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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2017 09:58 pm
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lobo316



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NHL coaches will have more technology on the bench than ever before as the Stanley Cup playoffs begin.

Three iPad Pros will be available for coaches on every bench and officials will also have them to review coach's challenges, The Associated Press has learned. All 16 playoff arenas have been outfitted with the iPads and also Macs for video coaches as part of a collaboration with Apple.

This season, coaches have been able to use video monitors on the bench to help them decide when to challenge offside and goaltender interference situations. With the iPads, which were tested late in the regular season, they'll have real-time video capabilities to show players their own shifts minutes after they happen as they discuss adjustments.

The monitors had already become a game-changer for coaches, giving them more information on challenges and for player feedback. The technology will be even more valuable in the playoffs when goals are scarcer and the offside and goaltender interference challenges can decide a game - or a series.

The St. Louis Blues lost Game 2 to the Chicago Blackhawks last year when a coach's challenge wiped out a go-ahead goal by Vladimir Tarasenko, and even though they won the series they felt the attrition of needing seven games to advance.

''It's going to be huge in the playoffs,'' Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. ''The referees, the league wants to get it right, the coaches want to get it right.''

During the season, 86 of 313 coach's challenges were successful in overturning calls. With the aid of the monitors, headsets and video coaches watching live, each team developed its own step-by-step process in deciding when to challenge a goal for goalie interference or offside and tried to perfect it.

Speed will be key as the league cracks down on coaches who dawdle before deciding to challenge.

''When you have challenges, to have the ability to quickly look at what you're doing and now they're trying to expedite it even that much more,'' Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ''When you're in those critical moments, you've got to make that decision in a hurry. You better have somebody good back there that knows what you want to see and the ability to make the decision quick.''

Having iPads in the hands of assistant coaches will provide a crucial benefit for player adjustments. Late in the season, Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan looked at film of Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray on the bench before a shootout, and coach Guy Boucher has also used the advanced technology beyond challenges.

''We look at it because sometimes we're not seeing everything that's going on on the ice,'' Boucher said. ''It's good also for feedback with our players and, yeah, it's good for challenges and all that. I think it's been important since the beginning of the year. It helps is also between periods because instead of looking at 12 different things between periods, we might have to look at five or six, so it's quicker for us to get back to our players and tell them about adjustments because sometimes we already know a few adjustments and a lot of times we'll address it right on the bench.''

But the biggest impact all season has been on coaches because they can point out the exact time of a potential offside or explain to an official what they see as goaltender interference.

Trotz recalled a goaltender interference challenge earlier this season where he was able to point out how an opponent was pushing down on Braden Holtby's blocker and keeping him from being able to rotate and make the save.

''We explained it and we won it,'' he said.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2017 09:59 pm
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The Dallas Stars will hire Ken Hitchcock to fill the club's head coach vacancy, according to multiple reports.

The club announced recently Lindy Ruff wouldn't return next season after a disappointing campaign, and general manager Jim Nill has apparently acted quickly upon searching for an experienced replacement.

Hitchcock was let go by the St. Louis Blues in February after five-plus seasons behind the bench, and previously stated he'd retire at the conclusion of the 2016-17 schedule.

The 65-year-old ranks fourth on the all-time coaching wins list (781) - just one victory behind the legendary Al Arbour. He spent seven seasons with the Stars to begin his NHL coaching career, winning the Stanley Cup with the club in 1999.

After winning the Central Division in 2015-16, the Stars followed up with a turbulent 79-point season, and Hitchcock will be tasked with transforming the talented, defensively deficient team back into a contender.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 13th, 2017 10:23 pm
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The Vegas Golden Knights officially announced the hiring of Gerard Gallant as the franchises first head coach Thursday.

Gallant, 53, has been linked to the gig since his dismissal from the Florida Panthers in November, and the speculation became all but a certainty Wednesday, as reports surfaced that general manager George McPhee was closing in on his target.

"We are proud to announce Gerard as the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history,' McPhee said. "He is an experienced head coach, has had success at multiple levels and has a great reputation amongst the players who have played for him.

"Being named the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history is such a tremendous opportunity and one I am extremely grateful for," said Gallant. "There is a great deal of excitement in the hockey community regarding what is happening with the Golden Knights and I am glad to now be a part of the team."

Gallant led the Panthers to the Atlantic Division title in 2015-16, and owns a record of 152-141-4-31 as an NHL head coach. He's also been named to Team Canada's coaching staff for the 2017 World Championship, and was an assistant for Team North America at September's World Cup.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 13th, 2017 10:24 pm
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A Pittsburgh man was so determined to see the Penguins' playoff opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets that he put off receiving medical treatment for a stab wound until after the game was over.

Police were called to an auto detail shop Wednesday around 9 p.m. local time, where they found the 43-year-old victim, whom they believe to be the shop's owner, bleeding from his head, according to Bryan Armen Graham of the Guardian. He had been stabbed with a screwdriver during an altercation with a 25-year-old man.

Paramedics attempted to treat the victim's laceration, but he refused, saying he would drive himself to the hospital after the game, which the Penguins won 3-1.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2017 09:33 pm
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Déjà vu.

That's what Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau must be experiencing after watching his club drop the first two games of a series with the St. Louis Blues on home ice.

The series is far from over, of course, as evidenced by St. Louis winning each game by a one-goal margin. At the same time, however, it's a road Boudreau has gone down before, and never with a happy ending.

During his time with both the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks, Boudreau guided his teams to wildly successful regular seasons, finishing atop the division in eight of his nine years behind the bench prior to arriving in Minnesota. In fact, among coaches with at least 200 career games, Boudreau's winning percentage ranks second all time, according to Hockey Reference.

For his efforts, Boudreau has seen his teams advance to the Conference Finals only once (2015 Ducks), with first- and second-round exits more the norm. After Friday's loss to the Blues, Boudreau's all-time playoff coaching record stands at 41-41, a .500 record in a regular season's worth of games.

The Wild finished second in the Central Division this season and entered the playoffs as a decent bet to at least win a round and perhaps challenge for the Western Conference title. After two games, however, further disappointment looms large.

For now, Boudreau's holding onto the belief his team can turn things around.

"Both games could have gone either way," he said after Game 2, per Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. "I don't see any reason we can't go in there and do the same to them as they did to us."

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 Posted: Mon Apr 17th, 2017 10:27 pm
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Broadway hasn't been kind to the New York Rangers.

The Manhattan squad dropped its sixth straight playoff game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, as the Rangers fell 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.

It's been nearly two years since the Rangers captured a postseason victory in front of their home crowd, with that win coming in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning on May 16, 2015.

The Rangers are now down 2-1 in their series against the Canadiens. The two sides split the first two games in Montreal before the Rangers' loss at home on Sunday.
Game 4 comes Tuesday in New York.

Last edited on Mon Apr 17th, 2017 10:28 pm by lobo316

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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 09:39 pm
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There is no shortage of confidence in the Maple Leafs' locker room following their Game 3 overtime defeat of the Washington Capitals. Nor should there be.

The Leafs, who squeaked into the playoffs as the second wild-card team, now hold a 2-1 series lead against the Presidents' Trophy winning Washington Capitals.

"That's been the feeling the whole time," said defenseman Morgan Rielly, when asked if the Leafs are starting to believe they can win this series, per TSN's Kristen Shilton. "That hasn't changed."

As a team who had already far and away exceeded preseason expectations, the Leafs were a squad no top seed wanted to match up against since they really have nothing to lose. However, next to nobody thought an inexperienced team like Toronto could actually hang with a team that is built to win right now.

They may be young and don't know any better, but here they are, instilling doubt in the minds of a team that won 55 games during the regular season.

Nazem Kadri, who assisted on the OT winner, triples as Toronto's shutdown center, a reliable offensive producer, and a super pest. He and his linemates, Leo Komarov and Connor Brown, have been given the task of shutting down Washington's top line featuring Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and T.J. Oshie.

"Maybe a little bit," Kadri told TSN's Mark Masters, when asked if he is sensing frustration from Washington's prolific scoring line. "When you play hard against them, that's a natural reaction."

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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 09:40 pm
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Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Roman Polak will undergo surgery on his injured right leg Tuesday, head coach Mike Babcock announced.

Polak was forced to leave Game 2 versus the Washington Capitals on Saturday, after a hard hit from Brooks Orpik forced an awkward fall. He was declared done for the playoffs after the contest.

The 30-year-old appeared in 75 games through the regular season, registering four goals and seven assists, while playing a key role on Toronto's penalty kill.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 10:22 pm
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Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock wasn't pleased with his team's effort in Game 4.

"We didn't compete hard enough," Babcock told reporters following the 5-4 loss to the Washington Capitals. "I thought they won all the battles and all the races."

Throughout the season, Babcock usually remained pretty coy following losses in order to protect his young team. However, it's possible the club may have had too much confidence heading into Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead.

"I thought today was the first time that maybe we weren't scared enough of them and it looked like it because our competition level wasn't good enough," said Babcock.

The Leafs certainly didn't come out with the same jump they had in Games 1 and 2 - and for most of the regular season. They had been one of the best first-period teams in the entire league, but in uncharacteristic fashion, they got off to a sluggish start in back-to-back games.

"You can come back once in a while from behind like we did the other night," said Babcock. "But I don't think you can spot the other team two goals all the time, especially now that they're energized and winning all the battles."

Though the poor start is ultimately what lost them the game, the Leafs deserve credit for relentlessly clawing back. They trailed 4-1 after the first frame, but only ended up losing 5-4. But as they say, being close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Given Babcock's emphasis on effort and compete level in his postgame press conference, you can expect the Leafs to answer the bell and come out firing on all cylinders to start Game 5.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 10:24 pm
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CALGARY, Alberta - Patrick Eaves, Nate Thompson and Ryan Getzlaf scored, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Wednesday night for a sweep of their first-round playoff series.

Anaheim became the first team to advance to the conference semifinals. It was the Ducks' first four-game sweep since they eliminated Winnipeg in the first round in 2015 and just the fifth in franchise history.

John Gibson made 36 stops for Anaheim, which will face the Edmonton Oilers or San Jose Sharks in the second round.

Sean Monahan scored a power-play goal in the second for Calgary, which qualified for the postseason as the first wild card in the Western Conference.

It was a short night for Flames goaltender Brian Elliott, who was pulled for Chad Johnson after giving up a soft goal at 5:38 of the first period. Johnson allowed a goal on the second shot he faced, but finished with 20 saves.

Monahan's redirection of a Kris Versteeg feed made it 2-1 at 16:07. Johnson was pulled for an extra attacker with almost two and a half minutes remaining, and Getzlaf converted an empty-netter in the final seconds.

A sharp-angled shot by Eaves slid under Elliott's pads on Anaheim's third shot of the game. The Ducks quickly scored on Johnson at 6:46, with Thompson banging in a rebound.

The Ducks opened the series with a pair of 3-2 wins at home before storming back from a three-goal deficit to win 5-4 in overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Game 3.

The Ducks haven't lost in regulation in 18 games dating to March 10.

Led by Getzlaf and Corey Perry, holdovers from Anaheim's 2007 Stanley Cup win, the Ducks were a poised team that prevailed in the big moments of the series.

The Flames outplayed them the majority of Game 2, but a lucky deflection and a couple of undisciplined minors by Calgary late in the game allowed the Ducks to pull out the win at home.

Trailing 4-1 late in the second period in Game 3, Carlyle juggled his forward lines to generate an offensive spark.

The Ducks put the puck on net through traffic to score four unanswered goals on the way to their biggest comeback in franchise history.

The two quick goals Wednesday drained the Flames of confidence that was already dented from their Game 3 collapse.

As good as Elliott was in getting Calgary to the playoffs with a strong second half in the regular season, he gave up soft goals in the second, third and fourth games of the series.

NOTES: Ducks D Sami Vatanen (upper body) participated in the morning skate and defender Cam Fowler (knee) skated by himself for the third time in as many days. Carlyle said Fowler would be out two to six weeks when the defenseman collided with Flames captain Mark Giordano in a regular-season game April 4. ... Ducks forward Ryan Kesler was nominated Wednesday for the Selke Trophy for a sixth time. He won the trophy that goes to the top defensive forward in 2011 when he was a Vancouver Canuck.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 10:29 pm
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The Buffalo Sabres dismissed general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma in a massive shake-up Thursday.

Team owner Terry Pegula said in a statement that the club has already begun the process of filling the positions.

BUF also let go of Director of Amateur Scouting Greg Royce and Director of Pro Scouting Rob Murphy. Terry Pegula addresses media tomorrow

— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 20, 2017
The Sabres missed the playoffs in both seasons under Bylsma, and Murray was never able to guide Buffalo to the postseason in parts of four campaigns as GM.

Bylsma won 68 of 164 games in his two years behind the bench. He was hired by Buffalo in May 2015 after a year away from the NHL following parts of six seasons as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in his first year.

Murray was tasked with rebuilding the Sabres when he was hired in January 2014, and he wasn't shy about making significant moves.

He pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Winnipeg Jets in February 2015, landing Evander Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian for a package that included Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford.

At the 2015 draft, he acquired goaltender Robin Lehner and veteran forward David Legwand from the Ottawa Senators for the 21st pick, which the Senators used to select highly touted prospect Colin White.

He wasn't done dealing at that draft, also landing top-line center Ryan O'Reilly in a multi-player trade with the Colorado Avalanche.

Murray signed winger Kyle Okposo to a seven-year, $42-million pact on July 1 last year, and was responsible for drafting Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel second overall in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Thursday's firings came about 24 hours after WGR 550's Paul Hamilton reported Eichel had no desire to sign a contract extension with Buffalo this summer if Bylsma remained head coach.

Eichel and his agent both denied the report, with the 20-year-old phenom insisting he wants to be a member of the Sabres "for a long time."

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 10:30 pm
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Jack Eichel is reportedly presenting the Buffalo Sabres with an ultimatum.

The 20-year-old forward has no desire to sign a contract extension with the club in the offseason if Dan Bylsma is still the head coach, multiple sources told WGR 550's Paul Hamilton.

Eichel has one more year remaining on his entry-level deal before he becomes a restricted free agent. Bylsma has three years left on his contract.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray said last week that he would meet with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula this week, and WGR 550 reports that discussion will take place Wednesday.

At his season-ending news conference, Murray insisted he's had no thoughts of firing Bylsma "up to this point," but made a point of mentioning that anything can happen in the future.

Related: Sabres GM wishy-washy about Bylsma's future

"He's the coach today like I'm the GM today," Murray told Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. "... I haven't had any thoughts of firing him up to this point. The reason I always say today is because something could happen tomorrow."

Eichel has repeatedly expressed his frustration with the team this season, saying as recently as last week that too few of his teammates are working hard enough and actually want to win.

He reportedly stormed out of the dressing room in a postgame huff in December, after which Bylsma suggested the Sabres should channel Eichel's anger and said the entire team should be as frustrated as the young center.

The second overall pick in 2015 led Buffalo in points and ranked second on the team in goals this season, despite missing 21 games due to injury.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 10:41 pm
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Former NHL linesman Don Henderson has filed a $10.25-million lawsuit against the Calgary Flames and defenseman Dennis Wideman, reports TSN's Rick Westhead.
The suit is in response to an incident that occurred last season, where Wideman hit Henderson from behind:


Wideman was suspended 20 games for the incident, however an appeal later reduced his time away to 10 games. At the time of the appeal ruling, Wideman had already served 19 games. The forfeited salary for the additional nine games was returned to Wideman.
Henderson did not return to the ice after the hit and missed the remainder of the season with a concussion. Henderson has not officiated any games this season.
These are injuries claimed by referee Don Henderson in lawsuit (as well as head injury and concussion) #nhlpic.twitter.com/T980Bl1FEc
— CTV - Chris Epp (@CTVchrisepp) April 20, 2017
Wideman appeared in 57 games with the Flames this season.










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 Posted: Fri Apr 21st, 2017 09:35 pm
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A sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks has the Nashville Predators feeling like world-beaters.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne seems to think so, at least.

"Right now, I don't care who we play against, if we keep this up we can beat anybody," Rinne said, per Thomas Willis from the team's website.

Related: Predators earn 1st sweep in franchise history with win over Blackhawks

Clearly, there's reason for confidence after Nashville limited the top team in the Western Conference to three goals in four games, with Rinne himself playing a starring role by posting a brilliant .970 save percentage.

Not only that, but the Predators outshot Chicago by a 134-126 margin, suggesting Nashville largely carried the play in a series few predicted they'd win, much less sweep.

Nashville now awaits the winner of Minnesota-St. Louis with the knowledge that no team they'll face in the Western Conference bracket was as good in the regular season as the team they just beat handily.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 21st, 2017 09:39 pm
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Terry Pegula is in full denial mode.
The Buffalo Sabres owner attempted to pour cold water on three separate claims at Friday's news conference addressing the firings of general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma.
First, there was the matter of Jack Eichel's reported lack of interest in signing a contract extension if Bylsma remained behind the bench.
That story emerged one day before Thursday's dismissals, but like Eichel's agent, Peter Fish, and the player himself, Pegula insisted there was nothing to it.
"Jack’s involvement as it was reported … is a complete fabrication," the owner said, according to ESPN's Craig Custance, adding, "I defend Jack, just as Peter did. It's not a true story."
Pegula was asked about another report that came about 20 minutes before the owner's scheduled media session. This one claimed former Los Angeles KingsGM Dean Lombardi interviewed for the corresponding Sabres position Thursday.
"We haven't talked to anybody," Pegula said. "Put that in the Jack-demanded-his-coach-be-fired category."
The owner also tried to dispel the notion that the Sabres tanked under Murray when they finished dead last in the NHL in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
"We do not hope to lose. ... We went through a rebuild," he said, according toWBEN. Pegula added, "I don't feel that we tanked. We rebuilt," according to WGR 550.
The owner also said he regrets not being more involved in Murray and Bylsma's hirings, and indicated he'll look for experienced candidates to fill the vacancies.
Murray spent more than 20 years in various hockey operations roles including scout, player personnel director, and assistant general manager, but had never served as an NHL GM before being named to that position for Buffalo in 2014.
Bylsma won the Stanley Cup in his first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, and he spent six seasons with that organization before being fired after the 2013-14 campaign.

Last edited on Fri Apr 21st, 2017 09:40 pm by lobo316

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