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Caps AHL affiliate also misses postseason (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:19:17 PDT)
For the first time in nine years, the Washington Capitals will not be represented in the American Hockey Leagues Calder Cup Playoffs.

Twisting in the wind: Oates, Carlyle, Torts still facing uncertain futures (NBC Sports)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:44:08 PDT)
Poll: who is most likely to be fired?

What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11 (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:26:19 PDT)
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 habit” of dirty play, and spearing in particular, and “believe[s] in playing within the rules” a 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 “rat” in 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 “bad” thing 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

Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook suspended three games (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:49:57 PDT)
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was suspended for three games for his hit on St. Louis captain David Backes on Saturday evening, the league announced on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks will be without Seabrook for Games 3 and 4 here in Chicago and, if necessary, Game 5, which would be played in St. Louis. With less than five minutes remaining in regulation, Seabrook hit Backes high along the glass.

Blackhawks confident dealing with postseason adversity (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 07:48:18 PDT)
The Chicago Blackhawks were just under seven seconds away from tying their first-round series with the St. Louis Blues but were denied again, first on a 6-on-4 goal and then an early overtime score. They dealt with it when they fell behind to the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the second round last season and came back to win that series. Now theyll have to deal with it again, and the Blackhawks say they will. Were a resilient group, said Brent Seabrook, who may be watching from the sidelines if the league disciplines him for his high hit on David Backes on Saturday.

Seabrook to have phone hearing for hit on Backes (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 07:27:03 PDT)
ST. LOUIS Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook will have a phone hearing today for his hit on St. Louis captain David Backes on Saturday evening, the league announced. With less than five minutes remaining in regulation, Seabrook hit Backes high along the glass. Backes was down for several moments, and struggled to stay on his feet when he did get up. The Blackhawks nearly killed off that five-minute penalty but, with Ryan Miller pulled, Vladimir Tarasenko scored a 6-on-4 goal with just under seven seconds remaining in regulation.

Brent Seabrook's hit on David Backes may cost the Blackhawks more than just one game (Yahoo Sports)
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 19:35:43 PDT)
The hit was late and violent – and almost certainly will result in a suspension. It swung the game, and it could even swing the series.

Report: AHL could have new division in western U.S (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:06:26 PDT)
Apparently, the "Coyotes, Ducks, Kings, and Sharks are on board" with relocating their minor-league affiliates closer to home.

‘Rejuvenated’ Weise enjoying the belief of his coach in Montreal (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:48:28 PDT)
Unlike the last coach he had in Vancouver.

Guelph, Erie benefit from blockbusters but only one can win Western final (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:25:15 PDT)
Erie's Brendan Gaunce and Guelph's Kerby Rychel both hope their trade is the one that pays dividends for their new teams.

Report: Hextall ‘in the mix’ for Vancouver GM job (NBC Sports)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:26:59 PDT)
Meanwhile, no word on Torts.

Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:20:31 PDT)
The Chicago Blackhawks are the hunted in these Stanley Cup playoffs, which is really no different from their position throughout the regular season. That’s what happens when you win the silver chalice, hockey’s Holy Grail, the previous season. Not only did they win it all, they enjoyed a record-breaking regular season, too. But that was last year. Now, the question becomes: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover as they look to defend their championship? It should help Chicago’s cause that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are expected to be ready for when the post-season begins , as the Blackhawks open up against the St. Louis Blues in the first round. This best-of-seven series begins Thursday in St. Louis. ‘‘They’re going to play the way they play, and we’ll play the way we play,’’ said forward Ben Smith , as per the Chicago Sun-Times . ‘‘In a best-of-seven series, we’ll see who comes out on top.’’ True enough. But while discussing the Blackhawks and that whole element of the championship hangover, it’s worth pointing out Chicago’s struggles following their last Stanley Cup victory, which came back in 2010. That was also the year of the Vancouver Olympics, which surely put added burden on the likes of Toews and Kane, as well as Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith . The next year, the Blackhawks barely made it into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference and were eventually beaten in the opening series in seven games by the Vancouver Canucks. This season looked to be on a similar path to the 2013 lockout-shortened campaign. The Blackhawks were on top of the Central Division with 84 points and a 35-11-14 record heading into the Sochi Olympic break. But since then, they’ve been hardly above average or of championship caliber. Their record since the NHL schedule resumed: 11-10-1. Some of that had to do with injuries to key players. And now, they have a date with the Blues, losers of six straight but a team that challenged for the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best regular season team right up until the final days of the schedule. “That’s what everybody wants to talk about, but we’re not going to think that we have an easier team to play against,” Toews told ESPN Chicago . “That’s definitely not going to be the case. They’re a team that loves to play physical against us, and we’ve got to expect that. There’s no reason why we can’t return that as well. We’ll be ready to bring that type of effort. - Cam Tucker, NBC Sports

Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Sewing Oates, the end of Trotz and delusional Brodeur (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:43:48 PDT)


Facebook knows your favorite playoff team, and they've made a really cool map (Photo) (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:04:56 PDT)
Facebook knows that you like hockey. They know because you told them, clicking the "Like" button on your favorite NHL team, in an attempt to further personalize your profile, but really just helping them to advertise to you. They knew you were going to like this map, then. Facebook knows all. Stop telling Facebook all your secrets. Still, it's a pretty cool map. This colour-coordinated look at North America illustrates which playoff team each state and province is rooting for, based on the number of Facebook Likes. There are some interesting takeaways: • The San Jose Sharks are California's most Liked franchise. Anaheim and Los Angeles may have been assigned colors, but the Golden State is San Jose teal. (I guess that's really more of a persian green.) It seems strange that the state of California would be rooting predominantly for the one local team that's never won a Cup, but perhaps it's in the interest of fairness? • Pittsburgh wins the Battle of Pennsylvania, if not in-game, than on Facebook. That's probably due mostly to Sidney Crosby's star power, which also bleeds into the Virginias (Virgina is apparently for lovers of Crosby), and the Carolinas. • Crosby's reach also seizes central Canada, as well as the Northwest Territories. He's the only reason the country isn't completely Habs purple. • Perhaps if the Vancouver Canucks were a playoff team, Washington would be able to get behind them. Instead they've moved on to their second love: the Detroit Red Wings, apparently. • Detroit fans are all over the place. Besides Michigan, they've also turned states like Alaska, Louisiana, Georgia, and Tennesee. That's right: Tennessee. With the Predators out, the majority of folks in this state cheer for a former divisional rival.  • Blackhawks fans are similarly spread out. Beyond Illinois, they've infected Nevada, Oklahoma, Kansas, and even Arizona, who have apparently thrown their weight behind the former Stanley Cup champions after their Coyotes fell short of the postseason. • Don't forget about the people that love you in the Dakotas, Minnesota. • The Colorado Avalanche own the Rocky Mountains.  All that said, this map may not be that accurate. Lots of fans may like their NHL team without "Liking" their NHL team. Which would mean Facebook's information is woefully incomplete. It could be that there's just one NHL fan in New Mexico, and he bleeds burgundy and steel blue, for instance. s/t to Business Insider

Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup (NBC Sports)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:25:58 PDT)
Prove us wrong, all 16 teams. Prove...us...wrong.

Sochi Problems: Olympics hurt NHL teams that sent several players to Games (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:27:46 PDT)
Throughout its Olympic participation, the NHL has attempted to figure out what the benefits and costs are to its product and its teams. One key question: Does the wear, tear and extra exhaustion from the Winter Games experience have a negative effect on a team’s performance when their star players return for the stretch run? University of Massachusetts professor Neil Longley believes it does, and has the numbers to back it up. In 2012, he found that a team’s goal differential “dropped by 0.088 of a goal per game compared with its performance before the Games,” according to the New York Times, for every player it sent to the Olympics. The more Olympians on the team, the more that team’s numbers trended downward after the Games. Longley ran the numbers through last Friday’s games, and discovered the trend has continued after the Sochi Games, as goal differential dropped by 0.077 per Olympian. From the Times and Jeff Klein: The goal differential of teams that sent seven or more players to the Olympics (Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Anaheim, Montreal, the Rangers, Pittsburgh and Vancouver) collectively dropped by an average of 0.33 goals a game. Of those teams, only the Canucks failed to make the playoffs, but they were in position for a postseason berth when the Olympic break began. The goal differential of teams that sent three or fewer players to the Olympics (Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, Toronto, Florida, Nashville and Ottawa) improved by 0.09 goals a game. Only one of those teams — Dallas — is headed to the playoffs. The largest drops among teams sending seven or more players to Sochi were by St. Louis (minus 1.11 goals a game), Pittsburgh (minus 1.01), Anaheim (minus 0.52), Chicago (minus 0.50) and Vancouver (minus 0.47). St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Chicago all lost significant players to injury after Sochi, which obviously would have affected their offense and defense. Longley said that despite injuries to several Olympians – David Backes, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane among them – it was “impossible to determine whether the injuries could be attributed to Olympic-related physical or emotional fatigue.” It’s naïve to think that the players involved in the Olympics and its trappings – travel, pressure-filled games, an interruption in training and routine – aren’t adversely affected by it. Hence, it would be interesting to see Longley and his ilk focus the study on individual players, in comparison to what they do this time of year in a non-Olympic year. Are Phil Kessel’s five goals in 21 games in March and April the “Olympic Effect” if he scored 16 in 26 games last home stretch and five goals in 18 games the previous home stretch? Or do we dismiss it because he scored six goals in 21 games in 2011-12?

NHL Playoff Preview: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:44:59 PDT)
The Chicago Blackhawks are the hunted in these Stanley Cup playoffs, which is really no different from their position throughout the regular season. That’s what happens when you win the silver chalice, hockey’s Holy Grail, the previous season. Not only did they win it all, they enjoyed a record-breaking regular season, too. But that was last year. Now, the question becomes: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover as they look to defend their championship? It should help Chicago’s cause that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are expected to be ready for when the post-season begins , as the Blackhawks open up against the St. Louis Blues in the first round. This best-of-seven series begins Thursday in St. Louis. ‘‘They’re going to play the way they play, and we’ll play the way we play,’’ said forward Ben Smith , as per the Chicago Sun-Times . ‘‘In a best-of-seven series, we’ll see who comes out on top.’’ True enough. But while discussing the Blackhawks and that whole element of the championship hangover, it’s worth pointing out Chicago’s struggles following their last Stanley Cup victory, which came back in 2010. That was also the year of the Vancouver Olympics, which surely put added burden on the likes of Toews and Kane, as well as Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith . The next year, the Blackhawks barely made it into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference and were eventually beaten in the opening series in seven games by the Vancouver Canucks. This season looked to be on a similar path to the 2013 lockout-shortened campaign. The Blackhawks were on top of the Central Division with 84 points and a 35-11-14 record heading into the Sochi Olympic break. But since then, they’ve been hardly above average or of championship caliber. Their record since the NHL schedule resumed: 11-10-1. Some of that had to do with injuries to key players. And now, they have a date with the Blues, losers of six straight but a team that challenged for the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best regular season team right up until the final days of the schedule. “That’s what everybody wants to talk about, but we’re not going to think that we have an easier team to play against,” Toews told ESPN Chicago . “That’s definitely not going to be the case. They’re a team that loves to play physical against us, and we’ve got to expect that. There’s no reason why we can’t return that as well. We’ll be ready to bring that type of effort. - Cam Tucker, NBC Sports

Gaborik adds scoring to LA Kings' playoff plans (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:17:02 PDT)
Marian Gaborik's new teammates with the Los Angeles Kings initially wondered whether such a talented goal-scorer could fit into a defense-dominated team when he arrived in a trade last month. Nobody is wondering anymore after Gaborik helped the Kings reach the postseason on a roll. ''It took me a little bit, but I think I adjusted pretty good,'' Gaborik said Tuesday while the Kings prepared for their first-round opener against San Jose. Gaborik scored 16 points in 19 games as the Kings' top-line left wing down the stretch, adapting his game to coach Darryl Sutter's preferences while still providing his own unique offensive talents to the NHL's best defensive team.

Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:17:07 PDT)
They've struggled after the Olympics.

After NHL draft lottery, Caps still at No. 13 (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:39:01 PDT)
So much for the Capitals defying the draft lottery odds.

Panthers win NHL draft lottery (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:58:00 PDT)
The Florida Panthers, who finished with the second-worst record in the NHL this season, won the league's draft lottery Tuesday.

Florida Panthers win 2014 NHL Draft lottery, leaping over Buffalo (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:33:53 PDT)
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.

Puck Daddy’s NHL Draft Lottery 2014: Edmonton, again? (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:22:53 PDT)
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!

So you're telling me there's a chance? Caps lottery odds slim (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:47:45 PDT)
Do you believe in miracles?

Calgary’s AHL affiliate parts ways with Abbotsford (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:13:13 PDT)
The city has terminated the contract.

Pressing question: How will Habs handle carrying Canada’s Cup hopes? (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:30:19 PDT)
A nation's hopes hang in the balance.

NHL 14 predicts Boston Bruins as Stanley Cup champs, which means it won't happen (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:19:43 PDT)
As the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs approach, it's that time of year where everyone is in the prediction business. You'll hear crowing from those who made stellar choices over the next two months and utter silence when what they expected to happen doesn't even come close to reality;  like if some idiot  thought the Boston Bruins were going to get swept in 2010. Speaking of the Bruins, EA Sports has used NHL 14 to simulate the playoffs for another year and the team from Boston comes up as Stanley Cup champions in the end. According to EA, "The simulation is conducted by using artificial intelligence within NHL 14 that uses real-life data from each player to predict a realistic outcome of each game." Given the game's most recent pre-playoff predictions, you should bet your hard earned money that it won't happen. Here's who the NHL series has thought would lift the Cup over the last six years and when their season ended: 2008 : San Jose Sharks (2nd round) 2009 : Boston Bruins (2nd round) 2010 : Pittsburgh Penguins (2nd round) 2011 : Vancouver Canucks (Stanley Cup Final) 2012 : New York Rangers (Conference Final) 2013 : St. Louis Blues (1st round) NHL 14 predicts what will likely be a common Stanley Cup Final choice (/raises hand) with the Bruins facing off against the San Jose Sharks and winning in six games. Tuukka Rask takes home Conn Smythe honors. So, congrats to the other 15 NHL teams. Your Stanley Cup odds have just improved. - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

Hockey Hugs: Marty St. Louis is scared; Blue Jackets float through life (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:34:37 PDT)
Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the sport of hockey, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Have you seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com  or Tweet it to  @HarrisonMooney . The NHL's regular season is over, which means, 14 teams and their fans could probably do with a good hug. Fortunately, this feature has several. A handful of times every night, you see, the two teams pause the game so one team can hug. It builds momentum. (After a hug, the bench is 10 feet tall.) It relieves pressure.   "We all know the pressure's there, we just have to deal with it and move on," Randy Carlyle said as his team felt the rigours of trying to hold onto a playoff spot. "Our job is to provide a template for players to feel comfortable. Some days it's a little more harsh, sometimes it's a pat on the back, a hug, whatever you deem appropriate." Here at Puck Daddy, we always deem hugs appropriate. Which is why we're counting down our favourite six of the past month in the NHL. Honorable mention to Paul Bissonnette and the Phoenix Coyotes. They say he's a tough guy, but he's actually a very sensitive soul, and this mischaracterization hurts his feelings. Here he is, telling Chris Summers all about it. No. 6. New York Rangers A concerned Martin St. Louis nestles into Rick Nash, who is big enough to protect him.

Burke: Tortorella should 'keep his mouth shut' (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:27:15 PDT)
Calgary Flames interim general manager Brian Burke defended his coach Bob Hartley on Monday and said Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella ''oughta keep his mouth shut.'' Burke, also Calgary's president of hockey operations, responded to Tortorella's postgame comments after Sunday's game in Vancouver, where the Canucks won the regular-season finale 5-1. Tortorella had objected when Canucks forward Daniel Sedin was hit from behind and driven into the boards by Flames forward Paul Byron late in the second period.

Brian Burke thinks John Tortorella should shut his mouth (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:01:28 PDT)
John Tortorella dislikes Bob Hartley. Maybe “dislikes” doesn’t properly convey the emotion between the Vancouver Canucks coach and his Calgary Flames counterpart, who antagonizes Tortorella on a Avery-vs.-Brodeur level. They have history with each other dating back to the 1990s, and that anger boiled over this season when Tortorella was suspended for 15 days after being physically restrained from attacking Hartley on Jan. 18 after the Flames coach’s personnel decisions sparked a line brawl. “I was going to get him. I’m not going to lie to you,” said Tortorella on Monday, recalling the incident. The feud grew on Sunday when the Flames’ Paul Byron put Daniel Sedin on a stretcher with a hit, and Tortorella felt the Flames coach's "embarassing" behavior that followed was over the line in a meaningless game. “I probably shouldn’t say anything, but he pisses me off. I just don’t like the disrespect. It aggravates me,” said Tortorella on Hartley. “I just don’t like the way he does business. I don’t like’em. I need to protect my players. A lot of people don’t understand that. “It aggravates the [crap] outta me. It’s bush league,” he said, before cutting off his postgame press conference in frustration. Hartley hasn’t engaged in much verbal sparring with Tortorella during this feud. Then again, why does he need to when he has smack talkin’ Brian Burke as a boss. Burke, in his postseason press conference, addressed the Tortorella comments as one expected he would. Burke felt Tortorella’s anger was focused on the notion that Hartley was arguing for penalties on the Canucks for attacking Byron after the hit, and doing so when Sedin was still being treated. Via writer Chris Nichols, who transcribed the Burke comments: "So what Bob Hartley did last night was exactly what John Tortorella would have done had it been one of our players lying on the ice and he felt there was an inequity in the penalty call. So for him to afterward say it was disgusting and all that - John Tortorella, who's a friend of mine - should start worrying about John Tortorella and the Vancouver Canucks and stop worry about us. Our coach acted completely appropriately last night and Torts ought to keep his mouth shut." Burke also said later, on Tortorella’s personal attack on Hartley: "I really don't care. Like, days and weeks go by where I don't care what John Tortorella thinks about our team. I can promise you, it's been since January 18 where I've worried about it and I'm not going to worry about it tomorrow. I don't know why he seems so worried about our team. He should be worried about his team. And John Tortorella was on my staff for the Olympics in 2010. He's a good guy. I don't know what's going on in his head, but you know what? Shut your mouth and worry about your team. Leave my coach alone." Read the full Burke comments here. To your corners, gentlemen, for the offseason; then please, come out fighting next fall. Assuming Tortorella is still coaching somewhere in the NHL, as Burke said Hartley’s back next season.

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