St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks

Get your game notes: Blues at Blackhawks

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Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the St. Louis Blues starting at 8:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— St. Louis has won both games in this series in overtime after coming back to tie the score late in the 3rd period (1:45 left in Game 1, 6.4 seconds left in Game 2). On Saturday in Game 2, Vladimir Tarasenko scored the tying goal and Barret Jackman tallied the game-winner at 5:50 of overtime. The comebacks mark just the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that a team has won consecutive games in one series when trailing in the final two minutes of regulation in each contest. The Blues join the Canadiens in Games 1 and 2 against the Bruins in the 1969 Semifinals (won series in 6 gms) and the Flyers in Games 3 and 4 against the Maple Leafs in the 1977 Quarterfinals (won series in 6 gms). (Elias Sports Bureau)

— Brent Seabrook will not play in Game 3, 4 or 5 (if necessary) – the Blackhawks defensemen was suspended yesterday (on his 29th birthday) for 3 games – his first career suspension – for his hit on David Backes late in the 3rd period in Game 2. He was ejected from the game, while Backes went to the locker room as well and did not return. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Backes would not have been able to play if Game 3 was yesterday; his status for this game is yet to be determined. Backes was injured back in December, missing a total of 5 games. Although that December ailment was officially diagnosed as an upper-body injury, he was out with concussion-like symptoms initially suffered from a hit taken in a game against Ottawa on Dec. 16.

— The Blues are now 6-1 all-time vs. the ‘Hawks in playoff OT games. They also earned their 6th straight postseason win over Chicago improving to 10-1 in their last 11 playoff meetings dating back to 1993.

— The Blues have won 10 of their previous 11 postseason series when taking a 2-0 advantage. Their lone loss in that situation came last year, falling to LA in 6 games in the WCQF. Chicago has not been down 0-2 since they trailed VAN in the first round of the 2010-‘11 postseason – they were also the defending Stanley Cup champs that season and went on to lose that series in 7 games.

— All 3 Blackhawks goals in Game 2 were by defensemen: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook & Michal Rozsival. Chicago’s 3 leading scorers in the regular season – Patrick Sharp (78 pts.), Patrick Kane (69) & Jonathan Toews (68) – were each held without a point in Game 2.

— Kevin Shattenkirk tallied 1 goal & 2 assists in Game 2 to become the first Blues defenseman to record 3 pts. in a playoff game since April 24, 1999, when Al MacInnis notched 1G-2A–3PTS against the Coyotes in Game 2 of the WCQF. (Elias Sports Bureau)

— Vladimir Tarasenko returned for the Blues in Game 1 after missing 15 games with a broken right thumb & scored his first career playoff goal. With his 2nd career playoff goal in Game 2 (in his 3rd career playoff game), Tarasenko now has scored in 4 straight games that he’s played in dating back to March 13th of the regular season & has 8 points during a personal 7-game point streak dating back to March 8th.

— After losing 9 of their last 10 games away from the United Center dating back to March 12th of the regular season, Chicago returns home where it’s won 4 straight and 7 of its last 8. The Blackhawks went 27-7-7 at home during the regular season and 11-2 at home last postseason.

Sabres extend Larsson: one year, $950,000

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 22: Johan Larsson #22 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up before the game against the Detroit Red Wings on January 22, 2016 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Brenner/Getty Images)
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed forward Johan Larsson to a one-year contract.

Larsson was eligible to become a restricted free agent once his contract expired this summer. The Swedish-born player is coming off a season in which he set career bests with 10 goals, 17 points and 74 games. He also finished tied with rookie center Jack Eichel in scoring five game-winning goals.

Overall, he has 16 goals and 21 assists in 142 games for the Sabres.

Buffalo acquired Larsson in a trade that sent former Sabres captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota in April 2013. The Wild selected Larsson in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Contractual details, per the Buffalo News:

Burke: Once a team picks first overall, no more drafting first overall (for a few years at least)

Calgary Flames' President of Hockey Operations & acting GM, Brian Burke speaks to the media as team members show up for NHL hockey season-end activities in Calgary, Alberta, on Monday, April 14, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal)
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Brian Burke isn’t trying to pick on the Edmonton Oilers — no really, he isn’t — but Calgary’s president of hockey ops doesn’t believe any team should get to draft first overall as much as his northern rivals have done the past few years.

“If you’re a team that picks first overall, you shouldn’t be allowed to pick first overall for some specified period … three years or five years, whatever … or even the top two teams, pick in the top two,” Burke told the Flames’ website.

“You could still pick four or five, still get a good player, but you can’t get rewarded for continued failure, or continued luck.”

The Oilers, of course, picked first overall in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. And after yet another dismal season in 2015-16, they have a 13.5 percent of winning’s tomorrow’s lottery and getting the same privilege again

“Everyone thinks when you talk about the draft having flaws, that you’re picking on Edmonton,” said Burke.

“There are a lot of teams that have followed this path and have repeated high, high picks for a number of years. Chicago did it. Florida’s done it. Buffalo’s done it. You can argue we did it in Toronto, certainly by not any effort of ours. We were just not successful in the lottery. This is not an indictment of any one team and it’s not an indictment of the system.

“This is saying, ‘Okay, if 30 reasonable people got into a room and said, how do we best award amateur talent in the draft without having abuses,’ I’m not sure this is the system we’d come up with. That’s all I’m saying.”

And many would agree with Burke.

In fact, many would go a lot further, suggesting the entire system should be rethought.

But the question will remain, what’s a better system? The current one incentivizes losing, and so some teams tank. They may not use the word “tanking,” but they’re sure not trying to win. Not in the short term.

Now, is it a good look for the NHL when teams are built to be bad and we see fans openly rooting for losses? No, it’s not a good look.

But would it be preferable for each team to have the same odds of drafting first overall. Even the Stanley Cup champion?

Imagine for a moment a system that didn’t take the standings into account. You just know there’d be some poor franchise that was chronically unlucky, year after year after year. And you just know there’d be some ultra-lucky franchise, too.

The fact is, as long as the NHL wants to maintain its competitive balance — and remember, there’s nothing the NHL is prouder of than its precious parity — losing teams will be rewarded in the draft.

Burke is fine with that.

All he’s saying is the current system could use a few tweaks.

And if the Oilers win the lottery tomorrow, you can bet there’ll be some.

After firing Boudreau, Ducks GM unloads on core players

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When the Ducks were struggling this season, GM Bob Murray took some not-so-thinly veiled shots at the team’s core players.

And after the club’s disappointing first-round playoff exit to Nashville, he was at it again.

The juicy stuff, from today’s presser following the Bruce Boudreau dismissal.

(Video here):

“Let’s face it: I’d like to know where they heck they were in Games 1 and 2. The players are going to have to answer that the next four or five days. Where were they? They showed up in Game 7, but where was the passion, the controlled emotion? Where the heck was that? They’re going to have to be held accountable, too.

“There’s definite concerns in that area, and I think the core has to be held responsible, and they have to be better. Maybe I haven’t been hard enough on them in the last few years, but they’re going to hear some different words this time.”

Murray then shared a few of those “different words” with the assembled media.

If you’re looking for one of the core guys Murray may be referring to, consider Corey Perry.

Having just wrapped the third of an eight-year, $69 million deal with a $8.625M cap hit (that’s a long-term contract, right?), Perry failed to score over the seven-game series against the Preds, and had a team-worst minus-7 rating.

Say what you will about the merits of plus-minus, but minus-7  is minus-7. It’s not good. Hard to see how it could be viewed positively.

Of course, there’s no doubt other core guys are in Murray’s crosshairs. But it’s not just about core guys making big money and failint to produce in crunch time. It’s also about core guys making big money, failing in crunch time and not going anywhere.

Because that affects the futures of the players around them.

Some of Murray’s anger — justifiably — comes with the long-terms deals he’s got on the books, and how they’ll likely hamstring the Ducks this summer. He’s already on record saying this will be an “interesting” offseasonHampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Rickard Rakell and Frederik Andersen are all RFAs, and it’s quite conceivable one or two won’t be with back in Anaheim for the start of training camp.

Had the Ducks made a legit playoff run, it would’ve taken the sting away from (potentially) losing players.

But now?

Consider what Murray said about retaining Rakell, who finished fourth on the team in scoring.

“In keeping certain people, other people may have to go,” he explained, per the Associated Press. “That’s what you get forced into. A couple of big contracts get signed, and you end up following because that’s what you get pushed into, and that’s what they expect.

“We are all guilty of that.”

Blues, Capitals to play exhibition game in Kansas City

Pedestrians walk past the Sprint Center, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. The city was preparing for the third round of the NCAA college basketball tournament at the arena after the region received 6-10 inches of snow overnight. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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Kansas City is going to host another NHL exhibition game.

The St. Louis Blues announced today that they’ll take on the Washington Capitals on Oct. 5 at Sprint Center. Both Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Ovechkin will be there, at least according to the press release.

The Blues last played in K.C. a couple of years ago when they took on the Stars in exhibition play. In 2011, a sellout crowd watched the Penguins and Kings at Sprint Center.

A market once considered a candidate for expansion or relocation — particularly after Sprint Center opened in 2007 — the NHL-to-Kansas City buzz has since died down. Last year, there was no interest from Kansas City when the league called for expansion applications.

Sensing an opportunity to make their team a favorite of all Missourians, not just the ones in St. Louis, the Blues have said they’d like to cultivate their fan base across the state in Kansas City.