NHL Notebook: Guy Boucher on hot seat as Senators contemplate changes
Kings' Doughty suspended for Game 2 vs. Knights; Flyers to stick with Elliott in net
Pierre Dorion knows changes need to be made, but the Ottawa Senators general manager won't rush into any decisions concerning the future of team's coaching staff.
Dorion made it clear the status quo is not acceptable Thursday morning in a post-mortem on Ottawa's disappointing season. The future of head coach Guy Boucher and his staff remains unknown as Dorion said a complete evaluation is underway from top to bottom.
But Dorion said a decision on Boucher is unlikely to be made until after the draft lottery in late April.
Dorion said he believes Boucher is still a very good coach, but there are areas that need to be improved after a 30th-overall finish.
Two specific areas Dorion mentioned were better implementation of younger players into the lineup and less days off from practice.
"'Rest is a weapon' — if I hear that one more time I'll go crazy," Dorion said.
Dorion said players blamed themselves in exit meetings, but he believes accountability needs to come at every level.
"This year we found too many excuses, we've got to move forward from that."
This will be a crucial off-season for Dorion and the Senators.
Erik Karlsson is heading into the final year of his contract and negotiations on an extension can begin July 1. Dorion has already said they will offer their captain an eight-year deal, but the question remains whether or not they will be able to offer enough money to entice the 27-year-old to stay.
Karlsson said earlier this season that he wouldn't take a hometown discount, but Dorion said he has the budget he needs.
Kings' Doughty suspended for Game 2 vs. Knights
The expansion Golden Knights looked every bit ready for the playoffs when they rode goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a 1-0 victory in Game 1. The Kings will be without defenceman Drew Doughty for Game 2, suspended by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of Vegas forward William Carrier.
Doughty appeared lower his shoulder into Carrier's head, connecting with his jaw, sending the Golden Knights wing to the locker room for the remainder of the game.
"I thought it was a bad hit, but it's not for me to decide," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "The referee didn't think it was a penalty but I'm sure people will look at that hit and make a decision on it."
The Kings outhit Vegas 68-59, though some Los Angeles players scoffed at the notion Game 1 was an overly physical.
"It was a physical game, (but) I don't think there was nearly as many hits as the stats credited," Los Angeles wing Dustin Brown said. "Some buildings you can kill a guy and not get credit for a hit."
Flyers to stick with Elliott in net
Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol publicly endorsed sending goaltender Brian Elliott back out for Game 2 in the immediate aftermath despite giving up five goals on 19 shots before getting pulled in their 7-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1.
Hakstol declined to elaborate on his plans Thursday, though he's well aware Elliott's play was not Philadelphia's only issue.
"We just had too many holes and if you have holes in your game, that team is going to drive a truck through them," Hakstol said.
"Nothing's easy this time of year," Elliott said. "A close loss feels the same as a lopsided one. We all didn't get to this level by not going through some type of adversity like this. It's just a matter of fact of going back to work and having the confidence we can definitely be better than we were."
Another loss would put Philadelphia in a perilous spot going home. The Flyers haven't beaten Penguins once all season, getting outscored 27-11 in the process. Going down two games would require them to take down the reigning champions four times in nine days. Good luck with that.
"We've got to be sharper," Hakstol said. "That usually means you've got to be quicker and execute a little bit better. You can probably apply that to a lot of our game."