Cam Tucker

DALLAS, TX - MAY 11:  Robby Fabbri #15 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars in the first period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Blues rookie Fabbri has shown ‘no panic in his game’ during playoffs

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Robby Fabbri‘s first foray into Stanley Cup playoff hockey has been a productive one so far.

Aside from drawing the ire of goalie Corey Crawford in the opening round, Fabbri leads all rookies with 13 playoff points — six ahead of Sharks’ forward Joonas Donskoi — and is tied with Vladimir Tarasenko for the team lead in the same category, as the St. Louis Blues have advanced to the third round.

Despite an even-strength five-on-five Corsi For rating of 46.5 per cent, Fabbri is playing at a clip of 3.4 points per 60 minutes, as per War-on-Ice. In 14 games this post-season, he’s recorded three goals and 13 points.

Not bad for a player that turned 20 years old in January and, listed at 5’10” tall and 180 pounds, may be considered by some to be “undersized.”

“He hasn’t got pushed out emotionally,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters. “He’s allowed himself to remain composed in critical spots in games. When the game is on the line, he’s played with sound composure. He hasn’t panicked. He hasn’t got emotionally so revved up that his focus has gotten narrow.

“What he’s got going is the composure to make plays under pressure with no panic in his game, which has allowed him to be a good player late in games. That’s why there’s so much trust from the coaching staff.”

The Blues and San Jose Sharks begin the Western Conference Final on Sunday.

 

Flyers’ Giroux, Gostisbehere to have hip and abdominal surgeries, expected out 10-12 weeks

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 23:  Shayne Gostisbehere #53 and Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate after the win over the Carolina Hurricanes on November 23, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere are expected to be out 10-12 weeks following hip and abdominal surgeries scheduled for Tuesday.

From Flyers GM Ron Hextall:

Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere are both scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday, May 17th to have their right hips repaired as well as bilateral lower abdominal tears repaired.

Their hip surgery will be performed by Dr. Eric Kropf and their abdominal surgery will be performed by Dr. William Meyers.

The Flyers lost to the Washington Capitals in the opening round of the playoffs. In six games, Giroux managed just one assist in the series.

After a terrific rookie season that included 17 goals and 46 points in 64 games, and a record-setting 15-game point streak, Gostisbehere recorded a goal and an assist in the post-season.

Gostisbehere, 23, is also up for the Calder Trophy.

“I do know that it’s a long season for every player,” said Hextall, as per CSN Philadelphia. “But certainly, Ghost being, in essence, a first-year player, that’s a lot of hockey. We had a tough schedule and I’m sure at some point, every player feels fatigued. And I’m sure Shayne felt the same. In saying that, I think he had a hell of a year.

“(Giroux), this has been going on for a while,” continued Hextall. “He’s a tough guy and I’m certainly sure it didn’t help. But he’s been having it from before the midpoint of the season.

After one season with the Bruins, Kemppainen signs in KHL

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 18:  Joonas Kemppainen #41 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena on February 18, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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Joonas Kemppainen has signed a one-year contract in the KHL following one season with the Boston Bruins, according to CSNNE.com.

The Bruins originally signed Kemppainen, now 28 years old, to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 at the NHL level, making him the first move of the Don Sweeney era as general manager in Boston after an impressive playoff performance in Finland.

From CSNNE.com:

Kemppainen was adequate enough in both areas while posting two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 44 games for the Black and Gold, but was a slow-skating offensive liability when given minutes as a third- and fourth-line center. In the end, the strengths simply didn’t outweigh the weaknesses for Kemppainen, who rotated in among Ryan Spooner, Chris Kelly and Max Talbot for the first few months of the NHL season while the Bruins gave him a chance to show his stuff.

Kemppainen also spent 11 games last season with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League.

Predators d-man Ellis joins Team Canada at worlds

SASKATOON, SK - JANUARY 5:  Ryan Ellis #6 of Team Canada skates with the puck during the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship Tournament Gold Medal game against Team USA on January 5, 2010 at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Team USA defeated Team Canada 6-5 in overtime.(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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Defenseman Ryan Ellis is on his way to join Team Canada at the world hockey championship.

Ellis and the Nashville Predators had their 2015-16 season come to an end in a disappointing Game 7 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday.

“We had the opportunity to add one more experienced, puck-moving defenceman,” said Team Canada’s co-general manager George McPhee, as per the IIHF website. “Ryan is very familiar with these players and has had a lot of success with them internationally; he will be a great fit with this group.”

While Ellis is making the trip to Russia to join the Canadian contingent, his Nashville teammate and fellow blue liner Shea Weber will not be added to the roster.

Canada crushed Slovakia by a final score of 5-0 on Saturday for a fifth consecutive win and a share of the lead atop the Group B standings alongside Finland with 15 points.

Capitals assistant Reirden has potential to be a ‘future head coach’ in the NHL

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 10:  Assistant coach Todd Reirden of the Washington Capitals talks to the power play unit during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 10, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) Todd Reirden’s road to coaching started as a journeyman defenseman playing in the minors for Todd McLellan’s Houston Aeros during the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

Injured and at the tail end of his career, Reirden still wanted to make an impact, so McLellan assigned him coaching responsibilities with young players. It clicked.

“At that point, you could tell that he had coaching in his blood and that’s probably something that he wanted to do,” McLellan said.

Reirden went into coaching three years later, taking Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to the American Hockey League’s playoffs twice and assisting Dan Bylsma on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ staff. After two more season as an assistant under Barry Trotz with the Washington Capitals, Reirden’s success is measurable in the progress made by Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and other defensemen.

NHL general managers are always looking for coaching’s next big thing, and Reirden has positioned himself to be just that this summer or next.

“He’s got great potential,” said McLellan, now coach of the Edmonton Oilers. “You look at his path from developing player early in his career and then his time in the minors, his stay at the national league level, some of the coaches he’s been around and the organizations he’s been through, his body of work, I think all of those qualities put him in a category that soon people will be talking about him as a future head coach.”

Reirden didn’t have the NHL head-coaching experience the Ottawa Senators or Minnesota Wild wanted when those teams hired Guy Boucher and Bruce Boudreau, respectively. The Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames currently have vacancies, and the 44-year-old coach from suburban Chicago would be an outside-the-box choice like John Hynes was a year ago for the New Jersey Devils.

Like Hynes, Reirden came up through the Penguins’ coaching ranks that also produced Bylsma and Mike Yeo. From Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Pittsburgh and Washington, Reirden has consciously taken steps to be a better assistant and, eventually, a better NHL head coach.

“My particular path has been a fairly quick one in terms of getting to the National Hockey League as an assistant, and it’s been a lot of learning on the job,” Reirden said. “An important part of learning is being a good listener, especially when you’re in an assistant coaching role and taking information in and for me learning what works and what doesn’t work sometimes and deciding how I want to utilize those positives and negatives I take from the situation in preparation for one day being a head coach in this league.”

One day isn’t far away. Reirden oversaw the fifth-ranked power play in the NHL this season and ran a defense that thrived despite injuries.

Trotz said Reirden deserves all the credit for the growth of young defensemen and called him “a really bright hockey mind.” That’s an opinion shared by many of his colleagues.

“I think he’s one of the best teaching coaches in our game,” said Bylsma, now coach of the Buffalo Sabres. “His ability to relate and teach and give players an opportunity to be better, I think he’s elite at it.”

Reirden’s players credit him for his Xs and Os smarts, communication skills and attention to detail. Letang said he improved a lot under Reirden, Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz called him an “intellect on the power play” and Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik praised him for not dwelling on mistakes because playing the position gave him an understanding of how difficult it is.

“He’s big on habits and really consistent in his approach to how he wants the game played and what he likes to see you do,” Niskanen said. “He’s a constant communicator. He’s really good at that.”

Reirden picked up pieces of his coaching philosophy along the way. He considers McLellan, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, former Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards, Bylsma and Richards among his biggest influences.

“For me it will be the importance of the honesty that Joel Quenneville had and the ability of Todd McLellan and Todd Richards to really understand and how to implement a system and how to set players up for success within that system,” said Reirden, who played for Quenneville in St. Louis. “It’s going to be a little bit of a culmination of all different people that I’ve been (around) in this game as a professional now for 20 years.”

Reirden emphasized that he loves working under Trotz in Washington but said he’ll be ready whenever a head-coaching job comes his way.

“It’s ultimately a goal, for certain, just as it was for me as a player to play in the National Hockey League,” Reirden said. “It’s always a goal for me as a coach to get to the pinnacle or the top of your profession.”