For the first time in these NHL playoffs, teams will play on back-to-back nights when the Lightning and Canadiens meet tonight, then again tomorrow, in Tampa Bay.
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who didn’t play full games on consecutive days once during the regular season, is trying to keep his focus on tonight’s game only.
“I’m not really worried about tomorrow,” Bishop said today, per ESPN.com. “Tonight’s kind of the main thing. We’ve played (three games in three days) in the minors and everything. I’m not too worried about it. Right now I’m just focused on tonight.”
The Lightning and Canadiens last met Sunday in Montreal. They were forced to play a back-to-back due to Amalie Arena being booked last night for a Nitro Circus event (which actually ended up being canceled).
Bishop saw action three times with zero days rest during the regular season (.868 save percentage). Twice he started games after appearing in a relief effort the day before; once he started on consecutive days, but was pulled early in the first game.
Montreal’s Carey Price started three back-to-backs during the regular season. He was not pulled in any of the six combined games, and his save percentage with zero days rest was an impressive .947.
Tampa Bay leads the series, 2-0.
The NHL will announce the three finalists for coach of the year tonight. The Jack Adams Award is voted on by the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association. Last year, it was presented to Patrick Roy, head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, who beat out finalists Mike Babcock (Detroit) and Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay).
This year, there’s no shortage of candidates. But one — Calgary’s Bob Hartley — is considered the favorite, after leading the Flames to the playoffs.
Not only were the Flames expected by many to be among the league’s worst teams in 2014-15, they were forced to play without captain Mark Giordano down the stretch. Missing one of the best defensemen in hockey, they went 12-6-3, clinching a postseason berth for the first time since 2009.
Other candidates include Ottawa’s Dave Cameron, Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice, Nashville’s Peter Laviolette, New York Rangers’ Alain Vigneault, and Washington’s Barry Trotz.
Related: PHT’s awards picks for 2014-15
Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t ruling out a return to the NHL.
“I have two more years on my contract (with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL),” Kovalchuk told ESPN.com yesterday. “Then, we’ll see.”
Kovalchuk, who turned 32 in April, hasn’t played in the NHL since his shock “retirement” in July of 2013. He may not be eligible to return to the NHL until he’s 35.
The former Thrashers and Devils star had 25 goals and 30 assists in 54 regular-season games this season, then helped his team to a KHL championship in the playoffs.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been ordered by a U.S. federal court judge to offer testimony in the concussions lawsuit filed by 60 former players against the league.
TSN has learned that late Tuesday, a judge ordered Bettman to testify in July on matters related to the high-stakes litigation.
The lawyers for the players have taken issue with a number of things that Bettman has said in the past regarding brain injuries in hockey, the insinuation being that he hasn’t taken the issue as seriously as he should have. They’ll also no doubt question how much scientific information the league did or did not pass on to the players.
Related: Ask a Lawyer: Do the players suing the NHL over concussions have a case?
Don’t be surprised if we learn of yet another alternative arena site in the Seattle area.
Prospective NHL owner Victor Coleman, who’s been working with investor Chris Hansen to get an arena built in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, says he has a Plan B.
“My priority is to figure out a way to make a deal on the SoDo site,” Coleman told Puget Sound Business Journal. “If for some reason that doesn’t happen, it is not going to detract us from looking at an alternative site that we have looked at and will continue to pursue if the [SoDo] site is not available…”
Coleman declined to say where his alternative site was located.
We learned late last month of a competing plan to build an arena in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila. That one is headed up by Ray Bartoszek, and it’s clearly put the pressure on Seattle mayor Ed Murray to do whatever needs to be done to move the SoDo project along.
Wherever’s Coleman’s alternative site is located, it doesn’t sound like he’s interested in a suburban one.
“They should look at Glendale and elsewhere,” Coleman told King 5, adding he believes the NHL “100 percent…wants to be in downtown Seattle.”