Tyler Toffoli

On the importance of ‘support from the bottom’ (see: Toffoli, Krug, Saad, etc.)

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Tyler Toffoli: 22 years old, drafted 47th overall by the Kings in 2010. Five points in the playoffs.

Torey Krug: 23 years old, undrafted, signed as a free agent by the Bruins in 2012. Six points in the playoffs.

Brandon Saad: 21 years old, drafted 43rd overall by the Blackhawks in 2011. Four points in the playoffs.

Andrew Shaw: 22 years old, drafted 139th overall by the Blackhawks in 2011. Four points in the playoffs.

Brendan Gallagher: 21 years old, drafted 147th overall by the Canadiens in 2010. Five points in the playoffs.

Erik Haula: 23 years old, drafted 182nd overall by the Wild in 2009. Two points in the playoffs, key defensive forward.

And those are just the young guys — none of them first-rounders, you’ll notice — on teams still alive in the postseason. Let’s not forget about the diamonds in the rough that were eliminated in the first round, like San Jose’s Matt Nieto (47th overall in 2011, five points) and Columbus’ Boone Jenner (37th overall in 2011, five points).

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, here’s what president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said about a Canucks team that’s gone from elite to missing the playoffs in practically a blink of an eye:

“When I see playoff teams that are successful, I see teams that have some depth, teams that can roll four lines out. I like the people we have in [our] core positions, but they need support from the bottom. There’s a gap between the core players and what’s coming from below them. There hasn’t been a real push from the bottom and that’s created issues.”

Consider: Alex Edler and Jannik Hansen are the last Canuck draft picks still with the team that have made a considerable impact at the NHL level, and they were chosen a decade ago. OK, fine, d-man Chris Tanev, 24, has turned out to be a savvy college free-agent signing, but Vancouver is still a prime example of the importance of drafting and developing, even for teams that can afford to spend to the cap and go after unrestricted free agents.

And it absolutely has to go beyond first-rounders. Edler was a third-rounder; Hansen was taken 287th overall! Back when those two were playing on cheap contracts, they were a huge source of value for the Canucks. Ditto for undrafted Alex Burrows and the since-departed Mason Raymond, a second-rounder in 2005.

John Tortorella wasn’t the right coach for the Canucks, but he was right when he said Vancouver “needs youth.”

Because every team needs that.

Constantly.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: