2. It means that plenty of Devils fans would love to see Hall Of Famer Scotty behind the New Jersey bench as an assistant coach, in charge of the defense.
3. That’s a wonderful idea — in theory. The reality is a different story, and it begins with GM Ray Shero who makes these personnel calls; not the faithful.
4. The Devils’ boss has his general staff in place. Plus, I don’t see any intention on Ray’s part to alter his current hires. Then again, you never know. After all, erstwhile Devils hero Scotty Gomez is now working for the Islanders. Maybe Scotty will put in a word for Scott. Maybe. But it’s Garth Snow‘s call.
5. The Gomez hire in Brooklyn surprised many. But, it was Doug Weight‘s call, and the Islanders’ head coach knows Gomez well, since they twice were teammates, in the World Cup 2004 and the Olympics in 2006.
6. Gomez will be an Isles asset working with the youth in their system. Studs such as Mathew Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang, and Anthony Beauvillier will benefit from Scotty’s offensive savvy. Possibly even Michael Dal Colle.
7. Dr. Gomez also will write a prescription to cure the Isles’ tepid power play. It was no accident that Alaska’s gift to the NHL had 207 power play assists. It also proves that Gomer was a key decision-maker whenever the puck was on his stick.
8. The Rangers‘ high-command has to be smiling for one good reason. This June marks the first time in five years that the Blueshirts will have a first-round pick — 21st overall — in the upcoming Entry Draft.
9. Nic Hague (huge defenseman from Mississauga), Cal Foote (another big Dman, from Kelowna), and Juuso Valimaki (smaller Dman from Tri-City), all are potential picks for GM Jeff Gorton.
10. If you’re wondering why the Rangers’ preference is on the blue line, look at it this way: Either Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal could be headed to the exit gate. For the Rangers’ defensive core, the focus will be on younger prospects. The hope, of course, is finding another blue-chipper who closely resembles Brady Skjei.
11. Since the Devils own the first overall pick, it’s a toss up over whether they’ll give the nod to Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings, Center) or Nico Hischier (Halifax, Center). Your guess is as good as anyone but Shero’s.
12. My Devils savant, Leo Scaglione Jr., is convinced that Pal Ray — as in Shero — will take Patrick because Nico, the slick Swiss center, is less experienced than Patrick, the Winnipeg product.
13. About the possibility of being plucked by the Devils, Patrick had this personal scouting report and further comment: “I’m a really competitive guy and hate losing. But, I know that if I’m not putting up the numbers and my team is winning, I’d still be happy.”
14. Nobody thinks more about improving the ice game than MSG Networks’ analyst Steve Valiquette. Here’s his latest thought: “If I was to have a dream,” Valiquette opines, “it would be that the shots on goal clock that’s located in the hockey rink would have a deeper representation of what’s happening on the ice.”
15. Asked to explain more specifically what he has in mind, Steve adds: “If a goalie has 40 shots on goal in a given game, right beside that total, it should specifically state how many of those 40 were high-percentage chances, how many of those 40 were mid-percentage chances, and how many of those 40 were low-percentage shots. Let’s face it, all shots are not created equal, and I believe in shot quality.”
16. As new general managers go, Buffalo’s Jason Botterill is winning more than the usual attention. According to John Vogl of The Buffalo News, the face of the Sabres, Jack Eichel, is enthused about his new boss.
17. “I’ve heard nothing but great things from other people, peers of his who know him,” Eichel told Vogl, “I’m excited to have him and excited for the future.”
18. Meanwhile, in Sabreland speculation is rife about candidates for the open head coaching job. Such names as, Bob Boughner, Rick Tocchet, and Phil Housley are being bruited about on Rue De Rumeur. Don’t be surprised if a few more appear in the next few days.
19. My sage buddy David Kolb returned from Pittsburgh with a couple of observations about rule changes. After watching P.K. Subban having a seemingly legit goal taken away from him, pal David agrees with me that the offside coach’s challenge is more sham than ham. We also agree that the puck-over-the-glass delay-of-game rule should go the way of the Brooklyn Americans.
20. Members of the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, and Sabres, who have been lobbying for the NHL to participate in the next Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next February, had better forget about it. As emphatically as possible, Commissioner Gary Bettman emphasized that the league does not want to disrupt a prime part of the season for three weeks as it has in the past.
21. In fairness, it’s worth remembering that Bettman was willing to approve Olympic participation, but wanted some give-back from the NHL Players’ Association.
22. It came down to a simple exchange; the league would give the green light to playing in the Olympics if, the union — meaning the players who want the Olympics so much — agreed to extend the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
23. Or as the Commissioner succinctly stated after putting the kibosh on the Olympics, “The plan got derailed because it wasn’t something we could get traction on with the Players’ Association.”
24. With all the hullabaloo over the Cup Final, the Rangers’ participation in the Winter Classic at Citi Field on New Years’ Day against the Sabres has been virtually overlooked. That event should close the twin celebrations — the Rangers’ 90th Anniversary and the League’s Centennial.
25. Don’t be surprised if the Colorado Avalanche once and for all deal Matt Duchene. The center’s potential has been wasted in Denver, but sure could flourish at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn.
26. One of the best-kept secrets in the NHL happens to involve Islanders’ goalie coach Mike Dunham. The former-NHL puck-stopper is one of the country’s top amateur golfers and has finally achieved his dream of reaching the sectional round of the US Open Qualifier.
27. As the Penguins skate hellbent for their second straight Stanley Cup it’s worth remembering that their success is due to a trio well known in these parts. One might say that our Locals have made the Pens what they are today.
28. Pitt’s head coach Mike Sullivan was John Tortorella‘s aide with the Rangers. Bill Guerin, who starred for the Devils and Islanders, is the Penguins’ assistant general manager, while Devils GM Ray Shero held the same job in Pittsburgh for seven years and helped build the current championship club.