Jesse Puljujarvi and world-killing Finland just did it again

Jesse Puljujarvi (Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Finland has won gold again – get used to it.

Led by superstar 2016 draft prospect Jesse Puljujarvi, the Finns dusted off archrival Sweden in the final of the World Under-18 Championship in North Dakota on Sunday. Puljujarvi scored a hat trick in the 6-1 demolition, while the home-side Americans earned bronze with a 10-3 walloping of a disorganized Canadian squad.

If it sounds like the Finns have been on the podium a lot lately, it’s because they have. This is the third junior-level gold in three years for Suomi, when the 2016 and 2014 world junior titles are added in. So how are they doing it?

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Draft prospect Griffin Luce’s bloodlines won’t flow to Florida

Ken Campbell
Griffin Luce  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)

Florida Panthers director of player personnel Scott Luce has scouted virtually every draft-eligible teenager playing in North America this season. He’s done numerous reports on each player, meticulously breaking down his strengths and weaknesses and assessing whether or not he’ll be a future NHL player. After all, that’s what he does.

But there is one player both he and the Panthers have ignored completely. Not one report has been done, not one projection made. That player would be Luce’s 18 year-old son Griffin, a defenseman for the U.S. national development team. And it has put the elder Luce in a rather awkward position as he scouts the World Under-18 Championships in Grand Forks, N.D. At times, Luce is a dispassionate scout watching future NHLers, at others he’s just another nervous dad in the stands watching his son.

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Sabres’ Cody McCormick forced to retire due to blood clots

Jared Clinton
Cody McCormick (Scott Iskowitz/NHLI via Getty Images)

Buffalo Sabres veteran Cody McCormick has played his final game.

The Sabres announced Monday that McCormick, 32, will be forced to retire due to blood clots that began in his leg and spread to his lungs in January 2015. McCormick blocked a shot in a game against the New York Rangers on Jan. 3, 2015, and the impact caused blood clots to form which then spread to his lungs and briefly hospitalized the winger. Now, more than a year after he last laced up his skates to play for the Sabres, McCormick has decided to err on the side of caution.

“Cody McCormick is not going to jeopardize his life or his family by trying to play again,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said, via the Olean Times Herald’s Bill Hoppe. “We support him in that. He was around this winter and did some other things when players were rehabbing. So I don’t know if that’s going to be a future thing or not. That’s something that he dabbled at and seemed to like.” Read more

How losing Pavel Datsyuk could help the Red Wings get Steven Stamkos

Pavel Datsyuk (left) and Steven Stamkos (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

If Pavel Datsyuk were to go back home to play in the KHL next season and turn his back on the last year of his contract with the Detroit Red Wings, it would leave an enormous leadership and talent void on the roster. But it might not be the end of the world for them.

In fact, if things work out they way they potentially could, it could be a boon for the Red Wings. If Datsyuk were to let the Red Wings know of his intentions early enough, it would open up some valuable cap space and allow them to go after the biggest free agent in the pool, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announced Saturday that Stamkos has a blood clot and faces a recovery period of one-to-three months, meaning there is a chance the pending unrestricted free agent has played his last game for the Lightning. It is expected, however, that Stamkos will make a full recovery.

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Avalanche defenseman Zadorov concussed on hit by Capitals’ Wilson

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
DENVER, CO - APRIL 01:  Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche is attended to by Francois Beauchemin #32 of the Colorado Avalanche after taking a hit by Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals and leaving the game in the second period at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov has been diagnosed with a concussion one day after being on the receiving end of a devastating hit from Washington Capitals right winger Tom Wilson.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy announced the diagnosis Saturday afternoon.

The hit in question occurred 4:10 into the second period of Washington’s 4-2 win on Friday night. Zadorov was being pressured from behind by Capitals center Marcus Johansson as he skated with the puck around the Avalanche net. As he lost control of the puck, there to meet him was Wilson, who caught Zadorov in a vulnerable position and exploded up and through the hit. Zadorov looked dazed while on his back and needed help to get off the ice. He did not return to the game. Wilson was not penalized. Read more

Sabres’ Lehner out for remainder of season following ankle surgery

Jared Clinton
Robin Lehner (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Robin Lehner’s first season as a Buffalo Sabre is going to end the way it began: with the 24-year-old goaltender on the shelf with an ankle injury.

Lehner fell injured before the midway mark of his first regular season contest as a Sabre on Oct. 8. The injury, a high-ankle sprain sustained against the same Ottawa Senators team that had traded him to Buffalo only months earlier, wound up keeping Lehner on the shelf for 42 games, and he didn’t return to action until a Jan. 15 game against the Boston Bruins.

On March 18, two days after an overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens in which Lehner made 19 saves, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma announced that Lehner was again nursing the same injury and would be day-to-day while the team evaluated him. But Lehner won’t be returning this season as the Sabres have announced he will miss the final five games of the campaign following ankle surgery. Read more

Robin Lehner vs. Ben Scrivens death match: who ya got?

Ryan Kennedy
Robin Lehner (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Things got all testy last night between Montreal and Buffalo, with the Sabres defending their crease with furious anger. At the height of the animosity, Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner yanked Montreal’s Michael McCarron through the air and the two then exchanged gloved punches. Lehner’s netminding counterpart, Ben Scrivens, skated up to the blueline but never crossed the Rubicon:

 

 

After the tilt, which Montreal won 3-2, Lehner had some fightin’ words:

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