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Overnight Hockey Thoughts

05/24/2023 at 3:18am EDT

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.

more Thoughts

On The Jamie Benn Cross-Check

05/24/2023 at 2:51am EDT

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.

Time To Make A Move?

05/24/2023 at 2:12am EDT

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...

NHL Short Notes

05/24/2023 at 1:43am EDT

* 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.

Open Post- Game 3 Of The Western Conference Final Vegas Golden Knights/Dallas Stars

05/23/2023 at 7:32pm EDT

The Quarterfinals Are Set At The World Championship

05/23/2023 at 4:59pm EDT

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.


Ownership Decision Getting Closer For The Ottawa Senators

05/23/2023 at 2:39pm EDT

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.

read on

Jonatan Berggren Named Red Wings Rookie Of The Year

05/23/2023 at 2:04pm EDT

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.

Craig Conroy Officially Named GM Of The Calgary Flames

05/23/2023 at 1:48pm EDT

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*.

Wings At The World Championship And The Swedes On Velleno

05/23/2023 at 7:16am EDT

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,

Bob's In Charge And The Florida Panthers Are Having Fun

05/23/2023 at 2:14am EDT

from Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet,

Sergei Bobrovsky picked a perfect time for his first career Stanley Cup playoff shutout.

Thanks to the 32 saves he made on Monday night in a 1-0 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers now hold a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final.

The Panthers goalie has now made 67 consecutive saves and accumulated 131 total stops over three games — and it certainly looks like he’s had numerous Carolina Hurricanes players shaking their heads in utter disbelief through three games.

Bobrovsky, who made the 58th start and 64th playoff appearance during his 10-year NHL career on Monday, has expressed gratitude throughout this series whenever he’s been in front of a microphone and after the final buzzer, his teammates once again were tossing compliments in his direction.

“We have so much confidence with him back there,” Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe told reporters inside FLA Live Arena. “It seems like every day he’s making another huge save, changing momentum and helping our team win games. He’s so important, he’s so calm.

“He’s our backbone and our best player.”

You won’t get any argument from anyone playing in, covering or watching this series.


from Mark Lazerus of The Athletic,

NHL Short Notes

05/23/2023 at 2:00am EDT

* Matthew Tkachuk factored on another game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference Final as the Panthers opened up a 3-0 series lead and moved within one win of the franchise’s second-ever berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

* Sergei Bobrovsky earned his NHL-leading 10th win of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs and did so thanks to his first career postseason shutout in his 58th playoff start.

* The Stars and Golden Knights will contest Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on ESPN, ESPN+, Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports when the puck drops at American Airlines Center.

Open Post- Game 3 Of The Eastern Conference Final Carolina/Florida

05/22/2023 at 7:30pm EDT

Doug Armstrong Is An Interesting Name For The Leafs' GM Position

05/22/2023 at 6:26pm EDT

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic looks at a few candidates for the GM position in Toronto.

One interesting name...

That brings us to Doug Armstrong. The Leafs’ GM search was about five minutes old this past weekend when people began to mention Armstrong’s name as a possible candidate.

The Blues GM certainly checks all the boxes as far as experience and a Cup ring — not to mention the kind of confidence and wherewithal to withstand the pressure-packed demands of the Toronto market.

For starters, I do not believe Armstrong has an actual “out” in his contract with the Blues. He signed a five-year extension in September 2021 that runs through the 2025-26 season.

But I also think Armstrong has the kind of strong relationship with Blues owner Tom Stillman that if the Maple Leafs approached Stillman about it, maybe he would be OK with it if it’s something that Armstrong really wanted. Maybe, maybe not. Pretty hard to know exactly how Stillman would react.

Would Shanahan see that as too many hoops to go through? It’s pretty unusual for a GM to get pried away when still under contract for multiple years.

But Armstrong might be worth the hassle.

more ($)

Anthony Mantha Pops Up In Trade Conversations

05/22/2023 at 1:27pm EDT

Daily Faceoff’s insider Frank Seravalli gave us another edition of Ice Breakers as the playoffs wind down and the offseason approaches, including another name popping up as trade bait from the Washington Capitals.

Frank Seravalli: I’m told that Anthony Mantha’s name has popped up in a few different conversations. He has one year remaining on his deal at $5.7 million for the upcoming season.

You think back to that trade, and it’s one that probably neither team is really happy with. The Washington Capitals gave up a first, a second, Jakub Vrana, and Richard Panik to get their hands on Anthony Mantha at the deadline a few years ago, and it just hasn’t panned out. Yes, there’s been some injury issues that have popped up along the way in Washington. But more to the point, even when’s been in the lineup, you see last season, 67 games registering just 11 goals, and it kind of feels like a long time ago now, we’re approaching five years ago, that Anthony Mantha hit 25 goals in a season.

At that price tag of $5.7 million and that type of production of 27 points in 67 games, perhaps you could get someone to take a flyer on him, but if so, they’re not going to get anything in return. And more to the point, I wouldn’t be shocked if, depending on how aggressive they are and really trying to move him, that someone might actually have to pay.

I don’t think they’re backed into the corner on the cap just yet, they’ve got a lot of pieces to fill out their roster. But nonetheless, Evgeny Kuznetsov’s name is out there, we know that they’re open to moving him, but you can add Anthony Mantha to our next Trade Targets Board. We get that out in the next week or two.

Getting The Wings To The Playoffs

05/22/2023 at 11:25am EDT

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

Here are five happenings that help the Red Wings make up ground:

1. Sign Top-notch Backup Goaltender

The backup will get roughly 25 starts, and maybe more depending on Ville Husso’s level of play and injuries. Last season, the Red Wings’ backups only won 34.6% of those games.

If GM Steve Yzerman could acquire a backup who could even win 40% of his start, it would push Detroit closer to the postseason. Of course, that would be easier said than done. The goalie market is thin this summer....

2. Find a Proven Right Shot D Man

The Detroit defense is coming together. But they have to find a veteran right shot D man. Gustav Lindstrom seems to be looking to go elsewhere and he is coming off a disappointing season.

Imagine if Yzerman could persuade 6-foot-4 Scott Mayfield to come Detroit. That probably falls under the category of wishful thinking. The Islanders will make a last ditch effort to keep Mayfield....

3. More From Lucas Raymond

With 40 goals over his first two NHL seasons, Lucas Raymond is one of the NHL’s top young scorers. But Raymond’s second season was slightly disappointing because his production dropped. He went from 23 goals to 17 and from 57 to 45 points. He did miss eight games because of injury. But that doesn’t explain all of the decline. It also doesn’t explain why Raymond didn’t improve from season one to season two.

more ($) on each of the above plus two more two more points

KK- Undergoing Two Tests This Morning

05/22/2023 at 7:01am EDT

Happy Victoria Day to all the great folks in Canada.

I am off to the Henry Ford Medical Center for an Echocardiogram then followed by a Nuclear Stress Test.

I'm guessing I should be back around 11am.

update 9:59am, I am home a little early, will have the results sometime tomorrow.

Thanks all for the thoughts.

Garth Snow Could Be An Option For A GM Position

05/22/2023 at 5:34am EDT

from Arthur Staple of The Athletic,

What if I told you there was a potential front-office candidate who had built the nucleus of back-to-back conference finalists, engineered one of the most lopsided trades this century and assembled a winning team through the draft and shrewd waiver/free-agent pickups?

You might ask why that former GM hasn’t been at the top of the interview lists for the various openings this offseason. I’m asking it too: Why hasn’t Garth Snow gotten any interest around the league?

There are a few factors at play here, not all of them the fault of teams searching for new GMs or team presidents. Snow has been out of the league since Lou Lamoriello dismissed him five years ago and five years is a long time to be out of the game. It’s partly due to the golden parachute that firing triggered, a parting gift from Charles Wang, the mercurial Islanders owner who hired Snow straight out of being the team’s backup goalie. When Wang sold the Islanders to Scott Malkin in 2016, he added a clause to Snow’s contract that provided a five-year payout if he was let go.

continued ($)

Help Is On The Way

05/22/2023 at 4:51am EDT

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

"Hopefully, these younger players we have on our team now play a bigger role next year," Yzerman said. "Maybe one or two of our younger players, whether they were in Grand Rapids or coming from somewhere else, push into the team. We'll slowly add to it and do the best we can to fill our roster.

"I like to believe every player comes to training camp, regardless of whether they were invited or a first-round pick, all have in their heart that they're going to make the team. They have a hope and drive that, 'I'm going to play well enough and show them enough that I have a chance to make the team.'"

Here are 10 of the young prospects...

Cross Hanas, forward: All told, Hanas likely surpassed some expectations in Grand Rapids, with 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 30 games before suffering a season-ending injury.

The 2020 second-round draft pick parlayed a summer of physical training into looking like a potential NHL winger with some size and the ability to score goals....

Albert Johansson, defenseman: Much of the attention in Grand Rapids was focused on Edvinsson, but Albert Johansson, arguably, was more consistent through the entirety of the season.

Johansson, 22, in his rookie AHL season, had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 53 games and looked poised beyond his years....

Eemil Viro, defenseman: Because of a crowded roster in Grand Rapids, Viro found himself in Toledo (ECHL) late in the season, and that's when Viro wound up playing some of his best hockey.

In 53 games between the two teams, Viro (2020, third-round pick) had 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) and showed the type of grit and skating ability that could make him an NHL player in the future.

"The biggest things for him are strength and the overall maturity of his game," Horcoff said. "They're going to continue to grow. We're very happy with the way he finished his season."...

more ($)

NHL Short Notes

05/22/2023 at 12:14am EDT

* Chandler Stephenson played the role of hero for Vegas in what was the fourth comeback overtime win of the 2023 Conference Finals – a round that has seen all of its 324:25 of gametime feature teams tied or within a one-goal margin.

* Matthew Tkachuk and the Panthers can achieve several NHL firsts Monday, while the Hurricanes hope to become the ninth team in League history and second in as many years to win a best-of-seven Conference Finals/Semifinals series after dropping each of the first two games. Click here to read the May 22 edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates, which features the full list of clubs to achieve the feat.

* The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs marks the first time the penultimate round of the postseason has featured both series require overtime for Games 1 and 2.

Another Blown Lead By The Dallas Stars

05/21/2023 at 9:55pm EDT

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet,

When the Vegas Golden Knights scored their second overtime winner in as many games, it looked Sunday that they’d not only beaten the Dallas Stars again but might have broken them, too.

It wasn’t simply that the Knights went up 2-0 in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference Final when Chandler Stephenson scored uncontested on a rebound at 1:12 of overtime to give his team a 3-2 win on home ice.

And it wasn't even that the Stars, who were lucky to make it to OT in Friday’s 4-3 Vegas win, were significantly better in Game 2 and appeared to have Sunday’s tight-checking contest under control until Jonathan Marchessault snatched a tying goal for the Knights with 2:22 remaining in regulation time.

The seismic shift for Dallas is that the unflinching Stars beat themselves, displaying vulnerability on a team that looked largely invincible this season when leading into the third period and bouncing back from losses.

The Stars had been 31-0-2 this season — and 8-0 in the playoffs — when leading with 20 minutes to go and, even more incredibly, were 22-1-3 since October with starting goalie Jake Oettinger when coming off a loss.

The Knights shattered that invincibility on Sunday.


Videos- The Vegas Golden Knights Go Up 2-0 On The Dallas Stars

05/21/2023 at 7:15pm EDT

Vegas will head to Dallas up 2-0 after a 3-2 overtime win today.

In my mind the Stars were the better team during the majority of the game but the Golden Knights were able to capitalize on their limited opportunities.

Team Stats

Below watch the game winning goal and the game highlights.

Open Post- Game 2 Of The Western Conference Final Vegas Golden Knights/Dallas Stars

05/21/2023 at 2:39pm EDT

via the NHL PR department,

Game 2 of the Western Conference Final is set for Sunday afternoon on ABC and ESPN+ in the U.S. as well as Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports in Canada. The Stars will look to rally from a 1-0 series deficit for the third consecutive round, while the Golden Knights aim to take a 2-0 lead for the third time in franchise history – they have gone on to win the series in the two times they have done so to date.

broadcast information is below

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