Mike Halford

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 11: Owner, governor and chairman Eugene Melnyk of the Ottawa Senators walks the red carpet and greets fans during the Senators' 20th anniversary pre-game ceremonies prior to the start of the NHL home opener against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Place on October 11, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Report: Sens looking to move AHL team to Belleville

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The Senators could be the latest NHL team to move their farm team closer to home.

Per the Ottawa Citizen, the club is looking to move its AHL affiliate from Binghamton to Belleville — the former site of the OHL’s Bulls, which is roughly a three-hour drive away from the Canadian capital.

More, from the Citizen:

The talk in AHL circles is the club is investigating relocating the franchise to the Yardmen Arena in Bellevile for the 2017-18 campaign.

If that happens, the belief is the Senators would try not to leave Binghamton empty-handed because the AHL considers it a strong market. It’s quite possible another NHL team could move its affiliate to Binghamton if the Senators are successful in negotiations with the city of Belleville and a potential buyer.

The Senators wouldn’t comment when contacted.

Should Ottawa complete the move, it would be in a similar situation to the rival Maple Leafs, who have their AHL affiliate, the Marlies, within spitting distance.

Belleville has been without a full-time hockey tenant since the Bulls moved to Hamilton last season.

So Ottawa’s potential move to Belleville wouldn’t just be filling a need — it’d also be in lockstep with what the NHL’s three California teams did last summer. All of them brought their AHL affiliates in-state: Kings moved theirs from Manchester to Ontario (California), the Sharks moved theirs from Worcester to San Jose, and the Ducks moved theirs from Norfolk to San Diego.

Last week, the Coyotes purchased their AHL affiliate and moved it from Springfield, Massachusetts to Tucson, Arizona.

Stamkos back at Bolts practice, three weeks after vascular surgery

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2016, file photo, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates before an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman says he won’t trade captain Steven Stamkos before the Feb. 29 trade deadline. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
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On Apr. 4, Tampa announced that captain Steve Stamkos underwent successful vascular surgery, and would require 1-3 months of recovery.

On Apr. 26, Stamkos was back at practice.

That was the scene in Tampa Bay on Tuesday, as Stamkos — wearing a red no-contact jersey — took part in full drills with teammates, and participated in line rushes.

This is a fairly big development, given both Stamkos and the organization have been largely mum on his status since surgery.

So, onto the obvious question — what’s his updated timetable for return?

The schedule could play a large role. Tampa Bay opens its second-round series with the Islanders on Wednesday, but the rest of the outlook remains TBD.

This series could be affected by arena availability, as Amalie Arena already has a tenant for Friday night and Barclays Center has a pair of Justin Bieber concerts on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

These might seem like minor issues, but the longer this series is stretched out, the better it’ll be for Tampa Bay.

Stamkos isn’t the only player the Bolts could get back into the mix. On Monday, head coach Jon Cooper said the club is hoping injured d-man Anton Stralman — currently sidelined with a broken leg — will “make an appearance” in the second round.

Oilers CEO says it’s Chiarelli’s turn to win the draft lottery

attends the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.
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Bob Nicholson hasn’t been on the job in Edmonton long — he was only named CEO two years ago — but in his brief tenure, he’s already “helped” one GM win the NHL’s annual draft lottery.

From the Edmonton Sun:

Last year Nicholson took over and brought his luck to the Oilers.

The “lucky” socks Nicholson gave assistant general manager Lucky Bill Scott to take to the [2015] NHL Draft Lottery proceedings in Toronto were actually called ‘Good Luck Socks’ with the words and Canadian flags on them.

The sister “lucky loonie” to the one Nicholson and Wayne Gretzky convinced Edmonton (and now longtime NHL) ice maker Dan Craig to imbed in the ice at Salt Lake 2002 where Canada won Olympic Gold in hockey for the first time since the Edmonton Mercurys won in 1952.

The Sun also notes that, last year, veteran scribe Terry Jones conducted a similar interview with Nicholson and — apparently — that interview was good luck.

Hence this year’s interview.

This kind of thing isn’t new in Edmonton. During his tenure, former GM Steve Tambellini wore a “lucky tie” to three consecutive draft lotteries and won ’em all, which paved the way to select Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

Now, the new GM gets his crack at it.

Nicholson confirmed the Oilers will send GM Peter Chiarelli to Toronto for the lottery, adding that Chiarelli will be outfitted with some sort of lucky charm, because of course he will.

“It’s Peter’s turn to win. We have something lucky that he’ll be given. If we win, we’ll unveil it. If we don’t, we won’t,” Nicholson explained. “It’s a good challenge for Peter. We only have a 13 percent chance but that’s a pretty good chance compared to others.”

Nicholson did, to his credit, briefly address the elephant in the room.

“I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t think it’s right that we even have a chance to win,” he acknowledged. “But our goal is to go in there and win it and then see what happens.”

Related: ‘The stink is still there’ — Oilers discuss another grim season

Boyle curses out Rangers media, asks reporters to leave

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Seven
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It’s fair to say the Dan Boyle era in New York didn’t go how either the player or the organization had hoped.

As for the end of the Dan Boyle era?

Yeah, that didn’t go so great either.

Per multiple outlets, Boyle — a lightning rod for criticism this season — tore into the assembled media prior to his end-of-year interview on Tuesday.

Boyle, 39, asked that certain reporters leave his scrum before starting, dropping some colorful language along the way.

(If you’re wondering what outlet might’ve been the target of Boyle’s anger, read this or this or this.)

Unsurprisingly, the scribes that Boyle allowed to stick around weren’t too impressed.

From the New York Daily News:

If this is how Dan Boyle is going out, shame on him.

Boyle singled out multiple critical reporters and laced into them, cursing them out and refusing to begin his breakup day interview Tuesday afternoon in Greenburgh until they left the vicinity.

Boyle’s summer 2014 signing was an unmitigated failure. He is likely retiring after a mostly excellent career with the San Jose Sharks that skidded in New York, where coach Alain Vigneault gave him ample opportunity despite subpar play.

This isn’t the first time Boyle’s popped off at the media.

During his final season in San Jose, he took issue with how local beat writers portrayed him after he returned from a lengthy absence due to a concussion.

Here’s what he said:

“What can you say about me? Say whatever you want, you guys do anyway. I read the articles that this [Olympic break] is going to be really good for me, how I’ve been struggling all year, so you guys tell me.

“I’m 37 now, it’s not about individual points and I’ve been telling you guys that for years. Statistically, things weren’t really good last month but oddly enough, I think I’ve played pretty well. You guys are going to disagree because, statistically, it was horrible.”

Boyle sounds like a guy that’s keenly aware of what’s being written about him — so, given how things went in his final year in New York, it’s not surprising this is how things ended.

Boyle, who’s in the last of a two-year, $9 million deal with a $4.5M cap hit, appeared in 74 games this year, scoring 10 goals and 24 points.

He also said he’s leaning towards retirement.

Fleury still experiencing concussion symptoms, ‘one of the toughest things I’ve been through’

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) blocks a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The Penguins more than survived Marc-Andre Fleury‘s absence in their opening-round playoff win against the Rangers, as Matt Murray and Jeff Zatkoff combined to beat the Blueshirts in five games.

In the second round, though — against the top-seeded Capitals — it’s safe to assume Pittsburgh wants Fleury back in the mix.

Problem is, Fleury’s not there yet. He’s still dealing with concussion symptoms.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve been through,” Fleury said after Monday’s optional workout, per the Post-Gazette. “Some good days, when you think you’re back, and some bad days, when you think it’s never going to get fixed.”

Fleury hasn’t played since Mar. 31, when he suffered the concussion against Nashville. He’s since missed 10 games — five regular-season, five playoff — and while the second round start date has yet to be determined, Fleury has to be considered questionable at this point.

Thankfully for the Pens, Murray has been up to the challenge thus far.

After missing the first two games of the Rangers series with an upper-body ailment, the 21-year-old ripped off three straight wins, posting a .955 save percentage and a 31-save shutout in Game 4.

“He’s got a quiet confidence about him that I think really helps him deal with the ebbs and flows,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said of Murray, per NHL.com. “For a young guy, he’s mature beyond his years.

“I also think he’s a guy that reads the play extremely well and because of that, positionally, he’s a very sound guy.”