Author: Jason Brough

Ron Hextall

Flyers won’t rule out drafting a defenseman, but forward is ‘obvious’ need


With plenty of talented, young defensemen already in the system, the Philadelphia Flyers seem likely to select a forward when they pick seventh overall at the upcoming draft.

But what if there happens to be a blue-liner they really, really like?

“From a needs standpoint, [a forward] would be obvious, but we’ve always had the philosophy of ‘best player available’ and [GM Ron Hextall has] been taking the same approach,” Flyers director of scouting Chris Pryor told the Daily News.

“A conversation is going to arise if there are two players you deem comparable, pretty close, and we’re going to have to make that call as a group at the table. But if there’s a discrepancy between the two and there’s a gap, you have to take the best player.”

Noah Hanifin and Ivan Pronorov are a couple of d-men that are expected to be snapped up early. But in what’s considered an especially deep draft, there won’t be any shortage of forwards after the first six players are off the board.

The Flyers also have Tampa Bay’s first-round pick from the Braydon Coburn trade.

Related: Difference of opinion: Craig Button has Hanifin 12th on final draft rankings

Teravainen on comeback: ‘Great teams do that’

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

TAMPA — Teuvo Teravainen hasn’t been with the Chicago Blackhawks for long, but he knows what they’re capable of doing.

Tonight, they fought back to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, scoring two late goals to beat the Lightning 2-1.

“Great teams do that,” said Teravainen, who got a wrist shot past a screened Ben Bishop at 13:28 of the third. Not even two minutes later, Antoine Vermette scored what would turn out to be the winner. 

“Just amazing,” said Teravainen. “Great comeback for sure. They got maybe a lucky one in the first there, but we bounced back. We started playing our game in the end. We just have to start in the first like that.”

Patrick Sharp, unlike the 20-year-old Teravainen, has been around this Blackhawks team. He was even there for the “dark days” of the franchise, before the two Stanley Cup victories in 2010 and 2013.

Sharp was asked if he’s come to expect comebacks like the one tonight.

“I don’t know if ‘come to expect it’ is the right way to put it, but we certainly believe in ourselves in our locker room,” he said. “We’re never out of any game, despite the score (or) how it looks out there. I thought our team got better and better as the game went on.”

Bettman insists Coyotes and Panthers won’t relocate

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators - Game Six

TAMPA — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insisted today that the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers are headed in the right direction.

Which is to say, they’re not going anywhere.

“There have been lots of stories written, and based on our ongoing dialogue with the club, they are inaccurate,” Bettman said of the Coyotes. “They have a lease that’s in full force and effect. Their obligations are being met currently. The club is not going anywhere.

“I don’t know where or why these reports are coming from, but I refer you to Anthony LeBlanc, who’s running the club on a day-to-day basis, and he will confirm what I just told you.

“It’s unfortunate that there still seems to be some degree of distraction in terms of the coverage of the club, but they’ll deal with it and time will tell over time that, in fact, they’re doing a good job of building that club in Arizona.”

LeBlanc — the Coyotes’ president, CEO and a co-owner — recently told Sportsnet that the financial picture was improving for the club. However, LeBlanc conceded that the “elephant in the room is always going to be the five-year out clause, until we get past that five-year out clause and it’s dead and done.”

As for the Florida Panthers, who finished 2014-15 with the lowest average attendance in the league (11,265), Bettman said, “They’re on the absolute right track.”

“As you’ve heard me say repeatedly, ownership is the key difference,” the commissioner continued. “Vinnie Viola has got the resources and the commitment to make it work. He’s had to retool and revamp the operation down there, and I believe the club is headed in the right direction.”

And just for good measure, Bettman addressed today’s rumor that a club would relocate by the end of June.

“That is not going to happen,” he insisted. “I don’t know why publications make those things up, even under the guise of a rumor. The Panthers are not filing for bankruptcy. I don’t know where these stories come from, but they’re not true.”

NHL strikes down relocation rumor


Just hours before the start of the Stanley Cup Final, the NHL was forced to quash a rumor about a franchise relocation.

That rumor was passed along on Twitter by Forbes sports business reporter Maury Brown:

But NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was quick to strike it down.

“There is absolutely no truth to speculation that any NHL franchise is currently considering relocation,” Daly said, per “The League and its franchises have never been more stable. There has been no discussion whatsoever regarding a potential relocation and there is a zero percent chance that any franchise will be moved prior to the start of the 2015-16 season.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is scheduled to hold a press conference prior to Game 1 tonight at Amalie Arena, something he does before every Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

‘Very good chance’ that van Riemsdyk plays in Stanley Cup Final

Trevor van Riemsdyk

TAMPA — Tonight in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks will go with the same six defensemen they’ve used since David Rundblad replaced Kimmo Timonen for Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

But don’t dismiss the chances of rookie Trevor van Riemsdyk making an appearance at some point in the series.

“Not playing today, but he’s real close,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “He’s sitting there. He’s that close. We expect a very good chance he’s going to be in the series.”

Barring an injury to one of the Blackhawks’ top-four defensemen, van Riemsdyk would most likely replace Rundblad or Kyle Cumiskey, depending how those two perform against the Lightning. A right shot, he may be more likely to replace right-shooting Rundblad versus left-shooting Cumiskey.

In Game 7 against the Ducks, Rundblad logged just 5:35 of ice time, while Cumiskey played slightly more, at 8:31.

Quenneville talked glowingly today about van Riemsdyk, the 23-year-old who’s still recovering from wrist surgery and hasn’t played for the ‘Hawks since Nov. 16.

“We saw firsthand what he was able to do when he came into training camp. Surprised us all how well he played, how effective and efficient he is,” said Quenneville.

“We’ve been skating him in practice every day. One of his strengths is his reads, positionally aware, decision-making with the puck. He’s got a lot of attributes that can help our team. I think he came onto the scene rather fast for us. I think we have a lot of confidence and trust in him.”

Related: Blackhawks recall van Riemsdyk