Cam Tucker

DeBoer vows Sharks will be a ‘tough team to beat at home’

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Down 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, the San Jose Sharks return to home ice at SAP Center desperately needing a win in Game 3 on Saturday to get back in the series.

Through two road games in the final, the Sharks have struggled at the start of both games and dealing with the speed of the Penguins. Yet, in both losses the difference was one goal — one to Nick Bonino in the final three minutes of Game 1 and another in overtime to Conor Sheary in Game 2.

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s loss, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer warned to “hold off on the funeral.” Meanwhile, the Sharks — Logan Couture to be specific — accused Sidney Crosby of cheating on faceoffs.

In terms of adversity, the Sharks have been through plenty over the years, from playoff collapses to not making the playoffs altogether.

Now, the stage is set for hockey history in San Jose, as the Sharks prepare for their first-ever Stanley Cup Final game at home.

Perhaps that will serve as a boost for the Sharks.

“Well, it’s very meaningful to the people here,” DeBoer told reporters on Thursday.

“I think I saw the emotion after we won the Western Conference that night and the days following that before we left for Pittsburgh. It’s important to the people here. Obviously we’re not coming home under the best circumstances, but we also know we’re a tough out, we’re going to be a tough team to beat at home.”

Report: Panthers hire Sabres assistant coach Dave Barr

VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 17: Assistant coach Dave Barr of the Minnesota Wild watches the the pre game warmup prior to the NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks on October 17, 2009 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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Dave Barr has gone from an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres to the Florida Panthers coaching staff, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald.

This news follows a major organizational shake-up in the front office for the Panthers, and after the club fired assistant coach John Madden.

Barr was named as an assistant coach with the Sabres last June.

During the regular season, the Sabres had the 12th best power play in the league at 18.9 per cent.

From the Buffalo News:

Barr, who joined the Sabres after four seasons as an assistant in New Jersey, is reunited with an old friend. Barr and Panthers coach Gerard Gallant played parts of five seasons together in Detroit, from 1987 to 1991. Gallant was looking for two assistants after firing John Madden during an organizational shakeup, and the Sabres were aware Barr was a candidate.

Report: Red Wings interested in signing Radulov

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The Detroit Red Wings are reportedly interested in possibly bringing Alexander Radulov back to the NHL … on a short-term, one-year contract, according to MLive.com.

With his 30th birthday approaching in July, Radulov’s seemingly impending return to the NHL — what would be his third stint in the league, following a brief second tenure that didn’t end so well — has been rumored for some time now.

He has even confirmed that he’ll be returning.

More From MLive.com:

The Red Wings are sold on his talent but were concerned about his off-ice demeanor.

They believe signing him to a one-year deal, likely in the $4 million to $5 million range, would limit their risk, a source said. Radulov might be more motivated to prove himself and earn a longer contract and the Red Wings could part with him after one season if the move backfires.

A former first-round pick of the Nashville Predators in 2004, Radulov has been ripping up the KHL, with 23 goals and 65 points in 53 games this season for CSKA Moscow. His point production and talent have never been an issue.

The Colorado Avalanche have also been linked to possible interest in Radulov, who played for Avs head coach Patrick Roy in the QMJHL.

Related: Varlamov: Avalanche are ‘waiting’ on Radulov

‘They’re doing the same things our guys are doing,’ says Sullivan after Crosby accused of cheating on faceoffs

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In the mind of Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, the accusations that his captain Sidney Crosby cheats in faceoffs aren’t worthy of a response.

Yet, Sullivan did eventually respond, when asked if the comments coming from members of the San Jose Sharks — “He cheats,” on faceoffs, according to Logan Couture. “He gets away with that. He’s Sidney Crosby,” and Crosby “times” the draws and doesn’t get kicked out of the circle — following Game 2 will have any impact on how draws could be officiated as this series goes on.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic also suggested it took Crosby “a while” to get into the faceoff circle for the draw that immediately led to the overtime winner for Pittsburgh.

The NHL Rule Book, under Rule 76 – Face-offs, does state:

If the center is back from the face-off spot, is “quarterbacking” or refuses to come into the face-off area when instructed to do so by the Linesman, or the center is simply slow getting to the face-off spot when the five (5) seconds has elapsed, the puck shall be dropped. If the center attempts to arrive at the face-off spot just as the five seconds elapses in an attempt to gain an advantage to win the face-off, he is to be removed from the face-off and replaced, resulting in a face-off violation.

With the Penguins leading the series 2-0 as it shifts back to San Jose, Sullivan responded to those comments on Thursday.

“Listen, all centers that go in there and take faceoffs, they’re trying to get an edge. That’s just the reality of it. They’re doing the same things our guys are doing,” Sullivan told reporters.

“The way I look at it, that’s all part of being a center iceman, trying to figure out a way to get an edge and be successful.  Sid isn’t doing anything their guys aren’t doing.”

It should be something to keep an eye on for Game 3 on Saturday.

 

 

Islanders, Cizikas agree to terms on five-year contract extension

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Casey Cizikas #53 of the New York Islanders skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on May 06, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Lightning defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders and Casey Cizikas have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension, the club announced Thursday.

And, based on the reports, it represents a significant raise for the 25-year-old forward. As per Arthur Staple of Newsday, the deal is worth $16.75 million.

According to General Fanager, Cizikas had just concluded his two-year deal worth $2 million — including $1.2 million this season — and was a pending restricted free agent. For more details on this latest contract, click here.

“Casey has developed into a highly dependable two-way center and we’re pleased to sign him through 2021,” said Islanders GM Garth Snow in a statement. “His energy and passion both on the ice and in the community, make him an invaluable piece of our lineup.”

In 80 regular season games in 2015-16, Cizikas scored eight goals but reached career highs in assists with 21 and points with 29, as part of a fourth line with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck.

The Islanders also have a trio of pending unrestricted free agents, including Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Martin.

Okposo could be in line for a major raise after 22 goals and 64 points this season, and Snow admitted last month it could be a “challenge” to re-sign all three pending UFAs mentioned above.