Former Penguin Dupuis highlights Masterton nominees

Pascal Dupuis (Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

Pascal Dupuis’ career may have ended under less than ideal circumstances, but at least he has a chance to collect some hardware as a parting gift.

Dupuis retired from the NHL on Dec. 8 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins because he was suffering from blood clots. He had two goals and four points in 18 games this season before he stopped playing. Dupuis was first diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung in November 2014 and missed the rest of the 2014-15 season.

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Kopitar, Barkov and Eriksson nominated for Lady Byng Trophy

Anze Kopitar

Anze Kopitar was nominated for his second 2016 NHL award on Saturday.

The Los Angeles Kings center was named one of the three finalists for the league’s Lady Byng Trophy, given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Kopitar is also up for the Selke Trophy for the top defensive forward.

Joining Kopitar among the final three are Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Boston Bruins left winger Loui Eriksson.

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Should refs let more go during crunch time? 2016 playoff data suggests they likely are

Jason Kay
Florida's Reilly Smith had a chance to clinch Game 6 against the Islanders, but Nick Leddy saved the day, and arguably got away with a trip in the process. (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

After watching the final minutes of regulation of Game 6 in the Islanders-Panthers first round series, I was all ready to perch my soap box atop my high horse, which was balancing on my ivory tower.

With New York’s net empty in the dying moments, there were two trips that could have been called – one on Vincent Trocheck, the other Reilly Smith – infractions that either negated Panthers’ chances to seal the game, or at least given the Islanders a penalty. You could argue there was a tad of embellishment on the Smith fall, but it was borderline. Instead of a minor being called in either instance, the refs “let them play” and we all know the result.

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Panthers captain Willie Mitchell likely to retire after latest battle with concussion

Jared Clinton
Willie Mitchell (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Willie Mitchell hasn’t come out and said that his playing days are officially over, but it doesn’t appear likely the Florida Panthers captain will continue his career after his latest concussion.

Mitchell, who turned 39 this past Saturday, is coming off of a season in which he missed all but 46 games. Mitchell missed the final 36 games with what was originally listed as a lower-body injury, but it was later revealed that he was sidelined with concussion issues that continued to plague him for the remainder of the campaign.

As the Panthers closed up shop for the season, Mitchell’s teammates and GM Dale Tallon spoke about the veteran blueliner’s career, and it seemed as though they were preparing to say goodbye to Mitchell. According to The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, Tallon said that he would be speaking with Mitchell about options for the future, whatever that may be. However, no comment made it seem more like it could be the end of the road for Mitchell than those from sophomore blueliner Aaron Ekblad.

“When I first talked to him and found out what was going on with him, we got a good cry,” Ekblad said, via Reynolds. “Everyone experiences it at some point, that point where you can’t play anymore.” Read more

Rumor Roundup: Buyouts could be coming for Wild, Flyers after first-round exit

Thomas Vanek (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

As more NHL teams become first-round casualties of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, the more speculation grows over their offseason moves.

After yet another roller coaster season for the Minnesota Wild ended in an early playoff exit, GM Chuck Fletcher faces some tough decisions. The biggest, of course, is deciding if interim head coach John Torchetti returns on a full-time basis. After that, Fletcher could shake up his inconsistent, under-performing roster.

With only around $12 million in available salary-cap room for 2016-17, it’s expected the Wild GM will buy out the remaining season of disappointing left wing Thomas Vanek. The 31-year-old is owed $7.5 million in actual salary, though the cap hit is $6.5 million. Read more

It’s time to ask uncomfortable questions about Jaromir Jagr’s future

Jaromir Jagr (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the dust settles and the disappointment fades a little more, it’s pretty much a given that Jaromir Jagr will want to play in the NHL again next season. And it’s also pretty much a given that the Florida Panthers will happily take him back.

But watching one of the greatest players in the history of the game labor through the Panthers’ first-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders, some very, very uncomfortable questions have to be asked. Because, folks, this is not a one-off. Jagr has struggled to keep up to the pace of the playoffs for a couple of years now. He has gone 37 playoff games without putting a single puck in the back of the net and when the Boston Bruins made their run to the Stanley Cup final in 2013, he had no goals in 22 games and by Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, he had been demoted to the fourth line and played just 6:27, the second-lowest total on either roster. If you include his hometown Kladno team he joined during the 2011-12 lockout, Jagr has played for five teams since he last scored a playoff goal.

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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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Watch Jonathan Huberdeau score with wicked shot while falling to the ice

Jared Clinton
Jonathan Huberdeau (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers may have been eliminated from the post-season Sunday night, but they didn’t go down without a fight. But even as their season ended, Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau may have offered up what could go down as one of the nicest goals of the entire playoffs.

Late in the first period of a scoreless Game 6, the Islanders turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Jussi Jokinen waited for the play to go onside before dishing the puck over to Vincent Trocheck. Islanders winger Shane Prince went right at Trocheck, but the Panthers center made a slick pass over Prince’s stick and right onto the tape of Huberdeau as he entered the Islanders’ zone.

Huberdeau at first looked as if he was going to attempt to drive to the outside on defenseman Travis Hamonic, but instead threw on the brakes and pulled up. With barely any room to operate and Hamonic attempting to knock the puck away, Huberdeau reached back for the puck and fired an incredible shot up and over the shoulder of Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss, all while falling to the ice: Read more