2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Ville Leino continues to roll

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Leino.jpgFor some players, it just takes a change of scenery to really unleash
the talent everyone expected them to have. Others, it’s increased
minutes or a different role on the team. For some, it’s both.

For Ville Leino, it has been the postseason.

Traded from the Red Wings to the Flyers in the middle of the season,
Leino scored just two goals in 13 games before the postseason started.
He showed flashes at times for the Flyers, but I doubt that anyone
realized just how good he would be for this team when they needed every
player at their best.

With his seventh goal of the playoffs last night — which turned out
to be the game-winning goal — Leino passed Bryan Propp to break the
franchise record for points by a rookie in the playoffs. Leino has 16
points in 17 games, and has become somewhat of a revelation in
Philadelphia.

After scoring his goal, one that came off a great effort and a lucky
bounce, the home Flyers crowd stood and roared their appreciation for a
player that was just an afterthought in a mid-season trade. What was great to see was how Leino immediately deflected questions about the record and just wanted to talk about his team’s win.

“It was a special moment,” he said with a grin. “It was a fun game. It was a nice little
moment. I will remember it always. Good win there too. So it was a
great game.”

Leino didn’t
just arrive in Philly and set the town on fire, as the Flyers struggled
to find a role for him on the team. For Leino, it was certainly a low
point in his career.

“My confidence was at an all-time low there for a while,” Leino said.
“It was tough when I got here. I didn’t get a chance right away. I
played a few games, and after that I didn’t play again. It was just
tough. Obviously, you go through emotions there and think maybe you
won’t ever get a chance.”

According to the NHL, Leino is
technically considered a rookie. Yet even if he wasn’t, if he was just a
castoff from the Red Wings as he struggled at 26 years old to find his
place in the NHL, his resurgence in the postseason would still be just
as tremendous.

He was knocked around a bit by Brian Campbell in
the game and had to leave, and immediately Flyers fans were worried
about their team’s chances. Leino has become a vital part of this Flyers
team and his confidence soars with each game. You can see it in his
eyes; this is a man that is having the time of his life out on the ice.
That’s not what was happening just a few months ago.

It’s amazing
what happens when your team is confident in you. Right now, that
confidence is at an all-time high for Ville Leino.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.

Video: Beagle’s perfect shot dogs Murray for early Caps lead

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Matt Murray was just on another level in Game 3, giving the impression that the Washington Capitals would only beat him with perfect shots.

Jay Beagle got that memo … and maybe added a little element of surprise on top of that.

As you can see from the video above, Beagle beat Murray from an unexpected angle with a pretty resounding goal. It was one of those “Wait, did that just happen?”-type moments.

The Capitals saw their lead go away moments before this post was completed, so it’s now 1-1.

WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 4

Washington Capitals T.J. Oshie (77) tries to slide the puck past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the third period of Game 3 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP
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The Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 3 thanks to Matt Murray‘s heroics, but now they must face the Washington Capitals without Kris Letang in Game 4.

(And the Penguins were overwhelmed for much of that last contest with their best blueliner.)

The Capitals, meanwhile, acknowledge the baggage – perceived or not – of the past as they try to tie this series.

It should be a fascinating Game 4, and you can soak in all the drama and action on NBCSN and also stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

To be young: Coyotes to hire 26-year-old as GM, give Tippett more say

Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett watches his team play the Detroit Red Wings during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.  (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
AP
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It sounds like the Arizona Coyotes’ youth movement won’t merely be seen on the ice.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that the Coyotes will promote 26-year-old assistant GM John Chayka to GM. The team teased a major press conference for Thursday, when that news is likely to be made official.

The presser could be useful for more than the usual quotes and mission statements, as the Coyotes seem like they may parallel the Toronto Maple Leafs in combining an experienced executive, a young up-and-coming thinker and a more empowered head coach.

Dave Tippett is expected to have more of a say in personnel decisions while the Coyotes hope to bring in a Lou Lamoriello-type to assist Chayka, according to Custance.

(Custance’s ESPN Insider article [subscription required] goes in much greater depth, including a comparison to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors rather than the Maple Leafs.)

It’s possible that Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson might come in to help Chayka, although an earlier report suggests that Jackson might stay in Dallas.

Multiple reporters including Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper back up Custance’s report.

Considering Chayka’s age – he’s primed to become the youngest GM in NHL history – it’s no surprise that people are churning out jokes.

(This post’s author comes with six more years of [life] experience and a resume stacked with impressive video game and fantasy hockey team-building, by the way.)