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Canadiens Tickets
Top 10 players to watch in 2015 Memorial Cup (Buzzing The Net)
(Fri, 22 May 2015 09:23:46 PDT)

Rimouski Oceanic-Oshawa Generals Memorial Cup chatravaganza, Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT! (Buzzing The Net)
(Fri, 22 May 2015 07:31:45 PDT)

Memorial Cup preview: Top 10 Quebec Remparts observations (Buzzing The Net)
(Thu, 21 May 2015 16:54:51 PDT)

All about Babcock; Sabres' coaching options; wake up, Henrik (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 21 May 2015 11:38:19 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at .   

Boston Bruins elevate Don Sweeney to general manager (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 20 May 2015 12:03:35 PDT)
On his first day as general manager of the Boston Bruins, Don Sweeney met with Claude Julien and declined to give his Stanley Cup-winning coach more than a tepid endorsement. ''He's the coach of the Boston Bruins as of today, for sure,'' Sweeney said Wednesday in a news conference after he was promoted to become the eighth GM in the 81-year history of the Original Six franchise. It's just a matter of lining up things that I believe in.'' Julien led the Bruins to the NHL title in 2011 and back to the Stanley Cup finals two years later.

Captain Foligno; Hedman's arrival; 'Uptown Puck' (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 20 May 2015 11:03:30 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at . 

Memorial Cup preview: Top 10 Oshawa Generals observations (Buzzing The Net)
(Wed, 20 May 2015 09:20:36 PDT)

Andrew 'Hamburglar' Hammond gets triple decker contract extension from Sens (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 20 May 2015 07:48:37 PDT)
We don’t know how much longer the magic of Andrew Hammond will continue, but the "Hamburglar” just received a bit of security. On Wednesday, the Ottawa Senators announced they’ve extended Hammond for three years. He was pretty excited about it: Fire up the grills! Excited to be coming back to @Senators for 3 more years! ?????? — Andrew Hammond (@andrewhammond30) May 20, 2015 A new contract and free MacDonald's for life ? Pretty great 2015 for Hammond. According to the Senators, the deal is worth $4.05 million, with Hammond receiving $1.2 million in 2015-16, $1.35 million in 2016-17 and $1.5 million in the final year of his deal in 2017-18. Hammond was one of the biggest stories of the second of half of the 2014-15 NHL season. At age 27, he won 13 of his first 14 starts, taking over the No. 1 job in Ottawa as the Senators rallied to make the postseason. But “The Hamburglar” came back down to earth toward the end of the regular season and into the playoffs where he was replaced by Craig Anderson during the team’s first-round exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.  This now brings up the question of what GM Bryan Murray’s next move is regarding his goaltending. As of right now, the Senators have three goaltenders signed for next season with Robin Lehner having two years left on his deal before he becomes an RFA in 2017 and Craig Anderson looking at three years remaining on his contract, according to . Not to mention they just signed college free agent Matt O'Connor to a two-year deal, but he'll start with Binghamton in the AHL. After Hammond's extension, Ottawa’s cap situation is even tighter, with Murray needing to decide on the futures of UFA Erik Condra and RFAs Mika Zibanejad, Alex Chiasson, Mike Hoffman, J.P. Pageau and Calder Trophy finalist Mark Stone. Someone will be leaving Ottawa this summer between Lehner and Anderson, and you can imagine Murray picking up the phone to dial Peter Chiarelli in Edmonton as one of his first calls. That and maybe someone would be interested in a slightly-used Jared Cowen at two more years and $8.2 million owed to him? - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

What We Learned: Why is Rick Nash so bad in the playoffs? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 18 May 2015 08:05:40 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.)   Each year, the New York Rangers make the playoffs. Each year, Rick Nash is criticized for not producing. This kind of thing is common in hockey, of course. Sidney Crosby has faced it. Alex Ovechkin has faced it. If you put up a lot of points in the regular season and then not-a-lot in the playoffs, especially if your team is unceremoniously bounced, then you get called out. No one would ever mistake Nash for a player of Crosby’s or Ovechkin’s level; he’s long been an All-Star but never has he been in the conversation for “best in the world."  But as far as Rangers go, he’s certainly the best they’ve got up front. He averages 0.47 goals per game over his career on Broadway, and he’s pushing 400 in the regular season since he broke into the league in 2002. Not world-beating, but always respectable, and when he’s got actual talent around him —which he does to some extent with the Rangers —he can produce. He has eight 30-goal performances out of his 11 full seasons. The playoffs have been a different story, as everyone has learned time and again when watching pregame, between-periods, and postgame chats on the Rangers’difficulties putting the puck into the net in each of the last three postseasons (during which time they’ve always advanced at least to the second round). Nash has 50 playoff games in New York. He also has just six goals, or 0.12 per game. It’s a major problem. But the question, then, is whether this is just another Ovechkin/Crosby/Stamkos run of bad luck; that is to say: Those players basically play at the same level and have suffered playoff difficulties because of hot goalies, bad luck, and maybe a few undisclosed injuries, so does Nash fall into the same boat? And if you look at his even-strength performances in both the regular- and postseason in his career —Nash has only made it four times due to having languished in Columbus so long —you see the drop-off at 5-on-5 is about as stark as can be. (These numbers include only the first two rounds this year, and worse performances are indicated in red, better in green.)

Eulogy: Remembering the 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 17 May 2015 12:11:31 PDT)

Dominic Moore, the greasy heart of the New York Rangers (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 16 May 2015 14:52:06 PDT)
NEW YORK – To call Dominic Moore an inspirational player would be understating it.  Moore has played with nine different NHL teams since debuting in 2004 with the New York Rangers. He’s never averaged more than 17 minutes a night, never scored more than 18 goals. He’s a great faceoff man, a grinding forward and a penalty killer. His work ethic is his calling card, as much as his determination and heart – even when that heart is heavy with grief, as it was in 2013 when his wife Katie Moore died of cancer at 32 and Dominic Moore took a year away from hockey. He takes nothing for granted. “For me, this is the fourth time in the last five years in the conference final. I don’t take lightly being in these games,” said Moore after scoring the game-winning goal for the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, having also made the penultimate round with the 2010 Montreal Canadiens, the 2011 Tampa Bay Lightning and last year’s Stanley Cup Final runner up from New York. “We worked heard to earn this opportunity.” The Rangers don’t take Moore for granted. “He’s very trustworthy as a player. You know what you’re going to get every night,” said captain Ryan McDonagh. “He's a true pro, I think,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “He had it early on. My rookie year was his  rookie year. I'm all about preparation, and I can see him almost being like a goalie with everything he does and preparing himself to get into the right place going into every game. I think that's why he's been so consistent throughout his career, as well. He brings his game to a level that he's helping the team every night in face-offs and making great plays.” Moore’s game-winner late in the third period, giving the Rangers Game 1 against the Lightning by a 2-1 count, may not fall into the “great play” category. It was a Kevin Hayes pass that bounced off the knee of Moore and past Ben Bishop; the first goal of the playoffs for Moore. “It's the playoffs, isn't it? The beauties that you see in the regular season often times don't show up in the playoffs,” said Tampa coach Jon Cooper. “Give them credit. They drove the net. They had guys buzzing around down there and they got the break. In a game like that, that's how it was going to end up, who was going to get the last one at the end. And unfortunately for us, they got it.” It was the kind of goal Moore specializes in: In the trenches, around the net, being hounded by the opposing defense. “He plays a greasy kind of game. Tough to play against,” said Marty St. Louis of the Rangers.   “Guys that play with him understand how he plays. Killing penalties, winning faceoffs … he doesn’t get a lot of the accolades and glory but his teammates appreciate him.” (Of course, Moore couldn't help on the Lightning's last power play, as he sat in the box for a tripping call against former teammate Anton Stralman. The Rangers killed it off.)  St. Louis was added to Moore’s wing in Game 1, along with Carl Hagelin, and the results were stellar for coach Alain Vigneault: They were the best line on the ice in the first period, and helped the Rangers dominate the Lightning at 5-on-5. Moore finished with a 65.2 percent corsi for the game at 5-on-5. (The addition of Kevin Hayes to the line of Rick Nash and Derick Brassard was also palpable, as Hayes finished with a 74.07 corsi percentage at even strength, his line producing 20 chances to the Bolts’ seven.) Moore saw copious amounts of the “Triplets” line for the Lightning, with NHL leading playoff goal-scorer Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov. That line was the offensive engine for the Lightning in the previous round; while they were dangerous in Game 1, they didn't score at 5-on-5.  “In the second we gave them some room, and that’s the nature of the long change. Towards the end there, there were some opportunities to gain the zone,” said McDonagh, who was also matched against them. “But whoever was out there, as a unit of five, did a good job with the back pressure, getting it out of their hands before they get here.” St. Louis agreed: “When you’re out there against them, he have to have your head on a swivel.” The Triplets converted on the power play. But they were outscored by Moore at even strength, the result of the Rangers center’s overall effort, all game long.  He set the workrate for the Rangers, and helped them take a 1-0 advantage in the series.  “To see him get that goal, benefit of that bounce,” said Vingeault, “[is to see that] hard work pays off.” MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

What will make or break the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning? (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 16 May 2015 07:43:42 PDT)
Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning were 3-0 against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers during the regular season. The great thing about the Stanley Cup Playoffs is that those stats are thrown out and it boils down to who’s going to be the better team over a maximum of seven games. We all know the Tampa-New York connections and we’ll be hearing too much about them over the next two weeks, specifically Martin St. Louis. But this series is a matchup of a team who’s hot offensively against one who is hot defensively. Something will have to give for one to escape the Eastern Conference Final and move on to the Stanley Cup Final. Here are three things that will make or break the Rangers and Lightning.  New York Rangers 1. Can their penalty kill minimize Tampa’s power play? New York has the best penalty kill of the final four teams and are ranked fourth overall in these playoffs (89.3-percent success rate). It’s a solid kill unit whose success from the regular season (sixth overall, 84.3-percent) has carried over into the postseason. In the playoffs, of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin, the Rangers only allowed one goal between them against the extra man. Now comes the Lightning who scored seven power play goals in Round 2. Jon Cooper talked about how a power play can carry momentum for a team, but with the Rangers having killed their last 13 man advantages faced, can they swing things in their favor? 2. Is a track meet scheduled? The Rangers and Lightning are two of the fastest teams in the NHL. Heck, the Rangers even have a guy named “Fast” on their roster just to hammer home that point. Both teams enjoy activating their defensemen into the rush, but does New York want to go toe-to-toe with the Lightning in this department? Their defense hasn’t had to deal with as much speed as Tampa contains, so quick transitions could cause the Ranger blueliners fits. 3. Will Mats Zuccarello return? Zuccarello has been sidelined since Game 5 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins after taking a puck to head. His availability beyond the second round is “in doubt,” reported the New York Post . He was in attendance for Game 7 versus Washington and head coach Alain Vigneault said the forward was “coming along.” His absence hurts New York’s secondary scoring, and with St. Louis still without a goal, Zuccarello, who has scored 34 times over the last two seasons, coming back for this series would provide a boost to an offense that could use one.  Tampa Bay Lightning 1. Can they break Henrik Lundqvist? No goalie remaining has a better goals against average (1.60), even strength save percentage (.945) or history in Game 7s. Six of New York’s playoff wins this spring have come via 2-1 victories, with Lundqvist rising to the occasion when needed, despite the Rangers allowing 29.6 shots per game. Tampa’s averaged 2.62 goals per game these playoffs, while the Blueshirts have had their issues scoring averaging 2 goals for per game. The Lightning have to manage to bring Lundqvist back down to earth.  2. What’s next for “The Triplets”? The hottest line in hockey is the trio of Tyler “Conn” Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, who have combined for 17 of Tampa’s 34 goals this postseason. Johnson leads the team with eight and is one of the Conn Smythe Trophy favorites heading into Round 3. Kucherov didn’t score in Round 1, but erupted against the Montreal Canadiens scoring six times in six games. Palat, meanwhile, enters the conference final with five points in his last four games. They've been the driving force behind the Lightning offense so far, and will be relied upon to keep the pressure on Lundqvist. 3. Win the neutral zone. Speed and an aggressive approach to turn pucks over in the neutral zone will lead to scoring chances, and with the arsenal Tampa possesses, more often than not that will result in goals -- and goals will be hard to come by with a certain Swedish netminder playing at a high level at the moment. - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

NHL-National Hockey League roundup
(Fri, 15 May 2015 15:34:58 PDT)
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan, who had an emergency appendectomy Monday night, might play in Saturday's Game One of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers. He missed Tuesday's Game Six against the Montreal Canadiens, but returned to practice on Thursday and practiced again Friday, working on a line with Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault. Callahan's ability to play Saturday is "a pain-tolerance thing," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "Ultimately it's up to Ryan Callahan." - - - The Rangers will have defenseman Dan Boyle available for Saturday's Game One against the Lightning, but left winger Mats Zuccarello is unlikely to be ready for the series opener.

Puck Daddy predicts the Stanley Cup Conference Finals (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 15 May 2015 13:46:18 PDT)
It’s the Tampa Bay Lightning against the New York Rangers in the East, and the Chicago Blackhawks against the Anaheim Ducks in the West, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs reach the conference final round! Who wins? Glad you asked. Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 7 I'm sticking with my Lightning-Blackhawks final prediction from before the playoffs. While Henrik Lundqvist has been amazing in these playoffs, his teammates have had a hard time scoring. You can't win every game 2-1, and facing a Lightning offense that has been rolling thanks to "The Triplets," all while waiting for Steven Stamkos to get going, will give the Rangers fits.  Ben Bishop will be under the microscope again this series as his counterpart does what he does on a regular basis. Bishop's played well despite moments to forget through two rounds. As long as he doesn't fall apart, the Lightning should continue their run and get back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2004. Despite picking them to rep the West pre-playoffs, part of me wants to go with the Anaheim Ducks here. This isn't your typical Bruce Boudreau team that flames out in the playoffs. These Ducks have been dominant through nine games and but Chicago's depth has brought them success in the past and will do so at least one more time.  Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf has led the way, but can Patrick Maroon, Jakob Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey continue what they've done? Aside from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks know they can rely on Patrick Sharp, Marian, Hossa, and Brandon Saad for secondary scoring, while hoping Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell can channel their previous playoff production. We're about to get two weeks of fantastic hockey. Jen Neale, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 7 I honestly have no idea who has the better chance at winning this series because I counted both teams out long ago. I went with a gut feeling. I see Tampa as a sleeper because they can outscore their opponents into submission. Look at what they did to Carey Price! Henrik Lundqvist is back to his old form, but his team isn’t providing him the run support needed to keep up with Tampa. No Rangers player has more than 8points total in the playoffs; Tampa has five players with 8 points or more. As much as it pains me to admit it, the Blackhawks are the better team in this series. Their depth scoring far outweighs the Ducks, who will put up a fight, but ultimate fall due to their inability to win Game 7 at home. Playoff numbers-wise the Ducks are better in most categories, but they haven’t faced the quality of competition that Chicago brings. And really, if Tampa wins in the East, is the NHL going to let Anaheim win the West? That is a Stanley Cup Final ratings disaster waiting to happen. /takes off tinfoil hat. Josh Cooper, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 6 Ducks in 6 The Blackhawks will be Anaheim’s greatest test this playoff, but I think the Ducks will prevail. The Ducks have the best 1-2 center punch left in the postseason. Their defense goes three pairs deep. Frederik Andersen has been steady the whole playoff. Coach Bruce Boudreau has kept his emotions in check. The Blackhawks seem to always figure out a way to win and have that sort of mojo about them. But the Ducks seem primed and ready for this challenge. Except for maybe a couple of minutes in Game 3 against Calgary in the second-round, they’ve been the most focused team in the NHL these playoffs. Jon Cooper is a smart tactician and a mindful coach. He’ll figure out ways to maximize his teams’ speed against an equally fast group of Rangers. All teams are exhausted in the playoffs, but that Washington second-round seven-game series probably took a toll on New York. It was physical and gut-wrenching.  Tampa did go six games against Montreal in Round 2, but it held a 3-0 lead before the Canadiens won two straight games. It wasn’t nearly as tough as New York’s second-round comeback from down 3-1. Also, the absence of shifty forward Mats Zuccarello will really hurt New York against a speed team like the Lightning. Ryan Lambert, Columnist Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 7 I literally flipped a coin on these. I see very little difference between the two teams in the East, in terms of the likelihood they win this series. Basically it boils down to: Is Lundqvist enough to cancel out the Tampa offense? That's it. The Rangers can't really score too well and Ben Bishop has been pretty damn good in this postseason, so I have little faith that there's going to be some huge breakthrough for Rick Nash and Co. But Lundqvist is playing some of the best hockey of his life these days and the Tampa offense has occasionally faltered. God help them if Steven Stamkos gets going, though. God help us all if that happens. Out West, Anaheim and Chicago are, I think, still viewed a little bit through the prism of what they have been rather than what they are. The matchups at the top of each lineup are fascinating; does Boudreau go Getzlaf and Perry against Toews and Hossa, or does he put the Kesler group out there to shut them down and hope his Big Bads can push Brad Richards around? No doubt Corey Crawford can outduel Frederik Andersen, but the Ducks are scoring a lot of goals in this postseason and that's a major cause for concern. Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Fantasy Columnist Rangers in 6 Ducks in 7 The Lightning probably lack the experience to take this over the top. The Rangers, meanwhile, were just in the Final last year and I believe that experience counts for something. Rangers/Ducks were my Cup Final picks before the postseason began, so I should stick with those teams. But the Blackhawks have put a scare in me, that's for sure. That series has the potential to be absolutely epic. Right now the Hawks seem unbeatable - it's only loyalty to my original pick that has me still hanging my hat on Anaheim. Sam McCaig, Yahoo Hockey Editor Rangers in 5 Ducks in 7 It's the Rangers' veteran experience versus the Lightning's youthful exuberance -- and we're going with the old guys. New York made it to the Stanley Cup Final last spring and followed up with the Presidents' Trophy this season. The Rangers are built for the playoffs, with great goaltending and a stout defense corps, plus a championship blend of skill and grit up front. The Lightning's best chance to emerge rests with Ben Bishop outdueling Henrik Lundqvist -- not impossible, but not likely. A great matchup between two high-octane teams, and it's a true toss-up. We'll take the Ducks in a series that goes the distance -- but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final because, hey, they're the Blackhawks. The Getzlaf-Perry line is a beast, and Anaheim can come back with Ryan Kesler on the second unit. The Ducks are deep and mobile on defense and Frederik Andersen has been solid in net. Not to mention, Anaheim is pretty rested for a team in the conference final after sweeping the Jets in Round 1 and eliminating the Flames in five games in Round 2. Nick Cotsonika, Yahoo Sports columnist Rangers in 7 Blackhawks in 6 Why Rangers in seven? Because winning seven-game series is what they do, and they have the best goaltender left in the playoffs. They've been here before. The Bolts are skilled and deep. They're a legit Cup contender. But they're still growing.  The Ducks were built to beat the Kings, the team that has rivaled the Blackhawks and beat them in an epic series last year. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are elite, and Ryan Kesler gives them a great one-two punch at center, an advantage in this matchup. But the Ducks struggle with speed, and the Hawks have speed and even more depth, not to mention experience. Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 6 Yeah, I say the Lightning buck the roughly 10,000 Game 7 trends in the Rangers’ favor and the Blackhawks find a way to slow the Ducks’ various attacks. Lightning vs. Blackhawks for the Cup. Please begin writing your Brad Richards think pieces now. 

Montreal cut ties with veterans Gonchar, Weaver, Malhotra (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 15 May 2015 12:43:25 PDT)
BROSSARD, Quebec (AP) -- Veterans Manny Malhotra, Sergei Gonchar and Mike Weaver will not be back with the Montreal Canadiens next season.

Howe's treatment; Kesler's off-ice value; Best team in the playoffs (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 15 May 2015 12:00:29 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at .  

Different routes lead to same Stanley Cup destination
(Fri, 15 May 2015 11:39:14 PDT)
The East's New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have endured a long and bumpy road to reach the last four of the Stanley Cup playoffs while the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have barely been tested in the West. The Western Conference's top-seeded Ducks needed nine games, one over the minimum, to get through the first two best-of-seven rounds after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 and dispatching the Calgary Flames in five games.

NHL-Different routes lead to same Stanley Cup destination
(Fri, 15 May 2015 11:32:30 PDT)
(Corrects fourth paragraph to show Chicago beat Nashville, not St. Louis) By Steve Keating May 15 (Reuters) - The East's New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have endured a long and bumpy road to reach the last four of the Stanley Cup playoffs while the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have barely been tested in the West. The Western Conference's top-seeded Ducks needed nine games, one over the minimum, to get through the first two best-of-seven rounds after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 and dispatching the Calgary Flames in five games.

Canadiens GM backs Therrien as coach, sour on Galchenyuk at center (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 15 May 2015 08:21:49 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning, losing the first three games of the series before rallying to still lose in Game 6.  Some people felt that coach Michel Therrien’s inability to activate the team’s offense and its power play, curious lineup decisions and historic diminishing returns as coach would be enough to seriously evaluate his future with the team. GM Marc Bergevin is not one of those people. "I have no reason to make any changes when it comes to our coaching staff. They are doing great work,” he said during his end of season press conference . "Michel Therrien is doing exceptional work. I'm disappointed anyone would think otherwise." Hopefully Mike Babcock still has the receipt for that French Rosetta Stone he purchased… Therrien is in his second tour of duty with Montreal, having completed his third season. He’s made the playoffs in all three seasons, twice finishing atop the division. Their offense ranks in the bottom third of the league, coming in at 2.61 goals per game this season, the lowest among all 16 playoff teams. As for the Habs’ power play, Bergevin said it will be a priority and that he’ll meet with the coaching staff next week to determine next steps. Some other notes from the Canadiens presser: * The team plans on making a big push to sign defenseman and trade deadline acquisition Jeff Petry. * Bergevin had no issues with the team’s four-headed no-captain setup . “I don’t think it hurt us this year. Looking back, I thought our leadership group did every well.” * The biggest news was about the Canadiens’ center spots, as young standout Alex Galchenyuk got anything but a vote of confidence from Bergevin as far as his future being in the middle and not on the wing. "Will Alex Galchenyuk be a full-time centerman? Only time will tell,” he said, adding that Galchenyuk’s play this season has determined which position he current belongs in. "Chucky is not there yet... He might never be a centreman. He might be, he could be," he said. Galchenyuk is 21, a former third overall pick, and had 20 goals and 26 assists this season. He's also set to become an RFA this summer. As far as improving that center spot … well, easier said than done according to Bergevin:  #Habs Bergevin on centre position: "My reality may not be the same as the Playstation I play at night." Says you don't get a #1 C thru trade — John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) May 15, 2015 TRADE DENIED! * Finally, he said that Mike Weaver, Manny Malhotra and Sergei Gonchar will not be back with the team next season. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

ECF: Rangers vs. Lightning (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 15 May 2015 05:45:00 PDT)
The Eastern Conference Final will pit the New York Rangers against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Corey Abbott has your preview.

Bishop a key to Tampa Bay Lightning's deep playoff run (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 14 May 2015 23:22:05 PDT)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a pretty good idea of where they'd likely be without Ben Bishop, and it's not in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals. The 6-foot-7 Bishop won a personal-best and franchise-record 40 games in helping the Lightning to the best regular season in club history. ''It's just a byproduct of what we've watched for two years,'' coach Jon Cooper said Thursday before his team boarded a plane for New York, where Tampa Bay opens the best of seven conference finals against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers on Saturday.

Lightning's Callahan back on ice after appendectomy (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 14 May 2015 17:07:29 PDT)
BRANDON, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay forward Ryan Callahan was back on the ice Thursday, less than 72 hours after undergoing an emergency appendectomy that sidelined him for Game 6 of the Lightning's second-round playoff series against Montreal.

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in 'urgent need' of liver transplant (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 14 May 2015 12:19:48 PDT)
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been an outspoken and sometimes controversial voice in the NHL. At times he seems larger than life. Yet, on Thursday, we were reminded that he is a human being just like us. Melnyk had been absent from the public eye throughout much of the Senators' historic second half run and into the playoffs. On Thursday, the team released a statement as to why : Today, the club wishes to share with the hockey community and our fans that Mr. Melnyk has been sick and battling major health issues since mid-January. Since then, his medical care and treatment have been the sole focus for him and his family. Mr. Melnyk was admitted to hospital three weeks ago as a result of the onset of liver-related complications. He has undergone a comprehensive medical assessment and it has been determined that Mr. Melnyk is in urgent need of a liver transplant. Finding a donor for an organ isn't as simple as finding a blood donor. The criteria for a match has to be as near perfect as possible in order to reduce possible future complications, such as organ rejection. More from the Senators statement: Mr. Melnyk’s family has actively reached out to his close friends and broader family with the hope of identifying someone who could be a “live liver donor”. This process involves the removal of a portion of the living donor’s liver so it can be transplanted into the recipient patient. The Melnyk family’s efforts have yielded a number of potential donor candidates who have been extensively tested. These efforts continue in earnest but have so far not yielded a suitable donor. The Senators organization and the Melnyk family are looking for any members of the public who may be interested in being a live liver donor. (For those interested, more information can be found an the end of the Senators release.) We don't know the gravity of Melnyk's illness; however, it's difficult not to infer that if he needs a liver transplant quickly, he is very sick. From the Mayo Clinic : The number of people waiting for new livers is much larger than the number of available livers, so liver transplant is reserved for people who are critically ill. Some people receive a liver transplant right away, while others spend many months waiting for a liver transplant. For the Senators franchise, they have been struck with serious illnesses to personnel throughout the last  year.  In addition to Melnyk, Senators GM Bryan Murray has  been battling cancer since last June . One day before starting the team's playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, they  learned of the passing of assistant coach Mark Reeds , also to cancer. There is nothing quite like the hockey community coming together to back one of their own. It's likely the outpouring of support for Melnyk and his family during this time to be no different. We send our thoughts and prayers out to Eugene Melnyk. Keep on fighting. - - - - - - - Jen Neale  is an editor for  Puck Daddy  on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at  or follow her on Twitter!  Follow  @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Lightning astronaut mascot isn't some superfan, just marketing (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 13 May 2015 13:18:24 PDT)
There’s a certain fan inside Amalie Arena who's been catching the attention of the masses during Tampa Bay Lightning home games of late. This person dons an astronaut outfit for games and sits right near the glass. You've probably caught a glimpse at some point over the last month. Earlier in their second-round series with the Montreal Canadiens, the astronaut had some fun with Carey Price: At first you might think it’s an ode to the Kennedy Space Center, which is about 90 minutes from Tampa. Nope. Maybe it’s Ilya Bryzgalov? Sadly, no. So what’s the story? It’s all marketing. The astronaut mascot is part of a stealth marketing campaign by Tampa-based Malektronic, a Bluetooth speaker manufacturer (and also a Lightning sponsor). The astronaut was born near the end of the regular season and due to NBC controlling all the dasher board ads during the playoffs, the company has found a unique way to generate buzz. Via Sports Business Journal :  While the astronaut does not carry any Malektronic branding -- it does wear the brand’s Rocket speaker attached to its suit -- CEO Ben Malek believes it can still draw attention to the company. Malek: “We don’t want it to be too commercial. I think it’s one of those viral things. … People will start asking questions, and that’s when it will come more to light. I think it’s more of an organic growth rather than being a straight-out ad.”  The success of the astronaut has led to Malektronic and the Lightning to near a deal for next season and has drawn interest from other NHL teams about a sponsorship. The New York Islanders struck a deal with them in December, but their move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season could up the price of a renewal. The lack of a deal going forward between the two sides would also rob us of a Gorton's Fisherman mascot sitting in the lower bowl of the new rink. A loss for us all, especially Rangers fans. - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Fire Michel Therrien! Or, you know, trade for some offense (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 13 May 2015 09:03:47 PDT)
A cursory search for “FIRE MICHEL THERRIEN” finds two subsets of results: Articles from 2009, when he was actually fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins after he coached them to the Stanley Cup Final, and then a slew of articles written at the midpoint of last season after a brutal 20-game stretch. Some attacked the Canadiens’ passive forechecking, which didn’t generate enough offense. Others, like this one from a plucky young blogger named Tyler Dellow , spelled out the diminishing returns when Therrien takes over a team: “A very disturbing pattern in Therrien’s career. When he comes in, things seem to get worse. When he exits, they improve.” Where do Therrien’s 2014-15 Habs stand?  An offensively underwhelming team. Their 2.08 GAA in 12 playoff games is misleading: In fact, the Canadiens scored seven goals in five games in this series, the ones that were 6-2 pile-ons like Game 4. Their 2.61 GAA in the regular season placed them 20th and was actually up from their 2.55 GAA in the previous season; and yet it felt like Carey Price had to do more heavy lifting this season than last, hence his Hart Trophy nomination. Their power play was at 17.2 percent last season and dipped to 16.5 percent this season. The Habs aren’t the first team in hockey to struggle mightily in the playoffs on the power play, but 2-for-36 is a special kind of terrible. After the Montreal Canadiens were eliminated on Tuesday in Tampa Bay in Game 6, there were a few disturbing comments to emerge from the room. P.K. Subban, one of the team’s small cadre of captains, on leadership: “This is the playoffs. It’s about emotions, it’s about elevating your game physically and making sure your battle level is at a point where you can be a difference-maker on the ice. “You can’t afford to have passengers. Everybody’s got to be a leader, and today I don’t think we had enough. We didn’t do enough to beat a good hockey team. We knew they were going to come out with their best effort tonight, and we didn’t match it.” Said Therrien: “I felt that physically and mentally we were drained. It’s disappointing but I guess those things happen.” A lack of leadership and an inability to meet the emotional benchmark needed to win Game 6, after riding a wave of momentum from Game 5. Well, that’s not good. Then again, neither is losing the first three games of a series, or losing seven of nine games against a division rival. So what becomes of the Habs this offseason? And what, if anything, becomes of Therrien? The first answer GM Marc Bergevin needs to find is on offense: Is Montreal’s inability to score a result of a roster he constructed that can’t generate goals, or is it about a system Therrien plays that doesn’t activate the goal-scorers on the roster? From Arpon Basu of The Canadiens were the top defensive team in the NHL this season, backed largely by Price, and that became their identity. When you are facing 29 other teams once at a time during the regular season, you can get by on that. But in the playoffs, when every team takes just as much pride in its defensive play, you need something else to lean on, and the Canadiens didn't have it. Players like Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher , and even Pacioretty and Subban, are still on the upswing of their careers and have room to develop. But the infusion of some established offensive talent would fill a void this team had all season.  From Ken Campbell of The Hockey News , who calls Therrien one of the most polarizing coaches in the history of the Habs: But Therrien has been criticized as a pedestrian coach when it comes to playing style and strategy. He steadfastly refused to stay with Alex Galchenyuk at center and is blamed for a style that focuses on dump and chase with a team that isn’t physically suited to playing that style. The Canadiens play without the puck an awful lot and P.K. Subban was bang on when he suggested the Canadiens have made goalie Carey Price’s job more difficult, not easier. … Whatever the Canadiens do, they need to upgrade themselves at forward, particularly at center. Even though Plekanec is very good on faceoffs and plays a responsible game, he disappeared offensively during these playoffs, as did Desharnais. And in the absence of any help on the free agent market and trades being too difficult to make, the time is now for either Therrien or his replacement to make Galchenyuk a full-time center. Perhaps he won’t be the bona fide No. 1 guy for a year or two and that might mean the Canadiens take a step backward, but they’re never, ever going to know whether Galchenyuk is capable of doing the job unless they give him the chance and stick with him for an extended period of time. From Marc Dumont of Habs Eyes On The Prize: Predictably, as the dust settles, the yearly debate surrounding Michel Therrien has already commenced. It will be discussed ad nauseam. One camp will claim that the Habs have never been better, and that results are what matter in sports.  The other camp will point to the lack of strategic adjustments, the poor regular season possession numbers, and the performance of Carey Price. Essentially, both arguments hold water. I don't think Therrien is necessarily a bad coach. His team produced fantastic numbers throughout the playoffs, and it's tough to overlook where the Habs landed in the standings in the past two season. On the other hand, I do believe his grinding system is one of the reasons Montreal ran out of steam. It's an incredibly taxing strategy that takes its toll on players as the season goes on. There's also the worry that Therrien may be wasting the prime of several stars. That’s a legit fear, as Price and Subban and Pacioretty inch closer to 30 years old. So is the idea that Therrien’s system drains the tank in the same way another old-school coach, Ken Hitchcock, does with the St. Louis Blues. Therrien is essentially coaching a roster he doesn’t have, and no amount of moves from Bergevin will provide it to him. Bergevin is credited as being of the best GMs in the NHL. He’s attempted to add offensive in the past – remember Thomas Vanek? – and the results have been middling. There isn’t a team in the league that isn’t searching for offensive help in the middle. The problem is most of the ones available are of David Desharnais dimensions, and they already have that. Getting to the second round spares Therrien’s job; I think he’s on his “soff” behind if they had allowed Ottawa to rally in Round 1. But that doesn’t change the fact that this team’s offensive struggles can be traced to his system; a system that puts entirely too much on the shoulders of Carey Price. (There should be talk about Mike Babcock, no matter how insulting that might be to Therrien.)   But it’s not an easy call. Therrien has found success in Montreal. He has his champions, like Jack Todd of the Gazette: Win or lose in this series and beyond, Therrien deserves to be commended for a terrific season and a solid job behind the bench in the playoffs. That so many in this town refuse to give him credit isn’t a reflection on him — it’s a reflection on them. The essential question is if he can find more of that with some roster tweaks, or if that success can only come as it did in Pittsburgh: Without Michel Therrien behind the bench.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Kelowna Rockets poised to sweep: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)
(Wed, 13 May 2015 08:00:34 PDT)

Dose: How open is that window? (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 13 May 2015 00:10:00 PDT)
Wednesday's Dose ponders the Bolts eliminating the Habs, and why each playoff contender should treat this as their last big chance.

Lightning back in Eastern finals for 1st time in 4 years (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 12 May 2015 23:27:11 PDT)
So much for all those questions about what's happened to Steven Stamkos in the NHL playoffs. The two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner and the Tampa Bay Lightning are headed back to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in four years after Tuesday night's 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens ended their second-round series in six games. Stamkos failed to score in Tampa Bay's opening-round matchup against Detroit. He had three goals against the Canadiens, the last helping propel the Lightning after Montreal fought off elimination in Games 4 and 5.

Russia's Kucherov scores twice as Lightning oust Canadiens
(Tue, 12 May 2015 22:42:30 PDT)
Russian forward Nikita Kucherov collected three points, and Tampa Bay became the third club to reach the NHL's semi-finals with a 4-1 win over Montreal in game six of their Eastern Conference playoff. The 21-year-old Kucherov had two goals and one assist, Ondrej Palat, of the Czech Republic, added a goal and an assist. Canada's Steven Stamkos rounded out the scoring for the Lightning, who will head to the league's final four for the first time since dropping a seven-game series to Boston four years ago.

Young, talented Lightning team advances to East final and grows up fast: 'We have that belief' (Yahoo Sports)
(Tue, 12 May 2015 21:33:30 PDT)
NHL playoffs: The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference final – and eliminated the Montreal Canadiens – with an impressive display from their array of skill players in Game 6.

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