NHL notes: Hextall, Benning candidates for Canucks’ gig?
Philadelphia Flyers assistant GM Ron Hextall is rumoured to be in the mix for the GM's gig with the Vancouver Canucks. (RÉMI NADEAU/QMI Agency)
The list of candidates to fill the general manager’s vacancy for the Vancouver Canucks is slowly taking shape.
One person in the mix is Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager Ron Hextall, according to the Vancouver Sun. Hextall joined the Flyers last year after serving seven years within the Los Angeles Kings organization and was part of the management team that won the Stanley Cup in 2012.
“I do want to be a general manager,” Hextall told NHL.com in July. “I talked to (Flyers GM Paul Holmgren) about that when we talked about this job. If something else becomes available, I at least want to look at it. He was absolutely fine with that.”
Multiple reports have also pegged Boston Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning as a candidate for the Canucks job.
Benning joined the Anaheim Mighty Ducks as a scout in 1993 before joining the Buffalo Sabres the following year. He worked his way up the ranks and served as director of amateur scouting until 2004 before taking two years off. He joined the Bruins in ‘06 as director of player personnel before being promoted to assistant general manager in ’07.
WAITING ON NHLPA
Gary Bettman is playing down the idea of NHL players participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
In fact, it seems to be the farthest thing from his mind.
“From the moment we left Sochi (Russia), we have not given the Olympics any thought,” the NHL commissioner told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You hear some of the clubs suggesting players are tired and worn out. Particularly, you look at teams that had 10 or nine players. (St. Louis coach) Ken Hitchcock was quoted the other day and said (the Blues) ran out of gas a little bit and they’re looking to rejuvenate for playoffs. It has an impact with injuries and fatigue.”
It’s no secret the league is interested in rejuvenating the World Cup of Hockey, but Bettman said he is waiting for the NHL Players’ Association to sign off on the idea.
“It’s something we’ve repeatedly said we’re interested in,” he said. “We’ve been in discussion with the Players’ Association, which obviously is our partner in this. We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do. We’re waiting for the PA to sign off.”
Changes might be coming to the Phoenix Coyotes core.
General manager Don Maloney expressed concern about his veteran players being too comfortable.
“We have to look at our group and say we need more energy,” Maloney told the Arizona Republic. “We need more hunger into our group, and maybe we got a little complacent with people being here too long.”
The longest-serving member is 37-year-old captain Shane Doan, who has been with the franchise his entire career.
Other veterans include Keith Yandle, Radim Vrbata and Derek Morris.
Yandle, one of the league’s top offensive blueliners, has spent eight seasons with the club. Vrbata has served six seasons over two stints. Morris has played 10 seasons in Arizona, also over two stints.
While Maloney is keeping an eye on the veterans, he also downplayed the idea of rushing prospects.
“I know everybody looks at Max Domi, maybe Henrik Samuelsson. Those guys haven’t played a pro game,” Maloney said. “So I really want to downplay the idea that they’re going to waltz onto our team next year and lead us to the Promised Land. I think that’s folly.”
YUSHKEVICH TO COACH
Former long-time Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Dmitry Yushkevich has his first KHL head coaching gig.
According to R-Sport, the 42-year-old will serve behind the Yugra Khanty-Mansiisk bench after serving as an assistant coach for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and the Russian national team at the Sochi Olympics.
Yushkevic left the NHL following the 2002-03 season for the Russian Superleague, where he played five seasons. He also played one season in the KHL before retiring as a player in 2010 after one season in the Finnish Elite League.