Paul Stastny

Roy likes Stastny, but Avs aren’t talking contract extension

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Lost in the excitement of Colorado’s red-hot start is the status of its highest-paid player, Paul Stastny.

Stastny, 27, is in the final year of a five-year, $33 million deal with a $6.6 million average annual cap hit. He’s playing well — five points in nine games, 18:24 TOI per night — and has a big fan in head coach Patrick Roy, but hasn’t been approached about re-signing with the Avs, according to agent Matt Keator.

“Whether it’s in the back of my mind or not, it’s something you can’t really worry about,” Stastny told the Denver Post. “It’s out of your control. If you’re part of the solution, then you are. If you’re not, you’re not.

“I’m just having fun with this team right now and doing anything I can to help it win.”

The hangup with Stastny is Colorado’s outstanding depth at center, and the relative youth of said depth. Matt Duchene (23 years old), Ryan O’Reilly (22) and Nathan MacKinnon (18) all play in the middle and figure to be with the organization for a long time — Duchene’s signed through 2019, MacKinnon’s on an entry-level deal ’til 2016 while O’Reilly is a RFA at the end of this season.

Where Stastny fits in that picture remains to be seen, assuming he fits at all. There’s a good chance he could play as a top-two center in a variety of other cities, a tantalizing reason to hit the UFA market this summer.

For now, though, Roy is focused on the present and the “beautiful problem” his glut of centers presents.

“I’d rather deal with this than having no centers,” Roy explained. “Honestly, it hasn’t been a problem so far. Everybody is having their share of ice time. We’re very lucky. You look at all the teams at the top of the standings, they all have three very good centers and four good lines.

“When you build a team, you want to build it (up) the middle.”

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. They were also the NHL’s worst defensive team, and that doesn’t reflect well on the coaching staff.

The Flames have called a press conference at noon ET.

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 today.

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: