Ryan Kesler has spent the last couple of days trying to get away from the Anaheim Ducks’ devastating loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. When he does think about what went wrong in Game 7 though, the answer he comes to is that it was played at all.
“Obviously we lost to a good team. Should we have ended it in Game 6? Absolutely,” Kesler told the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens. “You got to put away a team. Especially that team. We let them hang around too long and they bit us.”
Game 5 was a roller coaster, with Anaheim taking a 3-0 lead in the first period only to be forced into overtime because Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the final two minutes of the third period. Before that contest, the Ducks had already lost to Chicago twice in extra time, so the everything seemed to be pointing to a come-from-behind Chicago win. Instead Anaheim caught a break as Matt Beleskey was able to capitalize on Chicago’s bad change.
That opportunity was squandered though as Chicago rallied to a 5-2 victory in Game 6. Anaheim once again allowed Chicago to take a big lead in Game 7 en route to a 5-3 loss.
Kesler was brought in over the summer of 2014 to help give the team a boost in the playoffs and he did his part. He had seven goals and 13 points in 16 contests to provide the Ducks with a serious second line scoring threat. He also won 57.6% of his faceoffs in the playoffs.
He’s under contract for one more season with an annual cap hit of $5 million.
The New Jersey Devils have officially announced John Hynes as their new bench boss after the team finished the 2014-15 campaign with Lou Lamoriello, Adam Oates and Scott Stevens all handling the coaching duties.
At the age of 40, Hynes is now the youngest head coach in the NHL.
In the introductory press conference, GM Ray Shero also outlined the three principles that will guide the Devils moving forward: Fast, attacking, and supportive.
“The things that we talked about and the identity we want to try to establish, the decision to hire John Haynes for the new head coach, he’s going to encompass these things moving forward,” Shero said.
Hynes spent the previous five seasons leading the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 231-126-27 record. The AHL Penguins, which are affiliated with Pittsburgh, made it to at least the second round in each of his campaigns.
Before that Hynes was the head coach of the USA Hockey’s National Development Program for six seasons. He won three medals over that span with the United States’ Under-18 team in the Worlds (Silver in 2004, Gold in 2006, Bronze in 2008). Among the players he coached during that era was current Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.
“Obviously it’s been a little while since then, but I do remember him being extremely detailed and prepared and a great motivator,” Schneider told the Star-Ledger. “He’s definitely a younger guy and I know we’re trying to transition that way. I had a great experience with him and hopefully he’s the right fit for us.”
It remains to be seen who Hynes assistants will be as Shero said that no other decisions have been made regarding the coaching staff.
In keeping with the sacred tradition dating back to (one assumes) ancient Mesopotamia, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will put beer and food on the line in a wager between these warring cities, as noted by the Tampa Tribune.
Should the Blackhawks prove victorious in their quest to secure a third Stanley Cup championship in six years, then Buckhorn will surrender 122 mini-Cuban sandwiches, a case of Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale, and Columbia Restaurant’s “1905” salad.
If Steven Stamkos and Tampa Bay raises the Cup, then they will be winning their city a case of beer from Slap Shot Brewing, 122 slices of Eli’s cheesecake, one of Giordano’s a deep-dish pizzas, and one of BJ’s Market’s mustard-fried catfish and peach cobbler.
There will also be a charitable contribution made as part of the bet. Should Chicago win, the benefactors will be a group helping at-risk children called Becoming A Man (BAM) and if the Lightning win then a contribution will be made to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got some good news about Kris Letang (concussion), but Pascal Dupuis’ future is still hazy, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Letang has gotten the OK to participate in workouts without any restrictions. That doesn’t mean he’s fully recovered, but he might be 100% by the time training camp starts. A healthy Letang is naturally a very big asset for Pittsburgh. He had 11 goals and 54 points in 69 games while averaging 25:29 minutes per contest in 2014-15.
Getting Pascal Dupuis back would be a big deal as well, but the 36-year-old forward’s future is still very much in question. He hasn’t played since Nov. 15 because he was diagnosed with a blood clots. He’s been skating for months now and the Penguins hope to know more about his availability soon.
“The next step is, there are certain medications you can go on that may allow you to play, or may not allow you to play,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said.
“That’s the next step now, to see if there’s a medication that gives him enough recovery time that he’s available to play every day. That’s what we’re waiting to see.”
Dupuis thinks he can play again, but ‘it’s not up to me’
Martin St. Louis is mere weeks away from celebrating his 40th birthday and shortly after that his current contract with the New York Rangers will expire. He’s not sure if another deal is in the cards.
“I’m going to get a chance to reflect and think about it and go from there,” St. Louis said, per The Record.
St. Louis talked to coach Alain Vigneault and assistant GM Jeff Gorton for his exit interview and conveyed to them his desire to think about his future before moving forward. Vigneault thinks that’s a good idea for all sides as the Rangers can use that time to get better sense of what they can offer St. Louis monetarily.
The Rangers have around $60.5 million tied to 15 players and still have to re-sign restricted free agents Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin. So while the Rangers like what St. Louis brings to the table, they might not be able to offer him much.
Of course, St. Louis could potentially play elsewhere, but part of his motivation for demanding a trade to the Rangers specifically was to be closer to his family. It’s not clear how willing he would be to move in order to extend his NHL career.
St. Louis had 21 goals and 52 points in 74 contests this season. He also recorded a goal and seven points in 19 playoff games.