Author: Mike Halford

Alain Vigneault

Your Capitals-Rangers Game 7 officials are…


Per Scouting the Refs, they’ll be referees Kevin Pollock (No. 33) and Wes McCauley (No. 4), with Pierre Racicot (No. 65) and Derek Amell (No. 75) working the lines.

Standbys are referee Francis Charron and linesman David Brisebois.

Some notes on tonight’s zebras…

• Pollock and McCauley have become something of a “go-to” tandem after not working together much in the early part of the playoffs. They called Game 7 of the Tampa Bay-Detroit series — a game that featured 18 PIM — and also worked Game 5 of this series (which featured the Joel Ward disallowed goal, which Pollock waved off.)

• “The goaltender wasn’t allowed to play his position in the crease,” series officiating manager Rob Shick said of Pollock’s call, per the New York Daily News. “Incidental contact (by Ward). I support the call. Results in no goal, no penalty.”

• In Round 1, Pollock worked the close-out Game 6 of the Minnesota-St. Louis series (in which only five total penalties were called.) McCauley worked the close-out Game 5 of the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh series (in which only six total penalties were called.)

As for the history Washington and New York have in Game 7s…

• The clubs will face off in a Game 7 for the third time in four years and for the fourth time overall, each coming in the past seven seasons. Washington won the first such meeting in 2009, while the Rangers have eliminated the Capitals twice in the past three seasons (2012 and 2013).

• Since their elimination by the Capitals in 2009, the Rangers have posted five consecutive Game 7 wins. Their streak is one shy of the NHL record set by the Detroit Red Wings, who won six consecutive Game 7s between 1949 and 1964, and the Boston Bruins, who captured six straight between 1983 and 1994. The Rangers also have won six consecutive Game 7s on Madison Square Garden ice, a streak dating to 1992.

Canucks ‘know what it’s going to take’ to keep Lack, whose future might be elsewhere

Ducks Canucks Hockey

You can add Eddie Lack to the list of goalies that might come available this summer.

Lack, who took over the No. 1 gig in Vancouver after Ryan Miller’s injury and backstopped the team to the playoffs, has one year left on his deal but could be moved if the Canucks decide he’s not in their long-term plans.

From the Vancouver Sun:

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Tuesday the team will make a decision on its goaltending before the entry draft in June and if Lack isn’t part of the long-term plan, the club will try to trade him rather than risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent after next season.

“We’ve had preliminary talks with Eddie’s agent and we know what it’s going to take to get him signed,” Benning said. “We’re bringing in all our pro scouts and we’ll meet here in the next couple of weeks … and as a group make that decision.”

Asked if Lack, having played 41 NHL games each of the last two seasons, is too good to risk losing to free agency if the Canucks don’t re-sign him, Benning said: “I think you’re right with that.”

Lack, 27, emerged as a legit No. 1 and fan favorite this season, going 18-13-4 with a .921 save percentage and 2.45 GAA while winning over the Rogers Arena faithful with his easygoing personality and affinity for tacos.

The Swedish ‘tender has said he likes playing in Vancouver and wants to stay. But with Ryan Miller under contract for two more years — at $6M per — and Jacob Markstrom posting All-Star calibre numbers at the AHL level, Lack could be the guy on the move.

Of course, he’s not ready to just accept his departure — just ask his mom, who received some media attention herself this year for her exploits on Twitter:

All that said, Lack — who carries an affordable $1.15 million cap hit — may eventually welcome a move if it affords a better opportunity to start.

“I kind of feel like I’m almost coming up to that age where I’m really ready to compete, you know?” he explained. “To be honest, I don’t really care if it would have been me and [Markstrom] like it was before or me and Ryan; I come to the rink every day to do my best. I’m always going to hope and expect to play.

“I have one year left on my contract and I love the city and love the fans. Obviously, there’s a business side and if they want to get rid of me, I can’t really say anything. But I want to spend more time here.”

Giordano extension ‘No. 1’ priority for Flames; decision pending on Ramo

Mark Giordano, Karri Ramo

With their season over, the Calgary Flames now face questions about a number of veteran presences — specifically, captain Mark Giordano and goalie Karri Ramo.

On Tuesday, GM Brad Treliving shed some light onto where both fall on the priority chart.

Giordano tops it, per Treliving, who said getting the captain signed to a contract extension is his No. 1 job — once Giordano is eligible to sign a new deal on July 1. The 31-year-old, heading into the last of a five-year, $20.1 million deal, missed the final quarter of 2014-15 (and all of the playoffs) with a torn biceps tendon but is universally regarded as the Flames’ leader and best player. Giordano was also widely considered to be a Norris Trophy frontrunner at the time of his injury; he still managed to finish 13th among d-men in scoring this year, with 48 points, despite missing 21 games.

“Everybody in this room knows what Mark means,” Treliving said. “On the ice, we all know. He’s a culture-setter for me. We plan to get to work at it [contract extension] and have done some preliminary work at it, but it’s one we want to get wrapped up real quick this summer.”

As for Ramo, his future is murkier.

The Finnish netminder had a pretty good season, essentially splitting starting duties with Jonas Hiller (Ramo had 32 starts to Hiller’s 44.) That trend carried over to the playoffs, where Hiller was the No. 1 against Vancouver, only to cede the gig in Round 2 versus Anaheim, when Ramo took the job and played well; in Calgary’s Game 5 elimination, the 28-year-old stopped 44 of 47 shots, many of the highlight-reel variety.

Ramo, though, is a pending UFA and the Flames have both Hiller and highly-touted AHLer Joni Ortio under contract for next season. What’s more, Ortio now requires waivers to be sent down to the American League, and Treliving hinted that a three-goalie rotation wasn’t something the club wanted to mess around with.

“We’ve got a young guy Ortio who’s pushing, knocking on the door,” Treliving explained. “[Ramo] is a decision we’ve got to make over the course of the next few weeks, we’re just not there yet.

“A wise man told me there’s only one net. Carrying three goalies, you can only do it for a short period of time.”

As for the club’s other key free agents — RFAs Lance Bouma and Mikael Backlund — Treliving said “we expected to get both of them signed.”

With Svedberg gone, McIntyre could sign in Boston

Zane McIntyre

North Dakota junior Zane McIntyre, this year’s Mike Richter Award winner as the top NCAA goalie, is reportedly contemplating skipping his senior season to turn pro and join the Bruins, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Taken by Boston in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, McIntyre’s decision might’ve been swayed by Niklas Svedberg’s recent signing in the KHL. The departure of Svedberg, Tuukka Rask’s backup last season, could create a domino effect throughout the organization’s goalie depth chart.

As it stands, Malcolm Subban — the club’s first-round pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — will presumably continue his progression next season with AHL Providence, the same place McIntyre would (likely) land if he turned pro.

CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty reports that Boston is likely to go “the affordable veteran free agent route” with regards to Rask’s backup next season, but a spot at the NHL level could open up the season following — with either McIntyre or Subban vying for it.

Last gasp Jack: Eichel scores late in OT to push U.S. past Slovakia


Jack Eichel, the Boston University star projected to go No. 2 at this year’s NHL Draft, scored with 30 seconds left in OT on Tuesday to give the U.S. a 5-4 win over Slovakia at the World Hockey Championships, clinching top spot in Group B in the process.

Eichel’s heroics came after a wild 60 minutes of regulation in which the U.S. built up a commanding 3-0 lead, surrendered it, then fell behind before evening things up late in the second period — a period that featured six goals all told.

The Slovaks were paced by L.A. Kings forward Marian Gaborik, who finished with a team-high two points (1G, 1A) in just under 18 minutes of ice time. Ex-NHLer Milan Bartovic also scored for Slovakia, along with Vladimir Dravecky and Adam Janosik.

For the Americans, Eichel and New York Islanders forward Anders Lee each finished with a goal, while Seth Jones, Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle all netted single markers.

With the win, the U.S. will now take on Switzerland in the tournament quarterfinals. Slovakia, which was already eliminated from medal contention, finished fifth in Group B but registered just one win at the Worlds, a 2-1 victory over Belarus.

Related: Video: Bonino crashes hard, skates off holding arm at Worlds