PHT Morning Skate: All the top prospects at the 2017 NCAA Frozen Four tournament

–CSKA defenseman Grigori Panin wanted to dish out a huge hit against Lokomotiv. Not only did he miss, but he also smashed the glass to bits in the process. (Bardown)

–Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of Ron Tugnutt’s 70-save performance in a 3-3 tie against the Boston Bruins. The Nordiques goalie turned aside 33 of 35 shots in the third period and overtime. There’s a good chance we won’t see that anytime soon. (NHL.com)

–Blue Jackets rookie Lukas Sedlak is having a nice first season in the NHL and he hasn’t been shy about picking former NHLer Vaclav Prospal’s brain from time to time. They share a few things in common, which also helps their relationship. For example, both of them are from the same town in the Czech Republic and both were/are property of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  (Columbus Dispatch)

–The Minnesota Wild were finally able to put their five-game losing streak to bed, as they took down the San Jose Sharks last night. You can watch the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–As we found after Brendan Dillon and Austin Watson dropped the gloves last week, just because two guys fight, doesn’t mean they hate each other. The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan took a deeper look at the relationship between two guys who fight. “When you see two guys go at it on the ice, you’re reading into it the very worst,” said former NHL enforcer Stu Grimson. “‘They’ve got to hate each other. There’s got to be a lot of animosity in that.’ It couldn’t be any further from the truth.” (The Tennessean)

–A few months ago, Pittsburgh radio host Colin Dunlap announced that his five-year old daughter had been diagnosed with cancer. On Tuesday, Dunlap tweeted a picture of a note sent to his daughter by Penguins owner Mario Lemieux. Here’s part of Lemieux’s note: “When I was sick and in the hospital, my family and friends always gave me comfort. Their support was very helpful to me and I encourage you to keep your friends and family close.” That’s class. (The Score)

–The 2017 NCAA Frozen Four tournament will get underway on Friday, and The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy breaks down the top prospects in the tournament. It’s no surprise that Arizona first-rounder Clayton Keller, Boston draft picks Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Wild second-rounder Jordan Greenway are all on the list. (The Hockey News)

Scroll Down For:

    Longtime Berenson assistant Pearson named new Michigan coach

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Michigan went the familiar route in replacing legendary head coach Red Berenson.

    Mel Person, who spent 23 years as Berenson’s assistant before taking the head gig at Michigan Tech, has been named the ninth head coach in UM Hockey history, the school announced on Monday.

    “I am thrilled to select Mel to lead our hockey program and for him to return home to U-M following tremendous success in leading the Michigan Tech program,” said director of athletics Warde Manuel. “I’ve known Mel for years and experienced his leadership ability when I was the sport administrator for hockey and he was an assistant under Red (Berenson).

    “Mel’s qualifications are well known throughout the hockey community and reach far beyond his ability to coach. Simply put, I couldn’t have selected a finer person to lead our ice hockey program into the future.”

    Pearson, 58, took Michigan Tech to a pair of NCAA Tournaments during his six years on the job. Several players advanced to the NHL on his watch including Chicago’s Tanner Kero, Edmonton’s Jujhar Khaira and New Jersey’s Blake Pietila.

    Two weeks ago, Berenson stepped down from his post at Michigan after 33 years on the job. Together, he and Pearson captured two national championships together.

    Backstrom believes Caps are ‘underdogs’ against Pens

    6 Comments

    The Washington Capitals won the Presidents’ Trophy by seven points over the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, but someone forgot to tell Nicklas Backstrom.

    Heading into their second-round matchup against Pittsburgh, Backstrom believes the Capitals are the underdogs in the series, per beat reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan.

    Well Nicklas, that’s one way to look at it.

    Backstrom is clearly trying to take some of the pressure off of his team’s shoulders, but maybe he’s onto something.

    As you may remember, a similar situation arose last year. The Capitals had more points than any other team in 2015-16, but that didn’t stop them from being eliminated by these same Penguins in the second round. Eventually, Pittsburgh went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

    This time, the Capitals won’t have to worry about star defenseman Kris Letang, as he’s out with an upper-body injury. Pittsburgh was able to overcome the Letang injury (Matt Murray too) in round one against Columbus, but Washington is a different animal.

    Even without Letang, getting by Pittsburgh won’t be easy, especially when stars like Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby are rolling.

    Malkin finished the first round with two goals and an incredible 11 points in five games, while Kessel and Crosby had eight and seven points respectively against Columbus.

    Things were a little more difficult offensively for Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, as they posted six, three and three points in six games against the Leafs.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who has the most points and it doesn’t matter who the underdog is in the series either. All that counts is advancing through to the next round.

    PHT Morning Skate: Are Thornton and Marleau done in San Jose?

    Leave a comment

    –After reaching the Stanley Cup Final last year, the San Jose Sharks lasted just one round in 2017. With both Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1st, could their time in San Jose be over? We know that Logan Couture wants both players to come back, but would that be the right decision? Allowing them to leave could thrust young players into roles they’re not ready for, but keeping them around and icing a similar team could lead to another first-round exit. (Mercury News)

    –The Philadelphia Flyers took a step back this season, as they failed to make the playoffs, but at least the future appears to be bright. They’ve managed to stockpile quality prospects and their farm team finished with the second best record in the AHL. (Philly.com)

    –Former NHLer Brandon Prust spent a couple of months hanging around the Leafs earlier this season, but he never ended up getting a contract so he went off to Germany. Prust said the experience was great, but he was a little frustrated that Toronto decided to acquire players like Eric Fehr and Brian Boyle instead of giving him a shot. “I feel I belonged there and I could have helped that team; but what are you going to do? That’s hockey. I felt they really needed a guy like me; and I know I could have helped them. Then they go and make trades for players similar to me. It’s tough.” (Yahoo)

    –Justin Bieber made an appearance at the ACC last night. He was wearing a custom Leafs jersey, and he seemed to be pretty into it. Unfortunately for Biebs, his team couldn’t extend the series to seven games. (BarDown)

    –The Toronto Maple Leafs pushed the Washington Capitals as much as they could, but they just ran out of steam in Game 6. Check out the highlights from the Caps’ 2-1 OT win by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    Braden Holtby, Sergei Bobrovsky and Carey Price were named finalists for the Vezina Trophy. The Hockey News makes a case for each of the three goaltenders, but Bobrovsky’s gotta be considered the favorite.  Jared Clinton writes: “It’s not just Bobrovsky’s base numbers that are impressive, either. His underlying numbers makes his case further. The only goaltending with 1,000-plus minutes at 5-on-5 to post a better SP than Bobrovsky’s .939 mark was Craig Anderson.” (The Hockey News)

    –It sounds like Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is pretty confident that Auston Matthews is going to walk away with the Calder Trophy this year:

    2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs second-round schedule

    Getty
    7 Comments

    Time to get your ducks in a row (Anaheim or otherwise), as the second-round schedule has been released.

    As you can see, the West series begin on Wednesday while the East ones kick into gear on Thursday. Read up on the matchups here.

    For the sixth consecutive year, every Stanley Cup playoff game will be presented nationally across the platforms of NBC Sports Group and select NBCUniversal networks.

    (Games listed by date, start time, teams and network.)

    EASTERN CONFERENCE

    Date TIME (ET) #1 Washington vs. #2 Pittsburgh Networks
    Thursday, April 27 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Washington NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    Saturday, April 29 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Washington NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
    Monday, May 1 7:30 p.m. Washington at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
    Wednesday, May 3 7:30 p.m. Washington at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
    *Saturday, May 6 TBD Pittsburgh at Washington TBD
    *Monday, May 8 TBD Washington at Pittsburgh TBD
    *Wednesday, May 10 TBD Pittsburgh at Washington TBD

    Date TIME (ET) #2 Ottawa vs. #4 NY Rangers Networks
    Thursday, April 27 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
    Saturday, April 29 3 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
    Tuesday, May 2 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
    Thursday, May 4 7:30 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
    *Saturday, May 6 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa TBD
    *Tuesday, May 9 TBD Ottawa at NY Rangers TBD
    *Thursday, May 11 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa TBD

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    Date TIME (ET) #1 Anaheim vs. #2 Edmonton Networks
    Wednesday, April 26 10:30 p.m. Edmonton at Anaheim NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    Friday, April 28 10:30 p.m. Edmonton at Anaheim NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    Sunday, April 30 7 p.m. Anaheim at Edmonton NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    Wednesday, May 3 10 p.m. Anaheim at Edmonton NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    *Friday, May 5 TBD Edmonton at Anaheim TBD
    *Sunday, May 7 TBD Anaheim at Edmonton TBD
    *Wednesday, May 10 TBD Edmonton at Anaheim TBD

    Date TIME (ET) #3 St. Louis vs. #4 Nashville Networks
    Wednesday, April 26 8 p.m. Nashville at St. Louis NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
    Friday, April 28 8 p.m. Nashville at St. Louis NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
    Sunday, April 30 3 p.m. St. Louis at Nashville NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    Tuesday, May 2 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Nashville NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
    *Friday, May 5 TBD Nashville at St. Louis TBD
    *Sunday, May 7 TBD St. Louis at Nashville TBD
    *Tuesday, May 9 TBD Nashville at St. Louis TBD

    Starting time and national broadcast information for games listed TBD will be announced when available.