Backes okay after Anaheim's Nick Ritchie's late hit

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Backes okay after Anaheim's Nick Ritchie's late hit

BRIGHTON -- David Backes said he was thankfully okay after spending time in the quiet room at the end of last night’s 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, but not very happy there was no call on the play that put him there.

Backes was leveled by Anaheim forward Nick Ritchie in the waning minutes of the third period with a hit that came well after the puck had left his stick, and also arrived with a high finish after initial shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Backes clearly not seeing that it was coming. Backes was down on the ice and dazed before being brought back to the Bruins dressing room, and the rest of the Bruins were equally dazed when there was no penalty on the play.

It may or may not have been a check to the head based on the shoulder being the principle point of contract, but it was clearly way late with the entire play right in front of the attacking Ritchie. There was no interest or check to the head infraction as a result of the play, and no power play for the Bruins in a close game they were trailing late in the third period.  

Understandably, Backes was wondering a day later why there was no infraction on a play the NHL is clearly trying to get rid of given the insidious danger of head injuries.

“Obviously I have a biased lens I’m looking through, but at that time of the game [a power play] is critical when we’re down by two,” said Backes. “Who knows what would have happened? But to police the game and take those hits out of the game, those are the kinds of things you need to have repercussions for…or you’re encouraging them.

“If that’s a legal hit, if you wanted to you could probably pick off three or four guys a game doing that. With no repercussions then their bench is getting a little shorter and you’re getting a little more space out there. But I don’t think that’s the way the game is trending and I don’t think that’s what we want in the game. So that’s my piece, I guess.”

With no injury to Backes and no announcement of any supplemental discipline from the Department of Player Safety, it certainly appears that Tuesday night’s Ritchie/Backes incident will go unpunished all around. Worse still, it was one of three or four times in the loss to the Ducks that the bigger, heavier Anaheim team took a run at the Bruins without much push-back until Zdeno Chara mixed it up with Ryan Getzlaf very late in the contest.

The good news, however, above the complaints is that Backes appears to have escaped the Ritchie hit unscathed and will be good to go against his former St. Louis Blues team on Thursday night at TD Garden.


Rangers hire David Quinn away from BU as new head coach

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Rangers hire David Quinn away from BU as new head coach

In what is becoming a growing trend, a National Hockey League team has dipped into the collegiate ranks to find its next head coach. After a successful five-year stint as Jack Parker’s successor at Boston University, David Quinn has been named the 35th coach of the New York Rangers.

Quinn reportedly received a five-year contract to oversee a plan to reload the Blueshirts roster.

In that respect Quinn is perhaps the perfect choice for the Rangers -- a young, enthusiastic coach that excels in the teaching aspect of the game with young player. He posted a 105-67-21 record in his five seasons with the Terriers while developing young NHL talent like Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller. Quinn didn’t win a national title at Boston University but did finish as college hockey’s runner-up in his second season, losing to Providence College in the 2015 NCAA title game.

Leaving BU for New York had to be a difficult choice for the 51-year-old Cranston, R.I., native, given that the BU job probably could have been a lifetime gig (as it was for the legendary Parker before him). But there were certainly things about the Rangers job that Quinn couldn’t pass up, among them the prestige of coaching an Original Six team and also where familiar faces like Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury are part of the management team. Being able to compete head-to-head against his good friend Mike Sullivan, the coach of the Penguins, certainly didn’t hurt either.

Quinn expressed all of those mixed emotions in a statement released by BU when New York made his hiring official on Tuesday.

“I’m incredibly excited for this new challenge, but leaving a job like this is very hard to do,” he said. “BU is a special place that has given me so much, not only as a player and a student, but also as a coach. The lifelong friendships I’ve developed here over the years absolutely mean the world to me.

“I was so fortunate to work with the very best in athletic director Drew Marrochello and senior vice president Todd Klipp. BU hockey has always been bigger than the coach and they will bring in an outstanding one to continue the winning tradition here.”

Quinn is the latest in a new movement by NHL teams to pluck their coaches from the college ranks, which is producing so many quality players these days. The Flyers kicked it off in hiring Dave Hakstol away from the University of North Dakota a couple of years ago, and earlier this month the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery away from the University of Denver after the Rangers initially showed interest.

It will be interesting to see where Boston University goes next. The Terriers have a wide swath of hockey-playing alumni to choose from, and people like Bruins assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo could also be candidates list if they wanted a college job.

Morning Skate: Look for Lightning strike in Game 7

Morning Skate: Look for Lightning strike in Game 7

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while we’re almost ready for Stanley Cup Final time.

*Who is going to step up in Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning for the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final? Put my money on Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Bolts, but don’t sleep on Brayden Point either. That dude has been awesome in this postseason for Tampa Bay. Make sure to check out all the action tonight (8 p.m.) on NBCSN where Game 7’s are treated with the proper gravitas and import.

*Interesting piece from Pittsburgh columnist Ron Cook, who says part of Pittsburgh’s downfall this spring had to do with a “sour relationship” between Phil Kessel and Mike Sullivan. Is Phil Kessel becoming a problem in an NHL dressing room? This is me with my “not shocked” face.

*Pierre Lebrun talks with TSN 1040 out in Vancouver about the Evander Kane contract extension with the San Jose Sharks, which is supposed to be in the seven-year, $49 million range. That is a massive gamble on a player that’s scored 30 goals once in a career where he’s underachieved most of the time. To put it in perspective, Kane will be getting paid $1 million more per season than a much better player in Boston in Brad Marchand. That’s the makings of a really, really bad contract in my humble opinion.

*PHT writer James O’Brien says that the Carolina Hurricanes trading Jeff Skinner would haunt the team, but it sure looks like the Canes are moving for a house-cleaning in Carolina.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Pothier out in Vegas says that all of the skepticism is gone when it comes to the Golden Knights acquiring Ryan Reaves after his big playoff moment.

*For something completely different: I’ve always wanted to see Mysterio on the big screen battling Spider-Man, and it looks like we will see that sooner rather than later as played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Sounds groovy to me.