Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Burke Exploring Non-Coyotes Management Options

Nichols’ Notes: Burke Exploring Non-Coyotes Management Options
Chris Nichols

The Arizona Coyotes have given Sean Burke permission to speak with other clubs about management positions, which has already begun and should gain more steam once the season finishes.

Burke is currently both the goaltending coach and assistant to the GM, but he’s looking to strictly manage.

“I’ve really enjoyed the coaching and it has been rewarding, but I never went into this to coach. I wanted to manage from the moment I retired,” Burke, who is the goaltending coach and assistant to the GM for the Coyotes, said. “Coaching is good because it gives you an additional avenue of experience, being in that dressing room every day, but when you stay in that role too long, it becomes more difficult to get where you want to go.

“Having said that, I have strong opinions and strong feelings about this franchise. I played here, too so it’s personal for me. I really enjoy it here, and I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given.”

Source: Morgan/ Fox Sports

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Dmitry Orlov should finally play some AHL games this weekend as he continues to recover from a broken wrist, which he guesstimates is 90 percent healthy now.

The rehabilitation journey to get to this point though, has been long.

“It’s been tough for me, a grind,” Orlov said. “There are times I want to say, ‘I’m done.’ It’s hard to be all the time positive.

“It was frustrating for me, but I do my best, practice every day as hard as I can. Go to gym, run, bike. Of course, my family and my girlfriend help me. It’s a big part. When I was by myself and my parents weren’t home and my girlfriend wasn’t home and the team was a lot on the road, I come here every day in the morning and do the same thing every day. It almost kill me.

“But my parents and girlfriend tell me this is a negative time of your life and you need to keep away from this and be positive. They help keep my mind to be good. Nemo also keep it fun. It’s getting closer and thanks to him for making it fun.”

Source: Gormley/ CSN

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Chuck Fletcher grew up with first-hand NHL experience thanks to his father Cliff, which may have also provided a valuable lesson when Fletcher stood behind his coach through the Minnesota Wild’s earlier-season struggles.

“When you’re in charge, every team is different and every situation is different,” observed Cliff Fletcher. “But if you know your players and you know your coach and you’re going through a bad spell, you have to have the confidence that in due course things will right themselves and you’ll get back on track. In 1986 in Calgary, when we went to the Stanley Cup finals, during Christmas and New Year’s we lost 10 in a row. We were fortunate to win the 11th game, a fluky goal in the third period. Then we lost two of the next 20. When you’re going through that losing streak, you’ve got to batten down the hatches and don’t do anything stupid. Just get through it.”

Source: LeBrun/ ESPN

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NHL: MAR 07 Penguins at Kings

The perception among some is that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is having a subpar campaign.

Hmm. Headed into Monday night’s games he’s still the league’s leading point producer, with 5-7 fewer games played than the five-next point-getters.

“It’s total nitpicking,” general manager Jim Rutherford said last week during the GM meetings. “There is nothing wrong with him. His play has been as good as it has ever been, especially over the last month or so.”

Source: Allen/ USA Today

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There’s no doubt that scoring is down in the NHL though, something about which Jason Spezza has a theory.

“Things are different now,” Spezza said. “Teams are so much better and deeper now. When I was young, I wanted on the ice every time the other team put its fourth line on the ice. Teams weren’t deep. Now they are. Plus the best players are seeing their minutes go down because coaches want to get their third and fourth lines on the ice. It’s really tough.”

Source: Yohe/ Tribune-Review

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The New York Islanders will honor Pat LaFontaine before Tuesday night’s game, an homage to a great player from the team’s past before they move from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays Center next season.

LaFontaine says he’s excited and his dad reminisced about something he still remembers from after a game early in Pat’s career.

“I waited for him like I always did, and when he finally came out of the dressing room, I was ready to get home,” John LaFontaine recalled. “But he said: ‘Dad, I have to greet the fans who have waited for me. They pay my salary.’

“That’s the way Pat always was. He knew he was blessed and that it was important to thank people along the way.”

Source: Kreda/ Times

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Mike Babcock on Justin Abdelkader as an everyday player for the Detroit Red Wings:

“He’s an important player, plays with Z every night and Z likes playing with him. His hockey sense – it’s interesting how it happens. You arrive as a kid and everyone says you have no hockey sense because the league is going so fast, you don’t have hockey sense because you can’t process it.

“Then you get back to the level you were as a kid or in college and become a good player. Abby is like Darren Helm, they’re every day people – they’re honest with their work ethic, they put their work before their skill, and they make you better.”

Source: St. James/ Free Press

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Ted Nolan has been frustrated with the inconsistency in Mikhail Grigorenko’s game. The Buffalo Sabres head coach also knows that while he’d like to see more grit in the forward’s game, a balance must be struck with skilled players.

“When you try to ask players to be a bit gritty, they think they have to go out and bang people,” Nolan said. “That’s not his game. His game is being strong on the puck, driving to the net, jumping in holes and creating some offense.”

Source: Harrington/ News

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Interesting look here at ‘hockeyspeak,’ which breaks down why most players tend to give boring interviews – including being critical of the phrasing of questions (or non-questions) by some media members.

Former NHLer and current radio talk show host Jason Strudwick shares his insight into why players do what they do in interviews.

“When you’re a young guy coming to the league, you’ve watched these interviews for years,” Strudwick said. “I remember watching all of these guys say basically nothing for years, and when I got there I was basically on the same plan.

“You’re like, ‘Well if no one else is saying anything, I won’t say anything either.’ Even today there are very few NHL players that say what they think and that’s part of the game. Part of the dressing room code is that you do not share anything outside of the dressing room that you think is important.”

Source: O’Leary/ Journal

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Former Canes defenseman Nic Wallin spent some time in Raleigh and chatted with fellow Swedes Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask.

“Victor is not a surprise,” Wallin said. “He wasn’t like Elias, being picked near the top of the draft, but I’m impressed with him. They took a chance when Jordan got hurt and he got a lot of ice time and he’s playing well.

“They’re both young. Give them three or four years and they’ll be leaders and superstars in the league.”

Source: Alexander/ News & Observer

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Michal Rozsival is slated to become a UFA this summer, but he’s not giving it much thought at this point.

“I’m 36 years old, man, why would I worry about it?” he said with a laugh. “I’m at a stage of my career where I love playing this game. I really enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed being here, and I like to win. But to be worrying about what’s going to happen next year, nah, I never think like that. Never in my career. For some reason, things just work out somehow, in some magic way. So I don’t really worry about it. I worry about my game, how I am performing on the ice and how the team is doing.

“I’ve been through it all, so I just want to have fun with it. That’s why I’m here, and that’s why I’ve played this game for all these years. It’s just fun.”

Source: Lazerus/ Sun-Times

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Darryl Sittler on Borje Salming, who is having a statue built in his honour:

“To me, he was a phenomenal player and a phenomenal athlete,” said the former Maple Leafs captain about Salming. “When we watched him practise, you knew he was the real deal. There was this mentality in the NHL, that Swedes coming into our league were tested mentally and physically more than North Americans were.

“And Borje was an elastic band, just coming back, facing the challenges that were there and playing great hockey on top of it.”

Source: McGran/ Star

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Nichols’ Notes
Chris Nichols

Chris has written about both hockey and fantasy hockey for a number of media outlets over the last 14 years, including a combined decade with Sportsnet.ca and ESPN.com. He launched NicholsOnHockey.com in February of 2014. An aversion to wearing socks sparked a move from his hometown of Edmonton to San Diego, California in the mid-’90s, and the Oilers have not won a Cup in his absence.

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