Ryan Miller & Mike Babcock on NHL Hour tonight

Canada coach Mike Babcock and USA goaltender Ryan Miller will be on NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman tonight on NHL Home Ice from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The show encourages fans to call in with questions for the commissioner, and tonight he’ll have two key pieces of the momentous gold medal game as his guests.

Of course, we’d have liked an audio showdown between Sidney Crosby and Ryan Miller since we missed out on a rematch on Tuesday night. But that would be pretty tough since Sid is playing tonight in New York; although a call-in interview from the visitor’s locker room would be pretty neat.

NHL press release is after the jump.


NEW YORK (March 4, 2010) – Mike Babcock, head coach of
the Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada, and Ryan Miller goaltender for
the Buffalo Sabres and Team USA, are today’s guests on NHL Hour With
Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.

Babcock’s international coaching career has been golden. On Sunday, as
head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team, Babcock completed
hockey’s grand slam by adding yet another accomplishment to his already
impressive resume. With Canada’s 3-2 overtime victory against Team USA
in Vancouver, Babcock became the only coach in hockey history to guide
teams to supremacy in four of the most prestigious tournaments in the
game: the World Junior Championship, the World Championship, the Olympic
Games and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Babcock coached Team Canada
to gold medal performances at the 1997 World Junior Championship in
Geneva, 2004 World Championship in Prague and 2010 Olympic Winter Games
in Vancouver. In 2008, the same year he was named as a finalist for the
Jack Adams Trophy as NHL Coach of the Year, Babcock guided the Detroit
Red Wings to a Stanley Cup championship by defeating Sidney Crosby’s
Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

On Sunday, moments after
receiving his silver medal, Team USA’s goaltender Ryan Miller was also
named tournament MVP, voted to the All-Star team and named one of three
recipients of the Directorate Awards at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in
Vancouver. Miller came into the gold medal game with the weight of the
team on his shoulders, after finishing the semi-final round with a
perfect 4-0 record.

Miller’s Sabres are currently sitting one
point off the NHL’s Northeast Division lead with 75 points. The Club’s
next game is Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers. He set new career
highs in saves (48) and shots faced (50) against Toronto on January 8
and played in his 300th career NHL game on January 6, 2010.

match-up for the March 21 “Game of the Week” on NBC Sports also will be
announced during NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 6
p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and on SIRIUS Channel
208 as part of the “Best of XM” programming package) and NHL.com. The
show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for
download via podcast on NHL.com.

The show encourages fans to call
in with questions for the Commissioner. To submit questions to NHL Hour
call 1-877-645-6696. NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman is a
production of NHL

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    Bruins sign Olympic standout Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

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    The Boston Bruins have a plethora of young players coming through the pipeline, including Ryan Donato who they signed to a two-year, entry-level contract on Sunday night.

    The Bruins drafted Donato in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The 21-year-old spent each of the last two seasons at Harvard. In 2017-18, he finished the year with 26 goals and 17 assists in 29 games with the Crimson.

    Donato also represented the United States at this 2018 Olympic Games, where he had had five goals (tied for the tournament lead) in five games.

    The team has already announced that he’ll join them right away. He’s eligible to suit up in tomorrow’s game.

    “It came together in pretty short order,” GM Don Sweeney said, per the Bruins’ Twitter account. “We had always been committed to providing the opportunity to Ryan if and when he decided to leave school…I think it was an opportunity on both sides to explore with Ryan and see where he’s at.

    “He’s a kid that’s got a confidence about himself, a talent level, and he’s got some details he’s gonna have to work on – all young players do. But he’s a player that has hard skill. We’re looking forward to having him…get immersed and get a taste.”

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    Nathan MacKinnon delivered another MVP-like performance on Sunday


    Not only is Nathan MacKinnon involved in a tight playoff race, he’s also in the thick of the MVP hunt. His performance in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings certainly didn’t hurt his chances of winning the award.

    MacKinnon finished the night with two goals, an assist and 11 shots on goal in 18:05 of ice time. Oh, and one of his goals looked like this:

    The 22-year-old is now riding an 12-game point streak. He’s racked up an incredible 24 points during that stretch. The Avs forward has also racked up 28 points in his last 15 outings.

    The Avalanche went 4-4 during MacKinnon’s eight-game absence between Feb. 1-16. With him in the lineup, they’re 35-21-8. That’s quite a difference.

    “If we get in the playoffs, for me, he’s the MVP,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon, per the Denver Post. “I can’t imagine there is another player who means more to their team, and doing more for their team, than Nate’s doing for us. That’s just the way I see it. He is the driving force to our offense. And it’s consistent. It’s multiple-point games — seems like every night.”

    Of course, his biggest competition will come in the form of Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils, Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and a few others.

    It’ll be difficult not to give MacKinnon the award if the Avs qualify for the playoffs. They’re currently sitting in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but they haven’t clinched anything just yet.

    On a positive note, they’re also just three points behind the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division.

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    WATCH LIVE: St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks

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    Projected Lines

    St. Louis Blues

    Jaden SchwartzBrayden SchennVladimir Tarasenko
    Patrik BerglundKyle BrodziakAlexander Steen
    Dmitrij JaskinVladimir SobotkaTage Thompson
    Nikita SoshnikovIvan BarbashevChris Thorburn

    Carl GunnarssonAlex Pietrangelo
    Vince DunnColton Parayko
    Joel EdmundsonRobert Bortuzzo

    Starting goalie: Jake Allen

    [Check out the PHT Preview of the game]

    Chicago Blackhawks

    Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
    Matthew Highmore – Nick Schmaltz – Vinne Hinostroza
    Tomas JurcoArtem AnisimovAlex DeBrincat
    Patrick SharpDavid Kampf – John Hayden

    Duncan KeithJan Rutta
    Erik GustafssonBrent Seabrook
    Jordan OesterleConnor Murphy

    Starting goalie: Jean-Francois Berube

    NHL Playoff Push: Another huge day ahead for Western Conference race


    Entering play on Sunday there are six teams in the Western Conference that fighting for three playoff spots (the third spot in the Pacific Division, both Wild Cards). Those teams are all separated by just four points.

    Five of those teams are in action on Sunday.

    First, here is a look at how the standings look entering the day.

    The Kings lost on Saturday to New Jersey and failed to gain any ground on the rest of the pack, while the Blues were able to get a huge win against the New York Rangers and set up another big game for them on Sunday night when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks. You can catch that game on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET.

    On Sunday the Avalanche are hosting a Detroit team that is just circling the drain down the stretch and have a great opportunity to pick up two more huge points. The other Wild Card team at the moment, Dallas, is trending in the wrong direction down the stretch having won just five of their past 16 games. They are in Winnipeg on Sunday to play a Jets team that has one of the most powerful offenses in the league.

    The Ducks, meanwhile, who can climb into the third spot in the Pacific Division with a point on Sunday, are hosing the Devils team that knocked off the Kings on Saturday.

    The other team in that mix is Calgary. The Flames are the team that probably have the longest odds in this group, sitting four points back with all of the aforementioned teams sitting ahead of them. They are in Vegas to take on one of the best home teams in the league this season. The Flames, for what it is worth, have been one of the absolute best road teams. Given the standings and deficit they are facing the Flames have almost no margin for error the rest of the way.

    [The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

    In the East, New Jersey has a chance to to move up a couple of spots in the standings with a win and some help.

    A Devils win in Anaheim, combined with a Flyers loss to the Washington Capitals, would put the Devils into the third spot in the Metropolitan Division. Even if the Flyers win and maintain their hold on the No. 3 spot in the Metro the Devils could still leapfrog the Blue Jackets for the first Wild Card spot.

    The other game in the Eastern Conference on Sunday with playoff implications is Tampa Bay hosting the Edmonton Oilers.

    The Lightning have seen its lead in the Atlantic Division dwindle down to just two points after losing to the Boston  Bruins on Saturday night while the Bruins still have a game in hand. The Lightning could reclaim that four point lead with a win. The Oilers have been playing a bit better as of late, thanks almost entirely to Connor McDavid making a late season push for the scoring title.

    If The Playoffs Started Today

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
    Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
    Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
    Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

    Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars
    Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche
    Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild
    San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings

    Sunday’s Key Games

    Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche, 3 p.m. ET
    Calgary Flames vs. Vegas Golden Knights, 4 p.m. ET
    Edmonton Oilers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 p.m. ET
    Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 5 p.m. ET
    St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. ET
    Dallas Stars vs. Winnipeg Jets, 7:30 p.m ET
    New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Ducks, 9 p.m. ET

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.