Rumor Roundup: Next step for Oilers is building their blueline

Justin Schultz  (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Things certainly seem to be looking up for the Edmonton Oilers. After naming Bob Nicholson as their CEO, hiring Peter Chiarelli as GM and Todd McLellan as head coach plus winning the 2015 Draft lottery, there’s a sense this long-moribund team has finally turned the corner. While seemingly “winning” the off-season, the Oilers need to turn that into on-ice success.

Despite their plethora of promising youth, soon to be augmented by wunderkind Connor McDavid, significant roster issues remain to be addressed. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports bolstering their porous defense is their main priority. Read more

Watch Marcus Kruger end marathon Game 2 between Blackhawks, Ducks

Marcus Kruger (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

One of the great things about the Stanley Cup playoffs is that when it comes to overtime — and especially double-, triple- or even quadruple-overtime — it’s rarely the player you would expect to get the game-winner that eventually ends the game. Case in point: Chicago’s Marcus Kruger can now add triple-overtime hero to his resume.

In the role Kruger plays on the Blackhawks, he’s not exactly what one would call a sniper or a star. He’s a bottom-six center — one of the best in the league, at that — with some nice offensive tools that doesn’t find the back of the net very often. Granted, he’s usually playing out of his own zone which makes it tougher to score, but that he scored seven goals in 81 games doesn’t put visions of him scoring an overtime-winner into one’s head.

That’s why it was surprising when, of all people, Kruger found himself alone at the side of the Anaheim Ducks goal in triple overtime and evened the Western Conference final at one game apiece:

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Ducks/Hawks marathon thriller ends with Chicago win in triple-overtime

Hawks winger Marcus Kruger celebrates his game winning goal against Anaheim in triple overtime of Game 2 of the Western Conference Final Tuesday. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks played nearly two full games of hockey Tuesday, and by the time Game(s) 2 ended – four hours and 53 minutes after it began in Anaheim – they dodged a number of bullets and beat the Ducks to pull even in their Western Conference Final series.

The Hawks were outplayed by the Ducks for long stretches at Honda Center and Anaheim was the better possession team on the night. Chicago did storm out of the gate with a 2-0 lead on goals from Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa, but Anaheim cut Chicago’s lead in half before the first intermission and dominated the visiting team in the second period, outshooting the Hawks 19-7 and tying the game on Corey Perry’s eighth of the playoffs.

From then on, it was a goaltending duel for the ages, with both Corey Crawford and Frederik Andersen coming up with a number of huge saves to keep their team alive. The game nearly ended in the second overtime period when Andrew Shaw head-butted – that’s correct, head-butted – the puck past Andersen: Read more

Keith, Shaw combine on deflection to give Hawks first lead of Game 2 vs. Ducks

Chicago's Andrew Shaw and teammate Patrick Kane celebrates Shaw's first-period goal on Anaheim's Frederik Andersen Tuesday in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. (Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw had scored just one time in 11 playoff games this year before Tuesday’s action, but he came through early in Game 2 of Chicago’s Western Conference Final series against Anaheim with a slick deflection on a Duncan Keith shot that gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

Shaw, who had 15 goals and 26 points in 79 regular-season games for Chicago this season, positioned himself in front of Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen and redirected a blast by Keith to give the Blackhawks a power-play goal just 2:14 into the first period: Read more

Hurricanes, Flames, Blackhawks in running for Czech defenseman Jakub Nakladal

Jakub Nakladal (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Standout Czech defenseman Jakub Nakladal could be heading to North America next season and if he does, it appears he could be landing with the Hurricanes, Flames or Blackhawks.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nakladal is working on finalizing an NHL deal and Carolina, Calgary and Chicago are the three teams left in the running. While there haven’t been many reports on what exactly the 27-year-old blueliner is looking for in a destination, he certainly has his pick of destinations following a stellar campaign with TPS Turku of Finland’s SM-Liiga. Read more

Blackhawks’ defenseman Cumiskey could be in lineup for Game 2

Jared Clinton
Kyle Cumiskey (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When the Chicago Blackhawks take the ice for Game 2 of the Western Conference final, there could be a new face in the lineup.

After questions about the strength of Chicago’s defensive depth following Game 1′s 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, defenseman Kyle Cumiskey was practising alongside Johnny Oduya during Monday’s skate. If Cumiskey enters the lineup, though, it likely means that David Rundblad will be watching from the sidelines. Read more

As Blackhawks defensive depth questioned, potential call up Johns breaks forearm

Jared Clinton
Stephen Johns (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When Michal Rozsival went down with an ankle injury that ended his season in the second round of the post-season, there weren’t many solid options for Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to turn to. Now he has one less, as it appears AHL blueliner and one of the Blackhawks top prospects, Stephen Johns, will be sidelined with a broken forearm.

According to WREX reporter Dan Cohen — and confirmed by Johns himself — the 23-year-old defenseman suffered the broken arm in the Game 5 defeat the Rockford IceHogs suffered at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins. The loss ended Rockford’s season and it appears the break has done the same for Johns. The timetable for his recovery is reportedly 4-to-6 weeks.

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