Hockey News

  • No one was very surprised when the Toronto Maple Leafs announced Joffrey Lupul had failed his medical examination and wasn’t cleared for training camp, setting him up for another season on the team’s long-term injured reserve (LTIR) list.
  • The Minnesota Wild avoided arbitration with team points leader Mikael Granlund by agreeing to a three-year extension on Tuesday with a $5.75 million cap hit. The deal comes two days after Minnesota re-signed Nino Niederreiter to a five-year, $26.25 million, and it is the culmination of more than a month’s worth of maneuvers by the Wild to stay under the salary cap while improving their roster.
  • No NHL team has stepped in to sign Jaromir Jagr since the Florida Panthers chose not to negotiate an extension with him, leaving the 45-year-old in free agency limbo. But Jagr, who is second only to Wayne Gretzky in all-time points, doesn’t appear anywhere near ready to retire yet.
  • The return of Alexander Radulov was one of the bigger success stories of the 2016-17 NHL season. After spending four seasons playing in the KHL, Radulov joined the Montreal Canadiens on a one-year deal and proved he was still an elite scoring threat in both the regular season and the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Canadiens, Radulov cashed in on his successful comeback by signing a five-year contract worth more than $31-million with the Dallas Stars, leaving Montreal with many of the same scoring problems it had before his arrival.
  • The Vegas Golden Knights probably aren’t going to be very good in their inaugural season, but the moves they made on Wednesday could make them great in a few seasons. Vegas general manager George McPhee used the expansion draft as a sort of instant rebuild, stocking the roster with a combination of youth and tradable assets while using the leverage of certain exposed players to stock up on draft picks for as far ahead as 2020.
  • For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Stanley Cup is staying put. The Pittsburgh Penguins successfully defended their title, eliminating the Nashville Predators with a 2-0 win in Game 6 on Sunday for the fifth championship in franchise history, and the third for captain Sidney Crosby, who won his second straight Conn Smythe trophy as most valuable player.
  • For two franchises that hardly know one another, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators are finding plenty of reasons for animosity three games into their Stanley Cup Final series. The Predators earned a convincing 5-1 win in Game 3 on Saturday, and Pittsburgh’s frustration boiled over in the third period, leading to 70 minutes in penalties and some amusing trash talk from Penguins captain Sidney Crosby—if P.K. Subban is to be believed.
  • The Ottawa Senators have forced the Pittsburgh Penguins out of their comfort zone by imposing their defensive style on the Eastern Conference Final, which concludes Thursday with Game 7 in Pittsburgh. Aside from their offensive outburst in Game 5, the Penguins have been forced to battle with Ottawa in close games that could hinge on one big save or unexpected bounce of the puck - a situation in which the Senators seem to thrive.
  • Peter Laviolette is probably hoping the Nashville Predators’ first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final goes more like his championship with the Carolina Hurricanes than his 2010 berth with the Philadelphia Flyers. Nashville defeated the Anaheim Ducks 6-3 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Monday, making Laviolette the fourth person in NHL history to coach three different teams in the Cup final.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins know the toll two consecutive lengthy playoff runs can have on a lineup, having won two straight championships in 1991-92 and making two straight Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008-09, but that doesn’t make the prospect of losing two more roster regulars any easier. Pittsburgh could be without Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday, adding to the team’s ever-growing injury list.
  • It’s hard to believe that the Marc-Andre Fleury in net for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday is the same goaltender who only started one game during the team’s Stanley Cup championship run last year. Fleury had all but lost the starting job to Matt Murray after more than a decade as Pittsburgh’s top option, but an injury to Murray gave Fleury an opportunity for redemption and he’s responded by carrying the Penguins back to the conference final.
  • The Nashville Predators are closer to winning the Stanley Cup than ever before. Nashville eliminated the St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 win Sunday in Game 6 of their second-round series, reaching the Western Conference final for the first time in the franchise’s two decades of existence.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins saw their season flash before their eyes Monday when captain Sidney Crosby suffered an apparent head injury on a hit by Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen in the first period of Game 3. Crosby did not return to the game, which Washington won 3-2 in overtime to regain a foothold in the series.
  • It wasn’t easy, but the Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals made it back to the second round of the playoffs—a place they’ve been many times in recent years, but also a hurdle that has proven insurmountable for Alex Ovechkin and his teammates. So it’s only fitting that their next opponent is Sidney Crosby and the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, who have become a postseason nemesis of sorts for the Capitals.
  • The Calgary Flames rode a wave of hot goaltending from Brian Elliott into a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but that wave stopped when it met the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round. Anaheim completed a sweep of the Flames on Wednesday, chasing Elliott from the net in the clinching 3-1 victory.
  • The postseason journeys of Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets are in danger of coming to a disappointingly early end. Both teams earned their status as Cup contenders with surprisingly strong regular seasons, but they each trail 3-0 in the first round after losing Sunday, putting the the St. Louis Blues and the Pittsburgh Penguins on the verge of advancing.
  • Fans anticipating a goaltending duel in the first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers got just what they were looking for in Game 1 on Wednesday. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves for his 10th career postseason shutout, stifling the Canadiens in Montreal to steal home-ice advantage for New York.
  • The Los Angeles Kings are moving on from the coach and general manager who led them to two Stanley Cups in three seasons. Darryl Sutter and Dean Lombardi were both fired by the organization Monday following a third consecutive disappointing end to the season. Los Angeles won championships in 2012 and 2014, but have qualified for the postseason just once since, losing in the first round last year.
  • Men’s hockey rosters at next year’s Winter Olympics will look very different from the ones nations sent to Sochi in 2014. The NHL announced Monday it will not participate in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, meaning most of the world’s best players will be unavailable to represent their country on the sport’s biggest international stage.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are heading to the NHL playoffs after more than a decade of futility. Edmonton clinched a postseason berth with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, bringing an end to the longest active playoff drought in the league.
  • Matthew Tkachuk got his first taste of NHL justice from the Department of Player Safety on Monday in the form of a two-game suspension for his actions in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Calgary Flames rookie elbowed Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in the face in the final minute of the first period, crossing the line from aggressive to malicious that he has walked so often in his first professional season.
  • The Calgary Flames’ 10-game win streak was foiled by something even more improbable on Wednesday: NHL-leading scorer Brad Marchand. Few people expected Marchand to have more goals and points than superstars like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin so late in the season, but his career-best offensive production is fueling Boston’s push back into the postseason.
  • The Calgary Flames appeared to be heading for the draft lottery in late January when they suffered a 5-1 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens, but the Flames won 12 of their next 15 games, and answered the Canadiens with a 5-0 win in Calgary on Thursday for their eighth straight victory. The win streak has Calgary close enough to challenge the Edmonton Oilers for a Pacific Division playoff seed, and the decisive defeat over Montreal is a reminder it might not be a fluke.
  • Joe Thornton’s secondary assist on an empty-net goal by Joe Pavelski did more than help the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. It also was Thornton’s 1,000th career assist, making him the 13th player in NHL history to reach the milestone.
  • The Washington Capitals are running away with the highly competitive Metropolitan Division, but that isn’t enough for a franchise used to regular season success and playoff disappointment. The Capitals shored up their defense by acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues on Monday—a move that signals they are firmly focused on winning now, or at least making the conference final.
  • After enduring most of the season with their starting goaltender on injured reserve, the Los Angeles Kings aren’t taking any chances in net for a potential playoff run. Los Angeles acquired Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday for a package including Peter Budaj, prospect Erik Cernak and a conditional 2017 draft pick, giving the Kings a proven starter to play behind Jonathan Quick.
  • When Auston Matthews and Patrick Laine were selected with the first two picks of last June’s NHL draft, both were seen as superlative talents, but no one knew just how amazing—or how parallel—their rookie campaigns would run. Matthews and Laine are not only leading rookies in scoring, but they each have 28 goals as they prepare to face one another Tuesday when the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Winnipeg Jets.
  • Claude Julien’s unemployment barely lasted a week. The Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Michel Therrien on Tuesday and replaced him with Julien, seven days after Julien was fired by the Boston Bruins. It will be Julien’s second time coaching the Canadiens, and his presence behind the bench adds another layer to the historic hockey rivalry between Boston and Montreal.
  • Considering how poorly this season has gone for Gustav Nyquist, the suspension he will undoubtedly receive for his actions Sunday might actually help him reset. The rest of the Detroit Red Wings will not be so lucky.Nyquist was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild when he responded to a cross-check from Jared Spurgeon by swinging his stick into Spurgeon’s face.