Boston Bruins, Column, Dan Lambert, Derek MacKenzie, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, News, Top Story, Zdeno Chara

NHL News & Notes: Bruins, Predators & More

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In today’s News & Notes, the Boston Bruins could use seven defenders in Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues if both Matt Grzelcyk and Zdeno Chara are unable to play, Dan Lambert has been hired by the Nashville Predators and the Florida Panthers have announced their coaching staff.

Bruins Could Dress 7 Defenders

With Chara taking a puck to the face and being unable to return (despite rejoining the team on the bench for moral support sporting a full face shield), the Bruins are now thinking forward to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Should both Chara and Grzelcyk (concussion) be unable to dress for the contest, the Bruins could opt to go with seven defenders and 11 forwards to compensate.

Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins leaves the ice after warming up for Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The most likely name to step into the lineup would be Steven Kampfer with the seventh blueliner being one of Urho Vaakanainen (2017 first-round pick), Jeremy Lauzon (2015 second-round pick) or Jakub Zboril (2015 first-round pick).

The Bruins will be returning home after dropping Game 4 against the Blues in disappointing fashion, nullifying the potential for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in Game 5. The Bruins will likely be looking to close out the series in on the road in St. Louis in six games rather than letting the series run the course and go the full seven games.

To do that, they’ll need to win Game 5 first though; a task that could prove difficult without two starting left-shot defenders.

Predators Hire Lambert

The Predators have hired Lambert as an assistant coach. Lambert spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, leading the team to the Western Conference Final, their longest playoff run since 2011 this past season after compiling a 40-21-2-5 record in the regular season.

“Dan is an experienced, passionate coach and will nicely round out our coaching staff in 2019-20 and beyond,” general manager David Poile said. “Having enjoyed a lengthy career as a player and now a coach, he has had success at every level running the power play, and we look forward to adding his knowledge and insight in this area to the organization.”

Lambert also has NHL experience having served as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres in 2015-16 and then as the head coach of the Rochester Americans in the AHL during the 2016-17 season.

“Dan is incredibly passionate about the game of hockey and has had success offensively and on the power play during his time as a coach,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We are very confident he is coming to our organization with the intention of making a strong, positive impact on our group.”

Panthers Announce Coaching Staff

The Panthers made a major splash this offseason by adding Joel Quenneville to the fold as their new head coach, reuniting him with general manager Dale Tallon. Joining Quenneville on his staff will be Mike Kitchen, Andrew Brunette and Derek MacKenzie, all of whom were officially announced to the team today.

We have assembled a talented coaching staff with unique perspectives and a wealth of hockey experience. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a proven coach and a quality person like Mike Kitchen again, as well as Andrew Brunette who is a bright, young, hockey mind who I coached as a player.

It’s exciting to welcome former Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie to our staff as he enters the NHL coaching ranks following a great playing career. Together with longtime goaltending coach Robb Tallas, we are motivated by the task ahead of us. Our staff is eager to begin working towards our goal of bringing playoff hockey back to South Florida.

Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Florida Panthers

The 63-year-old Kitchen has spent over 25 years in the NHL as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and the Panthers while also serving as the head coach of the St. Louis Blues from the 2003-04 season through the 2006-07 season. He now rejoins the Panthers after spending seven seasons with the Blackhawks alongside Quenneville (who he also spent time in St. Louis).

The 45-year-old Brunette has spent the last seven seasons with the Minnesota Wild in various roles, including director of player personnel, assistant general manager, assistant coach and special assistant to the general manager.

Derek MacKenzie Florida Panthers
Derek MacKenzie, Florida Panthers Oct. 17, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The 37-year-old MacKenzie played in 611 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Columbus Blue Jackets and finally the Panthers whom he spent the final five seasons of his career with. He was the captain of the team from 2016 until 2018.

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