All posts by Josh Wegman

Rangers place former ‘exceptional status’ player Sean Day on waivers

The New York Rangers placed defenseman Sean Day on unconditional waivers, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Day was granted "exceptional status" into the OHL as a 15-year-old. He's one of just seven players in CHL history to receive the honor.

Player League Year
John Tavares OHL 2005
Aaron Ekblad OHL 2011
Connor McDavid OHL 2012
Sean Day OHL 2013
Joe Veleno QMJHL 2015
Shane Wright OHL 2019
Connor Bedard WHL 2020

Day was selected fourth overall by the Mississauga Steelheads in the 2013 OHL Priority Draft despite being a year younger than all of his counterparts. Tavares, McDavid, and Ekblad all went No. 1 in their respective drafts.

Despite putting together a solid junior career, Day did not dominate in the OHL like many expected and was picked by the Rangers in the third round of the 2016 NHL draft.

Day turned pro in 2018 and split the last two seasons between the ECHL's Maine Mariners and AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack. The 22-year-old has tallied 18 points in 62 career AHL games.

As a former highly touted prospect, Day could become an intriguing reclamation project for an organization willing to take a chance on him.

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Alberta premier asks PM Trudeau to lift travel restrictions for NHL

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney is asking Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to remove coronavirus-related travel restrictions so that Edmonton can become a hub city when the NHL resumes play, according to Reuters.

The NHL unveiled its 24-team return-to-play format Tuesday, which includes the use of two hub cities - one for each conference. There are 10 cities currently under consideration, including Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

However, the federal government has a 14-day isolation order for all individuals entering Canada. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday that the league would like to have a Canadian hub city, but this rule may prevent it.

"If we're not able to resolve that issue or solve that issue, I think it effectively eliminates our ability to come to a Canadian city as one of our hub cities," Daly said.

Edmonton has been more persistent on hosting NHL games than the other two Canadian cities.

"Alberta began its phased relaunch of our economy on May 14, and there have been no measurable increases in the case numbers for coronavirus in the province," Kenney wrote in a letter to Trudeau on Tuesday. "New COVID-19 cases in Edmonton are averaging one per day, with recovered cases far outweighing any new infections."

Kenney said earlier in May that Edmonton is the "safest place" in North America to host NHL games due to the low number of COVID-19 cases.

Part of Kenney's push is the fact that Edmonton boasts a luxurious 364-room hotel attached to its state-of-the-art arena, Rogers Place, that could form a "quarantine zone." He said local public health officials are on board with the plan.

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Alberta premier asks PM Trudeau to lift travel restrictions for NHL

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney is asking Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to remove coronavirus-related travel restrictions so that Edmonton can become a hub city when the NHL resumes play, according to Reuters.

The NHL unveiled its 24-team return-to-play format Tuesday, which includes the use of two hub cities - one for each conference. There are 10 cities currently under consideration, including Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

However, the federal government has a 14-day isolation order for all individuals entering Canada. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday that the league would like to have a Canadian hub city, but this rule may prevent it.

"If we're not able to resolve that issue or solve that issue, I think it effectively eliminates our ability to come to a Canadian city as one of our hub cities," Daly said.

Edmonton has been more persistent on hosting NHL games than the other two Canadian cities.

"Alberta began its phased relaunch of our economy on May 14, and there have been no measurable increases in the case numbers for coronavirus in the province," Kenney wrote in a letter to Trudeau on Tuesday. "New COVID-19 cases in Edmonton are averaging one per day, with recovered cases far outweighing any new infections."

Kenney said earlier in May that Edmonton is the "safest place" in North America to host NHL games due to the low number of COVID-19 cases.

Part of Kenney's push is the fact that Edmonton boasts a luxurious 364-room hotel attached to its state-of-the-art arena, Rogers Place, that could form a "quarantine zone." He said local public health officials are on board with the plan.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Stat leaders, select award winners for 2019-20 regular season

The NHL's 24-team return-to-play format marks the end of the 2019-20 regular season "for the purposes of nomenclature, record keeping, and NHL awards," commissioner Gary Bettman said in Tuesday's announcement. That means it's time to hand out awards and finalize league stat leaders.

There's a small caveat, though. NHLPA president Donald Fehr said there's been no collectively bargained decision on how stats from the qualifying round will be counted, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. Therefore, these awards and league leaders could be subject to change at some point. For now, we're proceeding anyway.

Presidents' Trophy

Dave Reginek / National Hockey League / Getty

Awarded to the team with the most points.

Winner: Boston Bruins

Rank Team PTS PTS%
1 Boston Bruins 100 .714
2 St. Louis Blues 94 .662
3 Tampa Bay Lightning 92 .657
3 Colorado Avalanche 92 .657
5 Washington Capitals 90 .652

Whether by points or points percentage - a calculation dividing accrued points by maximum possible points based on games played - the Bruins were the NHL's best team during the 2019-20 regular season.

Art Ross Trophy

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Awarded to the player with the most points.

Winner: Leon Draisaitl

Rank Player GP PTS
1 Leon Draisaitl (EDM) 71 110
2 Connor McDavid (EDM) 64 97
3 Artemi Panarin (NYR) 70 95
3 David Pastrnak (BOS) 69 95
5 Nathan MacKinnon (COL) 69 93

Barring an injury, this was Draisaitl's trophy to lose even without a league shutdown.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Awarded to the player with the most goals.

Winner: Alex Ovechkin/David Pastrnak

Rank Player GP G
1 Alex Ovechkin (WSH) 68 48
1 David Pastrnak (BOS) 70 48
3 Auston Matthews (TOR) 70 47
4 Leon Draisaitl (EDM) 71 43
5 Mika Zibanejad (NYR) 57 41

This was arguably the most enticing award race in the league, so it's a shame we never got to see the end of it; each of these five players seemed to have a fighting chance. If it stands, it will be Ovechkin's eighth time winning the award and Pastrnak's first.

Assists leader

Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Winner: Leon Draisaitl

Rank Player GP A
1 Leon Draisaitl (EDM) 71 67
2 Connor McDavid (EDM) 64 63
2 Artemi Panarin (NYR) 69 63
4 John Carlson (WSH) 69 60
5 Brad Marchand (BOS) 70 59

There's no actual award for the NHL's regular-season assist leader, which seems like a missed opportunity. It could be named after Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time points leader by assists alone. Or perhaps after someone who specialized in dishing the puck (to a lesser extent) but was never an elite scorer, like Adam Oates or Joe Thornton.

Defenseman points leader

Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Winner: John Carlson

Rank Player GP PTS
1 John Carlson (WSH) 69 75
2 Roman Josi (NSH) 69 65
3 Victor Hedman (TB) 66 55
4 Tony DeAngelo (NYR) 68 53
5 Quinn Hughes (VAN) 68 53

Carlson was on pace for 89 points over 82 games, a total no defenseman has reached since Ray Bourque and Sergei Zubov in 1993-94, according to Hockey Reference.

Average time-on-ice leader

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Winner: Thomas Chabot

Rank Player GP ATOI
1 Thomas Chabot (OTT) 71 26:00
2 Drew Doughty (LA) 67 25:49
3 Roman Josi (NSH) 69 25:47
4 Kris Letang (PIT) 61 25:44
5 Oscar Klefbom (EDM) 62 25:25
5 Brent Burns (SJ) 70 25:25

Chabot was a horse. He logged 37:50 of action during an overtime loss to the Lightning in December.

William M. Jennings Trophy

Steve Babineau / National Hockey League / Getty

Awarded to the goaltender(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals against.

Winner: Tuukka Rask/Jaroslav Halak

Rank Players GP GA
1 Tuukka Rask/Jaroslav Halak (BOS) 70 174
2 Ben Bishop/Anton Khudobin (DAL) 69 177
3 Joonas Korpisalo/Elvis Merzlikins (CLB) 70 187
3 Darcy Kuemper/Antti Raanta (ARI) 70 187
5 Philipp Grubauer/Pavel Francouz (COL) 70 191

Rask (41 starts) and Halak (31 starts) were both sensational this season, combining for a .925 save percentage and a 2.24 goals-against average. Boston's blue line and the team's overall defensive play deserve some credit, too.

Save percentage leader

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Minimum of 23 games played, per NHL.com.

Winner: Anton Khudobin

Rank Player GP SV%
1 Anton Khudobin (DAL) 30 .930
2 Tuukka Rask (BOS) 41 .929
3 Darcy Kuemper (ARI) 29 .928
4 Jake Allen (STL) 24 .927
5 Elvis Merzlikins (CLB) 33 .923

Though he split time in the crease with Ben Bishop this season, Khudobin has quietly become one of the league's most effective goaltenders. A pending UFA, he could be in line for a handsome payday this offseason.

Goalie wins leader

Al Powers / National Hockey League / Getty

Winner: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Rank Player GP W
1 Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB) 52 35
2 Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) 58 31
3 Jordan Binnington (STL) 50 30
4 Frederik Andersen (TOR) 52 29
5 Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK) 49 27
5 Carey Price (MTL) 58 27

Vasilevskiy may be the winner here, but Hellebuyck's brilliance can't be overstated. He won 31 games while posting a .922 save percentage after Winnipeg lost four of its blue-line regulars from 2018-19.

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NHL approves 24-team playoff format to be played in 2 hub cities

The NHL has officially approved a 24-team playoff format for its return to play, with each conference playing its games in a single hub city, commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday.

Though there is no official date for a return, Bettman said the league will immediately proceed with the playoffs when teams take the ice again, meaning the 2019-20 regular season is officially over.

There are 10 hub cities currently under consideration:

  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Edmonton
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Pittsburgh
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Seeding will be determined by conference standings based on points percentage - a calculation dividing accrued points by maximum possible points based on games played.

The top four teams in each conference will receive byes to the first round of the playoffs, but they will play against each other to determine seeding. These games will be played with regular-season overtime and shootout rules, with ties in the final standings broken by regular-season points percentage.

The remaining eight teams in each conference will play best-of-five qualifying series to determine which four clubs advance to the first round. The matchups will be based on conference standings by points percentage (fifth versus 12th; sixth versus 11th; seventh versus 10th; eighth versus ninth) and will feature continuous 5-on-5 overtime when necessary.

The return-to-play committee is still discussing whether first- and second-round matchups will be based on seeding or follow a bracket. It must also determine whether the first two rounds following the play-in will be best-of-five or best-of-seven series.

The conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final will be best-of-seven series.

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Redrafting 2010: Taylor or Tyler?

A debate swirled around the first overall pick of the 2010 NHL Draft: Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires or Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers? Ten years later, there's still a case to be made for either player.

Using the knowledge we have now, let's redraft the entire first round of a deep 2010 selection:

1. Edmonton Oilers

Original pick: LW Taylor Hall
New pick: C Tyler Seguin

This was a difficult choice. Hall is the better playmaker and has reached greater heights than Seguin, winning the Hart Trophy in 2017-18. Seguin is the superior goal-scorer, however, and has been more consistent year to year. Hall has a narrow lead in career points per game: 0.90 to 0.86. But since Seguin has been more durable, his point total is higher (635 to 563). Though Hall has a slight advantage in the underlying numbers, Seguin's ability to play center gives him the edge in overall value. There's no wrong answer for the Oilers here.

2. Boston Bruins

Original pick: C Tyler Seguin
New pick: LW Taylor Hall

With Seguin off the board, Hall at No. 2 is a no-brainer for the Bruins, who gained this pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Phil Kessel trade.

Neither Seguin nor Hall lasted very long with the team that drafted him. Boston dealt Seguin to the Dallas Stars in 2013 for a package built around Loui Eriksson, and the Oilers traded Hall to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson in 2016. The general manager responsible for both deals? Peter Chiarelli. Perhaps things turn out differently if Seguin goes No. 1.

3. Florida Panthers

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Original pick: D Erik Gudbranson
New pick: RW Mark Stone

The Panthers could have gone in many directions with the No. 3 selection, but they whiffed on Gudbranson; despite playing over NHL 500 games, he has never lived up to his draft hype. Stone, selected by the Ottawa Senators with the 178th pick, would've been nowhere near the top of Florida's board, but he's evolved into the third-best player of this draft. He's arguably the best defensive forward in hockey and was on pace for his second straight 70-point season when the league halted play.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Original pick: C Ryan Johansen
New pick: RW Vladimir Tarasenko

Johansen was a very solid pick considering how the rest of the top 10 played out, and he ended up netting the Blue Jackets a franchise cornerstone when they sent him to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Seth Jones. But Tarasenko has emerged as the best pure goal-scorer of this draft, and he can't be ignored here by a franchise that's often lacked firepower up front.

5. New York Islanders

Original pick: RW Nino Niederreiter
New pick: C Evgeny Kuznetsov

Niederreiter played just 64 games with the Islanders before they flipped him to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round pick. He's carved out a pretty solid career with the Wild and the Carolina Hurricanes, but he's left us wanting more at times. Enter Kuznetsov, a dynamic playmaker who already has three 70-point seasons under his belt.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning

Original pick: RW Brett Connolly
New pick: D John Klingberg

Steve Yzerman doesn't have many draft misses on his record, but his first pick as general manager of the Lightning didn't quite pan out. Connolly came with some risk after injuries limited him to just 16 games in his draft year. He was never able to live up to his draft status with the Bolts, though he has developed into a decent middle-six forward with the Washington Capitals and the Panthers. Klingberg, who went 131st to Dallas, gives Tampa a right-handed option to pair with fellow Swede and '09 draftee Victor Hedman.

7. Carolina Hurricanes

Rick Stewart / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Original pick: LW Jeff Skinner
New pick: LW Jeff Skinner

There's a case to be made that there are better players than Skinner available here. Recency bias doesn't help - he was on pace for his worst season as a pro before the hiatus - but he does rank second in this draft class with 258 goals and trails only Seguin and Hall in career points. Choosing Skinner also paid immediate and long-term dividends for the Hurricanes: He jumped straight to the NHL after the draft and won the Calder Trophy, and only Eric Staal has scored more goals in a Carolina uniform. The Canes would surely make this pick over and over again.

8. Atlanta Thrashers

Original pick: C Alexander Burmistrov
New pick: C Ryan Johansen

The last first-round pick the Thrashers made before becoming the Jets did not pan out, which is fitting since poor drafting ultimately helped force the franchise out of Atlanta. Johansen has endured a down 2019-20 season, but he's still an above-average No. 2 center.

9. Minnesota Wild

Original pick: RW Mikael Granlund
New pick: RW Brendan Gallagher

Gallagher is not only one of the league's most effective pests, but he's also an exceptional possession player with annual 30-goal potential. He had 41 goals and 81 points with the WHL's Vancouver Giants in his draft year, but he still fell to the fifth round - likely because of his small stature. We don't height-shame in a redraft, though, so Gallagher lands with the Wild.

10. New York Rangers

Original pick: D Dylan McIlrath
New pick: D Cam Fowler

McIlrath had bust written all over him. The 6-foot-5 enforcer had 169 penalty minutes but just 24 points in 65 WHL contests during his draft year; he mustered five points in 66 career NHL games. In a redraft, the Rangers opt for a new-age defenseman in Fowler. Nobody from this draft class has logged more ice time than the Anaheim Ducks' minute-crunching blue-liner, who excels in all facets of the game.

11. Dallas Stars

Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty

Original pick: G Jack Campbell
New pick: G Frederik Andersen

Campbell was supposed to be Marty Turco's heir apparent with the Stars, but his development took longer than expected. He's since morphed into one of the league's more capable backups. Ironically, the man he now backs up in Toronto is the new selection here. Andersen fell to the Canes in the seventh round out of Denmark. He didn't sign with Carolina, though, and Anaheim grabbed him in the third round two years later. He's easily the best goalie in this draft.

12. Anaheim Ducks

Original pick: D Cam Fowler
New pick: D Justin Faulk

With Fowler off the board, the Ducks take with the next-best defenseman available. Faulk, selected by the Hurricanes in Round 2, was having the worst offensive season of his career before the hiatus halted his debut campaign with the St. Louis Blues, but almost any team in the league would welcome him to its top four.

13. Arizona Coyotes

Original pick: D Brandon Gormley
New pick: LW Jaden Schwartz

Ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the sixth-best North American skater in this draft, Gormley was considered a steal at 13th overall. He played just 58 career NHL games, though, making him the Coyotes' biggest draft bust ever. Schwartz ranks eighth in the 2010 class with 364 career points.

14. St. Louis Blues

Bruce Kluckhohn / National Hockey League / Getty

Original pick: LW Jaden Schwartz
New pick: RW Mikael Granlund

The Blues narrowly miss a chance to redraft Schwartz, but there are still plenty of capable players on the board. None with the upside of Granlund, though; his 69-point season in 2016-17 and 67-point effort the following campaign mark the most productive two-year stretch of any player in this class besides Seguin, Hall, Stone, Tarasenko, and Kuznetsov. Granlund has had a rough 2019-20 with the Predators, but he's more than capable of bouncing back.

15. Los Angeles Kings

Original pick: D Derek Forbort
New pick: RW Tyler Toffoli

The Kings waited until the 47th pick to scoop Toffoli in 2010, but there's no chance he makes it that far this time. The winger played a key role in L.A.'s Stanley Cup win in 2014, tallying seven goals and seven assists in 26 playoff games. He's definitely worthy of the No. 15 selection here.

16. St. Louis Blues

Original pick: RW Vladimir Tarasenko
New pick: C Brock Nelson

Nelson has been one of this draft's most consistent producers, tallying at least 19 goals in six straight seasons since 2014-15. He was in the midst of a career year with 26 goals and 54 points in 68 games when the season came to a halt. Also a reliable defensive player, Nelson fits in nicely with the Blues.

17. Colorado Avalanche

Original pick: C Joey Hishon
New pick: C Kevin Hayes

Hishon is the Avalanche's biggest draft bust of all time. In a do-over, Colorado scoops the 6-foot-5 Hayes, who's become one of the league's most reliable two-way centers. The Avs could select one of several top-six wingers available here, but a towering center like Hayes is more valuable.

18. Nashville Predators

Joe Sargent / National Hockey League / Getty

Original pick: LW Austin Watson
New pick: LW Jason Zucker

Predators fans are familiar with Zucker, who spent parts of nine seasons with the division-rival Wild before Minnesota traded him to the Penguins this season. The winger represents a massive upgrade over Watson, who's a bottom-six forward at best.

19. Florida Panthers

Original pick: C Nick Bjugstad
New pick: RW Nino Niederreiter

Bjugstad was the best of Florida's three first-round picks in this draft, but that says more about the Panthers' drafting than it does about the class. Though Bjugstad was a solid selection, Niederreiter is the best player on the board at this spot. The Swiss forward was having a down year when play came to a halt, but he's just one season removed from a 53-point output.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

Original pick: RW Beau Bennett
New pick: RW Bryan Rust

Bennett didn't amount to much in the NHL, but Rust - selected by the Penguins in the third round of this draft - has become a valuable piece in Pittsburgh. After failing to record 20 goals or 40 points in any season before 2019-20, Rust broke out in his age-27 campaign, registering 27 goals and 56 points in 55 games before the stoppage.

21. Detroit Red Wings

Original pick: C Riley Sheahan
New pick: C Charlie Coyle

Sheahan is a run-of-the-mill, fourth-line pivot, but Coyle has enough offensive upside and versatility to serve as a third-line center or second-line right-winger for the Red Wings.

22. Montreal Canadiens

Original pick: D Jarred Tinordi
New pick: LW Zach Hyman

The Canadiens lost heart and energy when Gallagher went off the board at No. 9, but they regain some of both with Hyman. What Hyman lacks in skill, he makes up for in will and determination. A highly responsible defensive player and a strong forechecker, he matched his career high of 21 goals in just 51 games before this season's pause.

23. Buffalo Sabres

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty

Original pick: D Mark Pysyk
New pick: G Philipp Grubauer

The Sabres haven't had consistent goaltending since Ryan Miller's departure. Grubauer owns a .920 save percentage in 174 career games.

24. Chicago Blackhawks

Original pick: C Kevin Hayes
New pick: D Radko Gudas

Gudas may be best suited as a fifth or sixth defenseman, but he could still be of service to the Blackhawks. Despite his "tough guy" label, the Czech blue-liner has posted some pretty solid possession numbers over the course of his NHL career.

25. Florida Panthers

Original pick: LW Quinton Howden
New pick: C Nick Bjugstad

Although taken with a different selection in this redraft, Bjugstad remains a Panthers pick. The 6-foot-6 forward had some strong years with the Cats before they traded him to the Penguins, racking up 24 goals in 2014-15 and 49 points in 2017-18. With this pick, Florida's overhaul is complete. Instead of Gudbranson, Bjugstad, and Howden, the team winds up with Stone, Niederreiter, and Bjugstad. A massive upgrade, to say the least.

26. Washington Capitals

Patrick McDermott / National Hockey League / Getty

Original pick: C Evgeny Kuznetsov
New pick: RW Brett Connolly

Kuznetsov is off the board, but the Capitals nab a familiar face in Connolly, who spent three years in Washington before leaving for Florida in free agency last summer. Connolly has proven he can be a reliable offensive producer in a limited role.

27. Arizona Coyotes

Original pick: G Mark Visentin
New pick: RW Joonas Donskoi

The Coyotes' offense has been far from prolific this past decade, so a depth scoring option like Donskoi doesn't hurt. With 16 goals and 33 points in 65 games in 2019-20, the Finn was on pace for a career season.

28. San Jose Sharks

Original pick: C Charlie Coyle
New pick: G Petr Mrazek

With Detroit taking Coyle, who eventually helped the Sharks net Brent Burns from the Wild, San Jose general manager Doug Wilson selects Mrazek to create competition between the pipes - never a bad thing.

29. Anaheim Ducks

Original pick: RW Emerson Etem
New pick: C Calle Jarnkrok

Jarnkrok is a Swiss Army knife. He can kill penalties, play all three forward positions, and serve in an offensive or shutdown role. He was on pace to set career highs in goals, assists, and points before the pause.

30. New York Islanders

Original pick: C Brock Nelson
New pick: LW Micheal Ferland

Ferland has dealt with concussion issues and struggled to produce in 14 games this season. When healthy, though, he's a rugged winger capable of complimenting high-skill players and pitching in 20 goals.

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Ex-Stars HC Montgomery hopes to coach in NHL again

It's been more than six months since Jim Montgomery was fired as head coach of the Dallas Stars for unprofessional conduct, and the 50-year-old says he hopes to return to the NHL one day.

"I'm hopeful for an opportunity," he told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "I don't control that. Right now I'm just focused on myself and my family."

Montgomery checked himself into rehab for alcohol addiction less than a month after his firing. The Stars had reportedly warned him about his public drinking episodes, and he wasn't fired for one single incident, but it's still unknown what exactly led to his dismissal.

He said he deserved to be let go and was thankful for his firing because it served as a wake-up call. He's now been sober for five-and-a-half months.

"My rock bottom helps me. And that's why I'm grateful to the Stars. Because I have my health, I have my family, and I haven't lost any close friends," he said.

Montgomery believes that if he's able to land another job, his sobriety will make him a better coach than he was before, offering life on the road as an example.

"Unfortunately, there were nights where I spent that time doing the wrong things," he said. "That's going to be the time to do the right things now. That's going to just make me a better coach, let alone a much better person."

Across parts of two seasons, Montgomery led the Stars to a 61-43-10 record and a first-round playoff series win. Prior to his tenure in Dallas, he coached at the University of Denver, where he won a national championship in 2017.

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Bob Bourne: No one gives Islanders credit for 4 straight Cups

New York Islanders legend Bob Bourne believes the 1980s teams should be among the first mentioned in the debate about the greatest sports dynasties of all time.

The Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983 before losing to the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 Final. Bourne believes those 19 playoff series successes in a row are a feat that will never be matched by any team in sports.

"Nineteen wins in a row. No one says it. I never see it. It's always the Chicago Bulls, maybe the New England Patriots. But no one gives us credit," Bourne told NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "Nineteen. That's what I'm very proud of. No one in this world, in any sport, will ever beat 19 in a row. No one. It's impossible. And we did it."

The 1990s Bulls won six championships in eight years, but they managed to win only 13 playoff series in a row. Meanwhile, the Patriots' longest postseason win streak is seven games. Even the 1960s Boston Celtics, who won 11 rings in 13 years, peaked at winning 18 straight playoff series, as the majority of their postseason runs required only two series.

Sunday marked the 40-year anniversary of the Islanders' first Cup. Bourne is rarely mentioned alongside Hall of Fame teammates Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, or Billy Smith, but he was an integral part of those teams, tallying 74 points in 74 playoff games during the four Cup runs.

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Alabama-Huntsville cuts hockey program due to COVID-19

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The University of Alabama in Huntsville is discontinuing its men's hockey program due to financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, the school announced Friday.

UAH is the first Division I hockey school to cancel its program since the pandemic and the first to do so since Wayne State in 2008, according to USCHO. The university also eliminated its men's and women's tennis programs.

The Chargers won two games this season and have a combined record of 48-181-24 over the last seven years.

UAH's departure leaves Arizona State as the only D-I men's hockey program located in the Sun Belt.

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Report: NHL looking to base 24-team playoffs on conference standings

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The NHL and the players' union are working on a 24-team playoff setup based on conference standings, sources told Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Friedman noted that nothing is set in stone and that both teams and players must still approve it. He added that discussions on the proposal could happen as early as Thursday.

Friedman admitted he's not certain of every detail, but said he has an idea of how it would work: The top four seeds (based on points percentage) in each conference would receive byes through the play-in but participate in a three-game tournament to serve as a tune-up.

The rest of the playoffs would be "bracketed." In each conference, the No. 5 seed faces the No. 12 seed (winner plays No. 4), No. 6 faces No. 11 (winner plays No. 3), No. 7 faces No. 10 (winner plays No. 2), and No. 8 faces No. 9 (winner plays No. 1).

The play-in series would be a best-of-five, and the rest of the postseason would be best-of-seven series.

Here's a look at the current standings based on points percentage:

Eastern Conference

Rank Team PTS%
1. Boston Bruins .714
2. Tampa Bay Lightning .657
3. Washington Capitals .652
4. Philadelphia Flyers .645
5. Pittsburgh Penguins .623
6. Carolina Hurricanes .596
7. New York Islanders .588
8. Toronto Maple Leafs .579
9. Columbus Blue Jackets .579
10. Florida Panthers .565
11. New York Rangers .564
12. Montreal Candiens .500

Western Conference

Rank Team PTS%
1. St. Louis Blues .662
2. Colorado Avalanche .657
3. Vegas Golden Knights .606
4. Dallas Stars .594
5. Edmonton Oilers .585
6. Nashville Predators .565
7. Vancouver Canucks .565
8. Calgary Flames .564
9. Winnipeg Jets .563
10. Minnesota Wild .558
11. Arizona Coyotes .529
12. Chicago Blackhawks .514

Another major change in this format would be the lack of reseeding. For example, if a No. 10, 11, or 12 seed managed to pull off an upset in the Eastern Conference play-in, the higher-ranked winner of Toronto and Columbus would still play Boston next.

This conference-based format would erase the NHL's much-maligned divisional playoff system - at least for one season.

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