Reports: Steve Yzerman to be named new Tampa Bay GM

yz.jpgAfter weeks of speculating, it is expected that Steve Yzerman will be
named as the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning today.
According to a number of media reports, there will be a press conference
this afternoon to make the formal announcement.

Yzerman’s name
has always been associated with the vacant job in Tampa, and the way he
continuously dodged all questions or was continuously vague in his
answers further fueled speculation that he was the number one candidate
and that he was seriously considering the offer.

Yzerman, like Joe
Nieuwendyk, has taken a path straight to the top since retirement as he
hopped on with the Red Wings front office in 2006.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, looking for a new start after firing their coach and general manager in April, as well as all of the ownership issues of the past few seasons, have to be ecstatic to have a person of Yzerman’s character and ability representing their team. He was Executive Director of Team Canada for the 2010 Olympics and has been learning the ropes of the management business under perhaps the best GM in the NHL, Ken Holland.

The Lightning and the fans should not expect an immediate turnaround, as he has a lot of problems to sort through and a lot or rebuilding to get started. There are a number of highly-paid, aging veterans on the team, yet there are still some shining positives to focus on. Steven Stamkos is the obvious one, and perhaps Yzerman can be the one to snap Stamkos out of the “selfish” mold he’s been put into.

The press
conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. this afternoon.

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    Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

    (Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

    The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

    It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

    Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

    Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

    The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

    Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

    Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

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    Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

    Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

    That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

    Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

    Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you. stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

    Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

    Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.

    Ovechkin vs. Crosby shifts into high gear, Carlson clobbers Malkin

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    You have to love when sports deliver on – if not exceed – the hype.

    The second period of Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals has been brilliant and nasty, possibly more than many hockey fans dreamed.

    It began with the Penguins getting the big edge; Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the span of 52 seconds and Braden Holtby needed to make some tough stops to keep it at 2-0.

    MORE: Video of Crosby’s hot start

    That put a damper on the great crowd at the Verizon Center for a bit, but the Capitals ended up responding.

    Part of that was a physical response, with Dmitry Orlov delivering a big hit on Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson absolutely leveling Evgeni Malkin. The narrative got almost too obvious moments later, as Alex Ovechkin fired a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1.

    Fleury made a tough stop or two of his own once it was 2-1, so while the pace is picking up, the two goalies seem like they’re alert to the challenge as well.

    There was plenty of nastiness with 18.9 seconds remaining in the second, setting the stage for what could be a thrilling third period … and maybe more?

    Buckle up.

    Video: Crosby scores two goals in 52 seconds vs. Capitals

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    Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins came roaring out of the gate to start the second period after a 0-0 opening frame against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

    Crosby scored two goals in just 52 seconds to give the Penguins a sudden 2-0 lead. One feels some pity for any fans who didn’t get to their seats just to start the frame … though in the likely event that they are Capitals fans, they might have been spared.

    To Braden Holtby‘s credit, he made a couple tough saves moments later to keep it 2-0. It’s been a hectic first few minutes of the second after that relatively mundane first 20 minutes, so hang on tight.

    Check out video above; you can also watch the pair of goals in the GIF combo below: