FREDDY MEYER has a new position: head coach.
The Sanbornville native will not be returning to the Manchester Monarchs, however. An assistant coach with the Monarchs for the past two seasons, Meyer will take on the head position with the East Coast Wizards, a new junior hockey team in the Eastern Hockey League.
Meyer, who lives in Winchester, Mass., said the opportunity to lead his own program and to be closer to home with the Wizards in Bedford, Mass., were major factors. Meyer has a wife and two children and had been driving approximately 100 miles roundtrip to Manchester.
“They were looking for a head coach and it was a situation that is a lot closer to home for me and it seems like a really good opportunity with room for growth,” Meyer said. “It gives me the opportunity to be a head coach and help them build a program.”
Meyer said he enjoyed his time in the Los Angeles Kings organization and that he had made his decision prior to finding out that the Kings were not going to renew the contract of Monarchs head coach Mark Morris.
“I spoke with (Kings assistant general manager) Rob Blake last Monday night after we had our team meetings and our exit interviews and physicals and let him know about my decision to pursue this other opportunity,” Meyer said. “It was nothing to do with the Monarchs. I want to thank everybody in Manchester and L.A. for everything they did. I had two great years with the team. It was more of a position for me that I felt was a good opportunity for my career and it gave me a better situation with my family.”
Meyer, 33, played defense at Boston University before embarking on a nine-year professional career that included 281 NHL games with Philadelphia, the New York Islanders, Phoenix and Atlanta.
He said that he valued working in his home state and learning the coaching side of the sport from Morris.
“It was a great opportunity in Manchester. I really enjoyed working with all the pros and the L.A. Kings prospects and learning the coaching side of the game under Mark Morris. He welcomed me in with open arms,” Meyer said. “Mark and I have a great friendship. He’s taught me a lot about the game. I’m really thankful for everything he provided me with. Hopefully I can take some information from my playing days and some information from my coaching days under Mark and try to build my own philosophies and structure with my team.”
- - - - - - -
GAME 7 on tap: Isn’t this fun?
Sure, if you’re a Boston Bruins fans you likely would have preferred that Boston beat Montreal in Game 6 Monday night to end the series. But now you get to watch a nerve-wracking Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday night to see which Original Six team makes the Eastern Conference Final.
So what does Bruins head coach Claude Julien expect out of Game 7?
“I expect us to win,” he said.
In order to do that, the Bruins need to forget the 4-0 loss in Game 6.
Thanks to a fluky goal just 2:11 into the game, the Bruins were on their heels early and never seemed to recover. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask never settled in and gave up big rebounds and seemed hesitant rather than confident. He made some big saves as well, but the overall consistency was off.
On offense, the Bruins battled bad bounces, hit goalposts, and a hot goaltender in Carey Price. Factor in a rowdy Montreal crowd and it all added to a night the Bruins need to forget.
“I didn’t like the way they got their goals (Monday). We could have been better in regards to that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “From our end I thought we had more lines going tonight than we’ve had all series. We had offensive zone time and had some chances, but again, you hit posts, you miss open nets, you’ve got to bury those chances and (Monday) they came back to haunt us.”
So what does it all mean for Game 7? Probably not much.
Game 7 is its own animal. Very little of what happened in the first six games means anything in Game 7. Momentum is thrown out the window as both teams feel the press of the wall at their backs.
There is nothing to hold back in a Game 7. All the intensity, bad feelings and pressure boils over into one final push.
- - - - - - -
GIBSON at it again: After playing a huge role in the Norfolk Admirals eliminating the Manchester Monarchs from the AHL playoffs, goaltender John Gibson is looking to play villain against Manchester’s parent team in Los Angeles.
When Anaheim goalie Frederik Anderson was injured, Gibson got the call from Norfolk, where he was already giving second round opponent St. John’s nightmares. Goalie Jonas Hiller has been in and out of the doghouse of Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau (another Manchester connection), so Gibson was given a shot.
Gibson got the start against the Kings in Game 4 and shut the Kings out 2-0. He played well again in Game 5 to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead in the series, which continues tonight at 9:30.
Ian Clark covers pro hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is email@example.com.