Category Archives: Hockey News

Coyotes, Tippett mutually agree to part ways citing ‘philosophical differences’

The Arizona Coyotes and head coach Dave Tippett have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced Thursday.

"On behalf of the entire Coyotes organization, I would like to sincerely thank Tip for all of his hard work and the many contributions he made to our organization," said team owner Andrew Barroway. "Tip is a man of high character and we are very grateful for his leadership during his tenure as our head coach. Ultimately, we have some philosophical differences on how to build our team. Therefore' we mutually agreed that it is in everyone's best interest to have a coaching change in order to move our franchise forward."

Barroway bought out Coyotes' minority owners to become the sole owner of the club earlier in June.

Tippett, 55, took over the Coyotes bench in 2009-10, leading Arizona

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Best NHL expansion team ever? Vegas might have a case

LAS VEGAS (AP) Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley has repeatedly said he wants to win the Stanley Cup within the first six years of his new team's existence.

After Vegas came away with a jackpot from the expansion draft, Foley's franchise goalie is even bolder.

''Let's do it earlier,'' Marc-Andre Fleury said Thursday. ''Why wait six years? I don't know where I'll be in six years. Right away our goal has to be to get good, to improve and to go out there.''

Vegas shouldn't start blocking off the Strip for the parade just yet, but Sin City's new team is holding a remarkable hand after general manager George McPhee's 37-player haul from the expansion draft and several subsequent trades.

Nashville general manager David Poile is among many hockey observers who think the Golden Knights have the ingredients for the most competitive expansion team in league history. From Fleury on out, Vegas already has a solid NHL roster with a sturdy blue line and four lines of capable forwards.

What they don't have is the game-changing playmakers and goal-scorers that separate decent teams from great ones, but they've got a plan for that, too: Vegas will add even more top-shelf talent Friday in the draft in Chicago, where McPhee holds three first-round picks, including the sixth overall.

The players who have already arrived in Vegas realize that although they're starting over, they aren't starting from scratch.

''They put a great group together,'' said forward Reid Duke, who became the Golden Knights' first player when he signed as a free agent in March. ''You never really know what to expect, but they made some big splashes. Got a lot of good players, a lot of good picks. It's nice to see that they are not only building for right now, but the future, too. They've got some smart guys up there, and they know exactly what they are doing.''

McPhee continued his moves Thursday, swinging two trades to add draft picks in place of claimed players who might not have made the Golden Knights' roster. Vegas shipped defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and a seventh-round pick next year to Carolina for Pittsburgh's second-round pick this year, and then traded David Schlemko to Montreal for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

After Foley paid $500 million to the league as an expansion fee, the Golden Knights were given favorable franchise-building terms explicitly designed to give them a better chance to be competitive more quickly than the new teams of the previous 25 years.

Instead of forcing Vegas fans to watch several years of plodding franchise-building, the NHL wants the Golden Knights to be decent from the start.

Can they be the best expansion team ever? It's quite possible.

The NHL added nine franchises between 1991 and 2001, and no team did better than the Florida Panthers, who went 33-34-17 and racked up an expansion team-record 83 points in the 1993-94 season. The NHL still had ties in 1994, so teams didn't pick up extra points through shootout wins.

All but four teams in the Western Conference recorded more than 83 points last season. An 84-point season would have put the Golden Knights in sixth place in an eight-team Pacific Division last season, ahead of Arizona and Vancouver.

The Golden Knights aren't ready to make any predictions yet, but once they get together in Vegas for the first time under coach Gerard Gallant, they'll start to figure out just how good they can be.

That transition to the desert will be easier for some Golden Knights: Deryk Engelland has lived in Las Vegas in the offseason for a decade.

''We'll get our numbers out there for guys to reach out if they need anything, if it's a place to crash, to see outside the Strip and come look for places (to live) or whatnot,'' Engelland said. ''Definitely ready for that part of it.''

The milestones will keep coming for the Golden Knights throughout the summer while they build toward the first game in franchise history in Dallas on Oct. 6, followed by their home debut Oct. 10 against the Coyotes.

Vegas' first player development camp starts Tuesday.

''It's a different situation for everybody in here to come into a team where there is no team,'' said defenseman Jason Garrison, claimed from Tampa Bay. ''It's the first team. You just want to establish a friendship and a culture right away, and it starts right now and leads into training camp and continues forward to the first game.''

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Greg Beacham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gregbeacham

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

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McPhee says Vegas isn’t done dealing: ‘We have to move some contracts’

One day after selecting an initial roster, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee manufactured two trades, sending David Schlemko to the Montreal Canadiens and Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Many expected a flurry of deals once the league-wide trade freeze lifted Thursday morning, and while the wheeling and dealing was subtle to start, McPhee insisted Vegas has more in store.

"We have to move some contracts," McPhee told TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

With a variety of teams looking to shore up their blue lines, it's expected Vegas will continue to trade defenseman after selecting 15 at the expansion draft Wednesday night.

However, LeBrun added that McPhee isn't interested in selling young assets such as Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore, whom he plucked from the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks, respectively.

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NHL considering penalizing teams for incorrect coach’s challenge

The NHL's coach's challenge was in the limelight during the playoffs, perhaps most notably in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final when Nashville's Filip Forsberg was deemed offside on P.K. Subban's series-opening goal after a challenge from Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan.

The league is apparently looking into ways to reduce the amount of coach's challenges.

Colin Campbell, the NHL's Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, said that the league is considering assessing a minor penalty for an incorrect coach's challenge of an offside, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

"If you're going to challenge, you better be sure," he told TSN's Frank Seravalli.

The proposal will need to be reviewed by the board of governors and competition committee, but it would undoubtedly make coaches more timid when contemplating the use of their challenge. With less challenges used, games would move faster - even if it's a matter of shaving off a couple minutes here and there.

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The 3 biggest surprises from Vegas’ expansion draft

With many of Vegas' expansion-draft selections being leaked by reporters hours before the announcement, there weren't a ton of surprises among the roster picks. However, with an abundance of side deals, three storylines in particular shocked the hockey world.

Pittsburgh forcing Vegas to take Fleury

Marc-Andre Fleury is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, but he is still without a doubt a top-30 goaltender. Despite this, Pittsburgh had to offer Vegas a second-round draft pick just so it would take on his contract, which has two years remaining at $5.75 million per season.

The surprising part is that Pittsburgh couldn't find a trade partner for Fleury, who had waved his no-movement clause. Not even Philadelphia or Winnipeg.

Both teams desperately need a goaltender, and while Philadelphia is a division and provincial rival, there's no reason why Winnipeg couldn't have pulled off a deal with the Pens. If Pittsburgh was willing to give up a 2020 second-rounder to get rid of his contract, they likely would have taken just about anything in return from Winnipeg.

The Jets either have a lot of faith in Connor Hellebuyck, or didn't want to pay Fleury for just two more seasons. Both questionable, to say the least.

Vegas passing on Matt Dumba

The Golden Knights made a side deal with the Wild to pass on exposed defenseman Matt Dumba. Instead, they ended up with center Erik Haula from the expansion draft and prospect Alex Tuch via trade.

Haula is seemingly a third-line center at best, and Tuch, the 18th overall pick in 2014, is unproven, having played just six NHL games.

Dumba, on the other hand, was the seventh overall pick in 2012, is only 22 years old, has 228 games of NHL experience, is coming off a career year, and is a right-handed-shooting defenseman, which so many teams covet.

Dumba could have been a legitimate top-four defenseman for Vegas to build around. Or, they could have selected him in the expansion draft and then traded him to a team in desperate need of a right-handed-shooting defenseman, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, and received a package a lot more valuable than Haula and Tuch.

Florida giving up a 30-goal scorer to shed Smith's contract

Reilly Smith's contract is bad. He's owed $5 million per year through the 2021-22 season, and is coming off a campaign in which he only scored 15 goals and registered 37 points.

However, Smith is just 26, and scored 25 goals and added 25 assists the year prior, when Florida wasn't hampered with a number of key injuries.

Nonetheless, Florida was so desperate to move this contract it was willing to give up on a goldmine in Jonathan Marchessault. The 26-year-old scored 30 goals last season and is scheduled to make just $750K next season.

This was a huge win for Vegas.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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7 games to circle on the 2017-18 NHL schedule

Missing hockey yet? We are too, and upon the NHL announcing the complete 2017-18 schedule Thursday afternoon, we picked seven games you can already start looking forward to.

Crosby visits McDavid - Oct. 24

This one speaks for itself, doesn't it?

The world's best player versus his presumed successor for that title is something we should cherish while we can, and with only two meetings each season, it's appointment viewing for hardcore hockeyheads.

Senators, Canadiens head outdoors - Dec. 16

Division rivals Ottawa and Montreal will head outdoors in the nation's capital for the NHL 100 Classic to celebrate the league's centennial season.

Leafs-Capitals at West Point - March 3

(Photo Courtesy: Action Images)

After a wildly entertaining six-game series in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Maple Leafs and Capitals will renew hostilities at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Golden Knights home opener - Oct. 10

After two games on the road to begin their inaugural NHL season, the Vegas Golden Knights will head home to host the Arizona Coyotes for the club's first home game at T-Mobile Arena.

Rumor has it the city of Las Vegas knows how to throw a party, and you can bet the Golden Knights will kick things off properly.

Stanley Cup rematch - Oct. 7

It won't take long for the Nashville Predators to catch a glimpse of the Pittsburgh Penguins' new Stanley Cup banner.

In just their second home game of the season, the Pens will host the Preds, who they defeated in six games to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup in June.

Fleury heads home - Feb. 6

(Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

After 13 seasons with the club that drafted him first overall, Marc-Andre Fleury will play in Pittsburgh as a visitor for the very first time in early February.

Fleury was asked by the Penguins to waive his no-movement clause in order to become available for Vegas, and the Golden Knights officially plucked the 32-year-old Wednesday night.

"Flower" was adored by Penguins supporters and his teammates throughout his time in the Steel City, and his return is sure to be an emotional one.

Leafs in Vegas - Dec. 31

Speaking of parties in Vegas, the Golden Knights will face a marquee opponent to ring in 2018, as the Maple Leafs are in town on New Year's Eve for their first game in Sin City.

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Oilers GM will match ‘any offer’ for RFA Draisaitl

Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli isn't letting star forward Leon Draisaitl go anywhere.

He said the Oilers will match "any offer" if a team signs Draisaitl - a restricted free agent - to what he termed a "predatory offer sheet," according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

The reason for Chiarelli's terminology is that signing an RFA to an offer sheet generally goes against the "GM code," especially when it comes to a player of Draisaitl's caliber - in that case, it's basically an unwritten rule.

The German forward had 29 goals and 77 points this past season, and added 16 points in 13 playoff games. At just 21 years old, he's already basically to Connor McDavid what Evgeni Malkin is to Sidney Crosby; if McDavid is Batman, Draisaitl is Robin.

If a GM does sign Draisaitl to a massive offer sheet, Chiarelli will clearly match it. However, if the offer is big enough, it could handcuff the Oilers and limit their cap flexibility going forward.

From the outside, signing Draisaitl seems like a legitimate strategy for a divisional rival, but those general managers know that what goes around comes around. If a GM does this, he needs to prepare for the same thing whenever one of his own star players becomes an RFA.

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Strome-Eberle swap is a win-win for Oilers, Islanders

It's not a deal either the Edmonton Oilers or the New York Islanders envisioned making when they drafted Jordan Eberle and Ryan Strome, respectively, but years later it was a deal each team needed to make.

The clubs exchanged former first-round selections on Thursday, and while the deal might appear skewed in the Islanders' favor, digging a little deeper it's clear that this trade was one that aids both clubs in different ways.

For Islanders

The benefit for the Islanders is simple: Eberle is an upgrade offensively over Strome. In fact, their totals over the last three seasons show that it's pretty black-and-white between the two.

Player Games Played Goals Points Points Per Game
Eberle 232 69 161 0.69
Strome 221 38 108 0.49

Eberle should help boost the Islanders' scoring, which was already solid, ranking 10th during the regular season with 2.91 goals per game. It also helps to better spread out the offense across two lines, with budding prospect Josh Ho-Sang able to man the second line alongside Anthony Beauvillier, giving the Islanders a solid two-way punch.

Related: Newest Islander Eberle excited to play with Tavares

Most importantly, though, the trade reunites both Eberle and Jonathan Tavares, who are sure to play together after serving as linemates with Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship. In fact, the two connected for arguably the most famous goal in the tournament's history, which is still very much engraved in the minds of Canadians everywhere.

The two reportedly still remain in touch, so chemistry shouldn't be an issue. And if reports are true that the Islanders are still in the running to acquire Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche, they might be on the verge of assembling something very special.

For Oilers

They might be getting the slightly less offensively gifted forward in the deal, but the Oilers have bigger fish to fry, which appears to have been the biggest motivator for Peter Chiarelli to pull the trigger on this deal.

Starting July 1, it is believed the Oilers will begin the process of locking up both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl - who becomes a restricted free agent - long term. It's not outrageous to think Draisaitl could command anywhere from $6-8 million per season, while McDavid can essentially set his price at whatever he wants.

So, if the Oilers want to lock those two up - and they would be stupid not to - they're going to need a lot of money to do so.

Thursday's trade allowed the Oilers to shed $3.5 million in salary, giving them slightly less than $24 million heading into next season, when Draisaitl's next contract will kick in (McDavid has one year left on his entry-level deal).

Chiarelli also feels that a change of scenery could help reignite Strome's offensive flare, according to TSN 1260's Jason Gregor, which would also bode very well for the Oilers.

So, while the deal might seem one-sided off the hop, maybe it's just what both Chiarelli and Garth Snow needed to do in order to give their respective teams a boost next season.

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Newest Islander Eberle excited to play with Tavares

Jordan Eberle and John Tavares will have the opportunity to create magic together once again.

Eberle was dealt to the New York Islanders in a one-for-one deal that sent Ryan Strome back to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. For Eberle, he leaves the only team he's ever played for. Though, getting the chance to play alongside the Islanders captain is something the 27-year-old is already thrilled about.

"John Tavares is a generational player," Eberle said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to play with him and hopefully bring success to the Islanders."

Back in 2009, Eberle and Tavares suited up as linemates for Team Canada at the world juniors and connected for Eberle's iconic goal against Russia in the dying seconds of the semifinals to send the game to overtime. The two would later score the lone shootout goals to send Canada to the gold-medal game.

Years later the two remain in contact and, as Eberle notes, even train together with other members of the Islanders in the offseason.

"The Islanders are a team where I know a lot of the guys," Eberle said. "I've trained with Thomas Hickey, John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, and (Travis) Hamonic."

After tallying his lowest goal total in a full 82-game season since his rookie campaign, maybe playing alongside Tavares is just what Eberle needs to get his numbers back up to the 30-goal range.

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