Brent Sutter

Sutter says Flames have reached their yearly stinker quota

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After a 6-1 whipping at the hands of Edmonton on Tuesday, Brent Sutter put his foot down on “stinkers.”

That’s the Calgary coach’s term, not ours — but clearly in reference to his team’s penchant for completely disappearing in certain games. When the Flames have lost big this year, they’ve lost BIG: 9-0 to Boston, 5-1 to Vancouver (twice!) and the most recent skunking against the Oilers, which happened at home, no less.

Calgary has 22 games left to work its way into the playoffs. As such, Sutter says stinkers can’t happen anymore.

“I just want their attitudes to be right. This game is all mental,” he told the Calgary Sun. “Mentally, we weren’t there last night. We weren’t engaged like we needed to be as a whole group. Right from the opening faceoff, our sharpness wasn’t where it needed to be.

“They exploited it very well, the Oilers. We never got our game on track at any point in time.”

Sutter talks about attitude often, and with good reason. The Flames are somewhat bereft of talent (Tom Kostopoulos and Blake Comeau are the second-line wingers) and go into every contest knowing if they don’t outwork the other team, their chances for success diminish. If they only match the other team’s work rate, those chances diminish further.

And if they get outworked?

Stinker.

“Let’s make sure our attitudes are still the right attitudes,” Sutter said after putting his team through battle drills at Wednesday’s practice. “Let’s make sure that we get focused the way we need to be focused. And let’s get back to where we need to be as a team, and how we have to play to have success.”

Of course, Calgary’s stinkers do come with silver linings. The last time the Flames were badly blown out — the aforementioned nine-goal loss to the Bruins — they responded with a 10-3-4 run that got them back into the playoff fight.

Caggiula expected to sign shortly, Canucks could be front-runners

during the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.The North Dakota Fighting Hawks defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 to win the national title. Getty
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College free agent Drake Caggiula is expected to pick a team shortly, possibly even today.

The University of North Dakota winger had originally shortlisted six teams, according to a report. Those teams were Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this morning on Edmonton radio that the Canucks are “maybe” the front-runners to land the 21-year-old. Vancouver signed Caggiula’s teammate, defenseman Troy Stecher, a couple of weeks ago, and Caggiula’s linemate, Brock Boeser, was drafted by the Canucks in the first round last year.

Recently, Boeser told Postmedia that he was trying to convince Caggiula to sign with Vancouver, where there will be plenty of opportunities for young forwards in the next couple of years.

If it’s not the Canucks, McKenzie said he’s heard the Oilers have a “puncher’s chance” of getting Caggiula.

Vigneault will be behind the Rangers’ bench in 2016-17

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault runs a practice at NHL hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Greenburgh N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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The New York Rangers may have been bounced in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs, but they aren’t looking to make a coaching change. In a phone interview with Montreal’s LaPresse newspaper, Alain Vigneault confirmed that he’ll be back behind the Rangers’ bench next season.

“I’ve had discussions with the club’s front office and they told me that they wanted me to come back next season,” Vigneault told LaPresse (quotes have been translated by PHT).

Vigneault and Rangers management will meet in Palm Springs next week to discuss what went wrong in 2015-16.

Even though the season didn’t go the way the Rangers had hoped, Vigneault insists he was never worried about losing his job.

“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” Vigneault said of the rumors surrounding his job security. “There’s 82 games in a season plus the playoffs and you can’t start thinking about your fate after each game. After a loss, you forget it and start thinking about the adjustments you need to make. In regards to our situation, we still managed to pick up 101 points this season. That’s a good season, but we still expected more from our team in the playoffs.”

Like every off-season, there will be changes, but Vigneault isn’t expecting any major ones.

“There’s definitely going to be changes. I don’t know if there’ll be big changes because today, it’s hard to make big changes. With the salary cap, it’s not realistic to think that way.”

When pressed about potential changes, Vigneault wasn’t willing to elaborate.

Vigneault also touched on the way Dan Boyle went after two reporters at the team’s year-end media availability. It’s safe to say he wasn’t thrilled about the way the whole thing went down.

“It’s a lesson for me and our whole team,” added Vigneault. “It’s disappointing because Dan had a really nice career. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, but all people will remember him for is this incident. What happened with him really surprised us. It’s too bad. I hope people will remember him for the career he had.”

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with one game on Friday night. You can catch tonight’s action 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 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Lightning lead the series 2-1.

Here’s some relevant reading material you might enjoy:

No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

WATCH LIVE: Canada-USA (IIHF World Hockey Championship)

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A huge tilt on day one of the World Hockey Championships, as Canada and the USA clash in Russia. You can watch the game online using the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Canada came away with a gold medal in last year’s tournament while the United States took home the bronze. Of course, each team’s roster changes significantly every year.

The USA’s next game is tomorrow against Belarus. Canada will play Sunday against Hungary.