The Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Florida Panthers and had a nine-day layoff before the Eastern Conference Final. They looked a bit rusty, and the New York Rangers looked like a team still riding the adrenaline from another Game 7 just two days ago. The Rangers couldn’t miss. Our colleague Rob Simpson went one-on-one with former Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford. Jordan Staal won’t sign an extension with Carolina as he ponders his future, and we looked at RW UFAs who could fit the Penguins’ cap structure.
These conference final games have been a blast to watch. The NHL needs to take notes–fans love what they’re seeing. Perhaps the league should take measures to protect the product.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Whether the Penguins re-sign Evgeni Malkin, they have holes in the middle-six. Only Jeff Carter and possibly Jason Zucker remain. The Penguins need a scoring RW, and there are a few on the UFA market. Who fits? Pittsburgh Penguins offseason.
NHL Playoffs, News & National Hockey Now
NY Post: The Rangers lit up Andrei Vasilevskiy, but so did Toronto in Game 1. The Rangers found a stride in Game 1 that I’m not sure I’ve seen from them. They rolled over Tampa and have a 1-0 series lead.
I don’t expect Game 2 to be quite so easy. Also, it appears all of the Tampa Bay Lightning emerged with their heads.
NHL.com: Jordan Staal said he wouldn’t sign an extension with the Carolina Hurricanes. He’ll play out the final year of that contract he signed back in 2012 and take a look at the situation.
Vancouver: Rob Simpson did a lengthy interview with Jim Rutherford. Here’s the fun stuff. And you thought you knew the Vancouver Canucks president.
Colorado: Game 2 is on the way. Game 1 was the most fun hockey can be without actually giving coaches heart problems. Terry Frei writes, the Avs weren’t a Mona Lisa, but sometimes…a velvet Elvis is good enough. Colorado Avalanche coverage.
It’s a good line.
The Edmonton Oilers are more than just Connor McDavid (they are?!). The other Edmonton key players to watch in the Western Conference Final.
Montreal: Martin St. Louis is the Canadiens head coach, now officially. He wasn’t shy in laying out his priorities for the Montreal Canadiens team.
Detroit: A heartbreaking and frustrating story about Vladimir Konstantinov. Michigan changed its insurance laws to lower car insurance rates (bipartisan, no villains here), but Konstantinov will lose his round-the-clock care. Surely the lawmakers can fix this instead of dumping him in a facility?! Detroit Red Wings news.
Vegas: We put Reilly Smith on the list of wingers to watch for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Though we don’t think the Penguins can afford him, Owen Krepps writes the Vegas Golden Knights can’t afford to lose him.
Calgary: Darryl Sutter was the belle of the ball in the NHL playoffs. His wry wit and sometimes folksy manner in press conferences were a must-see. In his final presser of the season, Sutter was disappointed but said the Calgary Flames earned back their respect.