Mike Halford

John Tavares
AP

Tavares, Kane, Ovechkin named NHL’s three stars of the week

Star-studded release from the NHL today as the Isles’ John Tavares, the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin were named the three stars for the week ending Apr. 10.

More:

Tavares led the NHL with 4-5—9 in four games to power the Islanders (45-27-10, 100 points) to seven out of a possible 10 standings points and the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Kane shared second in the League with 3-3—6 in three games to guide the Blackhawks (47-26-9, 103 points) to four out of a possible six standings points and the No. 3 seed in the Central Division.

Ovechkin led the NHL with five goals in three games, including his 50th of the season, to help the Capitals (56-18-8, 120 points) close their Presidents’ Trophy-winning campaign with a 1-1-2 record in the final week.

Pretty nice finish from Tavares, who played well in March (11 points in 16 games) and April (nine points in five games) to springboard himself into the playoffs.

He and the Isles, of course, are looking to win their first playoff series since 1993 when they take on the Panthers — a series that, due to some scheduling quirks, will feature three games in four nights, including a back-to-back on Thursday-Friday.

Tributes pour in for Snider, ‘the soul and the spirit of the Flyers’

Chairman of Comcast-Spectacor Ed Snider, right, speaks at an NHL hockey news conference with Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and newly-hired head coach Craig Berube, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP
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The passing of Flyers owner Ed Snider has been met with an outpouring of emotion, sadness and respect for what many are calling not just a Philadelphia hockey icon — but a hockey icon, period.

“Ed Snider was the soul and the spirit of the Flyers, who have reflected his competitiveness, his passion for hockey and his love for the fans from the moment he brought NHL hockey to Philadelphia in 1967,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release. “On a personal note, I have valued Ed’s counsel, I have admired his philanthropy and truly have cherished his friendship. Ed was an unmistakable presence and an unforgettable personality.

“Like most people who had the pleasure of knowing Ed, I will miss him terribly.”

Clubs across the league — including two of Philadelphia’s fiercest rivals — tweeted out their condolences:

Great story here from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick, about a lunch with Snider that ended with Snider demanding the author “have some goddamned shrimp!”

As you’d expect, a number of current and ex-Flyers shared their memories:

Snider had been battling bladder cancer for the last two years and, prior to the start of this season, his ailing health prevented him from being in the Flyers’ team picture for the first time in 47 years.

Fittingly, the club rallied down the stretch to make the postseason — the 38th time Philly qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs during the Snider era.

Report: Coyotes to part ways with GM Maloney

Don Maloney
Getty Images
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Is the NHL’s sixth-longest tenured GM about to be fired?

Per Sportsnet, yes.

That’s from Nick Kypreos, who on Monday morning tweeted a “shake-up” was coming out of Arizona, which reportedly includes Don Maloney — who’s been the club’s general manager since 2007 — being relieved of his duties.

Maloney, 57, trails only Garth Snow, Dean Lombardi, Doug Wilson, David Poile and Ken Holland on the list of longest-serving GMs. He captured the league’s General Manager of the Year award in 2010 — making him the first-ever winner — and, under his guidance, led the Coyotes to the playoffs three times, including the club’s first-ever Conference Finals appearance in 2012.

Arizona has struggled in recent years, however.

The club has failed to make the postseason four straight times and, over the weekend, reports began to surface that Maloney was in danger of losing his job.

In 2013, Maloney had signed a “long-term” extension with the Coyotes. But that contract was negotiated and inked prior to the current ownership group — led by Andrew Barroway and Anthony LeBlanc — taking control of the organization later that year.

Should Maloney ultimately be relieved of his duties, he’ll leave an interesting legacy. He presided over one of the most tumultuous franchises in league history, going several years without an owner while being constantly hamstrung by an internal (read: low) salary cap budget and incessant relocation rumors.

Despite this, he managed to procure some quality young players via the draft and trades, including prized rookies Anthony Duclair and Max Domi. In the pipeline are some tantalizing prospects, including Dylan Strome, Brendan Perlini and Nick Merkley.

Maloney also hired and basically worked in lockstep with Dave Tippett for the duration of his time in Arizona, during which Tippett emerged as one of the NHL’s most well-respected coaches.

Here’s your 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

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OK, we’re set.

The action begins with a tripleheader on Wednesday, Apr. 13 — Detroit visits Tampa Bay at 7 p.m. ET, the Rangers take on the Penguins at 8 and, in the nightcap, St. Louis hosts Chicago at 9:30 p.m.

The NBC Sports Group/NBCUniversal networks will be presenting every game of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs across NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network and the NHL Network.

Wednesday can’t come fast enough. Here’s the full slate of Round 1 games…

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Panthers vs. Islanders

Thursday, April 14 8 p.m. NY Islanders at Florida (CNBC)
Friday, April 15 7:30 p.m. NY Islanders at Florida (NHL Network)
Sunday, April 17 8 p.m. Florida at NY Islanders (NBCSN)
Wednesday, April 20 8 p.m. Florida at NY Islanders (USA)
*Friday, April 22 NY Islanders at Florida (time, network TBD)
*Sunday, April 24 Florida at NY Islanders (time, network TBD)
*Tuesday, April 26 NY Islanders at Florida (time, network TBD)

Lightning vs. Red Wings

Wednesday, April 13 7 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay (NBCSN)
Friday, April 15 7 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay (CNBC)
Sunday, April 17 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit (CNBC)
Tuesday, April 19 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit (NBCSN)
*Thursday, April 21 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
*Sunday, April 24 TBD Tampa Bay at Detroit TBD
*Tuesday, April 26 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD

Capitals vs. Flyers

Thursday, April 14 7 p.m. Philadelphia at Washington (NBCSN)
Saturday, April 16 7 p.m. Philadelphia at Washington (CNBC)
Monday, April 18 7 p.m. Washington at Philadelphia (NBCSN)
Wednesday, April 20 7 p.m. Washington at Philadelphia (NBCSN)
*Friday, April 22 Philadelphia at Washington (time, network TBD)
*Sunday, April 24 Washington at Philadelphia (time, network TBD)
*Wednesday, April 27 Philadelphia at Washington (time, network TBD)

Penguins vs. Rangers

Wednesday, April 13 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh (USA)
Saturday, April 16 3 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh (NBC)
Tuesday, April 19 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers (USA)
Thursday, April 21 Pittsburgh at NY Rangers (time, network TBD)
*Saturday, April 23 NY Rangers at Pittsburgh (time, network TBD)
*Monday, April 25 Pittsburgh at NY Rangers (time, network TBD)
*Wednesday, April TBD NY Rangers at Pittsburgh (time, network TBD)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Stars vs. Wild

Thursday, April 14 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at Dallas (NBCSN)
Saturday, April 16 8 p.m. Minnesota at Dallas (NBCSN)
Monday, April 18 8:30 p.m. Dallas at Minnesota (CNBC)
Wednesday, April 20 9:30 p.m. Dallas at Minnesota (NBCSN)
*Friday, April 22 Minnesota at Dallas (time, network TBD)
*Sunday, April 24 Dallas at Minnesota (time, network TBD)
*Tuesday, April 26 Minnesota at Dallas (time, network TBD)

Blackhawks vs. Blues

Wednesday, April 13 9:30 p.m. Chicago at St. Louis (NBCSN)
Friday, April 15 8 p.m. Chicago at St. Louis (NBCSN)
Sunday, April 17 3 p.m. St. Louis at Chicago (NBC)
Tuesday, April 19 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Chicago (NBCSN)
*Thursday, April 21 Chicago at St. Louis (time, network TBD)
*Saturday, April 23 St. Louis at Chicago (time, network TBD)
*Monday, April 25 Chicago at St. Louis (time, network TBD)

Ducks vs. Predators

Friday, April 15 10:30 p.m. Nashville at Anaheim (NBCSN)
Sunday, April 17 10:30 p.m. Nashville at Anaheim (NBCSN)
Tuesday, April 19 9:30 p.m. Anaheim at Nashville (USA)
Thursday, April 21 8 p.m. Anaheim at Nashville (CNBC)
*Saturday, April 23 Nashville at Anaheim (time, network TBD)
*Monday, April 25 Anaheim at Nashville (time, network TBD)
*Wednesday, April 27 Nashville at Anaheim (time, network TBD)

Kings vs. Sharks

Thursday, April 14 10:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles (CNBC)
Saturday, April 16 10:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles (NBCSN)
Monday, April 18 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose (NBCSN)
Wednesday, April 20 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose (USA)
*Friday, April 22 San Jose at Los Angeles (time, network TBD)
*Sunday, April 24 Los Angeles at San Jose (time, network TBD)
*Tuesday, April 26 San Jose at Los Angeles (time, network TBD)

*if necessary

Here are the East finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

HockeyVille

The nominations are in and we have a Top 10 for Kraft Hockeyville — watch the videos below to see the five rinks from the eastern half of the United States who will now vie to make the Top Four.

Marquette, MI

The Lakeview Arena was home to the 1991 NCAA championship, when Northern Michigan beat Boston University in a thrilling triple-OT classic.

Bridgewater, MA

The Bridgewater Ice Arena was opened in 1995, and has become a staple of the community. The rink is home to the popular Tier III Junior A Boston Bandits.

Harrisburg, PA

The Twin Ponds Family Complex opened in 1993, from the Hershey Junior Bears to the Capital City Vipers.

Lake Placid, NY

Home to some of the greatest moments in American hockey history. Pretty self-explanatory entry, no?

Rockville, MD

The Rockville Ice Arena is home to Washington Pride, an elite female traveling team that’s emerged as one of the best teams in the country.

Those are your five from the East. To find out more, visit krafthockeyville.com.