Pekka Rinne

Preds gone wild: Pekka Rinne signs seven-year, $49 million extension with Nashville

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Usually you get a cake and some nice gifts and a gathering with friends on your birthday. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne got to celebrate in style signing a seven-year contract extension worth $49 million. That deal offers a mathematically simple $7 million cap hit per year, the largest for a goalie in NHL history.

The Predators have notoriously been one of the more frugal teams in the NHL but with next offseason shaping up to be a potentially franchise-altering one with both Rinne and Ryan Suter being unrestricted free agents and Shea Weber headed for restricted free agency again, GM David Poile opted to rid themselves of one possible headache. Locking up Rinne took care of that.

At age 29, Rinne has established himself as one of the top goalies in the league. Whether you think he’s worth $7 million a season until he turns 36 is up for debate. Poile had nothing but glowing words about the signing today.

“Today’s signing is further evidence of our ownership’s commitment to keeping our core intact,” Poile said. “This is the first step of a process designed to retain our key players and leaders. Pekka has grown with our franchise, just recently established our franchise record for career shutouts and is now recognized as one of the game’s elite players. We’re thrilled to know that he will be backstopping our franchise for several years to come.”

source: Getty ImagesWith how seemingly easy it is to replace goalies, especially in Nashville’s system, getting Rinne done ahead of Suter and Weber is a curious move. Weber’s offseason tumult in arbitration may have caused some strife there, but with Weber making $7.5 million this year and being the team captain, you figure they’ll get him taken care of.

Suter may end up being the odd man out in Nashville because of all this. Fire up your trade rumor machines if you’d like to, but Suter is going to demand a lot of money in free agency if/when he gets there as he’s one of the better blue liners in the league. The Preds could get a nice return on Suter if they chose to deal him.

While this signing answers one question for Nashville, two big ones are left to be answered. How Poile handles things is worth watching the rest of the season and into the summer.

BREAKING: Flames fire head coach Bob Hartley

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 5, 2016. The Flames won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Associated Press
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The Calgary Flames have decided to move on from head coach Bob Hartley. The team made the announcement via their Twitter account on Tuesday morning. Associate coach Jacques Cloutier has also been informed that he won’t be back next season.

Hartley and the Flames surprised many last year when they won 45 games and made the postseason. Hartley was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as the league’s top coach.

What a difference a year makes. Unfortunately for the Flames, they won just 35 games in 2015-16 and finished 26th in the overall standings.

More details to come.

Kris Letang will have a hearing for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Many expected it to happen and now it has. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety confirmed that Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will have a hearing for his hit on Caps forward Marcus Johansson in Game 3.

After Brooks Orpik was suspended three games for this hit on Olli Maatta in Game 2, many people are expecting a similar outcome for Letang. It’s important to note that there are certain similarities between the two hits, but there are also some key differences.

Both victims definitely took shots to the head, there’s no doubt about that, but to say that the hits are identical isn’t accurate. First, although Letang’s hit appears to be late (0.6 seconds after the puck is gone is considered late), it isn’t as late as Orpik’s hit on Maatta. Another key factor to consider is that unlike Maatta, Johansson returned to the game.

Letang was given a two-minute penalty for interference on the play.

TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie breaks it down perfectly:

A decision is expected to be made later on this evening.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with three games on Tuesday night. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

San Jose at Nashville (9:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on the USA Network. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Dallas at St. Louis (9:30 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for tonight’s action:

Lightning strikes: Bolts even series with Islanders

The Sharks are the only team to grab a 2-0 series lead in the second round

Seguin resumes skating in Dallas, Ruff notes ‘they have flights to St. Louis every day’

PHT Morning Skate: Adam Henrique wants to make NHL 17 great again

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)

–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)

–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)

–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)

Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17: