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NHL Insider

Roy facing several challenges with Avalanche

Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 6:22 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

The Colorado Avalanche finished 15th in the Western Conference and 29th in the League standings in 2012-13, and have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs four of the past five seasons.

That led to a shake-up in the front office and coaching staff, with a pair of Hall of Famers from the franchise's glory days brought in with the hope of rebuilding the on-ice product.

Joe Sakic was hired May 10 as executive vice president of hockey operations, giving him full control of all hockey-related decisions. His first hire was former teammate Patrick Roy, who on Thursday agreed in principle to join the team as coach and vice president of hockey operations.

Sakic and Roy will be in charge of all player personnel decisions, and Roy will be the man in charge at ice level. The former goaltender has spent the past eight years coaching the junior hockey team he co-owns, the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and this will be his first job with an NHL team since he retired as a player in 2003.

Five keys for Vancouver's new coach

Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 12:13 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- After firing coach Alain Vigneault and two of his assistants on Wednesday, Vancouver Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis was in no mood to look ahead at possible replacements.

"Today has been a bad enough day; can you give me a couple just to clear my head?" Gillis said when asked what style of coach he preferred. "I need a couple of days here before we start going down that path to collect my thoughts."

Noting that he's not one to rush into emotional decisions when asked about the two weeks that passed between missing the playoffs and firing Vigneault, Gillis said there are "a number of good candidates," without identifying any.

"The NHL is changing and evolving rapidly and we're going to listen and talk to the people we feel are legitimate candidates and we'll make our decision based on that process," said Gillis, who will be hiring his first coach after retaining Vigneault when he took over as the Canucks' general manager in 2008.

Highs and lows of Alain Vigneault's time in Vancouver

Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 10:44 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Alain Vigneault leaves the Vancouver Canucks as the franchise leader in victories and winning percentage. His 313-170-57 coaching record includes two Presidents' Trophies, six Northwest Division titles and one trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

So after being fired on Wednesday, it's no surprise that a look back at his seven years behind the Canucks' bench were filled with more highs than lows:

June 2006: The Canucks hire Vigneault after he spends a season coaching their American Hockey League affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vigneault and fellow newcomer Roberto Luongo lead a team that missed the playoffs the year before to 49 victories and a Northwest Division title in 2006-07. Vancouver loses to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Vigneault wins the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach and Luongo finishes second in voting for the Vezina Trophy.

June 2008: After the Canucks' season ends with a thud -- they lost seven of their final eight games and missed the playoffs for the only time under Vigneault -- general manager Dave Nonis is fired. New GM Mike Gillis is widely expected to fire Vigneault as well; instead, after a review that included weeks of daily meetings, Gillis opts not to make a change.

Boudreau sees big things ahead for Ducks

Friday, 05.17.2013 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

The day Bruce Boudreau was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, the Anaheim Ducks coach admitted the timing of the NHL's announcement wasn't great.

Boudreau was still stinging from Monday's 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

"It's hard coming on the heels of probably your most depressing moment in a year, when you're still decompressing from losing in the playoffs," Boudreau said during a conference call Friday. "But it certainly is a great honor."

Capitals still believe they have the pieces to win

Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Ben Raby - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee arrived at the team's practice facility Wednesday morning, rode the elevator with defenseman Mike Green and prepared to address his players one final time this season.

The Capitals met for exit interviews Wednesday less than 48 hours after a 5-0 loss in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers at Verizon Center.

"Coming up in the elevator, [Green] mentioned that he didn't want to have to sit down and have this talk," McPhee said of the exit interview. "But he also said ‘When we win [the Stanley Cup], it's going to be that much better. It's going to be glorious.' … I hope he's right."

The question remains whether that day will ever come for the only NHL team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past six years and not advance past the second round during that time.

Islanders reflect on 2012-13 accomplishments

Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 7:50 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

The New York Islanders cleaned out their lockers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday, obviously still disappointed about dropping their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

However, the 2012-13 season has to be dubbed a successful one for the Islanders. After all, they did participate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years. The Penguins, who are the No. 1 seed in the East, needed overtime to beat the Islanders twice.

So now that the Islanders are indeed back in business, the next logical step is to build off what they were able to accomplish on the ice this season. With Hart Trophy finalist John Tavares at the forefront, and more young players (Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart, for instance) on the way, the Islanders look like they have the talent to contend for years to come.

"Our expectations are to win every year," coach Jack Capuano told reporters Tuesday. "That doesn't change. You have to understand the expectations of how tough it's going to be. There's other teams in the Eastern Conference that didn't make the playoffs. Sometimes there's coaching changes, sometimes there's personnel changes. They're going to make their clubs better. We have to understand that when we get out of the gate in Game 1 [next season] that the feeling that they had down the stretch and the belief in the system that they had has to start immediately."

Bergevin: Canadiens will go forward with Price

Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:42 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD,Quebec – When Carey Price was asked Saturday if he felt like he was 25 years old, the Montreal Canadiens' goaltender answered that he felt much older than that.

Carey Price
Goalie - MTL
RECORD: 1-2-0
GAA: 3.26 | SVP: 0.894

His general manager clearly disagrees.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin met with the media Monday to discuss his team's 2012-13 season and the overwhelming topic of conversation was not only the play of his starting goaltender, but his comments Saturday that gave the impression the pressure of the Montreal fishbowl was beginning to wear on him.

When Price admitted that he missed being anonymous and that he no longer even went to the grocery store, or anywhere for that matter, he compared his existence in Montreal to that of a "hobbit in a hole."

Those comments were interpreted by some in Montreal as a sign that Price is wilting under the pressure, even though that's not at all what he said. In fact, he said on numerous occasions that he's accepted that pressure and scrutiny as a reality of his chosen profession.

Price admits 'it's definitely tough' in Montreal

Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 8:06 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Another Montreal Canadiens offseason has begun with question marks surrounding goaltender Carey Price, something that seemingly has become a harbinger of spring in the city he calls home for eight months of the year.

Carey Price
Goalie - MTL
RECORD: 1-2-0
GAA: 3.26 | SVP: 0.894

Price was resoundingly outplayed by Ottawa Senators counterpart Craig Anderson in a five-game loss in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Anderson had a save percentage of .950 in five games; Price's was .894 in four games before a second-degree sprain of the MCL in his left knee forced him to miss Game 5 of the series.

Canadiens fans questioning their goaltender is far from a novelty, with Hall of Fame goalies Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy having generated similar doubts from the public.

But the scrutiny Price is under seems like it's at another level, perhaps because the advent of social media makes it so much easier for fans to voice their opinions. Ever since Canadiens management chose to keep Price and trade Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues just after he had led them to the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals, everything Price has done has been a source of potential criticism.

Saturday, as the Canadiens held their exit interviews and physicals, Price admitted it's an aspect of his job he's still growing accustomed to.

Harding wants to play big role in Wild's future

Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 5:41 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- As the parade of players with frowns and scowls slowed to a trickle and the Minnesota Wild locker room started to empty, one man remained surrounded at his locker stall with a smirk -- almost a smile -- on his face.

No, goaltender Josh Harding was not happy the season is over. Nobody in the room was.

But no player in the room had to endure what the 28-year old veteran had to endure off the ice. And though there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Wild as they head to a 10th straight offseason without advancing past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, perhaps no one in the room had the positive outlook Harding had.

"It's one of the reasons I re-signed back here [last summer]," Harding said. "I know this hockey team is headed in the right direction."

The same could be said about Harding, diagnosed last fall with multiple sclerosis, a revelation that not only cast doubt on his hockey career but changed his life.

Canucks GM wants bigger, younger team

Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 10:55 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis promised change at his season-ending press conference Thursday, two days after being eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season.

Unlike this year's playoffs, he wasn't willing to say the changes would be quick or sweeping.

Amid widespread speculation coach Alain Vigneault would be fired after being swept by the San Jose Sharks, Gillis instead preached patience and promised a proper evaluation of "every element of the organization," identifying several areas that need improvement but stopping short of saying he will break apart a team two years removed from Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

"There will come a day where the core group will be dismantled but it's not today in my mind," Gillis said of a group led by identical twins Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, and gritty center Ryan Kesler. "We need to supplement them. We need to help them. We need to have a different look. We need to get younger."

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