As we near the end of the regular season, the aftermath of the past 50+ games is starting to trickle including a mutual separation of coaches, an extension for another and more in this week’s edition of the Monday links, new and notes.
- John Tortorella has been one of the most polarizing coaches in recent history. Whether it’s through his media altercations or the behind the scenes clips with the New York Rangers. He’s a coach that you either hate or love and for the past 6 years, the Blue Jackets seemed to have loved him. However, it seems he has benched his last star play in Columbus as it was announced that he would not be returning to the Blue Jackets next season after his contract is set to expire this summer.
- It’s a different story in Arizona where Rick Tocchet didn’t win a Jack Adams award nor did he ever some playoff magical moments. In fact, Tocchet has failed to show any sustained playoff success in the past 4 seasons and it only made sense that a change would happen.
- It hasn’t all been negative coaching changes, in Carolina the Hurricanes are very close to a 3-year extension with coach Rod Brind’Amour. The Hurricanes had been quietly rising up the league ranks under Brind’Amour and this season they surpassed all expectations winning the Central division title.
- Ryan Miller has been in the league for what seems to be centuries. He has had his brilliant moments and some forgettable performances but after 18 seasons, it’s safe to say he’s a well respected name in the league. On Saturday, his retirement became official as he played his last NHL game in Minnesota as the Anaheim Ducks lost 4-3 in overtime. After 18 seasons, Miller felt all the emotions after that game and it was something to watch Miller throw himself in the hugs of his parents.
- Robin Lehner spoke at length about how the NHL is putting “competitive edge” over the mental health and well being of its players. In a surprising move, the NHL has actually listened to his concerns. It was announced this weekend that the NHL would relax COVID-19 restrictions in the playoffs for fully vaccinated teams. Some will argue that it’s not fair to the other teams, especially those in Canada, as it clearly provides more energy to the players who are able to practice semi normal life. While I do agree it does provide an advantage as the playoffs can be mentally draining and some breathing room helps, I don’t think that it’s a priority. If there is any chance to support the players and their families, the NHL should take it. We can worry about true competitive edge when things are back to normal. I just hope more teams get a chance to be “fully vaccinated” in the upcoming weeks whether it be in Canada or the US.