Bobby Orr endorsed Trevor Daley to Penguins GM

There's nothing quite like an endorsement from the game's all-time greatest defenseman.

Trevor Daley can now boast about this distinction after Bobby Orr repeatedly praised his game to Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.

And when the opportunity to add the blue-liner by way of Chicago presented itself earlier this season, Rutherford jumped.

Related: 4 trades paying huge dividends for the Penguins

"I've liked Trevor his whole career," Rutherford said, according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN. "My friend Bobby Orr had been telling me for five years how good he is. I've always agreed with him, but just could never swing a deal for him. It's our good fortune that things didn't work out for him in Chicago. He became available; we were looking for more speed to our defense and (to) get a better transition game."

Daley, who never fit in during his limited time with the Blackhawks, played a huge role in Pittsburgh's Game 4 overtime win over the Washington Capitals.

Called to step up in the absence of a suspended Kris Letang, Daley saw almost 29 minutes of ice time, scored once on three shots, and was on the ice for all of Pittsburgh's goals.

Orr apparently knows good defensemen when he sees them.

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Watch: Breaking down the World Championship format

The 2016 World Championship is set to begin with round-robin play Friday in Russia.

The IIHF released this handy video explaining the format of the tournament, demonstrating how the 16 participating nations will be whittled down to one world champion.

Canada versus USA highlights the opening-day action.

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Penguins’ Sullivan: ‘It’s hard not to love (Hornqvist)’

Everybody loves Patric.

Related: Watch: Hornqvist's OT winner puts Capitals on brink of elimination

The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Washington Capitals on the ropes thanks to a Patric Hornqvist overtime goal in Game 4 on Wednesday, giving Pittsburgh a commanding 3-1 series lead. The goal was the 29-year-old's second of the series and the latest accolade to get his coach's attention.

"It's hard not to love this guy," Sullivan said of Hornqvist, according to NHL.com's Wes Crosby. "He just loves hockey. He loves being around it. He loves to compete. He's full of energy. He wears his emotions right on his sleeve, sometimes to a fault, but we love him."

It's no surprise that the young Swede is garnering such affection, his goal Wednesday night increased his team playoff lead by two.

In fact, Hornqvist's five goals through nine playoff contests has him tied for fourth in postseason goal scoring, just two tallies behind Tampa Bay Lighting forward Nikita Kucherov for top spot.

Continued production from Hornqvist adds to an already potent lineup that includes superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, making the Penguins a legitimate threat to capture Lord Stanley's Mug.

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4 trades paying huge dividends for the Penguins

Thanks to an overtime win in Game 4 on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins are one win away from eliminating the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals and advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

And much of the credit goes to the Penguins' depth.

Upon assuming the role of general manager in 2014, Jim Rutherford inherited a roster built around Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Three of them continue to make a huge impact, while rookie Matt Murray has risen up to steal the show in net.

Rutherford pulled off a blockbuster deal last summer that added star winger Phil Kessel to the mix, but that's only one of a handful of savvy moves that helped the club get where it is today.

Here's a look at four other acquisitions paying huge dividends for the Penguins.

Patric Hornqvist

In one of Rutherford's first moves as GM, James Neal was sent to Nashville in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

Currently slotted to Crosby's right on the Penguins' top line, Hornqvist has quietly been an effective scorer for Pittsburgh, scoring 47 goals in 126 regular-season games.

Hornqvist scored the overtime winner in Wednesday's Game 4, marking his team-leading fifth of the playoffs - tied for third among all players.

His previous single-postseason high in points was four in 10 games with Nashville back in 2012, which he's already doubled in one fewer contest. With at least another round likely on tap, Hornqvist appears set to fully justify Rutherford's decision to jettison a former 40-goal scorer.

Trevor Daley

Acquired straight up from Chicago in December for Rob Scuderi, Trevor Daley has proven to be an effective and mobile puck-moving defenseman for the Penguins.

In nine playoff games, he's recorded one goal, four assists, and 18 shots while averaging over 23 minutes of ice time a night.

Daley also stepped up huge Wednesday in the absence of Kris Letang, who was serving a one-game suspension.

The already eliminated Blackhawks must be wondering why they couldn't make the Daley show work for them.

Nick Bonino / Carl Hagelin

Last summer, Rutherford flipped third-line center Brandon Sutter to Vancouver for Nick Bonino (in a deal that included other spare parts). All Bonino has done so far in the postseason is match Crosby and Malkin with a team-high nine points.

Bonino was called on to fill the void on the second line late in the regular season due to a Malkin injury. He quickly developed amazing chemistry with Kessel and Carl Hagelin, the fourth of Rutherford's shrewd acquisitions.

Hagelin, picked up from Anaheim back in January for David Perron and Adam Clendening, recorded 27 points in 37 regular-season games for Pittsburgh after posting only 12 in 43 games with the Ducks.

The trio's dynamic speed and crafty skill has flummoxed the opposition in recent weeks, combining for 10 points in four games so far against the Capitals.

While Rutherford inherited gold in the form of the Penguins' superstars, he appears to have built a bona fide contending roster around them, accomplishing the main task set before him when he was hired.

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NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2016

Latest on the Flyers, Red Wings, Penguins and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.  Flyers free-agent options.   PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi lists St. Louis Blues center David Backes, Colorado Avalanche left wing Mikkel Boedker, Blues right wing Troy Brouwer, Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson, Chicago Blackhawks left winger Andrew Ladd, Los Angeles Kings LW […]

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2016

Penguins take 3-1 series lead over Capitals, Coyotes to announce new GM and more in this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines.  NHL Playoff News.  TRIBLIVE.COM/THE WASHINGTON POST: Patric Hornqvist’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, taking a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series and pushing the […]

Trotz: Capitals didn’t take advantage of Letang’s absence

Barry Trotz knows his club missed a golden opportunity.

Related: Hornqvist's OT winner puts Capitals on brink of elimination

The head coach acknowledged his Washington Capitals blew a chance to even their second-round series in Game 4 against a Pittsburgh Penguins team missing their best defenseman, Kris Letang.

"We didn't take advantage of it," Trotz said after the 3-2 overtime loss. "When Kris got the suspension, (we knew) they were going to rally ... (the Penguins) knew that everybody (on their team) had to step up on their side and I thought they did."

Letang was suspended one game for his hit on Capitals forward Marcus Johansson in Game 3.

The Penguins were also without defenseman Olli Maatta, who's still recovering from a hit by Capitals blue-liner Brooks Orpik that drew a three-game suspension.

Earlier Wednesday, Trotz made a point of emphasizing the need to seize the moment in Game 4.

Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley played a season-high 28:41 with Letang and Maatta out.

The veteran scored a first-period goal and recorded a pair of shots on goal. Daley was on the ice for three more shot attempts than he allowed, according to War-On-Ice.

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Crosby able to laugh off Ovechkin slash: ‘It didn’t feel too good’

It all appeared to be unraveling when Sidney Crosby took a slash across the hands from Alex Ovechkin in a tie game in the third period, resulting in him taking his stick to the walls that line the tunnel, and hack off paint with every swing.

But after recovering feeling in his hand, returning to the ice, and watching Patric Hornqvist lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Game 4 win and series stranglehold over the Washington Capitals, the captain was able to see the humor in his off-ice explosion.

"I was a little scared there for a little bit," he laughed in an interview with CBC's Scott Oake. "It didn't feel too good."

He explained that wasn't all frustration at the time; he was genuinely worried that his counterpart's slash had done a little damage.

"When it initially happened I didn't think it was good," he said, according to Jonas Siegel of the Canadian Press. "I didn't know if I was going to be coming back or not."

He was even willing to let Ovechkin's stick work slide.

"I don't think there was any intention there. He was trying to clear it. I'm trying to keep the puck in. He's trying to make sure that I don't. He caught me there but that's part of it."

An ice bag and a 3-1 series lead will do.

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Watch: Hornqvist’s OT winner puts Capitals on brink of elimination

The Washington Capitals are in trouble.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist took advantage of a miscue by Capitals defenseman Mike Weber and buried the overtime winner Wednesday night to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead in their second-round series.

Pittsburgh snapped a streak of eight consecutive playoff overtime losses and improved to 8-3 all time in postseason overtime games against the Capitals.

The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.

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