NHL notes: Caps coach Oates blaming refs for playoff exit

Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates (C) listens to a penalty call against his team by referee...

Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates (C) listens to a penalty call against his team by referee Eric Furlatt (27) in the third period of Game 2 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal hockey playoff game in Washington May 4, 2013. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

At least he’s talking about hockey now instead of beating up former New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella.

A few short weeks after telling a D.C.-area radio station he’d “easily” beat up Tortorella, Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates can’t seem to get over his club’s opening round loss to the Broadway Blueshirts.

Again, though, his latest grievance has little to do with how his side actually played.

“I don’t think we got the best shake with the referees, especially in New York (in Game 6),” Oates told CSN Washington. The Caps went on to lose the series in seven games.

“I don’t think the discrepancy of the calls (five power plays for the Rangers, none for the Caps) was fair, but what are you going to do about it, right?

“You look like a sore loser and you look like a guy copping out and looking for excuses. But then my answer is we actually played pretty good hockey, so I can’t complain about that.

In hindsight, Washington’s inability to beat Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist in Games 6 and 7 likely had more to do with the Caps not moving on than anything else – something blaming the refs and jawing back and forth with Torts won’t fix.

MESSIER INTERVIEWS WITH RANGERS

When it comes to filling its head coaching vacancy, the New York Rangers appear to have no shortage of options.

Former Rangers captain Mark Messier revealed Friday he’d been interviewed for the position.

“Glen has interviewed many candidates and I'm one of those guys,” Messier told NHL.com. “Other than that I'm not going to speculate on what-ifs and things like that, it's just too premature.”

Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens has an interview scheduled with Rangers general manager Glen Sather, the L.A. Times reported Friday.

Two recently fired NHL bench bosses -- Alain Vignault and Lindy Ruff – have also been identified as strong candidates.

UNNAMED SUITOR FOR COYOTES

There may be another suitor taking aim at the Phoenix Coyotes.

In an interview Thursday with the Arizona Republic, Glendale, Ariz., city councillor Gary Sherwood said there’s a mystery buyer expressing interest in the Phoenix Coyotes.

Sherwood wouldn’t reveal details about the candidate or its plans.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Wednesday that “stuff’s going to happen” in relation to the financially-struggling Coyotes. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly echoed Bettman’s uncertainty, saying the club could potentially play its home games elsewhere as early as the 2013-14 season.

The NHL has been trying to sell the franchise since buying it out of bankruptcy in 2009.

SWEDEN ROSTER RELEASED

Sweden released its preliminary men’s hockey roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Friday, signaling a changing of the guard in the Scandinavian nation.

Beyond the surprise exclusions of Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, a number of young NHLers – Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Carl Hagelin and Gabriel Landeskog – look set to appear at an Olympic Games for the first time.

Thirty-one of the 35 players Sweden head coach Par Marts has called in make their living playing in the NHL, with veterans Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Henrik Lundqvist and Douglas Murray highlighting the roster.

The NHL has yet to come to an agreement with the IOC regarding its players participating in Sochi, but a TSN report earlier this year indicated the NHL is likely to shut down for two weeks during next February’s Games.

BRIEFLY

The Florida Panthers sent 24-year-old defenceman T.J. Brennan to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Bobby Butler, according to TSN … Philadelphia Flyers centre Claude Giroux could demand between a salary of $7-8 million when his current contract runs out after the 2013-14 season, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.


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