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Sport Early NHL standings show coaching changes work: Sabres and Oilers leading their division

02:05  21 october  2019
02:05  21 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Edmonton Oilers' James Neal goes on scoring spree, nets four vs. Islanders

  Edmonton Oilers' James Neal goes on scoring spree, nets four vs. Islanders The Oilers winger, who was acquired over the offseason in exchange for Milan Lucic, now has six goals in just three games.The 32-year-old helped Edmonton take a dominating lead on the road in New York with a natural hat trick in the first and second periods. In the third, he added one more, which brought his tally to six through just three games this season — a new Oilers franchise record.

The Buffalo Sabres , Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks all made coaching changes and all have had Last year, new coach Rod Brind’Amour took the Carolina Hurricanes to their first playoff appearance in a Historically, coaching changes often give NHL teams an initial boost, whether it is

The Buffalo Sabres , Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks all made coaching changes and all have had success in the early going of the NHL season.

With coach Ralph Krueger’s Buffalo Sabres (6-1-1) leading the Atlantic Division and Dave Tippett’s Edmonton Oilers sitting atop the Pacific Division, offseason coaching changes are an important storyline in the NHL’s early going.

But this is an old story, not a fresh approach

Last year, new coach Rod Brind’Amour took the Carolina Hurricanes to their first playoff appearance in a decade and made it to the Eastern Conference Final before bowing out. Coach Craig Berube, an in-season coaching arrival, guided the St. Louis Blues to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

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  Sabres rookie Olofsson ties NHL power-play goal record BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Sabres rookie forward Victor Olofsson has tied an NHL record in becoming the fourth player to score each of his first six career goals on the power play. © APWF Buffalo Sabres forward Victor Olofsson (68) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) Olofsson made it six in a row with a one-timer off Jack Eichel's pass into the right circle to open the scoring 5:04 into the first period against Montreal on Wednesday night.

The official standings for the National Hockey League . In the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team that had the better regular-season record -- regardless of the teams' final standing in their respective divisions .

All NHL team jerseys customized with NHL players' names and numbers are officially licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA. The Zamboni word mark and configuration of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine are registered trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.© Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc

“When you bring in a new coach, I truly believe you get the best from all guys,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said. “As a player, you get a chance to showcase what you are all about.”

Historically, coaching changes often give NHL teams an initial boost, whether it is at the start of a season or in-season. In 2015-16, the Penguins fired Mike Johnston after 28 games and Mike Sullivan took them to a championship. That was six years after coach Dan Bylsma took over in-season for the Penguins and won the 2009 Stanley Cup.

Veteran coach Darryl Sutter took over the Los Angeles Kings in 2011-12 and won a Stanley Cup. Before his arrival, the Kings last won a playoff series in 2001.

“I see in other sports (a coaching move) is not as big of a change,” Waddell said. “But I see in our sport, because we do roll 18 players on nightly basis, where a guy feels it’s a fresh start and an opportunity to prove he deserves more ice time.”

Johansson scores in OT, Sabres top Canadiens 5-4

  Johansson scores in OT, Sabres top Canadiens 5-4 BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Marcus Johansson scored 1:30 into overtime, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. © APWF Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Christian Folin (32) work along the boards during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) Jack Eichel scored twice and added two assists, and the Sabres improved to 3-0-1, the team's best start since opening the 2009-10 season 4-0-1.

The NHL ’s early surprises: Who will crash to reality? Sabres : Eh. Those hearty fans in Buffalo should be happy that this team is at least far more competitive this season under the first-year coach Krueger, playing a semblance of defense and getting some early brilliance in goal from Carter Hutton.

The most popular player mentioned in trade rumors early this season, Devils winger Taylor Hall is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at season’s end. It’s been well documented that the Devils want to re-sign Hall, but a poor start to the season could negatively affect the odds of that happening.

a group of people in uniform: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel talks with head coach Ralph Krueger during the first period of a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.© Gene J. Puskar, AP Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel talks with head coach Ralph Krueger during the first period of a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The ice time reshuffle has long been thought to be a primary reason for the team improvement. In life, everyone always tries harder to impress the new boss.

Plus, new coaches often concentrate on improving the team’s defensive play because that’s the area where they can have instant impact. You can teach a player to be more defensive but you can’t transform a 20-goal scorer into a 40-goal scorer. Defensive improvement always impact the standings.

Teams that made off-season coaching switches:

►Sabres (Krueger): No one in Buffalo is too excited about the team’s strong start because everyone remembers last season’s collapse after winning 10 in a row.

But Krueger’s professorial style fits well with this team, which relies heavily on young stars Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin and Sam Reinhart.

Johansson scores in OT, Sabres top Canadiens 5-4

  Johansson scores in OT, Sabres top Canadiens 5-4 BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Marcus Johansson scored 1:30 into overtime, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. © APWF Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Christian Folin (32) work along the boards during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) Jack Eichel scored twice and added two assists, and the Sabres improved to 3-0-1, the team's best start since opening the 2009-10 season 4-0-1.

The Oilers lead the NHL in Corsi For rating with 59.42 percent, and That said, the distribution of shots on goal is a bit troubling, and it’s something that Oilers head coach Todd McLellan should Depth can often be key for scoring in the NHL , and the Oilers have something to prove in that area.

Inside Hockey . NEWARK–It was only a matter of time for Jack Hughes, who in his eighth game and 15th shot, netted his first NHL goal at 14:08 of the first period Saturday afternoon against the Canucks. Hughes, who was the recipient of a Taylor Hall pass on the power play had Vancouver netminder

Canadian Krueger, the son of German immigrants, previously coached the Edmonton Oilers. But he was recently chairman of the Southampton soccer club and a well-respected motivational speaker. He once wrote a book, in German, called "Team Life: Beyond Setbacks to Success."

“At heart, he’s a kid from Manitoba who loves coaching hockey,” said Sabres general manager Jason Botterill. “He enjoyed his experience at Southampton, but he is fired up and excited to be back behind the bench. Our players are feeding off that. They understand the passion he’s bringing.”

Krueger, well-accomplished in international hockey, has always had the ability to instantly connect with players he coached. Botterill said he senses that Krueger always knows what to say in every situation.

“When you sit down with Ralph, his entire focus is on you,” Botterill said. “You feel he’s gone through a lot of experiences and he’s pulled down a lot of knowledge from those experiences.”

(Story continues below gallery)

►Oilers (Tippett): With GM Ken Holland also in place, the Oilers seem to have a fresh, upbeat attitude. Tippett will make this team better defensively. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can do the rest.

3 Early NHL Overreactions and Their Realities

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KUALA LUMPUR: Goalkeeper Adrian Andy Albert (pic) has been dropped from the Malaysia hockey squad for the Olympic qualifier playoff matches against Britain in London on Nov 2 and 3, but the youngster is taking the decision in his stride.

Early NHL standings show coaching changes work : Sabres and Oilers leading their division . 02:51Hayling Island Surf cam.

►Anaheim Ducks (Dallas Eakins): It’s not just goalie John Gibson getting it done, although he has been a big part of their strong start. Eakins has the team playing more up-tempo than they have in the past. Players seem to be buying what he’s selling.

Philadelphia Flyers (Alain Vigneault): Vigneault has a long history of success at the NHL level, but will be judged by his ability to transform the Flyers into a consistent playoff team. Too early to determine what his impact will be.

Florida Panthers (Joel Quenneville): Quenneville's impact is expected to be significant. However, the Panthers have been sluggish out of the gate. Players may need time to adjust to Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cups in Chicago. Sergei Bobrovsky’s .870 save percentage hasn’t helped.

Ottawa Senators (D.J. Smith): The Senators are expected to be the NHL’s worst team and there’s not much Smith can do about that. But they seem improved.

►Los Angeles Kings (Todd McLellan): McLellan is a respected coach, but the Kings management may be looking to the future, not this season. They may be looking forward to another top-five draft pick.

Follow Allen on Twitter @ByKevinAllen.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Early NHL standings show coaching changes work: Sabres and Oilers leading their division

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Roundtable: Hot starts, biggest disappointments .
Which hot start won't last? Who's been the biggest disappointment?Choosing from the teams off to strong starts in October, which one won’t last?

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