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Canucks fined $50,000 for GM's comments about Stamkos, Subban

The Vancouver Canucks will be cutting a $50,000 check to the National Hockey League after they were fined following comments made by general manager Jim Benning last week about Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban.

“Canucks General Manager Jim Benning violated the provisions of NHL By-Law 15 relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his Club’s potential interest in players under contract to other NHL Clubs,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement.

“I spoke with Jim and accept his representation that he intended no harm with his comments and that he will handle similar questions from the media differently in the future.”

Appearing on TSN 1040 last week, Benning said he wanted to add both Stamkos and Subban to the Canucks this off-season, which was an issue considering 1) The UFA meet-and-greet period hadn’t opened yet in regards to Stamkos and 2) Subban is under contract with Montreal until 2022. 

In a statement Benning said, “Last week I was trying to be candid with our fans and media about our efforts to improve our team but said too much about players on other teams. I have spoken personally to the NHL and the General Managers involved to apologize and I accept the League’s ruling.” 

While Canucks president Trevor Linden agreed with Benning in that he believed the comments were “innocent,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin wasn’t too pleased, saying he “crossed the line.” 

The $50K fine is double the one that Ron Wilson and the Toronto Maple Leafs got hit with in 2009 following comments the then-head coach made about pursuing the Sedin twins.

The NHL could have handed down a more severe punishment which may have cost them draft picks, but the hope is that the fine and embarrassment of being caught is enough to prevent this from happening again in the future.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Can Milan Lucic find the right fit in NHL free agency?

As the 2015-16 season ended for Milan Lucic it seemed highly unlikely he would leave the Los Angeles Kings for unrestricted free agency.

His rugged style fit LA perfectly. He became a loud leadership voice in the locker room. His family liked the lifestyle and the anonymity of playing in a big market, but not having to deal with media distractions. He was on the same coast as his native Vancouver.

Lastly – it was close to Disneyland, which was a major positive for his kids as he often noted.

“To be honest I really don’t have much interest into hitting the open market or hearing what’s out there because in my mind this is where I want to be,” Lucic said in late April after the San Jose Sharks eliminated LA in the first-round of the playoffs. “Why flirt with something when you know what you want? That’s the case for me moving forward.”

Even a few weeks ago it appeared unlikely that the 28-year-old Lucic would hit the open market. But negotiations ended last week after the Kings and Lucic reportedly met one last time to hammer out their differences. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the issue between the two camps had to do with no-trade protection.

The decision by the salary cap strapped Kings to re-sign Trevor Lewis last weekend essentially closed the door on a possibility that Lucic could return, which opened up a host of possibilities for the big winger. 

Last summer the Kings acquired Lucic from the Boston Bruins for a 2015 first-round draft pick and goaltender Martin Jones. The Bruins then flipped Jones to the San Jose Sharks where he cemented himself as the team’s starting netminder. Last season the hulking Lucic scored 20 goals, notched 55 points and was a plus-26. His score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% was 59.79. His score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% Rel was a plus-4.92.

The 6-foot-3, 233-pound Lucic has often noted his fondness for the West Coast, but his ‘win-now’ options there are few and far between. 

What would it take to sign Lucic? He’s coming off a three-year $18 million contract and that would at very least be a starting point.

Several teams can give it to him, but location, team makeup along with the dollars has to all come together to make sense. The Kings were the best spot for him, but with them out of the sweepstakes all bets are off.

Edmonton Oilers: Lucic will reportedly visit this team Tuesday. The Oilers can offer him the prospect of playing with Connor McDavid and there’s also familiarity between Lucic and general manager Peter Chiarelli who was Lucic’s boss with the Bruins. But Edmonton hasn’t made the playoffs since 2005-06 and finished with the second-worst record in the NHL last season. Even if they improve they’re still two or three years away from contending for a Stanley Cup. Also, the Oilers have a bevy of talented left wingers who are younger than Lucic and play more of a speed game. Would bringing in Lucic make sense for them? 

Vancouver Canucks: Lucic also reportedly met with the Canucks on Monday. Vancouver finished last season with the third-worst record in the NHL and doesn't have a lot as far as future assets in the hope that the team is close to contending. Both the Oilers and Canucks have salary cap space and the right type of location for him, but they both can’t give the ‘win now’ assurances to Lucic that he likely desires at this stage of his career. 

Boston Bruins: His former team has indicated a willingness to look into re-acquiring Lucic. But Boston hasn’t made the postseason the last two years and is in the midst of a rebuild. Lucic left the Bruins on good terms and has always held a fondness for that market.

Anaheim Ducks: If Lucic indeed wants to stay on the West Coast and play for a team in its ‘window of opportunity,’ the Anaheim Ducks may be the best fit. Their personnel is similar to the Kings’ and they should have enough salary space to bring in Lucic – provided they deal a few pieces like defenseman Cam Fowler. General manager Bob Murray has said he’d like to add a left wing to play with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. But the Ducks’ internal salary is often a mystery and it’s unclear if they have enough real dollars to land a prizef free agent like Lucic.

Detroit Red Wings: They have been rumored on him but they may not be competitive enough to justify him moving east at this stage of his career. He'd be a nice fit on the wing, but he wouldn't replace the center ice component the Red Wings lost when Pavel Datsyuk returned to Russia.

According to ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun, a total of 10 teams have inquired about Lucic. There’s always a chance an unexpected group could swoop in. Players with Lucic's power and scoring touch are few and far between which is why he has commanded so much attention so far in free agency. 

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RIP Trudy Daley; trading Shattenkirk; Coyotes re-sign Domingue (Puck Headlines)

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com.  

Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

• Trevor Daley’s mom, Trudy, sadly lost her battle with cancer last week. Fortunately, she was able to see her son lift the Stanley Cup before she left us. [Color of Hockey

• One option for Steve Yzerman to get something in return for Steven Stamkos: a sign and trade. [Sportsnet]

• What are the chances that Stamkos chooses Boston? [Bruins Daily]

• Katie Baker on Eric Lindros’ six-year wait to get in the Hockey Hall of Fame. [The Ringer]

• The wait was even longer for Rogie Vachon. [Frozen Royalty]

• Despite no deal at the draft, St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk still believes he’ll be traded. [Post-Dispatch

• The Arizona Coyotes re-signed goaltender Louis Domingue to a two-year, $2.1 million deal. [Coyotes

• This is a very handy guide showing what teams could give out offer sheets this summer. [General Fanager

• Here’s the list of those players who received qualifying offers on Monday. [NHL.com

• There are a number of cheap UFA options at forward for the Calgary Flames to pursue. [Flames Nation]

• Craig Muni will bring a winning attitude to the Buffalo Beauts as co-coach. [Today’s Slapshot

• Leo Luongo, Roberto’s brother, will be the new goaltending coach for the Florida Panthers’ AHL side in Springfield. [Panthers

• Former NHLer Jeff Halpern joins the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch as an assistant coach. [Lightning]

• Meanwhile, Wade Redden has been hired by the Nashville Predators as Assistant Director of Player Development. [Predators

• It was a pretty great first round for USA Hockey in the 2016 draft. [NY Times]

• These 10 UFAs are currently sitting under the radar as the opening of free agency approaches. [Dobber Hockey

• The new University of North Dakota logo isn’t even a week old and there’s already a petition to change it. [Grand Forks Herald]

• Finally, Patrik Laine is good at hockey and putting:

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Everybody wants some Kyle Okposo in 2016 NHL free agency

What Kyle Okposo provides a team is a rare commodity.

Sure, you can find other 6-foot, 217-pound wingers. And maybe they’re around 28 years old. And maybe they can get you between 22 and 27 goals in a good season. 

But can they provide you with the versatility that Okposo can? Can they be an effective possession winger that can move up and down the lineup, but most importantly can hang on your first line as the quintessential co-star to your superstar player?

John Tavares has scored 127 points at 5-on-5 over the last three seasons. He scored 73 of them playing on a line with Okposo. But Okposo actually played more with Frans Nielsen last season than with Tavares, and excelled in that role too – 52.8 Corsi rating when they played together at even strength.

Meanwhile, Okposo has 67 goals and 117 assists in 201 games over the last three seasons, with 56 points on the power-play.

All of this is why Okposo is going to be, outside of Steven Stamkos, the most heavily courted player in free agency this summer.

“I knew pretty early there weren’t going to be any talks so I did my best not to think about it,” Okposo said during locker clean out day. “I’m looking forward to making some decisions. There’s definitely a little bit of uncertainty, but it comes with the territory.”

All of this might also lead you to wonder why the heck the Islanders would part ways with Okposo, and Brian Erni of SNY has these thoughts:

Okposo's situation boils down to simply numbers. From all accounts, Okposo seems to have a high figure (some have said as high as an $8 million AAV) in mind for his next deal, and the Islanders just can't seem to justify that number. Kyle's a very talented player, and I know he's one of John Tavares' favorites. I just think it comes down to whether Garth thinks he needs a serious upgrade to make a big run at the Cup.

(Weird how one teams sees splitting with Okposo as a means to a serious upgrade and other teams see Okposo as the serious upgrade…)

So where is he headed? A brief list of Kyle Okposo suitors, as reported in several places:

Arizona Coyotes – We’ve heard, anecdotally, that the Coyotes like Okposo in a big way, and obviously he helps out their young forwards in a variety of ways. Also, we hear they have a dollar or two of cap space.

Buffalo Sabres – Okposo’s status here is probably linked to that of Steven Stamkos, but he’s an interesting option. A veteran right wing to flank Jack Eichel as he blossoms like Tavares did while playing with Okposo? Hmmm….

Detroit Red Wings – Like other teams, this is a Stamkos-influenced pursuit as well. Again, he’d be an asset for the collection of young forwards that the Wings are amassing. Winging It In Motown has more.

Los Angeles Kings – Did they let Milan Lucic walk to use that salary space for Okposo, arguably a better fit for what they do under Darryl Sutter?

Minnesota Wild – Okposo is a Saint Paul native who would like to follow in the footsteps of Zach Parise and go home again. They have $14 million in cap space with 36 players under contract. They also need a center like Minnesotans need a winter coat, but whatever, it's not like they haven't signed big free-agent wingers despite that need. (They just bought out one, in fact.)

St. Louis Blues – Obviously they need to see how Troy Brouwer, David Backes and especially the Kevin Shattenkirk situations play out. But Arthur Staple puts them in the mix.

Winnipeg Jets – The Jets have reached out to Okposo already, and don’t discount the fact that he’s boys with Blake Wheeler, his University of Minnesota Golden Gophers teammate. Also the Jets landing a big free agent fish would be advantageous on several fronts.

There are probably several other teams that are keeping it on the downlow – watch out for those Florida Panthers, but the Nashville Predators reportedly aren’t fishing for big free agents – but this is the initial field.

Where does Okposo end up?

Probably depends on Stamkos.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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Matt Cullen delays retirement as Penguins look to re-sign him

Matt Cullen won’t be ending his NHL career following a second Stanley Cup. He’ll be back for a19th season, as he confirmed to the Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari. The only question left is where will he play.

The Pittsburgh Penguins would like him back, as Cullen, who turns 40 in November, told GM Jim Rutherford, but it all comes down to the team's salary cap picture.

Following the 2014-15 season with the Nashville Predators, Cullen contemplated retirement. But then Rutherford, his old GM in Carolina, called and he eventually signed a one-year deal with the Penguins worth $800,000.

What Rutherford got out of that $800K made it one of the NHL's best values last season.

Cullen led all Penguins players during the regular season in shorthanded ice time (207:57, 2:32/game) and was second on the team with three goals while down a man. His 16 total goals were his most since the 2008-09 season as he played a big role on the team’s fourth line.

Last season, Cullen played all 82 games, only the second time he's done that in his career (2000-01). He also appeared in all 24 playoff games, playing through a fractured toe suffered in the conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Rutherford told Molinari that the team currently has about $1 million in cap space, which is fine for Cullen since he’d come cheap. But the Penguins still have others to attempt to re-sign if they choose to — Justin Schultz, Ben Lovejoy — which would mean salary would need to be shed somewhere on the roster.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Steven Stamkos and financial case for staying with Lightning

When it comes to Steven Stamkos and his free-agent motivations, you hear a lot of things. Like how much he desires to be closer to Ontario, or the weight he gives to winning a Stanley Cup or playing his natural position at center. 

But in the end, Steven Stamkos is potentially the biggest free agent to ever hit the open market at 26 years old. He might only get one shot to cash in on this historic level. So the money matters. Of course it does.

The money matters to the Tampa Bay Lightning as well. What Stamkos signs for affects what Victor Hedman signs for, as well as a slew of other key players. And they need Stamkos to sign for their number due to previous overpayments, too, like Ryan Callahan.

The long-rumored offer to Stamkos from the Lightning: $8.5 million over eight years. They’re the only team that can offer him that eighth year, per CBA rules.  

That would mean Stamkos, the single most coveted free agent in recent NHL history, would end up with a lower average annual contract value than eight of his peers. He would fail to clear the $10 million threshold that Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Anze Kopitar all did. Stamkos is a really down-to-earth and solid dude, but again, you only get one crack at a contract like this.

So let’s say the ego is unchecked and Stamkos weighs the financial gain rather heavily. Could the Lightning still retain him?

Yes, writes Tampa Bay Times columnist Joe Smith. From Smith:

As a Tampa Bay Times analysis in January showed, Stamkos could net nearly the same annually after taxes in Tampa Bay at $8.5 million as $10 million in New York (Rangers, Islanders), presuming he'd be a New York City resident; Stamkos would make more over the length of the deal in Tampa because of the extra year. Stamkos would net $500,000 less annually than a $10 million deal with Detroit, another strong suitor, but, again, more over the length of the deal.

And Stamkos' hometown Maple Leafs, due to a 53.53 percent combined federal/provincial tax rate, would have to offer him $12.37 million annually over seven years to net the same as he'd make over eight years at $8.5 million in Tampa, according to national sports tax guru Robert Raiola, the director of the Sports and Entertainment group at PKF O'Connor Davis, who has professional sports clients throughout the country.

Quebec (53.31 percent), where Montreal plays, has almost the same combined tax rate as Toronto; British Columbia (where the Canucks play) is 47.7 percent. Of course, Toronto likely offers more endorsement opportunities.

As Jaromir Jagr will tell you, the tax benefit of playing in locations like Texas and Florida is a draw for some free agents.

So while the numbers aren’t as gaudy, the actual dollars in Tampa are competitive with those in other markets – even if, as Smith notes, it can’t match the endorsement potential for Stamkos should he return opt to play in Canada.

One other caveat: The max contract. Not many suitors are in a position to offer one, but if someone like Buffalo offers $12 million annually Smith said the Lightning would have to go up to $9.7 million on an eight-year deal to match the real dollars.

The clock is ticking on the Lightning and Stamkos, who can only ink him to an 8-year extension while he’s under contract, i.e. before July 1.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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Monday

Montreal Canadiens lock up Andrew Shaw to six-year $23.4M contract

The Montreal Canadiens have signed newly acquired forward Andrew Shaw to a six-year $23.4 million contract. 

The Habs recently traded two 2016 second-round draft picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for Shaw.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the deal is front-loaded but doesn’t have a no-trade clause or a no-move clause. Shaw is coming off a two-year $4 million contract.

“We are very pleased to have agreed to a long-term deal with Andrew Shaw. As I mentioned last Friday following his acquisition, we are adding a solid character player to our team, a reliable player who plays with grit and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks over the past five seasons. Andrew will add more leadership to our team. I had the opportunity to discuss with him over the past few days, and I sense his determination and excitement in joining the Canadiens’ organization for many years to come,” said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin in a statement provided by the team

Shaw was the latest player the Blackhawks had to trade as part of their most recent salary cap purge. Earlier in the summer they dealt promising young forward Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes in order to unload Bryan Bickell’s contract.

“I think we were pretty close, but they have cap issues and its tough to get around,” Shaw said after the trade. “It was tough. I thought we were close. I loved being in Chicago; it’s a second home to me. A lot of great memories there. I had a lot of friends and family in that city, so I’ll miss it dearly.”

The 24-year-old Shaw won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and had 34 points in 78 games last season. He scored 20 goals in 2013-14. This past season Shaw held a 51.60, 5-on-5 score and venue adjusted CF% and a plus-0.17, 5-on-5 score and venue adjusted CF% Rel. 

Last season, Montreal missed the postseason after starting the year 9-0-0. 

The Habs have $8,662,501 in salary cap space according to General Fanager without any major restricted free agents to sign. Montreal reportedly is mulling making a run at pending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos.

Bergevin scouted Shaw when Bergevin worked for the Blackhawks’ management and grew fond of the player.

"He likes the rat in me, the work ethic," Shaw said. "He enjoys watching me play, and dealing with him on my first contract was exciting for me as well. I owe him a lot.” 

According to the Montreal Gazette, Bergevin convinced the Blackhawks to pick Shaw in 2011 after the forward went through the draft twice.

“I saw him play one night in Owen Sound and he got into a fight with someone a lot bigger, it might have been Jarred Tinordi, and he won the fight,” Bergevin said “We’re not getting him to fight, but that’s an example of his willingness to do whatever it takes to win.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

Eric Lindros finally justifies the hype

Roughly 26 years before Eric Lindros became a Hockey Hall of Famer, he was already being treated as such.

He was “The Next One.” He was a player whose combination of strength, size and offensive gifts was unmatched for a young player.

To understand the hype, the anticipation, the mania surrounding Lindros as he neared entrance into the NHL, just open up a wax pack of hockey cards, circa 1990.

That was when Score, the trading card company, made the unprecedented move of signing up Lindros to an exclusive endorsement deal as a junior hockey player. So a year before Lindros was eligible to be drafted, his “FUTURE SUPERSTAR” rookie card depicting him as a member of the OHL Oshawa Generals was already being coveted, as a part of a multi-card set.

This is not how things were done.

The following year, Lindros was taken first overall by the Quebec Nordiques, who had the NHL’s worst record. But Lindros and his family found team president Marcel Aubut to be a repellant buffoon, and they had signaled for weeks that Eric would never play for Quebec. “It was about a person. It was not about a city, it was about an owner,” said Lindros on Monday, although his family also recognized that his earning potential was much greater in another more linguistically palatable city.

Again, this is not how things were done.

So the Nordiques took their young asset and decided to trade him. Twice. To the Philadelphia Flyers, and then to the New York Rangers, and it took an arbitrator’s decision to figure out where the single greatest hockey prospect since Mario Lemieux would play. The decision was Philadelphia, which sent a king’s ransom to the Nordiques, who would soon become the Avalanche, who would soon win a Stanley Cup thanks to that trade, while the Flyers and Lindros never did. (Check out the Lindros Trade Tree to see the aftermath 25 years later.)

“There’s a void there,” admitted Lindros about his lack of a Stanley Cup ring.

Again, this is not how things were done.

But Lindros was unprecidented. No one had the hysteria surrounding them like Lindros had as a young player. It was bigger than what surrounded Mario, because Mario was proof of concept that one should throw their season for a franchise player. Lindros took that hype, and added much more to it. No one had his expectations, either, to be the next to join the pantheon of Wayne and Mario. 

It’s with a healthy amount of irony that Lindros enters the Hockey Hall of Fame after a playing career in which many declared that he fell short of those standards. It’s hard to imagine now, but less than a decade ago Lindros was still being chided for unrealized potential and being called “the best bust” in NHL history.

In a span of 25 years, Lindros went from a potential Hall of Famer to someone who didn’t fulfill the hype to someone who, once that bubble of hype was popped, actually had a Hall of Fame career in retrospect: 19th in NHL history in points per game average with 1.138, having won the Hart and the Pearson in 1995. This despite just 760 NHL career games in a concussion-plagued career. 

“It feels full circle, if you understand that,” said Lindros.

CANADA - JULY 05: Jays give Lindros a look. Oshawa General junior hockey superstar Eric Lindros got a chance to show his baseball skills for the Blue Jays yesterday at the SkyDome. Lindros; right; took some drills at third base and later got this advice from manager Cito Gaston after swinging the bat: Stick to hockey. Lindros; 17; has been a standout in high school ball. (Photo by Patti Gower/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Eric Lindros has belonged in the Hall of Fame since he retired after the 2007 season. From 1992-2002, he was a transcendent talent: The dominant offensive game, the physical gifts, the Legion of Doom, the way teams started building their lineups to defend against him.

He had impact on the ice and culturally. He had success in the NHL and internationally – the junior level, at the Canada Cup, the World Cup of Hockey and the Olympics. And while he never captured the Stanley Cup, he also shouldn’t be faulted for his team’s shortcomings – Lindros had 57 points in 53 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

So why did he have to wait for immortality? Why did so many unmemorable players get the call before the game-changer?

Outside of work history, there’s the fact that his career was wrought with controversy. The Quebec debacle. The clashes with Bobby Clarke while with the Flyers, which dovetails into his medical history and the way he was treated by the NHL.

Again, it’s interesting how times change: Where as Lindros used to take some (rightful) blame for his series of concussions by virtue of the head-down way he played the game -- and where Bobby Clarke would question his manhood for slow recoveries from head injuries -- Lindros later became a leading voice on the NHL teams' lack of concussion prevention and protocol during his playing days. In the last five years, The Hockey News has twice written that the NHL owes Lindros an apology.

In the span of 25 years, we’ve gone from Lindros as a victim of his own stubborn unwillingness to change his game to Lindros as a soothsayer about Rule 48 and the NHL’s current campaign against concussions.

Full circle, indeed.

My favorite thing ever written about Eric Lindros was by a poet named Rose Solari, then the senior editor of SportsFan Magazine:

"Eric Lindros, with his tragic parental issues and mysterious, grief-stricken gaze, is the Hamlet of the NHL."

I mean, there are few greater narratives to apply to a boy form London, Ontario ... 

But if we’re going with the Bard, let’s quote the great Dane himself, in conversation with Rosencrantz:

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

Some have seen that line as a call for blissful ignorance, but the common reading is that it’s ethical relativism: Something is judged right or wrong within the confines of one’s culture and societal norms.

Demark was a prison for Hamlet, and expectations a prison for Eric Lindros. 

The Eric Lindros Hall of Fame Debate raged as intensely as it did since his retirement because, for many years, 760 games weren’t enough. Neither were 372 goals. Neither was the one MVP season and the zero Stanley Cup championships. Eric Lindros had failed to meet the expectations placed on him when we held that junior hockey rookie card in our hands and assumed we were holding a promissory note of greatness. Eic Lindros had "squandered" the chance to join Wayne and Mario among the legends because his career didn't produce the same stats and championships. 

But time eventually separates us from context.

The hype is not longer deafening, the expectations no longer humbling. We’re able to judge Lindros not on what might have been, or should have been, but rather what was. As we did with Pat Lafontaine (865 games played). As we did with Pavel Bure (702). As baseball did with, for example, Sandy Koufax, who was out of the game by age 30 but made the Hall of Fame pitching in less than 400 games.

Turns out the hype was right all along, even if it took a few years to acknowledge it: Eric Lindros was in fact a future Hall of Famer.

"[I waited] six years, but I’m in the Hall forever,” said Lindros. 

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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Rogie Vachon surprised by Hockey Hall of Fame induction call

Goaltender Rogie Vachon said Gordie Howe played a role in the netminder's long and legendary career.

Vachon received a surprise start for his first NHL game of his career in the 1966-67 season against the Detroit Red Wings. Howe took the puck from the blueline in on a breakaway and fired the Red Wings’ first shot on goal of the game on Vachon.

“I don’t know if I closed my eyes when he shot but I stopped him,” Vachon said. “That probably kept me in the league for 16 years.” 

On Monday, it was announced Vachon was part of the Hockey Hall of Fame's newest induction class. It's an honor many believed was long overdue for Vachon who reitred after 1981-82 after a career mostly known for his successes with the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings. He also had shorter stints with the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. 

After he started to become eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame, every year he felt disappointment as other players of his era would get a call to tell them they would be inducted.

Vachon’s selection to the Hall of Fame was a surprise because the Hall had passed him over for so many years. In our odds we listed him as 20/1 to get into the Hall of Fame.

“Originally it’s very frustrating because a lot of people thought I was already in the Hall of Fame and after a while and a few years you say, ‘Well, OK I’ll forget about it and if it’s not gonna happen, it’s not gonna happen,’” Vachon said. “There are certain things in life you can’t control and that was one of them until I got a call from (Hockey Hall of Fame chairman) Lanny (McDonald) this morning and ‘boy this is going to change the whole thing now.’”

In his career, the 5-foot-7, 170-pound Vachon held a 2.99 goal-against average in 795 career games. He won the Vezina Trophy in 1967-68 and was the Hart Trophy runner-up in 1974-75. That season he held a 2.24 goal-against average and notched six shutouts in 54 games played with Los Angeles. His 355 wins rank 19th in NHL history and he ranks second on the Kings behind Jonathan Quick in games played (389), wins (171) and shutouts (32). Vachon’s number 30 is one of six retired by Los Angeles in the organization’s history.

In the 1976 Canada Cup, Vachon allowed only 10 goals in the seven-game series (1.44 GAA) for Team Canada, including one shutout and an overtime victory in the finals versus Czechoslovakia.

In 2009, Frozen Royalty wrote about why Vachon should be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

I remember watching Vachon in the nets whenever I was at the Fabulous Forum for a game or when I watched the few televised games on KHJ-TV 9 here in Los Angeles way back in the mid-Seventies. Vachon was usually spectacular and since he played mostly for teams that were awful, he was a real standout. Vachon’s quickness, positional play, and ability to remain focused appeared to be his biggest strengths. 

Indeed, Vachon was so good, he often won games all by himself. I know many other long-time Kings’ fans who went to games just to see Vachon play. To them, he was incredible. He dominated games, night in and night out.

I have vivid memories of him making, not just the first save, but often the second, third and fourth saves as well, time and time again. Of course, that was because he usually had little to no help from the Kings’ skaters. But the frustration in the faces of opposing forwards after Vachon had stoned them after a flurry in front of the Kings’ net, was a frequent sight.

Vachon said he was at home with his son Nicholas when he took McDonald’s call. 

“I was in total surprise because I didn’t even know I was going to be on the list but you know looking back is just – it was really worth the wait because it looks like it’s going to be something really changed in your life and fortunately,” he said.

He requested a trade from Montreal after the 1970-71 season, believing he didn’t have a chance to unseat Ken Dryden as the team’s starting goaltender. Vachon wound up in Los Angeles and a lot of Vachon’s better years came with the Kings as he tried to lead the young franchise to relevancy.

Ultimately this may have hurt his candidacy for the Hall of Fame and other awards during his career since visibility of West Coast teams in the 70s was limited.

“In those days with that three-hour time difference there was not a lot of coverage of teams in the West,” Vachon said. “We were sort of left behind a little bit compared to all the teams back East and most reporters were back East and all the players playing there and diminished a little bit on what we accomplished on the West.” 

Vachon also held coaching and management positions with the Kings after he retired. He was LA’s general manager when the team acquired Wayne Gretzky in 1988.

Vachon currently resides in the Venice area of Los Angeles and said he was sad his wife (who died recently) couldn’t witness Monday’s announcement. 

Said Vachon “I wanted to share this stuff with her but she’s no longer here … but she would be proud.”

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Bourque pleads not guilty; blood-alcohol three times legal limit: Report

Former Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested, booked and released on bail on Friday, June 24 for operating under the influence (OUI) in Andover, Massachusetts.

Bourque was not scheduled to be arraigned until Tuesday; however he and his attorney appeared in court on Monday where Bourque entered a plea of 'not guilty.' 

Details are now coming forth as to the circumstances surrounding Bourque's arrest, including his blood-alcohol content.

According to the Boston Globe, Bourque's BAC was allegedly .249, three times over the legal limit.

First reported by WCVB, police responded to a traffic accident at 11:30 p.m. They found Bourque's Mercedes had rear ended a Toyota minivan in a construction zone. Fortunately, no one was injured. 

Additional reporting from the Globe:

The report said Bourque’s speech was slurred, he smelled of alcohol, he was unsteady on his feet, and he was swaying side to side.

“I had a few drinks at the Andover Country Club,” Bourque told police, according to the report." 

On Sunday, Bourque released a statement through Celebrity Marketing, Inc.'s Facebook page:

Celebrity Marketing, Inc.

After Bourque entered his plea, the judge allowed him to remain out on bail with the reminders of what he can and can't do until his next court appearance. 

Bourque is scheduled to return to court on July 21.

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.

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Evander Kane accused of grabbing two women at Buffalo bar

Two recently released Buffalo police reports shed some details on alleged physical harassment incidents involving Evander Kane at a Buffalo bar early last Friday morning.

One report said, “While inside Bottoms Up nightclub, suspect threatened complainant and made derogatory comments to her. While outside in the parking lot of bar, suspect grabbed complainant around the throat and tried pushing her into his car.”

Another noted, “that while inside Bottoms Up, suspect grabbed her by the arms and tried forcing her out of the bar.”

Bottom’s Up is a nightclub on Chippewa Street.

According to WVIB last weekend, the investigation was in its “preliminary stages.” No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.

The Buffalo News pointed out what such investigations could yield if charges are filed.

Police say the section of law that Kane may have violated, depending on the outcome of their investigation, would fall under misdemeanor second-degree harassment. 

 Also Kane’s attorney Paul J. Cambria spoke to the Buffalo News on his client’s innocence.

“We reviewed the videos and talked to everyone on that and he steadfastly denies doing anything wrong and we have seen nothing to the contrary.” 

This is the second time in the span of seven months that Kane has come under investigation. In Dec. 2015, Kane was investigated by police for an alleged 'sex offense' at a local hotel. He was later cleared of all wrongdoing by the police

Buffalo traded for Kane in the 2014-15 season after Kane had a tumultuous six years with the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers organization.

“If it’s true then we have to deal with it. If it’s false again, then I guess we have to come up with a different plan of attack to make sure that these accusations that may not be true, how do we stop them [from happening]?” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said at the NHL Draft.

Added Murray, “No, I haven’t spoke with him. I’ve heard the stories. The very first part of it that came out didn’t sound very good. The stuff I’ve heard since from various people that have made statements that night that say they didn’t make statements. I’ve talked to his agency. They’ve heard a different story than what was reported. So I really … I’m commenting, but I can’t comment in detail. I’ve got nothing to comment on.”

Kane has yet to publicly address the alleged incident.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

Sergei Makarov joins 'KLM' linemate Larionov in Hockey Hall of Fame

Nearly 20 years after retiring, Sergei Makarov has been named as part of the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame Class, joining Pat Quinn, Rogie Vachon and Eric Lindros.

“Oh my gosh, the wait is over,” is what Hall Chairman Lanny MacDonald said Makarov responded with when told the great news from his home in Russia.

Markarov’s case is a unique one in that his resumes on the NHL and international level are impressive, and in a year where there weren’t any slam-dunk candidates, the former Soviet star will finally get enshrined in Toronto this coming November. 

As one-third of the famed Soviet ‘KLM’ line along with Vladimir Krutov and Igor Larionov, who is one of the 18 members of the selection committee, Makarov saw an incredible amount of success on the international stage. Golds from two Olympic Games, eight World Championships and two World Junior Championships can be found in his trophy case during his time playing for the Soviet Union. He would record 83 goals and 172 points in 145 appearances representing his country at the senior level. In 2001 he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

On the club level with CSKA Moscow, he won 11 consecutive league titles and led the Soviet league in scoring for nine seasons, winning three MVPs.

The Calgary Flames drafted Makarov in the 12th round of the 1983 draft, six spots after fellow countryman Alexei Kasatonov. Once he arrived in the NHL, he made an immediate impact, finishing fourth on the team in scoring with 24 goals and 86 points while leading all rookies. That first-year success in North America helped earn him the 1990 Calder Trophy. 

That NHL rookie of the year honor, of course, was a controversial one given he was 31 at the time. Soon after, wording on the award was changed to make it so players could not be over the age of 26 and have played more than 25 regular season games in any single season or more than six regular season games in any major professional league in the two preceding seasons.

"When you Google Sergei Makarov’s name, you better have lots of paper ready to write down what you find as far as his accomplishments," Larionov told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun last summer. "You look at his longevity, his consistency, his skill level, he played more than 20 years and was one of the best players in the game.”

Makarov would reunite with Larionov in 1993 with the San Jose Sharks and form the 'OV' line with Johan Garpenlov. He would lead the team in scoring with 30 goals and 68 points and help upset the No. 1 seeded Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

After playing for parts of two more seasons in the NHL and the Swiss league, Makarov decided to hang up his skates following a decorated career.

“For everyone who plays the game, this is the top place,“ said Markarov in a statement. “It will be so nice to join all of those great players.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Flames acquire Alex Chiasson from Senators; signs $800K deal

The Ottawa Senators were expecting big things from Alex Chiasson. He was one of the key pieces going from the Dallas Stars to the Ottawa Senators in the trade for Jason Spezza nearly two years ago. However, Chiasson just never seemed to catch on with the Sens. 

Per the collective bargaining agreement, the Senators would have had to qualify Chiasson at the bare minimum of $1.2-million; what he made last season. Teams have until 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, June 27 to make qualifying offers to their RFAs in order to retain their rights.

According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, Chiasson had yet to receive his qualifying offer from the Senators and hinted that a trade could be in the works. 

A few hours later, the trade came down with Chiasson going to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Patrick Sieloff. Shortly thereafter, the Flames signed Chiasson to a one-year, $800,000 contract.

Essentially, he took a $400,000 discount for a change in scenery. His offensive production was stagnant in Ottawa with 40 points in 153 games.

The fresh start is welcomed by Chiasson.

Getting Chiasson at a discount is incredibly helpful to the Flames financial situation. The team is currently negotiating extensions for RFAs Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

In Calgary he's reunited with new Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan who was his coach while they were with the Dallas Stars. Under Gulutzan, Chiasson had the best offensive season of his NHL career of 35 points in 79 NHL games.

As for the return in the trade, Ottawa picks up Patrick Sieloff with one year remaining on his RFA contract at $894,166, per General Fanager.

The 22-year-old defenseman played in one game for the Calgary Flames, netting one point. He spent the rest of last season with the Stockton Heat (AHL). He had 11 points in 52 games with 54 penalty minutes. He's been at the wrong end of the injury bug throughout his career.

From Flames Nation post 'Realistic expectations for Patrick Sieloff' back in July 2015:

Patrick Sieloff hasn’t had hurdles in his short hockey career, he’s had walls – gigantic walls that have impeded his progression and have left many questioning his future.

The truly disappointing part isn’t what he’s endured the last three years, it’s the fact that he has all the parts to the car, but hasn’t had the time to put it together yet. I know he’s not the shiny new toy anymore, and heading into the upcoming draft he’ll surely fade even farther out of the collective eye, but let’s not give up on a kid who hasn’t given up on himself yet.

Making the leap from perennial minor league to Senators Top 6 seems unlikely unless he shows something we haven't seen yet. 

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.

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Eric Lindros makes Hockey Hall of Fame, leads surprising 2016 class

Eric Lindros is a Hockey Hall of Famer. 

Lindros, who dominated for a stretch of years with the Philadelphia Flyers before concussions cut his years short, was elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday along with Sergei Makarov, the long-time Russian scoring champ; Rogie Vachon, long-time NHL goaltender; and coaching great Pat Quinn as a builder.

Lindros is 19th in NHL history in points per game average with 1.138. He won the Hart and the Pearson in 1995. He has just 760 NHL career games, however, in a concussion-plagued career. But after Cam Neely and Pavel Bure made the Hockey Hall of Fame, the lack of games-played became less controversial. And as Bure showed, the operative word in the title of the place is FAME.

Lindros had it. He changed the game in the 1990s. He belongs here.

Makarov is a refreshing reminder about the name of the place, too: It’s the HOCKEY Hall of Fame, and not the NHL Hall of Fame. While Makarov scored 134 goals and 250 assists for 384 points in 424 regular season NHL games  - and won rookie of the year at 31 years old, forcing an eventual rules change. But it was his play for the Russian National Team that defined him, teaming with Vladimir Krutov and Igor Larionov to form the KLM Line. In 519 games in the Soviet Championship League he recorded 322 goals, 388 assists for 710 points. He won eight gold medals at worlds and two Olympic gold medals as well.

Vachon was a shocker. We had him at 20-to-1 in the morning odds, and it seemed like there was always a low buzz about this candidacy but nothing that amounted to a campaign. Through his 16-season NHL career, Vachon had solid stats. In 795 regular season games, he won 355, lost 291 and tied 127, also collecting 51 shutouts. In post-season play, he added another 23 wins, two by shutout, and 23 losses in 48 games. He won a Vezina and two Stanley Cup rings. Vachon played primarily for the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings. 

Quinn was a given, and gets in over Don Cherry as a builder. He won the Jack Adams twice (1980 and 1992), Olympic gold in 2002 and other titles. He has 684 coaching wins, seventh all-time. Quinn passed away in Nov. 2014.

Among the snubs: Mark Recchi, 12th in career points (1,533) and 20th in career goals (577); Dave Andreychuk, who has 640 career goals; and Paul Kariya, a point-per-game player during the trap years whose career was cut short by concussions.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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Jaromir Jagr surprises nosy photographer with sandwich (Video)

As you could imagine, Jaromir Jagr is a pretty popular fella in his home country of the Czech Republic. So now that he’s back overseas preparing for the 2016-17 NHL season, the paparazzi over there can’t help but want to snag a photograph of the hockey legend.

One such inspired photographer decided to wait outside Jagr’s home earlier this month to snap a shot of the 44-year-old Florida Panthers forward and his girlfriend, Veronika. He was so determined for a snapshot, he was willing to wait a very long time.

After a while, Jagr went outside to speak to him. When it appeared the man wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon, Jagr wanted to make sure his visitor didn’t starve, so he had a snack prepared for him.

When Jagr approached the photographer with the meal, he explained, “You deserve this for your patience. Hockey taught me to respect my opponents.”

Jagr, who just won his 12th Golden Hockey Stick award as the best Czech player, asked the photographer, “Are you proud of what you do? Are not you ashamed of the way you make money? This is not to snap a few photos, it's more spying.”

Hopefully the photographer enjoyed his meal and will leave Jagr and his girflriend alone for the rest of the summer.

To end his video, Jagr noted, “It's not always fun to be popular.” 

Stick-tap Aftonbladet

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Sportsnet makes big changes to NHL coverage lineup for 2016-17

There are plenty of reasons why there were lackluster ratings for Sportsnet’s first season of its billion-dollar deal with the NHL. Chiefly, it’s because it's a Canadian network covering Canadian teams that all finished outside the playoffs; and in the case of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the primary team it covers was intentionally attempting to lose as much as possible. 

But this is a $5.2-billion, 12-year NHL deal. Which means anything that doesn’t meet lofty expectations was going to necessitate changes. And the changes have arrived. 

We already learned that George Stroumboulopoulos would be replaced as host by the host he replaced, Ron MacLean. In fact, Stroumboulopoulos has left the company.

“George is an extremely versatile and creative broadcaster and we value the contributions he made to Hockey Night in Canada.  We look forward to seeing what his next great project will be,” said Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers.  “We are continually evaluating and evolving our broadcasts to deliver the best experience for fans.”

Sportsnet made that official on Monday, as well as a host other changes.

* Sportsnet will cut back on its regional pregame shows across Canada, funneling resources to a 6:30 p.m. national Hockey Central show that will act as a pregame show for the night’s coverage. “Quality over quantity,” said Moore.

* Ron MacLean and David Amber, who has been with Hockey Night In Canada for five years, will host the Saturday Hockey Night In Canada coverage with panelists Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey, and Nick Kypreos. MacLean will host early game on Hockey Night, so he will continue to work with Don Cherry and do Hometown Hockey. David Amber hosts the late game.

* Daren Millard continues to host Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey, alongside panelists Friedman and Doug MacLean.

* Among the talent let go by Sportsnet today: Top analyst Glenn Healy, which might signal a move to two-man booths for Sportsnet; as well as on-air talent in P.J. Stock, Billy Jaffe and Chantel Desjardins. Leah Hextall also left, but latched on with ESPN for its World Cup of Hockey coverage. Damien Cox is off the broadcast, too, but remains with Rogers.

“Glenn is part of the change over the weekend. There were two issues at play. We were making changes to the broadcast for audience reasons, and restructuring for financial reasons. He was a victim of our financial cuts today,” said Moore.

Obviously the big news here is the departure of Healy and Cox, two of the most divisive members of the on-air staff. These are moves already being celebrated on social media, where criticism of their work has become a weekly ritual during the season.

As for Strombo, Keith Olbermann has followed his criticism of the network with even more criticism of the network:

Some other reactions:

Again, the shuffling of on-air talent may produce better results. Or, perhaps, it's just that the as the on-ice product improves, so shall the coverage and the ratings. 

(Ed. Note: The author's podcast, Marek Vs. Wyshynski, is a Sportsnet property.)

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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ESPN reveals its World Cup of Hockey coverage plans

One of the biggest storylines from the revival of the World Cup of Hockey is the revival of the NHL’s relationship with ESPN. 

It’s not always been the smoothest relationship: The lowball offer that led the NHL to cast its lot with Comcast and NBC; the lack of coverage through the years because it wasn’t an ESPN rights property; and, going back a few years, the way hockey was shoved aside for flavor-of-the-minute things like poker tournaments, irking fans.

So what will the coverage look and sound like when the World Cup returns to the World Wide Leader in September?

ESPN released the details on Monday:

NHL studio analyst Barry Melrose, SportsCenter anchors Steve Levy and John Buccigross and former NHL goalie Kevin Weekes will call ESPN’s telecasts of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre from September 17 – October 1.

A minimum of 16 games (17 if the final goes three) will be televised.

In addition, Hall of Famers and former NHLers Chris Chelios and Brett Hull will join ESPN to provide studio analysis and work with hosts John Saunders, Adnan Virk and John Buccigross. Leah Hextall will serve as an ice-level reporter for each game. SportsCenter anchor Linda Cohn will provide features.

Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president production and remote events, said, “ESPN’s commentator team brings together a stellar combination of hockey knowledge and experience from Hall of Famers to seasoned play-by-play voices, analysts, reporters and hosts. The World Cup of Hockey 2016 will feature the best players from around the world and will create an environment of international competition and pride in country. Our team of commentators will capture that emotion and provide in-depth analysis from diverse perspectives that fans at home expect.”

Melrose and Levy will call all of Team USA’s games as well as both semifinals and the best-of-three finals. The duo has reported from every Stanley Cup Final since 1994.

Buccigross and Weekes will call the remaining games. Hull, Chelios, Saunders, Virk and Buccigross will work in the studio during the tournament.

Levy and Melrose have time-tested chemistry, even when they were attempting to do KHL games from Connecticut during the lockout. If nothing else, it’s great to see them, Buccigross, Saunders and Cohn get rewarded for soldiering on as the voices of hockey as after ESPN lost the NHL rights.

Weekes is one of the best analysts in the game when it comes to breaking down the game, which is why he works so well on NHL Network. I do wonder, though, with Melrose and Weekes if we’re loading up the analysts side with some, shall we say, calmer demeanors. Guess the action will speak for itself.

On the studio side, I don’t get it.

Like, I do get it: Hull and Chelios are both World Cup of Hockey veterans, but this isn’t really the World Cup of Hockey they played in, unless I missed the Europeans Whose Countries Aren’t That Important All-Stars from those tournaments.

Chelios can be engaging and candid, and for a broadcast pitched to American fans he’s a solid choice to that end. His analysis for Fox Sports 1 during the Sochi Games wasn’t all that remarkable.

I’m more than willing to give second chances, which is why I’ll remain open-minded on Hull. But after a strong debut on NBC, Hull went on to become one of the most underwhelming big-name “gets” in recent hockey broadcasting history before leaving NBC after a single season to become Ambassador of Fun for the Dallas Stars.

So this might not be the best Xs and Os tandem for the studio, but could work as a crap-talking flag-waving old-jocks-hating-on-the-newbies duo.

I think.

It’s a little disheartening to see the ESPN press release fail to recognize anyone on the digital side. Craig Custance, Scott Burnside, Pierre LeBrun, Joe McDonald and others have worked incredibly hard to give the brand respectability in hockey circles as the TV side dedicated countless hours to Steph Curry’s shoes and Tim Tebow’s non-existent career rather than hockey. There’s fighting the good fight and then there’s being the only ones on the battlefield. Hopefully they play a significant role in the coverage.

What’s your reaction to the ESPN broadcast team, and what does it need to do to improve your viewing of the tournament?

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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A bridge for Gordie Howe; Matthews, Eichel rivalry (Puck Headlines)

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com.  

• John Scott is in Australia and curious about the size of this cell phone.

• A bridge in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan could soon be named after Gordie Howe. [CBC]

• New Calgary Flames goaltender Brian Elliott was vacationing in Croatia when he found out he had been traded from the St. Louis Blues at the NHL Draft. [Calgary Sun]

• Auston Matthews vs. Jack Eichel could be a special rivalry. The two American centers are just a 90-minute drive from each other between divisional opponents. Matthews is on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Eichel is on the Buffalo Sabres. [Toronto Sun]

• What should we make of Eric Lindros’ legacy. Hall of Fame announcements are Monday and Lindros is considered a possibility for an induction this year. [The Sports Daily]

• Market inefficiencies were why the Maple Leafs' draft was so brilliant. [Last Word on Sports]

• What’s next for the Los Angeles Kings after the team signed forward Trevor Lewis for four years at $8 million? [Mayor’s Manor]

• The Minnesota Wild had a "dull" second day of the NHL Draft. How will the team move forward with their offseason? [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

• If the Edmonton Oilers are going to trade Nail Yakupov this summer, it would seem doing it now is a good idea. [Oilers Nation]

• Former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee was emotional when his son Graham was drafted by the Oilers. [Sports Illustrated]

• Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was unable to put together a deal for a top defenseman at the NHL Draft. Overall he appears to be taking the long route on a Bruins rebuild rather than a quick fix. [Boston Sports Desk]

• Colorado Avalanche first-round pick Tyson Jost soaked up his experience at the NHL Draft. It was an emotional affair for the young forward from the Penticton Vees. [University of North Dakota]

• Five players of color or minority ethnic heritage were selected at the 2016 NHL Draft, including the Number One overall pick. [Color of Hockey]

• The 2016 NHL Draft was big for Canadian teams. How the draft broke down North of the US Border. [Eh Game]

• Early in the winter at the world junior championship, NHL Draft prospect Rasmus Asplund centered Alexander Nylander, the winger the Sabres drafted eighth overall Friday. Clearly, the Sabres liked the chemistry the two showcased together representing Sweden, as they drafted Asplund, 18, with the 33rd pick. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• The Avalanche’s draft disappointed to a degree. The Avs were rumored to make a lot of moves with their core players but ultimately didn’t make any big trades. [Mile High Sticking]

• Being picked in the top-10 of the NHL Draft doesn’t mean a player will be a star. [Spector’s Hockey]

• You can indeed bet on the Las Vegas NHL team inside T-Mobile — from any online application — even if manned wagering stations are not set up in the venue. [Las Vegas Sun]

• The Las Vegas NHL team will need to find an AHL affiliate. Where will that team play? [The Sin Bin]

• The Kontinental Hockey League's Board of Directors has accepted an application from the Beijing hockey club, Kunlun Red Star, to participate in the 2016-17 season of the KHL Championship. [KHL]

• Breaking down the NWHL entry draft team-by-team. [Victory Press]

• Some thoughts on the NHL Draft and what it means for your fantasy team. [Dobber Hockey]

• The Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled their new jersey. What’s new? What’s different? What’s the same? [Hockey by Design]

• Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the San Jose Sharks, is going to court with the city of San Jose over a glitzy, $600 million, mixed-use project that the team says will gobble up parking for downtown arena patrons. [Silicon Valley Business Journal

• Finally, The first-round of the NHL Draft in one minute.    

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