Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NHL Notebook

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NHL Notebook

Article excerpt

Canucks ready to start fresh

with a new coach and GM

During the 2013-14 season, Jim Benning

studied the Vancouver Canucks from afar.

Months later, the former general manager

of the Boston Bruins is unsure what went

so drastically wrong for a franchise that

only three years before had represented

the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup

finals.

"For whatever reason," Benning told the

Associated Press, "last year things didn't go

as scripted."

Vancouver finished fifth in the Pacific

Division, 12th in the Western Conference, and

did not make the playoffs for the first time

since 2007-08.

The punishment for missing the playoffs

was harsh. GM Mike Gillis, coach John

Tortorella and his top assistant, Mike

Sullivan, were fired. In place of Gillis and

Tortorella are Benning and Willie Desjardins,

who are tasked with returning Vancouver to

the playoffs.

Senators * Ottawa has signed star winger

Bobby Ryan to a seven-year, $50.25 million

extension as well as naming defenseman Erik

Karlsson team captain, ESPN.com reports.

Ryan's deal is worth an average of $7.25

million per season.

Coyotes * It will be out with the new and in

with the old for Arizona this season.

After two fruitless years of trying to boost

their scoring punch, the Coyotes are going

back to the down-in-the-trenches, outworkyour-

opponent ways that had been the

cornerstone of their previous success.

"We may have lost a little on pure

talent, proven talent, but we brought in

some people who are going to fit into the

chemistry mix, that junkyard dog, hangaround-

games-find-a-way-to-win mentality,"

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said.

"And that's how we have to be right now."

Since Dave Tippett was hired in 2009,

the Coyotes have fit the mold of their

defensive-minded coach, relying on a packit-

in-mentality, good goaltending and a

counterpunching offense.

Arizona ran Tippett's system well, earning

three straight playoff berths all without an

owner including a trip to the 2012 Western

Conference finals.

In the two seasons after that surprising

run, the Coyotes tried to find ways to boost

their offensive output, including the bigticket

signing of forward Mike Ribeiro before

last season.

None of it worked.

The Coyotes were inconsistent with their

defense-first approach and Ribeiro was a

bust, his contract bought out by the team

during the offseason after he struggled

with inconsistency on the ice and personal

problems off it.

This offseason, there were no splashy

signings like the Ribeiro deal. Instead,

Arizona picked up gritty, hard-working guys

who fit their system, like Sam Gagner, Joe

Vitale and former Blue B.J. Crombeen.

Ducks * Anaheim was the NHL's highestscoring

team during the best regular season

in franchise history last year, and general

manager Bob Murray couldn't wait to

make changes. That's because the Ducks'

impressive season still ended two playoff

rounds shy of their ultimate goal. …

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