Ranford now with Kings, but still many connections to Bruins


Ranford now with Kings, but still many connections to Bruins

NEWARK, NJ Bill Ranford has a theory about the future career paths of goaltenders and journeymen, bottom line forward-types.

You can never tell which players will become coaches, but it seems like the goalies go do TV and the role players become coaches, said Ranford. Very rarely do the skill guys become head coaches over the long haul.

The formers Bruins goaltender and current Los Angeles Kings goaltending coach has been working with Kings prodigy Jon Quick for the last five seasons while helping turn him into the elite netminder ready to start in the Stanley Cup Finals Wednesday night.

But the former Bruins third-round pick in 1985 had actually thought television, rather than coaching, was going to be his hockey gravy train after his playing days were over.

Ranford did some work in Vancouver broadcasting local games and some analyst work for TSN after taking a broadcasting course offered by the NHLPA at the end of his playing days.

I did some broadcasting with the NHLPA Goals and Dreams program, and they approached me about taking the broadcasting seminar, said Ranford. I did a little work with TSN and some radio work in Vancouver, but Marc Crawford approached me about the goaltending job in LA after Id been doing it at the junior level for a few years.

It felt like the right time to try it and Ive been doing it for six years. With my international hockey experience and Canada Cup stuff I got to know Canadian TV executive John Shannon pretty well and I thought Id get into the color analyst stuffor something TV-wise. John helped me with that early on, but Ive really enjoyed my time with the Kings working with two very good young goalies.

Crawford cajoled him into coaching when he took the reigns of the Kings six years ago, and hes survived several regime chances as the goalie guru for a Los Angeles team thats got two great young ones in Quick and Jonathan Bernier.

Youve built that trust with your goaltenders early, and the two Jonathans have been together with me for five years now, said Ranford. You gain that trust in each other. Ive got their backs and theyve got mine.

Bruins fans will remember Ranford for several different things: jumping into the playoffs in 1986 after being selected in the third round by the Bruins just one year prior, and then later being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Andy Moog.

Then he won Stanley Cup rings against the Bruins in 1988 and 1990 one as a backup to Grant Fuhr and one as a Conn Smythe winner gaining revenge on a Boston team that dealt him away before rejoining them at the end of his NHL career. Then Ranford was again moved in another infamous deal that sent Adam Oates, Rick Tocchet and the goalie to Washington in exchange for Jason Allison, Anson Carter and Massachusetts native Jim Carey.

He still looks back on his days with the Bruins fondly despite being traded out of the organization twice, and dropped in some of his old pals during last years Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Boston is a great city. It was an excellent city to live in when I played there, and I still have friends there to this day, said Ranford. I was at Game 5 and went in to see Harry Sinden in the Bruins box. I still keep in touch with Johnny Bucyk. There are guys on the Cup winning team that I knew a little bit over the years.

During his time coaching junior hockey in British Columbia Ranford saw the career progression of a young kid from East Vancouver named Lucic, and that created another Six Degrees of Bill Ranford connection to the Bruins even if he didnt know it at the time.

I had Milan Lucic as a player at the BC junior level and I saw him grow and develop. It was pretty special to watch that, and then see him raise the Cup last year, said Ranford. I was with him with the Coquitlam Express where he was just hoping for a chance to play, and then saw him evolve into this really dominant player during his time with Vancouver.

He was very raw. He just wanted to play. He would go run through the end boards if you asked him to because he just wanted to get out there on the ice. Thats the kind of player he was.

No matter where Ranford goes it seems like hell always tied back to the Bruins organization on many different levels, and thats perfectly okay with him now that they dont have a chance to trade him one last time.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.