Author: Ryan Dadoun

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five

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


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.

Toews, Johnson are Conn Smythe favorites, says oddsmaker

Jonathan Toews

Online bookmaker Bovada has released its odds for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and it won’t come as much of a surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win. They have been given 5/7 odds compared to Tampa Bay’s 6/5.

Tampa Bay is a terrific team with a lot offensive weapons, but Chicago has plenty of depth and experience. The gap isn’t big though and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Lightning did end up winning the championship.

They’ve also given odds for their top 16 Conn Smythe Trophy candidates:

Jonathan Toews (CHI) 7/2
Tyler Johnson (TB) 4/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) 9/2
Ben Bishop (TB) 5/1
Duncan Keith (CHI) 5/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 8/1
Corey Crawford (CHI) 12/1
Nikita Kucherov (TB) 15/1
Marian Hossa (CHI) 25/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 25/1
Victor Hedman (TB) 35/1
Valtteri Filppula (TB) 40/1
Alex Killorn (TB) 40/1
Ondrej Palat (TB) 40/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI) 40/1
Brad Richards (CHI) 50/1

Johnson and Kane lead their teams in points with 21 and 20 respectively, but it makes sense for Toews to top the list. He’s Chicago’s leader and has stepped up in big games before. Toews’ two goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final was a critical part of why Chicago won that contest.

If Toews or Kane wins the award, it would be their second. Currently only five players in NHL history have been declared the playoff MVP at least twice (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent).

If Keith wins it, he’ll be the first defensemen to get the trophy since Scott Niedermayer in 2007. Keith might not be the favorite, but he certainly deserves consideration as he’s been averaging 31:35 minutes per game.

Leafs hire director of sports science from NBA’s Nets


The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they have added Dr. Jeremy Bettle to their front office to serve as the Director of Sports Science & Performance.

Bettle has a Ph.D in human performance, M.S. in exercise science, and a B.S. in sport and exercise science. He was formerly with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets where he spent four seasons serving as the team’s director of nutrition as well as their strength and conditioning coach. He also worked for the 2012 United States’ Olympic Men’s Basketball team as the strength and conditioning coach.

Before that he was with the University of California Santa Barbara where he helped manage over 450 Division I athletes that played in a variety of different sports.

“In hiring Dr. Bettle, our sole objective is to be able to have our players know that as a program, we are doing everything we can in all aspects to optimize their performance and maximize their potential as a hockey player, regardless of what stage of their career they’re at,” said Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.