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Boston Bruins part with elite players to become NHL’s best team

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Peter Chiarelli has established a clear team-first, winning culture with the Boston Bruins.

Peter Chiarelli has established a clear team-first, winning culture with the Boston Bruins. (Steven Senne/AP)

By Allan Muir

As I was watching the Boston Bruins methodically dispose of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record, a thought came to mind: This is a team that, over the past four years, has dealt away two young players who went on to become superstars with their new clubs…and the Bruins are somehow better for it.

And then a second thought: Peter Chiarelli is the most fearless, and possibly the best, general manager in hockey.

It was Chiarelli who determined that Phil Kessel, the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft and a 36-goal scorer in just his third NHL season, didn’t fit with his vision for the team. And so he dealt the 21-year-old to Toronto for a handful of magic beans, one of which he turned into Tyler Seguin.

Seguin came in and helped the Bruins win a Cup in 2011, but it wasn’t long before he also proved to be an ill-fitting piece. Whether it was immaturity off the ice, his style on it or simply an exploding contract that didn’t fit well under the contracting cap, he was deemed expendable and shipped to Dallas for veteran Loui Eriksson and another handful of prospects.

Both Kessel and Seguin scored a career-high 37 goals this season, tied for fifth overall in the league. Kessel stands sixth in the overall scoring race with 80 points, tops on the Leafs and an new personal best. Seguin was arguably the breakthrough player of the year, his 84 points trailing just Sidney Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf.

Both have established themselves as impact players whose absence would severely cripple their new teams…and yet the Bruins didn’t simply survive their loss. They actually got better.

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  • Published On Apr 12, 2014
  • Top Line: Stars complete playoff picture; Captain Canada calls it quits; more links

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    The Dallas Stars snapped a six-year playoff drought with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

    The Dallas Stars snapped a six-year playoff drought with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday. (LM Otero/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • It was fitting that Trevor Daley, the only player remaining from Dallas’ last playoff team, scored the goal that clinched a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues and returned the Stars to the postseason for the first time since 2008. And what a game that was by Tyler Seguin: 11 shots, 16 attempts, a breathtaking power play goal and a relentless defensive effort. Easily the best I’ve seen him play as a pro.

    • Clinching a playoff berth might finally allow the Stars to move on from the past and boldly into the future.

    • The loss was the fifth straight for a St. Louis team that is falling apart at the worst possible time. Injuries are killing the Blues. They could have as many as seven regulars out of the lineup for this weekend’s finale.

    • Ryan Smyth, who announced his retirement Friday night after 18 seasons in the NHL, will be remembered for a tireless work ethic and some of the best flow hockey has ever seen.

    • He retires as an Oiler, but Smyth will always be Captain Canada.

    • Matt Larkin makes the case for an Alexander Ovechkin/Evgeni Malkin trade…and it’s not anywhere near as crazy as it sounds.

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  • Published On Apr 12, 2014
  • UPDATED: Lightning’s Ryan Malone arrested on DUI, cocaine charges

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    Ryan Malone

    Lightning forward Ryan Malone’s frustrating season has taken a shocking turn with his arrest. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of DUI and cocaine possession, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    The arrest report, including Malone’s mug shot, can be seen here.

    “We are aware of the situation concerning Ryan Malone this morning,” general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “Ryan will not travel with the team to Washington today, but beyond that we cannot comment further at this time.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 12, 2014
  • Hobey Baker Award winner Johnny Gaudreau signs with Calgary Flames

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    Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College signed with the Calgary Flames

    The Flames weren’t about to let highly touted forward Johnny Gaudreau get away. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    A Calgary radio station reported, and Boston College has confirmed, that Eagles stars Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold will turn pro and make their NHL debuts with the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

    Both players became eligible to sign with the NHL team after BC was eliminated from the Frozen Four by Union College on Thursday night. Gaudreau’s three-year entry leave deal has a reported annual average value of $1.85 million; Arnold was given two years at $900k per.

    Arnold, a fourth-round selection of the Flames in 2010, was expected to turn pro as a graduating senior, but the addition of Gaudreau will surely catch the attention of Calgary’s fans. The 20-year-old forward led the nation with 36 goals and 80 points as a junior and has won the Hobey Baker Award as the country’s top player.

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  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • NHL suspends Mike Rupp of Minnesota Wild four games for Oshie head shot

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    By Allan Muir

    It didn’t take long for the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian to make his mark.

    Appointed to fill the void created by the departure of Brendan Shanahan to the Maple Leafs earlier Friday, Stephane Quintal made a good call in handing Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp a four-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie on Thursday night.

    The suspension includes the Wild’s final regular-season game and their first three playoff games. Considering what Rupp brings to the table, it might have been more punitive to make him skate a regular shift in those games, but you know these things work.

    It was a pretty clear-cut case for Quintal and his staff. Not only was the hit late, but Oshie’s head was the primary point of contact. As the league’s Patrick Burke points out in the video, Rupp was obligated to hit him cleanly and within a reasonable amount of time after Oshie dished off the puck. Since Rupp did neither, there wasn’t a lot of latitude for leniency here.

    The one bright spot for Rupp: he sacrifices just one game’s salary ($7,692.31) to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund because players are only paid through the end of the regular season.

    Nice job here by the new crew. I hate to have to retire “Shanabanned,” but as long as the boys in New York dole out the discipline appropriately, we’re ready to make that sacrifice.

    Captain Quintal, the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian takes over:


  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • Brendan Shanahan will bring change to the hapless Maple Leafs … slowly

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    Coach Randy Carlyle and the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Expect a new look on the ice and perhaps behind the bench in Toronto next season. (Abelimages/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Forced into an early reveal by rumors that spread on Thursday night — apparently the defense is as leaky in Toronto’s front office as it is on the ice — the Maple Leafs confirmed this morning that Brendan Shanahan has been appointed to the position of President and Alternate Governor of the struggling club.

    It’s a sensible career move for the Hall of Famer, who leaves a thankless gig as the NHL’s chief disciplinarian in order to oversee all team operations for a club that could really use a firm hand after missing out on the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.

    And given the reputation for innovative thinking and consensus building that he earned during his tenure with the league — remember the post-lockout Shanahan Summit that led to the creation of the competition committee and implemented ways of enhancing skill and speeding up the game? — he seems like a fairly safe bet for the Leafs, too. Shanny’s shy on front office experience, but he’s a guy who has proved that he can learn on the job, a skill that will come in handy as he takes on this new exercise. And he has some seriously thick skin, a necessary tool for anyone signing on with this organization.

    SI.com Fan Misery Rankings: Maple Leafs take top dishonor

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  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • Top Line: Sidney Crosby dazzles; Lousy Leafs appeal to Shanahan; more links

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    Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    The runaway scoring champ, Sidney Crosby will likely add another Hart Trophy to his collection. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Dejan Kovacevic reminds us to take a moment to appreciate just how amazing Sidney Crosby has been this season. Even his detractors have to tip their caps after this one.

    • The hiring of Brendan Shanahan is the first of many changes coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    • Eric Duhatschek explains why taking over the hapless Leafs would appeal to Shanahan.

    • The misguided optimism — or perhaps it’s sports naivete — of Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is being called out in Washington. It’s forced him to take a couple bites of crow and promise a thorough review of all team operations. Yeah, we’ll see about that. From this vantage point, Leonsis has made the fatal error of falling in love with players who don’t deserve it.

    • So, what exactly did Colorado accomplish with its win over the Vancouver Canucks last night? They’re guaranteed to finish ahead of Chicago in the Central, goalie Semyon Varlamov set a franchise record with his 41st win of the season, and they tied the franchise mark with their 52nd win. And now they have a chance to actually go from worst to first with a win in their finale. Not bad.

    • Nothing like making a good impression on the new boss, eh Vancouver?

    • Is it time to start worrying about the St. Louis Blues? Yes. Yes it is.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • NHL’s 2014 Masterton Trophy: Nominees, stories, favorites to win

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    Goalie Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild has MS

    There’s never been a repeat Masterton winner, but Josh Harding of the Wild may be the first. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    You’ll often hear it said that the Lady Byng is the award no player wants to win, but that’s not right.

    The one that almost everyone wants to avoid has always been the Bill Masterton Trophy.

    As Dallas Stars nominee Rich Peverley said, “I don’t want to have attention for something that happened that isn’t good.”

    Unfortunately, that’s what it has become.

    On the surface, the Masterton sounds honorable enough. It’s awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication,” traits to which almost everyone aspires.

    But just like the Oscars tend to honor films that feature themes of tragedy, loss and misfortune, the Masterton has become a tribute to the cruelest twists and turns that fate can deal a player. Things have to go awfully wrong before you can take this hardware home.

    With that in mind, here are the 29 nominees that have been announced as of Thursday afternoon, April 10 (Colorado, you’re on the clock), along with some insight into why they were nominated by their local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and their chances of succeeding Minnesota’s Josh Harding as this year’s winner.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • NHL hit with second concussion lawsuit

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    The Hanson Brothers of the movie Slap Shot

    Plaintiff Jack Carlson (not pictured) is the brother of Slap Shot’s Jeff (left) and Steve (center). (Courtesy of Universal)

    By Allan Muir

    The NHL has been blindsided by another legal headache.

    According to TSN legal analyst Eric Macramalla, a second concussion-related lawsuit has been filed against the league.

    Nine former players are named as plaintiffs in the 109-page suit filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York: Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, Jack Carlson, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Mike Peluso, Tom Younghans, Allan Rourke and Scott Bailey.

    Peluso is the best-known of the players involved. A veteran of 458 NHL games, he compiled 1,951 penalty minutes, including a career-high 408 with the Blackhawks in 1991-92. He’s the most recent of just four players in league history to eclipse the 400-minute mark.

    Carlson, who played a total of 25 games in the NHL for the Oilers and the Blues, is the most interesting name among the lot. Despite his limited resume, he’s well known for being called up to Edmonton just before he could join brothers Jeff and Steve in their career-making roles as the Hanson brothers in the movie Slap Shot. His role was assumed by Dave Hanson for the film.

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • Top Line: NHL Coach of the year duel; Should Devils fire Lou?; more links

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    Coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings

    Coach Mike Babcock (center) worked a miracle while leading his Red Wings to the playoffs yet again. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Like the Red Wings’ season was ever in doubt …

    • Does Detroit’s Mike Babcock deserve to be named Coach of the Year for what he’s done with an injury-ravaged lineup? Or is Patrick Roy the better choice for the Adams Award?

    Pavel Datsyuk blowing up Sidney Crosby? That just happened.

    Datsyuk’s play since returning from a lengthy stint on the IR signals trouble ahead for either the Bruins or the Penguins.

    • Randy Miller wonders if the new owners in New Jersey will ask Lou Lamoriello to step down after another failed season for the Devils. That would be a bold move, but it would send a message to the team’s dwindling faithful that a new path to success must be charted.

    • Changes are afoot in Toronto. James Mirtle offers his take on who is, and who isn’t, expendable as the Maple Leafs look to start over after a disappointing season.

    • Randy Carlyle has a chance to do the right thing in Toronto’s last two games.

    • Rumors are swirling that Brendan Shanahan is being pursued by the Maple Leafs for a senior management role. But is he the right guy for the job?

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 10, 2014


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