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Patrick Marleau leaves Sharks to sign 3-year deal with Toronto

Tue, 4 Jul 2017 01:35:19 UT

On a day the Sharks confirmed that center Joe Thornton will be staying with the team for at least one more season, Marleau — San Jose’s career goals leader — signed an $18.75 million, three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. “I think I’ve worn out a few carpets pacing around the house trying to make this decision over the last couple of days,” Marleau said. Marleau, 37, will count $6.25 million against the salary cap through the 2019-20 season and was given a full no-movement clause by general manager Lou Lamoriello. Marleau, the second overall pick in 1997, has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau’s 1,493 in San Jose. Despite his advancing age, Marleau remains one of the game’s most durable players with a current games-played streak of 622 and is still one of the league’s fastest skaters. Marleau has experience playing for Toronto head coach Mike Babcock, winning Olympic gold medals together in 2010 and 2014. Marleau’s loss will be felt in San Jose, where he helped a young franchise develop into a consistent winner after he came to the Bay Area from a small town in Saskatchewan as a teenager in 1997. San Jose went to the conference finals again in 2010 and ’11, and then lost the Stanley Cup Finals to Pittsburgh in six games in 2016.



Older NHL free agents playing waiting game

Tue, 4 Jul 2017 00:02:47 UT

A busy weekend to begin NHL free agency has left a few prominent players still looking for landing spots and teams still needing to fill some holes. The leftover list is a who’s who of stars from previous decades, notably Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla, and Montreal likely won’t bring back defenseman Andrei Markov. [...] that Joe Thornton has returned to San Jose and Patrick Marleau has moved from the Sharks to Toronto, much of the intrigue has been taken out of the offseason. After Alexander Radulov signed a $31.25 million, five-year deal with Dallas on Monday, the most productive players remaining on the market are on the downside of their careers: A couple of young players worth watching are former top prospects Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, who weren’t given qualifying offers as restricted free agents. Washington is making major changes, which have less to do with an early playoff exit than an impossible salary-cap situation. After signing right wing T.J. Oshie ($46 million/eight years), defenseman Dmitry Orlov ($30.6 million/six years) and center Evgeny Kuznetsov ($64.2 million/eight years), they cleared more than $4.5 million in cap space by trading forward Marcus Johansson to New Jersey, but they can’t be done. New contracts signed already that take effect for the 2018-19 season include Montreal goaltender Carey Price’s $84 million over eight years, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s $56 million over eight years and Sharks goaltender Martin Jones’ $34.5 million over six years. Former Sharks player and assistant coach Rob Zettler is returning to the organization as a member of head coach Peter DeBoer’s staff. The Sharks announced Monday that Zettler will fill the void created when assistant Bob Boughner was hired as head coach by Florida last month.



San Jose signs Vlasic, Jones; Thornton reportedly returning

Sun, 2 Jul 2017 04:40:22 UT

The Sharks opened free agency Saturday by reaching long-term deals with two players that will keep them off the open market next summer. The Sharks signed shutdown defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to a $56 million, eight-year contract and goalie Martin Jones to a $34.5 million, six-year deal. [...] Kevin Kurz of NBC Sports reported that center Joe Thornton has agreed to a one-year contract to remain with San Jose. The Sharks did not reach a deal with longtime stalwart Patrick Marleau before he hit the open market. The team has made three conference finals with the duo and went to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Pittsburgh in 2016. The defense should be in good shape for years to come thanks to the new deals with Vlasic and Jones and an eight-year extension for Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns in November. The Sharks also have key forwards Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture under contract for two more seasons and several young players they hope will develop in the next few years. Vlasic, 30, was a second-round pick by San Jose in 2005 and became a presence on the blue line the following year. The 27-year-old Jones has been a rock in goal since being acquired in a trade with Boston two years ago that included a first-round draft pick for a player who had never been a consistent starter in the NHL. Jones leads the NHL with 130 games started the past two seasons and is tied for second with 72 wins.



Antti Niemi’s days in Dallas appear to be over

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:21:16 UT

A person with direct knowledge of the decision has confirmed to the Associated Press that the Dallas Stars have placed goalie Antti Niemi on waivers with the intention to buy out the final year of his contract. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Monday because the Stars have not announced the move, which was first reported by the Dallas Morning News. Niemi, who won a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, is coming off a disappointing season in which he went 12-12-4 and had a 3.30 goals-against average in 37 games. The Stars also acquired defenseman Marc Methot, 32, from the Vegas Golden Knights for goaltending prospect Dylan Ferguson and a 2020 second-round pick. The Sharks also announced that they did not issue qualifying offers to forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis.



Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya among Hockey Hall of Fame selections

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:21:23 UT

Before Kariya got the call that he was being inducted, Selanne delivered the news that the dynamic duo who thrilled hockey fans in Anaheim for several years were going to be inducted together this fall. Canadian star Danielle Goyette became the fifth women’s player elected, and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs got in as part of the builder category. Selanne, who played for the Sharks from 2001 to ’03, was the only player elected in the class in his first year of eligibility after putting up 1,457 points in 1,451 games over 21 NHL seasons. “I didn’t retire willingly,” said Kariya, who won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2002. Recchi’s election in his fourth year of eligibility ended a curious omission for a player who won the Cup three times — once each with Pittsburgh (1991), Carolina (2006) and Boston (2011) — and is 12th in NHL scoring with 1,533 points. Goyette won two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal for Canada and had 113 goals and 105 assists in 171 international games. Drake, who said he was humbled to learn he was in the Hall of Fame, has the most victories of any Canadian college coach during a 28-year career at the University of Alberta that included six University Cup titles.



Sharks star embraces being mistaken for pirate at Disney World, signs a few autographs

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:43:33 UT

To a child, the tall, bearded, gap-toothed man walking around Disney World might indeed appear to be a pirate.




Coyotes acquire Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta from Rangers

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 04:33:04 UT

The Arizona Coyotes continued their overhaul Friday, acquiring center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in the draft. The Coyotes have made massive changes since Andrew Barroway became sole owner this month, trading No. 1 goalie Mike Smith, parting ways with head coach Dave Tippett and opting not to offer captain Shane Doan a contract. The 27-year-old Stepan had 17 goals and 38 assists in 81 games with the Rangers last season. Raanta went 16-8-2 with four shutouts and a 2.26 goals-against average in 30 games as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup. Panarin was dealt along with Tyler Motte and Chicago’s sixth-round pick for Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a fifth-round pick next year. The 24-year-old Saad spent his first four seasons with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cup championships. Concerned about their ability to re-sign Saad when he became a restricted free agent in 2015, the Blackhawks traded the rugged wing to the Blue Jackets. Panarin teamed with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov to form one of the NHL’s most potent lines the past couple seasons. St. Louis acquired center Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia in exchange for the Blues’ first-round pick, a conditional first-round pick next year and third-year forward Jori Lehtera. Norris’ father, Dwayne, played 20 NHL games as a right wing with the Quebec Nordiques and Anaheim Ducks in the 1990s. Hischier, 18, is the highest drafted Swiss player in NHL history. In 591 NHL games with St. Louis and Washington, Oshie has 169 goals and 248 assists. Los Angeles bought out the final year of defenseman Matt Greene’s contract, cutting ties with another portion of their Stanley Cup championship core.



NHL awards, expansion draft a Vegas doubleheader

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:53:39 UT

Las Vegas, the desert gambling mecca, is hosting the NHL’s annual postseason awards show Wednesday, when the league also will reveal the Vegas Golden Knights’ choices in the expansion draft to stock the club with talent for its inaugural season in the fall. Las Vegas has hosted the awards show for several years, welcoming the NHL’s best for a red carpet presentation and a short week of partying in a city that knows a little something about entertainment. [...] Vegas’ hometown team is in the spotlight for the first time this year, reaching a major milestone in its process of becoming the NHL’s 31st franchise — and doing it during a heat wave. Combining the awards show and the expansion draft should only enhance the fun for Vegas fans welcoming their city’s first major professional sports team. Thousands of those fans are expected to gather at T-Mobile Arena after the expansion draft for a raucous “Round Table Rally” to celebrate the Golden Knights’ first major acquisitions. The Golden Knights have an NHL-ready arena, an experienced front office, an eager coaching staff, an eye-catching logo and positive momentum in their new community. The expansion draft affects every team in the league, so many of the stars convening in Vegas will be paying close attention to the names of the teammates they’ll be losing to Sin City. “I think we’re going to talk about the awards, but not as much as we’re going to talk about the expansion draft and who got picked and who didn’t, and what the team’s going to look like,” Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said.



GM of new Las Vegas team holds lots of cards in expansion draft

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:22:45 UT

GM of new Las Vegas team holds lots of cards in expansion draft George McPhee is spending a fleeting moment as the Godfather of the NHL during the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion window. “It’s going to take us a while to pick the team (Tuesday), because one change in this matrix affects everything — with your cap now, with your cap going forward, with the cap that you have done for this expansion draft, with the cap that you need for the regular season,” McPhee said. Beyond building what could be the most competitive expansion team in NHL history, McPhee has the golden opportunity to play some desperate teams against each other and build a collection of draft picks and other assets. “The expansion draft, I think the way it’s set up now is quite interesting,” said Capitals assistant GM Ross Mahoney, who worked under McPhee for 17 years. Vegas could easily get its franchise goaltender in Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, a top-line scoring winger with 10 20-goal seasons in Nashville’s James Neal and a top-pairing defenseman in Ottawa’s Marc Methot while also picking up some potentially high draft picks for staying away from young talent from Anaheim, Columbus and the New York Islanders. The expansion draft rules made it so that Vegas would wind up with strong enough goaltending to be competitive even in its inaugural season. “We can put a good team on the ice and accumulate draft picks and be in a surplus situation here in the next couple of years so that we can start with a real good team and then build it with these draft picks to a team that can win a Cup,” said McPhee.



Penguins beat Predators to repeat as Stanley Cup champions

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 05:46:36 UT

Penguins beat Predators to repeat as Stanley Cup champions NASHVILLE — Sidney Crosby is bringing the Stanley Cup back home to Pittsburgh. Patric Hornqvist scored with 1 minute, 35 seconds left to break a scoreless deadlock and Matt Murray made 27 saves for his second straight shutout as the Penguins became the first team in nearly two decades to repeat as NHL champions with a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 on Sunday. The Detroit Red Wings, champions in 1997 and ’98, were the last team to successfully defend their title. “We knew it was going to be tough all year, but we just tried to keep with it,” said Crosby, the Penguins’ captain. Crosby won his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP to go with his third championship. Hornqvist captured a rebound off the boards behind the net and banked in a shot off goalie Pekka Rinne’s left elbow for the winner. With Rinne pulled for an extra attacker, Carl Hagelin set off a bench celebration with an empty-net goal with 13.6 seconds left. Crosby took the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman before handing the trophy to defenseman Ron Hainsey who passed it to veteran Matt Cullen. Nashville’s first home loss in regulation in these playoffs came with some hard luck, as Colton Sissons’ apparent goal 67 seconds into the second period was erased because of a quick whistle. Sissons later was stopped on a breakaway, and in the third, both Sissons and Filip Forsberg had shots ring off the post. “It stings,” Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said of the loss. Murray became the first goalie to win two Stanley Cups as a rookie after being a late-season call up a year ago, when he didn’t play enough games to get the rookie tag removed. Murray, 23, shut out Nashville for the last 126:52 of play this year as he set a rookie record with two shutouts in the Finals. The loss ended the Predators’ deepest playoff run in the franchise’s 19 years and one that became the talk of Music City. Having won just three of 12 playoff series before this year, Nashville opened this postseason by eliminating the top-seeded Blackhawks in four games. The Predators then got past the Blues and the Ducks, with only captain Mike Fisher carrying any Cup Finals experience on the roster. The Capitals won the Presidents’ Trophy for a second straight season and pushed Pittsburgh to seven games in the second round. The Senators did the same, forcing the Penguins to double overtime to clinch the Eastern Conference title. Teresa M. Walker is an Associated Press writer. Teams to win consecutive Stanley Cup crowns since the NHL expanded beyond six teams for the 1967-68 season.



Penguins thump Predators, lead Finals 3-2

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 05:08:06 UT

Penguins thump Predators, lead Finals 3-2 PITTSBURGH — The night started with a catfish throw. The defending champions provided an emphatic and repeated reminder of what makes them such a difficult out in a 6-0 demolition of the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Pittsburgh will have a chance to become the first franchise in 19 years to win back-to-back championships when the series shifts to Nashville for Game 6 on Sunday. “Understand that we’re going to play a desperate team,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who had three assists. [...] do the Predators, who can’t get back to Smashville fast enough after a game that included two third-period fights and 100 penalty minutes. “I don’t know if anybody shakes off a game like that that quickly,” Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette said. Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin scored during a first-period barrage against Pekka Rinne that sent the Nashville goaltender to the bench for the rest of the night, all the good mojo he created during wins in Games 3 and 4 gone. Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel and 35-year-old playoff newbie Ron Hainsey also scored for the Penguins. Crosby’s eventful night included becoming the franchise’s all-time leading scorer in Stanley Cup Finals play, a two-minute roughing penalty for trying to dribble Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban’s head on the ice near the end of the first period and a flip of a water bottle onto the ice during play. After the Predators rallied to tie the series by outscoring the Penguins 9-2 in two wins in Nashville, it took all of 91 seconds for Pittsburgh to get its swagger back. Just 91 seconds after a Nashville fan flipped a catfish onto the PPG Paints Arena ice — mimicking a move that came shortly before a three-goal outburst by Nashville in Game 1 — Schultz powered home a slap shot to end an 0-for-15 power-play skid. Rust made it 2-0 at 6:43 with a nasty backhand flip over Rinne’s glove. [...] things got chippy as Crosby and Subban became tangled up behind the Nashville net. Crosby ended up on top of Subban, then hit him in the head repeatedly, eventually drawing a roughing penalty. The Predators’ defenseman could say that his team will be ready Sunday. “The real hockey starts now,” Subban said.



Penguins head home upbeat despite 0-fer in Nashville

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 03:52:25 UT

Penguins head home upbeat despite 0-fer in Nashville PITTSBURGH — The goals that came so easily to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals — the ones that arrived in bunches and seemed to signal an emphatic end to goalie Pekka Rinne’s spectacular playoff run — have disappeared. Across six periods in Nashville, the NHL’s highest-scoring team managed to beat Rinne just twice as the Predators rallied to tie the series. Yet Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan hardly seems frustrated heading into Game 5 on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Sullivan is 7-0 in playoff series with the Penguins, and the way he sees it, his team’s inability to solve Rinne in Games 3 and 4 had little to do with lack of effort or opportunities. With Rinne’s no-look left pad stop on Jake Guentzel early in the second period of a tie game Monday night? Or maybe the diving blocker stop on Guentzel just before the midway point, the one that preserved Nashville’s lead on the way to a 4-1 victory? The coach who has made “play the right way” part of the franchise’s lexicon is more focused on the process. The Penguins didn’t produce much in Games 1 and 2 and somehow won going away. Game 4 marked the sixth time in their past 11 games the Penguins have scored just one goal, compared to just twice in 24 playoff games last spring. When limited to one goal during the 2016 postseason, they won the following game. After the Penguins had just three goals during the first three games of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa last month, they scored 10 over the next two to take control. “It just comes down to burying your chances,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who picked up his first goal of the series in Game 4. What the Penguins are saying now sounds a lot like what the Predators were saying after coming up empty in Pittsburgh to start the Finals. Nashville was every bit the defending champ’s equal in the opening two games only to be undone by two dominant bursts by the Penguins.



Rookie Frederick Gaudreau helps Predators even Finals at 2-2

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 05:38:45 UT

Rookie Frederick Gaudreau helps Predators even Finals at 2-2 NASHVILLE — Frederick Gaudreau is doing his best to earn his own locker with the Nashville Predators with a Stanley Cup Finals debut for the ages. An undrafted free agent playing just his sixth postseason game, Gaudreau scored the go-ahead goal 3:45 into the second period and Pekka Rinne made 23 often spectacular saves as the Predators beat the Penguins 4-1 on Monday night to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2. Gaudreau, a 24-year-old rookie, has only a chair in the Predators’ locker room. [...] he now is the second player in NHL history to score his first three career goals in a Stanley Cup Finals, joining Johnny Harms with the 1944 Blackhawks. Calle Jarnkrok, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg also scored for Nashville, which dropped the first two games of the series on the road. “We were in a tough hole against a really good team, came home and took care of the home games with the help of all our great fans,” Rinne said. After Jarnkrok gave Nashville a 1-0 lead at 14:51 of the first, Sidney Crosby scored 66 seconds later to tie it. “It’s hard to win when you score one goal,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. Gaudreau’s goal was confirmed only after the horn sounded and officials reviewed the play. Teresa M. Walker is an Associated Press writer. Remaining games: 5 p.m. Channel: 11



Goalie Rinne keys Predators’ biggest win ever

Sun, 4 Jun 2017 04:56:34 UT

Goalie Rinne keys Predators’ biggest win ever NASHVILLE — Predators coach Peter Laviolette heard all the questions and criticism of Pekka Rinne after the goaltender’s struggles in the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh. A change of scenery helped Rinne and all his Nashville teammates as they dominated once again on their own ice for the biggest piece of franchise history yet. A victory in the Stanley Cup Finals. Roman Josi and Frederick Gaudreau scored 42 seconds apart in the second period, and the Predators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 Saturday night to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Rinne started and made 27 saves against a Pittsburgh team that continued to struggle on the power play and lacked the same zip they had in winning the first two games at home. The Predators capped the biggest party in Nashville history with a victory that gave thousands of fans inside and outside of the arena reason to celebrate. Country star Keith Urban and wife, actress Nicole Kidman, were high-fiving inside the arena and they had plenty of company. Credit Rinne for coming through with a stingy performance and helping the Predators improve to 8-1 at home this postseason. The 6-foot-5 Finn looked so shaky in the first two games, giving up eight goals on just 36 shots. Laviolette benched him in the third period of Game 2 when Rinne gave up three goals in the first 3:28 of a 4-1 loss. Nashville fans did their best to lift his spirits by chanting his name in pregame warm-ups. “Collectively we came into the locker room, and we were telling each other we’ve never seen anything like that,” Rinne said. James Neal, Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville as the Predators worked out some frustration against the Pens. “Like our team has done the whole playoffs against Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, we showed really good composure,” said Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban, who had predicted a win in Game 3. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said he thought his Penguins gave up a couple of easy goals. Teresa M. Walker is an Associated Press writer. Penguins 5, Predators 3 Penguins 4, Predators 1 Predators 5, Penguins 1



Penguins’ no-name defense faces Predators’ unheralded centers

Tue, 30 May 2017 04:19:31 UT

Penguins’ no-name defense faces Predators’ unheralded centers Without top defenseman Kris Letang, the Penguins have to rely on their blue-line depth to help their forwards. Crosby, Malkin and wings such as Phil Kessel drive the Penguins’ offense just as left wing Filip Forsberg and the defensemen do for the Predators. [...] Nashville makes everything happen from its blue line, even after trading Shea Weber and Seth Jones within the past 16 months. “It’s remarkable we were able to trade (Weber and Jones and lose Ryan Suter in free agency in 2012) and still have arguably one of the best defenses in the National Hockey League,” general manager David Poile said. Sullivan said wing Patric Hornqvist would play in Game 1 after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. In addition to Fisher, Nashville could get Craig Smith back after the forward missed 12 of the past 13 games with an undisclosed injury. After beating the trap-oriented Senators in the East finals, the Penguins expect a faster pace against the Predators. Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray, 23, has won a Cup and is fresh because an injury cost him the first two rounds as Marc-Andre Fleury saved the Penguins.