Author: Ryan Dadoun

Josh Harris

Devils owner Harris preaches against ‘shortcuts’ in rebuild


New Jersey Devils co-owner Josh Harris is frustrated about the fact that his team hasn’t advanced to the postseason since he bought them along with David Blitzer in August 2013 and if they miss the playoffs again next season, he would be disappointed. But he wants to take a long-term view of the Devils, even if it means that there might be some short-term pain.

“There are no shortcuts … we’re going to make decisions that allow us to be an elite team and that’s not being one and done in the playoffs,” Harris told the Bergen Record. “Being one and done in the playoffs is not really interesting from my point of view. So, that means being deep in the playoffs and in the hunt for the Stanley Cup and ultimately competing for the Stanley Cup and winning the Stanley Cup. So, putting a time frame on it, if it takes a little time to achieve that, we’re going to make decisions that are consistent with that goal. And I can’t put a time frame on it. I can tell you I want it to be as fast as possible.”

The Devils already have a great goaltender in Cory Schneider and their defense is promising too, but the Achilles’ heel has been their offense. New GM Ray Shero will work to address that, but based on Harris’ comments, he might be unlikely to offer up much in the way of picks or prospects for veteran help.

It’s worth adding that when asked if the Devils would consider offers for the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Harris felt it was important to keep everything on the table. However, given their long-term mandate, the circumstances in which they would move that pick are probably narrow.

Video: Smith-Pelly gives Habs another early lead

Smith-Pelly goal

The Montreal Canadiens were able to build off of an early lead in Game 4 en route to a 6-2 victory. They have a chance to secure a similar outcome tonight.

Devante Smith-Pelly managed to beat Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop midway through the first period to get Montreal on the board first. There was some initial confusion because the Lightning players on the ice thought the puck hit the post and went back out, but the replies made it clear that it was a goal.

You can see that play below:

It was Smith-Pelly’s first marker of the 2015 playoffs. He was acquired from Anaheim in exchange for Jiri Sekac on Feb. 24.

This is just the fourth time in 11 games that Montreal has scored first in the 2015 postseason. The Canadiens are 2-1 in that scenario while Tampa Bay is 2-4 when surrendering the opening goal.

Zuccarello travels with team, making progress

Mats Zuccarello

The New York Rangers are fighting to stay alive in their second round series against the Capitals. Each game has been decided by just one goal so while Washington has a 3-2 series lead, that Capitals’ edge might not exist if Mats Zuccarello was healthy.

Zuccarello hasn’t played in the second round due to a concussion and if New York is going to get past Washington it will likely have to be without his services. The 27-year-old forward did travel with the Rangers to Washington though and while his return isn’t imminent, he is making progress, per the Bergen Record.

“He’s an upbeat person and we’d like him to be on the ice, he can’t be there right now to help us out, hopefully he’ll be there soon,” coach Alain Vigneault said.

In the meantime, Zuccarello is keeping in contact with his teammates and attended Game 5, which has been good for the Rangers’ morale.

“I think it’s great,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. “It creates a little bump here. It’s good to see his face around and he’s always laughing and telling jokes and keeping it light. We’ve seen him a couple of times before that but it’s good to see him out and feeling good and out and about with the team.”

Top 2016 draft prospect Matthews considers playing in Europe

Auston Matthews

While the lead up to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has been dominated by stories about Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the 2016 draft discussion could be primarily about Auston Matthews. Well before the 2016 draft talk really starts to heat up though, Matthews might make headlines for a different reason.

Although Matthews is being pursued by the WHL Everett Silvertips and several NCAA schools, he’s also considering offers from the Swiss League, according to family advisors Pat Brisson and Judd Moldave.

“It should be resolved in a short matter of time,” Brisson told The Hockey News.

Matthews would be entering uncharted territory for a highly regarded North American prospect if he decides to spend his draft year in Europe. However, there would certainly be advantages to him if he decides to go that route.

One of the most obvious is that it would provide him with an opportunity to play against men, given that in North America his options would be limited to the Major Junior and NCAA as opposed to the AHL. Keep in mind that Matthews, 17, only missed the cutoff for the 2015 draft by two days and has been compared favorable to Eichel.

Playing in Switzerland in particular might be desirable because the teams are so close to each other that it’s not uncommon for players to be able to participate in a road game and still sleep in their own bed that same night. Matthews already has some experience playing there too as a member of Team USA in the world under-18 tournament.

That being said, fielding offers from Swiss teams isn’t the same as pulling the trigger. Matthews might still end up going with one of the many North American options available to him.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Canadiens

Vladislav Namestnikov, Alex Galchenyuk

Down 3-0 in the second round series, Montreal finally solved goaltender Ben Bishop on Thursday en route to a decisive 6-2 victory. As one-sided as that game was though, Montreal is still down 3-1. Can the Canadiens really beat the Lightning three more times in a row?

Montreal’s quest to make some history will continue in Game 5 tonight. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. ET and will air on NBCSN. However, you can tune in as early as 6:00 p.m. ET for pregame coverage. You also have the option of streaming it via NBC Sports Live Extra:


Here are some relevant links:

Habs’ Beaulieu available for Game 5

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight

Cooper replies to Subban’s ‘horseshoe’ remark about Bishop

Petry: ‘Hope is definitely alive’ for Habs

Stamkos: ‘We got what was coming’