Author: Cam Tucker

Senators owner Melnyk undergoes successful liver transplant

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Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk underwent a successful liver transplant Tuesday in Toronto General Hospital, the club announced on its website.

From the Ottawa Senators:

Mr. Melnyk went into surgery at noon today and the transplantation was successfully completed at 8:05 p.m.

Mr. Melnyk and the anonymous donor are both resting comfortably and doing well.

The University Health Network’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program will provide a progress update on Mr. Melnyk and the anonymous donor later this week.

Mr. Melnyk and his family would like to thank everyone for their continued support and wish to extend their immense gratitude to the anonymous donor and the donor’s family.

Only five days ago, Melnyk was hospitalized and in “urgent need” of a liver transplant. In the days that followed, there were more than 500 donor applications received.

Kesler has ‘upped’ his game in the playoffs

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It’s been almost 11 full months since the Vancouver Canucks traded Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks in a draft day blockbuster.

The Ducks are winning this trade.

The Canucks had a rebound season but it ended in disappointment with a first-round playoff loss to Calgary. The Ducks and the 30-year-old Kesler are in the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

With four wins in this round, the Ducks would advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Should that happen, it would be Kesler’s second trip to the championship series in five years.

And he’s been a big part of the Ducks’ success this post-season, too.

From the Orange County Register:

Twenty goals and 27 assists were welcomed and appreciated over the 82-game schedule, but not the primary reason why Murray kept talking to Vancouver about acquiring him. He’s got four goals and five assists in the Ducks’ playoff games, but it’s more than that.

Kesler has been dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 63.7 percent of his draws. He’s an essential part of a penalty-killing unit that’s allowed only four power-play goals. And each of his scores has made a difference.

“There’s been a lot of moments like that,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Those are the things that probably stand out more for me than anybody scoring three goals or getting booed or any of those things.

“So far, what I’ve seen, he’s upped his game.”

Stamkos doesn’t mind winging it

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Steven Stamkos can often be the center of attention with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It happens when you put up 51 and 60 goals in single seasons.

But, it appears sometimes a move to the wing can benefit Stamkos, which was the case late in the second round against Montreal, according to the Tampa Tribune.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s worked well the two games that we’ve done it. You know, sometimes it’s just a little change,” Stamkos told reporters on Friday.

“Some things aren’t going well, and you want to try some different combination playing on the wing. It’s definitely a little different. Your responsibility is maybe not as great as playing center. For me, I felt like my legs have been a little better. Got some pucks in space coming down the wing, being able to get some shots.

“But definitely in my opinion I’ve been able to get more quality chances and been able to use my speed down the wing a little more and get some more pucks on that. So it’s been a good change.”

Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson still leads all players in goals this post-season with eight.

After a slow start — three points in the first eight playoff games — Stamkos seems to have found his scoring touch, with three goals and seven points in the last five games.

McDavid shut out in Erie’s elimination loss

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Barring something completely unexpected in the fall, Connor McDavid’s junior hockey career is over.

It very likely ended for good on Friday, when the Erie Otters lost Game 5 of the Ontario Hockey League championship by a final score of 6-2 to the Oshawa Generals.

McDavid, expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NHL Draft, was held off the score sheet in the loss, despite numerous chances. There won’t be a return to Erie for a sixth game in this series, which McDavid believed there would be.

He finished the post-season with 49 points in 20 games, and was named the OHL playoff MVP.

Twice in the final series against Oshawa, McDavid was held without a point, and finished two points shy of the OHL playoff record, held by Justin Papineau and Jason Dawe.

So, what’s next for McDavid in the coming days and weeks?

The NHL’s scouting combine begins June 1 in Buffalo, and the first round of the draft goes June 26 in Sunrise, Fla. The Edmonton Oilers, after winning the draft lottery, have the first selection this year.

“It’s going to be an exciting couple of months here,” McDavid told Rob Faulds during the Sportsnet broadcast following the loss.

“I’m really looking forward to it. Once draft day happens, that’s when the really hard work starts. It’s going to be up to me to figure out what I’m going to do with it.”

Crawford ‘feeling pretty good’ after slow start to playoffs

So, Corey Crawford didn’t get off to the best start in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

— He was pulled after the first period of Game 1 against Nashville in the opening round.

— He started Game 2 and gave up six goals on 35 shots.

— He was “a little pissed off at first” that Scott Darling took over the starting job in that first-round series.

But it’s not always about how you start. Since taking back the No. 1 goalie job at the end of the Nashville series, Crawford has been spectacular for the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I never necessarily get low, confidence-wise, about my game,” Crawford told NHL.com.

“I was a little ticked off, I guess you could say, that I wasn’t in there. But I was still ready to get back in. I was working hard, and I mean … things happen. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and you can’t really let your emotions affect your play after that.”

In a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Wild in the second round, Crawford allowed only seven goals. Two of those came during a frantic stretch in the final three minutes, when the Wild tried desperately to send Game 4 to overtime and possibly extend the series.

“I don’t think I was completely awful the first [series],” said Crawford. “It just took a little bit to get into it. I was out quick, lost the timing and when I came back, I got it back pretty quick. I’m feeling pretty good right now.”