There’s no truth to the rumor new Kraken goaltending coach Andrew Allen was actually hired to score goals rather than help prevent them.
Allen, 45, a former Buffalo Sabres goaltending coach added Tuesday to Dave Hakstol’s staff, was a freshman netminder for the University of Vermont Catamounts in 1998 when he became the first NCAA goalie ever credited with scoring a game-winning goal. Vermont was playing Harvard and up by a goal late when the Crimson pulled its goalie for an extra attacker, only to see a misplaced point pass go all the way down the ice into the empty net.
Allen was the last Vermont player to touch the puck and therefore credited with the rare goal by a netminder. But when Harvard scored on him with one second remaining to cut Vermont’s two-goal lead back down to one again, Allen’s goal wound up the game-winner and vaulted him into the history books.
“People tell me I let it in on purpose,” Allen said with a chuckle.
The Kraken on Tuesday also hired Dan Bylsma, 50, a former Pittsburgh Penguins and Sabres head coach, to serve as an assistant with its temporarily-shared American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ontario native Allen had already been with the Kraken nearly two years, first as a goaltending consultant and then becoming a professional scout last year.
He oversaw preparations that brought free agents Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger to the Kraken in what’s expected to perhaps be the NHL’s top goalie tandem. Allen said it’s too early to project how the pair will split games.
“We’re really excited with the goaltending depth that we got and the guys that we got,” Allen said. “We’ll look over the schedule and see what fits best, but it is a busy schedule with the Olympic break.”
But whatever gets decided, Allen, who played five years of minor pro hockey before coaching with Japan’s national team, in the AHL and four seasons with the Sabres, won’t surprise anyone. He’s a “communicator” that “forms trusting relationships with his goaltenders” that in Buffalo included Robin Lehner and Carter Hutton, among others.
“It’s more than just drills on the ice,” he added. “It’s a partnership and working toward a common goal.”