kane

‘The man, the myth, the mullet’: Kane delivers in the clutch, once again

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Chicago already has a Captain Serious.

Maybe it’s time for a Captain Clutch.

On Saturday night at the United Center, Patrick Kane staked claim to that moniker, scoring two goals — including the game-winner — to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 win over Boston in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s not a coincidence that Kaner makes the big goals,” ‘Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “He wants the puck when it comes down to the wire.”

Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville tried to explain what makes Kane so special.

“Kaner’s got high-end skill,” Quenneville said following the game. “He’s dangerous with the puck. His anticipation without it offensively is high-end.”

High-end skill is one thing, sure, but if Kane has shown a singular defining characteristic over this playoff run and playoff runs prior, it’s a flair for the dramatic

In 2009, he delivered his first major knockout blow — a hat-trick in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against Vancouver, eliminating the Canucks from playoff contention.

In 2010, he scored the Cup-winning goal against Philadelphia, finishing Game 6 in overtime to give Chicago its first championship in 49 years.

This year, he KOed the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals with (another) three-goal epic, and outdid his stellar ’09 hat trick by scoring the third and final goal in double overtime.

Then, there were tonight’s heroics.

Both of Kane’s tallies displayed the type of high-end skill Quenneville alluded to, including the game-winner — No. 88 roofed home a backhand that knocked Tuukka Rask’s water bottle off the top of the net.

“Guys [like Kane] have kind of an innate skill in scoring, being a top player,” Quenneville explained. “They anticipate like the rest of us would like to.”

Kane now has six goals in his last seven games, and leads the Blackhawks in scoring in the Stanley Cup Final with three goals, two assists and five points.

Yet in the end, it won’t be the number of goals that defines Kane.

It’ll be the way that he scored them, the times that he scored them, and the legacy he’s building as one of the NHL’s most productive players in pressure situations.

“The difference in this game,” NBC’s Liam McHugh said during tonight’s broadcast, “is the man, the myth, the mullet.”

Report: Wild will tab John Torchetti as interim head coach

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via Iowa Wild
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As many expected, the Minnesota Wild will make John Torchetti their interim head coach, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

(He’s not the only one to report as much, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie also stated that he’s likely to take the job.)

The team itself hasn’t made an official announcement about Torchetti, and the reasoning is probably simple enough: he’s coaching their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild on Saturday night.

Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.

As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.

More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.

That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.

(Note: photo via the Iowa Wild.)

Kings put Gaborik on IR because of lower-body injury

Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.

Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.

And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:

LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.

Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.

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It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:

The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.

Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.

One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?

Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …

Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.

/paging Jacques Lemaire …

Cold for Clutterbuck? Illness sidelines Isles’ heavy-hitter

New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) goes flying after tripping over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson (88) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 8-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.

The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.

According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).

Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.

Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines: