The Islanders have finally made an announcement. They have hired a new assistant coach for the Bridgeport Islanders. As we are a week into free agency, the Islanders continue to be silent, but that silence may be speaking volumes. These stories and more in today’s daily links!
It’s been radio silence for the Islanders since NHL free agency began last week, but the team finally made an announcement Tuesday. About a coach. For their AHL team. The Islanders announced they’ve hired an assistant coach for their Bridgeport Islanders farm team, Rick Kowalsky. Kowalsky, 49, joins the Bridgeport staff after serving as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils the last three seasons. (Newsday)
We’re nearly a week into free agency and the only team that hasn’t registered anything with the league is — you guessed it — the Islanders. As far as reasons why, not much has changed from the last “update” we gave at the end of last week. So the cone of silence continues while the rest of the league goes about its business. Which means some Islander options are coming into clearer focus, at least in a couple of areas. (The Athletic)
The Pittsburgh Penguins and their corporate partner Dicks Sportings Goods are also walking the walk with a hockey program for black youth players in the Pittsburgh area as part of the Willie O’Ree Academy presented by Dicks. Tuesday night, the Penguins gave the players at the UPMC Lemieux Complex a special treat. Unannounced beforehand, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman P.O. Joseph was their guest instructor. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Chuck Fletcher only has a few things left on his to-do list this summer, but those things are rather important. The Philadelphia Flyers have two restricted free agents, Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim, who need new contracts. One of them may be going to arbitration. (Philly Hockey Now)
It’s now August and we’re creeping closer to the start of another Florida Panthers season. So, how about we open the Mailbag? Not only did we have the Yandle move, the Anton Stralman trade, the acquisition of Sam Reinhart but a lot of other moves as well. (Florida Hockey Now)
The Washington Capitals haven’t been too busy in NHL free agency but did have a few items to handle on their to-do list. Meanwhile, former members of the club are also exploring new opportunities. Here’s an update on the latest happenings regarding current and former Caps in free agency, from Ilya Samsonov to Liam O’Brien to Braden Holtby. (Washington Hockey Now)
It’s still too early in the process to say for sure what will come from allegations that San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane was betting on games involving his own team. It all may all fade away quietly, like the 2006 allegations against Rick Tocchet. On the other hand, it could explode in a full-blown scandal like the one that rocked the league in 1948. (Detroit Hockey Now)
Former Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov came out recently and revealed some pretty intense MJ-like details about his old teammate, Avs superstar Nathan MacKinnon. “Nate is like MJ. I don’t want to make a direct comparison, but his way of thinking is very similar to MJ,” Zadorov said in a recent interview with a Russian publication. (Colorado Hockey Now)
Another day, more sordid Evander Kane news. Kevin Kurz of The Athletic has reported that “several” of Kane’s teammates don’t want the embattled winger to come back to the San Jose Sharks next season. These teammates, according to The Athletic, were upset with Kane’s “disrespect for team rules,” like being late for practices and games. This lines up with a June report from the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. (San Jose Hockey Now)
Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Travis Green is the 7th longest tenured bench boss in the National Hockey League, just behind Boston’s Bruce Cassidy who was hired two months before him back in 2017. Green enters his 5th season running the show here, coming off possibly one of the most bizarre years any NHL coach has ever experienced. We’ll talk about Covid and the “summer that wasn’t” in part-2 of this. Right now, Green reacts to the recent changes and additions made to the roster by GM Jim Benning. (Vancouver Hockey Now)
After the first day of 2021 NHL Free Agency, PHT reviewed the Seattle Kraken as they actually exist. But what about the Seattle Kraken that could have been? As mentioned in that post, it’s not that the Kraken are a disaster. Instead, they feel vaguely uninspired. From the expansion draft to the opportunity to “weaponize salary cap space,” it felt like the Kraken squandered a lot of opportunities. (NBC Sports)
Joe Thornton is practicing with HC Davos of the National League, the top professional league in Switzerland, while the unrestricted free agent forward decides on his NHL future. The 42-year-old scored 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 44 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season after signing a one-year, $700,000 contract Oct. 16. He missed 10 games with a fractured rib from Jan. 22-Feb. 13. Thornton, who has played 23 NHL seasons, scored one goal in a seven-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup First Round. (NHL)
Brad Marchand was scheduled to speak with prospects at Boston Bruins development camp Monday. But instead of merely addressing the crowd, he was with draft picks and invitees riding an AssaultBike Elite, grimacing with the effort of it all. “It was tremendous having Brad Marchand here yesterday,” forward Curtis Hall said. “Even when we first got to the rink, we were here around 7 a.m. to do some testing, we had a bike test. We all see Marchand walk in the room and hop on the bike and do the test with us, and that was just a testament to how hard he works.” (NHL)
Yanni Gourde is looking forward to getting started with the Seattle Kraken and potentially having a big role with the expansion team after he recovers from shoulder surgery. After winning the Stanley Cup each of the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the forward was selected by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. “It’s a fresh start for everyone,” Gourde said Tuesday. “It’s going to be an exciting time and hopefully I can contribute with the team and help this team win and, at the end of the day, that’s what you want to do. (NHL).