Posts Tagged ‘2017 NHL Playoffs’

NHL: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby said Wednesday he did not pay attention to those questioning whether he should continue playing hockey after suffering another concussion during the playoffs.

Crosby was too focused on capturing another Stanley Cup for his Pittsburgh Penguins to worry about outside opinions on his health.

”I don’t really read or listen to that stuff during the playoffs,” Crosby told reporters at his annual hockey camp in his hometown of Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia.

Crosby has suffered multiple concussions during his career, including one during Game 3 of the second round against Washington in May. He missed one game before returning for Game 5, prompting questions about whether he should consider retirement.

The Penguins went on to win a second straight Cup, defeating the Nashville Predators in the final.

Crosby said he understands why concussions generate so much controversy.

”It’s a hot topic,” he said. ”That’s the nature of it right now.”

He said more information on how to deal with head injuries is becoming available all the time.

”You have to continue to listen to your body to make sure before you go back that you’re good to go,” he said. ”There’s things in place to help with that.”

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Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson underwent surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot on Wednesday and is expected to miss four months while he recovers, the team announced.

“Erik underwent surgery earlier today in Charlotte, N.C, to repair torn tendons in his left foot,” general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. “The tears, which occurred during this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, were found during an MRI as part of an extensive medical evaluation following the season.”

Following the Senators’ first-round series against the Boston Bruins, Karlsson admitted to playing with two hairline fractures in his heel, an injury he is believed to have played with for the duration of the postseason.

As for next campaign, the team is hopeful that Karlsson’s expected four-month recovery will allow him to be healthy for the start of the 2017-18 season.

Karlsson led all defenseman in scoring in the playoffs with 18 points in 19 games, while finishing sixth overall in the postseason scoring race.

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Repeat.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.

Sidney Crosby and Co. defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 in Sunday’s Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup Final 4-2. Patric Hornqvist scored the winning goal at 18:25 of the third period, and Carl Hagelin sealed the deal with an empty-net goal. Matt Murray was spectacular in the crease, stopping 27 shots to earn his second straight shutout.

It’s the fifth Stanley Cup in Penguins history, each won on the road, and the third in the Crosby and Evgeni Malkin era.

The game was filled with controversy, after an early second-period goal by Colton Sissons was ruled no-goal after referee Kevin Pollack blew the play dead early having lost sight of the puck.

The referees did their best to try and make it up to Nashville, the Predators going on four power plays to Pittsburgh’s none, but Peter Laviolette’s crew couldn’t find the back of the net.

Pittsburgh is the first team to repeat as Cup champs in the salary cap era, and the first since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

Crosby was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, earning the nod for the second straight year. He finished the playoffs with eight goals and 19 assists.

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Before there was Nashville, there was nearly Pittsburgh.

Peter Laviolette was named head coach of the Nashville Predators in May 2014 after being dumped by the Philadelphia Flyers eight months earlier.

Had he been out of work one month longer, though, he could have been on the other side of this year’s Stanley Cup Final with the Pittsburgh Penguins, general manager Jim Rutherford told Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun.

Rutherford was named GM of the Penguins just four weeks after Laviolette headed to Tennessee, and remains a fan of the coach after their time together in Carolina, where Laviolette guided the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup 11 years ago.

“Interesting how things could have worked out differently, isn’t it?” Rutherford said Friday. “I really have a special admiration for what he did when we worked together. … We would have reunited. But the timing didn’t work out.

“I think that’s about as clear as I can say about what I thought about Peter Laviolette – the fact that if he was available, I would have hired him here when I first got here.”

Rutherford ultimately gave the job to Mike Johnston, who was later replaced with current bench boss Mike Sullivan en route to last season’s Stanley Cup win.

As the Penguins attempt to become the first team to capture back-to-back titles since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1998, Rutherford will need to get by his former coach in order to accomplish the feat – no easy task given Laviolette’s pedigree.

“Peter did a terrific job in Carolina that year, coming out of the lockout and bringing the players together,” Rutherford added. “He’s been to the final a few times now and that’s not by accident.”

Game 1 of the series kicks off Monday in Pittsburgh.

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It has been an extraordinary 11 months for P.K. Subban.

The defenseman moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. Left his native Canada to live in the American South. Blended in with new teammates, created a new home and learned a new system of money, too.

Oh, and along the way the former star for the Montreal Canadiens played a key role in Nashville’s stirring run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The best way to sum up Subban’s approach? C’est la vie.

”I just tried to have the right attitude when change comes my way,” Subban said. ”I think when you have an open mind, an open mind is like a gold mine. You just have an open mind, you can only go up from there regardless of what comes your way and just always try to approach things in a positive way.”

The Canadiens and Predators shocked the NHL last June 29 when Nashville swapped captain Shea Weber for Subban in a rare one-for-one trade of All-Star defensemen. Adding Subban’s offensive skills immediately made the Predators a popular pick to be right where they are now as the Western Conference champions.

The stylish Subban has as much flair on the ice with his goal celebrations as off with his hats and stylish suits. The Predators and their fans have embraced all of it.

”When it happened, I came in here with the right attitude and just wanted to be a part of this team and do whatever I can do to help a team win,” Subban said.

The 28-year-old Subban has done that and more. The former Norris Trophy winner was voted the All-Star captain for the Central Division, and he scored 40 points in 66 games during the regular season.

Paired with Mattias Ekholm this postseason, Subban has helped suffocate some of the NHL’s most potent scorers. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored only one goal against Nashville in a first round sweep that caught the league’s attention that Nashville was for real. Vladimir Tarasenko had three points for St. Louis in the second round, but his two goals came in Game 2 of a six-game loss to the Predators.

In the conference finals, Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf came in with eight goals and 15 points. He never scored a goal against Nashville and managed only four assists.

Next up for Subban? Defending the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins. Game 1 is Monday night in Pittsburgh.

”He and Mattias Ekholm have really formed a chemistry together, and that takes time,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”But they’ve formed a chemistry together that makes them just a real difficult pair to play against.”

General manager David Poile praised Subban with being very coachable and fitting in, which some critics said could never happen. Poile said Subban probably has given up a little bit of his offensive tendencies to play the role Nashville needs him to right now.

”Everybody wants to see what they think they want to see, rushing the puck up the ice or getting a big goal, which he’s certainly got some big goals,” Poile said. ”But nobody wants to talk about his defense. It’s probably not as exciting, probably not as sexy. … He is tremendous from a defensive standpoint.”

Only Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (16) and teammate Ryan Ellis (11) have more points this postseason among defensemen than Subban, who is tied with another teammate Roman Josi with 10. Subban is averaging 25 minutes, 52 seconds of ice time and trails team-leader Josi by only four seconds.

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne said Subban is an easy defenseman to work with, always wanting the puck. He also thinks Subban has adjusted well with the Predators after taking some time to mesh at the beginning of the season.

Canadian media and his fans from Montreal have made trips to Nashville to talk with and see the charming defenseman this season. Subban said his parents have seen Predators’ flags hanging in his hometown of Toronto.

And it turns out Subban was right last summer saying he believed he would have a big opportunity to win the Stanley Cup with Nashville. That confidence solidified once he talked with Poile and Laviolette and how they embraced him as a big key for the Predators.

”But we’re in this position because of everybody,” Subban said. ”It’s unbelievable. I’ve never been on a team that works as hard for each other as these guys do. And it shows.

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Predators forward Ryan Johansen, who has been ruled out for the NHL playoffs after undergoing thigh surgery, was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome, according to Jon Morosi of NHL Network and FOX Sports.

Acute compartment syndrome occurs when excessive pressure builds up inside an enclosed muscle space in the body. It usually results from bleeding or swelling after an injury. It can be limb- and life-threatening.

Morosi added that Johansen is doing well and is expected to recover fully.

Johansen was seen taking an awkward hit along the boards during the second period of Game 4. He appeared to be favoring his left leg after the play as he skated to the bench, but ended up finishing the game. He then underwent emergency surgery following the overtime loss.

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Phil Kessel: Stanley Cup champion, inspiration for baby names.

Kessel Ryan Hillman was born Mother’s Day in Pittsburgh to parents Nicole and Adam, who opted to name their son after the Penguins‘ popular winger, according to WTAE Pittsburgh.

“The perfect name for our son,” Adam Hillman said.

Just over 24 hours after Kessel’s birth, his namesake scored the game-winning goal for Pittsburgh in Game 2 of its conference final versus the Ottawa Senators.