Hockey Canada is set to make some major changes as of July 2017. Tom Renney announced Wednesday that he would be stepping down as the President of Hockey Canada as of July 1. Current Chief Operation Officer (COO) Scott Smith will continue to fulfill his current duties while also taking on the role of President in place of Renney, who will remain Hockey Canada’s Chief Operating Officer (CEO).
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 29, 2016
Smith has been with Hockey Canada for over two decades and was named the COO in 2007.
I see an opportunity for Hockey Canada to be more effective in delivering on our growing mandate here in Canada and internationally by separating the roles of president and chief executive officer, and our board of directors has endorsed my view. Scott and I have very complementary skill sets and approaches, but just as importantly, this also allows us to recognize Scott’s demonstrated abilities as a leader and high-performer with a commitment to, and passion for, the game.
– Tom Renney
According to Darren Dreger, the decision to step down and promote a new president has been in the works for months.
Matt Murray is Week-to-Week After Suffering a Lower-Body Injury
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without one of their two-star goaltenders for an extended period of time. 22-year-old goalie Matt Murray has been declared week-to-week with a lower body injury and will thrust Marc-Andre Fleury back into a full-time starting role.
Coach Sullivan on Murray: "Matt is going to be week-to-week with a lower-body injury." pic.twitter.com/lyxesugR7N
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 29, 2016
“Matt got hurt at the end of the second,” head coach Mike Sullivan said following the game. “He went out with a lower-body injury. I don’t have an update yet,”
Murray has been stellar this season after backstopping the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship last season. Murray has posted a 13-3-1 record in 19 games with a 2.18 goals against average and a .928 save percentage and two shutouts. For most teams, losing a star 22-year-old goalie like this would severely damage a team’s chance of success – the Penguins are in an interesting situation, however, with Fleury still on the team and more than capable of excelling for the team until Murray can return to a time-share with the veteran netminder.v
Brayden Point Considered Week-to-Week
It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Lightning have been dealing with injuries this season. While every team in the NHL deals with their fair share of lost man-games throughout each season, the Lightning have been hit harder than most this year. Most notably, the team has recently lost both Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop to injuries. In the Lightning’s game against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, they lost two more players when both Vladislav Namestnikov and Brayden Point suffered injuries. Namestnikov is considered day-to-day while Point is considered week-to-week.
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) December 29, 2016
With injuries becoming a common theme in Tampa Bay this season, head coach Jon Cooper made his thoughts known:
“Right when you think you’re taking steps to get healthier, we take two steps back,” Cooper said. “Point was really coming into his own.”
Point was taken in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning. In his first season with the team, Point has posted three goals and 15 points in 36 games. He’s been hitting his stride as of late with one goal and four points in his last five. The Calgary-native will miss the next few weeks for the Lightning who are back in action Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Robert Bortuzzo Signs Two-Year Extension
The St. Louis Blues and Robert Bortuzzo have agreed to terms on a two-year contract that will keep the 27-year-old under contract until the 2018-19 season. The terms of the deal have not yet been announced, though the team made the deal official Wednesday through the team’s official website.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 29, 2016
I wanted to be here and it sounded like they wanted me here, so we got it done. The town, the team, the organization, they’re all world-class. It’s been great. There’s a great core here, and I feel like I can be part of it moving forward.
– Robert Bortuzzo
He’s the glue to the team. He’s able to get along with everybody, he brings an energy into the game. He’s eliminated all those mistakes (in his game) and now he’s just flat a good player. When he’s playing, our team plays really well… his enthusiasm for his teammates really invigorates the locker room. When he’s not here, there’s a noticeable difference.
– Ken Hitchcock
Bortuzzo has played in 64 games with the Blues since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014-15 in a trade that saw Bortuzzo and a seventh round pick sent to the Blues with Ian Cole sent to the Penguins. Bortuzzo was originally drafted with the 78th overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He’s posted eight goals and 27 points in 177 regular season games.
Odds and Ends
– After being a healthy scratch due to missing a team meeting, Valtteri Filppula and the Tampa Bay Lightning have “no ill will” towards each other. Simply put, Filppula made a mistake and the team dealt with it accordingly.
– Aleksander Barkov suffered a lower-body injury Wednesday and is currently considered day-to-day. Barkov left Wednesday’s game after being hit by a shot from teammate Keith Yandle.