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Rumor: Sabres pull Ryan Miller off the trade market

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By Allan Muir

A well-known NHL agent says that the Sabres have decided not to trade goalie Ryan Miller and instead will focus on re-signing the pending free agent.

Brian Lawton, the former general manager of the Lightning, passed that rumor along early this morning via his Twitter account.

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  • Published On Feb 25, 2014
  • Takeaways from the Sochi Olympics for the NHL stretch drive and beyond

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    Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens

    Goalie Carey Price now has to contend with Montreal’s not-so-golden corps of blueliners. (Gerry Broome/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Some closing thoughts as the world’s best hockey players return from Sochi for the closing stretch of the NHL season:

    High Price

    Is anyone due for a bigger shock upon returning to the NHL than Canadiens goalie Carey Price? After two weeks of playing behind Team Canada defensemen Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty, he now has to deliver with Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin and Douglas Murray butchering the puck in front of him. Still, he might be the one player who benefits the most from his Olympic experience and, by extension, so might Montreal. Price wasn’t the reason Canada won gold, but he was a reason. He was sensational in Sochi, where he literally made every single stop he was supposed to make and weathered early challenges in both medal round games on the way to shutting out the U.S. and Finland. Price left the tournament with a GAA of 0.59, a save percentage of .972 and the confidence that comes from measuring yourself against the best in the world and finding out that you belong in that club. He’ll be a beast down the stretch.

    Grand Granlund

    Everyone was happy to see 43-year-old Teemu Selanne named the MVP of the Olympic hockey tournament, but he’s not in the mix for that honor without the playmaking skills of the breakout star of the Sochi Games: Mikael Granlund. “This is his business card for the world to show that he is hungry and can’t wait to get out there,” Selanne said after Granlund ladled out the sauce twice while leading the Finns to their bronze-medal clinching 5-0 win over Team USA. The Wild’s young star stepped up to fill a void on Finland’s top line and powered the team’s offense (3 goals, 4 assists) with his quick reads and creativity. One NHL team exec told SI.com that a younger Selanne would have scored 10 goals thanks to the way Granlund was feeding him the puck. The same exec also said that Granlund might benefit from “calling his own number more often,” but Minnesota will likely be happy if he keeps working the same magic that he did with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville in the weeks leading up to the break.

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  • Published On Feb 24, 2014
  • Steve Yzerman steps down as GM after Team Canada wins gold

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    Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock

    Steve Yzerman assembled the first men’s team to win repeat Olympic gold medals since 1998. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    If you gotta go, go out on top.

    With his Canadian Olympic team basking in a golden glow, executive director Steve Yzerman announced today that he’s turning over the keys to the country’s most prestigious, and most second-guessed, job, effective immediately.

    “It’s time to let someone else have a shot at it,” he told the media in Sochi.

    Yzerman assembled one of the greatest lineups ever to wear the Maple Leaf for these Olympics, and certainly the best ever defensive side. Canada gave up just three goals in six games while proving they could succeed on the big ice surface.

    The timing might have been a surprise, but the decision wasn’t. After twice building an Olympic gold-medal winning team, it makes sense for Yzerman to devote himself full-time to his day job running the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  • Published On Feb 23, 2014
  • UPDATED: John Tavares out for season after Sochi knee injury

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    John Tavares of Team Canada suffers a leg injury in Sochi Olympics.

    Canadians as well as Islanders fans have to be worried after seeing John Tavares go down and out of the Games. (AP)

    By Allan Muir

    UPDATED: Early this morning, Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported that a post-game MRI on Tavares revealed a torn MCL and torn meniscus. The injury will force the 23-year-old to the sidelines for the remainder of the NHL season.

    Tavares reportedly will undergo surgery upon his return to New York. He’s expected to be ready when training camp opens in September.

    Despite a roster that features 11 of the NHL’s top-25 scorers, Team Canada can’t seem to buy a goal at the Olympics … and things won’t get any easier. In the press conference after his team’s narrow 2-1 win over Latvia, Canadian coach Mike Babcock confirmed that John Tavares suffered a leg injury and will be lost for the remainder of the tournament.

    The injury occurred when Tavares collided with Latvian defenseman Arturs Kulda in the second period. He did not return for the third.

    Tavares had been used primarily in a fourth-line role for Canada, but as the NHL’s third-leading scorer with 66 points, he clearly had the potential to assume heavier duty if asked.

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  • Published On Feb 19, 2014
  • Russia faces Norway, Czechs take on Slovakia to headline 1st knockout round

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    Russia Hockey

    Host Russia plays for its Olympic life when it faces Norway in the first elimination round. (Kyodo/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    And now the real games begin.

    With the preliminary round of the Olympic hockey tournament in the books, eight teams now face qualifying play-ins on Tuesday. Each winner will then advance to play one of the top-four seeds – Sweden, the United States, Canada and Finland – in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. The losers can pack their bags and collect their participant ribbons on the way home.

    Here’s a look at the key talking points for each game, along with where you can catch the action on TV: Read More…


  • Published On Feb 17, 2014
  • Russians blame loss to Team USA on ref, protest at American embassy

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    Russia fans protest

    Fans protest hockey referee Brad Meier outside the U.S. embassy in Russia. (Voroshirin Dmitriy, Young Guards/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    For all their differences, hockey fans around the world share one core belief: the officials are out to get their team.

    That usually leads to catcalls at the rink and disparaging remarks online, but a Russian protest of referee Brad Meier took that sense of persecution to a whole new level.

    Russian hockey journalist Igor Eronko tweeted a photo this morning of an anti-Meier protest sign being held up by picketers at the American Embassy in Moscow. Eronko said that the message roughly translated as Meier needs glasses, “but more rude.” Read More…


  • Published On Feb 17, 2014
  • Live blogging Team USA vs. Slovakia at Sochi

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    Paul Stastny of Team USA

    Paul Stastny scored twice as Team USA launched an offensive onslaught in the first two periods. (AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Final Score: Team USA 7 Slovakia 1

    Team USA scored on four consecutive shots in the second period on the way to a 7-1 win over Slovakia in the opener for both teams at the Sochi Games. The Americans took advantage of a passive Slovak defense, breaking down their trap by getting pucks deep, winning board battles and dominating on the cycle to create a series of high-end scoring chances.

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  • Published On Feb 13, 2014
  • Key storylines heading into USA vs. Slovakia

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    quick-parise

    Was it the right decision for Dan Bylsma to start Jonathan Quick at goal over Ryan Miller? (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    THE GAME: 
    USA vs. Slovakia in the Group A opener; 7:30 eastern on NBCSN in the U.S. and CBC in Canada. We’ll be live-blogging the game here at 7:30 AM eastern.

    Upset potential: After a stunning silver medal win in Vancouver, the Americans won’t catch anyone by surprise in Sochi…but the Slovakians just might. A team that’s trotting out Branko Radivojevic and Tomas Kopecky on its second line clearly can’t match the depth of Team USA, but this team comes in with an emotional edge. The death of 2010 leading scorer Pavol Demitra in a 2011 plane crash continues to resonate with this group and they’ll be looking to honor him with their performance. Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara are a handful on a regular day. With thoughts of Demitra in their hearts, they could be miraculous.

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  • Published On Feb 12, 2014
  • Team Canada shakes up lines at day two of Sochi practice

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    Sidney Crosby

    Sidney Crosby’s spot is secure on Team Canada, but much of the lineup is undergoing changes. (Bruce Bennett/Getty)

    Team Canada coach Mike Babcock threw his lines into the blender on the second day of practice in an attempt to find chemistry before Thursday’s Olympic opener against Norway.

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  • Published On Feb 11, 2014
  • Czechs wise to bench Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec for Olympic opener

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    Ondrej Pavelec

    Ondrej Pavelec took his benching in stride, saying, “Hopefully this works for us and we win.” (MCT/Getty)

    Some of the decisions made by Czech Republic coach Alois Hadamczik heading into the Sochi Olympics had been, well, tough to defend. Taking 42-year-old Petr Nedved over current NHL stars Radim Vrbata or Jiri Hudler, for instance. Or picking his underqualified son-in-law, Michal Barinka.

    Hadamczik’s latest decision is sure to be equally puzzling to some, but this time he’s making the right call.

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  • Published On Feb 11, 2014


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