Author: Mike Halford

Sweden v Germany - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Preds’ Ekholm bloodied after nasty hit at Worlds


Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm was temporarily shaken up during today’s Sweden-Germany match at the 2015 World Hockey Championships on this devastating hit from Stephan Daschner:

Daschner was given an interference major and game misconduct for the hit, which occurred in the final few seconds of the opening period. Ekholm, meanwhile, was bloodied and appeared enraged at Daschner as the two crossed paths heading down the tunnel.

Ekholm was able to return to the contest and finished with just over 19 minutes of ice time. Sweden narrowly defeated the Germans 4-3, after which the Swedish Ice Hockey Association tweeted out this:

Ex-NHL goalie Shields joins coaching staff at Michigan

Steve Shields looks on

The University of Michigan has brought back one of the greatest goalies in school history.

On Thursday, the school announced Steve Shields, who starred for the Wolverines in the early 90s, would join Red Berenson’s coaching staff as an assistant.

“We’re fortunate to have a coach with Steve Shields’ résumé work with our goaltenders,” Berenson said in a statement. “Steve was a great goalie at Michigan and then went on to have a solid NHL career. He still has the passion for the position and for Michigan. We think this will be a great benefit to our program and to our goalies.”

Shields, 42, recorded 111 wins at U of M before getting drafted by Buffalo, then played for six different NHL clubs over a 10-year career. He was the No. 1 in San Jose during the 1999-2000 campaign, famously helping the Sharks upset the top-seeded Blues in the opening playoff round.

Following his playing days, Shields spent time as a goalie coach at Michigan Tech and consultant for the Florida Panthers in 2013.

Report: Oilers head coach to interview for Oilers head coaching job

Todd Nelson

Todd Nelson received a fair amount of praise for his work as Edmonton’s interim bench boss this season and now, he’ll get a chance to… interview for that same job.

From TSN:

While it does make for an amusing headline (to me, anyway), the interview process is a necessary step given the recent front office upheaval in Edmonton. Former Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson was brought in as CEO on Apr. 20 and, four days later, ex-Boston GM Peter Chiarelli was given the dual role of general manager and president of hockey ops.

That left the guy that promoted Nelson to head coach — former GM Craig MacTavish — in an odd position; rather than be dismissed, MacTavish was retained as Chiarelli’s “No. 2 guy” though it’s yet to be determined what MacT’s official title will be.

Whatever the case, it puts Nelson in a tough spot. While MacTavish was a big fan — “I’ve admired the job and respected the job he’s done,” he said of Nelson’s work — it’s very possible Nicholson and Chiarelli want to point the organization in a new direction, rather than stick with the status quo.

What’s more, there are a number of coaching free agents available, including ex-Sharks head coach Todd McLellan and, potentially, Detroit’s Mike Babcock, who has close ties to Nicholson through their work with the Canadian Olympic teams.

It’s also possible Chiarelli’s bench boss in Boston, Claude Julien, could hit the open market.

Leopold out, Prosser in as Wild look to avoid Chicago sweep

Anaheim Ducks v Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild are making a lineup change in the hopes of living to play another day.

Veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold, who’s appeared in all nine playoff games thus far, will be dropped from the lineup in Game 4 against Chicago in favor of Nate Prosser, who’ll make his postseason debut.

Prosser appeared in 63 games during the regular season and finished with two goals and seven points. According to head coach Mike Yeo, Prosser will help the club on the penalty kill; it’s also worth noting Leopold was barely used in the Game 3 loss to the ‘Hawks, getting just 8:36 of ice time.

As for other lineup notes:

— Prosser looks like he’ll be on a pairing with Mathew Dumba.

Chris Stewart briefly participated in this morning’s skate, but looks like he’s still struggling with his upper-body injury and won’t suit up tonight.

— Projected lines, per the Star-Tribune:

Stunner: Unbeaten Americans fall to Belarus at Worlds

USA v Belarus - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

USA Hockey’s feel-good story has taken a rough turn at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

The Americans, who got off to an impressive 3-0-0-0 start in the Czech Republic, dropped a shocking 5-2 decision to minnows Belarus at CEZ Arena on Thursday.

Belarus has never defeated the U.S. and its current squad is devoid of NHLers, though it does feature two former players in brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn. The pair proved vital in today’s win, combining for four points, while Alexander Kitarov scored what proved to be the eventual game-winner in the second period.

As for the Americans, today’s loss comes after arguably its biggest win at the tourney — a 4-2 win over Russia, in which the club knocked off a powerhouse team featuring the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Sergei Bobrovsky, Dmitry Kulikov, Artem Anisimov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

The U.S. goals versus Belarus were scored by Brock Nelson and Torey Krug, with Boston University product Jack Eichel assisting on both tallies. It was a forgettable game for goalie Jack Campbell, who allowed five goals on 23 shots.

Campbell’s counterpart, Belarus’ Kevin Lalande, stopped 28 of 30 shots for the win and continued his stellar run of play at this tournament. The former Flames draftee now boasts a .938 save percentage and 1.74 GAA.