2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3: Does Pronger get away with too much?

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Chris Pronger does not have a great reputation. He’s been suspended
multiple times in the past, and not always for just a bad hit — the
leg-stomping incident is about as bad as you can get.

That he ended up playing for the Flyers is only fitting. He was
brought in to provide not only great defensive leadership and veteran
experience, but to be that nasty guy out on the ice that no one wants to
mess with. The Flyers are a physical team for sure, but every team
needs a player that is — sort of — like Pronger.

A lot of the focus headed into this series has been on his matchup
against Dustin Byfuglien. After two games and a complete shutdown of the
Blackhawks’ top line, the focus has now shifted to what I think is one
of the oddest and dumbest incidents to debate over I’ve seen in a long
time.

Chris Pronger stole the puck at the end of both games.

Oh my.

This has caused an incredible amount of debate to spill out across
the interweb, with many saying this is justification that Pronger is
nothing more than a jerk. Perhaps he’s a genius. It seems that everyone
is talking about Pronger and this puck incident instead of focusing on
what really matters.

Today, several of the Blackhawks were asked about Pronger. Other than
the postgame festivities after Game 2, he’s been relatively quiet. He’s
played solid and smart hockey, not allowing himself to get caught up in
any games with the rest of the Blackhawks.

Instead, it’s the Blackhawks that are now caught up in his game.
Patrick Kane was asked if perhaps Pronger gets away with more because oh
who he is.

“I think so. I think the refs probably know it too,” Kane said. “He’s
been in the league a long time. He gets away with whacks here and
there that he probably shouldn’t. Playing in the league that long, I
guess you kind of deserve something like that.”

Coach Joel Quenneville isn’t all that worried about it, and says that
Pronger is smart for being able to play like he does without taking too
many penalties.

“You have to commend Prongs for finding ways to get around it or
push the envelope, whichever — as far as, I guess, you can push it.
But he’s a smart player that is effective in a lot of ways. He finds
the way to take advantage of whatever situation it is that can give him
an edge.”

Perhaps Pronger went a bit too far in taking those
pucks, but it’s created drama for the Blackhawks while he’s easily
shrugged off any question directed his way about it. The Flyers didn’t
have much to say about it today and frankly weren’t asked all that much
about the incident.

I’m certain that Adam Burish will have
something to say though, and while he’s done plenty of talking off the
ice I’m certain he might have something to say tonight as well.

Jackets re-sign Sedlak, AHL affiliate’s leading playoff scorer

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 20:  Lukas Sedlak #85 of the Columbus Blue Jackets waits for the pass during the game against the Winnipeg Jets on September 20, 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Jets 5-1.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
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Columbus farmhand Lukas Sedlak, who currently sits tied atop AHL Lake Erie’s playoff scoring leaderboard, has signed a one-year, two-way deal, the Jackets announced on Wednesday.

Sedlak, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2011 that’s spent the last three years in the American League. This season was by far his most successful — in addition to potting a career-best 14 goals, he’s become close to a point-a-game producer in the playoffs, with 11 through 12 games.

“Sedlak has been on a run for us with goal-scoring,” Lake Erie head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s not a guy who does it for us every night. But he works so hard in all the other areas.”

Sedlak has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be in the mix for a recall next season.

Despite Canadian dollar, Bettman still expects ‘revenue increase’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answers a question during a news conference before the NHL All-Star hockey game skills competition, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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The Canadian dollar is trading at around $0.77 USD today. While that’s up considerably from where it was a few months ago, the damage has already been done to NHL revenues.

“If the Canadian dollar was still at par, we would be $100 or 200 million higher perhaps than we may find ourselves,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg Television today.

Having said that, Bettman still expects there will be a “revenue increase” compared to last year, adding that “we continue to grow year after year and set new records.”

More from Bloomberg:

Bettman said that while the NHL’s revenue growth has come across the entire business, the league has seen its biggest boon in its digital platform. The league last year signed a six-year, $1.2 billion contract with Major League Baseball’s interactive media and Internet arm, or BAM, to operate the its digital operations, streaming services and TV network. The NHL got a 10 percent stake as part the deal.

The NHL playoffs are currently in the middle of the conference finals. The NHL’s fiscal year ends June 30.

League revenues, of course, have a direct impact on the salary cap, and let’s face it, that’s the only thing most fans care about.

As of March, the cap was expected to grow from $71.4 million in 2015-16 to $74 million next season.

However, that projection assumed the NHLPA would accept the CBA’s standard five percent growth factor, and with escrow topping the list of player concerns, that’s no given.

The players’ association will discuss and make a decision on the growth factor at some point before July 1.

Related: Bowman noncommittal on Shaw and Bickell, needs to know salary cap first

Devils’ Merrill undergoes shoulder surgery, out four months

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04: Jon Merrill #7 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center on January 4, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Red Wings defeated the Devils 1-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New Jersey d-man Jon Merrill, who struggled through an injury-riddled campaign, has undergone successful shoulder surgery with an expected recovery time of four months, the club announced on Wednesday.

Merrill, 24, only appeared in 47 games this year, first missing time with an arm injury, then suffering a shoulder ailment late in the year.

There was no clear indication if the two ailments were related, but Merrill’s arm injury was on the right side, and surgery was on his right shoulder.

A former University of Michigan standout taken 38th overall in 2010, Merrill enjoyed solid rookie and sophomore campaigns in New Jersey. His second year was especially solid — 14 points in 66 games, averaging over 20 minutes per night — and he boasts good size, going 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.

Based on the four-month timetable for recovery, Merrill will likely miss parts of New Jersey’s training camp and preseason action.

Max Talbot mulling European options for next season

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After a 10-year career with over 700 games played and one Stanley Cup, Maxime Talbot could be done in the NHL.

Per RDS, Talbot — who’ll hit unrestricted free agency on July 1 — has “some options in Europe” for next season, and is contemplating a move overseas.

In his prime, Talbot was a gritty, hardworking forward with decent touch around the net. He scored double-digit goals four times, including a career-high 19 in ’11-12.

The 32-year-old split last season between Boston and its AHL affiliate in Providence, scoring seven points in 38 games at the NHL level.

Talbot did acquit himself very well with the P-Bruins — 21 points in 26 games — and has some experience playing abroad, having suited up for Finnish League club Ilves Tampere during the lockout.

Based on how things went last year in free agency, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Talbot land in Europe.

The likes of Maxim Lapierre, Curtis Glencross and Marcel Goc all failed to score NHL contracts last summer — Lapierre and Goc proceeded to sign overseas, while Glencross opted to retire.