Jason Brough

Flyers’ Bellemare to have hearing for hitting Orlov from behind


Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will have a hearing today for checking Washington’s Dmitry Orlov from behind last night in Philadelphia.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety made the announcement this morning on Twitter.

Bellemare’s hit left Orlov down on the ice, as skirmishes broke out around him. Though Orlov was ultimately able to remain in the game, Bellemare received a five-minute major and was ejected.

Game 4 of the series goes tomorrow at Wells Fargo Center. The Capitals can eliminate the Flyers with a victory.

Related: Fallout from Bellemare hit, Flyers fans’ actions

Coyotes to purchase Springfield Falcons and move them to Tucson

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Jean-Sebastien Dea, right, moves the puck past the Springfield Falcons' Jordan Szwarz during an AHL hockey game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens' Voice via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

The Arizona Coyotes have signed an agreement to purchase the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, the club announced this morning.

The Coyotes, confirming an earlier report, say they intend to move the Falcons to Tucson, where they’d play at the Tucson Convention Center starting next season.

“The agreement is contingent upon AHL Board of Governor approval, finalizing closing conditions, and signing an arena lease agreement,” the Coyotes wrote in a release.

Falcons owner Charlie Pompea has confirmed the sale agreement to The Republican newspaper in Springfield.

From The Republican:

Pompea did not disclose terms of the deal but said it was definite. Owner of the Falcons since December of 2010, he spoke in tones tinged with regret but said he was convinced that he and his staff had done their best.

“I really wanted this to work. We needed, at the very least, an average of 4,000 fans per game. We didn’t come close.

“I love the fans we had, and I will always be grateful to them. I’m very sad and unhappy, but I want it known I don’t have any gripes. I just got to the point where I didn’t think the city could support a pro hockey team.”

The sale of the Falcons does not assure that hockey is dead in a city that has housed an AHL team since 1936, with the exception of a brief hiatus in the early 1950s. Pompea said some NHL teams have expressed interest in relocating their minor league affiliation in Springfield, but he did not elaborate.

The Falcons became the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate a year ago, after the Falcons’ previous NHL parent, the Columbus Blue Jackets, signed a deal with Lake Erie.

Coach Cooper would love the Lightning to knock it off with all the penalties

Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) scores on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) in the second period of Game 3 in a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

As good as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s penalty-killing has looked in these playoffs, their head coach, Jon Cooper, would be happier if his players just stayed out of the box instead.

“It disrupts your flow. It’s taxing on your penalty killers,” Cooper told reporters about being shorthanded so much. “You’re spending your whole time in the D zone.”

Sunday in Detroit, the Bolts went a perfect 7-for-7 on the PK, but lost the game, 2-0, after managing just 16 shots on goalie Petr Mrazek.

Defenseman Jason Garrison led the Bolts in shorthanded ice time (6:24) in Game 3, followed by Ryan Callahan (5:55), Brian Boyle (5:15), Valtteri Filppula (5:08), Braydon Coburn (4:30), and Victor Hedman (4:20).

That’s a lot of time for good two-way players to spend defending, while offensive types like Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, and Jonathan Drouin sit on the bench watching.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, have been busy thinking of ways to actually convert with the man advantage. In three games, they’re a disappointing 1-for-17.

“We’ve certainly looked at everything as we go through the decision process,” coach Jeff Blashill said, per MLive. “Is there any ways that we can help ourselves do better in any area, including the power play? I would certainly give lots of credit to Tampa’s penalty kill. I think they were one of the top penalty-killing units in the last 2-3 months down the stretch. They do a really good job, so let’s make sure they get lots of credit there.”

Everyone’s talking about video review

After consulting with the video judge, referee Dave Jackson waves off an apparent goal by Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, of Sweden, against the Phoenix Coyotes during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.  The Coyotes defeated the Canucks 1-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

CHICAGO (AP) Aaron Ekblad had a big goal for the Florida Panthers, and then it was gone. Same for Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis last week. Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks and Derick Brassard of the New York Rangers got to keep their clutch scores.

The breakout star of the first round of the NHL playoffs is the coach’s challenge, and it seems as if no one is quite sure how they feel about that.

There were a couple more on Sunday, including an offside ruling that negated Ekblad’s goal in the second period of Florida’s 4-3 overtime loss at the New York Islanders.

“The rule is there, it’s in place and you have to do as good a job as possible as a staff and as a group to execute within the rule,” Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol said. “We’re seeing how important and how much of an impact it’s had on a couple of games.”

The NHL approved the coach’s challenge system last summer, and it was used 266 times in the regular season, with 68 plays overturned. The system was mostly praised, save for the occasional display from a coach or player upset when a reversal went against their team.

The addition of blue-line cameras for the playoffs has created additional scrutiny – and set the table for discussions on how to improve things.

“That’s probably for summer-time conversation,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked if the coach’s challenge is good for the game.

A pair of challenges went against the Blues in the third period of their 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their first-round series. Tarasenko’s tiebreaking goal was wiped out by a razor-thin offside ruling on Jori Lehtera based on video from the blue-line cameras. There was a video review of Shaw’s tiebreaking goal before Hitchcock unsuccessfully challenged the play, arguing goaltender Brian Elliott had been pushed into the net on the score.

There is a lot of waiting.

“They get the OK from Toronto before the challenge and then we challenge and then there’s another seven or eight minutes,” Blues center Paul Stastny said. “I think the game’s changed so much, I guess that’s the only downside to the challenges. You don’t mind them for certain reasons, but you want to get an answer in 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes, quick; almost like a quick timeout basically.”

Florida almost had a 3-0 lead in the second period against New York, but Ekblad’s first career playoff goal was thrown out when Islanders video coach Matt Bertani got coach Jack Capuano to challenge the play and video showed Florida was offside when it entered the zone.

“That was the turning point,” Capuano said. “Down by two is a lot different than down by three.”

Doughty: ‘There’s no way we can go down another game’

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau, left, battles Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Here’s the thing about trying to come back from a 3-0 series deficit:

It’s still really, really hard.

Only four teams in NHL history have ever done it, versus 178 that have tried and failed, per whowins.com.

So even though the Kings did it in 2014 against the Sharks, they really don’t want to try their luck again.

“We have a lot more to give, and it has to start tonight,” defenseman Drew Doughty told reporters this morning ahead of Game 3 in San Jose.

“There’s no way we can go down another game.”

The Kings won’t be the only ones trying to avoid a 3-0 deficit tonight. The Wild are in the same boat versus the Stars. So are the Flyers versus the Capitals.

For the Kings, though, a first-round exit would mean no series victories in two years, after missing the playoffs altogether last season. And unlike the Wild and Flyers, they went into this postseason with serious Stanley Cup aspirations.

That’s why tonight is so important. A Kings win could change the tenor of the series dramatically, shifting the pressure onto the Sharks, a team that has not handled pressure well in the past.

“Just think, if you can cut it in half, it’s two-one,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “It’s not that hard to figure out.”

Figure out? No, not hard.

On the road, and probably without Alec Martinez again, the hard part will actually be doing it.

Related: Despite home record, Sharks still happy to be back at the Tank