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‘Canes drop Torres from PTO, send first-rounders Bean and Gauthier to junior

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Raffi Torres’ time as a Hurricane is over.

On Thursday, Carolina announced that the veteran forward has been released from his training camp tryout, after appearing in a handful of preseason games.

Torres, 34, did look as though he sufficiently recovered from a knee injury that’s cost him most of the last three seasons. Those knee problems, along with various suspensions, have limited him to just five regular season games since ’13-14.

But even with those problems solved, Torres didn’t show enough to stick with a Carolina club that’s got plenty of youth — and speed — at the forward position.

And speaking of youth, Carolina’s first two picks at this year’s draft — defenseman Jake Bean (13th overall) and forward Julien Gauthier (21st) — have been sent back to their junior teams in WHL Calgary and QMJHL Val d’Or.

Bean, 18, was the third defenseman off the board at the June draft, behind Vancouver’s Olli Juolevi and Montreal’s Mikhail Sergachev. Gauthier, also 18, was one of the most physically imposing prospects taken this year — he stands 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, and comes from a lineage of bodybuilders (both his dad and grandfather competed).

In addition to Bean and Gauthier, other touted prospects were sent packing from ‘Canes camp today as well. They include Aleksi Saarela (acquired in the Eric Staal-to-New York trade) and Valentin Zykov (acquired in the Kris Versteeg-to-L.A. trade).

Team Canada stuns Team Europe with late comeback to claim World Cup

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John Tavares hit the post on a wide open net. Steven Stamkos whiffed on a one-time slap shot attempt. And Team Europe shut down every other player wearing red and white — for about 57 minutes.

Yup. It looked like it would be that kind of night for Team Canada.

After running through the World Cup competition during the round robin and semifinal portions, Canada was facing the possibility it could suddenly be forced into a third and decisive game against an underdog Team Europe.

Cue an improbable comeback.

Down 1-0 and finding it difficult to get anything going offensively, it started for Team Canada with a power play goal on a deflection from Patrice Bergeron. And then, with 44 seconds remaining in regulation time, the Canadians struck again, this time on the penalty kill, as Jonathan Toews set up Brad Marchand for what turned out to be the winning goal.

Team Canada, which has won back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics, claims the World Cup, winning Game 2 on Thursday by a final score of 2-1. Sidney Crosby was named tournament MVP.

As per David Amber of Sportsnet, Crosby joins Joe Sakic as the only two players to win the World Cup, Olympic gold, world championships, world juniors, Stanley Cup, Hart Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Team Canada had surged by its opponents thanks to such a deep, skilled lineup and the goaltending of Carey Price. But after taking the first game of this best-of-three series, the Canadians looked completely out of sync in the second act.

They weren’t the faster team, especially in the first period.

They turned the puck over. They gave up too many odd-man rushes. Their power play didn’t capitalize — until it mattered the most.

If it weren’t for the play of Price, this one could’ve been a blowout. His best save came off Marian Hossa late in the third period.

Since the elimination of Team USA, Team North America, Team Russia and Team Sweden, it seemed like the drama would be drained from this tournament as it came to its close, the Canadians looking like a runaway champion.

The final seemed like it was only a formality.

For a long time Thursday, it looked like Team Europe could actually force a Game 3. But Canada has found another way to win.

But this time, it was far from a dominant effort.

Green headed back to coach Utica, after ‘it came right down to the wire’ with the Anaheim Ducks

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Travis Green felt he was ready to be a head coach in the NHL, and he came very close to landing the job in Anaheim.

But the Ducks decided instead to bring back Randy Carlyle, so Green will be headed back to Utica for a fourth straight season to coach the Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Comets.

“I think it came right down to the wire,” Green told The Province newspaper. “They had to make a tough decision and they went with a guy who has had success in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup (Anaheim, 2007). He’s a very good coach and I have a lot of respect for a lot of coaches, and you hope one day that you find a fit.”

Green is only 45 years old, so he’s got time to be patient. But he’s only got a year left on his contract with the Canucks, and that will only lead to more speculation about his future. Expect his name to be front and center next offseason should any NHL jobs become available. It might even happen sooner, depending what happens this year in Vancouver.

“Timing is everything. It’s not a sprint for me,” Green said. “There’s a reason I went to junior (Portland) for five years and a reason I went to the AHL and have stayed on as a head coach. I talk about the process a lot and I preach it.”

Stars sign Mattias Backman to one-year, two-way deal

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When it comes to improving the Dallas Stars’ defense from within, they at least have a decent array of young options.

Whether those young options actually pan out remains to be seen, yet they’re giving themselves an array of choices, especially after retaining Mattias Backman via a one-year, two-way deal on Thursday.

Here’s a blurb about the decent-sized blueliner, via the Stars:

Backman has earned 36 points (8-28=36) in 90 career AHL contests with the Texas Stars and Grand Rapids Griffins. The defenseman has appeared in 16 career games in the Calder Cup Playoffs, registering nine points (1-8=9) and 18 shots on goal. Backman also won a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship with Team Sweden, skating alongside current Dallas Stars John Klingberg and Patrik Nemeth.

That last bit can’t hurt, as familiarity could at least improve his chances of gaining a depth position or call-up opportunities.

His Hockey’s Future analysis gives you the impression that he presents “more of the same” for the Stars:

Talent Analysis

Despite his size, Backman doesn’t play a particularly physical or powerful game. He is a simple, economical defenseman who makes the smart play and knows to play within himself. He’s an excellent skater for his size, makes a good first pass and makes good decisions with and without the puck. He won’t wow you, but he won’t often be beat or get caught cheating either.

The Stars likely hope that he can develop into another decent option, especially if they decide against splashy moves this summer.

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Stars love their young defensemen

Canada names Ducharme world junior head coach

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Hockey Canada has found the man responsible for getting its junior team back into the medals.

Dominique Ducharme, an assistant to Dave Lowry on the team that finished sixth at this year’s tourney, will be behind the Canadian bench for the 2017 WJC tournament in Montreal and Toronto, per the Canadian Press.

Ducharme, 43, has spent his entire coaching career in the Quebec League, first as an assistant in Montreal, followed a head coaching gig in Halifax — where he worked with the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Nikolaj Ehlers.

This spring, Ducharme took the bench boss gig in Drummondville.

A former teammate of Tim Thomas and Martin St. Louis at the University of Vermont, Ducharme played a handful of games in the AHL and ECHL before transitioning to coaching.

Ducharme’s biggest accomplishment as a bench boss was capturing the Memorial Cup with Halifax three years ago.