<span class="vcard">Mike Halford</span>

Montreal Canadiens v Arizona Coyotes

After ‘unacceptable’ year, Doan thinks ‘urgency is going to be high’ in Arizona

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Coyotes captain Shane Doan said several times last season he wasn’t pleased with how things transpired.

Turns out his offseason message has a similar tone.

“We can’t allow what happened last year to linger and be a part of this year because that was unacceptable in so many ways,” Doan said, per the Arizona Republic. “I think the urgency is going to be high.”

The 2014-15 campaign was a largely forgettable one for the Coyotes. The team won just 24 games — it’s lowest total in 11 years — and traded away two key veteran presences in Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle. Those deals, especially the Yandle one, upset Doan to the point where he basically sounded off whenever he felt like it.

After the Yandle trade, he said the rebuild in Arizona was “not my idea” and “not my ideal situation.”

Not long after that, he said the situation was “kind of embarrassing,” adding “we’ve been bad.”

The critiques eventually forced GM Don Maloney to respond.

“I get it, I understand it, but we’re not in the Girl Scout business,” Maloney said, per Arizona Sports. “We’re in the business of winning. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re getting paid.

“Shane’s a pro, he’ll get through it, he’ll understand it when he sees where this can take us.”

All of this angst, as you’d expect, has led to talks of Doan potentially being moved. He turns 39 in October, at which time he’ll be at the start of the last of his four-year, $21.15 million deal (that carries a $5.28M cap hit.) For now, though, both sides are saying all the right things — Maloney said “we certainly want him back,” while Doan said Arizona is the place for him.

“I definitely want to be competitive, and I want to be on a team that has a chance,” he explained. “Obviously, I want to do it here.”

Caps announce Fehr, a pending UFA, underwent successful elbow surgery

Washington Capitals v Minnesota Wild
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Veteran forward Eric Fehr, who flourished in his role as Washington’s third-line center this season, has undergone successful elbow surgery, the club announced on Thursday.

Per a release, Fehr will be healthy for the start of next season “if rehabilitation goes well.”

Fehr, who missed 10 of Washington’s 14 playoff games with a shoulder injury, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. There does appear a mutual desire from both sides to have Fehr return to the Caps next season, especially after he scored 19 goals and 33 points this season while posting a career-high 14:51 TOI per night.

“Obviously, I have a lot of friends here and I’ve been here a lot of years,” Fehr told CSN Washington. “I think this is a special group. Obviously, I’d love to be back here, but looking at the amount of guys we have unsigned right now you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Fehr is one of seven Capitals scheduled to go UFA, along with Mike Green, Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, John Erskine, Curtis Glencross and Tim Gleason. GM Brian MacLellan also needs to strike new deals with important RFAs Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and goalie Braden Holtby.

Did Shaw bite Hedman? ‘It felt like it’ (Updated)

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One
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TAMPA — Four years ago, it was Alex Burrows on Patrice Bergeron.

This year? Andrew Shaw on Victor Hedman.

Yes, biting is once again a thing at the Stanley Cup Final, after Hedman suggested postgame that Shaw chomped down on him during a first-period scrum during Chicago’s Game 1 victory.

“It felt like it,” Hedman said. “I have a little bruise, so maybe.”

UPDATE: Statement from a league spokesman…

Hedman did complain to officials following the incident, a normal course of action for someone who feels he’s just been bit. And in that regard, it’s not unlike what happened four years ago.

Back in the Vancouver-Boston series of 2011, the Burrows-Bergeron bite — which occurred almost at the exact same time as Hedman-Shaw, right at the end of the first period of Game 1 — became one of the major early talking points. Burrows denied the act and wasn’t suspended, but the normally stoic Bergeron was livid, and took Burrows to task following the game.

“I don’t mind rough play and scrums at the end, as long as it’s just pushing and shoving and all that,” Bergeron explained. “But biting? I mean come on.”

It doesn’t seem as though this situation will go the way of B’s-Canucks. Things between the Bolts and ‘Hawks (and, more specifically, Hedman and Shaw) don’t appear to be as heated, and discipline from the NHL’s department of player safety is unlikely.

The NHL does review all in-game incidents. PHT has reached out to the league for comment.

Bolts lament passive third period: ‘We just sat back way too much’

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TAMPA — Former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach John Tortorella used to have a saying:

Safe is death.”

On Wednesday night, his old team should’ve heeded that advice.

The Lightning played it safe in the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final and, without getting too hyperbolic, it basically killed them. It was the topic of conversation in the dressing room following the 2-1 loss, in which the Blackhawks rallied to score two goals in 1:58 in the third period — a period that saw the Bolts put just five shots on goal.

“You can’t take anything for granted against a team like that,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. “You can’t give them the room and space we did for 15 minutes in the third period. We just sat back too much and got away from our game a little bit.

“So, lesson learned.”

There were signs Tampa was reverting into a defensive shell in the second period, but the third was when the team really hunkered down. The Bolts rarely ventured forward and went over 13 minutes without registering a shot on Corey Crawford — this from a team that averaged close to 30 a night during the regular season.

“We just got away from playing smart defensive hockey and keeping pressure on them,” captain Steve Stamkos explained. “We’ve done it in the past. Whether it was chips and flips and getting rid of the puck, not making the confident play that we’ve made in the past.

“That’s a tough one to swallow.”

In Tampa Bay’s defense, some of this mentality might’ve carried over from an airtight performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. At MSG, the Bolts smothered the Rangers in what was one of the team’s best checking performances of the playoffs; there was also that Game 7 mindset of killing time to get the win, which was clearly on display again tonight.

“Tonight in the third period we played almost a half-ice game,” head coach Jon Cooper explained. “Against a team like Chicago, you can’t let them keep coming at you the way we did.

“I thought we had chances to put them away. We didn’t put them away. And once you do that, to me, that was letting them hang around.”

Comeback ‘Hawks: Chicago stuns Tampa Bay with late rally to take Game 1

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One
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TAMPA — It took less than two minutes. One hundred and eighteen seconds, to be exact.

That’s all the Chicago Blackhawks needed to turn Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final completely on its head, as Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored 1:58 apart in the third period to earn a 2-1 win and stun the Lightning — and their fans — at Amalie Arena on Wednesday night.

It was a signature comeback win for Chicago, which for the second time this postseason won a game it trailed after two periods. The ‘Hawks also stole home-ice advantage, guaranteeing at least a split in Tampa before heading home to the United Center for Games 3 and 4.

The loss will undoubtedly sting the Bolts. Owners of the NHL’s best offense during the regular season, Tampa Bay took an early first-period lead on Alex Killorn’s slick re-direct, then slowly reverted into a defensive shell.

“We just sat back a little too much,” said Tampa captain Steve Stamkos.

If there was ever a time to trot out the “prevent defense only prevents you from winning” cliché, tonight was that time.

The mantra especially held true in the third period. As the ‘Hawks poured it on, looking to beat Ben Bishop after being stymied for the first 40 minutes, the Lightning played not to lose and went over 13 minutes without a shot on goal in the final frame.

For a series that many expected to be filled with goals and scoring chances, Game 1 didn’t fit the bill. Chicago fired a postseason-low 21 shots on Bishop, while Corey Crawford was forced to make just 22 stops — five of which came in the third period.

As mentioned above, the loss is a stinger for Tampa Bay and it’ll be interesting to see how the club reacts. While it’s only one game and the first of the series, there is some history worth noting — since the Stanley Cup Final went to best-of-7 in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to win it all 77 percent of the time.