Mike Halford

Foligno scores twice as U.S. beats Hungary at worlds

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MOSCOW (AP) Forward Nick Foligno scored twice to lead the United States past Hungary 5-1 in the ice hockey world championship on Friday.

The US has won three of its five games in Group B, while Hungary is winless.

In Moscow, the Group A-leading Czech Republic defeated Kazakhstan 3-1.

In St. Petersburg, Foligno opened the scoring in the second period on a power play with a high shot past goalkeeper Adam Vay’s left hand. Vince Hinostroza scored from close in just 18 seconds later, and Dylan Larkin made it 3-0 with a deflection off Vay’s back.

Foligno and Connor Murphy added two more in the third, before Istvan Sofron got Hungary on the scoreboard with less than two minutes to go.

Lindy Ruff doesn’t think Dallas needs one starting goalie, but you can write any story you want

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff and GM Jim Nill have spoken in the wake of Wednesday’s disastrous Game 7 home loss to the Blues and, not surprisingly, neither wanted to criticize Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi or the club’s maligned two-goalie system.

First up, it’s Ruff. From the Dallas Morning-News:

On if he will push for the two-goalie system to continue going forward

“I think that it helped. We changed a lot of things with Kari in his game. There was a big adjustment period with the advice that I have for the position with bringing in a new goalie coach and him working with the new goalie coach and the new goalie coach’s ideas. And we also said that during that stretch, both guys would have an opportunity to grab the ball and run, and I don’t think that’s going to change.”

On if another year of Kari Lehtonen working with Jeff Reese will produce more results

“Right now, Kari and Antti are our goalies. I’ll say it again, we wouldn’t have got to Game 7 if it wasn’t for the play of our goalies in Game 6.”

On if the thinks there needs to be one starting goalie going forward

“No, I don’t. You can write any story you want, we used two guys the whole year. They were comfortable with it. It might have been the reason we got to where we got to. It’s not the reason we lost.”

Next up, Nill, who was asked during his exit interview if he’d decided to come back with a two-goalie setup next season:

I’m not going to comment on any of those things right now.

We’re going to sit down and I want to talk to the players, I want to evaluate the organization, where it’s at. We’ll make those decisions going forward.

Both Ruff and Nill were quick to point out that Dallas won the Central Division, finished atop the Western Conference and were one game away from the conference final with the two-goalie system.

MORE: Goligoski says ‘it’s not on the goalies’

But…

There are problems with the setup. It’s OK to have a two-goalie system, so long as both goalies play well. That wasn’t the case in Dallas, as both were average at best during the regular season, and weak in the playoffs — Lehtonen finished the postseason with an .899 save percentage, Niemi with an .865.

Then there’s the cost. Lehtonen and Niemi carry a combined $10.4M cap hit through 2018. That’s a lot of scratch.

There’s also the stress the setup puts on Ruff, especially come playoff time. He was forced to answer endless questions about who his starting goalie would be through the opening two rounds, and it seemed to wear on him after a while.

It’s fair to start wondering if Ruff and Nill are on the same page with regards to the two-goalie system and, if they are, maybe the idea isn’t to stick with it.

Maybe it’s to toss the idea altogether.

Other notes from Dallas’ media session:

Tyler Seguin’s injury was a “severely injured calf muscle.” The Stars can’t say for sure if it was a result of the Achilles cut, but they think it was, possibly a connected muscle injury.

— Nill said he would like to lock in an extension for captain Jamie Benn by July or August. Benn has one year left on his current deal ($5.25M annually) and is expected to get a sizeable raise, eclipsing Jason Spezza ($7.5M) as the club’s highest-paid player.

Isles waive Collberg, acquired in Vanek trade

NEWARK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25: Sebastian Collberg #49 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 25, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Sebastian Collberg, the prospect New York acquired in dealing Thomas Vanek to Montreal two years ago, has been cut loose by the organization. On Friday, the Isles put Collberg on unconditional waivers.

The 33rd overall pick in 2012, Collberg was acquired along with a conditional second-round pick for Vanek, and was held in high regard by Isles GM Garth Snow.

“Collberg has the potential to be a top-six forward,” he said at the time of the deal, per the team website. “As a staff we are excited to have Sebastian in our mix.”

Collberg, 22, spent the last two years primarily in AHL Bridgeport, with a brief stint in the ECHL. His numbers with the Sound Tigers weren’t terrific — he had just three goals in 42 games this season — and he was in and out of the lineup.

“Collberg has been one guy we expected more from all year,” coach Brent Thompson said, per the CT Post. “He can play good hockey. It’s been an inconsistent year.”

Rangers make Buchnevich signing official

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 4:  Pavel Buchnevich #19 of Team Russia skates against Team Sweden during a semi-final game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at the Air Canada Centre on January 4, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Team Russia defeated Team Sweden 4-2 to advance to the gold medal game against Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Two days ago, we touched on a New York Post report claiming the Rangers were close to bringing prized prospect Pavel Buchnevich over to North America.

Today, the Blueshirts made it official.

Buchnevich has agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Friday. It’s a move met with great excitement from Rangers fans, as Buchnevich is arguably the organization’s most exciting young talent.

The Russian forward, who only turned 21 last month, is coming off a quality KHL campaign split between Cherepovets Severstal and SKA St. Petersburg, scoring 16 goals and 37 points in 58 games.

The Post notes Buchnevich, the 85th overall pick in 2013, has drawn comparisons to Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Where the youngster plays next year remains to be seen. Given his pedigree and skill set, it’s likely he’ll get a crack at making the Rangers’ roster out of camp — and, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Buchnevich is expected to stick with the big club.

No Stamkos, Stralman for Bolts in Game 1

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 02: Steven Stamkos #91 and Anton Stralman #6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skate during the practice day prior to the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Amalie Arena on June 2, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will compete in their second consecutive Eastern Conference Final tonight, but will do it without the services of two vitally important members.

Anton Stralman and captain Steve Stamkos, who have missed the entire playoffs thus far due to a broken leg and blood clots, respectively, won’t suit up for Game 1 against the Penguins tonight at Consol.

Of the two, Stralman is expected to return to the lineup the soonest. He’s been participating in full practices, taking reps on the penalty kill and was skating on a pairing with regular d-man partner Victor Hedman, suggesting he could be back soon.

A 22-minutes-per-night guy that’s among the Bolts’ best possession d-men, Stralman is a valuable right-handed shot, on a blueline that doesn’t have many. It’ll be interesting to see how head coach Jon Cooper eventually works him back in, as Stralman hasn’t played since March.

As for Stamkos, the issue around his return seems to be with the blood thinners he’s taking. More on that, from WFLA’s Paul Ryan:

Stamkos did participate in Friday’s practice, and participated in full (meaning sans red no-contact jersey). It’s the first time he’s done that since the blood-clotting diagnosis was revealed in early April.