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from Matt Larkin of The Daily Faceoff,
Kasper, 18, was Detroit’s first-round selection, eighth overall, in the 2022 NHL Draft. He was the highest-drafted Austrian player since Thomas Vanek in 2003. In his three seasons playing against men in the SHL, Kasper made quite an impression. His 23 points in 52 regular-season games this season were the second-most of any player 20 or younger in the SHL.
Kasper joined the Wings for their flight to Winnipeg before they take on the Jets Friday night. He is unquestionably the No. 1 forward prospect in their farm system. At the start of this season, Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis released a list of his top 75 NHL-affiliated prospects and ranked Kasper 47th. That list included plenty of skaters already debuting in the NHL this season, however, and didn’t yet factor in Kasper’s impressive 2022-23 campaign. While Kasper doesn’t project to have an elite offensive ceiling, his intelligent two-way game could make him a highly effective No. 2 center with a potential Selke Trophy-worthy skill set someday.
While the Wings are bursting with promising young blueliners, from reigning Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider to elite-grade prospect Simon Edvinsson to recently signed William Wallinder, they badly need an influx of top-end forward talent to support Lucas Raymond and Dylan Larkin in the long term. Kasper is a key part of that plan, as is Carter Mazur. The Wings also have two first-round picks for this June’s loaded draft.
a bit more
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- A few sources among both teams and agents have indicated they believe there’s a deal to be made that could increase the cap closer to $2M without affecting the players’ escrow number. Their estimates are based on what they’ve heard revenues are and will be. The NHL and NHLPA can agree to raise the cap more than $1M even if all debt isn't yet paid. Has that been presented to Walsh? “No, it hasn’t been presented to me, but it sounds good,” he laughed. “When the time is right, we’ll have those conversations.”
- Sure sounds like the Calgary players had a true come-to-Jesus meeting after the horrible 8-2 loss March 20 in Los Angeles. No more whining, publicly or privately. Do your job, play hard, push for the playoffs. They are 3-1 since, two points back of Winnipeg — with a huge meeting looming next Wednesday in the Manitoba capital.
- Mattias Ekholm provided a piece of interesting insight into playing with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He said there are moments in games where you are conditioned to let things settle, but not in Edmonton. One example is going behind your own net with time as the lines are changing. The regular play is to wait for everyone to get where they’re supposed to go, but Ekholm’s learned that, when you have two nuclear weapons, you get it to them as quick as possible, even if it seems counter-intuitive.
“I have to turn (my vision) up-ice much faster than I’m used to,” he said. Ekholm added that sometimes, when it’s a scramble in your own zone, you might try to calm it down if you can. Again, he’s noticed that those are the moments McDavid/Draisaitl are even more dangerous because structure is gone. You have to find them — or put it in an area they can get it — right away.
Gordie Howe would have been 95 today too.
from Stan Fischler of The Hockey News,
I'm 91 today; so what's the big deal?
You want a 91 big deal; check out New York Islanders great, Butch Goring; the best hockey player not in the Hall of Fame -- give or take #18, my buddy Ed Westfall.
You want a real, good, legit 91; that's Butch who's got the vim vigor and vitality of a teenager.
Me, I'm an imposter; I never graduated beyond 19 and emotionally, 12.
The only reason I'm around to make a joke about being a senior -- I hate that word -- is because of hockey. Our favorite game has kept me alive and kicking.
Don't ask me the medical reason; just take my word that the endless adrenaline push makes me want to to write about guys like Zack Parise and Brock Nelson and this here goalie who should win the Vezina; Ilya Sorokin, by name.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
It was Nedeljkovic’s third start in a row. Combined with an appearance in relief of Magnus Hellberg on March 23, Nedeljkovic is 2-1-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .912 save percentage since returning from the Griffins.
“It’s nice getting to play a couple of games in a row and get into a rhythm, feeling good,” Nedeljkovic said. “A couple of goals kind of beat me from afar, kind of went through me. Still a couple of things you’d like to clean up. I thought overall we did a pretty good job of limiting their quality chances.”
Jake Walman scored with 3.2 seconds remaining in the third period to snap a tie. The Red Wings (33-32-9, 75 points) surpassed last season’s totals for wins (32) and points (74).
“That’s the Ned that we know, and he played unreal tonight,” Walman said. “He for sure won us that game.”
Below find post game interviews and extended highlights.
* The Bruins beat the Blue Jackets to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Presidents’ Trophy in their 75th game.
* Viva Las Vegas! The Golden Knights became the first Western Conference club to clinch a berth in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Connor McDavid scored the 300th goal of his NHL career and became the first player in League history with five double-digit point streaks in a single season.
The Wings scored early in the first period to take a 1-0 lead and that is how the period ended. The Hurricanes had a slight advantage but Ned was good in goal.
For 19:57 minutes of the third period there was no scoring, then Detroit scored with three seconds left to win 3-2.
Detroit goals are below.
Good evening and welcome to all. I’m sure we’re a happy bunch after a solid effort by the Wings, and a much needed win the other night. Now, play with that same effort tonight. We’re down to the last nine games, and including tonight’s game, the Wings will have four home games left. Make them all enjoyable to watch.
It’s the Hurricanes vs the Wings. The puck is set to drop around 7:30 PM and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Hulu. You can listen on the Red Wings Radio Network (97.1 The Ticket in Detroit).
It’s a Live Blog!
With the NHLPA's new executive director Marty Walsh taking control, TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun, and Chris Johnston discuss some of the biggest issues the players are concerned about including the playoff format, a best-on best international tournament, the salary cap and more.
via the YouTube page of the NHL,
Unique hat trick moments, a wacky shootout celebration, a soccer maneuver from Marner and a wild contest between the Sharks and Oilers that sees four overturned goals!
from Matt Larkin of The Daily Faceoff,
As he put affectionally put it, two lifelong passions merged for former U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh Thursday as he held his first press conference since being named executive director of the NHL Players’ Association in February.
The first passion: unionism through and through, something he was born into growing up in Boston as the son of Irish immigrants, sitting at the dinner table learning from his father, a laborer, about the importance of representation. He carried that mentality with him into his political career. And even when he was criticized for being “too close” to organized labor, he explained Thursday, “I wore my unionism with a badge of honor.”
Walsh, 55, was mayor of Boston from 2014 through 2021 and left his position to join U.S. President Joe Biden’s cabinet as Labor Secretary in 2021. Under Biden, Walsh oversaw regulations to protect the rights of more than 150 million workers nationwide. He had previously been president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America and was head of the Building Construction and Trades Council in Boston.
8 1/2 minutes to watch.
from Nick Kypreos at the Toronto Star,
With the playoffs two weeks away, it feels like the goaltending position has never been more vulnerable. Gone are the times when goaltenders seemed irreplaceable.
With the exception of Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning, Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers and Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders, the majority of playoff-bound netminders today are seen more as potential liabilities. Sorokin has been exceptional this season, often with little support in front of him. But that’s where the list ends. Notably the Boston Bruins duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman will still have some convincing to do come April, even after the team’s historic season.
The crazy part is, the teams with the second, third, fourth and fifth-best records in the league have all left themselves potentially exposed with questionable and unproven goaltending. The Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs all seem to have Stanley Cup-calibre rosters, but can we say the same about their goalies? Add these playoff teams to the mix: the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and, yes, those defending champs from Colorado....
... it seems NHL goalies are indeed trending in the wrong direction when it comes to dependability.
Since the 2004-05 lockout, changes have been made to help increase offence in the game. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the goaltenders. The NHL has become faster and more dynamic with less reliance on netminders to single-handedly steal games.
The number of unproven goalies in these playoffs should favour another underdog story like Kuemper, rather than the rarity that is Vasilevskiy and his impeccable playoff reputation.
Sorry, posted this in the wrong section of KK.
from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,
I had a conversation not too long ago with the venerable Bob McKenzie of TSN about that perception of Bedard's potential.
"I was just thinking to myself, and I didn't say it publicly, that we should just pump the brakes a little bit," he said, laughing. "I've learned that over the years with these 'phenoms.' It's in fairness to them. Our society and social media and everybody wants to make everyone the biggest thing ever and hype it. Let's just be sensible a little bit here. Recognize that there's something special in these kids, but don't set the bar unsustainably high."
What would help Bedard: If he didn't have to be a franchise's savior right off the hop, but a star player who bolsters what is already in place....
Which teams are best positioned to make the most out of Connor Bedard in the shortest amount of time?
1. Detroit Red Wings
... The current Red Wings are essentially a solar system in search of a sun. Larkin is legit. Mo Seider and Lucas Raymond have bright futures despite some sophomore year struggles. Simon Edvinsson, Marco Kasper and Sebastian Cossa are the next wave. There's a good veteran supporting cast, especially goalie Ville Husso.
If they land Bedard and he follows the same growth pattern as McDavid and Matthews, then 2024-25 is the season it all comes together. Even after Seider's next contract, Yzerman will have an enormous amount of cap space in Summer 2024 to shape the roster around Bedard. The Wings' young players will have matured, too.
more plus other teams ($)
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Wings came into this week saying Husso likely was done for the season — there's only two weeks left — because of a nagging injury, but by midweek, he was on the ice, sharing the net in practice and working extra time with goaltending coach Alex Westlund.
"Ville is back in the mix," head coach Derek Lalonde said. "He got some opinions on where his lower-body injury is at. We want to get him back into the rhythm and hopefully he can in some games."...
Husso's absence was an opportunity for Nedeljkovic, who is on an expiring contract, to show the struggles that landed him in the minors are in the past. Likewise, Magnus Hellberg, who was brought in to serve as Husso's backup after the team lost confidence in Nedeljkovic, is also trying to show he should be the one to stay past this season.
It had looked like Nedeljkovic and Hellberg would share the net as the Wings close out their schedule, with Lalonde saying whoever has the hot hand will get start the next game. But after seeing multiple specialists, Husso felt reassured that what bothered him won't get worse.
When he was unavailable, Nedeljkovic was called up under emergency conditions. The Wings could opt to keep Nedeljkovic if Husso is cleared to play by making it a regular call-up, because they have the roster space to carry three goaltenders. Hellberg seemed to have made a case for being the one to get an extension, but Nedeljkovic played well his first two starts, and he's got 100 NHL games on his resume to Hellberg's 21.
from Ethan Sears of the New York Post,
With each passing game, the playoffs are looking more and more like an inevitability for the Islanders.
After Kyle Palmieri’s shootout goal propelled the Isles to a 2-1 win over the Capitals on Wednesday, the Isles have two more points on the board, just seven games left and a six-point lead to work with.
That is a math problem that is becoming just about impossible for the Panthers — the first team below the cutline — to solve, even with their win over Toronto on Wednesday.
And the Isles look to have the upper hand over the Penguins as well, with Pittsburgh needing to make up five points with two games in hand to catch them for the first wild-card spot.
from Julian McKenzie of The Athletic,
Milan Lucic has thrown a lot of right hooks throughout his hockey life. That’s to be expected when you’re a fighter, even in the modern-day game where the enforcer role is all but extinct.
Throughout his 16-year NHL career, Lucic has played in many tense games and sown himself into bitter rivalries. And he has taken part in many fights — 88, to be exact. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kurtis MacDermid just happens to be the fighter he’s fought against the most, four times. Their latest encounter occurred late last month, when Lucic used that right hook to drop MacDermid to the ice, prompting “oohs” and even a “holy s–t” from the fans at Ball Arena.
It’s a fight that will live forever on the internet. It has its place on Hockey Fights, a website devoted to chronicling fights and fighting statistics. Users can even vote to determine who won a particular fight — Lucic has 97.5 percent of the vote on his latest fight against MacDermid, if you were wondering.
In fact, Lucic is among Hockey Fights’ legion of visitors. He’s watched most of, if not every single one of, his fights....
David Singer, a New York native and television executive, is the reason Hockey Fights has been able to log so many stats and recollections from the days when fighting was more in vogue. He got his start as a blogger in the 1990s, compiling fight stats on his own before other internet users started to chip in and help out. Singer bought the domain name hockeyfights.com in 1999, and the site grew from there.
“It was curiosity,” Singer said when asked why he created the site.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
So, when had Panthers squandered a fast 1-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs by surrendering what originally seemed like two preventable goals on consecutive second-period shifts, their coach blew a casket of Yosemite Sam proportions.
Calmed by his group’s dramatic 3-2 overtime comeback victory over the less-urgent Maple Leafs and relieved by two coveted points in the bank, Maurice could find the humour in his own temper tantrum.
“I thought it was a very nice opportunity to share feelings,” explained Maurice, who was given extra time to rant while he correctly challenged a Calle Järnkrok non-goal for offsides.
“That was not calculated. It was just honest. It was where I was at. If I could have yelled louder, if I found a f----n' way to be more profane than I was, I would have. I’m not gifted enough.
“I needed to channel my father, who's a gifted curser. That was all I had. I was honest. That's how I felt.”
Below find two videos the first Paul Maurice let's his team have it and the second video is the game highlights.
from Bennett Durando of the Denver Post,
The Avalanche had scored a power play goal in a dozen consecutive games. In the unlucky 13th, they got played by their own power play.
Nathan MacKinnon’s shot was blocked, Cale Makar’s recovery of a bouncing puck was squandered at the blue line, and Frederick Gaudreau converted the ensuing short-handed breakaway for the back-breaking goal in Colorado’s 4-2 loss to the Wild on Wednesday.
“I was going backward for the first little bit, and then just couldn’t get back,” Makar said. “I took the first swipe at (the puck), and it bounced over my stick. Just one of those nights.”
In the most important game of the season at Ball Arena, with a chance to leapfrog Minnesota for first place in the Central, the Avs (44-24-6) conceded what was just their third short-handed goal of the season at the worst possible time. Halfway through the second period, the Avs trailed 2-1 when Valeri Nichushkin drew a boarding penalty behind the net. Gaudreau’s goal came just 14 seconds into the power play, and the Avs suddenly looked lifeless for the last 1:46.
Instead of overtaking Minnesota atop the division, Colorado trails by three points with eight games remaining, including Saturday (7 p.m. MT) against the tied-for-second-place Dallas Stars.
“It’s a game of mistakes, and we made some big ones,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Didn’t make a lot of them, but we made some big ones.”
Game highlights are below.
* The “Comeback Cats” lived up to their nickname once again as Brandon Montour assisted on the tying tally with a minute remaining in regulation and scored the overtime winner to stun the Maple Leafs.
* The Central Division-leading Wild edged the third-place Avalanche to extend their road point streak to 11 games, which is one contest shy of the longest runs in the NHL this season.
* The Bruins and Golden Knights will have another opportunity to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy and a playoff berth, respectively, during Thursday’s 11-game slate, which also features the Hurricanes-Red Wings and Ducks-Kraken on ESPN+ and Hulu.
from George Richards of Florida Hockey Now,
Keith Tkachuk, the five-time NHL All-Star who is the father of Florida Panthers All-Star forward Matthew, had some choice words for his son’s team on a Toronto radio station Wednesday morning.
Speaking on Toronto 1050, Keith Tkachuk said his son is “devastated” with the team’s current spot as the Panthers go into tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs riding a four-game losing streak.
The position the Panthers are in, Keith Tkachuk said, are of their own doing.
Keith Tkachuk was in attendance Monday night when the Panthers lost 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators — who are captained by Brady Tkachuk — and he did not sound all that impressed with Matthew’s team.
To say the least....
“They are a soft team and they are getting everything they deserve right now.”
To continue on that point, Keith Tkachuk said for the Panthers to snap their losing streak in Toronto, they need to bring a little more toughness to their game.
“Instead of trying to get autographs on the ice from Matthews and Marner,” he said, “they probably should check them a little harder. Whatever it is, it is disappointing. I know I sound like a frustrated person, but I know every time I come and watch Ottawa, they may not be the most talented team but they’re going to play hard. \
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“It’s a little unfortunate,” Lalonde said Wednesday. “It’s just not the culture of our sport. Other leagues, getting ejected, being demonstrative on the sidelines or on the bench, it’s applauded sometimes. Our culture is calm demeanor. Obviously, I don’t want to put myself in those situations.”
Lalonde expects to hear from the NHL and “rightfully get scolded.” He likely will be fined.
“I’ve only been in this league a little bit and I pride myself in being mild-mannered,” Lalonde said. “I’m fairly calm on the bench. It takes a lot to get me going. But that’s just not the culture of the National Hockey League, which I really like and appreciate.”
Lalonde was upset a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference following Jeff Carter’s tying goal was unsuccessful. He had some words for the officials but was shocked to get the heave-ho.
“It was probably an accumulation of my demonstrative reaction of the initial call, which was probably a little much,” Lalonde said. “I just think he had had enough. I don’t know if it warranted (an ejection). But he has every right to do that. He’s trying to manage a game.”
Referee Garret Rank has a history of tossing coaches and players. He ejected Sidney Crosby earlier this season.
“He handled it extremely calm,” Lalonde said. “He never raised his voice. He just calmly skated away and kicked me out. Of course, I’m new in the league and they don’t want to hear much from a first-time coach.”
from Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff,
There is no sugarcoating this summer’s NHL free agent crop. There will be no hyperbole to drive ratings, or talk about a three-headed monster stalking the top of the list like we’ve had in years past. There will certainly be no Brinks trucks backing up to the house of one newly wealthy individual with $75 or $80 million inside.
Yes, 2023 will likely go down as one of the weakest overall free agent classes in more than a decade. But this class graduates to free agency at a fascinating juncture as the NHL’s salary cap could be increasing in a meaningful way for the first time since 2019.
Beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. Which is why the top available free agent is very much a debate. We’ve ranked Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting in the No. 1 spot because he’s strung together two very productive seasons – totaling 44 goals and 109 points – on his first one-way NHL contract. There will be no shortage of teams interested after witnessing the success Zach Hyman has achieved in Edmonton upon departing Toronto. New Jersey’s Damon Severson will also be a hot commodity as a steady, right-shooting defenseman who can chew up minutes.
continued, includes Top 50 list...
from Lou Korac at The Hockey News,
Sure, the talk will be the overtime game-winner Jakub Vrana scored when the Blues nearly coughing up a three-goal lead before recovering for a 6-5 overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday at Enterprise Center.
It was a beauty of a goal, one in which he pulled off a give-and-go with Brayden Schenn before beating Thatcher Demko from in tight for his second goal of the game, ninth of the season and eighth in 12 games since being acquired by the Blues from the Detroit Red Wings on March 3.
But the goal that really stood out was Vrana's first goal, one that gave the Blues -- at the time -- a 3-2 lead at 7:24 of the second period, a one-timer from the high slot off a pass from Brandon Saad.
What it exemplifies is that the Blues may have found their shooter, their first pure shooter since trading Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers on Feb. 9.
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