Ryan Dadoun

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AHL Board of Governors approves realignment, new Pacific Division

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The American Hockey League announced that its Board of Governors has approved the new division alignment for the 2015-16 campaign. Like the NHL did with the start of the 2013-14 campaign, the AHL is switching from a six division to four division format. In the AHL’s case, it’s also introducing a Pacific Division to reflect the number of teams that are moving west.

Here is what the divisions will look like next season, per the league’s release:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Atlantic Division
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (PHI)
Portland Pirates (FLA)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
Springfield Falcons (ARI)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

North Division
Albany Devils (NJ)
Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
St. John’s IceCaps (MTL)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)
Utica Comets (VAN)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Central Division
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Chicago Wolves (STL)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Iowa Wild (MIN)
Lake Erie Monsters (CBJ)
Manitoba Moose (WPG)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

Pacific Division
Bakersfield Condors (EDM)
Ontario Reign (LA)
San Antonio Rampage (COL)
San Diego Gulls (ANA)
San Jose Barracuda (SJ)
Stockton Heat (CGY)
Texas Stars (DAL)

Several teams have changed their affiliation andor will move over the summer, which you can read about via the links below:

Jackets, Coyotes, and Avs announce new AHL affiliate agreements

Busy day for deals as AHL, OHL clubs change locations

Fear the Gulls: Ducks unveil AHL team in San Diego

Report: Sharks to move AHL affiliate from Worcester to San Jose, will play at SAP Center

Welcome back, Manitoba Moose

Vigneault: Rangers need to let ‘actions do the talking’

Alain Vigneault
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While Alex Ovechkin is standing by his guarantee that the Washington Capitals will beat New York in Game 7, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault delivered what can be interpreted as a not-so-subtle jab at such promises.

“We need to let our actions do the talking,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard.

Which is fair because that’s really what this will come down to. This pregame banter is the appetizer, but it will only be memorable in the context of what happens in Game 7. If Washington wins then Ovechkin’s promises will likely be credited with motivating the team. If Ovechkin in particular has a strong game then it could be seen as the biggest performance of his career, in part due to his overall lack of playoff success.

That lack of favorable postseason results is probably at least part of the reason why Ovechkin’s statement has attracted so much attention and why Washington has perhaps gotten more attention than New York. Ovechkin is one of the best players of this era, but he hasn’t been able to lead Washington to the Stanley Cup. He’ll turn 30 in September and hockey fans are wondering when or if Ovechkin will ever win it all.

He’s not the only superstar fighting for his first championship though. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been further than Ovechkin in the playoffs, but the result is the same. Lundqvist is 33 years old and hasn’t won the Stanley Cup yet despite an otherwise tremendous career.

Both players have a chance to achieve their ultimate goal this year, but one of them will be forced to start from scratch yet again with a loss on Wednesday.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Lightning

Ben Bishop

The Montreal Canadiens have fought back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Given that Game 7 will be in Montreal if necessary, an argument can be made that tonight’s contest is Tampa Bay’s best remaining chance to end this series.

That task got harder last night when forward Ryan Callahan had an emergency appendectomy that’s expected to keep him out of tonight’s contest. Jonathan Marchessault, who has just four games worth of NHL experience, might be inserted into the lineup as a result.

The contest will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN, but you can tune in as early as 7:00 p.m. for pregame coverage. You also have the option of streaming the game via NBC Sports Live Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some relevant links:

With Callahan out, it may be Marchessault, not Drouin, who draws in

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight

Report: Callahan has emergency appendectomy, out for Game 6

Bolts are ‘angry’ heading into Game 6, says Cooper

Morrow believes Bolts’ ‘A-game has to come out here pretty soon’

Cooper on Price: ‘His numbers against the Tampa Bay Lightning are very pedestrian’

Subban expects Bishop ‘to be a lot better’ in Game 6

Trotz loved Ovechkin’s Messier-like prediction

Washington Capitals v Colorado Avalanche
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Just before Washington’s second round series against the New York Rangers started, Capitals coach Barry Trotz compared captain Alex Ovechkin to Rangers great Mark Messier. With the series heading to Game 7 on Wednesday, Ovechkin had a Messier-like moment when he declared that “we’re going to come back and win the series.”

Trotz for one loved that.

“I saw that and that’s what leaders do,” Trotz said, per CSN Washington. “Leaders say this is what we need to do, this is what we’re going to do. I think I have a lot more respect for someone who will be bold enough to say, ‘I’m the leader of the hockey team. We’re going to go there and give our best game and go out and win a hockey game.’ I’d rather have that than a leader going, ‘Well, we’re going there to lose.’ I mean, come on.

“I love that. I love that a player has got the wherewithal to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go there and we’re going to go after them and we’re going to leave it out there. I have a lot of respect for players that say that. And anybody who doesn’t have respect for that I think is fooling themselves.”

Ovechkin’s statement is attracting attention now, but if there’s no follow through then his words will soon be forgotten. Messier’s guarantee is remembered because he and the Rangers delivered on it.

Ovechkin is having a great career as far as individual accomplishments go, but not when it comes to team success. Maybe this is the year that changes and if it does, perhaps we’ll remember what he said on Sunday long after this series is over.

Report: Callahan has emergency appendectomy, out for Game 6

Ryan Callahan
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The Lightning need just one more victory to eliminate Montreal and advance to the Eastern Conference Final, but the Canadiens have the momentum after winning two straight games. Before Tampa Bay’s fight to avoid the embarrassment of suffering a reverse sweep continues, the team reportedly got some bad news tonight.

Forward Ryan Callahan is having an emergency appendectomy. It’s not clear how long he’ll be sidelined for as a result, but he won’t play in Game 6 on Tuesday, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith.

Update: Callahan underwent surgery at 9:00 p.m. ET and is in stable condition after the procedure, according to Joe Smith

Callahan, 30, has three assists and a team-high plus-seven rating in 12 playoff games. He’s averaged 18:17 minutes per contest, including an average of 3:00 minutes with the man advantage.

While he isn’t a prolific scorer for the Lightning, he has been one of their most physical forwards with 42 hits and the team has performed better in the playoffs from a Corsi perspective when he’s on the ice compared to when he’s not. He also ranks third among Tampa Bay forwards with nine blocked shots.

Losing Callahan is a significant blow for Tampa Bay and will test its depth. After being a healthy scratch in Game 5, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jonathan Drouin be reinserted into the lineup.