head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers pose for a photo before the game against the Boston Bruins at the Boston Garden.
Inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2014, Dineen led the Adirondack Red Wings to Calder Cups in 1986 and 1989.
The hockey world lost a coaching icon on Saturday.
The American Hockey League confirmed the passing of Bill Dineen at age 84.
Inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2014, Dineen led the Adirondack Red Wings to Calder Cups in 1986 and 1989. During his six seasons behind Adirondack’s bench, he led the club to a 246-182-52 record and won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach twice.
“During his time as a player and coach, and in the values he instilled in his family, Bill Dineen created a legacy of greatness in the American Hockey League that still resonates today,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Dineen family at this time.”
Bill’s sons Shawn, Peter, Gord, Kevin and Jerry all went on to play and/or coach in the AHL. Gord Dineen is currently the associate coach of the Toronto Marlies.
Our thoughts are with Associate Coach Gord Dineen today, as the hockey community mourns with the family over the passing of Bill Dineen.— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) December 10, 2016
Kevin Dineen is currently an Assistant Coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Bill Dineen was a tremendous man," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told CSN's Tracey Myers. "Everyone who had the privilege to meet Bill and be around him loved the guy. He was probably one of the most liked people you'd ever want to meet.
"Great family man; the kids are just like the dad. We had a good time with him on the dad's trip last time. Seeing him at that stage and being around hockey again, it was fun to be there."
During his playing days, Bill Dineen was a four-time 20-goal scorer over six AHL seasons with Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester and Quebec, and made appearances in the Calder Cup Finals in 1959 and 1964. He recorded 271 points in 391 AHL games during his playing career.
Dineen also appeared in 324 NHL games with the Red Wings and Blackhawks, winning two Stanley Cups in Detroit. He later coached the Philadelphia Flyers from 1991-93.
Additionaly, Dineen won three other league titles as a head coach, with the Western Hockey League’s Denver Spurs (1972) and the World Hockey Association’s Houston Aeros (1974, 1975). He was twice named the WHA’s coach of the year (1977, 1978).
Sergei Petrov swings stick at Nikita Tikhonov
After arguing a penalty call, a Russian amateur player swung his stick at the head of a referee and threatened to kill him in the locker room. The player has been banned for life and the team has been disbanded by the local hockey association.
A veteran player in a Russian amateur league has played his final game, and the last action of his career was a violent stick-swinging incident that saw him strike a referee in the head.
In a shocking video that surfaced earlier this week, a game between two Russian sides got ugly after an interference penalty was called during a contest in the Buryatia Hockey Championship, a league located in Siberia. The team in blue, referred to as “Armeec,” or Soldier, protested the call almost immediately, with the player called for the minor penalty initially refusing to take his seat in the penalty box.
As the conversation at the front of the penalty box progresses, No. 6 from Soldier, identified by Championat as Sergei Petrov, began to argue the call.
Referee Nikita Tikhonov explained the incident to Championat on Thursday, saying that it started as soon as the interference call was made. From there, Petrov approached Tikhonov, pushed the referee and asked the reason for the penalty. Tikhonov then handed Petrov a penalty for contact with an official. Petrov wouldn’t sit in the penalty box despite being told to do so, and, upset with the call, he struck Tikhonov:
“The blow was aimed at the neck and head, I (blocked it with my) hand,” Tikhonov said, according to Championat. “The stick broke on my arm. The second referee who tried to stop the blow, he broke his finger.”
Tikhonov said Petrov then threatened to kill him later in the locker room.
Unsurprisingly, the Buryatia Hockey Federation has come down hard on both Petrov and his club.
According to Championat, the league has handed Petrov a lifetime ban from the federation, forbidding him to play for any other team, and the club itself has been broken up. Several other players have been suspended — five, according to Championat — for their actions leading up to Petrov’s outburst, with the remaining players allowed to sign on elsewhere if they choose to continue playing this season.
Tikhonov told Championat that Petrov has reached out following the incident and he apologized for the incident.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
Injuries to Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais have the Canadiens in need of help down the middle, but making a move at this point in the season could be tough. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs won’t be alone in keeping an eye on Karri Ramo in the AHL.
The loss of centers Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais to knee injuries is a serious blow to the Montreal Canadiens' scoring depth. With both on the shelf six-to-eight weeks, GM Marc Bergevin could be scrambling to find replacements.
Galchenyuk's absence hurts the most. At the time of his injury, he led the Habs with 23 points in 25 games and was on track for a career-high 70 points. Finding a suitable replacement in the trade market at this point in the season is almost impossible. Still, Bergevin must find some suitable depth down the middle until Galchenyuk and Desharnais return.
TSN's Darren Dreger believes Arizona Coyotes center (and pending free agent) Martin Hanzal would be a good fit. However, he said here's no indication the two sides have discussed a Hanzal deal. He believes the Coyotes' asking price would be a good young prospect.
Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner is reportedly available. A versatile forward who can play center or wing, the 23-year-old is struggling offensively after a promising 49-point effort last season. It's unlikely, however, that the Bruins trade him to a hated rival in the same division.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman observes the Winnipeg Jets have a lot of young centers, suggesting Alex Burmistrov as an emergency fix for the Habs. Like Spooner, the 25-year-old Burmistrov can play center or on the wing. He's struggled to establish himself with the Jets and might benefit from a change of scenery. His $1.55-million cap hit, however, could be a tight fit for the Canadiens.
MAPLE LEAFS NOT ONLY TEAM WATCHING RAMO
Speaking of the Toronto Maple Leafs, changes appear to be afoot for their backup goaltending. Earlier this week, Jhonas Enroth was demoted to the AHL's Toronto Marlies after clearing waivers. Antoine Bibeau is Enroth's replacement, but only on a short-term basis.
Unrestricted free agent goalie Karri Ramo signed a professional tryout offer with the Marlies. If he plays well for them, the Leafs could sign him.
Ramo, however, is not the Leafs property yet. He's still free to sign with any NHL club. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings are keeping an eye on Ramo, but the Leafs are considered to have the inside track.
HENDRICKS’ TIME UP AS AN OILER
It appears checking-line left wing Matt Hendricks doesn't have a future with the Edmonton Oilers. Having miss the opening month of the season to a lower-body injury, the 35-year-old's been a healthy scratch in recent games. An unrestricted free agent next summer, the Oilers could look at moving him.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman believes Hendricks might be a good fit with the Minnesota Wild. He said the Wild are seeking fourth-line help and Hendricks is a favourite of Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Wild, however, only have $392K in salary-cap space. Hendricks' annual salary is $1.85 million. Even if the Oilers picked up half of his cap hit, it won't be enough. The Wild would have to move salary elsewhere to make that work.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.). For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.