Garth Snow

What’s Garth Snow thinking?

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What is Garth Snow thinking? That’s what a lot of people are still wondering after the Islanders’ general manager traded winger Matt Moulson, a first-round draft pick in 2014 and a 2015 second-round pick for Thomas Vanek, a 29-year-old sniper with an expiring contract who most assumed would be signing with Minnesota this summer.

“We had opportunity to acquire an elite player and given where we we are right now, you go for it.” Snow said.

“Thomas is an elite player in this league and he’ll help us now and in the future.”

Here are three more things he’s probably thinking:

1. I can sell Vanek on the Isles. We’re moving to Brooklyn soon, and that’s a pretty cool place to live, right? We’ll have a new rink with more ways to make money, and that means we’ll have more to spend on building a winner going forward. Not to mention, he’ll get to play with John Tavares, one of the best young centers in the NHL. All in all, I think that’s a pretty attractive proposal. And if that’s not good enough, I can do something Minnesota can’t — give Vanek eight years, one more than the Wild, or any other team, could. Remember that I’ve sold guys on this team before, like Evgeni Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky. They didn’t want to be here at first. I can do this again.

2. At the moment, this is the only way we can get top free agents. I need to get in their ear first, before the usual suspects like Philadelphia and Detroit do. I need to give myself an advantage. To make the first move. To be aggressive. Otherwise I’ve got no chance.

3. I can still trade him before the deadline. March 5 is a long way away. If we can’t get an extension done by then, I should still be able to get a first-round pick back. Maybe more. It won’t look great, but hopefully our fans will appreciate the willingness to take a risk and understand why we rolled the dice. We want to win. We’re ready to win. Which is hopefully what Vanek can see.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.