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Craig Cunningham joins Coyotes front office as pro scout

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The Arizona Coyotes announced on Wednesday afternoon that former player Craig Cunningham has joined the team’s front office as a pro scout.

Cunningham’s playing career came to an end earlier this season when he suffered a medical emergency and collapsed on the ice before a game in the American Hockey League. He had CPR and other medical techniques administered on the ice and on the way to the hospital to help save his life. He has made a remarkable recovery since then.

“We’re thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka said in a statement released by the team. “Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We’re confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club.”

A fourth-round draft pick by the Boston Bruins in 2010, the 26-year-old Cunningham spent parts of three seasons in the NHL with the Bruins and Coyotes, scoring three goals to go with five assists in 63 career games. He did not play for the big club in Arizona this season. He scored four goals and recorded nine assists in 11 games with the Tucson Roadrunners this season before having his career come to a premature end.

Flames d-man Smid signs in Czech League

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Ladislav Smid isn’t ready to call it a career yet.

Smid, the 31-year-old defenseman that missed all of last year with a neck injury, has signed with Czech League team Liberec, the club announced on Tuesday.

He just wrapped the last of a four-year, $14 million deal with a $3.5M average annual cap hit.

Smid’s last NHL action came in ’15-16, when he appeared in 22 games for the Flames. The end of his tenure in Calgary was marked largely by injury and lineup absences, this after being acquired from Edmonton in 2013 (and scoring eight points in 73 games in his first full season with the Flames).

At one point considered a high-end prospect — the Ducks took him ninth overall in 2004 — Smid is probably best known as one of the pieces Edmonton acquired in the infamous Chris Pronger-to-Anaheim trade. He leaves North America with over 500 NHL games on his resume, and represented the Czechs at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Sweden defeats Canada in the shootout to win 2017 World Championship

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Sweden halted Team Canada’s bid for a third straight World Championship title thanks to a 2-1 shootout victory on Sunday.

Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson both scored on Calvin Pickard in the shootout, while Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 42 of 43 shots he faced during regulation and overtime, and then turned aside all four Canadian attempts in the shootout.

Time to celebrate for Sweden.

Is that William Nylander with the hit of the tournament?

In seriousness, that’s a great moment for the 35-year-old Lundqvist, who passionately stated his reasons for joining Team Sweden after the New York Rangers were ousted from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round.

“My brother [Joel] is the captain there and I haven’t played with him for 12 years,” said Lundqvist earlier this month. “Also the fact that we’re not part of the Olympics. I see this as an opportunity to play for my country one more time and with my brother. I’m going to go there and try and finish really strong this season and I’m going to reflect.”

Nylander, only 21 years of age, added to his impressive first full NHL season by being named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Stars GM has talked about trading third overall draft pick

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The Dallas Stars are in go-for-it mode, and their general manager is willing to trade the third overall pick in the 2017 draft to give them a boost.

“I have talked to other teams already about possibly moving that pick, getting an established player back,” Jim Nill told SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio, per NHL.com. “It gives us lot of options. I think this will heat up more as we go.”

The Stars were one of the three big winners in the draft lottery, moving up to the No. 3 spot after finishing 24th overall during the regular season.

And while it’s a near certainty that Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier will be selected with the first two picks, it’s wide open after that.

“Probably a group of another 10 players, and that’s when it comes down to team’s personal preference,” Nill said. “Are you looking for a big strong centerman? Are you looking for a scoring winger? Are you looking for a power forward? There is lot of different options there.”

The Stars — with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin right in their primes, and Jason Spezza turning 34 next month — do need to make a run at the Stanley Cup soon. They’ve already made a couple of big moves this offseason, hiring Ken Hitchcock to be their new head coach and signing goalie Ben Bishop to a six-year deal.

If there’s a weakness on the Dallas roster, it’s probably the blue line. The Stars lost veteran defenders Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers last summer, and head coach Lindy Ruff spent much of 2016-17 scratching various defensemen, including new addition Dan Hamhuis.

USA routs Slovakia to win fifth in a row at World Championships

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Just one day after needing to rally past Latvia, Team USA left little doubt on Sunday and played perhaps their most complete game of the World Championships in a 6-1 rout over Slovakia.

The win is the fifth in a row for the United States and has them sitting atop Group A with 15 points.

They have one game remaining in the opening round and that will come on Tuesday when they take on Russia. Russia, which plays Latvia on Monday, is one point back in the group standings.

Johnny Gaudreau led the way for the United States on Sunday with a pair of goals and an assist, giving him a team-leading nine points so far in the tournament.

Arizona Coyotes youngsters Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak also each contributed a goal in the win. Keller, the the Coyotes’ first-round pick in 2016, has been one of the standings out for Team USA in the tournament and has already scored five goals.

Sunday’s game also continued what has been a miserable tournament for Slovakia. Its only win of the tournament was an overtime win against Italy in its tournament opener. In the five games (all losses) since they have been outscored 22-7.