James O'Brien

Mario Lemieux

Report: Penguins owners (especially Lemieux) ponder sale of ‘some or all’ of franchise

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File this under unexpected: Pittsburgh Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux hired Morgan Stanley as they consider “the possibility of selling some or all of the franchise,” according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari confirms that ownership sought out Morgan Stanley to get the ball rolling on this potential situation. Gary Bettman didn’t address the situation as it broke during tonight’s press conference, according to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski.

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Naturally, McKenzie provided the expected caveats. Just because the two are exploring their options doesn’t mean that they’re absolutely set on this.

Interestingly, Lemieux is singled out as possibly being most anxious in getting out, noting that the two may still retain some involvement with the team even if they give up equity shares.

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Again, at first, this is a startling situation. Thinking deeper, there have been rumblings about dysfunction in the organization, with some pointing blame all the way to the top.

Perhaps Lemieux and Burkle are losing their taste for the criticism and/or management aspects of running the team? Maybe they’re merely trying to make a ton of money (Lemieux certainly earned his keep in saving the franchise more than once).

Tough to blame “The Magnificent One” if the Penguins approach this sort of price tag, after all:

Interestingly, Mike Colligan wondered about the two Penguins owners’ future with the franchise all the way back in early April in this article for The Hockey Writers.

This could be a blip or just as easily be a huge moment for the franchise. Either way, it’s an interesting situation to watch.

More: Penguins release a statement that doesn’t exactly refute these rumors.

Report: Red Wings will name Blashill as head coach next week

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It sounds like the two sides won’t need to play coy much longer: MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reports that the Detroit Red Wings will announce Jeff Blashill as their new head coach sometime next week.

Khan believes that Blashill is set to receive a three-year contract, since that’s also the length of Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s current deal.

Blashill’s currently the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate. They were just eliminated from their postseason run, so this opens the door for a pending announcement. Khan explains the timing of the pending (but not yet confirmed) roll-out to the press and fans:

An announcement ordinarily might have come later this week but Holland has been in Buffalo for the NHL’s Scouting Combine and will attend the league’s general managers meetings in Chicago early next week during the Stanley Cup finals.

Blashill has scheduled exit interviews for players in Grand Rapids on Monday. So the earliest an announcement on his hiring can come is on Tuesday.

At 41, Blashill would be the second-youngest coach in the NHL, right behind 40-year-old newly minted New Jersey Devils bench boss John Hynes. In a way, Blashill’s ascent follows the way the Red Wings often nurse prospects, as he’s had a great run in the AHL while patiently awaiting the big call-up.

There’s always the chance that this will be refuted, yet all signs point to this being the likely decision. We’ll find out for sure next week, though.

(Probably.)

Rangers’ Skapski faces 4-5 month rehab from hip surgery

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New York Rangers goaltending prospect Mackenzie Skapski is expected to need four-to-five months to recover from hip surgery, which means the rehab could possibly eat into the 2015-16 season.

The 21-year-old tweeted that the surgery was successful and that he hopes for a speedy recovery. More specifically, the Rangers describe the specific procedure as “hip arthroscopy to repair a labral tear in his right hip.”

Skapski saw two games of NHL action this past season, winning both contests and even grabbing a shutout. Most of his reps came with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack as he went 15-8-3 with a solid .914 save percentage.

Among Rangers fans and observers, the reaction seems a bit split regarding whether Skapski’s surgery would have any impact on Cam Talbot’s near future.

The New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis observes that Skapski’s injury means that the Rangers would have to get a backup goalie from “outside the organization” if they want to trade Talbot.

Others believe that Skapski’s not really in the phase of his career where he’s really relevant to Talbot, who has enjoyed two strong years as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.

As a sixth-rounder (170th pick) from the 2013 NHL Draft, some may dismiss Skapski’s potential, yet the Rangers found Lundqvist in the seventh round back in 2000, so you never know.

2015 NHL Awards entertainers: Rob Riggle and Daughtry

Crackle's "Dead Rising: Watchtower" Cast At Wondercon
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That guy who just didn’t like Will Ferrell’s face in “Step Brothers” (Rob Riggle) and the band with that dude who almost won “American Idol” (Daughtry) will be your entertainers for the 2015 NHL Awards on June 24.

The event will air live at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, by the way.

Riggle (pictured) is a pretty well-known face among comedy nerds, but you may know him from his days as a correspondent for “The Daily Show.” He’s a guy who is seasoned at drawing sports-related laughs, as he also did some work for the NFL. As a general rule, he’s pretty funny when he yells.

Need more examples of his work? The NHL provided a lengthier rundown:

Riggle is widely known for his memorable comedic roles in films such as The Hangover, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street and Dumb & Dumber To. The stand-up comedian and improv actor’s television credits include Saturday Night Live, his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show, a recurring role on Modern Family and the star of the new Fox animated series, Golan the Insatiable. The Kansas native is a passionate sports fan and recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve after 23 years of service. 

Let’s leave the Daughtry talk to the NHL, too, actually:

Daughtry has scored four No. 1 hits, garnered four GRAMMY Award nominations, won four American Music Awards, sold more than 8 million albums and has sold-out concerts worldwide. Daughtry’s self-titled debut album was the fastest selling rock debut in Soundscan history and its follow up, Leave This Town, marked the quintet’s second consecutive No. 1 album. Daughtry’s third album Break The Spell was certified gold in only four weeks of its release. Daughtry’s single “Waiting For Superman” broke into the Top 15 and its new single “Battleships” is racing up the charts. The band’s latest album Baptized was released in November 2013.

Here’s a photo of lead singer Chris Daughtry, if that helps:

source: Getty Images
Via Getty

Poll: Should the Ducks fire Boudreau?

Anaheim Ducks v Calgary Flames - Game Three
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To some, it’s an absurd question. To others, it’s absurd that people would question the decision.

Either way, we just have to ask at this point: should the Anaheim Ducks part ways with head coach Bruce Boudreau?

On one hand, he’s enjoyed fantastic regular season success, piling up division titles and other impressive accomplishments. Boudreau coached in his first conference final series, which mattered until expectations simply rose with that accomplishment.

You probably know the anti-Boudreau drill: his team failed again in a big situation, and it wasn’t pretty. Many will quibble with various matchup decisions and other mistakes.

Also consider this, from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

It’s ridiculous to think Bruce Boudreau could be in any trouble after getting within a win of the Stanley Cup Final, but the relationship between he and Murray is… let’s go with “strained.”

Yes, he’s 1-6 in Game 7s, but he’s won his division (and made the playoffs) in seven of his eight years as a coach. It’s harder than ever to get into the playoffs. He gets you there; the Ducks need to remember that. In the aftermath of Saturday’s loss, a couple of coaches remarked how similar it looked to last year’s 6-2 Game 7 defeat to the Kings.

Feel free to weigh in with reasoning in the comments (maybe provide a replacement if you think he should be fired?) and cast your vote in the poll.