Mike Halford

Jim Rutherford
AP

Pens sign coveted Swedish d-man Bengtsson

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Pittsburgh has agreed to terms with undrafted Swedish blueliner Lukas Bengtsson on a two-year deal, per ESPN.

Bengtsson, 22, is a smallish d-man (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) with quality skating ability and good offensive instincts. He had seven goals and 14 points in 30 games for SHL outfit Frolunda this season, and another seven poits in 12 playoff games.

Bengtsson was believed to be in high demand, with reports of various NHL teams interested in bringing him aboard. The Rangers had him at their prospect development camp last summer.

This is a nice get for the Penguins, who don’t have a ton of quality defensive prospects in their system. Since taking Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Pittsburgh hasn’t chosen a defenseman higher than the fourth round.

 

Here’s video of Dan Boyle’s profanity-laced rant

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This morning, we wrote about Dan Boyle going nuclear on the Rangers media — specifically New York Post scribe Larry Brooks, who Boyle wanted out of his scrum during Tuesday’s end-of-year interview.

Well, now there’s video.

Boyle unloads on Brooks — and fellow Post reporter Brett Cyrgalis, who wasn’t actually in attendance — and accuses the veteran writer of “burying” players, while unleashing a string of profanities.

Brooks has yet to respond.

It’s safe to assume the 39-year-old veteran was referring to a series of Post articles that criticized him for his play this season (like this or this or this.)

After this incident, Boyle resumed regular Q&A protocol and told reporters he was likely going to retire.

Prized draft prospect Laine wins Finnish playoff MVP

Patrik Laine of Finland celebrates scoring against Russia during the 2016 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship final match between Finland and Russia in Helsinki, Finland, Tuesday Jan. 5, 2016. (Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva via AP) FINLAND OUT
AP
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As we draw closer to the draft, there’s only one player that’s come close to challenging Auston Matthews as the No. 1 overall pick — Finnish forward Patrik Laine.

On Tuesday, Laine crept up on Matthews even more.

The 18-year-old capped off a banner SM-liiga campaign by helping Tappara capture the Finnish league title, on the strength of 10 goals and 15 points in 18 games. Laine was awarded the Jarri Kurri trophy as the league’s playoff MVP.

At 6-foot-4, 209 pounds and armed with a dynamic shot, Laine’s had scouts drooling for quite some time. After a scintillating World Juniors — in which he helped Finland capture gold with 13 points in seven games — Laine went on to have a terrific SM-liiga regular season, posting 33 points in 46 games.

Of course, I could write and write and write about Laine’s exploits. Or I could post a video:

Laine is expected to be selected to Team Finland for the upcoming World Hockey Championships in Russia.

 

 

 

Plekanec to captain Czechs at Worlds

Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens - Game One
Getty Images

Montreal center Tomas Plekanec will captain his native Czech Republic at the upcoming World Hockey Championships, the club announced on Tuesday.

Plekanec, 33, has a wealth of international experience, and previously captained the Czechs at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Worlds are a chance for Plekanec to end his year on a high note, after what was — by all accounts — a difficult season in Montreal.

Despite the team’s struggles, Plekanec did manage to produce well this season. His 40 assists were the second-most of his career, and his highest total since racking up 45 during the ’09-10 campaign.

As for the Worlds, Plekanec has enjoyed past success with the Czechs at this tournament. He won a silver medal in 2006, and back-to-back bronzes in 2011 and 2012.

 

Reminder: Kraft Hockeyville Final 2 voting closes tonight

Tonight will be your last chance to cast ballots for which rink — Lakeview Arena (Marquette, MI) and the Rushmore Thunderdome (Rapid City, SD) — will capture the title of Kraft Hockeyville for 2016.

To check out both rinks, click the video above.

To vote on who will emerge as the Kraft Hockeyville winner for 2016, visit the website. A reminder that voting closes at Midnight ET.