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Sweden adds playoff performers to final World Cup of Hockey roster (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 27 May 2016 08:56:19 PDT)
The thing with Swedish national players is that they're likely to be good, no matter who they choose to put on their World Cup of Hockey team. Heck, they could even ice a better than halfway decent secondary team with the players they left off the roster. Here's who the Swedes will be bringing to Toronto in September. (Ed. note: Bolded names are final additions.) G Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres * G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers G Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks D Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators * D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning D Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators D Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings D Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning F Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals F Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins F Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators F Carl Hagelin, Pittsburgh Penguins * F Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins * F Marcus Kruger, Chicago Blackhawks * F Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks F Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks F Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks * F Carl Soderberg, Colorado Avalanche * F Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues F Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings - The positive playoff performances for Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist have served them well as far as cementing their place on the roster. Hornqvist can play with pretty much anyone. How will Hagelin do without his teammates on the HBK Line? - As a third goaltender, the Swedes added the embodiment of Rage Against the Machine in Robin Lehner. He probably won't see much - if any - playing time. Lehner was injured in the first game of the season and came back in January for 21 games before being shelved in mid-March. According to Swedish Coach Gronborg , "20 out of Robin's 21 games were really good."  - Mattias Ekholm has quietly impressed hockey fans, especially in the playoffs. His addition to the roster comes at as a surprise as many had wunderkind defenseman John Klingberg pegged for the final spot. The Swedish brass were very unhappy with the players who decided to opt out of playing in Worlds, but Ekholm came over after Nashville was eliminated. As Coach Gronborg told Uffe Bodin , "Has taken amazing strides the past years. Has shown commitment by showing up in the World Championships." - A couple notable absences of guys who showed up for Worlds but didn't make the World Cup roster: Gustav Nyquist (the man, not the horse), Andre Burakovsky, and Mikael Backlund. Previously released final rosters: Team Russia Team Czech Republic Team Finland   - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Senators defenseman Chris Phillips announces retirement (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 26 May 2016 18:23:03 PDT)
Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips is closing out his career with the only NHL team he has ever known. Drafted first overall by the Senators in 1996, the 38-year-old Phillips announced his retirement Thursday. ''Nineteen years of professional hockey takes a toll on a body,'' Phillips said.

Chris Phillips announces retirement after 17 NHL seasons (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 26 May 2016 09:46:56 PDT)
After 1,179 NHL games, Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips has announced his retirement.  Phillips, the  No. 1 overall pick  in the 1996 draft and longest-serving player in Senators history, has been hounded by back issues since Feb. 2015, when he last played an NHL game. After several attempted comebacks, including one this past training camp that ended when he suffered a cracked vertebrae during rehabilitation, the time to hang up his skates had arrived. “I’d be lying if I haven’t thought about [retiring] for a while just given the past season and how it unfolded,” Phillips said during a Thursday news conference. “I remember we thought at the start of last year I was going to be ready to go at some point and just continually having setbacks and really just going through that basically back to normal life routine, not traveling, still going to the rinks in the morning, but being home and really kind of getting a taste of what life might look like post-hockey career. "At the same time with the way my back was acting and not healing to a point where it needed to be to play and knowing the reality of not getting any younger and not playing the game in nearly a year and a half, it just wasn’t going to happen. I think I’ve known in my head and my heart for a little while, so today’s a happy day for me.” Phillips made his NHL debut during the 1997-98 season and finishes with 71 goals and 288 points over 17 seasons, all with the Senators. He would score six times in 114 playoffs games for Ottawa, with his most memorable tally coming in overtime during the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New Jersey Devils, staving off elimination in Game 6. "He represents loyalty and what it means to be an Ottawa Senator,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. Internationally, Phillips represented Canada five times, winning back-to-back gold medals at the 1996 and 1997 World Junior Championships and a pair of silvers at the World Championships. Phillips and his wife also provided a huge presence in the community, helping 22 charities during their time in Ottawa, including most recently raising funds to help his hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta, which was ravaged by fires . It's no surprise he'll move into a front office role with the Senators working with team alumni and in community engagement. - - - - - - - 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 MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY :

Canadian university hockey players lend a helping hand to Fort McMurray residents (Eh Game)
(Wed, 25 May 2016 12:49:47 PDT)
Add Jaret Smith to the long list of Canadians that has reached out to the people of Fort McMurray in the aftermath of the wildfires that forced residents to evacuate. Lending a hand was an easy decision for a young man and now university hockey player who grew up in the Alberta community. "All my friends have been evacuated that still live up there," says Smith. "I have four or five friends whose houses have burned down, and my aunt's got taken down to make a firebed." Although now working in Red Deer, Alta., for the summer, Smith still has many connections in the town he called home until his high school days. After moving away to play bantam and midget hockey with the Red Deer Rebels, Smith was summoned back north to begin his junior career with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the AJHL. "Every home game was a packed barn," said Smith, now a member of the Nipissing University Lakers in North Bay, Ont. "It's definitely a place that kids should want to go play junior hockey." During the 2011-12 season, he roomed with teammate Kevin Lacroix, who remained in Fort McMurray and has been involved in stopping the wildfires. "[Lacroix] is actually one of the firefighters fighting the fire in Fort Mac," says Smith, "There were times when he went 48 hours without sleep fighting the fire. So hats off to him for being an absolute hero." Although Smith isn't fighting the fire himself, he's doing his part in helping the recovery effort.   For every RT this gets, I'll donate 10 cents to Red Cross for the #ymmfire #ymmstrong pic.twitter.com/C9OTy0kDAM For every RT this gets, I'll donate 10 cents to Red Cross for the #ymmfire #ymmstrong pic.twitter.com/C9OTy0kDAM — Jaret Smith (@smith_jaret) May 8, 2016 Now standing at 1,752 retweets, the money total is at $175, but Smith hasn't cashed in the donation just yet. "I want to get it to 2,000 so I can donate at least $200," says Smith, "I didn't actually have a clue how far it would get, but Chris Phillips from the Ottawa Senators retweeted me, and it kind of took off after that. I had a couple buddies tweet it at Justin Bieber. I kinda hoped for my wallet's sake that he didn't retweet it."

Bishop out; why Sharks haven't choked; Marner to Marlies? (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 25 May 2016 12:13:21 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  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com . Tonight's towel for Sharks fans.... pic.twitter.com/3C73iauSsI — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 25, 2016 • WHAT DID WE SAY ABOUT PUTTING SAXOPHONES IN THE SHARK TANK?! [ @Real_ESPNLebrun ] • "While previous iterations of San Jose’s hockey teams have tended to fade late in playoff series, if not outright choke, this version has shown a distinct ability to rise to the occasion when the temperature gets turned up." [ CSN Bay Area ] • Concentrating on playing defense first will with Game 6 for the St. Louis Blues. [ The Hockey Writers ] • The Blues believe a rested Brian Elliott is a better Brian Elliott. [ STL Today ] • Ben Bishop unlikely to play in Game 7 for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Steven Stamkos's status remains unchanged. [ Tampa Bay Times ] • Three reasons why the Pittsburgh Penguins will win Game 7. [ ESPN ] • Former official Kerry Fraser caught a missed power play opportunity for the Lightning when Matt Murray chucked his stick at the puck before Jonathan Drouin scored a goal that was eventually overturned. [ TSN ] • Pavel Datsyuk's agent says he's received an offer to play in the KHL, but he's going to take some time before deciding on what to do. [ Detroit Free Press ] • Arizona Coyotes have hired Ari Segal as COO. Segal was a chief architect in bringing the San Diego Gulls back to town as the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. [ Coyotes ] • According to Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant GM Kyle Dubas, wunderkind prospect Mitch Marner could potentially join the Marlies at the end of the Memorial Cup run. [ Toronto Sun ] • Should no teams be interested in the services of Max Talbot during free agency, he might try his hand at playing hockey in overseas. [ NBC Sports ] • The Ottawa Senators continue to pilfer from the Swiss league. First they took two coaches and now they've signed Tom Pyatt to a one-year deal. [ The Hockey News ] • Major front office shakeup at Monumental Sports & Entertainment - the Ted Leonsis led group that owns the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards. [ Washington Post ] • Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers could find themselves on the finalized World Cup of Hockey rosters when they're released on Friday. [ Philly.com ] • Relocating the Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate to Tucson is the best move for the entire organization. [ Five for Howling ] • Post Kevin Miller signing analysis: "For Don Sweeney's Bruins, it's the ugliest domino that falls first." [ Stanley Cup of Chowder ] • Seven factors for the Edmonton Oilers to consider when negotiating with Eric Gryba. [ Edmonton Journal ] • 'Stamkositis' is real and the some in the New York Islanders fanbase have it. [ Isles Beat ] • What it would cost the Montreal Canadiens to move up in the entry draft. [ EOTP ] • New York Rangers and Team USA defenseman Brady Skjei is home from Worlds. He reflects on his experience in Russia and the season ahead for him. [ Blueshirts United ] • Morgan Rielly was ‘jealous’ Mike Babcock spent more time with Auston Matthews at Worlds. [ Sportsnet ] • Keeping defenseman Tara Watchorn and goaltender Genevieve Lacasse are crucial for the Boston Blades going into next season. [ Today's Slapshot ] • Why obsessed hockey fans are updating 'NHL 2004' every single year. [ Digital Trends ] • Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie has inoperable brain cancer. He and the band's influence in Canadian culture and hockey culture is widespread. [ Leafs Nation ] • Finally, Hockey Night in Canada pays tribute to the Tragically Hip in their opening montage before Game 6 on Tuesday. The Hockey Night in Canada opening, set to @thehipdotcom . We're all thinking of you, Gord. https://t.co/3VKPeuqsCF — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 25, 2016 - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

What We Learned: NHL free agent blues for Backes, Brouwer (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 23 May 2016 03:14:41 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.) The NHL is getting smarter every year. Despite that, some bad free agent decisions get made every summer.  How many times has it happened that a strong playoff performance by an otherwise just-OK player results in too many dollars for entirely too many years? Yes, too many. You can be very, very certain that it's going to happen again. Two guys who certainly seem to fall into the category of “pending UFAs whose playoff performances are going to get them straight-up paid” are the big goal-scorers for the Blues. David Backes and Troy Brouwer both have seven goals in this postseason, tied with Vladimir Tarasenko and Logan Couture for fourth in the league. The latter two are guys whose career-long performance shows they can contribute at a high level. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today ] Backes and Brouwer, not so much. Greg recently highlighted both Blues forwards as guys who are going to cash in as a result of the playoffs. Not that anyone thinks they're going to pull something in the range of even Couture's $6 million a season, but these are two players you're going to want to be very careful about signing. Travis Yost had a good breakdown of why David Backes should give potential suitors pause this summer. I see Brouwer as being very much in the same category. Not salary-wise, obviously. There's a clear differentiation between how Backes — a proven leader and strong two-way player — is perceived in the hockey world at large. Most people wouldn't blink at someone giving him a sizable raise from his current cap hit of $4.5 million. Now, given that he's 32 and clearly trending downward at this point in his career (as most 32-year-olds are) I'd be dubious that any raise will end up being “worth it” sooner than later, but guys still get paid for past performance and it would be tough to say that there weren't at least a few seasons in the last few years in which Backes contributed more bang for the buck than the average comparable player. A smart GM probably wouldn't give him, say $6 million AAV for four years, let alone a Ryan Kesler contract, but there are some executives out there who will be just desperate enough for what Backes provides that the evidence at hand won't matter. He's a gritty leader who plays the full 200 feet and, as a bonus, scored a lot in the postseason. That gets a guy paid, full stop. Brouwer is a more interesting case, though. Backes has a semi-legitimate claim to getting paid. He's Olympian, All-Star, and frequent top-five Selke vote-getter who's scoring in the playoffs and will generally get you at least 50 points, historically speaking. That's a very valuable thing to have around in theory, but time catches up with us all and so on. How much longer Backes can be the idealized version of himself is very much up for debate. But what, then, is the idealized version of Troy Brouwer? Never an all-star, never received a single vote for any award, never a captain and a guy whose best statistical output doesn't match Backes' worst. Despite that, he's scoring a bunch in the playoffs and is, like Backes, seen as a gritty two-way guy. One can therefore reasonably expect that this postseason gets him a raise that is not commensurate with his actual value. We have plenty of evidence to show why he might not even be worth what he's paid right now. Take, for example, this new visualization from Carolyn Wilke. It compares a player's performance with other players in their cap hit range (as a percentage of the overall cap). The last “band” into which Brouwer falls is his current contract, and you can clearly see that he underperforms in comparison with the average player in the league who carries a similar cap hit: Troy Brouwer's postseason is probably going to earn him a raise he wouldn't get otherwise pic.twitter.com/yq9cow2Jnx — Carolyn Wilke (@Classlicity) May 22, 2016 That can be a little hard to read, but the message should be clear: Brouwer's teams get more heavily out-chanced when he's on the ice than when he's off, he doesn't score as much as similarly compensated players, and he doesn't generate enough chances of his own. Part of that is because he's used in a defensive role, which is going to depress his ability to score goals and create chances. But part of that is also that he's probably not good enough to be used in the way he has been for the last three seasons. All the 5-on-5 data over his current contract — the last three seasons, at an AAV of about $3.67 million — suggests he's roughly a lower-end third-line performer. And that's fine. If that comes with 35-plus points, you probably take the current contract as-is. Doesn't mean he's bad or anything, it just means that anyone who probably leaves you with better options for power play time and so on. His coaches, for whatever reason, haven't really found those options; he's played more than half of all his team's power play time over the last three seasons, and it was only this year that Ken Hitchcock started to reel things in after Washington really let him run wild on the man advantage (close to 65 percent of their PP minutes!). Even with Hitchcock reducing Brouwer's power play time, he still scored seven of his 18 goals on the man advantage, with three more going into empty nets. A guy logging as many minutes as he does at 5-on-5 shouldn't be scoring just eight goals over the full 82 games and then expect to get paid based on playoff performance. In fact, eight goals at full-strength this past season was tied for 10th-fewest in the entire league among all 116 forwards playing at least 1,000 minutes. He scored roughly the same number of goals per 60 minutes as Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Cody Eakin this season, and unlike those two his numbers are more likely to decline. Like Backes, Brouwer isn't getting any younger. He'll be 31 in August, and guys who play his type of game generally do not age well. It would be one thing to overpay him slightly, but any raise above and beyond what he already makes is going to be tough for a team to justify. He seems to have peaked in or prior to the lockout-shortened year, in his age-26 season (surprise surprise), and that's getting to be a while ago now. Because the league is getting smarter, there will be no Ville Leino contract . No one will give him a Dave Bolland deal. The overpayment will probably be a lot more modest in both term and dollars. But given the way the cap is moving (barely), and how much more efficiently teams are finding ways to spend money (much), even giving Brouwer an extra year or an extra $1 million would be worrisome. If his cap hit clears $4 million and he gets more than two or three years, it won't be the worst contract in the league, but it still won't be a good one. It's great for the Blues that he's scoring in the playoffs. He's a big reason they've gotten this far. But if there's anyone willing to pay him based on that, well, you know what they say about who is soon parted with his money. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : Finally, the Ducks add a potentially high-end young defenseman . They've really been hurting for those lately. Arizona Coyotes : Having an AHL team in Tucson is a pretty good deal for the Coyotes. It's a two-hour drive as opposed to a five-hour flight. Saves a lot of money on call-ups.  Boston Bruins : The Bruins may have to wait another year to get the compensatory second-round pick Edmonton owes them from signing Peter Chiarelli. Fun. Buffalo Sabres : Can you believe a kid from the WHL is named “Brycen?” Of course you can. Calgary Flames : Sean Monahan doesn't want a bridge deal . However, the two sides haven't really made a lot of progress either way, which seems crazy to me but hey whatever. Carolina Hurricanes : Well I mean, they shouldn't want Cam Ward back . Because he's not good any more. Chicago : Good luck improving that defense with that cap situation. Chicago's in a real tough spot on the back end. Again, that's the price of success. Colorado Avalanche : I still can't imagine why they'd trade one of their few good defensemen, but here we are . Columbus Blue Jackets : Columbus is apparently considering just LTIR-ing David Clarkson forever. This trade is working out great. Dallas Stars : The “ this ” in this scenario should be, “Getting a real goalie.” Detroit Red Wings : These guys really have their fingers on the pulse here. The Wings are dropping off? Wow! Edmonton Oilers : Benoit Pouliot was hurt for a good chunk of the season . Still a good player when he's healthy, but that's not often any more. Too bad. Florida Panthers : New logo and jerseys out June 2 , but you already know what they look like. Los Angeles Kings : Man, the Kings could only be so lucky as to have Dallas sign Milan Lucic for a ton of money this summer. Two years from now whatever deal he gets probably doesn't look very good. Minnesota Wild : If Bruce Boudreau can't make Jason Pominville effective in attack again , probably no one can. Montreal Canadiens : I mean, yes, but ... Nashville Predators : The Preds believe they will keep improving with this group. They also need to upgrade a few spots in the lineup. New Jersey Devils : How do the Devils have it set up so only like 11 guys are on their payroll for next season right now? That never happens. So yeah, lots to consider apparently . New York Islanders : Having the cap space and actually being able to sign a guy are two very different things. New York Rangers : Jeff Gorton sitting around his office like, “ But what if we got even more bad defensemen ?” Ottawa Senators : How many people on this list should the Senators actually target? Like, three? Philadelphia Flyers : Yeah, the Flyers probably don't trade up . What's the point if everyone's a project after, say, No. 5?

Mike Hoffman's history with Boucher a 'bonus' in contract talks (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 20 May 2016 11:43:12 PDT)
Mike Hoffman has scored 56 times for the Ottawa Senators over the past two seasons and recorded 107 points. Heading into next season he might be the happiest player to see Guy Boucher take over the head coaching job. Despite being one of Ottawa’s top even strength scorers since 2014-15, via War on Ice , Hoffman’s name surfaced as a potential player headed out of town this summer as restricted free agency approaches. Surely he’s earned a raise from his $2 million salary this season, and with the Senators in transition, he’s a piece you want to keep in your top six. But it wasn’t looking that way under Dave Cameron, who had Hoffman paying rent in his doghouse over parts of the last two seasons thanks to some defensive lapses and down possession numbers. So when Cameron was canned and Boucher was brought in, there was hope for a future in Ottawa for the 26-year-old forward. Speaking with Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun , Hoffman spoke glowingly about the new head coach. “He’s tough. He doesn’t take any s - -t,” he said. “You’ve got to be working hard every practice, every game, otherwise you’re going to hear it. It makes you responsible, and that’s what makes you better and that’s what makes the team better. “He’s excellent at figuring out players, whether to push them or just leave them alone. He’s very good at controlling his team. I think part of that comes from the psychology background and all that stuff he has his degrees in, which is extremely important in sports.” Hoffman has history with his new head coach. Boucher was behind the bench in Drummonville when they won a QMJHL championship together. That season Hoffman posted 52 goals and a month later the Senators drafted him 130th overall. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today ] At his introductory press conference, Boucher spoke about the challenges he faced coaching Hoffman when he first got to Drummondville. But what impressed him the most was how much better the forward got during his time there. “We were a contending team and he was certainly a big part of it, but what I liked about Mike is he responded," Boucher said. "He really responded to everything that I tried with him and so that’s why I’m really looking forward to working with him again. "He’s one of the players, I think, on this team that is a game-breaker. So game-breakers, you don’t have a lot of those guys on any team, but certainly when you have asset like that, you want to cherish it, you want to work with them and accompany them on their road to more success and improving and evolving.” Talks haven’t begun between Hoffman’s camp and new Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. Earlier this season Hoffman was sounding open to a three-year deal, but hesitant on anything longer depending on the dollars. A longer-term deal would buy up UFA years, which is something that would up his price. “There’s still a lot of time here, so there’s not really any rush,” Hoffman told the Sun . “Obviously I want to play in Ottawa, that’s my first priority. Having him as a coach is obviously a bonus. We’ll just have to wait and see how everything plays out.” - - - - - - - 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 MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Stamkos's risks; IIHF adds 3-on-3; Bruins' poor drafting (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 20 May 2016 11:10:28 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  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com .

Canada to meet USA in world hockey semi-finals
(Thu, 19 May 2016 13:59:49 PDT)
Reigning world champions Canada boosted their hopes of retaining their title as they thrashed Sweden 6-0 at the ice hockey world championship quarter-finals in Saint Petersburg on Thursday. Canada joined Finland, the United States and Russia in the semi-finals which will be played in Moscow on Saturday after Finland saw off Denmark 5-1, while the USA beat Czech Republic 2-1 in a penalty shootout and Russia downed Germany 4-1.

U.S. advances at Worlds; Blues out of sync; Rose leaves Islanders (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 19 May 2016 09:13:15 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 puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com . 

Canada beat France to keep unbeaten run at ice hockey worlds
(Mon, 16 May 2016 13:15:58 PDT)
Reigning champions Canada overpowered France 4-0 in their world championship Group B encounter to record their sixth win in as many matches in Saint Petersburg on Monday. Canada captain Corey Perry and Ottawa Senators winger Mark Stone both collected a goal and an assist, while Calvin Pickard produced just 13 saves for a shutout setting the defending champions on their way to a 16th straight win at the worlds. Stone put Canada on the scoreboard with a powerplay effort 8:32 into the match, while Colorado center Matt Duchene added his goal with 4:35 remaining to play in the second.

What We Learned: Stop overpraising Blues, Sharks management (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 16 May 2016 06:24:05 PDT)
A thing you saw a lot this week, in the lead-up to Sunday night's Western Conference Final matchup between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues, is praise for the teams' respective general managers and fellow Dougs, Wilson and Armstrong. They have put together some good teams over the years, to be sure. Both rosters are talent-rich at all positions. Both have a healthy mix of older players who have been through the wars before and still contributing at a high level and younger players who are throwing in their own solid performances. Both are well-coached. Both are getting strong goaltending. But was either GM actually “patient” with their rosters? Probably not. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today ] The San Jose example is the one for which there was obviously no real patience displayed. Back in 2014, when the Sharks blew a 3-0 lead to the Kings, Wilson saw his divisional rivals go on to win the Stanley Cup, and thought, “There but for a lack of Leadership and Grit go I.” He tried to trade Joe Thornton. He tried to trade Patrick Marleau. Neither would wave their no-trade clauses. He also brought in some largely useless veterans (like future All-Star captain John Scott!) to try to move the needle and ended up setting his team back in some ways. If Wilson had gotten his way back in the summer of 2014, this Sharks team looks a lot different than it does now. And probably a lot worse as well. Who knows what selling low on Thornton and Marleau at that time gets him on the trade market, but when you look at the impact those two have had not only in this postseason, but in the last two years, you have to say that any return would probably have not produced commensurate numbers. The only thing you can say in Wilson's defense here, honestly, is that the no-movement and no-trade clauses he wrote into the contracts those two players signed for three years beginning in 2011 and 2014, respectively, prevented him from making his team worse. I'm not sure if that's patience. I'm positive it's not praiseworthy. Another thing Wilson did that wasn't exactly patience to actually help his team is go out and acquire a solid goaltender. Not that Antti Niemi was in any way bad for the Sharks on the whole, as he was perfectly fine in his time there, but “perfectly fine” doesn't usually win you many playoff rounds, as anyone can see. It should surprise you not at all that Martin Jones's save percentage in this postseason is the second-best any Sharks team has seen since the start of the Behind the Net era in 2007-08. Combine that with the transformation Brent Burns has given the Sharks on the blue line and yeah, it's inarguably a really good team. Wilson deserves praise for keeping that team together only insofar as he didn't do a good enough job convincing his veteran forwards to waive no-trades, and didn't do anything dumber. With the exception of Jones, I'm not sure he actively sought to improve the team or its core at any point in the last two years. He signed Paul Martin this summer, and Martin has been... fine? I guess? Which, okay, it's nice to have serviceable defensemen, but the price point and term is worrisome on that deal. He got rid of Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan retired. (Can we reasonably count that?) In fact, his big trade at the deadline, bringing in Roman Polak and Nick Spaling, has gone about as well as you'd think “giving up two second-round picks for Polak and Spaling” would go. But again, you can say Wilson made some moves to improve his team while accidentally sticking with a very good core. Not really sure you can say the same for Armstrong. The Blues made a number of transactions in the offseason, signing big-time contributors like Danny Kristo, Jordan Caron, Peter Harrold, Kyle Brodziak, Andre Benoit, and Justin Hodgman in July. He also added Scottie Upshall, Scott Gomez, and Martin Havlat in-season. Mostly depth moves, obviously. But of all those additions, only Upshall and Brodziak are still with the big club, and both are playing about nine minutes a night in this postseason. Further, Armstrong actively made his team worse this summer by trading T.J. Oshie to Washington for Troy Brouwer. The latter is a subpar possession player who didn't even crack 40 points this year. The former isn't exactly a possession driver but did okay relative to his club, and at least chipped in 51 points. That was a net loss for Armstrong, except it did save him a measly $500,000 or so against the cap. And let's not forget, it's tough to make trades in the NHL these days. St. Louis has some pricy contracts Armstrong has given out that are therefore difficult to deal even if the player in question is somewhat sought-after. In addition, there are also guys where it's just a no-brainer you don't trade them. Is that what we're qualifying as patience these days? Here are two actual smart things he did, but one would have to qualify “smart” as simply being “not dumb.” First, he didn't fire Ken Hitchcock, or let him walk without a new contract, when everyone thought he would. Fine. Second, he didn't try to upgrade from a great goaltender in Brian Elliott. Well, not especially hard anyway. Because man did they ever try really hard to give the starting job to Jake Allen over the course of the last two seasons, but Elliott was always there, being better. No “solutions” to a non-problem that didn't need solving. You just stick with your really good goalie. But should we really be praising someone for having the patience to keep one of the demonstrably best coaches in hockey around? Or for finally saying, “Ah hell, let's see what this above-average goalie does with the opportunity?” Come on. Hitchcock was better than anyone the team was reasonably going to get over the last few summers. Elliott is only now starting because of flameouts from Allen last year (.904 in six games), and Miller the year before that (.897 in six). In 2012-13, the only other season in which the Blues were especially good, they lost in six games with Elliott, but he was .919 against Chicago. Sometimes you run into a better team, especially in that conference. Sometimes the puck bounces the other team's way for years at a time in the postseason, until it doesn't. Smart general managers understand this and don't make over-reactive moves. Remember when the Capitals overreacted to Bruce Boudreau flaming out in the playoffs and then starting a little slow, and set their team back two-plus years? Their roster still has problems, especially on the back end, but there's no doubt they're one of the most talented teams in hockey. What's really worked out for the two general managers in this case is the fact that young talent which wasn't there a few years ago, at least not in any significant role, is now a major contributing factor to winning and losing. I guess you praise teams for identifying and developing those players successfully. But beyond that it's hard to give credit for “patience” in either case because that's the bare minimum any intelligent general manager with a good roster should do. And in both cases, it was only for a stunning lack of success in previous attempts to tinker that they finally arrived here in Patientville. Not-blowing-up good NHL rosters is like not-stepping in dog crap in the middle of the sidewalk. As long as you're paying the slightest bit of attention, you should be able to avoid it with ease. And certainly you don't deserve adulation for it. What We Learned   Anaheim Ducks : I think we can safely file this under “ duh .” Arizona Coyotes : This is a truly shocking turn of events. Boston Bruins : Not surprising at all to see Joonas Kemppainen jump to the KHL . Bruins' goal getting awful crowded at all levels. Buffalo Sabres : Sam Reinhart is playing a marginal role for Canada at the Worlds, which is fine all things considered. Calgary Flames : The Flames are looking for a head coach who has “ been involved with winning programs .” Hey gang, Randy Carlyle won a Cup. Carolina Hurricanes : Major upgrades will be made to the Hurricanes' practice facility this summer, perhaps including no longer being the Hurricanes' practice facility because they might move to Quebec or Las Vegas. Chicago : This is embarrassing whining . Colorado Avalanche : This is the worst-run team in the league . Columbus Blue Jackets : The Blue Jackets' arena may host a playoff game after all . On Wednesday, if necessary, the AHL club will play Game 7 there because their usual building will be the site of a Carrie Underwood concert instead. Dallas Stars : This is going to get very expensive very quickly . Detroit Red Wings : In four years when these kids are all 26 they will finally get a shot with the Red Wings. Edmonton Oilers : Turns out Taylor Hall is really good . Who knew! Florida Panthers : I know we're supposed to be chagrined by all the changes the Panthers are making but like, I'm not convinced that getting the guy who gave out contracts to Dave Bolland and Shawn Thornton a little more removed from the decision-making process is such a terrible move. Los Angeles Kings : This is bad news for anyone hoping the Kings would completely fall apart this summer. Minnesota Wild : No way to anyone could've seen this coming . Montreal Canadiens : Okay so we're officially looking at another Offseason of No Good Decisions , eh? Nashville Predators : Just happy to be here . New Jersey Devils : The many 27-year-olds on the Albany Devils have pushed the youthful and mega-talented Toronto Marlies to the brink . New York Islanders : Going with Greiss as your No. 1 for a full 82 seems like a huge gamble but it's one that probably has to be made. New York Rangers : Hey can this kid play defense ? Ottawa Senators : The one word that came to mind when watching Guy Boucher's Lightning teams a few years ago was............... creative ? Hmm, no that's not it. Philadelphia Flyers : The good news is 10 to 12 weeks isn't a long time when you don't have another game until October. Pittsburgh Penguins : So would you say, then, that he in fact has not matured ? San Jose Sharks : Seems like the Sharks got the memo on “ cover that 91 guy .” Easier said than done, though. St. Louis Blues : Ken Hitchcock got a similar memo about the San Jose power play. Also easier said than done. Tampa Bay Lightning : I'm just gonna go ahead and say right now in advance that if either Andrei Vasilevskiy or Matt Murray gets lit up over the course of this series, any media backlash against them for “ inexperience ” or anything else is going to be silly and unreasonable. Toronto Maple Leafs : The “ or Laine ” here should be followed by a wink emoji. Vancouver Canucks : I feel like “ room for panic ” about the Canucks is the biggest understatement in league history. Washington Capitals : They really shouldn't say stuff like this when so many mitten-stringers are more than happy to say it for them. Winnipeg Jets : Not a lot going on between the Jets and Mark Scheifele, extension-wise . That's something that really ought to be prioritized. Play of the Weekend This finish from Jo Drouin with the puck still in the air is ridiculous.  Gold Star Award

Capitals assistant Reirden a 'future head coach' in the NHL (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 13 May 2016 11:44:23 PDT)
Todd Reirden's road to coaching started as a journeyman defenseman playing in the minors for Todd McLellan's Houston Aeros during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Injured and at the tail end of his career, Reirden still wanted to make an impact, so McLellan assigned him coaching responsibilities with young players. ''At that point, you could tell that he had coaching in his blood and that's probably something that he wanted to do,'' McLellan said.

Conference Final Preview (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 13 May 2016 09:41:00 PDT)
Ryan Dadoun breaks down the Eastern and Western Conference finals.

Canada beat Germany to stay unbeaten at world ice hockey championship
(Thu, 12 May 2016 14:22:59 PDT)
Defending champions Canada overpowered Germany 5-2 in their world championship Group B encounter to record their fourth win in as many matches in Saint Petersburg on Thursday. Edmonton Oilers winger Taylor Hall scored twice, while Cam Talbot produced 17 saves to set Canada on their way to the 14th consecutive win at the worlds, which put them back on top of their group table. Hall put Canada in front 3:54 into the game, while Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry added a powerplay goal in the second period before Patrick Reimer and Sinan Akdag scored within the space of seven minutes to level at 2-2.

Marc Crawford back in the NHL as an assistant with Ottawa (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 May 2016 13:38:52 PDT)
Marc Crawford just wanted to be back in the NHL. A former NHL coach of the year who spent the last four seasons coaching in Switzerland, Crawford was one of a number of candidates interviewed for the opening with the Ottawa Senators that eventually went to Guy Boucher. Within hours of being hired, Boucher approached Crawford and offered him the opportunity to join his staff as an associate coach.

Bruce Boudreau on Ducks' firing, Senators' interview, Wild's core (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 10 May 2016 15:27:01 PDT)
At 6:30 a.m. on Friday April 29, Bruce Boudreau received a text message from Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray. Once he saw the note, Boudreau knew his time coaching the Ducks was probably over. Boudreau’s Ducks had lost to the Nashville Predators in Game 7 of the first-round of the playoffs. It was the fourth straight Game 7 loss for the organization. Even though Boudreau had won four Pacific Division championships with the Ducks, he knew playoff failures in big games had defined his tenure. “I knew (he didn’t text me) to congratulate me,” Boudreau said in a phone interview with Puck Daddy. “I knew it was coming before I went in and I made sure to phone my kids and talked to my wife and let them know what was probably going to happen.”   [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today ] And when the Ducks made the decision, Boudreau quickly became the hottest commodity on the coaching market. He interviewed with the Minnesota Wild and the Ottawa Senators in the week after he was let go. It also appeared the Calgary Flames fired Bob Hartley in order to go after Boudreau. One day after Boudreau interviewed with Ottawa , the Wild moved quickly, landing the veteran coach to reinvigorate the franchise. According to Boudreau, he never had a “formal offer” from Ottawa. He also felt like he jibed with Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher – known as one of the savvier operators in the business. After the Senators hired Guy Boucher, they said Boucher was their No. 1 choice  and had the resources to meet Boudreau's price tag of near $3 million per-year.  “Meeting with Chuck I felt … I felt the same way with (Ottawa GM) Pierre (Dorion) but there was a little more – it was so easy to talk to them and their philosophy was great and I thought they had a really good team,” Boudreau said. “And I thought they always played hard against us so I was hoping and praying they were the ones that would come to the front and asked me to coach.” Added Boudreau, “We knew it was going to happen quick and it did happen quick.”  A lot of attention with Boudreau has revolved around his offensive philosophies and trying to open up the Wild’s defensive-minded systems. But he also needs to coax more talent out of some of the Wild’s younger players. Forward Mikael Granlund was once considered a budding star, but has never eclipsed 44 points in a full season. Defenseman Jonas Brodin is considered a mobile minute cruncher (20:25 per-game last season) but hasn’t turned into that No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman the Wild hoped when he was a rookie. Jason Zucker’s best year came in 2014-15 when the forward had 21 goals in 51 games. He had just 13 goals in 71 games this year. All three are age 24 and younger.  If these players can tap into their potential, then the Wild will have a better chance of taking another step. If they don’t then Boudreau will need to rely on the team’s aging core, which could make a fifth-straight playoff appearance for the Wild seem less likely.  “I’ve seen (their younger players) all play and thought they were great and again, how can I help them grow? I think there are a couple of ways. One is just natural maturation and two is I think if they put in the work, they’re going to get better,” Boudreau said. “I’ve seen so many players from a young age to middle hockey age in the mid-20s improve so much and I don’t see why these guys can’t either.” Added Boudreau, "A lot of them haven’t hit their ceiling of how good they’re going to be. And I think they’re a very competitive team in the Central Division which I classify right up there with the best division in the league. If they haven’t hit their ceiling to be able to watch them grow I think there’s another step to be taken by the team and individual players."  This past year, there was some drama with Wild forward Zach Parise and his using Adam Oates as a skills coach . Yeo indicated he believed Oates’ presence with Parise hurt the team . When asked, Boudreau said he didn’t have an opinion.  “I haven’t really encountered it yet,” Boudreau said. “It’s too early for me to answer that question. We’ll see as we go along here.” In his introductory press conference with the Wild, Boudreau indicated he preferred to limit the minutes of defenseman Ryan Suter more moving forward. While Suter’s showed no signs of slowing down – and put up his best statistical season of his career – Yeo had a tendency to overuse the blueliner. In four years with Minnesota Suter averaged 28:44 of ice-time. With the Ducks, Boudreau had a pair of elite defensemen in Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm, but often preferred to roll three pairs. “I’ve never said I wasn’t going to play him 30 minutes, I just think it’s advantageous if he doesn’t have to,” Boudreau said. “If you can roll out the three defense pairings – but you have to have three defense pairings to roll out – I think it’s more beneficial than playing someone 30-plus minutes per-game.”  Since the Wild brought in Parise and Suter before the 2012-13 season, the Minnesota hasn't finished better than 12th in the NHL in scoring. Last season the Wild finished 18th in the NHL with 2.60 goals per-game. In 2015-16, forward Mikko Koivu led the team with 57 points. Parise notched 25 goals.  Boudreau has often been known as an offensive coach and a coach that maximizes his team from a puck possession perspective. His past groups also had offensive superstars, and the Wild currently does not. This may mean Boudreau may need to change his approach to some degree. “As much as I like Alex Ovechkin and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, you don’t need those guys to survive to win,” Boudreau said. “I think we can do it the old fashioned way which is you work as a team and you have 20 guys playing. It’s cliché but it’s the thing I think that always works.” Still, part of the reason why he was hired was because of his team’s offense. "His teams play fast, they score, they win and they're entertaining," general manager Chuck Fletcher said . "[I think our players] need a different push, they need a different voice, and Bruce's experience, as long as his tremendous passion for the game and his hockey IQ, will allow him to push this group to heights they haven't been to yet." Part of the reason why Boudreau has been such a successful coach is because he gets his players to buy in because of his caring personality . Boudreau has a 409-192-80 record as an NHL coach between the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. Boudreau has yet to speak with the Wild's core, but said that talk will happen in the "next week or so." "I always vowed I’d get to know (my players) and it’s my job to find any little way to make them tick and make them play better and knowing a little bit about them is always beneficial," Boudreau said. "I know they appreciate it, I would have appreciated it as a player."  Both Boudreau and the Wild have been defined by past playoff failures. In Minnesota's four straight postseason appearances they've made the second-round twice, despite having one of the higher payrolls in hockey. Maybe both the coach and the players can find a way to get over the hump together. When asked about his Game 7 struggles, Boudreau noted he's still trying to find ways to hone his coaching craft.  "I’ve improved every year, I’m becoming a better coach," Boudreau said. "Hopefully that improvement can continue. As far as dwelling on the past … the past is the past. I’m looking to the future and forgetting about the past."  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY   - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper    

2016 NHL Draft: First Round (Rotoworld)
(Tue, 10 May 2016 07:13:00 PDT)
Rotoworld takes its first look at the upcoming NHL Draft as the Maple Leafs should grab Auston Matthews.

Sens GM Dorion says Boucher was first choice to fill vacancy (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 09 May 2016 15:30:37 PDT)
Pierre Dorion said he knew he had found the next Ottawa Senators head coach after his first meeting with Guy Boucher. The new Senators GM said Boucher was the first candidate he interviewed for the position and was his front-runner from the start, countering reports that the Senators were snubbed by new Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau. ''I want to make it clear to everyone that this was my candidate,'' Dorion said Monday at a news conference to introduce Boucher.

Guy Boucher bringing new perspective to second NHL gig (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 09 May 2016 11:54:49 PDT)
The Ottawa Senators are convinced they have the man in charge who can turn the team around and get them back into the playoffs on a consistent basis after missing the postseason two of the last three years. Senators GM Pierre Dorion again assured everyone that Guy Boucher was the organization’s first choice to replace Dave Cameron as head coach, and he’s quite confident the move will lead to future success. “A good coach makes a bad team into a fair team, a fair team into a good team, a good team into a real good team, and a really great coach makes a good team into an excellent team,” Dorion said at Monday’s press conference. “A good coach can have a really big impact. With Guy, I really feel we have that in him for our organization.” [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today ] The Senators have a lot of areas that need improvement, including special teams which saw them finish in the bottom five in both categories. Boucher has promoted an aggressive power play, which could be fun to watch with Erik Karlsson running things. But looking back at his Tampa days, the power play and penalty kill units were up and down during his two and a half seasons with the Lightning. 2011-12 : 20.5% / 83.8% 2011-12 : 15.2% / 79.2% 2013 : 19% / 80.6% (Full season numbers. Boucher coached 31 of 48 games.)  “Power play is, more than anything else, details,' Boucher said. "The minute details matter for power play for me.” That aggressive power play also saw the Lightning finish first and second in shorthanded goals allowed (16, 12, respectively) in his two full seasons.  "My strengths over the years have been to bring some speed, some immediate threat mentality on the power play and on 5-on-5 offense," said Boucher. "I was lucky enough to coach many stars. Being able to manage individuals is probably my biggest strength. It's not systems. Systems change every year. You change every period. Every game you tweak things. You use what you need to use at certain times. The biggest thing is to manage people and connect; connect with the younger generation." It’s been over three years now since Boucher was fired by the Lightning. He spent parts of three seasons with SC Bern of the Swiss league and feels now, at age 44, he’s much better prepared for his second NHL job.  “I’ve learned quite a bit over the last little while. The fact that you live the NHL, just living it, regardless of [whether] you have success or not, I think is key because it’s a grind,” Boucher said. “Until you live it you can’t understand what it is. So that’s taken care of. I know what to expect. I came barging in the AHL as a young 38-year-old and you kind of go your way and you decide to adjust later; whereas I think now coming in a second time, the perspective is different, the planning will be different, managing players, though, that won’t be any different.  “I think that’s something that’s been one of my strengths, connecting with players, managing the intangibles, relationships, chemistry, leadership and all that. That’s something I’ll keep doing the same, but I think in the NHL there’s a lot of things you can’t control. When you start in your first gig it’s hard to accept. Over time you realize there’s things you’re not going to control… and that will give me lot more energy to be spent somewhere else, where it’s going to matter more.” - - - - - - - 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 MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY :

Marc Crawford joins Ottawa Senators to assist Guy Boucher (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 09 May 2016 07:51:37 PDT)
New Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher and GM Pierre Dorion are determined to bring change to the franchise.  “I don’t want to put down anything that was done here before. But I think every team has to evolve. My goal is to bring some structure, my kind of structure offensively. I want to have an aggressive penalty kill. And we have the personnel to play an ‘accelerated’ power play,” said Boucher on CBC Radio in Ottawa on Monday. As for any notion that Boucher was second choice, Dorion said he and assistant GM Randy Lee at one point wrote down their first choices on a piece of paper. Both had selected Boucher. So, you know, quiet all that talk about Bruce Boudreau and the fact that Ottawa didn’t announce Boucher until after Boudreau signed with the Minnesota Wild, we guess. “We hired the best man. There’s no doubt in my mind we hired the best man. Guy was our No. 1 choice. We had the resources to hire whatever head coach we wanted, and Guy was our No. 1 choice,” said Dorion. We’re not sure where Marc Crawford ranked among the 10 coaches Dorion interviewed for the head-coaching job. But it was apparently high enough where the Senators wanted to bring him on to assist Boucher. Crawford is expected to be introduced as part of Boucher’s staff on Monday after failing to secure a head coaching gig. He last served as head coach of the ZSC Lions in the Swiss National League A. He was previously the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars, and won a Stanley Cup in 1996 with the Colorado Avalanche.  “Some times you’re at the bottom of the wheel, and sometimes you’re a hot commodity,” said TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Montreal radio this morning. Take Boucher. For a few years, he wasn’t getting a sniff for a coaching job. Last year, he was a finalist with the New Jersey Devils and, according to McKenzie, would have been the Toronto Maple Leafs’ head coach had Mike Babcock opted to sign with the Buffalo Sabres. (Could you imagine that heaping piles of B.S. Boucher would have cooked up to explain the tank? That would have been worth the contract on its own.) “He won a Stanley Cup in Colorado. He’s coached extensively in the NHL. And he can’t seem to get that next head coaching position,” said McKenzie. “He’s now prepared to take a secondary role. It’s a pretty safe bet before the day is out that you’ll see Marc Crawford take an associate head coach or assistant head coach role with Guy Boucher in Ottawa. He recognized that if he wants to be a head coach in the NHL again, he needs to go through a secondary role and be present and not just coach in Europe.” Crawford, if you’ll recall, landed back on everyone’s radar last season after he coached Auston Matthews in Switzerland. “But when you coach in Europe, as Guy Boucher and Marc Crawford did, you’ll a little bit out of sight and out of mind.” Now he’ll be back in sight, joining that tier of former head coaches – Kirk Muller, Kevin Dineen, Jacques Martin – that have needed to take a co-starring role. Guess we can cool that “Crawford/Burke Calgary reunion” talk. --  Greg Wyshynski  is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com  or  find him on Twitter.  His book,  TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK , is  available on Amazon  and wherever books are sold. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

What We Learned: Dallas Stars burned by terrible goaltending (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 09 May 2016 06:56:46 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.) No one would argue that what the Dallas Stars are dealing with in goaltending this postseason is in any way helpful. Kari Lehtonen is checking in with a white-hot .901 save percentage through nine appearances, including the three goals on 21 shots he conceded in Saturday's 4-1 loss to St. Louis. Antti Niemi, meanwhile, has played in four separate games and sits at .872. That is flat-out not going to win you any hockey games, and it's a trend from the regular season that's only getting worse. Both played at least 43 games, and both were more or less the same goaltender: .906 for Lehtonen, and .905 for Niemi. When the league average goaltender is .915, it's safe to say that they cost their team — which by the way was quite good — plenty of games. Their play alone cost the Stars about 22 goals, or roughly four points in the standings, versus what a league-average netminder would have done. The good news for Dallas is that their offensive talent is so robust, even without Tyler Seguin, that it barely matters. Stars shooters tortured Devan Dubnyk for an .877 save percentage (21 goals allowed on 164 shots), but have run into a bit of a wall in Brian Elliott (10 on 158, or .937). And still, the series is 3-2. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today ] Now, it's absolutely unreasonable to expect any goaltender to match .937 over five games. That is steal-a-series goaltending, full stop. But you really have to say that Elliott isn't so much stealing things as Niemi and Lehtonen are giving it away of their own accord. You simply cannot allow 16 goals on 143 shots and expect to win much over any length of time. And really, it's easy to pinpoint where the Stars' troubles come from. It's the front of the net. Of the 18 goaltenders who have played at least 100 minutes in this postseason, Niemi has the worst high-danger save percentage at 5-on-5 of anyone. Lehtonen's is fifth-worst. And that's all you need to know about the situation, really. Combined, they've given up a postseason-leading 21 full-strength goals in 11 games, and all but four of them have been from high-danger areas. There is no defending these numbers. When looking at all the numbers, I wondered whether this was a product of the Stars — who don't exactly have a world-class blue line group — giving up a particularly large number of high-danger shots on goal. Looking at all the numbers that didn't seem like a particularly likely outcome, but it had to be investigated. They don't, though. The 7.6 conceded per 60 minutes is actually a little below the league average of 8.1, and they're also on the lower side in terms of high-danger attempts per 60 as well. In fact, Dallas is better than average at suppressing all qualities of shots. However, they do give up a larger percentage of high-danger chances than all but two other playoff teams still standing. In all, more than 29 percent of the shots they concede are from right around the net, and only Tampa (32.3 percent) and San Jose (30.3 percent) are worse. However, both those teams actually have competent goalies, and therefore seem well-positioned to move into the conference finals. It should be noted, too, that San Jose is the best shot-suppression team in the league this postseason, while Tampa plays higher-event hockey to begin with, out-run-and-gunning the Stars with more shots both taken and conceded per 60. So yup, Niemi and Lehtonen are just not very good. And at this point, it looks like that's going to be the reason the Stars lose this series, or even if they somehow advance (highly unlikely; most estimates only give them about 20 percent odds of winning the next two games), the reason they lose in the next round. Now if you're Jim Nill, you're looking at a very sticky situation going forward. Here are two goalies signed with massive cap hits for each of the next two seasons. Lehtonen is at $5.9 million (uuuggghhh) and Niemi at a slightly more manageable but still probably not too wise $4.5 million. Lehtonen also has a limited no-trade clause for the entirety of his remaining years ( uuuuuuuuuggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh ). That makes it one of the sneakiest bad contracts in the entire NHL, because it both pays a goalie who is clearly in decline too much money, and makes it difficult or even impossible to move him. Near as I can tell, the details of Lehtonen's no-trade clause are not publicly available and we therefore do not know exactly how many teams he can veto as potential trade destinations. Even if it's just, say, five other clubs, that significantly limits the number of potential suitors where he could end up, if Dallas could find a trade partner willing to take on the money. Which is a big if. What you have to keep in mind about Lehtonen is that he's dropped off a cliff in terms of quality the last two seasons. He routinely outperformed league averages prior to 2014-15, but since then he's been well below. And unfortunately, goalies on on the wrong side of 30 who have suffered plenty of injuries over the years tend not to rebound too well.

Dose: Lightning advance (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 09 May 2016 01:15:00 PDT)
Ryan Dadoun discusses Tampa Bay's series-clinching victory.

Ottawa Senators hire Boucher as head coach
(Sun, 08 May 2016 19:27:07 PDT)
(Reuters) - The Ottawa Senators have hired Guy Boucher to replace Dave Cameron as head coach, the team said on Sunday. Boucher, who was fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2012-13 campaign and spent parts of the last three seasons coaching in Switzerland, had signed a three-year contract, the Senators said. The announcement comes a day after Bruce Boudreau agreed to take over at the Minnesota Wild.

NHL-Ottawa hire Boucher as head coach
(Sun, 08 May 2016 19:22:31 PDT)
The Ottawa Senators have hired Guy Boucher to replace Dave Cameron as head coach, the team said on Sunday. Boucher, who was fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2012-13 campaign and spent parts of the last three seasons coaching in Switzerland, had signed a three-year contract, the Senators said. The announcement comes a day after Bruce Boudreau agreed to take over at the Minnesota Wild.

Boucher hired as the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 08 May 2016 13:00:44 PDT)
Guy Boucher was hired as the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. The 44-year-old Boucher becomes the 12th head coach in Senators franchise history, replacing Dave Cameron who was fired on April 12. Boucher has spent parts of the past three seasons as the head coach of SC Bern of the National League A in Switzerland, posting a 44-29-5 record.

Boucher hired as NHL Senators new coach
(Sun, 08 May 2016 12:21:33 PDT)
The Ottawa Senators have hired Guy Boucher as their new head coach, replacing Dave Cameron who was fired last month, the National Hockey League team announced Sunday. The 44-year-old Boucher was given a three-year contract to become the 12th head coach in franchise history. "Over the past three weeks, (general manager) Pierre Dorion and our hockey operations staff have undertaken a thorough and comprehensive search for our next head coach," Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said.

Guy Boucher hired by Senators after Boudreau passes (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 08 May 2016 10:31:26 PDT)
Welcome back to the NHL, Guy Boucher.  The Ottawa Senators announced on Sunday that the former Tampa Bay Lightning coach is their new head coach, replacin the fired Dave Cameron. He was given a three-year deal, which was the term that was on the table for Bruce Boudreau before he opted for the Minnesota Wild’s four-year deal. From the Sens: Boucher, 44, becomes the 12th head coach in Senators franchise history. Boucher has spent parts of the last three seasons as the head coach of SC Bern of the National League A in Switzerland, posting a 44-29-5 record. Prior to that, he spent two-plus seasons as the head coach of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, posting a 97-78-20 record in 195 games. Boucher led the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Final in 2010-11. “Over the past three weeks, Pierre Dorion and our hockey operations staff have undertaken a thorough and comprehensive search for our next head coach. Following a detailed evaluation of all coaching candidates, there was overwhelming consensus that Guy was our top candidate,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. “We wanted a great coach and this process yielded our top pick. I couldn’t be happier. On behalf of the entire Senators organization, the great city of Ottawa and our fans, I want to welcome Guy, his wife Marsha and their three children, Vincent, Mila and Naomi.” “Top candidate [left after Boudreau decided to pass]…” As we mentioned earlier, Boucher’s candle burned quickly with the Lightning. His stellar first season saw them go on a prolonged playoff run and dominate in possession. But by the end, those possession numbers and their goals-against numbers were in the dumps. Some of that was due to personnel, like a below-average goaltending battery; but some of that was also the locker room tuning him out en masse. The intrigue for Boucher in Ottawa is if he’ll play the same 1-3-1 forecheck system that he had in Tampa Bay, as it didn’t really produce big offensive totals for his defensemen and the Senators, at last look, have the best offensive defenseman on the planet. And teams did eventually learn how to break it ( and not just by clowning the Lightning like the Flyers did ). The intrigue is also whether Boucher’s firing in Tampa Bay and his time overseas has given him some humility and tempered his approach. He’s an intense motivator that could become too intense. His welcome was worn out with the Lightning. Is he a different coach now? Whether this works or not, kudos to the Senators for trying something different and avoiding a Mike Yeo or a Randy Carlyle in this spot. (Carlyle, in fact, was told he was out yesterday, moments after the Wild did, too.)  If nothing else, the Senators just got exponentially more interesting for next season. --  Greg Wyshynski  is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com  or  find him on Twitter.  His book,  TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK , is  available on Amazon  and wherever books are sold. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

After Bruce Boudreau snub, what now for Senators’ coach search? (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 08 May 2016 08:02:20 PDT)
Bruce Boudreau is the new coach for the Minnesota Wild, which means he’s not going to be the new coach for the Ottawa Senators.  Which has to be a bummer for owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Pierre Dorion, who saw the jovial coach fly to Ottawa last week for an interview. He has family in the area. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the Senators were willing to get near Boudreau’s asking price of $3 million annually. They didn’t, however, want to extend that contract to a fourth year. Which is understandable behavior from a franchise that’s gone through six different coaches since the start of the 2005-06 season. The Minnesota Wild did. And Boudreau is their new coach. So what now for the Senators? According to Bruce Garrioch, the Seantors interviewed six other coaches in an effort to find Dave Cameron’s replacement: Former Wild coach Mike Yeo, former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher, former Florida Panthers coach and current Chicago Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen, former Dallas Stars (and elsewhere) coach Marc Crawford and Benoît Groulx, head coach of the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. Yeo, he writes, is the safe choice. And really, what better way to energize your fan base than by hiring the coach that was fired midseason by the team that just hired away the coach you really wanted to hire? But the dark horse is Boucher: This is the darkhorse candidate for the job that nobody has been talking about. He was fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning midway through his third season but has a 97-78-20 record in 195 games. The belief is after spending part of last season with SC Bern in the Swiss Elite League that he’s coming back refreshed, ready and humbled to be a better coach his second time around in the NHL. Boucher’s a tough one to figure. He clearly lost the room at the end of his tenure . The Lightning were seventh in 5v5 Corsi in his first season (2010-11) but finished in the bottom 10 in the next two seasons . When his system works, his teams are damn hard to play against. It’d be interesting to see what he’s learned in his overseas sojourn. Who do the Senators hire? Well, I mean, we all hope it’ll be Carlyle for the sheer comedy of that announcement. But Yeo and Boucher would seem to the two top options. --  Greg Wyshynski  is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com  or  find him on Twitter.  His book,  TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK , is  available on Amazon  and wherever books are sold. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Bruce Boudreau agrees to terms to coach Minnesota Wild (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 07 May 2016 19:31:01 PDT)
Bruce Boudreau has agreed to terms to coach the Minnesota Wild, giving the team the most sought-after candidate on the market. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher announced the move Saturday night, barely a week after the 61-year-old Boudreau was fired by the Anaheim Ducks. At 409-192-80, his winning percentage of .659 is the highest among active NHL coaches, and he was the fastest in history to 400 wins (663 games).

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