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NHL Insider

A look at coaching seniority among NHL teams

Monday, 11.28.2011 / 12:14 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com Staff

Job security is tenuous as an NHL coach, as the list below proves. While rarities like Lindy Ruff of the Buffalo Sabres and Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators have held onto their positions over the long haul, two-thirds of the League's teams have replaced their coaches as recently as 2009 and only five teams have employed their coaches for longer than five years now.

Dale Hunter of the Washington Capitals and Kirk Muller of the Carolina Hurricanes are the newest additions to the coaching fraternity, named Monday to replace Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice, their respective predecessors.
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Boudreau turned Caps around, couldn't capture Cup

Monday, 11.28.2011 / 11:42 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Bruce Boudreau first arrived in Washington, he was best known for his effusive personality and a small role in the hockey classic "Slap Shot."

Just over four years later, he leaves Washington as one of the most successful coaches in League history, but one who seemingly had lost the ability to motivate his players.

Boudreau was fired by the Capitals on Monday during a dismal 3-7-1 stretch, capped by a 5-1 loss Saturday in Buffalo to a Sabres team missing nine regulars and dressing six players who started the season in the American Hockey League.
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Boudreau's way no longer working, Caps seek change

Monday, 11.28.2011 / 11:29 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Bruce Boudreau was the right guy for the job four years ago.

Glen Hanlon wasn't getting through to the young Capitals, but in walked the affable Boudreau, with his everyday-man personality, open mind, and an offensive system catered to the likes of all-world talents such as Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin.

Boudreau's way worked as the Capitals surged under his watch, winning four Southeast Division titles, including the Presidents' Trophy in 2010.

But over the last 12 months Boudreau's message and his system had changed. No longer was this going to be the fun-loving, free-wheeling Capitals. No longer were they going to try to put five goals on the board because it would be enough to make up for the three or four they allowed. No longer were they going to rely on the stars, namely Ovechkin, to bail them out.

Boudreau was making changes in an attempt to save his team's reputation and, in the long run, his job.

One has taken a hit, the other is officially gone, with Boudreau being fired by Washington GM George McPhee on Monday and replaced by ex-Capitals captain Dale Hunter.
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Hunter's OHL success marked by player development

Monday, 11.28.2011 / 10:04 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Following a productive NHL career and 11 seasons building an impressive resume as coach of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, Dale Hunter is ready to begin a new chapter in his career as coach of the Washington Capitals.

Hunter was hired Monday by the Capitals to replace Bruce Boudreau. He'll coach his first NHL game Tuesday, when the Caps open a three-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues.

Hunter, who led the Knights to a Memorial Cup in 2005 and owns the best winning percentage in OHL history, has coached the Knights since November 2001. His teams have won at least 49 games in six of his nine full seasons behind the bench.
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Facing Jackets is 'just another game' for Hitchcock

Sunday, 11.27.2011 / 5:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- When Ken Hitchcock goes back to Columbus on Sunday, forgive everyone if the 59-year-old doesn't get all emotional and teary-eyed about it.

Maybe another time and another place, especially if it was Hitchcock's first job, there would be mixed emotions. But the veteran coach has been there, done that. This will be Hitchcock's third time going back to a place he once called his bench.

Hitchcock, who has coached in Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus and now St. Louis, was with the Jackets for four seasons before being fired in 2010, the third time a franchise has relieved him of his duties.

"I've been out two years (in Columbus) doing work for them," Hitchcock said of the Columbus organization. "I've developed a friendship with obviously the American (Hockey) League guys and some of the business people there just for fun, getting to know other people in the business.
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Honoring Founder's Day with 94 signature moments

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The seeds of what has grown into the best hockey league in the world were sewn 94 years ago today.

After a month of meetings, a group of men from Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City signed an agreement that resulted in the formation of the National Hockey League. Frank Calder was chosen as the fledgling league's first president; his salary was $800.

Today, the NHL is 94 years old and boasts 30 teams in Canada and the United States -- as well as a worldwide talent base and a global audience.

With a tip of the helmet to Ryan Smyth (the only player to wear No. 94 for the majority of a lengthy career), here is a look at 94 NHL highlights to commemorate the 94th anniversary of Founders Day.
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Wings' shootout win ends great afternoon at Garden

Friday, 11.25.2011 / 5:51 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON -- The bright glare of the national spotlight certainly agreed with the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings on Friday afternoon.

Playing in a traditional Black Friday matinee at TD Garden, which was aired in the United States by NBC, the two Original Six rivals put on a show that surely pleased even the most casual fan of the game.

When 65 minutes of gripping hockey and an equally enthralling shootout were completed, Detroit skated away with a 3-2 statement victory against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who saw their 10-game winning streak snapped.

Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has played in more than 1,500 regular-season games in his career. Yet, he admitted that Friday's game was a bit special -- for what it meant and what it became as the two teams contested every inch of ice to prove they were worthy of their adversary on the ice.
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Michalek brothers get post-Thanksgiving matchup

Friday, 11.25.2011 / 2:22 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- There’s a brother vs. brother matchup in the NHL during the Thanksgiving weekend, too -- the latest meeting of the Michalek brothers.
 
One that, to satisfy their parents back in the Czech Republic, must go to overtime so that each team -- and each brother -- gains at least a point in the standings.
 
It’s quite likely that Ottawa Senators forward Milan Michalek will be on the ice at the same time as his brother, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek, on Friday night at Consol Energy Center.
 
Zbynek Michalek and partner Paul Martin often oppose a team’s top line, and right wing Milan Michalek teams with left wing Colin Greening and center Jason Spezza on the Senators’ productive No. 1 line.
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Plenty of surprising players, teams in first quarter

Thursday, 11.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

Given the competition Florida faces in its division and the franchise's track record in the past decade, there is no team or player that is a more unlikely candidate to be where it currently is. The Panthers, however, aren't alone on the list of surprises through the first quarter of the season, with many teams and players far exceeding -- or falling short -- of preseason expectations.

Here are a few other surprising developments from the season's first quarter.
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Plenty of surprises surround Panthers' fast start

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 10:33 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Not even Dale Tallon could see this coming.

No question, the Florida Panthers general manager was confident he had taken a positive step in his rebuilding project this summer by adding almost a dozen new veterans to his roster.

But having his team near the top of the standings at the quarter mark of the regular season? That’s been a pleasant surprise.

There was no doubt Florida had improved its talent level after finishing the 2010-11 season last in the Eastern Conference. But even under the most optimistic projection, it figured to take a while before the team came together with all the new players -- the roster features 13 newcomers, including veterans Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson, who arrived this October in a trade with Vancouver for David Booth, and 2010 first-round pick Erik Gudbranson.
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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals