With Game 7 of the Detroit Red Wings’ series against the Tampa Bay Lightning scheduled for Wednesday night and Round 2 set to start on Thursday, there will now be new ways to stream NBC Sports Live Extra.
NBC Sports Digital announced that you can now use Roku players or Roku TV as well as Apple TV to access the Live Extra content, which includes NHL playoff games. It is also used for streaming events like the Olympics, the PGA TOUR, and Sunday Night Football.
People were already able to access livestreams using mobile devices, desktops, and tablets, but this connects it to television viewers as well.
As far as NHL games go, PHT makes a point of providing links to those contests when they happen (keep an eye out for articles that contain the headline “WATCH LIVE”), but you can also get the NBC Sports Live Extra app or go to NBCSports.com/liveextra.
With the unrestricted free agent market expected to be thin, Chicago is doing a great job of recruiting talent outside of the NHL. The Blackhawks lured one of this year’s top college free agents in forward Kyle Baun and now they are close to inking KHL star forward Artem Panarin, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.
Panarin, 23, had 26 goals and 62 points in 54 regular season contests with St. Petersburg in 2014-15. To give those numbers some context, his teammate Ilya Kovalchuk had 55 points in 54 games. Panarin was great in the playoffs too, adding another five goals and 20 points in 20 games.
There has reportedly been a number of teams interested in his services, including Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto, but he felt the Blackhawks would be his best fit. It’s possible that’s a reflection of what he sees this team doing over the summer.
The Blackhawks will need to get creative from a cap perspective because Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will come with $10.5 million annual hits starting with the 2015-16 campaign. That’s a big chunk of their payroll tied to two players, especially with the ceiling now projected to be about $71.5 million, down from the $73 million estimate in December.
There’s lots of speculation that Chicago will be looking to lessen that burden by trading Patrick Sharp, who comes with a $5.9 million cap hit. Bryan Bickell ($4 million cap hit) might be dealt too while others like defenseman Johnny Oduya ($3.4 million) might simply be allowed to walk as unrestricted free agents.
Throughout the regular season, the salary cap for 2015-16 has been a subject of speculation due to the decline in the Canadian dollar. We’ve become used to dramatic annual jumps in the ceiling, with the obvious exception of the new CBA resulting in a rollback. From 2013-14 to 2014-15 for example, the cap went from $64.3 million to $69 million.
Those climbs have been important for teams that spend to the ceiling as it gives them critical maneuvering room. For those squads, the good news is it is expected to go up again — but not by as much as originally hoped.
With the season and most of the first round done, Gary Bettman is projecting that the salary cap will end up being around $71.5 million, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. That’s in contrast to the December estimate of about $73 million.
The modest increase is particularly problematic for the Chicago Blackhawks as Patrick Kane’s and Jonathan Toews’ matching eight-year, $84 million contracts are set to kick in next season. Although they aren’t the only squad that will have some difficulty finding a way to stay under the ceiling.
This could lead to more trades like the New York Islanders’ acquisition of defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk from Chicago and Boston respectively prior to the start of the campaign. Those trades gave the Islanders a significant boost and likely only happened because the Bruins and Blackhawks were in a tough cap position.
The Ottawa Senators couldn’t get past the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, but the fact that they got that far was a tremendous accomplishment that required a 21-3-3 run. That they then battled back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 6 against one of the league’s toughest teams is the icing on the cake.
So although the Senators’ campaign ended tonight, there’s cause for them to exit with their heads held high.
“I’m extremely proud of this group,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
“We made some steps. This is a tough business, tough league, we’ll get over it ending … and feel good about what we accomplished,” he added.
The Senators certainly have reasons to be optimistic about the future. They had two of the top four scoring rookies this season in Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman. Mika Zibanejad, 22, took a step forward this season as well while defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Kyle Turris are arguably just now entering their prime.
They certainly have some question marks going forward, especially with Zibanejad, Stone, and Hoffman all set to become restricted free agents and goalie Andrew Hammond eligible for unrestricted free agency. It also remains to be seen if they’ll be willing to spend to the cap going forward, which is potentially vital to both keep their core together in the long-term and build around it.
Still, the fact remains that they can take a lot of positives out of this campaign.
It took the Montreal Canadiens three tries, but in Game 6 Montreal was able to secure a 2-0 victory over Ottawa. And with that the Ottawa Senators’ incredible run that included a 21-3-3 regular season finish has come to an end.
The finale certainly wasn’t devoid of controversy. The most notable issue was the quick whistle cost the Senators a game-tying goal. At the same time, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price deserves a lot of credit for his efforts.
Price made 43 saves tonight and was challenged by the Senators multiple times in the dying minutes of the contest. He stood tall throughout it and once again showed why he’s worthy of consideration for the Hart Trophy.
It would also be simplistic to suggest that Ottawa’s elimination is solely the result of a bad call. The Senators fell behind in this series 3-0 and in doing so, conceded any breathing room that they had. They fought hard to challenge Montreal, but when you’ve been reduced to competing for a reverse sweep against a great team, nearly everything has to go your way.
The Senators are a young squad that showed a lot of character in both their late season push and their fight over the final three playoff contests. With Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, and Mika Zibanejad leading the way, Ottawa has a potentially bright future. The present belongs to Montreal though and with Price between the pipes, it will be a tough adversary for the winner of Tampa Bay vs. Detroit.