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from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
In their minds, they were still ready for overtime, for what would have been the third time in the series. The end came so quickly, it was almost impossible to comprehend.
The Carolina Hurricanes fought back twice to tie the score, their season on the line, ready to carry the battle into another 20 minutes, only for Matthew Tkachuk to beat them.
With 4.9 seconds to go. If there’s a more painful way to end an excruciating playoff series, science is going to have to get back into the lab.
“Really confused,” Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho said. “I don’t know if confused is the right word but obviously, don’t know how did that happen. It didn’t feel like a 4-0 series to me, but it is what it is.”
The Florida Panthers won four one-goal games — two in overtime, three on Tkachuk goals that left the Hurricanes no answer — to sweep the Hurricanes, bookended by a quadruple overtime win in Raleigh in Game 1 and Wednesday’s 4-3 win on a late power play, given for a tripping call on Jordan Staal behind the Florida net that was patty-cake compared to the gross bodily harm allowed over the previous 19 minutes.
* The Panthers and Hurricanes were tied or separated by a one-goal margin for all but 2:40 in the Eastern Conference Final, which ended with a Game 4 thriller that included an opening-minute goal, a multi-goal comeback, a tying marker by Carolina with 3:22 to play and then an NHL record-tying series clinching goal at 19:55 of the third period by Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk.
* The Panthers reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 27 years – their only other trip came in 1996 – and will begin the championship series in either Las Vegas or Dallas. The Golden Knights currently hold a 3-0 series lead against the Stars in the Western Conference, which resumes tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+, ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC.
* The Panthers became the third team in NHL history to eliminate three of the League’s top four teams in the same postseason, the third team in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to win three or more series after entering as the lowest-ranked team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs – all after spending only 28% of their season in a playoff spot.
The Florida Panthers in many of the regular season predictions were supposed to be very good - they weren't. They barely made the playoffs as the last wild card spot.
Now they are in the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 to sweep the series.
Along the way Florida defeated the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and now the Hurricanes, not an easy road.
They will open the SCF on the road against the winner of the Vegas/Dallas series.
Below watch the game winning goal with 4 seconds left in regulation. added 11:19pm, Handshakes and highlights have be added in the comment section along with other post game moments
A good one tonight.
NEW YORK (May 24, 2023) – Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn has been suspended for two games for cross-checking Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone during Game 3 of the Western Conference Final in Dallas on Tuesday, May 23, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
If the term of the suspension is not fully served during the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the remaining game will be served at the beginning of the 2023-24 regular season.
The incident occurred at 1:42 of the first period. Benn was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking.
Video is below.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Trade bait, bridge candidates, and future superstars that need to be locked up ASAP.
The 2023 class of restricted free agents offers a smorgasbord of situations.
And while several potential ’23 RFAs avoided the drama and uncertainty by signing well in advance of expiry (Mathew Barzal, Roope Hintz, Dylan Cozens, Matt Boldy, and Stuart Skinner among them), plenty of intriguing young talents remain unsigned.
As these RFAs look to bank off their platform seasons and owners wrestle with slow-to-rise salary cap, many tense negotiations (or trades?) are still on deck.
The situations in Winnipeg, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York, and Anaheim are particularly interesting.
Here’s where things stand with the top 12 RFAs of 2023 as July 1 fast approaches.
continued and a good read if interested in the topic...
from Nick Horwat of The Hockey News,
The Pittsburgh Penguins were seemingly close to naming a new hockey operations staff when Kyle Dubas became available after the Toronto Maple Leafs lost in the second round.
At that moment, the Penguins put their whole process on hold and looked for permission to talk to Dubas.
By all accounts, they were granted permission to interview Dubas and rocket him straight to the top of the priority list.
Not only did Dubas receive an interview with the Penguins, but he also met with their captain.
According to DK Pittsburgh Sports, Dubas met with Sidney Crosby at the Penguins’ practice facility late Tuesday night.
NEW YORK (May 24, 2023) – Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers are the three finalists for the 2022-23 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.
Voting for this award was conducted among the NHL general managers and a panel of League executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be unveiled on Wednesday, June 28, during the first round of the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft in Nashville (7 p.m. ET, ESPN, SN, TVAS).
NEW YORK (May 24, 2023) – Dallas Stars forward Max Domi has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for slashing Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone during Game 3 of the Western Conference Final in Dallas on Tuesday, May 23, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 18:09 of the third period.
The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
from Ken Fang of Awful Announcing,
Networks love when postseason series go six or seven games. That’s when they get to sell extra ads. In the 1st and 2nd Rounds of this year’s NBA postseason and NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, there were a combined total of six series that went the full seven games and another ten series that ended in six. But in the Conference Finals, that has completely turned around with one sweep in the NBA and potentially two more in the NHL.
Series that go the maximum can be an ad sales bonanza totalling as much as eight figures especially in the Finals. ESPN has sold out its ad inventory for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and ratings for the NBA Playoffs have both ESPN and TNT smiling. However, it’s those Game 7’s that can make network executives pop celebratory champagne bottles in their corner offices....
The same is true for the NHL Stanley Cup Final which will be on TNT this year. On April 30, TNT had the good fortune to air two Game 7’s in the NHL 1st round with Florida upsetting Boston and Seattle winning its first postseason series over Colorado. Warner Bros Discovery ad slots were certainly at a premium that night. However, it’s not having the same luck in the Eastern Conference Final as Florida is on the verge of closing out Carolina in a short series. You know that WBD Sports is rooting for the maximum amount of games in the final.
Not only do longer series bring more eyeballs to TV’s, tablets and cell phones, it also allows ESPN and WBD Sports to promote programming on their sister networks (i.e. Dr. Pimple Popper). Now with one conference final ending in a sweep and potentially two more, it would prevent them from running NBA and NHL games through the Memorial Day Weekend. The lack of premier programming airing up to the start of the league finals in early June means no natural promotion across the Disney and Warner Bros Discovery networks.
Watch the incident below.
from David Dwork of The Hockey News,
The Florida Panthers are on the cusp of doing something shocking.
Something fans of the team who have followed along for years and suffered through countless losing seasons have been waiting for since the 90s.
Wednesday night the Panthers will host Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Florida has won each of the series' first three games against the Metropolitan Division Champion Carolina Hurricanes, all by one goal.
They have also allowed Carolina to score a total of just three goals in the series.
One more win and the Panthers will be playing for the Stanley Cup.
Florida has picked a wonderful time to play its best hockey of the season, but the level that goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has reached during the postseason is something truly incredible to behold.
Overall he's gone 10-2 with a 2.15 goals against average and .935 save percentage. Those are excellent numbers.
During the conference final, however, Bob has entered another atmosphere, stopping 132 of the 135 shots Carolina has directed his way.
Brace yourself, hockey fans ... the last jersey NHL legend Wayne Gretzky wore during the final game of his historic career is being offered publicly for the first time, and the threads could be yours -- if you've got deep pockets!
TMZ Sports is told Gretzky's jersey -- which he had on in 1999 when he racked up his 2,857th point with an assist -- is now up for grabs at Grey Flannel Auctions.
The current bid is close to $190K with 18 days left.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- When it comes to Auston Matthews, it’s waaaaaaaaaay too simple to suggest that Dubas’s departure means he’s leaving Toronto. I’ve stated my prediction several times: he will sign an extension that takes him to around age 30 or 31, leaving him one more big contract before he retires. What I think this does is shift the timeline.
One Maple Leaf indicated last week he didn’t think Matthews would sign by July 1 even if Dubas stayed, but it’s very hard to see it now under a new manager. Wednesday is 37 days from the first day he can sign an extension, and there’s so much to learn between now and then, starting with who the new manager will be and what is their plan. Therefore, Toronto will have to discuss its comfort level with allowing Matthews’ no-trade to kick-in heading into the final year of his contract....
- Looks like Corey Perry will be hitting the market. After all these years, do the Maple Leafs finally make it work? Think of the content.
- Clayton Keller gave Arizona a month or so to provide him with direction about the future, on and off the ice. On is much easier: the Coyotes were more competitive than expected and are loaded with draft picks. There is no desire to move backward. Another team’s manager says GM Bill Armstrong has a line: “They can’t stop us from drafting.”
Off…well, who knows? It’s all guesswork and God knows if there’s any way to figure it out in 45 days. To this point, Keller is not asking for a trade. But, stay tuned. If he’s available, there will be a first-day Guardians of the Galaxy 3 style lineup. Think they are also being asked about Lawson Crouse.
- The NHL and NHLPA meet Wednesday in New York City. Main thing to keep an eye on: cap conversations. Everyone’s expecting it to go up $1M, but people who are smarter at math than I am believe there is a way to get it up closer to $1.5M or $2M without asking the players to budge on their escrow caps. That’s a non-starter. Any flexibility is good news.
Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,
"We will live with the consequences, whatever they are. We'll live with them tonight and we'll live with them going forward," DeBoer said. "It's a reactionary sport. It's a heat-of-the-moment sport. There's a lot of stuff going on there on the ice. I'm not judge and jury. I'm not going to play that tonight."
Forward Tyler Seguin, the second-longest-tenured player in Dallas, after Benn, said there was "zero" frustration with the captain in the locker room. "Jamie's one of the, if not the, best captain in this league and top leader. Collectively, we lost as a group," he said.
Dallas forward Joe Pavelski concurred.
"He was tied up and engaged and went for a little extra. Emotions get the best of all of us at some point," he said.
Pavelski was a captain himself for four seasons with the San Jose Sharks. Was he at all disappointed in Benn?
"No. You guys ask if I'm disappointed in the guy I have so much respect for? Who battles so hard? I have no problems with [Benn]. We have to be better from there," he said. "We're in the conference finals. They don't come around every day. We still have a little life."
Watch the Benn cross-check below.
from bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
Maybe the Wings can take advantage of the disarray in Toronto and go big, trading for one of the Maple Leafs stars, Mitch Marner or William Nylander. Or go super big and use their extensive draft capital, a young talent in Lucas Raymond and other prime prospects to pry superstar Auston Matthews out of Toronto. He’s pretty darn close to untouchable, but the Leafs have tricky contract situations and just fired GM Kyle Dubas, who reportedly was close to Matthews. Maybe it’s a pipedream, but I’m willing to try the pipe at this stage....
The Wings could still hope Larkin takes the next leap to stardom. Seider is almost there, but he’s not a scoring star who can carry a team. Raymond, 21, headlines a large group of young talented players and prospects....
Yzerman was a masterful drafter and dealer in Tampa and has done a good job restocking here. The Wings’ farm system is loaded, but that can be a trap, valuing hope more than actual production. The Leafs are primed to be plucked, without the salary-cap means to keep their Core Four, and it makes the unthinkable — trading the 25-year-old Matthews — at least mildly thinkable. Nylander, 27, and Marner, 26, are also enticing.
Yzerman pledges prudence, and in four years as GM here, certainly has practiced it. His trading of Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek at the deadline landed two more first-rounders. The Wings also have three consecutive second-round choices — 41, 42, 43 — in the June 28-29 draft so perhaps it’s time to deal in the other direction, or at least package picks to move up.
The reigning example is the Florida Panthers, one victory from the Stanley Cup Finals. They had the league’s best record two years ago, fell back, and boldly traded top players to Calgary for Matthew Tkachuk, who has been the overwhelming star in the Panthers’ run....
So where’s the Wings’ version of Tkachuk? They’re not primed to win like the Panthers were, but high-end players might be available: Ottawa center Alex DeBrincat, Arizona center Nick Schmaltz, Columbus forward Jack Roslovic, Winnipeg winger Kyle Connor, Calgary center Elias Lindholm, Vancouver’s Conor Garland.
more ($), the column also discusses the Pistons which I was abel to avoid mentioning them...
* Jonathan Marchessault scored the first of three Golden Knights goals in the opening 7:10 as Vegas blanked Dallas to take a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Final.
* Adin Hill had his first career playoff shutout and became the second Golden Knights goaltender with a five-game winning streak this postseason, joining Laurent Brossoit.
* The Panthers can sweep the Hurricanes and reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 27 years Wednesday.
from Steven Ellis of The Daily Faceoff,
What a night to close out the round-robin.
After over two weeks of grueling action every single day, the men’s World Championship’s preliminary round finally came to a close on Tuesday, and it was a doozy. The highlight of the night was seeing Latvia — who needed to get the game to overtime at the bare minimum to advance — beat the previously undefeated Swiss squad to win 4-3 in front of a packed home barn. The scenes were wild, the game was crazy, and it was everything Latvia was looking for.
The best game of the day might have been USA’s 4-3 win in overtime against Sweden. USA held a 3-1 lead at one point, but the Swedes fought back and forced extra time. It was there that the Americans closed it out with a win, earning top spot in Group A in the process....
So, now this is where things get interesting. Here’s a look at the four quarterfinal matchups for Thursday in Riga and Tampere:
Switzerland vs. Germany – 9:20 AM ET (Riga)
USA vs. Czechia – 9:20 AM ET (Tampere)
Canada vs. Finland – 1:20 PM ET (Tampere)
Sweden vs. Latvia – 1:20 PM ET (Riga)...
Carter Mazur (DET) is a highlight-reel machine. He put the puck between the legs to create a rebound opportunity on the power play for Conor Garland (VAN), who capitalized. He then set up the game-winner in overtime to give him a multi-point effort. Mazur’s creativity around the net has been on full display in Tampere, and he’s been a big contributor in a middle-six role for USA. You just have to love the effort.
from Wayne Scanlan of Sportsnet,
In their best seasons, the Ottawa Senators and their fans were dealing with playoff fatigue at this time of year....
After the Victoria Day weekend of 2023, fans in Ottawa long for those playoff years because the current ownership sale fatigue isn’t nearly as much fun. Nearly 14 months after the death of franchise owner Eugene Melnyk, we are still waiting to find out who “Owns! Owns!” the Sens, to borrow from Slapshot.
To review, four groups filed bids on May 15 and there could be a winner named this week. Not that the new owners would step right in and conduct business on behalf of the Senators. It figures to be a long while yet before all the details and legalities of the transaction can be worked out. Galatioto Sports Partners (GSP) are handling the sale on behalf of the Melnyk estate and the winning bid group requires final approval of the NHL board of governors.
The confirmed bidders from the Toronto area are Michael Andlauer, the Kimel brothers (Jeffrey and Michael) and Steve Apostolopoulos. The first two groups have established NHL connections, via the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The fourth bid belongs to Neko Sparks of Los Angeles, who seems bent on adding a new celebrity with each passing day to add sizzle to his bid.
DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings right wing Jonatan Berggren has been named the 2022-23 Red Wings Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Media Association.
Calgary Flames press release,
The Calgary Flames announced today that Craig Conroy has been named General Manager. Conroy becomes the eighth General Manager in the history of the franchise*.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
A pair of Detroit Red Wings forwards helped Sweden to another victory at the Ice Hockey World Championship, while Canada lost for a second straight day.
Lucas Raymond had a goal and an assist and Jonatan Berggren had an assist Monday in Sweden's 4-1 victory over Scandinavian rival Denmark at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland.
In World Championship action at Riga Arena in Riga, Latvia, Norway beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout. Canada was handed its first loss of the tournament on Saturday, falling 3-2 to Switzerland. The Wings' only player on team Canada, forward Joe Veleno, was handed a five-game suspension Sunday for violating rule 49 (kicking) during Saturday's game and will miss the rest of the tournament.
Canada is in third place in the Group B standings with 12 points. The Canadians wrap up the preliminary round Tuesday with a game against Czechia, which is in second place thanks partly to Red Wings forward Dominik Kubalik, who has a tournament-best eight goals among 12 points.
The Swedes are in second place in Group A, one point behind the U.S. because one of Sweden's victories came in a shootout. The Swedes and Americans meet Tuesday in Tampere to settle first place heading into the quarterfinals.
from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
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