Mark Holick confirmed as Syracuse Crunch coach. Update.

Confirming earlier reports, the Ducks officially named Mark Holick head coach of the Syracuse Crunch, their AHL affiliate for the upcoming season. The contract is a multi-year deal; financial terms were not disclosed.

Holick said that Ducks general manager Bob Murray first encouraged him to apply for the job at the West Coast prospects camp in April.

“I was flattered,” said Holick, who had never interviewed for a professional coaching position before. He formally accepted the position Sunday.

“Being with pro athletes is a bit of a step, but at the same time, hockey’s hockey,” Holick said.

The 41-year-old has an extensive coaching resume.

He spent three seasons as head coach for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 2007-10, compiling a 120-75-21 record for 261 points and three consecutive trips to the WHL playoffs. Last season Holick guided the Ice to a 43-25-5 record (91 points) for a second-place finish in the Central Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Holick also served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Saskatoon native served 13 seasons as a head coach and assistant in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) from 1994-07. Holick began his professional coaching career as an assistant with Penticton (1994-95), Langley (1995-96) and South Surrey (1996-97) of the BCHL before becoming head coach of South Surrey in 1997-98. He also coached in St. Albert and Spruce Grove of the AJHL from 2003-06 prior to returning for his final BCHL season with Vernon in 2006-07.

Murray said in a statement that “With 16 years of coaching experience, Mark Holick has the proven track record we were looking for. He had three great seasons in the WHL, including earning Coach of the Year honors in 2009-10, and is certainly qualified to take the next step.”

Holick said he’s already spoken with Randy Carlyle and will try to install a similar system in Syracuse.

Aside from Brian Lebler, he doesn’t know who his personnel will consist of, but his mission is pretty straightforward: “Our job is to get them ready for the National Hockey League.”

In a crunch, Ducks turn to Syracuse.

After a year of turning their top prospects into minor-league vagabonds, the Ducks have identified an American Hockey League affiliate.

Their multi-year deal with the Syracuse Crunch, announced Thursday, comes less than a week after the Columbus Dispatch first reported that the Blue Jackets and Crunch were in the process of parting ways. It also came as a relief to general manager Bob Murray, who has been anxious to find an AHL affiliate since the Ducks terminated their agreement with the now-defunct Iowa Chops in May, 2009.

“We are thrilled to be affiliating with the Syracuse Crunch in such a great hockey market,” Murray said in a statement. “Syracuse is steeped in hockey tradition and we are excited to partner with an ownership and management team that shares the same commitment to winning and player development as we do.”

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Murray on Wisniewski: ‘He should get suspended.’

Here are Ducks general manager Bob Murray’s thoughts on Wisniewski’s eight-game suspension:

 

First of all, we love the way Wiz plays and we want
him to
play the game hard. That is how he has to play and he is very effective
doing
that. In this instance, he crossed the line. He went too far and he was
going
to get suspended. I applaud the league cracking down on these things. He
should
get suspended. I hope they continue to work on this. What happened at
the last
GM meetings and the direction we’re going is wonderful.

 

The problem I have is the length of it. It just
seems that
Wiz at this point because of the climate of the league is an easy
target. I
sure as heck hope that if we’re going to crack down, that it is a crack
down
across the board no matter if you’re a star player or not and that
everybody
gets whacked. It can’t just be on certain people at the right time.
Nothing
makes you cringe more than when you see some of the hits this year. All I
say
is, if you’re going to get them, let’s get them all.

 

He crossed the line and has to get whacked. I
support Colin
(Campbell). Colin’s job is a tough job to do. It is not easy. Let’s get
them
all if we’re going to do it and make it equal across the board, whether
it is a
fourth-line player or first-line player, whether the player plays on the
East
Coast or the West Coast. Don’t forget, what was the last suspension of
eight
games or more? Chris Pronger when he was in Anaheim. Let’s just make
sure it is
even.

 

On the impact of losing Wisniewski

He’s a 20-some minute guy. Obviously, it’s an awful
blow to
the hockey team.

 

The game has evolved and we play it different now.
We have
to get rid of this stuff. I’m all for it. I want this stuff gone. I
cringe. My
boys played the game. It’s an awful. I can’t imagine being a parent
watching
that. We have to clean it up, but let’s be consistent.

Trade deadline recap.

Just filed the story regarding today’s trades. In all, 55 players changed teams in 31 deals, both NHL records.

The Ducks’ five trades seemed meager in comparison to the Phoenix Coyotes’ seven, the most of any team. Here are the highlights from Bob Murray’s pregame summit high atop Honda Center:
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Get your NHL trade rumors here.

In tomorrow’s editions we address the state of the Ducks at the 2010 trade deadline, which is tomorrow at noon. GM Bob Murray probably won’t complete the same magnitude of trades as he did at last year’s deadline, which saw Sammy Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Kent Huskins and Steve Montador shipped out just under the wire.

A couple sticking points:

- Scott Niedermayer is “going nowhere.”

- The current asking price for the type of minutes-eating defensemen Murray would like is a second-round draft pick.

- Looking at the early rounds of the June draft, the Ducks have two picks in the first round and Murray said they aren’t going anywhere. They also have one in the second and none in the third unless Philadelphia wins the Stanley Cup (thanks, Chris Pronger).

If you plan on being glued to the Internet tomorrow tracking trades ’til noon, here are some handy links:

TSN on Twitter: http://tsn.ca/twitter/

Sportsnet: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/trades/

The Hockey News: http://www.thehockeynews.com/

ESPN: http://espn.go.com/nhl/

TSN Tradecenter (with the proper American spelling): http://tsn.ca/tradecentre/

Update from Pebble Beach

Ducks general manager Bob Murray is currently in Pebble Beach for the NHL Board of Governors’ meeting. Among the issues on the agenda are the head-hunting hits that have caused serious injuries around the league.


Chris Stevenson writes in the Toronto Sun:

The issue of hits to the head is one the league is going to continue to explore.

As part of Tuesday night’s meeting, NHL VP and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell made a video presentation to the governors outlining how the game has changed through the decades.

Defining what is a legal and illegal hit doesn’t sound like it’s going to be easy given the different perspectives out there.

“Some of the hits, where the player had no chance to anticipate it, had no chance to see it coming or avoid it, then maybe we have to look into it. But a player still has some responsibility,” said Brian Burke, president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“When I was playing in the AHL and got drilled, you got back to the bench and your own teammates would tell you to keep your head up, what are you doing? There is some accountability for the player.”

“There was some really good video on that subject, and it’s a subject we have to work hard to address,” said Anaheim Ducks’ GM Bob Murray.

“But you’ve got to be careful what you do when you talk about rule changes. Hitting is part of our game, and you don’t want to change the fundamental nature of the game.

“I can’t believe the number of players today skating with their head down, I just can’t believe it.”

Bob Murray clarifies, too.

With Bob Murray in Toronto for the annual GM meetings, we turn to The Fourth Period for the Ducks’ GM’s reaction to Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s comments on Monday:


“We have two good goaltenders,” he said. “I stated many times during the summer that there would probably be issues with [two No.1 goalies]. I think Giggy is frustrated because of his injury, and he hasn’t got to play because of his injury and he wants to get going. I’d be very upset if he wasn’t frustrated about being No.1, then I’d be worried.”

To date, Murray hasn’t had any significant trade discussions involving any of his top players. It’s been reported the Ducks are looking for a top-six winger and a top-three defenseman.

As for Giguere and Hiller, a trade could still transpire later in the season if the right offer is tabled.

“We’ve got two good goalies and we’ll see what happens down the road,” Murray said.