How to snuff out a superstar

Oshawa's Cole Cassels  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Oshawa Generals knew they had a tall task on their hands. Facing Erie in the OHL final, the Gens had to figure out a way to stop Otters superstar Connor McDavid, who came into Game 1 with a dizzying 42 points in 15 playoff games. At the end of the night, McDavid had been on the ice for more goals-against than goals-for and the Gens thrilled their fans with a 4-1 win.

If Game 1 was any indication, this series will be fought in both the trenches and the war rooms. Oshawa’s strategy for battening down McDavid was to have Vancouver Canucks prospect Cole Cassels on against the consensus No. 1 pick overall in the NHL draft this summer as much as possible.

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Red Wings will lose Mike Babcock, and they’ll be just fine

Mike Babcock (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland knows his team will have a very good coach next season. He’s also pretty certain it won’t be Mike Babcock. That’s why after the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and a couple of other teams called about getting permission to speak with his soon-to-be-free-agent coach, Holland knew exactly what to do.

So last Sunday, he and Babcock took a drive to Grand Rapids to watch the Red Wings AHL team in the playoffs. Holland told Babcock teams had been calling and asked whether Babcock wanted to start negotiations on a new deal with the Wings or explore the market. And Babcock told Holland he wanted to see what was out there. Read more

The five craziest free agent offer sheets in NHL history

Scott Stevens ended up a New Jersey Devil after the St. Louis Blues signed Brendan Shanahan to an offer sheet. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues and GM Doug Armstrong have made no bones about it: whatever the price is for Vladimir Tarasenko, they’re willing to pay. In the end, that could come down to matching an offer sheet.

If the Blues can’t get Tarasenko, a restricted free agent, under contract by the time the draft comes and goes, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that another team will see the worth in locking up St. Louis’ star sniper. It’s a tactic that has been used for nearly three decades, although rarely over the past decade.

Looking back through the NHL’s history of offer sheets, though, gives us an idea of just how crazy things could get should Tarasenko ink an offer from another team. These are five of the craziest offer sheet scenarios in league history: Read more

Bolts’ Ben Bishop fooled by wrist shot from Habs’ Jeff Petry for first career NHL playoff goal

Jeff Petry (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

One of the great talents of Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is finding role players who can contribute for Montreal at key moments; for example, Dale Weise has been a playoff hero for the Habs both this season and last. And Sunday in Game 2 of their second-round series against Tampa Bay, another trade acquisition – this time, veteran defenseman Jeff Petry – stepped up, scoring his first career NHL playoff goal for the first lead of the game.

Brought in from Edmonton at the trade deadline for a second-round and conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the 27-year-old Petry took a wrist shot from the blueline shortly after the seven-minute mark. As Hockey Night In Canada analyst Craig Simpson noted, Bishop was looking to his left for the shot, but the puck went to his right: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Could Dion Phaneuf become an Oiler?

Dion Phaneuf

Could the Edmonton Oilers have interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf? Sportsnet’s Damien Cox claims former Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had interest in the 30-year-old Phaneuf prior to this season’s trade deadline. With Chiarelli now in Edmonton, Cox speculates the Oilers could be suitors for the Leafs captain.

The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples disagrees, noting the Oilers could use Phaneuf’s skills on their blueline but not his lengthy and expensive contract. The rearguard has six years remaining on his deal at an annual cap hit of $7 million.

With several players (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot) carrying expensive long-term deals, Staples notes adding Phaneuf would create a cap crunch for the Oilers in a few years when younger Oilers (Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz, Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl) will be seeking raises. Read more

Are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry best 1-2 draft punch in NHL history?

Ryan Getzlaf (left) and Corey Perry  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When fans of the Anaheim Ducks watch games such as Thursday night’s thrashing of the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of their playoff series, there’s a good chance they thank their lucky stars that Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are under contract for the next four seasons. (Oh, and if you happen to have both of them in a playoff pool, you’re probably clicking your heels together today as well. Click-click.)

They’re also probably pretty happy that Perry had such a poor showing in the CHL Prospects Game in 2003 and that Getzlaf was likened to “a poor man’s Patrick Marleau,” in THN’s Draft Preview that year. Because if not, Getzlaf would not have tumbled to 19th and Perry to 28th in that year’s draft and the Ducks would not have had the chance to take them. Read more

Why the Blues should let Ken Hitchcock go – and why the Oilers should hire him

Matt Larkin
Ken Hitchcock. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

The expression feels far too harsh when we’re dealing with a class act like Ken Hitchcock, but its sentiment may apply in the case of the St. Louis Blues and the Edmonton Oilers.

Hitch’s stay in the Show Me State has a strong chance of ending this off-season. Yes, he accomplished a lot with the Blues. He guided them to a 43-15-11 record and won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2011-12 after taking over from Davis Payne. Hitchcock’s Blues teams in his four seasons with them:

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Rumor Roundup: Would Lucic for Hall or Eberle help both teams?

Milan Lucic (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers winning the 2015 draft lottery continues to resonate in the trade rumor mill. Their recent hiring of former Hockey Canada honcho Bob Nicholson as CEO and former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli as GM and president of hockey operations provides further speculation of major off-season moves for the Oilers.

Joe Haggerty of CSNNE noted these factors while suggesting there’s a good chance Oilers top-line wingers Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle could be available. He feels the Bruins should consider offering up power forward Milan Lucic for Hall or Eberle.

Haggerty believes Lucic’s style of play is something the Oilers need. He also notes the 26-year-old left winger’s friendship with Oilers captain Andrew Ference, which dates back to the Ference’s days with the Bruins. With Lucic eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, Haggerty feels Edmonton could be just the place where he could land a big payday. Read more