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Gamesmanship or bulletin board material? Bruce Boudreau calls Steve Stamkos a diver

It’s a fine line a coach draws when they speak to the media about the actions of opposing players. For Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, he tossed all regard for that line out the window today when speaking about the Caps opponents tonight, their rivals in the Southeast Division, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boudreau addressed reporters today and had a few choice words for Lightning superstar Steve Stamkos as well as agitator extraordinaire Steve Downie. Erik Erlendsson of Tampa Bay Online gets word from Boudreau that he thinks there’s a bit more embellishment going on in each of their games.

When asked about the rivalry that has built up between the teams this season, Boudreau accused Tampa Bay’s players – specifically naming two – of embellishing calls in an attempt to earn penalty calls.

“With Steve Downie, if I were a referee I would never give a call when he’s out on the ice,” Boudreau said. “Stamkos, he dives every two seconds. Downie, he dives every two seconds, so you see that and you start to get a little hatred on.”

Is it gamesmanship from Boudreau or is it prime bulletin board material for the Lightning? It’s both.

Boudreau obviously wants to see a few more calls go his team’s way but lighting a fire under the Lightning and specifically Stamkos might not be the greatest idea. Stamkos has been without a goal in five straight games and without a point in his last four. That kind of lull doesn’t stay that way for a long time when you’re one of the premiere forwards in the NHL and getting a player like that even more focused is dangerous to do.

Unfortunately for Boudreau, Downie won’t be playing tonight as he’s out with an injury which puts the focus squarely on Stamkos for what he said. As for Lightning coach Guy Boucher, the way he sees things with Boudreau is pretty obvious to him. More from Erlendsson:

“I’m not going to try to get an edge off ice, I’m not going to try to do that, I’m going to let the guys play and I believe that our players and their players, they fight with everything they’ve got. I have more respect for the players than just to say their players or our players dive or whatever,” Boucher said.

That’s as artful of a parry as you’ll see when it comes to a war of words between coaches and Boucher keeping a stiff upper lip on this one reflects better upon him. Stamkos isn’t exactly regarded through the eyes of fans and observers as a diver so Boudreau’s accusation seems to come out of nowhere. It’s also a bit curious that Boudreau would call him out when he’s got Alexander Semin on his roster, a guy who’s been known to take a poetic fall or two in his career.

The real upside to all this verbal jousting is that perhaps, finally, we’ve got ourselves a tried and true rivalry in the Southeast Division. With the Capitals and Lightning set to battle the rest of the way for the division title, adding some heat to their games is a great thing to see. Of course, if the Caps can figure out a way to score on Dwayne Roloson they’ll have a bit more to work with against the Lightning apart from snarky words from their head coach.

Wild sign Dumba to two-year, $5.1M deal

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After ongoing contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and restricted free agent defenseman Matt Dumba, the two sides have come to a deal.

The Wild announced Thursday that they had signed Dumba to a two-year deal, worth a total value of $5.1 million.

A breakdown of the new deal:

— In 2016-17: $2.35 million.

— In 2017-18: $2.75 million.

Selected seventh overall by the Wild in 2012, Dumba had his most productive campaign this past season, with 10 goals and 26 points in 81 games.

Known for his offensive skills — he had 20 goals and 57 points with Red Deer in the WHL in his draft year — Dumba also brings a coveted right-shot to the Wild blue line, which features four players with contracts of four or more years of term remaining.

As per General Fanager, the Wild still have $2.168 million in projected cap space, but they have secured all their remaining restricted free agents.

Rangers bring back forward Marek Hrivik

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 09:  Marek Hrivik #46 of the New York Rangers skates against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Rangers announced that they’ve re-signed Marek Hrivik to a new contract. The term and financial details of the deal were not released.

Hrivik signed with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. The 24-year-old made his NHL debut in 2015-16 and ended up playing five games for the Rangers. He had one assist and a plus-3 rating during his time in the NHL.

The young forward was an important part of New York’s AHL affiliate in Hartford. Hrivik finished his AHL campaign with 12 goals and 29 assists. He tied for the team lead in assists and finished third in points.

If you go by Hrivik’s tweet, it appears as though he signed a one-year contract:

Now that Hrivik is re-signed, the Rangers have no more free agents of any kind, per General Fanager.

Report: Stone and Coyotes agree to one-year, $4M deal

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Another day, another scheduled arbitration hearing avoided.

According to multiple reports, defenseman Michael Stone and the Arizona Coyotes have settled on a one-year, $4 million deal, well ahead of their scheduled arbitration hearing set for Aug. 4.

Stone, 26, was a restricted free agent coming off a three-year contract with an AAV of $1.15 million.

Last season in Arizona, he hit new career highs in points with 36 and assists with 30. He also logged some heavy minutes, playing more than 22 minutes per game, which was second behind only Oliver Ekman-Larsson. That includes being used on both the power play and penalty kill.

Just more work done for the Coyotes on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, they announced they had signed defenseman Connor Murphy to a six-year contract extension, worth a total of $23.1 million.

Related: Coyotes’ defensive makeover continues with Luke Schenn signing

‘Nothing’s different’: Dale Tallon says he still has final say in Panthers’ personnel decisions

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28: Dale Tallon, General Manager of the Florida Panthers, speaks on the phone on Day Two of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Despite having a terrific season in 2015-16, the Florida Panthers made a number of changes to their front office. Some of the moves include: Tom Rowe being promoted to general manager, Dale Tallon being named the director of hockey operations and Eric Joyce and Steve Werier serving as assistant general managers.

There’s a lot of confusion as to who gets to make the final call on player personnel decisions in Florida, but Tallon tried to clear that up during a radio interview with 560 WQAM on Thursday.

“It allows me to focus on what I do best,” Tallon said of the front office changes. “And that’s evaluate, travel, scout and give us information on players that will help us win a championship and keep us as a top team for the next 15 years.

“I have a lot to say. I’m a stubborn guy, I have opinions, I have strong opinions and I let them know where I stand and I let them know how I feel. That’s the way it is. The bottom line is what’s best for the team.”

When asked if he still has the final say on personnel decisions, Tallon said: “yes, I do”.

When pressed on the issue, Tallon said this:

“Like I said, it’s by committee, we do it together. We’ve always done that. Nothing’s different. We’ve got great support and things are terrific. We’re really excited about our future, we’re excited about having a chance to win this year.”

It seems curious that the Panthers made all these changes after finally having success and qualifying for the playoffs, but they appear to have strong, committed owners, who are willing to do whatever it takes to put a winning product on the ice. We’ll soon find out if the changes were for the better or not.

To listen to the full interview, click here.