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Nichols’ Notes: Context Key for Paul Maurice’s F-Bomb and More


Needed Context for Paul Maurice’s Language, Red Wings Get Mantha Some Air

Paul Maurice made a few headlines for dropping an f-bomb in the scrum on Monday.


If you’re actually interested in context, nuance and what led up to that moment (Heaven forbid we should do that in this age of 10-second sound bites in which we live), watch the scrum.


You can see the question he’s asked around 8:40 into the video, but if you watch the entire video especially you’ll see how overblown that story has already been in this news cycle.


The telling quote, frankly, was the answer to the question right BEFORE the f-bomb. (7:35 into the video)


Question: “Paul, you’ve coached teams in Toronto and Carolina that had elite players. I mean, there’s some skill players on this team, maybe on the brink of that stardom; but how does that dynamic change when you can’t look at your bench and say, ‘Okay, that guy I can expect to be a game-changer 75 percent of the time.’ How do you get the best out of -”


“But that’s not where we’re at. That’s not what we need,” Maurice replied. “We don’t need one guy to change a game. It’s not like we’re rolling here and we need a guy to light up two or three tonight and then say we’re fine. I mean, so Pav throws up a 45-save performance in the exact same game and we’re not coming back to the rink saying, ‘Our game is solid now, here we go.’


“We don’t need an individual to rise above the rest. We need the whole damn group to do the jobs. And regardless of who they are, it’s a very specific job they need to do when the puck’s at every position on the ice if we don’t have it – everybody has got a job. And we can’t do the second job until the first guy does his.


“So looking for a saviour will do us no good.”




Elliotte Friedman had a few trade-related details on Monday, including an update on the Eric Staal situation for the Canes.


“The Eric Staal thing – I think it’s cooled down a little bit. I could see them waiting some time before they do this. However, I do think they are doing their due diligence. I think they’re looking at what the situations potentially are and what we could possibly want from teams.”


Quite a few talking points from that same radio hit, including the Leafs considering trading Joffrey Lupul “if they got the right move.”


The Oilers, Penguins, Sabres, and Flyers were individually mentioned in general trade scenarios, while Friedman also dissected Luke Schenn’s game in Philly.




Epix camera crews were shooting promos for the four-part, all access Winter Classic series that’ll feature the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks.


John Dellapina, NHL Group Vice President, Communications: “I’ve worked on every all-access show we’ve done and we’ve had very little problem with access. I know there were incidents last year with the cameras showing them being thrown out of the Leafs’ and Red Wings’ locker rooms, but both teams saw that and said, ‘Look, it was a tense moment. … Sometimes it’s time to shut the door.”


In May, Mike Babcock explained his reasoning behind getting fired up on 24/7.


“Well, I tell you what though. They ambush you there. I talked to a guy nicely walking off the bench. I handed him my microphone, I said ‘keep the cameras out.’ I hadn’t asked them the whole time. The next thing I know, they’re in the room. So my wires touched a little bit. But I think that’s a reasonable request. You’re the head coach, you ask them to stay out, they don’t stay out and I thought the reaction was appropriate.


“Now, I gotta tell you, I haven’t watched one second of that. Got a little feedback from people on the outside. I haven’t watched one second of it. Obviously the NHL really thinks it’s great for promoting the game. I think it’s hard on the players and the coaching staff. Sometimes as a coach or a player, things that happen, you probably don’t need in the public eye, but that’s the new world we’re living in.”




Babcock switched up his lines in practice on Monday, with Pavel Datsyuk’s return expected fairly quickly. Gustav Nyquist has taken Tomas Jurco’s place on a unit with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.


“Just trying to get that line to generate more,” Babcock said. “Nyquie’s been playing real well. If I’m going to play Pav and Z together they need a bigger body to be at the net for them (Justin Abdelkader). I want Nyquie to have as many touches as he can so Sheahan’s a big body to be at the net for him and Tatar.”



Jack Capuano, asked to describe Nikolay Kulemin so far for the New York Islanders: “He’s been as advertised, a hard working guy and good in the room,” Capunao said. “No question he uses his body to protect the puck and keep it in the offensive zone. He makes the simple play when he doesn’t have anything and puts the puck where we want it to be.


“He comes to the rink with a business-like attitude and wants to get better.”




How does Bruce Boudreau approach coaching during the regular season?


“Well, it’s all about consistency and coming to the rink every day in a workmanlike-type thing,” Boudreau said. “Playing to the top of your level every game. We’ve been successful because for the most part, we’ve done that.


“Playoffs are a different animal. You’ve got to increase it even more. But for the regular season, if you play to the best of your ability most of the time, most of the time you’ll have success.”



Steven Stamkos and Jon Cooper had high praise for Teddy Purcell headed into Monday night’s Oilers-Lightning clash.


Stamkos: “His skill set is pretty impressive. Not a lot of people realize the type of skill he possesses; probably one of the most skilled guys I’ve played with in the league.”


Cooper: “He’s a hockey rat. He watches hockey. He knows the stats of all the other players. I like guys like that who really pay attention to the game. When he gets hot, the kid is really good. The big thing for us is that he made other players better. When Teddy had the puck, he usually found somebody he could put in a pretty good scoring spot. He was a great puck distributor.”




Mark Fayne had an interesting comparison between Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin, again before Monday night’s clash: “You have to be more careful for sure when Stamkos is out there, you can’t take chances. If the puck breaks free, he gets it. I find it better the closer you stay to him so he doesn’t have time to build up his speed,” said Fayne. “He’s a little more dynamic with his speed and moves than Ovechkin. Ovechkin is more highlights. Stamkos will go to the net and get those dirty goals. He’s not just looking for one-timers. That said Ovechkin can pretty much do what he wants out there, too. They’re both really dangerous.”




Club 1909 is a recently-introduced membership loyalty program for Montreal Canadiens fans.


“Sometimes, you have to look at your business and kind of turn it sideways to see what it is now,” Kevin Gilmore, the team’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said. “The challenge from a marketing standpoint was to say, ‘Guys, let’s look at what we do, who we are and what we represent.’ We spent a while on it, we talked to some outside people and to people inside here.

“Basically the conclusion was that for the lack of a better word, we’re a legacy team, we’re synonymous with the sport. Same way the Yankees and Red Sox are with baseball, the Cowboys and Packers with football. I’m sure the Leafs would argue the Leafs and Canadiens with hockey and that’s a fair comment. We said, ‘If that’s what we are, we need to start acting a little more like that.'”




Price reflected on that 1909 shoot shown above: ““I think I was there for close to three hours for what, 30 seconds? I said maybe a dozen words, if that. I’d like to see the outtakes. Some things weren’t probably appropriate for a family audience, but it would be funny to see them.


“If you’ve ever seen any of Jay’s movies, he’s very much the same in person as he is in character. He’s a very spontaneous, very witty guy and he really made it a lot of fun to do.”




From that same article, Price shows off his great sense of  humour concerning hockey team photos: “They’re pretty generic now. Goalies at the end of the front row, the captain in the middle with the coaching staff, and all the ugly guys in the back.”







Mike Cammalleri has already potted five goals in his first five outings with the New Jersey Devils, and he doesn’t mind at all that he’s been shifted onto a different line with Patrik Elias.


“It doesn’t bother me even a little bit. I got to play with Patty in the third period last game and I thought we had some instant chemistry,” Cammalleri said. “More importantly, as a group we just want to make sure we get some chemistry right through our lineup.

“That was one of the most attractive things about coming here. There were so many different opportunities to play with tremendous players. It’s all good by me.”




With the Capitals on the road for three games, Brooks Orpik provided some insight into a player’s road mindset when he’s not playing.


“You’ve got to be disciplined away from the rink when you don’t have a game every other day, especially with the back-to-back at the end,” Orpik said. “If you’re not smart about it early on, that can bite you. You want to have fun, but at the same time you want to be disciplined and responsible, know what you’re trying to accomplish on the trip.”



Jamie Oleksiak may become the first piece of defensive depth in the Dallas Stars organization to step into the lineup with Patrik Nemeth now gone for the regular season.


“He’s matured and I think that with young players it takes time,” head coach Lindy Ruff said. “I think them winning the championship last year was huge for him. I think he gained a lot of confidence going down there and playing a real big role for them. I think with a bigger role here now, the confidence will come. There’s probably a guarantee that there will be struggles inside of a game, but it’s our job as coaches to get him through that. But I really think that last year, playing the amount he did and going through that grind at the American League level, really paid dividends for him.”




It’s also worth noting that Ruff kept the stud line of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin with Jason Spezza together at practice on Monday.


“It’s something I really want to see. It’s something I don’t have an answer for you right now. But I think that ice-time-wise it fits better for us because it gives Jason the ice time minutes with those top guys,” Ruff said. “I’ll need more from two and three where if the Eakin line can give us what they gave us last year… I still think Eaks is catching up from missing camp and he hasn’t been able to handle some of the minutes inside the game I give him. So I think we’ve got answers, but I think that’s where the inconsistency has come.”



With Anthony Mantha recovering from a fractured tibia, Red Wings GM Ken Holland sent him to Grand Rapids. Mantha has been in Detroit, but with the team now playing six of the next eight games away from home, he didn’t want Mantha to go stir crazy in his hotel room.


“I’ve been there. I’ve been in a hotel room for a month when I was 21 years old,” Holland said. “The walls close in. I want him to go to Grand Rapids. I want him to get into a place. I want him around teammates. I want him to build some relationships, go for supper.”



The Florida Panthers are seeing good trends in Tomas Fleischmann’s game and think the offensive production will come soon enough. For his part, the forward isn’t worried about playing with different lines of late.


“It’s the NHL, you have to get used to playing with every guy,” said Fleischmann. “Since Day 1 in the NHL I try to have the same standards every game. I’m concerned with my point production because I [usually] play on the first or second line.


“I try to play good defensively, make the good plays, have fun out there and do all it takes to win the hockey game. I’m not getting the points right now but I do what I can. I feel like it’s coming, then I get a chance and it’s not going in, so I realize, ‘OK, wait for the next chance.’ ”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”dotted” separator_color=”accent”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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