Back to Class: Boston College was just too good

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We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the final weekend of action in college hockey this season. Look for more college hockey action next season on NBCSN. 

If you’re the type to fill out brackets for the NCAA men’s hockey tournament and you picked Boston College to go all the way, you were a very smart person. Sure, picking chalk doesn’t do much for thrills and excitement, but when it comes to the tournament, there’s no coach better at finishing the job than Jerry York.

York won his fifth national championship, fourth time with Boston College, on Saturday as BC handily disposed of a very game Ferris State squad 4-1. Yes, Ferris State was within a goal of tying things up as late as four minutes left in the game, but the Eagles did what they always seem to do under York’s leadership: They finished the job and skated away with the glory.

Shining through all of it was Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau whose late third period goal was the highlight-reel icing on the cake for BC. Gaudreau along with goalie Parker Milner (pictured) stole the show and gave York yet another jewel in his crown as college hockey’s best coach.

source: Getty ImagesWhat’s amazing is that York’s teams have been a fixture in the tournament since he got to Chestnut Hill in 1994 and he’s only been named national coach of the year once in his career. I think he’ll take the four titles at BC over personal accolades just fine, but watching the teams he assembles continue to get it done in big spots is incredible.

It makes life a little easier having future NHLers like defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Carolina prospect and future NHL stud) and forward Chris Kreider (Rangers) and Bill Arnold (Calgary), but ultimately it’s what York does to bring it all together.

Sure Ferris State, Minnesota, and Union College all came into the Frozen Four on even ground with equal chances to take home the title, but with York leading the Eagles everyone else was starting at a disadvantage thanks to his success and experience at this level.

The lesson from this tournament, as always, is that when Boston College comes in on fire (BC closed the season on a 19-game winning streak) it’s going to take an extraordinary effort to knock them off. While the other three Frozen Four teams had great runs into the national semifinals, BC’s destiny wasn’t going to be interrupted by anyone.

Stanley Cup Final odds: Penguins open as favorites over Predators

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The 2017 Stanley Cup Final is set with the Pittsburgh Penguins, continuing their quest to repeat as champions, facing the Nashville Predators.

Both teams come in missing some key players (Kris Letang, Pittsburgh; Ryan Johansen, Nashville) but both still have plenty of star player with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg and the rest of Nashville’s defense headlining the series.

According to the folks at Bovada, the Penguins open the series as favorites to win it over the Predators.

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Series Price
Nashville Predators +135 (27/20)
Pittsburgh Penguins -155 (20/31)

The series begins on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Related

2017 Stanley Cup Final Schedule: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators

Canucks sign free agent defenseman Philip Holm to one-year deal

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The Vancouver Canucks announced on Friday that they have signed free agent defenseman Philip Holm to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Before signing with the Canucks Holm had been rumored to be on the verge of joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that obviously did not come together.

“Philip is a mobile, two-way defenseman who adds depth to our blue line,” said Canucks general manager Jim Benning in a statement released by the team. “He made strides in his development last season with Vaxjo and played a strong series with Sweden at the World Championships We’re pleased to welcome him to the Canucks organization.”

The 25-year-old Holm has spent the past seven seasons playing professionally in Sweden for Vaxjo HC and Djurgardens IF.

He is regarded as a smooth skating, puck-moving defenseman and had a pretty strong season for Vaxjo this past year, scoring four goals and adding 17 assists in 52 games. He was the top-scoring defenseman on the team.

He also had three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships. Sweden won the Gold Medal at the tournament by defeating Canada in the championship game.

The Canucks already have six defensemen under contract for 2017-18 (and they do not seem to be in a hurry to trade any of them) but it was a unit that clearly needs an upgrade, so Holm should be an opportunity to make an impact next season.

Sabres fire AHL coach Dan Lambert

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The Buffalo Sabres continued to overhaul their organization under new general manager Jason Botterill on Friday when they announced that Dan Lambert, the coach of the Rochester Americans, their AHL affiliate, has been relieved of his duties.

“I would like to thank Dan for his hard work and contributions to our organization during the last two seasons and I wish him the best in the future,” said Botterill in a statement released by the team.

“I felt this was the right move for both the Sabres and Amerks and we will begin the process of searching for a new head coach immediately.”

The 2016-17 season was Lambert’s only season as the head coach. The team ended up finishing with a 32-41-3 mark.

When he was hired by the Sabres Botterill talked about wanting to improve the team in Rochester and this appears to be the first step in that process. The entire Sabres organization took a pretty significant step backwards this season with the NHL team finishing with a worse record than it did a year ago. That resulted in general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma all being replaced.

The Sabres have yet to hire a replacement for Bylsma.

Now both of the top teams in the organization are in need of a new head coach.

Report: KHL team in talks with Capitals’ Orlov

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After losing in the second-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs again and entering an offseason where they have several free agents, it is expected that the Washington Capitals roster is going to be look very, very different next season.

One of those upcoming free agents already seems to be drawing some interest, and not from an NHL team.

According to a report from Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko, the KHL’s CSKA Moscow is in talks with defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

Orlov, who turns 26 in July, is slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason. He has played in every game for the Capitals the past two seasons and has emerged as a solid defenseman on the team’s blue line. He has posted pretty dominant possession numbers the past two seasons and has tallied 29 and 33 points during that stretch. He played nearly 20 minutes per game for the Capitals this season and should be in line for a pretty significant pay raise.

Along with the Orlov news, the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan mentioned on Twitter that another KHL team may also be in talks with restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov, though she downplayed the possibility of him leaving. Given that Kuznetsov is one of the top offensive players in the league that would certainly be a shocking move, but it still seems like a long-shot to think that he would leave the NHL.