Category Archives: Hockey News

Lehner: I ‘watched you guys talk shit on Twitter’ as motivation

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner's outstanding performance in Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens was apparently fueled by his doubters.

Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer's decision to start Lehner on Sunday drew plenty of criticism. He played in just one prior game this postseason and got burned for seven goals on 37 shots, while fellow netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was solid aside from his Game 3 blunder.

Lehner, who's fairly active on social media, turned in a marvelous 27-save outing in Vegas' 2-1 overtime win and thanked his haters for the motivation.

"Not many people know I come to the game four hours early," Lehner told reporters. "I get my own bus, I come four hours early. I sat for two hours and watched you guys talk shit on Twitter on me to get me motivated. It was great, just to see all what you guys had to say, I don't care what people think."

He also chimed in on Twitter after his press conference.

The Habs won the high-danger-scoring chance battle by an astounding 18-1 margin, according to Natural Stat Trick. DeBoer said he knew his goaltender was capable of such a heroic effort.

"He was excellent. I knew he'd be good. A lot of things went into it," DeBoer said postgame, according to NHL.com's Danny Webster.

"We wouldn't be here without Flower," he added, noting that Fleury's gaffe in Game 3 "had nothing to do" with the decision. "Knowing Lenny, the gamble to play him was no bigger than playing a fatigued goalie with no rest on the horizon."

Lehner posted a .913 save percentage and a 2.29 goals-against average in 19 regular-season contests. The Golden Knights rotated Lehner and Fleury every other game during the campaign when both netminders were healthy. The duo shared the Wiliam M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league.

The series, which is now tied 2-2, shifts back to Sin City for Game 5 on Tuesday, and Lehner is almost certainly bound to get the starting nod once again.

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Golden Knights’ McCrimmon tests positive for COVID-19

Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon tested positive for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating, the team announced Sunday, according to The Athletic's Jesse Granger.

No Golden Knights players were on the NHL's COVID-19 list that was released at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.

McCrimmon's positive test is the second confirmed case during his team's semifinal series against Montreal, with Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme also testing positive on Friday.

The Golden Knights will take on the Canadiens in Game 4 in Montreal on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

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Report: Golden Knights’ Lehner starting Game 4

Marc-Andre Fleury's gaffe has at least temporarily cost him his job.

Robin Lehner is the Vegas Golden Knights' starting goaltender for Game 4 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series against the Montreal Canadiens, reports ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer informed Lehner and Fleury of the decision Saturday, adds Kaplan.

DeBoer wouldn't confirm his starter when asked about it after Sunday's morning skate. Lehner was the first Golden Knights puck-stopper off the ice at the session, and that generally determines who gets the nod.

It will be Lehner's first appearance in these playoffs in exactly three weeks and only his second of 2021. The Swede surrendered seven goals on 37 shots in a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of their second-round matchup.

Fleury had been mostly stellar in this postseason, but his giveaway in Game 3 against the Canadiens allowed Montreal to tie that contest in the final minutes and then win it in overtime.

The 36-year-old, who's a 2021 Vezina Trophy finalist, also outperformed Lehner during the regular season, though the soon-to-be 30-year-old goalie played only 19 games due to a concussion.

Lehner started every contest for Vegas during the 2019-20 playoffs but has suited up for only four games in the last 50 days.

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET in Montreal.

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Golden Knights won’t confirm Game 4 starter

Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer wouldn't reveal his starting goaltender for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup semifinal series against the Montreal Canadiens when asked about it Sunday.

"Not a chance I'm confirming that," DeBoer said after the Golden Knights' morning skate, according to NHL.com's Danny Webster.

Robin Lehner was the first netminder off the ice for Vegas at Sunday's session, according to Sportsnet's Kyle Bukauskas. Lehner hasn't played since allowing seven goals on 37 shots in a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of his team's second-round matchup on May 30. That's his lone appearance in these playoffs.

Marc-Andre Fleury started the other 15 games, posting nine wins and a .921 save percentage in those contests. However, his misplay of the puck late in Game 3 against the Canadiens on Friday allowed Josh Anderson to tie it with under two minutes left in regulation.

Montreal ultimately prevailed in overtime, and DeBoer said afterward, "there's no doubt" Fleury's gaffe affected his team in the extra frame.

A concussion limited Lehner to 19 regular-season games this year, but he produced a .913 save percentage and 2.5 goals saved above average in 2021 prior to the postseason. The Swedish puck-stopper, along with Fleury, helped the Golden Knights win the Jennings Trophy this year as the tandem with the fewest goals against in the NHL.

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Report: Tocchet among finalists for Kraken head coaching job

Rick Tocchet is on the Seattle Kraken's shortlist for their head coaching vacancy.

The former Arizona Coyotes bench boss is a finalist to become Seattle's first-ever head coach, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported on "Saturday Headlines."

Last month, it was reported that Tocchet had interviews lined up with both the Kraken and New York Rangers, who ultimately hired Gerard Gallant earlier this week.

Tocchet and the Coyotes parted ways on May 9. The 57-year-old's contract expired on June 30.

The former NHL forward guided Arizona for four seasons, posting a 125-131-34 record and helping the club reach the postseason in 2019-20 for the first time since 2011-12.

Tocchet won back-to-back championships as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017 before the Coyotes hired him. He was the Tampa Bay Lightning's head coach for parts of two seasons from 2008 to 2010.

The Ontario-born former winger played 18 years in the league before joining the coaching ranks. He amassed 440 goals and 512 assists in 1,144 games with six teams.

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Report: Ekman-Larsson, Coyotes agree to survey trade market

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is on the trade block again, but the Arizona Coyotes captain is entering the process with a more open mind this time around.

The Swedish blue-liner was involved in trade rumors last offseason but was reportedly willing to accept a move only to the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks by using his full no-movement clause.

However, the Coyotes and Ekman-Larsson's camp will use a different approach this summer.

"What Ekman-Larsson has told the Coyotes and what the Coyotes have agreed to do is, 'We're going to go out there, we're going to check the market, and we're going to bring a deal to you, and then you can decide whether you're comfortable with that team,'" Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday's "Headlines" segment.

Ekman-Larsson tallied three goals and 21 assists in 46 games in 2020-21 while averaging 20:58 of ice time per contest - the lowest since his rookie campaign. The underlying numbers haven't been kind to him at even strength over the last three years, though he's produced on the power play, according to Evolving-Hockey.

Evolving-Hockey

Ekman-Larsson turns 30 years old in July and has six seasons remaining on his contract carrying an annual cap hit of $8.25 million, according to CapFriendly.

The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers were reportedly among the other teams to show interest in Ekman-Larsson last summer.

Ekman-Larsson said in October he's "never really wanted to do anything but to stay in Arizona."

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Report: Canadiens’ Ducharme out 2 weeks with COVID-19

If the Montreal Canadiens are to march on to the Stanley Cup Final, they'll have to do so without their interim head coach.

Dominique Ducharme needs to isolate for 14 days before he's eligible to rejoin the team following a positive COVID-19 result Friday, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

Assuming Friday counts as one of Ducharme's 14 isolation days, he wouldn't be eligible to return to the team's bench until July 2. Game 7 between the Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights is scheduled for June 26.

General manager Marc Bergevin said Friday that Ducharme is doing fine. Ducharme received his second COVID-19 vaccination shot June 9. However, he's not considered fully vaccinated because that date was less than two weeks ago.

Assistant Luke Richardson took over the reins and coached Montreal to victory over Vegas in Game 3. Alex Burrows and Sean Burke served as his assistants.

Ducharme replaced the fired Claude Julien behind Montreal's bench midseason. He led the Habs to a 15-16-7 regular-season record before defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets in the playoffs.

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Hurricanes’ Slavin becomes 4th D-man ever to win Lady Byng Trophy

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin edged out Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon to win the 2021 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

The award is given to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

The 27-year-old is the fourth defenseman ever to win the award in its 96-year history. Brian Campbell was the last to do so in 2012. Red Kelly (1951, 1953, 1954) and Bill Quackenbush (1949) also won the trophy.

Slavin, who's regarded as one of the league's better shutdown defenders, recorded just two penalty minutes in 52 games while averaging 22:59 per contest. His one infraction was a delay of game for flipping the puck over the glass.

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