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Rangers Do The Right Thing Hiring Vigneault

By at 17 June, 2013, 9:43 am

You knew the Rangers would do the right thing here. And with the hiring of Alain Vigneault, it seems like they have.

After the tough love and abrasive approach of John Tortorella, the Blueshirts needed a change and Vigneault’s soft but firm approach seems just right for the team right now, so much so that those who do sports betting on NHL may just pick the Rangers to win the Cup in 2014.

His former assistant with the Vancouver Canucks, Rick Bowness, who was recently hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning to be an that team’s top assistant, said in an interview with the New York Daily News, Vigneault was a special person.

“Ten minutes into the interview, I knew I was going to hire him, (because of) his honesty, straightforwardness, strength of character,” Bowness said to Pat Leonard of the Daily News. “You knew he was going to be very loyal, very committed and very hardworking. You could just tell.”

One of the biggest complaints of Tortorella’s regime was that he stifled offensive creativity in favor of a defensive blocking shots approach. That cost him this year with the Rangers power play going in the tank during the playoffs.

But defense wins championships and Vigneault was able to balance both offense and defense to allow the Canucks to become a powerhouse, winning two President’s Trophies and reaching the Finals once.

“You’ve got to let your players play, you’ve got to let them run, and at the same time you can command commitment to team defense, which we were able to do and then went to the Finals,” Bowness said to the Daily News. “We never lost our focus on team ‘D’, but we certainly loosened the reins up and let them run a little bit as time went on.”

Plus after coaching in hockey hotbeds like Montreal and Vancouver, Vigneault should have no problem adjusting to New York. In fact, it may be easier because unlike the Canadian markets, the pressure can be a little less in the states.

“He’s been through a lot of pressure situations,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “He can handle a lot of pressure. All the heat that he’s had to put up with in Vancouver, he’s handled it extremely well, and it never seemed to bother him.”

And that includes working with the New York media, which was very hostile under Tortorella.

“The media will not intimidate him one bit,” Bowness said to the Daily News. “I never saw one thing that there was something in the media that rattled him. He has thick skin, and he doesn’t care. The media will not get to him one bit.”

It’s too early to tell if Bovada sportsbook for hockey has the Rangers as the 2014 favorite, but hiring Vigneault is definitely a good start for the Blueshirts.





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Playoff primer: Are you ready for some hockey? (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)

By at 22 April, 2014, 3:35 pm

News and notes as the Stanley Cup playoffs continue with four games on tap tonight [times and channels below]:


Kane mullet update; most Googled NHLers; Alfredsson out for Red Wings; (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

By at 22 April, 2014, 1:21 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
Patrick Kane mullet update. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/prvXLXT140 — Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) April 22, 2014
• Here is your all-important Patrick Kane playoff mullet update. Some decent business up front. So much party in the back. [ @ChrisKuc ]
• Daniel Alfredsson is out for Game 3 tonight against the Boston Bruins with a sore back. Joakim Andersson draws in. [ MLive ]
• Doing something he’s done a few time this season, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper popped into Steven Stamkos’ media scrum on Monday. [ Sun ]
• Of the top 20 Googled NHL players, how many guesses would it take you to correctly pick Mike Fisher? [ On the Forecheck ]
• Gary Bettman said the NHL hasn’t studied having an outdoor game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, but that he “certainly wouldn’t rule it out.” [ ESPN Dallas ]
• Why Scott Howson should be thanked for helping set up these Columbus Blue Jackets. [ The Score ]
• A fancy stats look at how much better these Blue Jackets have gotten. [ mc79hockey ]
• Sorry, fancy stats haters, they aren’t going anywhere, writes Mirtle. [ Globe and Mail ]
• No, the New York Rangers aren’t diving against the Philadelphia Flyers. [ NY Post ]
• A look at 10 players who could really use a change of scenery. [ Dobber Hockey ]
• The New York Islanders make it official and announce they will again play a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. [ Islanders ]
• The Guelph Storm are rolling in the OHL playoffs. [ Buzzing the Net ]
• Here’s a 2014 NHL Draft quiz to introduce you to some sleepers. [ The Hockey Writer ]
• Former NHLer Wes Walz is heading behind the bench of East Ridge High School in Minnesota. [ Woodbury Bulletin ]
• “Convicted pedophile and former Maple Leafs Garden usher Gordon Stuckless was back in a Toronto court on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to 100 new charges involving 18 victims.” [ CP via Yahoo ]
• Finally, our own Harrison Mooney is at it again. His latest song is “Punch You”, set to the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”. 



Caps AHL affiliate also misses postseason (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)

By at 21 April, 2014, 3:19 pm

For the first time in nine years, the Washington Capitals will not be represented in the American Hockey Leagues Calder Cup Playoffs.


What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11 (Puck Daddy)

By at 21 April, 2014, 7:26 am

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
As if things hadn’t gone sideways enough in Boston when Shawn Thornton slew-footed and concussed Brooks Orpik just days after talking about how he’s viewed as being almost too honorable — and in doing so highlighted everything that’s awful about this current iteration of the Bruins.
As if they needed the help being hated.
There was no need at all for Milan Lucic to spear Danny DeKeyser in the nuts. None whatsoever. But that he did it at all shouldn’t come as any kind of a surprise because this is Milan Lucic we’re talking about here. You’ll have to recall that he tried to spear Alexei Emelin in the same spot less than a month ago , and this too was a gutless sneak attack from behind that ended with Lucic casually skating away as though he’d done nothing wrong.
In both cases, he was not assessed a penalty because of his diabolical away-from-the-play approach to Dr. Hook-ing his opponents McCrackens, and received no supplementary discipline for the Emelin run-in.
He has now been suspended twice in his career, and fined twice. He also intentionally ran into Ryan Miller at 6,000 miles per hour and received no supplementary discipline for reasons that continue to baffle to this day. Which makes his protestations that he doesn’t “make a habit” of dirty play, and spearing in particular, and “believe[s] in playing within the rules” a remarkably hot load of garbage.
Milan Lucic is a player who has no respect for his opponents. Period.
He also happens to be a very good power forward who scores a lot of goals for one of the best teams in the league, and a big guy who can play some very physical hockey. But if he was smaller, or European maybe, or didn’t put up the numbers, the amount of times you’d hear “rat” in association with his name around this league would be off the charts. He is a rat, the worst kind of actor in the league because he repeatedly plays to hurt, in the cheapest ways possible, and then pulls an aww shucks attitude whenever he’s called to account for it.
Which, again, isn’t often. And all that leads to a lot of intellectual dishonesty.
Any sentence that starts with , “It’s just funny. I never do that, I haven’t done that,” and exactly zero words later concludes, “but unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the last little bit here,” shows an amount of cognitive dissonance that should really be studied by scientists. He also took a moment to note that he too has been on the receiving end of spears like this, saying, “It happens more times than not.”
Perhaps only Abraham Zapruder has the video evidence though, because I’ve never seen any of it.
But a lot of the reason for it is that people will turn away from it, and let his continued malfeasance go uncriticized. The NHL Department of Player Safety let this pattern of his getting off lightly continue unabated, when you consider that two separate and escalating spearing incidents (the DeKeyser incident being notably worse than Emelin’s) about three weeks apart lost him zero games and just $5,000.
For a player making Lucic money ($6 million), that’s only about one-sixth of his pay for a single day of work this season.
One can’t and shouldn’t expect any real accountability on the play — if you want to call it that given how far outside the bounds of hockey it fell — to come from his coaches. Maybe during the regular season, but certainly not during the playoffs, when Claude Julien has to swear up and down he never saw the spear, either live or on video, because you gotta have your guy’s back. Everyone gets that, even if it does make for an eye-rolling quote. This is also true of the Bruins at large, because any time anyone even looks at them crooked they can’t help complaining about it for some time (remember, Lucic was still whining about the alleged Emelin low-bridge that prompted the spear two days on). In a between-periods interview during Game 1, Marchand was already bemoaning the amount of hooking and holding the Red Wings were getting away with.
And to their credit, the actual Boston media for once didn’t fall all over itself to defend Lucic from those who would call his character into question. There was a lot of calling it a “bad” thing that happened, and someone even said that this kind of play had no place in the game. They were not quite so eager the first time this happened a few weeks back, and instead dutifully nodded in assent when Lucic call Emelin a chicken, as is their wont. But save for one dumbass mouth-breather proselytizing fanboy “Well I played the game, and…” Boston.com correspondent idiot who said that this is just what happens in playoff hockey (story not linked here for reasons which should be obvious), no one took to the ramparts to dump hot oil on Lucic’s detractors as they did for Shawn Thornton.
That tells you a lot, in and of itself, about the kind of puke Lucic was on this play.
But the condemnations were also lacking, whether because this is just the kind of thing they expect in the playoffs (as the pom-pom waving, bottom-feeding moron suggested), or because this is The Big Bad Bruins we’re talking about, or because Lucic is always going to play like this and it won’t be a big deal as long as he keeps scoring. Had this been a DeKeyser-on-Lucic spear, instead of the other way around, and there’d only been a small fine doled out by the league, the pearl-clutching about What’s Become Of Our Great Sport and what a cheap shot artist yellow-bellied punk DeKeyser is would have been splashed across the front page of every newspaper in the city. Hell, they still talk about what a dirtbag Matt Cooke is every time he finishes an innocuous check, and he’s had a clean rap sheet for the last three seasons.
The reason for that was intervention. Everyone universally agreed, “Matt Cooke has to change, or he has to go.” That’s from the league, his team, and pretty much all observers of the game. Lucic isn’t on his level — yet? — but at the same time, how many more of these incidents have to come down the pike before everyone agrees that he has to change his game?
Lucic is a good player. But for a guy who says he believes in playing “the right way” (haha) it’s really weird that this keeps happening to him, and no one seems to care too much.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks : The Ducks’ penalty killing has been pretty damn good in the first two games of their series, but one supposes that you can’t go around taking five or six penalties a night and hoping Tyler Seguin doesn’t pop in a few. Not when you’ve won both games by a single goal.
Boston Bruins : Did you know Reilly and Brendan Smith are brothers ? And they’re playing each other in the playoffs? This has somehow not been mentioned yet in this series. I wonder what their mom thinks!
Buffalo Sabres : Headline: “ Girgensons amazed by ‘A’ on jersey .” It’s true. “Wow,” he said. “How did it get there? Was it magic?” It was magic!
Calgary Flames : Hoo boy. A recent poll found that 82 percent of Flames fans were not disappointed the team didn’t get a Top-3 pick this year, and 71 percent think Kari Ramo (he of the .911 save percentage this season and .902 career) is the team’s goalie of the future.
Carolina Hurricanes : Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk want to become better leaders next season. See if you can get someone to take that Cam Ward contract and I’ll believe it. Be men of action.
Chicago Blackhawks : The Blackhawks say they’re “ confident ” about their ability to come back after losing the first two games of their series in overtime. Huh, even with Corey Crawford back there and your second-best defenseman suspended? Okay guys.
Colorado Avalanche : Here, indeed, is the million-dollar question .
Columbus Blue Jackets : I am 100 percent shocked that there wasn’t a single F-bomb in the Blue Jackets pile after Matt Calvert got them their first-ever franchise playoff win. That’s the biggest surprise in all of this.

Dallas Stars : Tyler Seguin bought Mike Modano’s mansion for less than $2 million . Hell of a deal. He probably left that much in spare change and bills on the floor of his Swiss apartment. Speaking of which, how much does it cost to have a mansion cleaned regularly?
Detroit Red Wings : It really is kind of surprising how little space there’s been in this series, isn’t it? You’d have thought things would be a lot more free-flowing given the quality of forwards on these two teams, but this is playoff hockey, one supposes.
Edmonton Oilers : The Oilers’ new arena is going to be 60 percent bigger than Rexall Place? Good lord.
Florida Panthers : Panthers prospect Mac Weegar is racking up the points with the Halifax Mooseheads this postseason and one imagines that roughly three-quarters were on defensive-zone passes to Jonathan Drouin that were taken 200 feet and deposited in the back of the net.
Los Angeles Kings : I just never want this series to end ever .
Minnesota Wild : Yeah Darcy Kuemper probably starting a home playoff game . Surely what the team envisioned back in October.
Montreal Canadiens : How badly have things gone for Tampa? Rene Bourque has three goals in as many games against them.
Nashville Predators, America’s Favorite Hockey Team: A nice experiment while it lasted, but Mike Del Zotto should basically not be back in Nashville next season.
New Jersey Devils : What can Devils fans look forward to? Their owner, who also owns the Philadelphia 76ers, recently called the basketball team having won just 19 games this season “ a huge success .” Because they tanked good and hard. Imagine if bad hockey teams were smart enough to realize this is how things should go? What a world we would get to live in.
New York Islanders : Would it actually be allowed for the Islanders to keep their first-round pick this year — instead of sending it to Buffalo as per the Thomas Vanek trade — and then move it for a first-rounder next year to cover the lack of pick in a deeper draft? It must be. Garth Snow should do that.
New York Rangers : Oh, well then by all means .
Ottawa Senators : Matt Kassian is almost certainly on the outs in Ottawa, and apparently the Sens are still looking for a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for his teammates if necessary.” Good idea. How could that go wrong?
Philadelphia Flyers : Steve Mason says he wants to start Game 3 . The way Ray Emery played in Game 2, I’m not sure that’s the best idea.
Phoenix Coyotes : Shane Doan says the Coyotes have a chance to win a Cup within the next few years . C’mon Shane.
Pittsburgh Penguins : The speed and finish on this Brian Gibbons goal is something else.

San Jose Sharks : Turns out Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto are great . Who knew?
St. Louis Blues : I don’t know if you can really call not trying to kill someone when you have a five-minute power play at the end of regulation “ smart ” so much as “obvious.”
Tampa Bay Lightning : Sorry, guys, but Ben Bishop’s not walking through that door .
Toronto Maple Leafs : Right now, Brendan Shanahan is only definitively a good hire for the Maple Leafs insofar as he can’t do worse than the current guys.
Vancouver Canucks : Alex Burrows is off to Worlds for Canada . So far, 12 of the 20 players named to the team play in Canada, which is a bad sign for that team’s chances for success.
Washington Capitals : I always forget teams can make trades during the playoffs . Thanks to the Caps and Preds for the reminder.
Winnipeg Jets : Now that the Blue Jackets won a postseason game, the Jets/Thrashers are the only franchise in the league to have never picked up a playoff W.
Play of the Weekend
Which is more impressive on this goal: Nathan MacKinnon’s speed, Paul Stastny’s no-look pass, or Gabriel Landeskog’s finish? Boy oh boy, what a line.

Gold Star Award


Mason practices with Flyers; Stamkos’s ‘subtle genius’; replacing Mitch Korn? (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

By at 18 April, 2014, 12:08 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.


Report: Isles likely to give 2015 first-rounder to Sabres (NBC Sports)

By at 18 April, 2014, 9:58 am

Suggesting they’ll hold onto the fifth overall selection at this year’s draft.


Rangers score 3 in 3rd, top Flyers in opener 4-1 (The Associated Press)

By at 17 April, 2014, 9:02 pm

Carl Hagelin’s contribution to the New York Rangers’ playoff-opening win was etched all over his busted-up mouth. Hagelin took a high stick from Philadelphia’s Jason Akeson with 7:35 left, and had his mouth cut open. That gave the Rangers a four-minute…


Mason out for Game 1; Murray on MacLean; another NHL concussion lawsuit (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

By at 16 April, 2014, 1:31 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.


Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery (The Associated Press)

By at 15 April, 2014, 7:58 pm

NHL draft lottery losers last year, the Florida Panthers had their number come up this year. The Panthers bucked the odds Tuesday by jumping up a spot and earned the right to the top pick in June. Florida, which finished 29th in the league, vaulted ahe…