The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss the Maple Leafs’ pitch to get Matthew Knies signed to an NHL contract, the logistics around the Kraken-Jets game on Wednesday being postponed to May 1st, Florida’s goaltending plan for the playoffs, Paul Maurice’s future, and more.
On the night that Owen Power, the No. 1 NHL affiliated prospect on Craig Button’s list, makes his debut for the Sabers against the Leafs, we wonder when No. 27 on that list, Matthew Knies, might become a Maple Leaf.
Darren Dreger: Well, he has to make that decision and it’s expected that he’ll make that decision at some point this week. Matthew Knies and his advisor are expected to meet with Kyle Dubas, the general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Wednesday in Minnesota. Now, Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to make their pitch that Matthew Knies, at least based on their estimation, is ready to make the NHL jump. They are also going to tell him, look we’ll support whatever decision you think is best developmentally for your future. There are some who believe that Knies is still leaning towards staying another year with the University of Minnesota, so maybe Kyle Dubas has a pretty big sales pitch to complete.
Massive blizzard hitting Manitoba #PrayForOrlesky, what were the logistics involved in postponing that Jets-Kraken game and rescheduling it this late in the season
Pierre LeBrun: It certainly caught people’s attention that they had to play two days after the regular season ends on Sunday, May 1, why weren’t there other options out there for either team? Number one, either team can’t play three games in three days and that would’ve been the case. Number two, there would’ve been other options to play earlier that would’ve affected several other teams in changing around the schedule a few times with only a couple of weeks left, the NHL didn’t want to do that either. Finally, they’re not playing on Saturday, April 30, because of the travel and not wanting each team to play back to back. The game, if the Jets go on a miracle run, could mean something and the NHL can live with the fact that it might delay the Western Conference playoff schedule if that is indeed the case. Otherwise, the NHL feels this was the simplest option, not to affect other teams.
The Panthers have answered every single question asked of them in a terrific regular season, there might be one that remains though, the starting goaltending situation. Bobrovsky not a lock to start the playoffs?
LeBrun: Listen, it’s certainly the plan at this point that they want him to be the starter, but Sergei Bobrovsky has to find his game here. The Panthers have a lot of confidence in Spencer Knight and usually a team that has this kind of lead atop their division, these games are kinda the dog days of the season. Boy, they sure aren’t for Sergei Bobrovskyhe’s gotta get his game back on, he’s been pulled the last couple times and listen if the Panthers aren’t comfortable with where he’s at come playoff time, they are comfortable starting Spencer Knight. All things being equal, they hope Bobrovsky gets back on track, he starts the playoffs, and then they know they can go to Spencer Knight if need be.
Dregs, you reported last week that Shane Doan will be the GM for Canada at the World Championships. Who might be his head coach?
Dreger: Well, they are going through that process right now, but you are right, Shane Doan is a very friendly and familiar face to Hockey Canada management, he will be the general manager for Team Canada in Finland. The list of candidates includes someone also very familiar to Shane Doan and that’s Travis Green. Travis Green has kept a low profile since being let go by the Vancouver Canucks, but I believe he has interest in coaching with Team Canada. You look at some other familiar names as well, DJ Smith of the Ottawa Senators, you’ve got Claude Julien, who has been around the Hockey Canada circles for quite some time, especially through this pandemic and André Tourigny is another name that is also being considered.
While we’re with Canadian head coaches, when might we see Paul Maurice behind an NHL bench again?
Dreger: You know, he is in absolutely no rush and very dependent on family, where his kids are going to be in the months leading up to next season. If there is a fit that makes sense for the Maurice family and the situation is right, depending on the quality of the team, lots of factors being considered here, then Paul Maurice will consider jumping back into the National Hockey League. A lot of “ifs” and as I say, Paul Maurice is in no rush to return to the NHL.
Miss the emotion and that chewing of the gum constantly behind the bench and miss those post-game news conferences as well.