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‘It’s just a number’ — Sidney Crosby celebrates 30th birthday with the Stanley Cup

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‘Sid the Kid’ isn’t really a kid anymore.

Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain and arguably the best player in the game, celebrated his 30th birthday on Monday and he did so with a very special guest — the Stanley Cup, a trophy he has hoisted three times in his National Hockey League career.

“It’s just a number,” Crosby told the Penguins website of his age. “When I think about that, it’s a number. Sometimes I don’t feel 30. Sometimes I do. It depends. I just try to enjoy things as much as I can. It’s pretty special to be able to do this on my birthday, share with everybody. I’ll just take that as a great experience and move on.”

Crosby brought the Stanley Cup to Halifax and then to Rimouski, Que., where he played his junior hockey before being taken No. 1 overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL Draft.

He has since gone on to what will be a Hall of Fame career. The Penguins have won three championships and been to the final four times since 2005. Not only does Crosby have a trio of Stanley Cup rings, he has twice won Olympic gold, scoring the winning overtime goal versus the U.S. in 2010 in Vancouver. It has become one of the iconic moments in Canadian hockey history, as he threw his gloves and stick into the air in celebration.

“It’s amazing how fast time goes by,” said Crosby, per The Canadian Press. “It makes you realize that it doesn’t get any easier and that’s why things like this (parade) — you have to enjoy it.”

There was a time, however, not long ago in which his career was completely sidetracked by concussions. In 2011-12, Crosby appeared in only 22 regular season games. He later opened up in an interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge about the prospects of his playing future given his concussion history.

From the Globe and Mail:

There were some dark days when the thought he may never play hockey again at the professional level entered his mind.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I thought about it,” Crosby told Mansbridge.

Crosby suffered another concussion during the 2017 postseason but didn’t spend much time out of action, returning to help lead Pittsburgh to its second Stanley Cup in as many years. For the second straight year, Crosby claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Related: Crosby ‘in the company of all-time greats’

Video: Line brawl breaks out between Canada and Russia at Sochi Hockey Open

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When it comes to hockey rivalries, Canada versus Russia has never been lacking ill will.

The time of year doesn’t seem to matter, either.

On Monday, as Team Canada faced Team Russia at the Sochi Hockey Open, a line brawl broke out near the Canadian bench, resulting in fight majors for Canada’s Justin Azevedo and Russia’s Mikhail Grigorenko.

Despite holding a decisive 36-22 edge in shots on goal, Canada lost to Russia 3-2 and will finish the preliminary round at 1-1.

Canada’s men’s national team, coached by former Canucks bench boss Willie Desjardins, has a number of tournament competitions, including the Sochi Hockey Open, lined up between now and the end of December prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Up next for the Canadian contingent, according to Hockey Canada, is the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov from Aug. 14-17 in St. Petersburg.

“These first two events allow us to continue a player evaluation process that began last season with our Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup teams,” said vice-president of hockey operations and national men’s teams Scott Salmond, per Hockey Canada.

“We will continue to look at the best available players to us – these two tournaments being the next opportunity to see some of the talent we can select from.”

After playing a ‘key role’ in AHL, Sharks re-sign Goodrow to two-year deal

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Barclay Goodrow is officially back with the San Jose Sharks organization for the upcoming season.

The Sharks announced Monday that they have re-signed the 24-year-old left-shooting right winger to a two-year contract.

Goodrow, who was a restricted free agent having completed his entry-level contract, has appeared in 77 NHL games for San Jose over the last three years, splitting time between the big club and its AHL affiliate.

Last season with the San Jose Barracuda, Goodrow scored 25 goals and 45 points — both career highs for him in the minors — in 61 games.

“Barclay played a key role in the success of the Barracuda last season and we feel he took a step forward in his development,” said Sharks assistant general manager and Barracuda GM Joe Will in a statement.

“He took on more of a leadership role with the Barracuda and we look forward to him competing for a spot in the NHL this season.”

Habs have available cap space to help remedy pressing roster needs

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This post is part of Canadiens Day on PHT…

It’s been a particularly interesting time for Marc Bergevin as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

It really snowballed in June of 2016 with the P.K. Subban trade and the fallout from that, and has continued this offseason with a trade for Jonathan Drouin to help bring additional scoring to Montreal, the loss of Alex Radulov and Andrei Markov, and signing goalie Carey Price to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension that kicks in for the 2018-19 season.

Losing Radulov takes an offensively gifted player out of the lineup, while the club paid a massive amount of money to keep Price in Montreal through 2026.

There were many question marks for Bergevin and the Habs this summer. As discussed earlier today at PHT, one of the biggest dilemmas they may face is up the middle and much of that may depend on the continued development and usage of Alex Galchenyuk.

Yet, Bergevin may still be able to address that before the start of the regular season.

Montreal has about $8.46 million available in cap space, not to mention an additional second-round pick previously belonging to the Chicago Blackhawks, according to CapFriendly.

On the prospect of Bergevin perhaps making another move, Elliotte Friedman recently had some interesting comments to the NHL Network, according to FanRagSports:

“I think you guys a few minutes ago played the key clip, and that is that (Markov) was asked to wait until September or October,” said Friedman. “I get the impression that you’ve got Marc Bergevin sitting here with a lot of cap space and I think he’s sitting on something, or some ideas. And I’m not necessarily saying that he’s going to do something big, but I think he’s dreaming big.

“You talked about the trade earlier this year – the Sergachev-for-Drouin deal – I don’t think that trade happens if they aren’t trying to do something after what was a nightmare year for them last year to change the impression of the organization in the province.”

The Habs will enter next season after a first-round playoff exit to the New York Rangers. Of the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason, Montreal had the third worst scoring average, at 1.83 goals-for per game.

This season is likely to come with added pressure for both the Canadiens and Bergevin.

Price, who turns 30 years old next Wednesday, is in the final year of his current contract that has a still reasonable $6.5 million cap hit. When his new deal kicks in, his cap hit will rise to $10.5 million, which means him and Shea Weber will account for $18.35 million against the cap. That amounts to 24 per cent of the current $75 million ceiling in place for the 2017-18 campaign.

“There’s a saying we use: Goalies are not important until you don’t have one,” Bergevin told the Montreal Gazette last month.

“I’ve seen what’s going on around the league with teams who are looking for goaltenders and it’s really hard to do. So it’s a position that’s hard to find and we have in my opinion, in our opinion, one of the best in the business if not the best, so we’re going to keep him and make sure he’s here for the rest of his career.”

That took care of one long-term need.

The Habs still have others heading into the upcoming season, like possibly having to find a No. 1 center, or finding another talented player to improve this team offensively. The available cap space adds another level of intrigue.

Poll: Are the Senators capable of another deep playoff run?

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This post is part of Senators Day on PHT…

The Ottawa Senators came within one win, one goal of making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

They beat the Boston Bruins in the opening round and then defeated Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers in the second round. Their advancement into the Eastern Conference Final may have been a surprise of the playoffs, but apparently not to owner Eugene Melnyk, who expressed in the middle of February his optimism that the Senators could go on a prolonged postseason run.

Still, it’s likely not many others saw this team pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to double overtime of Game 7 with a berth in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

From the Toronto Star:

The Senators scored the fewest goals of the 16 playoff teams and were the only one to own a negative goal differential (minus-4). Opponents fired 211 more shots on goal than Ottawa did at five-on-five and special teams were also below-grade with the Sens tied for the seventh-worst power play and ninth-worst penalty kill.

The Senators received a tremendous playoff performance from captain Erik Karlsson, despite the fact he was dealing with a foot injury that would later require surgery. Craig Anderson posted a .922 save percentage in 19 playoff games, and there were surprise heroes along the way like Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who had a four-goal game against the Rangers in Round Two.

That run, however, is long over now and attention turns to the upcoming campaign. Getting into the playoffs will depend on many factors, including those beyond their control, like the improvement of teams like Boston, Florida, Tampa Bay and Toronto in the Atlantic Division, and other teams in the Metropolitan Division if the Senators are involved in a Wild Card race.

“This team now is ready to win,” recently added forward Nate Thompson said last month. “I don’t think this was a Cinderella team, it was the real deal. They have a pretty good window to win games and hopefully do something even more special.”

Now, have your say: