Hi, my name is Ken…and I’m addicted to the draft lottery simulator

Connor McDavid (Photo by Ken Andersen/Getty Images)

Spoiler alert: The Buffalo Sabres will win tonight’s NHL draft lottery with the numbers 11, 5, 6 and 7. Your trusty correspondent knows this because he went to this really cool website that simulates the NHL draft lottery and it told him so.

Then he did it 99 more times because, like a certain potato chip, you can’t do it only once. The website, http://nhllotterysimulator.com/#/official, took on a new life on Friday when the NHL made public the lottery number combinations for each of the 14 teams in the event. Suddenly, fans everywhere could, with the click of a keyboard, determine where Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will end up next season. Read more

Draft lottery odds: the most likely outcome for your team

Connor McDavid (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

It’s amazing how things will change by Saturday night. Connor McDavid will know which NHL team he will belong to. The McDavid parents will know in which city their son’s adult life will begin to unfold and flourish. Vendors will go crazy preparing McDavid jerseys, signs and apparel.

(And make no mistake, McDavid will be the first overall selection in the June 26-27 NHL draft in Sunrise, Florida. There will be zero drama with that pick.)

The NHL’s draft lottery will be televised Saturday night at 8 pm. The proceedings will begin about 7:30, but the drawing of lottery balls will take place about a half hour later. McDavid’s most likely destination is a city other than Buffalo, but Buffalo has the best odds of all the 14 non-playoff teams. Here’s how it works.

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Dizzying flurry of moves was responsible for rise and fall of Peter Chiarelli

Ken Campbell
Peter Chiarelli (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

You’d have to think Peter Chiarelli’s fate in Boston was sealed back in January when team CEO Charlie Jacobs said it would be “a complete failure” and “absolutely unacceptable” for the Bruins to miss the playoffs this season.

Tough crowd there in Boston. One bad season and you find yourself out on your ear. And when the Bruins power brokers asked themselves what Chiarelli had done for them lately, they didn’t like the answers. When you frame it that way, there was an avalanche of reasons for the Bruins to fire Chiarelli this morning. On-ice performance aside, it has been kind of a skeleton-in-the-closets kind of run of moves for Chiarelli of late. Read more

Milan Lucic’s state-of-mind, Leafs’ implosion prove mental side of sports is a massive influence on winning

Milan Lucic (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the wake of the Bruins’ shocking fall out of a playoff spot, GM Peter Chiarelli shared this tidbit of information that won’t please Bruins fans:

The idea that any player – let alone one like Lucic, whose game is predicated on physical aggression – could have their performance waylaid by mental struggles is one regularly derided by some fans who believe multi-million-dollar salaries are a panacea for all athletes. If only it were that easy. If only an NHLer could strap on horse blinders and focus solely on the task at hand, the Stanley Cup would go to the team that had the most talent every season.

But these guys aren’t robots. Nothing is guaranteed with any player. And you don’t just have to take Chiarelli (or Lucic) at their word to see how what happens between the ears has a direct effect on what happens between two ends of a hockey rink. The evidence of it is all around. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Big changes coming for Boston Bruins

Lyle Richardson

The Boston Bruins missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007 is generating considerable speculation over their off-season plans. Many observers wonder if general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien could lose their jobs.

Regardless of who’s sitting in the Bruins GM chair this summer, roster changes are definitely expected. After years as a Stanley Cup contender, the Bruins were hampered by injuries this season, while several key players failed to play up to expectations. Limited cap space prevented them from suitably addressing their roster needs, forcing the unpopular trade of defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders as an early-season salary dump. Read more

New Leafs coach must be hired based on on-ice philosophy, not NHL resume or familiarity factor

Claude Julien (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

With interim coach Peter Horachek included in team president Brendan Shanahan’s housecleaning Sunday, the Maple Leafs are going to have their fourth bench boss in three years by the time the 2015-16 season begins. And although it’s tempting for Leafs fans to speculate on and salivate over some of the names expected to be available, Toronto’s next hire doesn’t have to have a familiarity factor with fans in order for it to be right. The next head coach of the Leafs just has to have the right on-ice philosophy – one based on teaching and patience – to put the franchise back on track.

It will be tempting for Shanahan and whomever he hires as GM (if he doesn’t take that role himself) to be dazzled by the slew of accomplished coaches who’ll apply for the position, but the problem with those types of coaches can be they’re far more interested in winning now than they are in developing the young talent Toronto will placing its organizational bets on in the years to come. Read more

Brandon Sutter helps Penguins clinch a playoff spot, eliminate Bruins

Josh Elliott
Brandon Sutter

Brandon Sutter scored both goals in Pittsburgh’s 2-0 win over Buffalo on Saturday, securing a playoff berth for the Penguins and simultaneously eliminating the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins hung in until the end with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but just imagine their disappointment when they looked up at the scoreboard in the middle of the third and saw the Pens had already won.

Sutter looked like a basketball player on his first goal, using his back to protect the puck from the Sabres’ defenders as he came out of the corner, cut across the hashmarks and backhanded it past Anders Lindback.
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