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Tag:Kirk Muller
Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:50 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:42 pm
 

Tim Gleason signs 4-year deal with Hurricanes

GleasonBy: Adam Gretz

The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the top teams circulating in the rumor mill right now, and while one of their upcoming free agents (forward Tuomo Ruutu) could soon be on the move, another one has been taken off the market.

The team announced on Monday afternoon that defenseman Tim Gleason has signed a four-year contract extension, a deal that will pay him a total of $16 million, which comes out to a salary cap hit of $4 million per season.

Had the two sides not agreed to a new deal he would have either been an unrestricted free agent on July 1, or been dealt before the Feb. 27 trade deadline as his name was one of the most popular ones in trade talks.

"It’s kind of a nightmare, but it comes with the territory," Gleason said. "I was going somewhere every day for the last month."

Said general manager Jim Rutherford, “We thank Tim for choosing to stay with the Hurricanes long term. He is one of our core players, someone who brings character and leadership to our locker room, along with being a key piece on the ice. This is a very important signing for our team going forward.”

Head coach Kirk Muller added to that sentiment.

"He’s played hard, and he’s done a great job of shutting the top lines recently," Muller said. "The organization is real excited that he wanted to make a commitment to stay here and be a part of what we’re doing."

The 29-year-old defenseman has one goal and 13 assists this season in 51 games, and has recorded 114 points in 599 NHL games. That said, offense has little to do with what he brings to the table for the Hurricanes as he is their go-to player for the top defensive assignments, and is one of the more underrated defensive-defenseman in the league.

Gleason has been with the Hurricanes since the start of the 2006-07 season when he was acquired from Los Angeles in the deal that sent Jack Johnson to the Kings.

Photo: Getty Images

Also at Eye On Hockey

Tuomo Ruutu could soon be on the move
More Carolina Hurricanes news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:43 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 10:46 pm
 

Video: Skinner takes big hit, returns to game

By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- On Tuesday night Carolina's Jeff Skinner was playing in just his second game back in the lineup after missing the previous 16 with a concussion.

That's why it had to be tough for the Hurricanes to watch as their 19-year-old star forward was on the receiving end of a punishing open-ice hit from Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik midway through the third period of their 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins.

This is the hit that resulted in a two-minute minor penalty to Orpik for interference. 



Skinner stayed on the ice for a few seconds and was eventually able to skate off on his own power, and even showed some frustration as he went to the locker room, breaking his stick as he walked down the tunnel.

He remained out of the game for a few minutes before ultimately returning, and was even sent out for a shootout attempt by coach Kirk Muller.

"I saw him coming," said Skinner after the game. "I thought I could chip it and get by him, and when I realized I couldn't I tried to get my hands up to protect myself as quick as possible. I felt fine the rest of the game. Doctor talked to me, asked me some questions, we went through some tests and took our time and went back out there."

When asked if he felt if there was any contact with his head, Skinner said "I don't know. I looked at the replay when I was in the room and it didn't look like it. I think I got my hands up and if there was any contact I think my hands hit my head. I just kind of stayed down there and tried to collect my thoughts and not rush getting back up. It was a pretty good hit."

Of course, the penalty call on the ice resulted in quite a few surprising developments. When it happened in real-time, and without the benefit of a replay, it was almost as if there was an expectation that it was going to be a major penalty just because it was such a big, open-ice hit, combined with the fact there was a player down on the ice. But as the replay showed, it was not only a good body-to-body check, it also shouldn't have even been a penalty for interference as Skinner clearly touched the puck prior to being hit.

Orpik said that the referee apologized to him following the overtime period and before the shootout for making an incorrect call.

The reaction in the Hurricanes locker room after the game was one of relief (after some initial concern) after seeing one of their top-offensive weapons go down so hard in front of their bench, so soon after he was able to return to the lineup.

"Anytime something like that happens you hold your breath," said Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. "Orpik's a guy that's physical, and he's stepping up, and that's his game. There has to be an awareness of that, and it's one of those situations where on our side we don't like it, for their side they're calling it a clean hit. We're just glad that he came back and recouped in the room."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Hurricanes say Skinner, Pitkanan have concussions

By Brian Stubits

The hits keep on coming (no pun intended).

On Wednesday the Carolina Hurricanes announced that not one but two of their best players are the latest to catch the concussion bug that's spreading through the NHL. Reigning Calder Trophy winner -- and leading scorer with 12 goals and 24 points -- Jeff Skinner and top defenseman Joni Pitkanen are both out indefinitely because of the injury.

That means in the last 48 hours Skinner, Pitkanen, the leading goal scorer Milan Michalek and NHL's leading points man Claude Giroux have all had concussions announced. Throw in Sidney Crosby's possible concussion that was announced on Monday, and you have an all-star caliber list of concussed players.

The Flyers showed on Tuesday that they might be able to withstand the loss of Giroux by destroying the Capitals in Washington 5-1. But the Hurricanes are already in a world of hurt, sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Being down arguably their most talented offensive player as well as their top offensive defenseman will make new coach Kirk Muller's challenge of getting the 'Canes back in the playoff race even more monumental.

But the bigger question at play here has to do with why the players -- some of the league's best, mind you -- dropping like snow in Alaska. Concussions seem to be so much more common these days than they ever were. Why is that if the game hasn't changed much, if at all?

Well primarily the issue at hand is that now concussions are actually being recognized and diagnosed in a way they never were before. How many concussions went unknown through the history of the league is impossible to know, but the number is likely astronomical. However with today's education and attention to brain injuries, they are being treated with more caution.

But it can't be ignored too that this is one of the side effects of a bigger, faster and stronger athlete. Some of the guys on the ice any more are tanks on skates, massive bodies travelling at high rates of speed. Things are bound to get a bit uglier on the injury side.

At this point it's hard to find a player in the league who hasn't been concussed.

Photo: Getty Images

More NHL Concussion News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Oilers D Andy Sutton suspended indefinitely

By: Adam Gretz

Andy Sutton was suspended for the second time already this season for a dangerous hit, this time being suspended indefinitely until Brendan Shanahan can decide how long it will last.

During his brief time in charge of NHL discipline, Shanahan has put a rather large emphasis on whether or not a player is a repeat offender, or has a history of illegal hits. That's probably not good news for the Edmonton Oilers defenseman after his elbow to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night. When his punishment is officially announced, it won't be kind.

The play occurred midway through the third period of Carolina's 5-3 win, which was also the first victory for Kirk Muller as an NHL head coach.

Here's a look at the play:



Sutton received a two-minute minor for boarding. He was all over the ice on Wednesday making his presence felt physically, and tallied nine penalty minutes over the course of the game, including another boarding penalty in the second period, as well as a five-minute major for fighthing after he delivered a huge (and what appeared to legal) open ice hit on Carolina's Jeff Skinner.

Earlier this season Sutton was suspended five games for an illegal hit to the head of Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, and during that suspension video Shanahan cited Sutton's past history of fines and suspensions for various illegal plays. And now he has another one just a little over a month later.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:09 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 12:41 am
 

Mike Murphy allows no goals, still takes loss

murphy1By: Adam Gretz

Mike Murphy, 22-year-old goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, made his NHL debut on Tuesday night in relief of starter Cam Ward after he allowed six goals on 32 shots against Calgary in a game the Flames ultimately won, 7-6.

Murphy entered the game with a little under nine minutes remaining in the third period and stopped the only two shots he faced ... and he still ended up taking the loss on the stat sheet, despite not giving up a single goal.

With the Hurricanes trailing, 6-4, head coach Kirk Muller pulled Murphy with less than two minutes to play in regulation to get an extra attacker on the ice. That was quickly followed by Calgary's Jarome Iginla scoring an empty-net goal to put the Flames up 7-4. Game over, right? Almost.

Over the final minute of the period, the Hurricanes quickly responded with a pair of goals from Chad LaRose and Eric Staal to cut the deficit to 7-6. Staal's goal came with just five seconds remaining on the clock. Because of that late, and basically meaningless goal, the seventh Flames tally, the one scored on the empty net, obviously became the game-winner. And even though it was scored without a goalie in the crease, since Murphy was the goalie that was pulled, allowing it to be scored, he is the one that gets credit for the loss. Without allowing a goal.

Welcome to the NHL!

It's not the first time it's happened in the NHL, as former Los Angeles Kings goalie Mario Gosselin (via the HfBoards) had something similar happen back in 1989 when he stopped all six shots he faced in relief of Kelly Hrudey in a 7-6 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 8:42 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Quick on top of his game again

By Brian Stubits

Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

It's tough to find a position in sports that lends itself to streakiness more than goaltender in hockey. For some reason, most of them fail to maintain an even balance throughout the course of a season -- Tim Thomas' consistently spectacular play notwithstanding. There season charts resemble roller coasters tumultuous enough to turn even the heartiest rider's stomach.

L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick isn't immune to the turbulence. In the opening month of the season, Quick was absolutely phenomenal. He turned in three consecutive shutouts in mid-to-late October. For his work, he was given a day off on Oct. 25 and that good mojo seemed to vanish.

In his next seven starts and nine of 11, he surrendered at least three goals. Instead of being a large part of why they were winning early in the season, he became a large part of why they were losing. It was a quick reversal of fortunes, if you'll pardon the pun.

But like any streaker -- we're still talking goalies here -- he has reversed course again. Entering Saturday's matinee against the Montreal Canadiens, Quick comes in on a tear. Thanks to a shutout of the Sharks and a nearly flawless 41-save showing against the Panthers, Quick has stopped 74 of the last 75 shots he has seen. Go back a little further and he has actually saved 84 of the last 85 shots.

Here's what Pierre McGuire told an Ottawa radio station about how good Quick was in Thursday's win. "If the kings don't have Quick Florida wins that game. Kevin Dineen's team dominated with speed game".

Yes, he's back on his game. It really is no coincidence, then, that the Kings enter their game against the Habs having earned points in seven of their last 10 games.

They really need him to be the good Quick this season. The Kings have high hopes for this season. Many, myself included, saw them as legitimate threats in the Western Conference race this season. Despite the addition of Mike Richards to some other talented offensive players like Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, the Kings aren't going to do a whole lot of scoring. As of now, they are 24th in the league in goals per game with 2.32.

So much more than other goalies, when Quick is playing poorly it shows.

Assuming he'll get the start on Saturday, he'll have a chance to extend his already league-high shutout mark of four. The Canadiens haven't been very good this season, that's obvious. But moreover, they have really struggled on the road. You have to go back four weeks to Nov. 4 to find the last time the Habs won a road game in regulation.

In Kings terminology, that was near the beginning of the bad Quick days.

As a bonus for L.A., if the Kings are victorious, coach Terry Murray will have his 500th career victory.

The Bryz is back in town

When the Flyers visit Phoenix on Saturday Ilya Bryzgalov's arrival will be highly anticipated by the local crowd for the second time this season. Earlier this year he made his first trip to Winnipeg, a city he wasn't too fond of possibly moving to once upon a time. He didn't play in that game.

Now Bryzgalov returns to Phoenix, the city where he did play and left this past offseason. It was with the Coyotes that Bryz built up his reputation as one of the better goaltenders in the league before taking a bigger pay day with the Flyers.

This will be the second time Bryzgalov has faced his former team this season. Before the first meeting in Philadelphia, some of his former teammates had some less-than-kind things to say about Bryz. Derek Morris even admitted to being glad that Bryzgalov was gone.

Everybody knows the Coyotes don't draw a lot of butts to the seats. But this game should have a few more tickets purchases not only because of the abundance of Flyers fans who will be there -- rest assured, they will be -- but likely from a few of the Coyotes fans who just want to boo. Or thank Bryzgalov for his time there. Take your pick.

Welcome back, Bruce

We hardly forget ye.

Anaheim Ducks' coach Bruce Boudreau (looks weird) will make his debut with his new team on Friday with the Philadelphia Flyers in Southern California. One thing we know we'll see, at least to start the game, will be the reunion of Bobby Ryan with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line.

In his final days as coach, Randy Carlyle had been trying to mix and match, trying to find the best results and cure the woes the lack of depth was causing his team. Boudreau, however, restored the top line to its old self and will try to make due.

Remember, when he arrived in Washington he didn't inherit a Caps team with a lot of depth. It was a very similar situation, actually, with some highly skilled forwards. They soared under his leadership. Will the same happen in Anaheim? We'll get the first glimpse on Friday when the Ducks host the Flyers.

Too bad HBO hasn't begun the 24/7 filming yet and depriving us a chance of more Boudreau, if only in a very small sampling.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

In this case, the ranch would be Washington, Boudreau's old stomping ground.

The Capitals enter the third game of the Dale Hunter era still searching for their first win. If the third time's the charm, it will have to come at the expense of the Ottawa Senators, who visit the Caps on Saturday.

They are badly in need of a win, for their confidence if nothing else. The Caps have lost four games in a row and seven of their last nine. They have fallen -- get this -- five points behind the Florida Panthers in the Southeast Division, and that's even with the Panthers leveling off in recent weeks.

There has been a whole lot of difference so far for Washington, but they do appear to be focusing more on defense again and the effort has appeared to be better. But right now they just need a win.

Jason Chimera put it better than I can. "We're going to find ourselves packing an early golf bag."

Still searching Part II

Carolina Hurricanes new coach Kirk Muller is in the same boat as Hunter, 0-2 in his NHL career behind the benches. His task, on paper at least, looks a bit tougher than Hunter's.

That's because the 'Canes will host the high-flying Penguins on Saturday night. Not exactly the team you want to see when trying to bust out of a slump.

It has to start with getting the defense squared away. In the Hurricanes' current five-game losing streak, they have given up at least three goals in each game. Tomas Kaberle isn't working out, that's no secret. But that's only part of the defensive woes. The unit continues to leave Cam Ward high and dry in net behind them.

Nobody told Muller this was going to be easy.

More to prove

The St. Louis Blues have been ridiculously good since Ken Hitchcock came aboard. They are 8-1-2 under his leadership.

But Hitchcock is still delaying his excitement for the team's play until their next stretch of games. Starting with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, they will begin playing teams for a second time. That's when you can start to draw some conclusions.

"We're going to get a push," Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You can surprise a team, but we're now playing a second wave. When we start playing the Chicago's and Detroit's again, now we'll have a look. They'll be ready for us. They won't be surprised by our game

What's shocking about it all is that by the end of the weekend, the Blues -- 14th in the West when Hitchcock was hired -- could be leading the Central Division. With their crisp and disciplined play, that's certainly a possibility.

We're going streaking!

New York Rangers: It took them a few games to get going at the beginning of the season, but when they got going, boy did they. John Tortorella heads back to Tampa Bay with the Rangers having won four in a row.

Blues: In addition to Saturday's game against Chicago, they play the Avalanche on Friday night. That's where they take their four-game win streak.

Detroit Red Wings: All this team does is streak. No seriously, look at their schedule. Like the Blues, they have two games over the weekend, Friday in Buffalo then Sunday at Colorado.

Canadiens: Already mentioned, the Habs go into Los Angeles on Saturday having lost four straight.

Capitals: See above: Caps have lost four in a row headed into Saturday date with Senators.

Hurricanes: Currently at five losses in a row, the Penguins visit next. Ouch.

Edmonton Oilers: With the battle of Alberta looming, the Oilers enter on a three-game skid. They would probably like to have Taylor Hall back.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Kaberle isn't working out in Carolina so far

Kaberle1By: Adam Gretz

The slow start for the Carolina Hurricanes has resulted in a change behind the bench with Kirk Muller taking over for Paul Maurice earlier this week, and it could soon lead to some changes on the blue line if free agent acquisition Tomas Kaberle doesn't start to play better. That's the message general manager Jim Rutherford sent on Wednesday evening when he appeared on XM Home Ice and was asked about the slow start for his big offseason addition.

When asked if he's seen anything that makes him think Kaberle, who signed a three-year, $12.75 million contract over the summer, can return to the level of play he demonstrated throughout his career, mainly with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rutherford was brutally honest.

"He hasn't played up to what we would have hoped he would play," said Rutherford. "He came into camp and he didn't prepare himself properly. He came in like the Boston Bruins did, they won the Stanley Cup, he enjoyed his summer and quite frankly he hasn't caught up."

"He's still a real good player," Rutherford continued. "I don't know what's going to end up happening with him here now cause we have the young kid, [Justin] Falk, the 19-year-old that we're real happy about. We like young players like [Derek] Joslin, and he may very well get lost in the shuffle here and I don't know where it goes from there. I know there are some teams that are interested in him but they're not quite sure they want to take on all the money so that becomes a little more complicated. But he got off to a slow start, totally by his own doing, and now he has to figure out a way to get out of it or he won't be playing with the Hurricanes long."

The veteran defenseman has struggled so much this season that he was a healthy scratch during the team's 4-3 loss in Ottawa on Sunday.

In 25 games this season he's yet to score a goal and has been credited with just five assists. Throughout his career he's typically been a 40-50 point producer over 82 games, with a career-high of 67 during the 2005-06 season. Last season, which he split with Toronto and Boston, he scored four goals to go with 43 assists during the regular season and added 11 assists in 25 playoff games for the Stanley Cup winning Bruins.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Paul Maurice fired as Hurricanes coach

maurice1By: Adam Gretz

Monday turned out to be a bad day to be a head coach in the NHL's Southeast Division. Not long after the Washington Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with Dale Hunter, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they have fired Paul Maurice.

He will be replaced by former NHL player Kirk Muller, who was previously the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

This was Maurice's second stint with the Hurricanes franchise, also coaching the team from 1995-96 (when it was still based in Hartford) through the 2003-04 season, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2001-02 campaign where they would ultimately lose to the Detroit Red Wings. Following a two-year stint behind the bench in Toronto, Maurice returned to Carolina during the 2008-09 season and guided the Hurricanes to the Eastern Conference Finals. This was Maurice's 15th season as a head coach in the NHL, having compiled a 460-457-99-68 record (the 99 are ties from his pre-lockout coaching days) and qualifying for the postseason just four times.

Through the first 25 games of this season the Hurricanes have struggled out of the gate, winning just eight games and currently occupying the bottom spot in the division, while the team's best players, Eric Staal and Cam Ward, have been mired in early season slumps.

More NHL Coaching Changes
Following Monday's division-wide shakeup, Tampa Bay's Guy Boucher, currently in his second year on the job, is now the longest tenured head coach in the Southeast. Washington and Carolina will be introducing new coaches on Monday, while the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets have first-year coaches with Kevin Dineen and Claude Noel, respectively.

If nothing else, the division is a nice illustration as to just how short the shelf life is for a head coach in the NHL.

Muller was previously an assistant coach at the NHL level with the Montreal Canadiens, and was in his first year as a head coach in the American Hockey League. The No. 2 overall pick in the 1984 draft, he played 19 seasons in the NHL with New Jersey, Montreal, the New York Islanders, Toronto, Florida and Dallas, scoring 357 goals and was always one of the better defensive forwards in the NHL.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
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