NHL announces Conference finals schedule

The Stanley Cup Conference finals will begin on Sunday with the Western Conference finals being at 3pm ET on NBC and the Eastern Conference finals kicking off at 7pm ET. The NHL announced the rest of the schedules this afternoon, and yes, there will be differences depending on who wins tonight’s Game 7 between Boston and Philadelphia.

If Boston advances, the schedule breaks down like this:


Western Conference 
Sunday, May 16    3:00 p.m.  Chicago at San Jose   NBC, TSN, RDS 

Tuesday, May 18   9:00 p.m.  Chicago at San Jose   VERSUS, TSN, RDS 
Thursday, May 20  8:00 p.m.  San Jose at Chicago   VERSUS, TSN, RDS 
Saturday, May 22   3:00 p.m.  San Jose at Chicago   NBC, CBC, RDS 
Monday, May 24 *  9:00 p.m.  Chicago at San Jose   VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Wednesday, May 26 *  8:00 p.m. San Jose at Chicago   VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Saturday, May 29 *  TBD        Chicago at San Jose    VERSUS, CBC, RDS 

Eastern Conference         
Sunday, May 16   7:00 p.m. Montreal at Boston  VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Wednesday, May 19 7:00 p.m.  Montreal at Boston   VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Friday, May 21      7:00 p.m. Boston at Montreal  VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Sunday, May 23    3:00 p.m. Boston at Montreal  NBC, CBC, RDS 
Tuesday, May 25 * 7:00 p.m. Montreal at Boston  VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Thursday, May 27 * 7:00 p.m. Boston at Montreal  VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Saturday, May 29 *  TBD        Montreal at Boston  VERSUS, CBC, RDS

* – if necessary

 

 

If Philadelphia completes their incredible comeback tonight, the schedule will go like this:

 

Western Conference           
Sunday, May 16  3:00 p.m.  Chicago at San Jose  NBC, TSN, RDS         
Tuesday, May 18 10:00 p.m. Chicago at San Jose  VERSUS, TSN, RDS         
Friday, May 21    8:00 p.m.   San Jose at Chicago  VERSUS, TSN, RDS         
Sunday, May 23  3:00 p.m.   San Jose at Chicago  NBC, CBC, RDS         
Tuesday, May 25 * 9:00 p.m. Chicago at San Jose  VERSUS, CBC, RDS         
Thursday, May 27 * 8:00 p.m. San Jose at Chicago VERSUS, CBC, RDS         
Saturday, May 29 * 8:00 p.m. Chicago at San Jose  VERSUS, CBC, RDS         

Eastern Conference 
Sunday, May 16     7:00 p.m.  Montreal at Philadelphia   VERSUS, CBC, RDS 
Tuesday, May 18    7:00 p.m.  Montreal at Philadelphia   VERSUS, CBC, RDS         
Thursday, May 20   7:00 p.m.  Philadelphia at Montreal   VERSUS, CBC, RDS         
Saturday, May 22    3:00 p.m.  Philadelphia at Montreal    NBC, CBC, RDS         
Monday, May 24 *   7:00 p.m.  Montreal at Philadelphia   VERSUS, CBC, RDS         
Wednesday, May 26 * 7:00 p.m.  Philadelphia at Montreal VERSUS, CBC, RDS         
Friday, May 28 *      7:00 p.m.  Montreal at Philadelphia   VERSUS, CBC, RDS 

* – if necessary

 

The differences here are that if Philadelphia advances, we’ll have another two-game night on Tuesday, but if Boston advances, the Eastern Conference finals will get two days off after Game 1. The crazy part here is if either series manages to get to a Game 7, we’re looking at the Stanley Cup finals starting in June. If nothing else, it’s an effective way to help shorten the NHL offseason.

 

If Boston should advance and both Conference finals end up going seven, it sets up May 29th as a potential hockey overload day with two Game 7s in one day. I don’t like to bust out the hyperbole, but that could prove to be the most amazing and nerve racking day of hockey all year long.

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    Andreas Athanasiou, Red Wings finally settle on one-year deal

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    The contract stalemate between the Detroit Red Wings and Andreas Athanasiou is finally over.

    On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the two sides struck a deal that will see the 23-year-old forward back in the lineup, at least for this season. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.387 million.

    Due to Detroit’s tight salary cap situation, the deal has not been officially announced because general manager Ken Holland needs to free up space in order to fit Athanasiou’s contract.

    Athanasiou, who was a restricted free agent this summer, was seeking a two-year deal worth around $2.5 million per season. The Red Wings, meanwhile, were holding firm on a one- or two-year deal carrying a $1.9 million AAV. As the stalemate dragged on, he began practicing with Swiss side HC Lugano, but did not sign a contract. He had until Dec. 1 to make an NHL return in order to be eligible to play this season. The KHL card was played, but as Torey Krug showed, that move is always a clear bluff.

    The one-year pact is essentially a “show-me” deal for Athanasiou, who scored 18 goals and recorded 29 points last season. He finished second on the Red Wings in even strength goals (17) in 2016-17 and tallied a pair of overtime winners. A good year and with some salary off the books next summer, he can cash in with a longer-term contract. He’ll once again be an RFA next summer, so Detroit will control his rights, but he’ll have arbitration rights.

    According to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, along with the contract Athanasiou has been promised a minutes bump from the 13:27 he played last season, as well as regular time on both special teams units.

    Detroit is off to a 4-3-0 start and averaging 3.14 goals per game. Once Athanasiou arrives from Switzerland and gets up to speed — possibly with an AHL conditioning stint — his presence will certainly be a boost to the Red Wings’ lineup.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.:

     

    NHL admits off-side challenge error that cost Avalanche a goal

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    The NHL admitted on Friday that a decision denying the Colorado Avalanche a tying goal against the St. Louis was wrong.

    Mikko Rantanen’s goal late in the third period was overturned after Sven Andrighetto was ruled to be off-side following a video review challenge issued by the Blues.

    Now here’s where the fun starts.

    Because Andrighetto was not ruled off-side by the linesman when he touches the puck in the Blues’ zone, when he leaves and re-enters the zone that’s considered a (clean) second zone entry. So the goal should have counted and the Avs should have had a power play for a failed off-side challenge.

    Here’s the NHL’s statement:

    “St. Louis requested a Coach’s Challenge to determine whether Sven Andrighetto of Colorado was off-side prior to the Avalanche goal. The video review decision determined the play was off-side but that determination was based on a play prior to the puck clearing the zone. 

    Per Rule 78. 7 (Note 1) Coach’s Challenge: ‘Goals will only be reviewed for a potential “Off-Side” infraction if: a) the puck does not come out of the attacking zone again; or (b) all members of the attacking team do not clear the attacking zone again, between the time of the “Off-Side” play and the time the goal is scored.

    Although there was an off-side, it occurred prior to the puck clearing the zone which nullifies any goal review related to that off-side. The entry in to the zone immediately prior to the goal was on-side, therefore the goal should have counted.”

    Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, appearing on Sportnet’s Hockey Central at Noon on Friday, said he believes the wording of the rule will change in the future.

    “The call on the ice was correct,” he said. “The wording in the rulebook is wrong, and that’s where we’re going to have to work with. I think that’s why the rulebook always changes because you come up with unintended consequences, and that was one of them. I don’t think anyone that watched the game last night think that’s a goal we want to count.”

    Let’s just go with NHL ’94 rules and turn off-side off, yeah? That’ll stop games from being paused and goals being taken off the board because a player’s skate blade was a millimeter off-side entering the offensive zone.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Canucks’ Gudbranson suspended 1 game for boarding Vatrano (Video)

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    Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson will miss Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres after he was suspended one game for boarding Frank Vatrano of the Boston Bruins.

    The hit occurred early in the first period during Thursday’s 6-3 Bruins victory. Gudbranson was given a majors for boarding and fighting, along with a game misconduct. The Bruins would take advantage with three power play goals. Vatrano would retun to the game later in the period.

    Here’s the Department of Player Safety’s explanation:

    Look at many of the suspensions the NHL’s DoPS has handed out for boarding and it’s the same thing over and over again. The suspended player has time to make a better decision on a hit, but fails to do so. Here, Gudbranson could have changed his angle, minimized contact with Vatrano or tie him up along the boards instead of plastering him into the glass.

    Gudbranson will see $18,817.20 of his salary go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Adam McQuaid’s broken leg is the latest injury to hit Bruins

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    Another day, another Boston Bruins player exiting the lineup due to injury.

    The team announced on Friday that defenseman Adam McQuaid will miss the next eight weeks recovering from a broken right fibula. The injury was suffered during Thursday night’s win over the Vancouver Canucks when he blocked two shots on the same shift in the final period.

    “Adam has been doing that for years around here,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said afterward. “He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates.”

    The Bruins were happy to get Patrice Bergeron (four points) back in their lineup, but that was after Tuukka Rask was diagnosed with a concussion. Losing McQuaid to a broken leg and David Krejci to an upper-body injury was not ideal despite the two points. Cassidy said he expected Bergeron and Krejci to return to the lineup Saturday versus the Buffalo Sabres after sitting out Friday’s optional skate.

    Stick-tap Reddit user and Walking Dead fan RickvsNegan for the video

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.