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NHL Insider

Ducks' players react to coaching switch

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 10:17 PM / NHL Insider
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Most of the Anaheim Ducks had left the arena late Wednesday night, but there was a core group of veterans who remained gathered with general manager Bob Murray in the corridors of Honda Center.

The Ducks had just beaten the Montreal Canadiens to stop a seven-game losing streak and, ostensibly, allay fears of a trade or coaching change.

At least that was the mindset of a group that included Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne, who were told by Murray that he had just fired coach Randy Carlyle.

"It was shock," Getzlaf said. "We thought kind of the time had passed. We were going to stick with our group and go."

Coyotes booed but Doan cheered in return to Winnipeg

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 9:18 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG Winnipeg Jets fans long ago circled Thursday night's date with the Phoenix Coyotes on their calendars when the NHL released the 2011-12 schedule back in June.

The Coyotes played 1,338 regular-season NHL games in Winnipeg during 17 seasons before leaving for Phoenix in 1996. During the period from 1979-96, fans of the original Winnipeg Jets ranked among the loudest in the NHL, and their playoff whiteouts in the old Winnipeg Arena became part of Stanley Cup Playoff lore. The likes of Dale Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen and Teemu Selanne became stars, and jerseys sporting their names are still plentiful across the city.

Fletcher discusses Wild's early success on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 8:11 PM / NHL Insider

The Minnesota Wild, a team that has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, begins December at the top of the overall NHL standings after the best start in franchise history. GM Chuck Fletcher discussed his team's early success Thursday on "The NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman."

Fletcher, son of Hall of Fame executive Cliff Fletcher, fired coach Todd Richards after last season's disappointing finish and replaced him with Mike Yeo, who had coached the Wild's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, to the Calder Cup Finals last spring. He also made a pair of major trades with San Jose, sending defenseman Brent Burns to the Sharks for young forward Devin Setoguchi, a top prospect taken with the eighth pick in 2005, then swapping Martin Havlat for Dany Heatley in a 1-for-1 exchange of forwards.

"We wanted a trade that would make us better now and add prospects for the future," he said of the Burns deal. "I believe it's a trade that will help both teams."

The remodeled Wild have been at their best in close games -- they've won 10 of 16 contests decided by one goal. Fletcher said that's a reflection of the way the team is structured, from the coach on down.

After wild ride, Boudreau right to work with Ducks

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 8:07 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The loyalty that Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray showed Randy Carlyle was extraordinary in the modern NHL.

The Ducks stumbled out of the gate year after year following their 2007 Stanley Cup run and even missed the playoffs in 2010. Yet Murray not only stood behind Carlyle through every crisis, he gave him a three-year contract extension in August to keep him behind the bench through 2014.

But Murray finally had to make one of the most difficult decisions of his executive career after disconcerting losses to Chicago and Toronto last week that were perhaps the worst of Carlyle's seven-year tenure.

Boudreau relieved over hiring, ready for Ducks challenge

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 7:34 PM / NHL Insider

Bruce Boudreau admitted his head was still spinning as he appeared as a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman", but the former coach of the Washington Capitals who was fired this past Monday added his dizziness was a better feeling than if he hadn't accepted the coaching job with the Anaheim Ducks late Wednesday evening.

"Quite frankly I didn't leave myself enough chance when I did get fired to sit back and dwell on it because this happened so quick. I mean, if I had still been at home right now I'd probably be pretty miserable and sad," Boudreau said.

Capitals-Ducks meeting had major repercussions

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 7:13 PM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - Staff Writer

The cities of Anaheim and Washington, D.C. sit just under 2,300 miles away from each other, at opposite ends of North America and opposite ends of the National Hockey League.

Given the distance, it is unusual that two places should intersect so glaringly in any situation as they did in the past 30 days of Bruce Boudreau's wild ride, but in the sport of hockey that notion is particularly true. Having always played in opposite conferences, the two teams have faced off a grand total of 25 times in the 17 seasons both have been in the NHL, they have never played more than twice in a season, and on two occasions they went nearly two calendar years without seeing each other.

As a result, the teams have almost no collective history between them whatsoever, but sometimes the quirks of fate make an unexpected crossroad, and starting on the first day of November, and ending on the last, the Capitals and Ducks crossed paths in a way that sowed seeds of change that ultimately left Boudreau tasked with a massive reclamation project that he played a very real part in creating.

"I wouldn't have laid (odds on it)," Broudreau said when he was introduced as Anaheim's coach Thursday. "If I had a crystal ball this wouldn't have been something that I would have thought was going to happen."

Bettman addresses realignment talk on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 6:38 PM / NHL Insider

With the topic of realignment scheduled to come up again at next week's Board of Governors meetings, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the matter at the opening of his weekly radio program Thursday night.

"There's a lot of speculation about what's going to happen on realignment, and the answer is, as I sit here today, I'm not sure," Bettman said.

"From the Board perspective of making whatever decision they want to make, people are all over the place. If you ask each of the 30 clubs what their preference is, my guess is you'd get 30 different preferences. And as a result, what we really have to do is find the biggest layer of common ground. You're not going to get everybody's first choice, but as we go through this process, and there are many steps of the realignment process that have to be done in and outside the boardroom, the fact of the matter is the starting point is to figure out what the will of the board is."

Blackhawks shift Kane back to right wing

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 5:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

It wasn’t too long ago that Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters the experiment of moving Patrick Kane to center was “no longer an experiment.”

Things were going well then, with Kane flanked by the gritty Daniel Carcillo on the left and two-way star forward Marian Hossa on the right. It seemed like the playmaking Kane had found a new home on the ice for the long haul and it was right down the middle of it.

Well, the long haul lasted about a month. At Thursday’s practice in Chicago, Kane was moved back to his old spot of right wing on the top line -- which is centered by Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and includes speedster Viktor Stalberg on the left side. The “experiment” at second-line center now focuses on rookie Marcus Kruger, who’s worked his way up from being cut on the last day of training camp.

"Kane at center has been a good option for us," Quenneville told reporters after Thursday’s practice. "Kruger is playing well. It gives us a different look. We just wanted to try something else."

Doan ready for regular-season return to Winnipeg

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 4:51 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

"The connection between the two (organizations) is obviously there, and you can't deny that. You get excited about that. You get excited about people getting emotional about their team. The fans of Winnipeg love their Jets. They're going to be passionate about their team. They're not going to take kindly to anyone playing against them." -- Shane Doan

WINNIPEG -- Shane Doan and the city of Winnipeg both have done considerable growing since April 1996.

When Doan last played hockey in this city for the original Winnipeg Jets, he was a 19-year-old NHL rookie battling the attendant pressures of being a first-round selection with a club facing relocation. Doan played 74 games with the original Jets in that 1995-96 season, notching 7 goals, before the club moved to Phoenix.

Doan needed some time to evolve into the franchise player he is now. He spent half a season in the American Hockey League at one point and did not break out until his fifth pro season, when he scored 26 goals for the 1999-2000 Coyotes. Doan's 1,142 NHL games lead the franchise, and he trails only Nicklas Lidstrom and Martin Brodeur among active players for the most games played with one team. Along the way, Doan also built a family and became a key public face for the Coyotes in the competitive Phoenix sports market.

Contract extension comes as relief to Krejci

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 3:11 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- It turns out it wasn't the recent trade rumors that motivated Boston Bruins center David Krejci to break a nine-game goal drought and lead his team past the Toronto Maple Leafs into first place in the Northeast Division Wednesday night.

It was actually his celebratory mood that inspired Krejci's 1-goal, 2-assist performance in the Bruins' 12th win in their last 13 games.

The 25-year-old native of the Czech Republic had signed a three-year contract extension with the team in general manager Peter Chiarelli's hotel room prior to the game, it was revealed during a Thursday press conference at the TD Garden. Any distractions his uncertain status was causing Krejci during his recent scoring slump were wiped away with one stroke of the pen.

"Well, I know that my agent and Peter talked in the summer. I didn't know what was going on," said Krejci, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent next summer but will now make $5.25 million annually beginning next season. "Obviously, it was on my mind a little bit, especially when things weren't going my way at the beginning of the season. And it got me thinking, you know. But then we got a deal done and I'm happy to be here for more years and now I can just focus on hockey."
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Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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