After Team USA announced that Jeff Blashill will lead their World Championship team earlier today, Team Canada responded by releasing their coaching staff as well. Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning will lead the squad, while Gerard Gallant, Dave Hakstol (Philadelphia) and Dave King will be the assistants.
Cooper, like Blashill, has never been the head coach of an international squad, though he was an assistant for Team North America at last fall’s World Cup. His Lightning were devastated by injuries this season and still only missed the playoffs by one point, making him an interesting candidate for the Jack Adams trophy for coach of the year—though very unlikely to win it. He’s proven his ability at every level, winning both a USHL and AHL championship before taking the Lightning to the finals two years ago.
- Roberto Luongo is worried about his hip being a chronic issue, reports Henry Fialkov of the Sun Sentinal. The soon to be hall of fame goaltender played just 40 games this season, the lowest total of his entire career (not including the lockout shortened 2012-13 season). While he’s “confident” he’ll return to his elite performance, it will be hard for a 38-year old with a bad hip to get back to a .920+ save percentage. James Reimer will be relied on even more heavily next season, after putting up a solid year.
- Michal Rozsival underwent surgery to repair facial fractures sustained when he was punched by Nick Ritchie earlier this month. Ritchie earned a two-game suspension for the punch, as it was delivered when Rozsival wasn’t ready and couldn’t defend himself. While there was no timetable given, expect the 38-year old to miss at least the first few rounds of the playoffs. He should make a full recovery.
- The Edmonton Oilers have signed Evan Campbell and Evan Polei to amateur tryouts with the Bakersfield Condors. Campbell has just graduated from the UMass-Lowell where he scored just five points in his senior season. It’s been back to back disappointing campaigns for the fifth-round winger, but he still garnered enough attention to deserve a look at the AHL. Polei on the other hand played well as an overager in the WHL with Red Deer, putting up 62 points in 69 games. An undrafted winger, Polei plays a physical game and can provide some size and strength even at the professional level. Bakersfield has just three games to try and make up three points and catch the Stockton Heat for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.