Jason Brough


Fletcher went all-in at the deadline, and now… this


The focus is naturally on Bruce Boudreau, the hard-luck head coach in the midst of another first-round nightmare.

But spare a few thoughts, too, for general manager Chuck Fletcher. He went all-in at the trade deadline, and now his Minnesota Wild are in danger of being swept by the St. Louis Blues.

The Wild, you’ll recall, sent a first-round draft pick and more to get forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, both pending unrestricted free agents, from Arizona in February.

Watch Blues vs. Wild: Game 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBC Sports app

“We’re just putting our chips in the middle of the table for this year,” Fletcher said at the time, per NHL.com. “We like our group and we think our players deserve the best chance possible to compete [and want to] see what we can do. Again, nothing’s promised and we know it will be tough, but I think our thought is we may as well take a swing and see how far we can go.”

The Wild were 39-14-6 when the deal went down, so it’s hard to blame Fletcher for his thought process. But barring a miraculous comeback, Minnesota will fall to 2-5 in playoff series under his watch. He’s been on the job since 2009, and despite a healthy payroll that includes $196 million worth of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild have yet to get past the second round.

The good news for Fletcher is that owner Craig Leipold did not expect to win a Stanley Cup this year.

“I don’t know, they could surprise me,” Leipold said in January. “But I don’t think we’ve got that type of team. We haven’t built it yet.”

Fletcher also saw four of his draft picks show well at the World Juniors — a nice feather in the GM’s cap.

But there’s no denying that his team is on the verge of a massive letdown. Hiring Boudreau was supposed to get the Wild over the hump.

Instead, it’s looking like another early playoff exit for both men.

Related: Chuck Fletcher is under pressure

Bettman skeptical that Isles could return to Nassau Coliseum


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is skeptical that a newly renovated Nassau Coliseum could make a suitable home for the New York Islanders.

“It would make it the smallest building in the league,” Bettman told Fox 5 Sports Extra on Sunday, per Long Island Business News. “I’m not sure that works.”

It was reported last week that Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the company that runs both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum, was planning to pitch the Isles on a return to their old home.

But it’s also been reported that the Isles are focused on a site at Belmont Park in Elmont, where a new arena would be built.

There are only 13,900 fixed seats at the renovated Coliseum.

Related: Bettman says Isles owners will explore their options re: new arena

Agostino earns AHL MVP honors


Kenny Agostino is the AHL’s most valuable player for 2016-17.

Agostino has 24 goals and 59 assists in 65 games for the Chicago Wolves. A 24-year-old winger, his 83 points are by far the most in the league, and the Wolves still have a couple of games left in their regular season.

Agostino also played seven games for the St. Louis Blues this season, managing one goal and two assists while he was up.

Of note, he can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Read more: Agostino to get ‘good chance’ to prove he can produce for Blues

Here are the last 10 recipients of the AHL’s MVP award:

Penguins to hold moment of silence for Dan Rooney

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Pittsburgh sports fans will have the opportunity tonight to honor one of the most beloved owners in pro sports history.

Dan Rooney passed away yesterday at the age of 84. A moment of silence to remember the longtime Steelers owner will be held prior to Game 2 of the Penguin-Blues Jackets series at PPG Paints Arena.

David Morehouse, the Penguins’ president and CEO, said Rooney “personified everything that’s good about Pittsburgh.

“He was committed, humble, hard-working, loyal and never forgot where he came from,” Morehouse told the Post-Gazette. “He’s an example for all of us in how he lived his life and how he ran a sports team, which I think is one of the most successful sports teams in the history of sports.”

Penguins owner Mario Lemieux added, “Mr. Rooney was an amazing man who made such tremendous contributions to the NFL, the City of Pittsburgh and the people of our community. I feel very fortunate to have known him. He impacted many of our lives, and he left a legacy that makes us all proud to be Pittsburghers.”

Rooney’s father, Art, founded the Steelers, and also used his influence to help the city land the Penguins in the 1967 expansion.

Leafs don’t expect Zaitsev to play Game 2


Don’t expect Nikita Zaitsev back for Game 2 of the Maple Leafs-Capitals series.

Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said this morning that the 25-year-old defenseman did not skate today, and is unlikely to play tomorrow in Washington.

Zaitsev missed Thursday’s Game 1 loss with an upper-body injury, possibly a concussion.

Watch Capitals vs. Maple Leafs on NBC Sports

“I don’t expect him back in,” said Babcock. “He didn’t go on the ice today. I was lobbying the best I could today, but they don’t much care what I say.”

By “they,” Babcock presumably meant the Maple Leafs’ medical staff.

Despite last night’s 3-2 overtime defeat, the head coach was encouraged by his team’s performance.

“I thought a confidence builder for sure,” Babcock said. “I liked our game.”