NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 19 – Coaching changes continue, NHL officials have a bad week, Atlantic Division brings the drama and much more
The coaching carnage continues in the NHL, as Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens, becomes the fifth coach fired this season. He’s replaced by the coach who was fired last week, Claude Julien. Capping the second shortest NHL coaching unemployment. The shortest? Bruce Broudreau, after he was let go by the Capitals and promptly picked up by the Ducks two days later.
Other coaching changes that have have happened are: Gerard Gallant, Florida Panthers, replaced by general manager Tom Rowe. Jack Capuano, New York Islanders, replaced by assistant Doug Weight. Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues, replaced by associate coach Mike Yeo. Julien, Boston Bruins, replaced by assistant Bruce Cassidy. And now Therrien. Ironically, Therrien has coached the Canadiens twice. Both times he was let go, he was eventually replaced by Julien.
So far it’s a mix bag if these changes are working. The Panthers and Blues changes haven’t made a difference, up until now anyway. The Islanders change has worked the best so far. They might even nab a playoff spot now. Too early to tell if the Canadiens change will make a difference. The Bruins change has made a slight difference but I still believe it won’t really make a difference. They’ll play the same regardless of who is coaching them. Although they have won four in a row.
The Broudreau change ended up with four division titles and four, mostly, early playoff exits with game seven home losses. And then he was canned and picked up by the Wild. Who now have the best record in Western Conference. Of course this isn’t any different than what he did with the Capitals and Ducks. But he still has no Stanley Cup Finals appearances to show for any of it. So if the Canadiens think tabbing a successful coach mid-season means they are now going to the Stanley Cup Finals, it doesn’t. But there is no guarantee either way, unless you are the Penguins. But at least Julien has been there twice and won once.
Things I like
1. The crazyiness of hockey, illustrated perfectly by the ending of the Flames vs Canucks game. The Flames had a powerplay with under three minutes to go in the game and had a really hard time getting the puck over the line. Then they pulled the goalie with about a minute left and still had a hard time getting it over the line. Granted, it wasn’t that hard. They just made it that hard. Including two horrendous Johnny Gaudreau passes that took them right out of the zone, when they finally did get in. Then after more failed attempts, they got in with about fifteen seconds left. With time winding down, Mark Giordano throws a pray towards the net from the board and it actually went in. Thanks to a screen on Ryan Miller, from his own teammate. But just thirty seconds into overtime, the Canucks score rather easily on a rush the other way. Basically, negating the fluky undeserved goal by the Flames. At least the Flames got a point out of it.
2. If there’s one thing that sucks about the new playoff format seeding, it’s the lack of any drama. But thankfully the Atlantic division has you covered this year. We have five teams, separated by only six points between them, fighting for two, maybe three, playoff spots. The Senators are in the best shape, with the most points and the fewest games played. Florida has been on a roll lately to nab the final guaranteed spot, after being left for dead. The Bruins and Maple Leafs are now both out of a guaranteed spot but have a slight lead for the second wild card spot. Buffalo is a long shot with the least amount of points and most games played but they got themselves in the mix just a couple of points out of a spot. None of thee teams play each other this week, except for Panthers vs Senators on Sunday the 26th.
Things I don’t
1. Not exactly the best week of officiating for NHL officials. The biggest one was the slash on a linesman by Antoine Vermette. He picked up a 10 game suspension for it. Should he have gotten it? Based on the rules, yes. But in reality no. It was a love tap not a slash and honestly that was the worst puck drop I’ve ever seen. Normally when it’s that bad, they do it over again. That’s usually in an offensive zone face-off though. Maybe because it was neutral zone face-off they didn’t care. But they should. The linesman should have done the drop over again.
Then we had a penalty shot called on a phantom hooking by the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Islanders. The Maple Leafs won the game 7-1 so it doesn’t really matter but there was no infraction by the Maple Leafs whatsoever. The ref had a really good vantage point so he should have seen it better. The against the Rangers, the Islanders had a goal allowed on them, despite obvious goalie interference. The Rangers player speared Thomas Greiss right in the chest with his stick seconds before the puck when in the net. Despite video evidence proving this, they still allowed the goal anyway. I don’t see the point of replay if it’s not going to make any difference.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a lot easier to do.
Brandon Manning vs Patrick Maroon
Maroon takes on Manning for the honor of Connor McDavid, aww.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare vs Micheal Ferland
Not a bad fight but it’s way into the clip.
Brooks Orpik vs Steve Ott
One of the few times someone got the better of Steve Ott decisively.
Goat of the Week
Jake Guentzel – Pittsburgh Penguins
I couldn’t find an error or turnover that cost someone a close game so I picked the most egregious error by the Penguins on an especially sloppy day against the Red Wings. This play boggles my mind for two reasons. Guentzel looks directly at the area he’s going to pass to and he can clearly see two things. The teammate he wants to pass to has fallen down and there is a Red Wing in the area. He decides to pass it anyway. As you might have guessed, the Red Wings scored off the turnover.
Stat Line of the Week
2/18/17 Dallas 4 vs. Tampa Bay 3
The undrafted Antoine Roussel, in his fourth full season with the Stars, picked up his first hat trick of the season in a big win over the Lightning. The Stars’ playoff chances are on life support, having lost seven of their last eight games. But this game helped stop the bleeding, thanks largely to Roussel’s hat trick and three assists by Tyler Seguin. Seguin picked up all of his assists on Roussel goals. The Stars probably won’t get in the playoffs but this win helps them fight another day.
1003 – Career points for Sidney Crosby
760 – Career goals for Jaromir Jagr
6 – Weeks the Penguins will be without often injured Olli Maatta
4 – Teams in the Metropolitan Division with at least a +40 goal differential
1.13 – Points per game average this season for Connor McDavid
1.25 – Points per game average this season for Sidney Crosby
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 13, 1994 New Jersey’s Scott Stevens collected the 500th assist of his NHL career in a 3-3 Caps’ tie against Tampa Bay.
February 14, 1990 Whalers’ Pat Verbeek scored his 200th NHL career goal as Hartford tied 6-6, at Toronto.
February 15, 2003 Detroit’s Brett Hull scored his 10th power-play goal of the season (for the 13th time in his NHL career) and added a second goal — and two assists, to lead the Red Wings to a 6-2 win in Atlanta.
February 16, 1967 Chicago goalie Denis DeJordy ran his Black Hawks’ team-record undefeated streak to 12 games (9-0-3) with a 5-1 win at Detroit. The win also increased the team unbeaten streak to 15 games (12-0-3).
February 17, 1983 Dave Taylor scored twice to become just the third player in franchise history to score 200 goals as a member of the Kings. The milestone goals (along with an assist) came as Los Angeles tied 5-5 at Detroit.
February 18, 1987 Minnesota’s Dino Ciccarelli scored twice to give him 250 career NHL goals as the North Stars won 7-3 over the visiting Vancouver Canucks. Ciccarelli also had an assist in the game.
February 19, 1955 Montreal’s Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion scored five goals (his fourth career hat trick) and an assist and defenseman Doug Harvey had five assists (a team record) as the Canadiens beat the NY Rangers, 10-2 at the Forum.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.