Jason Brough

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) levels Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) with a high hit during the first period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal series Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Washington. Pittsburgh won 2-1. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Schmidt will sit in Orpik’s return from suspension


With Brooks Orpik set to return from his three-game suspension tonight in Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals have apparently decided to keep defenseman Taylor Chorney in the lineup, while sitting Nate Schmidt.

Per CSN Washington, the Caps practiced yesterday with Karl Alzner paired with Matt Niskanen, Orpik with John Carlson, and Dmitry Orlov with Chorney.

Schmidt, 24, took just 13 shifts in Saturday’s 3-1 victory. He also had a costly turnover in Game 3 that led to the Penguins’ winning goal.

In Chorney, Caps coach Barry Trotz has an older player with a bit more experience.

“He’s gone through a few more life experiences,” Trotz told reporters. “He’s gone through a few playoffs and those all help. They’re very important at this time.”

Related: It looks like Olli Maatta will be back for Game 6 as well

Panthers sign their top goalie prospect Montembeault

QUEBEC CITY, QC - DECEMBER 5:  Samuel Montembeault of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada makes a save against the Quebec Remparts during their CHL hockey game at the Centre Videotron on December 5, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers announced today that they’ve agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with goalie Samuel Montembeault.

Montembeault, 19, was drafted 77th overall in 2015, among the first netminders to be taken that year. According to Hockey’s Future, he’s the Panthers’ top goalie prospect.

Florida, of course, already has a pretty solid goalie in Roberto Luongo, the 37-year-old who still has a couple of years of good money left on his back-diving contract.

In the meantime, the Panthers can be patient while Montembeault — who idolized Luongo growing up in Quebec — develops.

Laine has ‘worst game for me in a long time,’ but Finland still defeats United States

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) Finland handed the United States its second loss by 3-2 at the world ice hockey championship on Monday.

Finland’s third win from three matches kept pace with Canada, which routed Belarus 8-0 with seven different players scoring, and led their group on goal difference. Canada has 20 goals in three games, and doesn’t play Finland until the last round of group matches next week.

The U.S. is fourth with its only win against Belarus. The top four qualify for the quarterfinals.

“I thought it was a very competitive game,” U.S. coach John Hynes said. “Unfortunately for us we were one goal short but we really liked the intensity level that we played with, and I feel like we really took a step in our team game.”

Mikko Koivu and Antti Pihlstrom scored for Finland in the first period before Frank Vatrano made it 2-1 with a slapshot.

Connor Murphy leveled early in the third for the U.S., but Leo Komarov slid in the puck four minutes later for the game-winner.

The game pitted two players up for the No. 1 spot in next month’s NHL draft, Finland’s Patrik Laine and America’s Auston Matthews. While Laine did not add to his four goals and two assists for the tournament, Matthews took the puck from Laine and assisted Vatrano’s goal to move to two goals and two assists.

“This was the worst game for me in a long time,” said Laine, who said he “stopped playing” before losing the puck to Matthews in the mistaken belief that there had been an offside call. “The most important thing is those three points (for Finland), and it’s all that matters when our team’s winning.”

With patriotic Soviet songs playing in the arena to mark the anniversary of beating the Nazis in the Second World War, Canada got two goals from Ryan O'Reilly, one of them while short-handed.

“It was a competitive game, especially early on,” Canada coach Bill Peters said. “That short-handed goal was a bit of a game-changer. They were very competitive and in the end, our depth is what wore them down.”

Cam Talbot faced only 13 shots for Canada’s first shutout of the championship.

The Czech Republic leads the Moscow group after beating Sweden 4-2 on two goals and an assist from Michal Birner.

Sweden was 2-0 up after the first before the Czechs scored four straight goals to take the win despite being outshot 29-20 overall.

Host Russia is second after beating Latvia 4-0 on two goals and two assists from forward Artemi Panarin, who bounced back after he was pulled from Sunday’s game against Kazakhstan following a hard collision into the boards.

Defenseman Alexei Yemelin faces a minimum one-game suspension after he was ejected for a knee on Miks Indrasis.

Russia is 2-1 after an opening 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic and the tricky 6-4 win over Kazakhstan.

Related: Canada routs United States, 5-1

Chiarelli’s already had ‘four or five teams’ call about the fourth overall pick


Last week, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli called trading the fourth overall pick at this summer’s draft a “real legitimate chance.”

Apparently, his counterparts around the NHL were listening.

“I’ve already had four or five teams call me,” Chiarelli said today, per 630 CHED in Edmonton. “I’ve made it known we would look to trade down if the right deal is there.”

It’s been a while since a top-5 pick was dealt. In 2008, the Leafs traded up two spots with the Islanders to take Luke Schenn fifth overall. The cost to do so was a second-rounder and a third-rounder.

A couple of years later, the Bruins got Tyler Seguin with Toronto’s second overall pick, but that deal was different. It was made in September of 2009, before the Leafs went on to finish with the second-worst record in 2009-10.

Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi are expected to be snapped up with the first three picks in 2016.

After that is anyone’s guess, with forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Matthew Tkachuk among the top candidates to go next.

Malcolm Subban has sights set on Bruins’ back-up spot

Malcolm Subban

The Boston Bruins want a better back-up goalie. Team president Cam Neely said so a couple of weeks ago, essentially slamming the book shut on Jonas Gustavsson‘s time with the organization.

While it remains to be seen who will replace Gustavsson, Malcolm Subban thinks “for sure” that he’s ready for the job. The 22-year-old’s confidence is high, despite fracturing his larynx in February.

“If you don’t believe you’re able to do it, then you’re probably not going to do it,” Subban told the Boston Herald. “Personally, yeah, I think I’ve developed a lot over the these past three years, in spite of the injury. Only time will tell, and it’s not my decision. If I come to camp and don’t play well, then I’ll make their decision a lot easier.”

Speaking of training camp, it will be interesting to see what kind of competition Subban faces once it starts. Tuukka Rask will be there, obviously. But will GM Don Sweeney go out and add a proven backup this offseason?

Perhaps Sweeney could target somebody like Jhonas Enroth, who wasn’t exactly thrilled with his playing time in Los Angeles this past season. Or maybe even Chad Johnson, the last reliable backup the Bruins actually had. Both Enroth and Johnson are pending unrestricted free agents, just to throw a couple of names out there.  

This is no small decision for Sweeney. For a bubble team like the B’s, the back-up goalie can be the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Case in point, Subban’s only career NHL start arose late in 2014-15 because the B’s didn’t have anyone beyond Niklas Svedberg. The debut was a disaster for Subban, who allowed three goals on just six shots.

Another factor that Sweeney will need to consider is Subban’s development. Remember that the Bruins drafted Subban 24th overall in 2012. He was the second goalie taken that year (after Andrei Vasilevskiy went 19th to Tampa Bay), and he remains a very important prospect for the organization, either as a future starter or a potential trade chip.

In other words, if he’s not ready for the NHL, the Bruins shouldn’t force it.

Related: Malcolm Subban feels he’s ‘taken a huge step forward’ from last year