Ryan Smyth keeping busy as camp approaches

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Ryan Smyth is trying to keep his schedule busy and mind off hockey as NHL training camps fast approach.

Its Smyth’s first season away from the game after announcing his retirement last spring.

Speaking with Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, Smyth says he’s had numerous offers already to stay within the game.

“I have an open invitation on any front from Mac (Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish) but he recommended I take time off, and that’s what I’ll be doing. I will be coaching my son’s Initiation 3A team this winter, and my daughter wants to play, too. My son’s six years old. I’d like him to play novice, one level up, because he’s a pretty good skater, but we’ll see how it goes,” Smyth said. “I did get a couple of calls from Team Canada to help out, and I mentioned Mac. But I owe it to my wife and kids to take this year off.”

Smyth, who played 1270 games with the Oilers, Islanders, Avalanche and Kings, says he hasn’t got calls asking whether he’s reconsidered his decision to retire.

“I’m old and I’m washed up, I guess,” he joked.

Without a training camp to prepare for, Smyth is enjoying things he otherwise couldn’t do at this time of year. He has plans to see the Green Bay Packers play in Seattle and will head to New York where he’ll watch Derek Jeter’s final games.

After taking a year off, Smyth, who scored 386 goals and 842 points during his NHL career says he’s uncertain of what he’ll do.

“I don’t want to speculate … it’s been 19 years. Obviously, I want to stay in hockey somehow, but in what capacity? I have no idea,” he said.

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?

WATCH LIVE: Game 1 for Penguins – Capitals, Rangers – Senators

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It’s really happening.

For all the griping about having the Penguins and Capitals meet in the second round (again), it’s easy to forget the bright side: upsets didn’t dislodge this juicy matchup from taking place.

The West’s duo of Game 1 matchups kicked into gear last night, and now the East provides that battle between Sidney Crosby‘s squad and Alex Ovechkin‘s loaded team. Don’t sleep on Rangers – Senators, either, though; there should be plenty of intrigue in seeing superhuman Swedes Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson try to one-up each other.

Here’s what you need to know to follow the action:

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: CNBC (Stream online here)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)