• Rumor Roundup: Will the Hurricanes deal Staal, Semin, Skinner or Ward this summer?

    Lyle Richardson
    Eric Staal & Cam Ward (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Having missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the sixth straight season, the Carolina Hurricanes could face significant off-season changes. Ron Francis stood pat in his first summer as Hurricanes GM last year, but now he could make significant moves.

    The process began leading up to the trade deadline, when Francis dealt away pending free agents Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty and Tim Gleason. Other players could follow them out the door later this summer.

    Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer believes Francis has some “meaty decisions” to make. He must determine if captain Eric Staal, who is a year away from unrestricted free agency, is part of the Hurricanes’ long-term plans.

    The 30-year-old Staal tells Alexander he loves living and playing in North Carolina. While he wants to help the Hurricanes return to the playoffs and compete for another Stanley Cup title, Staal admits it’s up to management.
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  • How Winnipeg’s Drew Stafford re-invented himself

    Ryan Kennedy
    Drew Stafford (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Stanley Cup playoff hockey has returned to Winnipeg and if the Jets are going to upset the potent Anaheim Ducks, they’ll do it with depth, not through one line or one superstar. One of Winnipeg’s most dangerous players since the trade deadline is right winger Drew Stafford, who came over from Buffalo in the Evander Kane deal. Stafford, a 30-goal scorer with the Sabres in 2010-11, had fallen on hard times offensively in more recent days. But thanks to a couple of high-profile friends, he has rediscovered his game.

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  • Shane Doan is a really good clapper…and he’d like to beat up Mike Smith

    The Hockey News
    Shane Doan (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Recently, 13-year-old aspiring journalist Haley Smilow had the chance to sit down with Arizona’s Shane Doan for a Q&A. Their conversation revealed some interesting facts about the Coyotes captain, who is one of the game’s genuinely good guys.

    HALEY: What’s the best part about being a hockey player and what’s the worst part about being a hockey player?

    SHANE: The best part about being a hockey player is definitely the competitiveness. They’re competing and having fun and, you know, you get challenged every day to do something that you love to do. As a kid, I mean playing a sport doesn’t get much better than that. So that’s obviously the best part. And the hardest part is being away from my family. I have a wife and four kids and it really kind of takes control of your life for six or seven months of the year and forces them to kind of get pushed back a little bit. I don’t enjoy that part of it.

    HALEY: Who are the greatest influences on your hockey career?

    SHANE: The greatest influence on my career would probably be my dad. He played, I admired the way he was and the way he played the game. And then guys that I played with, that I watched growing up. I loved Paul Coffey. I thought he was amazing. He was a phenomenal hockey player. And the guys that I’ve played with since, probably Teppo Numminen, Keith Tkachuk and Kris King are the 3 captains that I had, I admired them, along with Mike Gartner.

    HALEY: Who would you not want to fight? Read more

  • Another night, another new record for junior hockey phenom Connor McDavid

    Adam Proteau
    Connor McDavid (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

    Connor McDavid’s astonishing junior hockey career is close to its conclusion, but it feels like every night he plays, the Erie Otters superstar is setting some type of new record in the Ontario Hockey League. That was true Tuesday night when McDavid scored an empty-net goal in the second round of the OHL playoffs to help sweep the London Knights and give the 18-year-old an amazing 14 points in four games, establishing a new franchise mark for points in a post-season series.
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  • NHL playoff updates: Rangers’ Klein, Wild’s Cooke questionable for Game 1 – & Vermette a healthy scratch?

    Antoine Vermette (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The start of the NHL playoffs means it’s time for subterfuge and/or the vaguest of terms to describe players’ injuries – and the playing status of any roster member, for that matter – so take anything you see below with a salt grain or two. But a number of NHLers were rumored Tuesday to be questionable for the start of their team’s first-round series – and not just because of injury. Read more

  • Todd McLellan Era in San Jose looks to be over, but roster move of consequence is also necessary

    Adam Proteau
    Sharks head coach Todd McLellan talks to players including Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

    According to the San Jose Mercury News, the highly rumored split between the Sharks and head coach Todd McLellan may happen as soon as Wednesday, with both sides announcing a “mutual agreement” to sever McLellan’s employment with the franchise and make him one of the most highly sought-after bench bosses on the market this summer.

    McLellan – who was announced Tuesday as Team Canada’s head coach at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic – will be fine. But what about the Sharks? I’ve argued recently San Jose isn’t necessarily destined to continue sliding down the Western Conference standings, but some major roster move is likely – and I’m not just talking about another shocking signing like the Sharks adding one-dimensional John Scott. Read more

  • 10 shocking moments that changed NHL playoff series

    Matt Larkin
    Marty McSorley.  (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images)

    May 12, 2014. The Anaheim Ducks have just beaten the Los Angeles Kings a third straight time, staking a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference semifinal. A big reason for the Ducks’ success: young goalie John Gibson, fresh off stopping 67 of 70 shots in Anaheim’s Game 3 and 4 victories.

    Cue sarcastic Kings coach Darryl Sutter after the game: “He’s the best goalie I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe we got one by him tonight. Lot of pressure on him now. A lot of pressure.”

    Seed planted. Gibson holds his own in a Game 6 defeat after allowing a first-period goal, then the rookie’s wheels come off at home in Game 7. The Kings beat Gibson four times on 18 shots, chase him after 22 minutes and win the series. They hoist their second Stanley Cup in three years a month later.

    We’ll never know just how impactful Sutter’s comment was – but it sure seemed to coincide with Gibson’s meltdown. One of the most exciting things about playoff series: the storylines and singular moments that change momentum. Here are the top series-changing events since 1967 expansion.

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  • How much of a difference will Patrick Kane make?

    Jared Clinton
    Patrick Kane featured

    It’s official. Patrick Kane will be back in the Blackhawks’ lineup Wednesday night for the first game of Chicago’s first-round tilt with the Nashville Predators.

    Kane, who has been out since February with a broken clavicle, is coming back seven weeks after the injury was suffered. Initially, when he went down, the thought was Kane wouldn’t see action until the Western Conference final, were the Blackhawks to make it. The news that he’ll play in the first game of Chicago’s playoff run comes as somewhat of a shock and it begs the question: how effective will Kane really be? Read more