Around the NHL

28thNov. × ’11

The Habs Max Pacioretty handed out a head shot the other night against the Penguins Letang.

He not very surprisingly has a phone interview scheduled over this trifling matter. Still no word on how Crosby escaped discipline for his Macho Man like elbow the other day.

Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals was fired today. He is replaced by London Knights coach and former NHLer Dale Hunter. Among the numerous NHL bound youngsters on the London Knights recently is Boston Bruins prospect Jared Knight. Hunter was known as a merciless physical player whose game was highlighted by strong defensive play, physicality, an enormous work ethic and winning faceoffs. The difference between this man and the team he’s taking over is stark, the union of the two should pop out colums like welfare moms. I’m not a huge fan of coaching changes to affect change, especially not when the general manager has assembled and retained a group of skaters known to have issues and made any large scale revamping, but this should have a decent short term impact.

Trade speculations continues at pace, with the cycle shifting back to Iginla, and Semin now that Kyle Turris has signed. How teams hit by major injuries will affect the trade market is anyone’s guess. The Dallas Stars who already had key components on the shelf lost Lehtonen to what is reported in various places as a groin or knee injury. Taylor Hall has suffered the second injury of his NHL career going down to a shoulder injury, how much this changes the Oilers desire to move Sam Gagner is unknown, but it might change the type of player they go after.

So is diving a problem in the NHL?

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In other coaching change news, the Carolina Hurricanes have fired head coach Paul Maurice. No word yet on if Eric Staal will take over behind the bench since he’s been at his best off the ice anyway. TSN’s Bob McKenzie says Kirk Muller is the replacement.

To me, the Capitals move makes some sense as the team has been highly erratic this year, and regressed. On top of that there is well reported rift between Ovechkin and Boudreau and they are at least on paper equipped to be a top team in the NHL. The Carolina Hurricanes firing Maurice makes much less sense. The Florida Panthers are easily the conference surprise and look to be a legitimate playoff team. The Canes did little in the offseason to improve, as has been normal there for years, and you get passed when you stand still.

 


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