Laich confident of Maple Leafs’ return, tries not to think about Capitals

Brooks Laich believe he'll be back with the Toronto Maple Leafs next season.

The veteran forward, who's contract has one year remaining, met with management Sunday and is pretty sure his services will be retained after receiving positive feedback about his time in Toronto.

Whether he'll be able to stomach watching the Washington Capitals fight for the Stanley Cup remains to be determined, however.

Laich was sent to Toronto by Washington prior to the trade deadline. He recorded one goals and six assists while averaging a shade under 14 minutes in 21 games with the Maple Leafs.

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Report: Canadiens’ Pateryn avoids hearing for hit on Lightning’s Johnson

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Greg Pateryn won't face a hearing from the NHL following an injurious hit levied against the Tampa Bay Lightning's Tyler Johnson on Saturday:

Pateryn received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for the hit, while Johnson was helped off the ice and was unable to return with what was called an upper-body injury.

No update is expected on Johnson's condition until Monday.

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Senators name Pierre Dorion GM, Bryan Murray takes advisory role

The Ottawa Senators have wasted no time in shaking up the front office.

General manager Bryan Murray has announced he's stepping down as general manager, handing the reins to Pierre Dorion, who had been serving as assistant GM since 2014.

The news came less than than 24 hours after the Senators won their season finale and knocked Boston out of playoff contention.

Murray, who's engaged in an ongoing battle with Stage 4 colon cancer, has been contemplating such a move for over a year. He's served as Ottawa's GM since 2007, taking on the role shortly after coaching the team to a Stanley Cup Final appearance that spring.

Dorion becomes the eighth general manager after two years as an assistant and serving as the team's director of player personnel prior to that.

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Super Structure: Ovechkin begins big night with blocker-side one-timer

Alex Ovechkin did it again.

Entering Saturday's game in St. Louis - Game 82 on the regular-season schedule - the Washington Capitals superstar winger sat on 47 goals, thereby needing a hat trick to record the seventh 50-goal season of his career.

In the end, Ovechkin did indeed score three goals on the night to hit the milestone, a feat spurred on by a first-period goal scored from an all-too-familiar spot: The blocker side faceoff circle.

Here's how it happened.

With teammate Nicklas Backstrom (19) and Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) chasing the puck in the right corner, Ovechkin skated unchecked around the far post, ready to take possession should it bounce his way.

Having made his way to the near post, and with his eyes ever on the puck, Ovechkin watched as T.J. Oshie (77) knocked the puck loose before being tied by up Carl Gunnarsson (4) along the boards.

As Backstrom gathered the puck and passed it back to defenseman John Carlson (74), Ovechkin - now shadowed by Blues forward Troy Brouwer - circled backwards around the front of the net and closer to his office.

Carlson received the pass and got himself in position to either pass or shoot, drawing the full attention of no fewer than four Blues skaters, as well as goaltender Brian Elliott, who squared up to make a save attempt.

Meanwhile, Ovechkin, again unchecked, positioned himself for a scoring chance.

Carlson has played with Ovechkin long enough to know what to do next, and therefore made the wise choice to dish the puck to the expectant winger.

To no one's surprise, Ovechkin was able to take advantage of the open space to Elliott's right, and promptly deposited the puck into the back of the net for his first of the night and 48th of the season.

At this point in his career, it's astonishing Ovechkin can continue to fire at will from this spot, but here he was able to do it against a team that sits third overall in the NHL standings and tied for fourth in goals against.

It's but one reason why only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy have recorded more 50-goal seasons than Ovechkin, who, at age 30, has a ways to go before he's done terrorizing the opposition.

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Carey Price thanks fans for support in injury-plagued season

Carey Price appreciates the love shown to him through a difficult season.

The reigning NHL MVP and Vezina Trophy winner, who was limited to 12 games in 2015-16 due to a knee injury, took a moment Sunday to thank Montreal Canadiens' fans who supported him over the past several months:

Price doesn't require surgery, and is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp, preceded by a possible appearance at the 2016 World Cup in September.

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VIDEO: DiCaprio plays ‘catch me if you can’ with camera at Islanders game

In perhaps his greatest acting performance yet, Leonardo DiCaprio pretended not to be at a New York Islanders game.

The Oscar-winning actor was spotted sitting next to good friend and "Entourage" star Kevin Connolly at Barclays' Center on Saturday, but tried to keep a low profile by hiding underneath his hat.

The Islanders have certainly experienced some growing pains over the years, but the faithful revenant among the fan base - Connolly chief among them - is set to enjoy another playoff appearance. Hopefully it won't be a titanic failure, giving DiCaprio another chance to play "catch me if you can" with the cameraman in later rounds.

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Maple Leafs, Oilers, Canucks hold best chances of winning draft lottery

The bottom of the table is set.

With only two regular season games involving playoff teams remaining on the schedule, the 14 teams on the outside looking in now know their odds of landing the first overall pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

A trio of Canadian teams - the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks - possess a greater than 10 percent chance of winning the right to select wunderkind Auston Matthews.

Here are the odds for the entire field:

Team Chance To Win Lottery
Maple Leafs 20%
Oilers 13.5%
Canucks 11.5%
Blue Jackets 9.5%
Flames 8.5%
Coyotes 7.5%
Jets 6.5%
Sabres 6%
Canadiens 5%
Avalanche 3.5%
Devils 3%
Senators 2.5%
Hurricanes 2%
Bruins 1%

The 2016 NHL Draft lottery will take place April 30.

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Report: Senators’ GM Murray to step down, Dorion to be promoted

The Ottawa Senators have called a press conference for Sunday morning to make a "significant hockey announcement."

It's believed general manager Bryan Murray has decided to step down and shift into a role as a senior advisor, while assistant Pierre Dorion will become the seventh GM in club history, reports Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen.

Murray has served as GM since 2007, taking on the role after coaching the Senators to the Stanley Cup Final that year. The 73-year-old remains in a battle with Stage 4 colon cancer, and has reportedly been considering this move for over a year.

He'll hand the job to Dorion, who's been with the Senators for nine seasons, while another familiar name may have an increased role:

An official announcement is set for 11 a.m. ET from Ottawa.

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Datsyuk to leave Red Wings after playoffs: ‘I think I am done playing in NHL’

Pavel Datsyuk is going home.

The Detroit Red Wings center appears set to forego the final year of his contract, opting instead to return to his native Russia for family reasons.

"I'm thinking I go home after this season," he told Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. "I may not be done with hockey, but - it is hard to say - I think I am done playing in NHL."

Datsyuk added he wanted to make the announcement sooner rather than later to avoid any distractions now that the team has clinched a playoff spot, especially following reports last week suggesting there was a legitimate chance he would leave the NHL.

"Because of the rumors out there, I wanted to clear this up now before the playoffs started so I can focus only on giving my best playoff performance," he said. "And I wanted the fans to hear it from me, not someone else."

The 38-year-old has one year and $5.5 million remaining on his contract, which carries a $7.5-million cap hit that will remain on Detroit's books since the deal was signed after he turned 35. The three-year pact is one that, in hindsight, Datsyuk wishes he hadn't signed.

"I feel very bad about it," the center said. "Looking back, I wish I had done a year-by-year contract, not a three-year contract. I stayed (last year) in respect for (team owners) the Ilitch family. I don't want to leave team in disaster. But if I have to do over again, I would sign a different deal. I didn't realize it at the time."

Datsyuk's agent later corroborated his client's statement:

The Red Wings clinched their 25th consecutive playoff spot Saturday, and will face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round, meaning Datsyuk has at least two games remaining at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit's sixth-round pick in 1998, Datsyuk has appeared in 953 regular-season games with the Red Wings, recording 314 goals and 604 assists. He's also won two Stanley Cups and the Selke Trophy three times.

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