Mike Gillis

Gillis and Tallon speak up after today’s big trade

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Today’s trade between Vancouver and Florida proved to be tonight’s big story. Canucks GM Mike Gillis got a chance to land a potential stud winger to play with Ryan Kesler in David Booth while the Panthers add a pair of experienced veterans in Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm with expiring contracts.

Panthers GM Dale Tallon giving up on David Booth is perhaps the most intriguing part of this deal. He’s 26 years-old with a potentially bright future ahead of him. He hasn’t been the same player he was looking like he was becoming since suffering a major concussion at the hands of Mike Richards two years ago, but Tallon was looking to shake things up and give Booth a chance to find his game again in a new place.

Shaking things up after just six games? All right then.

If Tallon is seeing an issue with his team and Booth was part of that, moving him now while his stock is still high is a good move. What he got in return, however is strange. With Sturm and Samuelsson he’s got two guys having bad starts to their year but their contracts are off the books after this season.

According to CapGeek.com, that gives Florida over $24 million in cap space next year. Another summer of spending on the way next year for Florida or is there a potential free agent they’re eyeballing already? Alex Semin, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Pekka Rinne are all awfully attractive potential free agents next summer.

As for Mike Gillis, the deal is a virtual no-brainer for him as he tells the media in Vancouver.

Getting Booth to team up with former Team USA linemate Ryan Kesler and to get their own third round pick back make sense. Getting that pick back also means Vancouver can dip into the restricted free agent market next summer.

The potential catch here is if Booth doesn’t get back to his old form as a 30-goal scorer again. They’ve got Booth for the next four years at $4.25 million against the cap. If he’s not producing, that contract is a grizzly bear to deal with. It’s exciting for Vancouver, however, as seeing Booth riding on a line with Kesler and Chris Higgins (USA! USA! USA!) is more exciting than seeing Sturm there with Samuelsson. A good team getting better? Vancouver makes it look easy.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.