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from Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
They knew how hard the push would be, how desperation has this way of lifting a team’s level of play. There would be no celebration for the Golden Knights on Thursday night, no Western Conference title just yet, no Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to take pictures around.
It’s still going, folks.
Dallas apparently has something left in its pursuit of what would be a historic comeback, the Stars having avoided being swept out of this best-of-seven series with a 3-2 overtime victory before a sellout gathering of 18,532 at American Airlines Center.
It was the best we have seen of Dallas in four games.
Certainly when it mattered most.
“Our effort level wasn’t good enough,” Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “Just not good enough for our group. It’s still in overtime, so it was right there for us. They played well defensively. Their desperation was higher than ours, and at this time of year, it’s about who wants it more.”
It’s true, after all: The fourth one is always toughest to get.
from Joe Smith of The Athletic,
Cooper had given intro speeches a half-dozen times in previous stops, from his first coaching job at a high school in Lansing, Mich., to teams in Texarkana, Green Bay, Wis., and Norfolk, Va. But this was different. These weren’t kids. It was future Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis. Captain Vinny Lecavalier. Future cornerstones Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
GM Steve Yzerman introduced Cooper, telling the group there’d been a leadership change. The next time they made changes, it’d be to the roster. The Hall of Famer had Cooper’s back from the start. All eyes were glued on Cooper, wearing a suit, no tie and a striped shirt unbuttoned at the top.
“The silence was deafening,” Cooper remembers.
The speech was short, about five minutes, but it was memorable. He brought up his background, having started on Wall Street and as a lawyer. He told the team it needed to be close — do everything together. He said they were going to have fun, with coaches allowing music in the dressing room before games and between periods.
And then there was the kicker.
“He told our team it was missing something — and that was swagger,” Stamkos says. “And he had that to him. He said this group was eventually going to get there.”
“He was convincing,” adds St. Louis, now an NHL head coach himself in Montreal. “I felt good about it. I can say that.”
Swagger or not, nobody — not even Cooper — envisioned what was coming. Four trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 10 years. Two Stanley Cups. No coach in NHL history has more wins at their 10-year anniversary with a team than Cooper’s 476, according to NHL Stats. The list of coaches who spent their full first decade with the same franchise is just 11 deep, including the likes of Toe Blake, Jack Adams and Barry Trotz — and Cooper has the most wins of anyone on it. The only coaches to have more combined regular season and playoff wins over any 10-year span are Arbour and Scotty Bowman. There may never be another coach who wins 11 consecutive playoff series.
NEW YORK (May 26, 2023) – The National Hockey League will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first NHL Draft in 1963 with a new series counting down the top 60 NHL Draft picks of all time, as voted on by NHL.com staff writers and editors.
The series, 60 Diamonds – The Greatest Picks of the 60 NHL Drafts, premieres Sunday, May 28 on NHL.com and includes an article and video segment each week featuring a panel of hockey writers discussing the most influential draft picks in NHL history. The five-week series will conclude with a half-hour show premiering on NHL Network on Saturday, June 24, at 7 p.m. ET and re-airing that night at 10:30 p.m. ET. Produced by NHL Productions, the finale special with host Kathryn Tappen will count down the top 20 picks and reveal the writers’ choice for the number one NHL Draft pick of the past 60 years.
* After Jason Robertson pulled the Stars even twice, Joe Pavelski netted the overtime winner to help his team stave off elimination and climbed multiple all-time lists in the process.
* Game 4 of the Western Conference Final marked the 23rd overtime contest of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the ninth-highest total in a single postseason in NHL history.
* The 2023 Stanley Cup Final will open either Wednesday, May 31st or Saturday, June 3rd. Click here to view the different schedule scenarios.
NEW YORK (May 25, 2023) – The National Hockey League today announced the schedule scenarios for the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, which will match the Florida Panthers against the winner of the Western Conference Final series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.
Based on their higher regular-season point totals, either the Golden Knights or Stars will host Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final, as well as Games 5 and 7, if necessary. The Panthers will host Games 3 and 4, as well as Game 6, if necessary.
from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,
The Detroit Red Wings wanted more from Larkin this season. They wanted him to be more responsible away from the puck and they wanted him to be more error free when he is managing the puck.
Lalonde will point out plays he doesn’t like in the name of turning them into a teaching moment. Larkin isn’t spared those moments.
“Yeah there’s been some uncomfortable moments in video,” Larkin said. “That’s part of being a leader and part of being a top player. It’s meaningful when you’re in there and getting called out, because we’re all in this together and we all have to defend together and get better together. There has been some uncomfortable clips but I think it helps the group, ”
Larkin has grown as a player and a leader. Lalonde has said more than once that the team’s offense flows through Larkin.
Everyone accepts that Larkin cares deeply about his team, teammates and his performance level. And everyone knows that Larkin will be even a better player when the Red Wings are deeper in offensive talent.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Casey DeSmith made 15 saves Thursday and the United States defeated Czechia 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the World Championship in Tampere, Finland.
The U.S. advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Team USA has won all eight of its games by a combined score of 37-8....
Germany stunned Switzerland, the top-seeded team in Group B, despite playing without Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider for the final half of the game in Riga, Latvia.
Seider received a major penalty for boarding and game misconduct at 11:01 of the second period when the game was tied 1-1. He finished with no shots and a minus-1 rating in 12:12.
Watch the Seider boarding call below.
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...
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