Author: Ryan Dadoun

Dan Girardi

Battered defense: Rangers’ Staal, McDonagh, Girardi, Yandle all played injured


The New York Rangers defense was anything but healthy by the time Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final rolled around. While injury information is a closely guarded secret during the playoffs, now that the Rangers’ run is over, the team is willing to open up about what they were battling through.

Marc Staal played in all 19 postseason games despite suffering a hairline fracture in his ankle near the end of the regular season. He logged 20:40 minutes per game in the playoffs, but finished with just one assist and a team-worst minus-eight rating, per the Bergen Record.

Ryan McDonagh also played with a fractured bone as he injured his right foot during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. He logged 17:33 minutes in the final contest of that series.

Blueliners Dan Girardi and Keith Yandle suffered a grade 1 MCL and a shoulder sprain respectively. Girardi was injured in Game 4 versus the Lightning, but Yandle’s been hurt since Game 2 of the first round.

Yandle led all Rangers defensemen with 11 points in 19 contests. He also posted a plus-seven rating and averaged 18:00 minutes. Girardi finished second on the team in ice time with an average of 21:37 minutes per game.

Coyotes will unveil new jerseys for 2015-16 campaign

Los Angeles Kings v Arizona Coyotes

In recent years the Arizona Coyotes have changed their name, ownership, and starting next season they’ll have an updated look too.

The Coyotes announced that they will have new home and away jerseys for the 2015-16 campaign. Those will be unveiled on June 26 during their draft party at Gila River Arena. The event will take place from 3-7 p.m. PT, but the unveiling itself will start around 3:30 and is expected to run for a half an hour.

Brendan Perlini, Max Domi, Connor Murphy, and Christian Dvorak will be in attendance to show the new uniforms.

The new uniforms are expected to be a major change as opposed to the tweaks they’ve done since their last big alteration in 2003, but the team’s primary logo will stay the same, according to the Arizona Republic.

Arizona controls the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft as well as Chicago’s first selection.

Blue Jackets sign defenseman Kukan from Swedish league

Lulea Hockey v Frolunda Gothenburg - Champions Hockey League Final

The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that defensemen Dean Kukan and Blake Siebenaler have agreed to entry-level contracts.

Kukan, 21, was never drafted by an NHL team, but he’s spent the last six seasons playing in Switzerland and, more recently, Sweden. He had three goals and 13 points in 52 games with Lulea HF of the top Swedish league in 2014-15. He’s also represented Switzerland in the last two World Championships. He’s listed as being 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds.

Siebenaler had 12 goals and 37 points in 66 contests with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs this season. He added an assist in 11 playoff contests.

He was taken by Columbus with the 77th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Kukan’s deal will run for two years while Siebenaler was inked for three.

Is it fair to hold cap teams to old dynasty standards?

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven

Getty Images

“They’re on the verge of a dynasty.”

That’s Steven Stamkos talking about the Chicago Blackhawks, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. It’s high praise to be sure, but words that also have to be taken with a grain of salt given the source. These next few days will likely involve each team praising their adversary, in part to put more pressure on the opposing side.

That being said, Stamkos is hardly the first person to link the words Chicago and dynasty, even if many bring up the topic to shoot down the concept. Some would say a dynasty needs to have more consistent success, like the New York Islanders’ four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83 and also involve less turnover. After all, it’s true that this is Chicago’s third trip to the Stanley Cup Final in six years, but the team that got there in 2010 has substantial differences to the one that eliminated the Anaheim Ducks.

At the same time, it’s worth considering the context. Often it seems like in sports there’s a desire to throw context out the window in favor of raw numbers, but of course, that’s misleading. A goal scored in 1990 isn’t the equivalent of a goal scored today even if they both count equally on the all-time leaderboard. Similarly, what it takes to win the Stanley Cup today isn’t identical to what it was in 1980. So should it be held to the same standard?

The fact that Chicago has had substantial turnover is unavoidable in the salary cap era. The Blackhawks have been forced to make hard decisions that some franchises in the past might not have had to make. The cap has also increased parity so that the degree of competition Chicago has to face each year is greater than it would have been even 15 years ago. To say nothing of the fact that there’s 30 teams now, compared to just 30 years ago when there were 21.

The bottom line is that if you hold modern NHL squads to the highest qualifications for a dynasty, you may never see one fit that bill. Even seeing a team win back-to-back championships in this era would be huge. The last team to do that was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. The Kings, with largely the same team that won them the Stanley Cup in 2014, couldn’t even make the playoffs this year.

At the end of the day, where you want to draw the line or whether or not you want to indulge the idea that its a line that changes with the era, there’s no getting around the fact that what Chicago has accomplished is remarkable.

Zuccarello (brain contusion, skull fracture) was unable to speak after injury

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five

With the New York Rangers eliminated, they’ve revealed the extent of the injuries they suffered, including the seriousness of Mats Zuccarello’s condition. He suffered a brain contusion and small skull fracture and it left him temporarily unable to speak. He remains in speech therapy, per the The Record’s Andrew Gross.

That stems from Game 5 of the first round when Zuccarello was struck in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh. He was able to skate off the ice on his own strength.

The good news is that his doctors have informed Zuccarello that he will be able to play next season. In fact, Zuccarello thinks that he might have even been able to participate in the Stanley Cup Final, although it sounds like the odds of that happening weren’t great.

Zuccarello resumed skating on May 18. He also started traveling with the team prior to that.

He’ll begin a four-year, $18 million contract in 2015-16.