Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives May 19 2015, Page 25

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 19, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C3 PHILADELPHIA — Once the surprise news hit Philadelphia, Flyers die- hards — heck, NHL fans everywhere — all sounded a bit like they should have been Jeopardy contestants. Who is Dave Hakstol? Not even an easy clue have would clued anyone in on Flyers general manager Ron Hextall’s top target to try and lead the franchise to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1975. Hextall strayed so far off the grid with his choice, Fargo cop Marge Gunderson couldn’t have cracked the case, especially as the usual candidates — such Detroit’s Mike Babcock — swirled in the rumour mill as potential replacements. “ I wasn’t going to choose the coach that was the people’s choice, the popular choice,” Hextall said Monday. “ I was going to pick the coach that I felt like for this franchise from today, next year, moving forward was the right coach. Dave was the right coach for this franchise.” The Flyers can only hope the Hextall- Hakstol tag team is a championship combination. A stranger in NHL rinks, Hakstol did boast one of the top collegiate resumés at the University of North Dakota. The 46- year- old Hakstol went 289- 143- 43 with a .654 winning percentage over 11 seasons and reached the Frozen Four seven times in that span. In 2014- 15, he led North Dakota to a 29- 10- 3 record with a .726 winning percentage and a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four. His program had become a pipeline to the NHL with players such as Jonathan Toews ( Chicago), Matt Greene ( Los Angeles), T. J. Oshie ( St. Louis) and Chris VandeVelde ( Philadelphia) all developed out of the North Dakota system. Hakstol’s program has produced 20 NHL players and 46 have played professionally at some level. But one prospect yet to make the NHL provided the biggest tie to Hakstol and the Flyers — Hextall’s son, Brett. Brett Hextall played for Hakstol, letting the Flyers GM in on all the inside- the- locker- room info that made the North Dakota program hum along as one of the best in the nation. Hextall had a checklist of qualifications he wanted his next coach, and his first major hire, to meet. Among them: . Could Hakstol handle the 82- game grind? . Could he develop young talent? . Could he accept pressure from the fans, media, the strain of the Stanley Cup drought and press on with confidence with his own style? Hextall said he checked every requirement box with Hakstol except NHL experience. Turned out, the North Dakota coach’s lack of bench time in the NHL was the least of Hextall’s concerns. And he expected the players to adapt to the rookie coach. “ I think they’ll figure out in a hurry here who’s in charge,” Hextall said. Ron Hextall fired coach Craig Berbue at the end of the season after he failed to lead them to the playoffs. Berube went 75- 58- 28 (. 553) in two seasons with the Flyers and took them to the playoffs last season. The Flyers have missed the playoffs two times in a three- season span for the first time since they missed it five straight seasons from 1989- 1994. Hakstol signed a multi- year deal and terms were not disclosed. North Dakota named assistant Brad Berry its new coach on Monday. Hextall refused to say if he talked with Babcock, the hottest coach on the market. Though Babcock is still under contract with Detroit through June 30, the Red Wings have given other teams permission to meet with the coach. Babcock has met with the Buffalo Sabres, and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of staying with the Red Wings, where he’s coached for 10 years and won the Stanley Cup championship in 2010. Last week, Babcock told Canada’s TSN cable TV network he intends to make a decision on his future before the end of this week. “ I hope in this case we have another Mike Babcock,” Flyers chairman Ed Snider said. Hakstol is one of the few coaches to graduate straight to the NHL bench from college. He joined “ Badger” Bob Johnson and Ned Harkness as coaches to get their first NHL job straight out of colleges, according to College Hockey Inc. “ I believe in what we do and I believe in the things that I do, and I’m not going to change that,” Hakstol said. “ Do I need to alter the delivery of the message? Maybe a little bit. The fact that I do not have experience at this level, I’m not going to pretend that I do. But I do have an awful lot of confidence in terms of knowing the game well.” He’ll inherit some talent. Jake Voracek and team captain Claude Giroux spent most of the season in the hunt for an NHL scoring title and each finished with some stout stats: Voracek had 22 goals and 81 points and Giroux had 25 goals and 73 points. Wayne Simmonds led the Flyers with 28 goals and Steve Mason’s 2.25 GAA was the lowest for a Flyers goalie since 2003- 04. Defenceman Mark Streit had 52 points. “ I do have a great deal of confidence in what we do, in what my philosophies are,” Hakstol said. — The Associated Press C3 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2015 winnipegfreepress. com NHL PLAYOFF REPORT By Dan Gelston UND’s Hakstol surprise pick as Flyers coach MATT SLOCUM / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Philadelphia Flyers new head coach Dave Hakstol is introduced Monday. N EW YORK — Under the bright lights in the big city, the Tampa Bay Lightning got a gigantic performance from their smallest player. Tyler Johnson continued his stellar Stanley Cup playoffs with a hat trick in Game 2 Monday night as the Lightning routed the New York Rangers 6- 2 to even the Eastern Conference final at a game apiece. The 5- 8 dynamo scored short- handed, on the power play and at even strength for the first hat trick in franchise history. Johnson improved his playoff- leading goal total to 11 and became the first player in the NHL with four multi- goal playoff games in the same season since Jamie Langenbrunner in 2003. “ Oh, Tyler Johnson, the bigger the game, the better he plays,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “ In the greatest league in the world on the biggest stage, in the world’s most famous arena, it’s pretty impressive. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.” Johnson scored Tampa Bay’s first three goals in the convincing victory, followed by two from Alex Killorn and one by Steven Stamkos. In a game that lacked flow thanks to 13 minor penalties and just 46 minutes of five- on- five play, Johnson was the catalyst in sending the Lightning home happy for Game 3 Wednesday night at Amalie Arena. “ It seems like he was leading the way tonight and we were kind of following,” said Killorn, who finished with three points. “ When you have a guy that can turn it up a notch like that, it’s huge.” Johnson’s game- winner was his fourth of the playoffs, and the Lightning know they wouldn’t be into the third round without him and “ Triplets” linemates Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov. Cooper made sure to credit Palat for his strong game getting the puck into the offensive zone and in spots to score. But Game 2 was another showcase for Johnson, the undrafted 24- year- old who went through the Western Hockey League with the Spokane Chiefs and then to the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals without much fanfare. Johnson was a Calder Trophy finalist last season as a rookie and broke out with 72 points this year. These playoffs have been a chance for fans around the NHL to appreciate his journey and his play. “ I think every morning I’m just happy to be here and I’m living my dream,” Johnson said. “ So that’s what’s driving me is to try to be the best I can and play for my family. They sacrificed so much for me to be here, and I’m living my dream, so I want to keep living it as long as possible.” Johnson and the Lightning will keep living it now knowing they can hang with the Presidents’ Trophy- winning Rangers. After a Game 1 performance that made Cooper “ want to vomit,” his team responded to tie the series. “ The mindset was a little different, for whatever reason,” Stamkos said. “ We weren’t there mentally, physically, we didn’t compete. When this group competes, we talk about it all year, we have the skill and the speed to do anything if we’re willing to compete.” — The Canadian Press Johnson fills hat as Tampa Bay roars past Rangers By Stephen Whyno This Lightning bolt strikes thrice LIGHTNING 6 RANGERS 2 KATHY WILLENS / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Henrik Lundqvist has had better nights. FRANK FRANKLIN II / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Tampa Bay Lightning centre Tyler Johnson scores his second goal of the game on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Johnson didn’t stop there, adding another goal later in the frame. C_ 03_ May- 19- 15_ FP_ 01. indd C3 5/ 18/ 15 11: 35: 45 PM

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