All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

Stamkos: Playoff format ‘a little imperfect,’ old system more logical

Count Steven Stamkos among NHL players not quite sold on the league's divisional postseason format.

"It's a little imperfect," the Tampa Bay Lightning captain told Sportsnet's Chris Johnston on Thursday. "I've always thought when you go to the 1 (seed versus) 8, and then reseed after that, that's just, for me anyways, a little more logical."

Stamkos' sentiments echoed similar comments from John Tavares and Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who trail the Lightning by six points for first place in the Atlantic Division.

"Our division is pretty deadly at this point," Kadri told Johnston on Wednesday. "Obviously that’s kind of at a disadvantage for us. It’d be nicer to play a seven or eight seed.”

If the playoffs started Thursday, the Lightning (24-7-1) would face the Montreal Canadiens (15-11-5), who occupy the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Leafs (21-9-1) would be forced to face the third-place Buffalo Sabres (18-9-4) in the opening round.

Additionally, teams aren't reseeded in subsequent rounds as they were when the league used the conference format.

Stamkos, Tavares, and Kadri aren't the first players to question the current format, which was instituted in 2014-15. Former Washington Capitals forward Daniel Winnik called it "the stupidest thing ever" in March 2017, and Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby said in 2016 that he was "not a big fan of it."

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Hurricanes to use ‘Brass Bonanza’ as goal song for Whalers Night

The most appropriate song for a night celebrating the Hartford Whalers will be played by the Carolina Hurricanes when they do just that later this month.

The Hurricanes plan on using "Brass Bonanza" as their goal song for Whalers Night on Dec. 23 against the Boston Bruins, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Carolina will don green Whalers uniforms for the home game, as it will on March 5 when it plays the Bruins in Boston.

The iconic instrumental was played at Hartford games when the team came on to the ice for warmups, and also when it scored.

It was one of the choices the Hurricanes gave when they asked fans to vote for this season's goal song, but it ultimately lost out to Petey Pablo's "Raise Up."

"Brass Bonanza" was used by the Whalers until 1992. The club relocated to Raleigh, N.C. and became the Hurricanes in 1997.

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Report: Red Wings want at least 1st-round pick for Howard

For the moment, the price for Jimmy Howard appears to be high.

The Detroit Red Wings have made it clear they want at least a first-round draft selection in exchange for the veteran goaltender, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote Wednesday.

Howard is a pending unrestricted free agent who boasts a .923 save percentage in 22 games this season. The 34-year-old's contract carries a cap hit of $5.29 million.

In late November, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that the St. Louis Blues were keeping tabs on Howard, but that the netminder would come at a considerable cost.

Howard's in his 13th NHL season - all spent with the Red Wings.

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Shattenkirk out 2-4 weeks with separated shoulder

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will miss two-to-four weeks with a separated shoulder suffered Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team announced Wednesday.

He sustained the injury on a hit by Lightning forward J.T. Miller.

Shattenkirk ranks sixth on the club among blue-liners in average ice time this season, and he's collected eight points in 29 games.

The 29-year-old signed a four-year, $26.6-million contract with the Rangers on July 1, 2017.

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Maple Leafs-Canadiens to be Bob Cole’s final HNIC broadcast

Two storied rivals will provide the backdrop for a legendary hockey broadcaster's final regular-season game.

Bob Cole will call the April 6 matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens for his last broadcast before the playoffs, as well as five other additional games, Sportsnet announced Tuesday.

The Leafs-Canadiens tilt will take place on the final Saturday night of the regular season.

Cole was originally only scheduled to work through 2018, with two more games on tap in December. Here are the remaining games he'll call, including the half-dozen new assignments in 2019:

Day Date Away Home
Saturday Dec.15 Senators Canadiens
Saturday Dec. 22 Rangers Maple Leafs
Saturday Jan. 5 Predators Canadiens
Wednesday Feb. 6 Senators Maple Leafs
Saturday March 9 Senators Bruins
Saturday March 16 Blackhaws Canadiens
Saturday March 30 Canadiens Jets
Saturday April 6 Maple Leafs Canadiens

Cole is in his 50th and final season on Hockey Night in Canada.

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Tarasenko apologizes to Blues fans after blowout loss to Canucks

Vladimir Tarasenko had a message for supporters of the St. Louis Blues after their 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

"There's no consistency in our game," Tarasenko told reporters postgame. "I apologize to all of our fans. We can't play at home like this, and ... it's unacceptable. I don't know how to fix it. We'll work on it, but (it's not working) for now."

The Blues failed to capitalize on a four-minute power play in the first period after Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson was handed a double minor for high-sticking Alexander Steen.

"We need to use chances like that, especially (at) the start of the game," Tarasenko said. "It's supposed to give our team (an) emotional bump, and we need to get on the scoreboard if we have a four minutes of power-play (time). We didn't do our job over there (Sunday) and this is (the) result."

Vancouver opened the scoring on a Brock Boeser shot that ricocheted off the glass and bounced in off St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen's pad. Boeser finished with a hat trick and Elias Pettersson collected five points in the Canucks' victory.

The Blues shut out the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

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Flyers’ Hagg ejected for hitting Jets’ Connor from behind

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg was tossed from Sunday's game against the Winnipeg Jets for his hit on Kyle Connor.

Hagg checked the Jets forward into the boards from behind with 48 seconds left in the second period.

The Flyers blueliner received a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct for the hit.

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Report: Hurricanes want top-6 forward ‘ASAP’ after failing to land Nylander

The Carolina Hurricanes reportedly aren't done trying to bolster their group up front after failing to acquire William Nylander.

"I can tell (you) Carolina - which really, really, really wanted to get in on Nylander and never really got that shot - they want a top-six forward ASAP, and they've got the surplus on defense to make it happen," TSN's Pierre LeBrun said on Thursday's edition of "Insider Trading."

Carolina is deep on the back end, boasting the likes of Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Justin Faulk, and Calvin de Haan, in addition to Brett Pesce and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

The Hurricanes' forward depth has taken a hit due to injuries, with Jordan Staal being ruled out of Friday's game against the Anaheim Ducks due to a concussion and Micheal Ferland still dealing with a head injury of his own.

LeBrun reported back in September that the Hurricanes were among the teams that called the Toronto Maple Leafs about Nylander, but they were told the Leafs didn't want to trade him.

Nylander re-signed with Toronto last Saturday, inking a new six-year deal minutes before the 5 p.m. ET deadline to avoid being ineligible for the rest of the season.

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McDavid returns for Oilers after missing game due to illness

Connor McDavid returned to action Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues after a one-game absence.

The Edmonton Oilers superstar potted the shootout winner to beat the Blues after sitting out Monday's loss to the Dallas Stars because he was under the weather.

It was the first contest he missed since his rookie season in 2015-16, ending a streak of 222 regular-season games played.

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Tortorella: ‘I have no idea’ why Blue Jackets fell apart in high-scoring loss

John Tortorella wasn't sure what happened to his Columbus Blue Jackets after a wild loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

The Blue Jackets jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but then surrendered five unanswered goals in what was ultimately a 9-6 defeat.

When asked by a reporter postgame if his team stopped playing or if the Flames started playing when Columbus led by three, Tortorella said, "No, we didn't stop playing."

The Blue Jackets bench boss then dismissed the reporter's notion that his players took their feet off the gas but said, "I have no idea," when asked to describe what happened.

"It certainly wasn't through lack of effort." Tortorella added, concluding the exchange.

Flames forward Sean Monahan potted a power-play goal to make it 4-2 early in the second period, and teammate Elias Lindholm scored to cut the lead to one less than a minute later. Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin, and T.J. Brodie followed suit for Calgary.

Nick Foligno replied for Columbus to cut the Flames' lead to 6-5 with five minutes left in the second frame, but Calgary outscored the Blue Jackets 3-1 in the third to seal the victory.

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