Cam Tucker

‘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.

Former NHLer LaCouture pleads not guilty to assaulting woman

PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 19: Dan LaCouture #28 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 19, 2006 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bruins won 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) A former NHL player has pleaded not guilty to charges he assaulted a woman in Massachusetts over the weekend.

The Cape Cod Times reports Daniel LaCouture appeared Tuesday in Barnstable District Court on charges of assault and battery and vandalizing property.

Police responded just after 6 p.m. Saturday to a house in Centerville, where they say the 39-year-old LaCouture hid underneath a vehicle in the home’s driveway before confronting the victim and striking her in the collarbone.

LaCouture is due back in court July 15.

A phone number listed for LaCouture in online public records was disconnected.

LaCouture made his NHL debut with Edmonton in 1999. The forward had 20 goals and 25 assists in 337 career games with six NHL teams.

He is one of dozens of plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the NHL over concussion-related injuries.

A better start is key for Sharks in Game 2

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It’s easy to suggest that perhaps the San Jose Sharks got caught up with some nerves during the first period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After all, this is a franchise that, after well-documented playoff shortfalls, is playing in the championship series for the first time. The Pittsburgh Penguins, on the other hand, well they’ve been here before — seven years ago.

Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns conceded that his team may have been overwhelmed at first, outshot 15-4 in the opening 20 minutes, before eventually getting back on track in the middle of the game.

The result was a two-goal deficit, as the Penguins jumped into the lead. San Jose fought back, but ultimately lost on a late Nick Bonino goal.

The Sharks, of course, have stressed getting out to a better start, and that what happened Monday can be a learning experience, as they look to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“We were excited to play. We felt we were ready. Then at the start, we didn’t execute the way we needed to. We try to take that lesson and learn from it,” Joe Pavelski told reporters on Tuesday.

“Hopefully we can have a better start. Obviously it’s exciting to be here. I don’t know if it’s your first time or your fifth time, I’m sure it’s exciting every time. So we’ll learn from that game and hopefully have a better start.”

 

Bears face Monsters for the AHL’s Calder Cup

MILWAUKEE - JUNE 15:  Chris Bourque #17 of the Hershey Bears kisses the Calder Cup after the Hershey Bears defeated the Milwaukee Admirals in game six of the AHL Calder Cup Finals on June 15, 2006 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bears defeated the Admirals 5-1 in game six to win the AHL Calder Cup. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Hershey Bears and Lake Erie Monsters will play for the 2016 Calder Cup, as the American Hockey League’s championship series begins Wednesday.

The Bears, who start with home ice advantage, enter the series having won the Calder Cup 11 times — the most of any franchise in the league’s history. They also enter the final having dispatched the Toronto Marlies — Canada’s remaining hope for an AHL championship, right…? — in the third round.

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Meanwhile, the Monsters have been on a torrid run in the playoffs, losing only twice in 13 games so far. They’ve earned the sweep in two of three series, making quick work of the Rockford IceHogs and Ontario Reign.

Bears forward Carter Camper, a journeyman in the minors with three games of NHL experience with Boston in 2011-12, is second in AHL playoff scoring with 15 points in 17 games.

For the Monsters, Blue Jackets prospect Lukas Sedlak has been on a roll, offensively, and now has 13 points in 13 post-season games this year.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Sedlak was regarded as a smart two-way forward, but his offensive production was minimal, almost non-existent. Players like that tend to drift away after a few seasons, pushed aside by the next wave of young talent and high draft picks.

“I’d say right around Christmas I started wondering what was going to happen,” Sedlak said. “I was asking my agent what Columbus thought of me, and I was prepared for everything — maybe even going back to Europe.

“I knew my contract was up after the season. I thought I was playing pretty well … but you just don’t know.”