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Dan’s Daily: Bruins, Canes Fill NHL Trade Rumors; Rick Tocchet Praise

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust

There are only four teams remaining in the Stanley Cup chase, which means 28 are into their offseason preparation, and the NHL trade chatter is finally picking. The Boston Bruins might be the 800-pound gorilla connected to every big name, but they have a problem because goalie Linus Ullmark seems to be pretty stubborn with his choice of destinations. The Ottawa Senators are in the mix of teams chasing help, and the Carolina Hurricanes have big questions, including re-signing Jake Guentzel and a potential Martin Necas trade. Yet they’re also searching for a president of hockey operations and general manager. And for good measure, now Jim Rutherford’s Vancouver Canucks are on their prowl.

Rick Tocchet is getting a healthy amount of praise following the Canucks season. It would be wrong to credit that to Mike Sullivan, but it does seem Tocchet’s time under Sullivan provided the last piece to making Tocchet a very good coach. And when the Bruins, Hurricanes, and Tocchet’s Canucks are hunting, things could get fun.

I’d like to thank Lisa and John at Molnar’s Bar on Rt. 51. I did take a good motorcycle ride Saturday, but the storms arrived a bit earlier than expected. I wound up in Ohiopyle again, and on the way back, I managed to ride around the rain clouds by going east and waiting out one storm in Donegal, but it wasn’t until I saw sunshine that the skies opened with a vengeance. As I hit Rt. 51 just this side of Rostraver, I rode toward sunlight, laughing that I outsmarted Mother Nature.

I should have looked behind me.

There was a booming crack of thunder and an instantaneous microburst of heavy rain. It was so heavy I couldn’t see, but having grown up in that area, I knew I was approaching that little pink concrete block bar that’s been in business forever. I managed to roll into the parking lot, basically riding blind and ran for the door–except they had already closed. Lisa graciously opened the door, and within a few minutes, a handful of unlucky bikers gathered.

There was sunshine in both directions but an angry cloud above us. A river of rainwater ran down Rt. 51, but thank you, Lisa and John, for the good conversation and for saving a few of us. I’ll be stopping back for a fish sandwich next time.

NHL Trade Chatter, News & National Hockey Now

Boston Hockey Now: It seems many teams tried to acquire Ullmark, including the Ottawa Senators, but Ullmark said no. Murphy laid out the potential Bruins’ haul, and it’s a doozy, including Jacob Chychrun, that Ottawa must offer.

Not only are the Bruins involved in talks to trade Ullmark, but the NHL trade winds are blowing in both directions up north. It seems Boston took the bait from the Carolina, as has Vancouver, and both are chasing a deal for Martin Necas.

TSN: Here’s the only problem with a Necas trade: Carolina does not currently have a general manager. Everyone involved is using soft, if not nebulous, language, but it seems president of hockey operations/GM Don Wadell has left for Columbus—or is leaving.

I expect interim GM Eric Tulsky to quickly take over the job permanently. He was a finalist for the Penguins job, with Steve Greeley and a few others, before Kyle Dubas became available. We heard good things, and in a past life, he was a chemical engineer, so brainpower isn’t lacking.

Sportsnet: The Vancouver postmortems have started, including some unabashed praise for coach Rick Tocchet, who also won the Jack Adams Award. Ian MacIntyre heaped a ladle full of compliments on Tocchet, writing that his direct honesty was the primary reason we saw the resurrection of a disjointed franchise.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Oh, by the way, another team that tried to acquire Ullmark was the New Jersey Devils, but the goalie said no to them, too. Here’s the inside dirt on the Devils’ trade attempt.

Philly Hockey Now: The waiting game continues for electric Russian prospect Matvei Michkov. Is he bolting his KHL contract two years early, or will he get stuck in Putin’s orbit? Here’s the latest on the Flyers’ prospect.

Happy Indy Day! That yellow submarine looks awfully fast this year, and the ghosts at Indy seem to love drivers in that car. But as my annual tradition for the Indy 500–posting my favorite moment. It’s still too much fun watching a grizzled veteran broadcaster, Jim McKay, absolutely lose his marbles at what he was seeing. Never before had cars been so close at the end. If ya don’t get some goosebumps…

“Sam, I’ve never seen anything like it…”