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Pre-game reading: Jaromir Jagr to attend All-Star weekend as one of NHL’s top 100

Jaromir Jagr was not voted into the NHL All-Star game this year, and even though he will not be playing in the game he will still be in Los Angeles this weekend to take part in the NHL’s celebration of the top-100 players of all time. The league will be unveiling the final 67 players of its top-100 on Friday night, and Jagr, currently the NHL’s second leading all-time goal scorer and third all-time leading point producer, is certainly among that group (honestly, he is probably among the top-10 at this point). The event will be hosted by actor Jon Hamm. Jagr’s teammate, Vincent Trocheck with 18 goals and 15 assists in 49 games this season, will represent the Panthers in the game. [Miami Herald]

— St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, currently the NHL’s eighth leading scorer, has not scored a goal in eight games. That is his longest goal scoring drought of the season and he is starting to get a little frustrated by some of the poor shooting luck he is experiencing lately. “My whole life, it frustrates me if the puck doesn’t go in,” Tarasenko said recently via the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “I think this year I’ve hit as many posts as I hit in my whole life. I mean post-and-out and crossbars. But as long as you look straight ahead of you and don’t put your head down, as long as you work hard and help your team as much as you can, it will come back.” He will have a chance to snap out of that goal scoring drought on Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild. [Post Dispatch]

— After being acquired in a trade from the San Jose Sharks earlier this week Tommy Wingels is going to be in the lineup for the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames. In 37 games this season he has five goals and three assists. [TSN Steve Lloyd]

— Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau would like to see Mikko Koivu get a little bit more recognition for the Selke Trophy this season as one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards.

— With Evgeni Malkin sidelined for the time being due to a lower body injury the Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled center Carter Rowney from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Rowney, 27, has yet to play in an NHL game in his career. He has been in the Penguins organization since the 2013-14 season and spent time in the ECHL (Wheeling Nailers) and AHL. In 24 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season he has 10 goals and 11 assists, and has 47 goals in 189 career games at the AHL level. [Pittsburgh Penguins]

— After missing the past two games veteran defenseman Jason Garrison will be back in the lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night when they take on the Florida Panthers. In 45 games this season the 32-year-old Garrison has just one goal and five assists for a Lightning team that is trying to get back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. [Tampa Bay Times]

Watch live: 2017 NHL All-Star Game

DeBoer praises ‘courageous’ Thornton for playing with torn ACL, MCL (Updated)

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In a fairly stunning admission on Monday, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters that Joe Thornton played in four of San Jose’s six playoff games versus Edmonton with a significant knee injury.

Thornton, who was hurt against Vancouver late in the regular season, suffered tears to both his left MCL and ACL.

“I’ve never seen a guy play with a torn MCL and ACL,” DeBoer said, per the club’s Twitter account. “It’s a courageous effort as I’ve ever seen.”

Thornton, 37, missed the first two games of the series to rest his knee, before suiting up for the final four. He averaged 18:50 TOI per night and finished with a pair of assists, numbers that are pretty remarkable given the severity of his ailment.

Jumbo wasn’t the only unhealthy Shark during the first-round playoff ouster. Logan Couture‘s face/mouth injury was well-documented and, today, DeBoer also revealed that Tomas Hertl was playing with a broken foot, and Patrick Marleau with a broken thumb.

Looking ahead, Thornton’s knee injury might cloud what’s an already murky future. He’s a pending UFA, and there have been no clear signals from the organization on how they’ll address his potential return. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported in January the Thornton camp was looking for a three-year deal.

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Sharks GM Doug Wilson has time on his side. It’s understood the club probably wouldn’t act on an extension for Thornton until after the June expansion draft, which could give the Sharks enough time to better gauge his health.

Update:

Per NBC Sports California, Wilson confirmed Thornton is undergoing surgery today to repair the ligaments.

 

 

Online bookmaker: Caps are Stanley Cup favorites

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The Washington Capitals got a bit of a scare in the first round, but they’ll go into the second round as the Stanley Cup favorites.

Per online bookmaker Bovada, here is the full list of Stanley Cup odds for the eight remaining teams:

Washington Capitals   7/2
Pittsburgh Penguins    17/4
Anaheim Ducks             11/2
Edmonton Oilers          11/2
St. Louis Blues              13/2
Nashville Predators     7/1
New York Rangers       8/1
Ottawa Senators           10/1

The Chicago Blackhawks entered the postseason as 4/1 Cup favorites at Bovada. Of course, the ‘Hawks were then swept by the Preds, who’ve gone from 25/1 long shots to 7/1 heading into their series with the Blues.

The Caps’ odds actually dropped to 13/2 after they fell behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1. But three straight wins, two in overtime, clinched them a spot against the Penguins in the second round.

The Ottawa Senators are the long shots of the bunch now, despite having home-ice advantage over the Rangers in the second round.

Isles bring back Seidenberg — one year, $1.25 million

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The Islanders saw enough from Dennis Seidenberg this season to bring him back for another.

On Monday, the club announced it had signed the veteran defenseman to a one-year deal. Per Newsday, it’s for $1.25 million — a slight raise from the $1M he earned this season.

Seidenberg, 35, caught on with the Isles in late September, parlaying a good showing with Team Europe at the World Cup into a contract after going the entire summer unsigned.

For New York, it worked out very well.

Seidenberg was a regular lineup fixture, averaging 19:26 TOI over 73 games. He also provided some good production from the back end, scoring five goals and 22 points — his highest offensive output in five years.

Today’s deal also gives the Isles some flexibility when it comes to the upcoming expansion draft. The club now has six blueliners under contract for next season — Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey and Scott Mayfield — and a seventh, pending RFA Calvin de Haan, will (presumably) be locked in as well. The same might be said of fellow RFA Adam Pelech.

Young d-man Ryan Pulock, who only appeared in one game this year, locked in through 2018.

Cassidy ‘absolutely’ wants to return as Bruins’ head coach

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To nobody’s surprise, Bruce Cassidy is on board with shedding his interim tag and becoming Boston’s full-time bench boss.

“Absolutely,” Cassidy said of coming back, following the Bruins’ opening-round playoff loss to Ottawa (per CBS Boston). “One hundred percent.”

One would think the 51-year-old did enough to warrant a longer look. After replacing Claude Julien in early February, Cassidy led a team on the fringes of the playoff picture to an 18-8-1 record down the stretch, and a third-place finish in the Atlantic Division.

Yes, the B’s fell short against the Sens, but were hamstrung by a depleted lineup missing the likes of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo. Top center David Krejci was also extremely limited, missing three of six games to injury.

When further asked about his future, Cassidy tapped the brakes on predicting what will happen, or what changes the team needed for next season.

“Well, now we’re making a lot of assumptions,” he said. “That will be determined going forward by management. It’s a tough question to answer.”

Cassidy’s time with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence, and his history working with young players, may certainly help his cause. A few of his guys — Austin Czarnik, Frank Vatrano, Tommy Cross, Noel Acciari — forged out roles with the big club this season, while other youngsters certainly made an impact in the playoffs.

Prized d-man prospect Charlie McAvoy was a central figure on defense, and one of Cassidy’s more notable lineup moves — putting Sean Kuraly in for Games 5 and 6 — gave the club a boost of energy.

That said, the B’s do have options on the coaching front.

There are a number of experienced bench bosses available. Lindy Ruff, Darryl Sutter and Jack Capuano — a former teammate of Sweeney’s, it should be mentioned — are just a few of the higher profile free agents out there. It’s unclear if Boston is interested in going this route, however. Cassidy has been with the organization a long time, going on eight seasons, and has certainly paid his dues.