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Isles ‘absolutely’ willing to deal No. 5 pick, says Snow

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Shortly after announcing he was keeping the fifth overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Isles GM Garth Snow said he’d be willing to part with it.

From the New York Post:

When asked if he is willing to deal the pick, Snow hardly let his questioner finish before saying, “Absolutely. We’re open to any deal that might make the team better.

“If that’s trading the pick for a player, standing pat and picking a quality player at No. 5, or trading it to move up or down, we’re open.”

The Islanders had the option to send this year’s first-rounder to Buffalo (from the Thomas Vanek trade), or defer to next year’s draft instead. On Thursday, Snow made his decision to keep the No. 5 and give the Sabres his ’15 first-rounder, which comes with a risk as it could be a lottery ticket to the Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel sweepstakes.

In explaining the move, Snow told Newsday the Isles “don’t see ourselves being in this position again next year,” saying he expects a return to the form 2011-12, when the team made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

As such, it’s not surprising Snow trotted out the “open for business” line regarding the fifth overall selection. There are questions about the depth and high-end talent available at this year’s draft, with some pundits suggesting there’s a dropoff after trio of players vying for the first overall spot: OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, WHL Kootenay forward Sam Reinhart and OHL Kingston forward Sam Bennett, who finished atop the final NHL Central Scouting rankings for the ’14 draft.

Snow could move the No. 5 pick for a player that would help the Isles immediately, though he wouldn’t be the only GM going that route. Florida’s Dale Tallon, who holds the first overall selection, has said he will “definitely” be shopping the pick; Tallon also stated on various occasions he’d like to obtain some veteran players to compliment the Panthers’ young core.

Related: Stars GM feels ‘there could be a lot of moves’ at draft

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.