PHT Morning Skate: Bobby Carpenter, Denna Laing complete Boston Marathon

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–The Hockey News roundtable make their Jack Adams Award picks for the 2016-17 season. Glen Gulutzan’s Flames got off a rocky start this year, but they were able to turn it around in a big way. Mike Babcock and John Tortorella also got some love. (The Hockey News)

–Don’t you just love when a trade works out for both teams? Well, the Phil Kessel trade is looking like it’s working out for both Toronto and Pittsburgh. Kessel was a huge part of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup run last season, while the Leafs have benefited from the assets they got for him. Kasperi Kapanen, who scored the OT winner in Game 2 against Washington, was part of the Kessel trade and Toronto also got a first-round pick from Pittsburgh, which they traded to Anaheim for Frederik Andersen. (Canoe.ca)

–Sports Day assembled a list of “10 things you might not know about Ken Hitchcock”. There’s an awesome story in there about how he was trying to rip into Brenden Morrow on the bench, but Brett Hull kept blocking his view. Hitchcock definitely didn’t appreciate that. (Sports Day)

–Who expected the Maple Leafs to have a 2-1 series lead over the Capitals? Yea, not many people. But thanks to a 4-3 OT win on Monday night, that’s exactly where they stand. You can watch the highlights from Game 3 by clicking the video at the top of the page.

William Nylander was 11 years old when his father, Michael, played for the Washington Capitals. William often accompanied his father to practice, where he would dream about making it to the NHL. Fast forward less than a decade, and Nylander is in the NHL trying to eliminate some of the players he grew up watching. “You see those guys doing it. You look up to them, and you think they are so cool. It made me want to get there, and it also made me think it was possible.” (Washington Post)

–The Nashville Predators have benefited from having a rock-solid shutdown pairing in Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban. The two have been going up against the opposition’s best forwards, and they’ve done a terrific job. “We know when we’re out against their top line, you want to make sure you limit their chances. But at the same time, when you have the puck, they can’t do anything. They can’t score. … You want to be solid defensively, but if you’re up ice and in the offensive zone, they can’t score from there.” (The Tennessean)

–Former NWHL player Denna Laing hasn’t been able to walk since she suffered a spinal injury during an outdoor game in Boston last year. But Laing and former NHLer Bobby Carpenter combined forces to finish the Boston Marathon in 4:32:30. They combined to raise $80,000 in the process. What an incredible story. (Boston.com)

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.