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Alex Ovechkin and the KHL? Medvedev ponders Kovalchuk path (Puck Daddy)
KHL President Alexander Medvedev has long desired to have Russian stars in the NHL come back home to play for his League. Last summer, Ilya Kovalchuk's retirementfollowed by his signing with SKA blazed a path for others to follow. The question being asked now: Would Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin attempt to follow it? Medvedev, through a KHL spokesman, told ESPN.com earlier this month that, "Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Ovechkin would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Washington club. Should that situation come to pass, I have no doubt there are KHL clubs who would have interest in his services." In a recent interview with Championat.com , Medvedev went into further detail on Ovechkin and whether or not he'd make the jump to the KHL: Q. How possible is it, in your opinion, for Ovechkin to repeat what Ilya Kovalchuk did and come to the KHL? The attacks directed at Alex are absolutely inexcusable. A person scored 51 goals this season, none of his competition was even close to that mark. To blame him for everything, saying that because of him the team didn't make the playoffs, is probably testing his patience. I will remind you that there is a legal way for any player if he decides to play in another league (to do so) without breaking the mutual agreement to respect each other's contracts between the NHL and the KHL. I will not tell you the details, but they were the ones Kovalchuk used when he decided to play for SKA. Q. Does Ovechkin have desire to play in the KHL? I haven't spoken to him since the Olympics about it. Because it is pointless to put pressure on or influence a player. *** At least we know the subject came up during the Sochi Games. Ovechkin is signed through 2021 with Washington.
Posted: 04/22/2014

Predators sign two to entry-level deals (The SportsXchange)
The Nashville Predators signed defenseman Garrett Noonan to a two-year entry-level contract and defenseman Jaynen Rissling to a three-year entry-level contract, the team announced Tuesday.
Posted: 04/22/2014

What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11 (Puck Daddy)
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it. As if things hadn't gone sideways enough in Boston when Shawn Thornton slew-footed and concussed Brooks Orpik just days after talking about how he's viewed as being almost too honorable -- and in doing so highlighted everything that's awful about this current iteration of the Bruins. As if they needed the help being hated. There was no need at all for Milan Lucic to spear Danny DeKeyser in the nuts. None whatsoever. But that he did it at all shouldn't come as any kind of a surprise because this is Milan Lucic we're talking about here. You'll have to recall that he tried to spear Alexei Emelin in the same spot less than a month ago , and this too was a gutless sneak attack from behind that ended with Lucic casually skating away as though he'd done nothing wrong. In both cases, he was not assessed a penalty because of his diabolical away-from-the-play approach to Dr. Hook-ing his opponents McCrackens, and received no supplementary discipline for the Emelin run-in. He has now been suspended twice in his career, and fined twice. He also intentionally ran into Ryan Miller at 6,000 miles per hour and received no supplementary discipline for reasons that continue to baffle to this day. Which makes his protestations that he doesn't make a habitof dirty play, and spearing in particular, and believe[s] in playing within the rulesa remarkably hot load of garbage. Milan Lucic is a player who has no respect for his opponents. Period. He also happens to be a very good power forward who scores a lot of goals for one of the best teams in the league, and a big guy who can play some very physical hockey. But if he was smaller, or European maybe, or didn't put up the numbers, the amount of times you'd hear ratin association with his name around this league would be off the charts. He is a rat, the worst kind of actor in the league because he repeatedly plays to hurt, in the cheapest ways possible, and then pulls an aww shucks attitude whenever he's called to account for it. Which, again, isn't often. And all that leads to a lot of intellectual dishonesty. Any sentence that starts with , It's just funny. I never do that, I haven't done that,and exactly zero words later concludes, but unfortunately I've done it twice in the last little bit here,shows an amount of cognitive dissonance that should really be studied by scientists. He also took a moment to note that he too has been on the receiving end of spears like this, saying, It happens more times than not. Perhaps only Abraham Zapruder has the video evidence though, because I've never seen any of it. But a lot of the reason for it is that people will turn away from it, and let his continued malfeasance go uncriticized. The NHL Department of Player Safety let this pattern of his getting off lightly continue unabated, when you consider that two separate and escalating spearing incidents (the DeKeyser incident being notably worse than Emelin's) about three weeks apart lost him zero games and just $5,000. For a player making Lucic money ($6 million), that's only about one-sixth of his pay for a single day of work this season. One can't and shouldn't expect any real accountability on the play - if you want to call it that given how far outside the bounds of hockey it fell - to come from his coaches. Maybe during the regular season, but certainly not during the playoffs, when Claude Julien has to swear up and down he never saw the spear, either live or on video, because you gotta have your guy's back. Everyone gets that, even if it does make for an eye-rolling quote. This is also true of the Bruins at large, because any time anyone even looks at them crooked they can't help complaining about it for some time (remember, Lucic was still whining about the alleged Emelin low-bridge that prompted the spear two days on). In a between-periods interview during Game 1, Marchand was already bemoaning the amount of hooking and holding the Red Wings were getting away with. And to their credit, the actual Boston media for once didn't fall all over itself to defend Lucic from those who would call his character into question. There was a lot of calling it a badthing that happened, and someone even said that this kind of play had no place in the game. They were not quite so eager the first time this happened a few weeks back, and instead dutifully nodded in assent when Lucic call Emelin a chicken, as is their wont. But save for one dumbass mouth-breather proselytizing fanboy Well I played the game, and...Boston.com correspondent idiot who said that this is just what happens in playoff hockey (story not linked here for reasons which should be obvious), no one took to the ramparts to dump hot oil on Lucic's detractors as they did for Shawn Thornton. That tells you a lot, in and of itself, about the kind of puke Lucic was on this play. But the condemnations were also lacking, whether because this is just the kind of thing they expect in the playoffs (as the pom-pom waving, bottom-feeding moron suggested), or because this is The Big Bad Bruins we're talking about, or because Lucic is always going to play like this and it won't be a big deal as long as he keeps scoring. Had this been a DeKeyser-on-Lucic spear, instead of the other way around, and there'd only been a small fine doled out by the league, the pearl-clutching about What's Become Of Our Great Sport and what a cheap shot artist yellow-bellied punk DeKeyser is would have been splashed across the front page of every newspaper in the city. Hell, they still talk about what a dirtbag Matt Cooke is every time he finishes an innocuous check, and he's had a clean rap sheet for the last three seasons. The reason for that was intervention. Everyone universally agreed, Matt Cooke has to change, or he has to go.That's from the league, his team, and pretty much all observers of the game. Lucic isn't on his level - yet? - but at the same time, how many more of these incidents have to come down the pike before everyone agrees that he has to change his game? Lucic is a good player. But for a guy who says he believes in playing the right way(haha) it's really weird that this keeps happening to him, and no one seems to care too much. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : The Ducks' penalty killing has been pretty damn good in the first two games of their series, but one supposes that you can't go around taking five or six penalties a night and hoping Tyler Seguin doesn't pop in a few. Not when you've won both games by a single goal. Boston Bruins : Did you know Reilly and Brendan Smith are brothers ? And they're playing each other in the playoffs? This has somehow not been mentioned yet in this series. I wonder what their mom thinks! Buffalo Sabres : Headline: Girgensons amazed by 'A' on jersey .It's true. Wow,he said. How did it get there? Was it magic?It was magic! Calgary Flames : Hoo boy. A recent poll found that 82 percent of Flames fans were not disappointed the team didn't get a Top-3 pick this year, and 71 percent think Kari Ramo (he of the .911 save percentage this season and .902 career) is the team's goalie of the future. Carolina Hurricanes : Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk want to become better leaders next season. See if you can get someone to take that Cam Ward contract and I'll believe it. Be men of action. Chicago Blackhawks : The Blackhawks say they're confident about their ability to come back after losing the first two games of their series in overtime. Huh, even with Corey Crawford back there and your second-best defenseman suspended? Okay guys. Colorado Avalanche : Here, indeed, is the million-dollar question . Columbus Blue Jackets : I am 100 percent shocked that there wasn't a single F-bomb in the Blue Jackets pile after Matt Calvert got them their first-ever franchise playoff win. That's the biggest surprise in all of this. Dallas Stars : Tyler Seguin bought Mike Modano's mansion for less than $2 million . Hell of a deal. He probably left that much in spare change and bills on the floor of his Swiss apartment. Speaking of which, how much does it cost to have a mansion cleaned regularly? Detroit Red Wings : It really is kind of surprising how little space there's been in this series, isn't it? You'd have thought things would be a lot more free-flowing given the quality of forwards on these two teams, but this is playoff hockey, one supposes. Edmonton Oilers : The Oilers' new arena is going to be 60 percent bigger than Rexall Place? Good lord. Florida Panthers : Panthers prospect Mac Weegar is racking up the points with the Halifax Mooseheads this postseason and one imagines that roughly three-quarters were on defensive-zone passes to Jonathan Drouin that were taken 200 feet and deposited in the back of the net. Los Angeles Kings : I just never want this series to end ever . Minnesota Wild : Yeah Darcy Kuemper probably starting a home playoff game . Surely what the team envisioned back in October. Montreal Canadiens : How badly have things gone for Tampa? Rene Bourque has three goals in as many games against them. Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: A nice experiment while it lasted, but Mike Del Zotto should basically not be back in Nashville next season. New Jersey Devils : What can Devils fans look forward to? Their owner, who also owns the Philadelphia 76ers, recently called the basketball team having won just 19 games this season a huge success .Because they tanked good and hard. Imagine if bad hockey teams were smart enough to realize this is how things should go? What a world we would get to live in. New York Islanders : Would it actually be allowed for the Islanders to keep their first-round pick this year - instead of sending it to Buffalo as per the Thomas Vanek trade - and then move it for a first-rounder next year to cover the lack of pick in a deeper draft? It must be. Garth Snow should do that. New York Rangers : Oh, well then by all means . Ottawa Senators : Matt Kassian is almost certainly on the outs in Ottawa, and apparently the Sens are still looking for a harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for his teammates if necessary.Good idea. How could that go wrong? Philadelphia Flyers : Steve Mason says he wants to start Game 3 . The way Ray Emery played in Game 2, I'm not sure that's the best idea. Phoenix Coyotes : Shane Doan says the Coyotes have a chance to win a Cup within the next few years . C'mon Shane. Pittsburgh Penguins : The speed and finish on this Brian Gibbons goal is something else. San Jose Sharks : Turns out Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto are great . Who knew? St. Louis Blues : I don't know if you can really call not trying to kill someone when you have a five-minute power play at the end of regulation smart so much as obvious. Tampa Bay Lightning : Sorry, guys, but Ben Bishop's not walking through that door . Toronto Maple Leafs : Right now, Brendan Shanahan is only definitively a good hire for the Maple Leafs insofar as he can't do worse than the current guys. Vancouver Canucks : Alex Burrows is off to Worlds for Canada . So far, 12 of the 20 players named to the team play in Canada, which is a bad sign for that team's chances for success. Washington Capitals : I always forget teams can make trades during the playoffs . Thanks to the Caps and Preds for the reminder. Winnipeg Jets : Now that the Blue Jackets won a postseason game, the Jets/Thrashers are the only franchise in the league to have never picked up a playoff W. Play of the Weekend Which is more impressive on this goal: Nathan MacKinnon's speed, Paul Stastny's no-look pass, or Gabriel Landeskog's finish? Boy oh boy, what a line. Gold Star Award
Posted: 04/21/2014

NHL roundup: Flyers goalie will miss Game 2 (The SportsXchange)
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason will not play in Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Posted: 04/19/2014

Predators acquire D Rissling (The SportsXchange)
The Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Jaynen Rissling from the Washington Capitals for a seventh-round pick in this year's draft.
Posted: 04/19/2014

NHL Preview: Bruins in for first round challenge with Detroit (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
BOSTON – The Bruins have known their opponent would be the Detroit Red Wings since last weekend, but they'll finally get to take the ice Friday night as the last two teams to jump into the Stanley Cup playoffs. That's given both sides plenty of time to measure strengths and weaknesses, and start getting a feel for Original Six teams that didn't play each other all that often prior to this season. NHL realignment means the Bruins and Red Wings certainly won't be going another 57 years between playoff appearances, and that's a good thing for a league looking for sexy, ratings-grabbing playoff games. But it's not necessarily a great thing for the Black and Gold with the storied, solid Winged Wheels wedged into a division they've dominated for the better part of the last five years. The Bruins knew the new realignment would make it entirely realistic that the Stanley Cup road will have to go through both Detroit and Montreal before getting out of the Atlantic Division. The speed and skill of young speed-burners like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco will give the B's defense problems if they're allowed to roam free, and players like Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen and Daren Helm are all past champions that will make sure Detroit is a tough out. The Bruins go into the match-up knowing the Red Wings are a far sight better than a typical first round match-up, and an April date with the Columbus Blue Jackets would have made things easier for Boston. It's a tough challenge with the Red Wings. They've had playoff success in the past, and we all saw what they did last year pushing Chicago to seven games before they were eliminated,said Milan Lucic. We're looking forward for the challenge of it. I'm just fortunate to be part of another Original Six playoff matchup. Since 2011 we've played every Original Six team in a playoff series now. It's pretty cool to be a part of that. More challenging than cool, though, is Detroit's style of play, which is often described as something between European finesse and bloodless, efficient systems play. The Bruins often have trouble when they're forced to manufacture hatred and create the hockey rage they need to thrive, and it would seem the Red Wings aren't going to be itching for an alley fight with the Bruins. That means emotional touchstone players like Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic will be looked upon to get things started for Boston. That's been a challenge in the first round for the Bruins in each of the last three years where they've pushed things to overtime in Game 7. The Bruins escaped Game 7 at home vs. Montreal three years ago with heroics from Tim Thomas and Nathan Horton, but they fell victim to a Washington Capitals team one year later that kept many B's players sleeping when they refused to engage them in heated battle. Last season the Bruins eased up when they built up a 3-1 lead in the series, and then nearly blew it to the Toronto Maple Leafs before their miracle third period comeback for the ages. One would hope the Bruins have learned their first round lessons at this point, but the Red Wings are exactly the kind of team that's given them issues in the recent past. Claude Julien called the Bruins Jekyll and Hydelast season because he never knew what he was going to get, and the wild fluctuations in the first round vs. Toronto perfectly illustrated that. There were no such inconsistencies this season while going 17-3-4 over the final two months of the season. That's the formula Boston is focused on for the postseason. We've been pretty consistent this season, and especially down the stretch,said Patrice Bergeron. Now we just need to carry that over into the postseason. It's been a fun year for us this year, obviously, but now we know it's all back to zero now and we need to give our best. No matter the trends or the matchups, the bottom line is this: the Bruins should win this series. It's likely going to be six or seven games, and there will be moments when the Bruins' weaknesses are exposed by a Red Wings team with enough strength to uncover them. That goes doubly so if Henrik Zetterberg magically heals enough to return to the series despite conservative estimates placing him as only a second round playoff possibility. But the Bruins are the superior hockey team: they're deeper, they're bigger, they're stronger, they're more well-rounded and dangerous at both ends of the rink, and they've got a goaltending advantage with Tuukka Rask over Jimmy Howard. They should be able to impose their will. It isn't difficult to envision Boston discouraging the Red Wings with their pounding physicality, and easy willingness to grind away European finesse with their dump-and-chase style of punishment in the corners. The biggest problem with all of this isn't the short term first round against a bandaged and bruised Red Wings team. It's the problematic likelihood the Bruins will have to face Detroit and Montreal in the first two rounds: teams they've compiled a 2-5-1 record against during the regular season while not looking all that impressive in many of those games. Looking back at the last 10-15 years just about every Stanley Cup winner has required at least one playoff series that's gone less than six games. That allows teams to rest, recharge and heal up amid the two month gauntlet of Stanley Cup playoff hockey, so they have something left at the end of their championship push. It could be that the Bruins will advance past the Wings and the hated Habs, but it will have taken too big a chunk out of them by the end. But that's a story for another day. Friday means it's game onfor Bruins playoff hockey, and an Original Six date with Detroit just adds to what's already the best time of year in the professional sports world. Joe Haggerty serves as Comcast SportsNet's NHL Insider. Read more from Joe here , or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram .
Posted: 04/18/2014

Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Sewing Oates, the end of Trotz and delusional Brodeur (Puck Daddy)
Posted: 04/16/2014

Bruins' Bergeron gets boost from Olympics (The Associated Press)
For Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, the 2014 Olympics were about more than winning a second gold medal with Canada. The Sochi Games were a confidence boost that he harnessed when he returned to perhaps the best of his 10 NHL seasons. The top-seeded Bruins need Bergeron to maintain his outstanding play when they face the eighth-seeded Detroit Red Wings in their first-round playoff series beginning Friday night. ''It's the best I've seen him, period,'' Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said.
Posted: 04/16/2014

Panthers win NHL draft lottery (The SportsXchange)
The Florida Panthers, who finished with the second-worst record in the NHL this season, won the league's draft lottery Tuesday.
Posted: 04/15/2014

Florida Panthers win 2014 NHL Draft lottery, leaping over Buffalo (Puck Daddy)
The Buffalo Sabres had a 25 percent chance of taking the top spot in the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, which would have been a nice consolation prize after a terrible, imploding season. Alas, they got more sand kicked in their face – Floridian sand. The Florida Panthers, with an 18.8 percent chance of getting the top pick, won the NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. Last season the Panthers had the best odds and fell to No. 2 overall, taking forward Aleksander Barkov. We're looking to continue to build on our core talent of the players,said Travis Viola, VP of hockey operations. We're anxious to put a winner in Florida, but if we take our time and make a really good plan with Mr. Dale Tallon and Mr. Bill Torey … a little slower pace than rushing right away. It's the second time the Panthers will have the first overall pick, the last time coming in 1994 when Florida took defenseman Ed Jovanovski at No. 1. Will it be another defenseman at No. 1 for Florida? Defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts is one of three players expected to go at the top of the draft, along with Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett. The rest of the lottery field: 2. Buffalo Sabres 3. Edmonton Oilers 4. Calgary Flames 5. New York Islanders 6. Vancouver Canucks 7. Carolina Hurricanes 8. Toronto Maple Leafs 9. Winnipeg Jets 10. Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa Senators) 11. Nashville Predators 12. Phoenix Coyotes 13. Washington Capitals.
Posted: 04/15/2014

Puck Daddy's NHL Draft Lottery 2014: Edmonton, again? (Puck Daddy)
It's the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, going at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Tuesday night, and we're live-chattin' it! Here are the odds for the lottery tonight: Buffalo Sabres - 25.0% Toronto Maple Leafs - 3.6% Florida Panthers - 18.8% Winnipeg Jets - 2.7% Edmonton Oilers - 14.2% Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa) - 2.1% Calgary Flames - 10.7% New Jersey Devils - 1.5% New York Islanders - 8.1% Nashville Predators - 1.1% Vancouver Canucks - 6.2% Phoenix Coyotes - 0.8% Carolina Hurricanes - 4.7% Washington Capitals - 0.5% Please join us for a live chat starting at 8 p.m. ET. You bring the funny, we bring the hamburger women. That's how it works!
Posted: 04/15/2014

Ovechkin says Capitals are in 'middle of nowhere' (The Associated Press)
Explaining early playoff exits became an annual, awkward task for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Four years removed from winning the Presidents' Trophy, Washington is in the ''middle of nowhere'' and in a ''hard position,'' is the way Ovechkin put it. The Capitals did not make any immediate changes or announcements about the job status of coach Adam Oates or general manager George McPhee on Monday, the day after the regular season ended. McPhee is not under contract for next season and met Monday with owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick;
Posted: 04/14/2014

Lindback, Gibson, Johansen named 'Three Stars' (The SportsXchange)
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson and Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen were named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week. Lindback went 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average, .975 save percentage and one shutout. He stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief of Ben Bishop in a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last Tuesday.
Posted: 04/14/2014

Alex Ovechkin doesn't want a trade or blame for Capitals' failure (Puck Daddy)
WASHINGTON, DC – Alex Ovechkin hasn't missed the postseason since 2007. That hurts his pride. He was also a minus-35 this season despite scoring 51 goals, which might damage his pride if he wasn't seemingly convinced that being a defensively responsible player wasn't in his job description. If you remember when [Coach Dale] Hunter was here, I didn't score goals, and you guys said, 'Why didn't you score goals?' And I said my job is to block shots. The whole world said 'Ovi stopped playing like he used to play' and, 'He's gone. We're never going to see him again.' I don't want to turn my back on this position again,said Ovechkin. I get paid to score goals. I scored 50. You can't pick one guy in one position and say he didn't do his job. Look at everyone. It kind of sucks to have that kind of minus, but it's not only one player out there,he said. Ovechkin, the captain, put the emphasis on the players rather than the coaches or the system when it came to the blame game. It doesn't matter what system you're gonna play. The players have to respond, give everything they have out there,said Ovechkin. If someone's going to say the system's bad, well, look at yourself. Look at the position you're playing. Look at video. If you're 'D', you have to make a pass. Everyone can throw it up on the glass and say it's OK. We have to score goals. You can't blame our system right now. While Brooks Laich and Karl Alzner were nostalgic for the Capitals' system under Dale Hunter – defense first, offense if it happens – Ovechkin said he was comfortable with the Oates system and that his relationship with the beleaguered coach was good. In fact, for the first time, Ovechkin took sole blame for quitting on the playas Oates indicated. But it looks like wholesale changes for the Capitals this offseason, from Oates to GM George McPhee to the roster itself. It's a transition for the franchise, and another year of frustration for Ovechkin. Does he ever think about leaving DC? I'm never going to ask for a trade,he said. I feel comfortable. I love the fans, love the city. This organization has given me a lot. So can the current roster win? If we're on the same page, yeah. If we're going to put somebody in position where they're under the bus, of course nobody's going to win. *** Our Dmitry Chesnokov caught up with Ovechkin after the Capitals' season finale for a brief chat: It's been a few days since the Washington Capitals were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Have you already had time to reflect? This is, of course, a very difficult situation. Everything was decided in Carolina, and it was difficult to concentrate on these [last] games. But it's good that this situation took place, in a sense that there is nothing you can do. What happened happened. It may be a good thing for the team to give the Capitals an opportunity to truly reorganize. We'll see. But this is not a question to me. This is a question to the people who will be taking care of this. I don't know who will stay here and who will go. Maybe I will be traded now or tomorrow somewhere. You know? Anything can happen here. It must be a strange feeling not being in the playoffs for you after seven straight years. Of course. How much time have we spent here? It is my ninth season. And only in the first two years when the team was rebuilding, when you can say we had three players did we miss the playoffs. And now when we have a good team with players who won Stanley Cups, who battled, who know how to play… It just didn't happen. How tired are you of constant criticism of you personally? For example, you scored over 50 goals again this year, yet so many are fixated on your plus/minus. Well, if you look at the entire team, our whole team has a minus. If I were the only one with a minus and everyone else had a plus, then of course, there would be a conversation. But in this situation blame should not be put on one player. Everyone had their downs, everyone was going through changes, and pointing a finger at one player is not right, in my opinion. Dynamo President told the official site of the Russian Hockey Federation that you will be going to play for Team Russia in Minsk in the IIHF World Championships… Yes, I am going. I was also told that all three Russian Capitals [Ovechkin, Evgeniy Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov] are all going… Yes, this is the way it is looking. The three of us are going. Oleg Znarok, who was your coach at Dynamo in the KHL during the lockout, is the new Russian national team coach. What changes do you expect from the team that was left without medals in Sochi? I have not played for the national team under him yet. But first of all there will be a strict discipline. And as far as game aspects, I think this will be an entirely different system than Bilyaletdinov had. Again, every coach has his own system, principles and approaches. It will be clearer when I join the team. Additional reporting by Dmitry Chesnokov.
Posted: 04/14/2014

NHL Three Stars: Simmonds, Smith standouts on last day of the regular season (Puck Daddy)
Romance in Phoenix. No. 1 Star: Craig Smith, Nashville Predators Smith led the way in a strong Predators finish, with 2 goals and 2 assists in a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. That's the second time in as many nights the Predators have scored 7. Perhaps this is Barry Trotz showcasing a new coaching style in a last-ditch effort to save his job? No. 2 Star: Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers Simmonds scored his 28th and 29th of the year in the Flyers' 6-5 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. His 29th is the reason Philadelphia left with a point, as he tied the game up with 10 seconds to go: No. 3 Star: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks Sedin scored twice in the first period of the Canucks' 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames. (He may have had a hat trick if not for the unfortunate, nasty hit he took late in the second that sent him to the hospital. It was a sad end to a rough season for the Sedins, who looked like themselves only briefly this year.) Honorable mention:  Martin Brodeur was named the game's first star in what's likely to be his final start as a member of the New Jersey Devil, and maybe the last start of his career. He made 16 saves in a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins... Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris scored in the shootout as the Ottawa Senators closed out the season with their fifth straight win, a 3-2 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins... It was a goalie duel between the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning, with both Anders Lindback and Braden Holtby stopping every shot they faced until Matthew Carle won it 1-0 in a shootout for Tampa. The win gave the Lightning home ice advantage in the first round, so Montreal probably didn't appreciate Alex Ovechkin treating the shootout like an All-Star game: ... Nick Bonino scored the overtime winner in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, but this was Teemu's night, and he opted to share it with Jean-Sebastien Giguere ... David Moss scored the game-winner in a 2-1 Phoenix Coyotes triumph over the Dallas Stars. This Colton Sceviour goal was beautiful: ... Anders Lee scored twice as the New York Islanders finished the year with a 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres... Justin Abdelkader scored two goals for the Detroit Red Wings, who won 3-0 over the St. Louis Blues. Did You Know? The Capitals' game was decided in a shootout for the 21st time this season, an NHL record. Dishonorable mention: Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 21 shots for the Wild, who have to be a little bit concerned about their goaltending heading into the postseason... How have the Blues lost six straight?
Posted: 04/13/2014

Stanley Cup first round set on final day of season (Reuters)
(Reuters) - The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs were set on Sunday after Colorado clinched the West's Central Division and Tampa Bay tied up second spot in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic with a win over Washington. The postseason gets underway on Wednesday with the Lightning hosting Montreal, Columbus traveling to face Pittsburgh and Anaheim hosting Dallas. The Avalanche entered the day tied with St. Louis on 111 points but clinched the division when the slumping Blues suffered a sixth straight defeat, falling 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. ...
Posted: 04/13/2014

Lightning coach: Malone's charges not distraction (The Associated Press)
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper doesn't think left wing Ryan Malone's DUI and cocaine possession charges will be a distraction to the postseason-bound team. He made a poor decision, getting behind the wheel when he had alcohol in his system,'' Cooper said before Tampa Bay beat the Washington Capitals 1-0 in a shootout Sunday to close the regular season. ''But for me, I've watched all the good decisions Ryan Malone's made in his life, and how charitable he's been and what a staple he's been in our community in the years he's been here,'' Cooper added. ''I hope this one instance doesn't take away from that, because he's been a class act for us, on and off the ice.'' Malone didn't travel with the team to Washington.
Posted: 04/13/2014

Lightning secure home ice against Canadiens (The SportsXchange)
WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning went into Sunday's game against the Washington Capitals looking to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Capitals went into their regular-season finale hoping to send their fans into the summer with the memories of a five-game win streak. It took a shootout goal by defenseman Matt Carle to decide the game, but the Lightning skated away with a 1-0 victory at Verizon Center to finish with a 101-point season and home ice in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The Lightning (46-27-9) will face the Montreal Canadiens in Tampa beginning Wednesday night.
Posted: 04/13/2014

Lightning earn home-ice edge against Canadiens (The Associated Press)
It came right down to the final moment of the final regular-season game for the Tampa Bay Lightning to secure home-ice advantage against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. It doesn't matter where you play - the better team's going to win the game - but it is nice to go home, sleep in your own bed, play in front of your home fans,'' Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. ''You work so hard for 82 games, and it comes down to the last shot of the game in a shootout to attain that goal.'' Matthew Carle scored the only goal, Anders Lindback sealed his first shutout of the season by stopping attempts by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov in the tiebreaker, and the Lightning edged the Washington Capitals 1-0 in the teams' regular-season finale on Sunday.
Posted: 04/13/2014

Lightning 1, Capitals 0 (SO) (The SportsXchange)
WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning went into Sunday's game against the Washington Capitals looking to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Posted: 04/13/2014

Lightning-Capitals Preview (The Associated Press)
The Tampa Bay Lightning's final tune-up for Montreal in the first round of the playoffs comes in the form of the Washington Capitals, a team that's provided plenty of a challenge for them in recent seasons. Both teams will try to end the regular season with winning streaks Sunday in Washington with the Capitals going for a sixth consecutive win over the Lightning as well as a season-best fifth straight overall. If that happens, the Lightning will stay on the road to begin the postseason. With Montreal's win over the New York Rangers on Saturday, the Lightning (45-27-9) learned they'll need to beat the Capitals to finish second in the Atlantic Division and earn home-ice advantage.
Posted: 04/12/2014

Lightning LW Malone arrested after traffic stop (The Associated Press)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone was charged Saturday with DUI and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop, police said.
Posted: 04/12/2014

Rangers-Canadiens Preview (The Associated Press)
The Montreal Canadiens need at least point in their final game in order to stay alive for the second seed in the Atlantic Division. Fortunately, they'll be facing a New York Rangers team Saturday night that has nothing to play for in its season finale - and has had little success in Montreal over the past six years. Montreal (45-28-8) is trying to catch Tampa Bay for the No. 2 spot in the division after the Lightning won Friday night to move one point ahead. If the Canadiens earn one point against New York, Tampa Bay must do the same in its finale Sunday at Washington to earn home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff matchup with Montreal.
Posted: 04/12/2014

NHL Three Stars: Martin Havlat tricks Avs; Brewer leads Bolts (Puck Daddy)
No. 1 Star: Martin Havlat, San Jose Sharks Havlat scored a natural hat trick in the third period – including an empty net goal with 4:56 remaining, because Patrick Roy is nutty like that – as the San Jose Sharks routed the Colorado Avalanche, 5-1 . Havlat also had an assist on Patrick Marleau's 33rd goal. Alex Stalock made 32 saves.   No. 2 Star: Eric Brewer, Tampa Bay Lightning Brewer rarely scores, let alone pots two in a game. But he tallied twice in a 3:12 span to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over Columbus . Kristers Gudlevskis made 36 saves for his first NHL win. No. 3 Star: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars Lehtonen made 22 saves for the shutout as the Dallas Stars clinched a playoff spot in a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues . Tyler Seguin scored goal No. 37 in the victory. Honorable mention: Cam Ward made 28 saves to make two first period goals stand up in the Carolina Hurricanes' 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings . … Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves, Jay Beagle scored two goals and Alex Ovechkin notched his 51st in the Washington Capitals' 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks . … The New York Islanders scored on all three attempts against Marty Brodeur in the shootout, beating the New Jersey Devils, 3-2 . … Carl Klingberg scored his first NHL goal in the Winnipeg Jets' 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames , and boy was he happy: Did You Know? Sean Monahan scored his 22nd goal, the most for a Flames rookie since Paul Ranheim (26) and Sergei Makarov (24) in 1989-90. Dishonorable mention: Reto Berra was pulled after giving up two goals on five shots. … Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog were all a minus-3. … The New Jersey Devils dropped to 0-13 in the shootout in the season.
Posted: 04/11/2014

NHL-Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League games (Reuters)
(Adds late games) April 11 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League games. - - - Stars 3, Blues 0 The Dallas Stars got a goal and an assist from defenseman Trevor Daley to earn their first playoff spot in six years in a home shutout of the St. Louis Blues. The performance from Daley was fitting, because he is the only current member of the Dallas roster who was with the club the last time they made the postseason in 2008. Dallas (40-40-11, 91 points) eliminated the Phoenix Coyotes from playoff contention.
Posted: 04/11/2014

Hurricanes get first win in Detroit since 1989 (The SportsXchange)
DETROIT -- Even though the Carolina Hurricanes had already been eliminated from playoff contention, they didn't like the way they finished their home season on Thursday night. So, goaltender Cam Ward made 28 saves and Carolina held on for a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night. The Hurricanes lost 5-2 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night in Carolina's final home contest of the season. "Was kind of disgusted with our performance last night and wanted to play a better game," said Hurricanes center Elias Lindholm, who scored the winning goal.
Posted: 04/11/2014

Gudlevskis strong in debut as Lightning down Jackets (The SportsXchange)
At least it was for goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis. "(After) the Olympics, I thought I could do it here too," Gudlevskis said after stopping 36 shots on Saturday at Tampa Bay Times Forum in a crucial 3-2 Tampa Bay Lightning win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning got two goals from veteran defenseman Eric Brewer and some peace in net to pass Montreal for second place in the Atlantic Division and home ice in their upcoming playoff series. Tampa Bay (45-27-9), which won its third straight and tied a franchise record with its 25th home win, leads the Canadiens by a point with each team having one game remaining.
Posted: 04/11/2014

Ovi gets 51st; Caps top coasting Blackhawks 4-0 (The Associated Press)
The playoff-bound Chicago Blackhawks were coasting, and the out-of-it Washington Capitals were trying to act like a team that still had heart. The result was a late-season game with a preseason feel, noteworthy for Alex Ovechkin's NHL-leading 51st goal and a shutout from the goalie who was seemingly skittish about facing his former team earlier in the week. Ovechkin and the Capitals beat the Blackhawks 4-0 on Friday night, an impressive-looking result that didn't mean much. Washington still isn't going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and Chicago is locked into finishing third in the Central Division.
Posted: 04/11/2014

Caps shut out listless 'Hawks (The SportsXchange)
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals were playing for their pride and for their fans. The Chicago Blackhawks were not playing for much of anything. In a game that carried little significance in the NHL standings, Capitals center Jay Beagle recorded the first two-goal game of his NHL career and goaltender Jaroslav Halak recorded his first shutout as a member of the Capitals in a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks on Friday night at the Verizon Center. "I told the guys when we found out (their playoff chances were over) that part of their job as a professional is to play as hard as you can," Capitals coach Adam Oates said.
Posted: 04/11/2014

Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (The SportsXchange)
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning got two goals from veteran defenseman Eric Brewer and some peace in net to down the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Friday at Tampa Bay Times Forum. With the win, the Lightning pass Montreal for second place in the Atlantic Division and home ice in their upcoming playoff series. Tampa Bay (45-27-9), which tied a franchise record with its 25th home win, leads the Canadiens by a point with each team having one game remaining. Montreal hosts the New York Rangers on Saturday while the Lightning visits the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Posted: 04/11/2014


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GAME STATS
GP W L OT
HOME 41 21 13 7
AWAY 41 17 17 7
TOTAL 82 38 30 14

APRIL STATS
GP W L OT
HOME 3 1 1 1
AWAY 4 3 1 0
TOTAL 7 4 2 1

METROPOLITAN DIVISION
Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA
PIT 82 51 24 7 109 249 207
NYR 82 45 31 6 96 218 193
PHI 82 42 30 10 94 236 235
CBJ 82 43 32 7 93 231 216
WSH 82 38 30 14 90 235 240
NJD 82 35 29 18 88 197 208
CAR 82 36 35 11 83 207 230
NYI 82 34 37 11 79 225 267

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Team GP W L OT DF PTS
1. BOS 82 54 19 9 84 117
2. PIT 82 51 24 7 42 109
3. TBL 82 46 27 9 25 101
4. MTL 82 46 28 8 11 100
5. NYR 82 45 31 6 25 96
6. PHI 82 42 30 10 1 94
7. CBJ 82 43 32 7 15 93
8. DET 82 39 28 15 -8 93
9. WSH 82 38 30 14 -5 90
10. OTT 82 37 31 14 -29 88
11. NJD 82 35 29 18 -11 88
12. TOR 82 38 36 8 -25 84
13. CAR 82 36 35 11 -23 83
14. NYI 82 34 37 11 -42 79
15. FLA 82 29 45 8 -72 66
16. BUF 82 21 51 10 -91 52
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