Today’s war of words: Lindy Ruff vs. Mike Richards

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It seems like everyone’s got something to say in the series between Buffalo and Philadelphia. Ryan Miller has been busy chirping not only the media but his old friend and teammate Daniel Briere. Briere has been saving his shots for the officials after a Game 4 loss to Buffalo. Now you can add Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and Flyers captain Mike Richards to the list of combative speakers.

Earlier today, Ruff spoke out to the media and blew up about how the Flyers were upset about the five-minute major given to captain Mike Richards for elbowing Patrick Kaleta and Ruff is frankly tired of hearing about.

Given that Lindy Ruff strikes us as the sort of guy that doesn’t have a high tolerance for complaining in the first place, hearing him snap off today doesn’t surprise us in the least.

“I just feel that they’re doing a lot of whining,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said at his Thursday press conference. “They’re really doing a lot of whining.

“I didn’t hear any whining when they had 10 power plays in Philly, and I didn’t hear any whining when the power plays in the first game were lopsided. But all of a sudden there’s all this whining about, ‘We’re getting away with murder.’

“That’s a bunch of crap. That’s for the media. That’s for the officials to read. That’s, ‘Here, let’s get the next call.’ That’s a bunch of crap. Let’s just play.”

Simmer down now big Lindy, Mike Richards had a few words of his own he wanted to get off his chest about what you said. Consider hostilities to be elevated between these two.

“That’s fine, that’s fine, we’re focused on tomorrow night,” Richards said of Ruff’s remark. “He seems to have a way with the media.

“He does this, I think, every time they’re in the playoffs. We’re just focused on tomorrow night, getting a good start and getting our licks in on some of their good players and not worry about the other stuff.”

Shots fired and shots returned.

The craziest part of all this is that both sides have a point. Everyone is politicking to get things to go their way and in this series, both teams have been running afoul of the rules a lot. The Sabres have been hit for 30 penalties so far in the playoffs, tied with Anaheim for most in the playoffs. Philadelphia isn’t too far behind them with 28 penalties of their own.

The problem for Philly has been they’ve been poor at converting on the power play scoring just 9.5% of the time while the Sabres have had a lot more success comparatively scoring on 15.8% of their power plays. Those marks aren’t outstanding given the sample size of games in the playoffs, but they’ve been giving each other enough opportunities to score while up a man (or two) that both sides should probably just shut up and play.

Dahlin headlines Sweden’s roster for World Junior Summer Showcase

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Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, potentially the NHL’s first overall draft pick in 2018, will suit up for Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan.

Dahlin, who doesn’t turn 18 until April, has wowed scouts with his skating and puck-moving ability. At the 2017 World Juniors, he participated as a 16-year-old, garnering tantalizing reviews in the process.

Top-10 picks in the 2017 draft, Elias Pettersson (5th, Vancouver Canucks) and Lias Andersson (7th, New York Rangers), will also be in Plymouth representing Sweden.

Click here for Sweden’s and Finland’s Summer Showcase rosters. The tournament runs from July 29 – Aug. 5 and also features players from the United States and Canada.

Among the draft-eligible Finns to watch is 17-year-old forward Jesse Ylonen, who could be a late first-rounder in 2018.

Related: USA Hockey invites 42 players to World Junior Summer Showcase

All of a sudden, hope for hockey in Houston

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Leslie Alexander’s decision to sell the NBA’s Rockets has revived hope for a hockey team in Houston.

That’s because Alexander is arguably the biggest reason that Houston doesn’t already have a team. The 72-year-old billionaire controls Toyota Center, where the Rockets play. Without getting into all the details, he’s essentially been the only one who could bring an NHL franchise to the city.

From the Houston Press:

But Alexander selling the Rockets (and the lease that goes with it), opens up an NHL-ready hockey arena in Houston. And that’s something that Seattle, which the NHL seemed to favor, can’t offer, and unlike Quebec City, Houston offers up a huge media market with many, many large corporations around to buy up luxury seats.

Houston is certainly a big city. In fact, only four metro areas in the United States — New York, L.A., Chicago and Dallas — have higher populations.

And Houston is growing fast.

Jeremy Jacobs, the influential owner of the Boston Bruins, has not hidden his desire to put an NHL team in Toyota Center. Back in 2015, he told ESPN.com, “I would love to see one in Houston, but we can’t get into that building.”

Perhaps soon the NHL won’t have that impediment.

Predators hire new assistant coach in wake of Housley departure

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The Nashville Predators have hired Dan Muse as an assistant coach.

Muse, who spent the last two years as head coach of the USHL’s Chicago Steel, will be in charge of the Preds’ forwards as well as the penalty kill, while associate head coach Kevin McCarthy  — in the wake of Phil Housley’s departure — will now have responsibility for the defense and the power play.

Muse led the Steel to a championship in May. He also won an NCAA title in 2013 as an assistant coach for Yale.

“Dan comes to us as a successful young coach that brings great energy and passion to the game,” said Preds head coach Peter Laviolette in a statement. “He has worked his way up through the coaching ranks, first winning an NCAA title at Yale in 2013, and then taking a Chicago team that had missed the playoffs eight straight seasons and turned them into the Clark Cup champions in just two seasons. We are excited to welcome him to the organization and look forward to his contributions to the coaching staff.”

Senators avoid arbitration with Ryan Dzingel

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The Ottawa Senators have narrowly avoided arbitration with Ryan Dzingel.

Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Dzingel has signed a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.

Dzingel’s hearing was scheduled for today. Last season, the 25-year-old forward had 14 goals and 18 assists in 81 games.

Earlier this week, the Sens also avoided arbitration with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, though that case didn’t go down to the wire like Dzingel’s did.

Pageau and Dzingel were the only Sens with arbitration hearings scheduled.

Related: Sens want to avoid arbitration with Dzingel