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Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

Elliott would be ‘first to admit’ playoffs went poorly: Treliving

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The Calgary Flames were not blown out of the water by the Anaheim Ducks.

They were swept, yes, but all four games were close. The Flames should’ve at least won Game 3, which they led 4-1 before losing, 5-4, in overtime. In the first two games, it was penalties that hurt them.

Goaltending hurt them, too, as much as GM Brad Treliving was loath to pin the loss on one player.

The reality is, Brian Elliott finished the postseason with an .880 save percentage, the lowest of the 16 starting netminders in these playoffs. He played well at times during the regular season, but his first year in Calgary was ultimately a frustrating one.

“I think everyone would agree, Brian would be the first one, that he’s capable of playing much better,” Treliving said today. “The playoffs didn’t go the way he would like them to go. He’d be the first one to admit it.”

Read more: Flames are back to square one in search for starting goalie

Elliott and backup Chad Johnson can both become unrestricted free agents this summer; however, Treliving would not say what he intended to do about the position. Other potential UFAs include Ben Bishop and Scott Darling. Perhaps Marc-Andre Fleury will be available, too.

Before making any decisions, Treliving wants the sting of the playoff loss to wear off first.

“Emotion and frustration, I haven’t seen them ever be helpful in decision-making,” he said.

Like his two goalies, Treliving doesn’t have a contract extension either, and naturally there’s been talk he could land elsewhere if the Flames don’t buck up to keep him. The Buffalo Sabres have an opening at the GM position, if you didn’t hear.

Treliving was quiet about that as well.

“My situation, that’ll get dealt with when it gets dealt with,” he said. “That’s not for today.”

Looking back on the season as a whole, the Flames did make considerable progress, going from 77 points to 94 and a spot in the playoffs. Things didn’t go well against the Ducks, but that doesn’t cancel out all the positives.

“As difficult as the last 48 hours have been, there’s lot to be proud of and there’s a lot to look forward to,” said Treliving. “I think this organization, this team, is on the cusp of being there.

“But our message to the players is, ‘It doesn’t happen because we think we are. It doesn’t happen because we’re going to be a year older or a year wiser. It happens because we’re going to put the work in.'”

Gaudreau joins Eichel as latest additions to USA’s Worlds roster

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Another big score for USA Hockey on Friday.

Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau — whose season ended earlier Wednesday with a playoff sweep at the hands of Anaheim — told reporters today he’d be joining Team USA for the upcoming World Championships in Germany and France.

Gaudreau’s announcement comes just days after another big name — Buffalo’s Jack Eichelalso agreed to join the squad.

All this makes for a pretty intriguing roster.

USA Hockey has adopted a youth movement, selecting collegiate players like Notre Dame goalie Cal Petersen (a Buffalo draftee), Boston University forward Jordan Greenway (a Minnesota draftee), Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork (a Boston draftee) and Daniel Brickley, an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State-Mankato.

In addition to those, some quality NHL youngsters are also in the mix: Noah Hanifin, J.T. Compher, Andrew Copp and a pair of prized Arizona prospects — Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller. Detroit sophomore Dylan Larkin will also suit up for the Americans.

The 2017 Worlds get underway on May 5.

 

 

Report: NHL linesman Don Henderson files $10.25M lawsuit against Dennis Wideman

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Almost 15 months after Dennis Wideman knocked NHL linesman Don Henderson over with an apparent cross check, there has been another development in the infamous case.

Per TSN’s Rick Westhead, Henderson has filed in a Calgary court a $10.25 million lawsuit against Wideman. The report also states that the Flames are listed as defendants, as well.

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According to his lawsuit, Henderson suffered injuries to his head, neck back, shoulder, and right knee. He also allegedly suffered a concussion, pain, numbness and tingling in his right arm and hand, shock anxiety and depression, headaches and permanent and partial disability.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. No statements of defence have been filed. A Flames spokesperson did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

The incident occurred during a game between the Flames and Nashville Predators on Jan. 27, 2016, leading to litigation between the various parties for more than a year. The league suspended Wideman for 20 games.

The length of the suspension was eventually reduced on appeal, leading the league to file a suit in order to get the ban restored to 20 games.

However, last month, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of Wideman and the NHLPA, ultimately keeping the suspension at 10 games — much to the disappointment of the NHL.

Flames are back to square one in search for starting goalie

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The Calgary Flames thought they’d solved their goaltending problem. They thought they were in good shape. Finally.

They thought wrong.

The way their series with the Ducks just went, it is tough to imagine Brian Elliott getting a contract extension and returning next season.

Elliott, a pending unrestricted free agent, started all four games against Anaheim. He lost the first three, then only lasted 5:38 of Game 4 before being replaced by journeyman backup Chad Johnson.

Read more: Elliott ‘still can’t explain’ soft opening goal in Game 4 loss

Elliott finished the playoffs with an .880 save percentage — a big reason the Flames were swept.

Now, if his regular season had gone smoothly, Elliott’s playoff numbers could perhaps be excused. But his regular season did not go smoothly. It started horrifically, got significantly better after Christmas, then trailed off again down the stretch.

It’s unfortunate, really, because Elliott had hoped to be so much more for the Flames after being acquired from St. Louis.

“I’m going to do my best to be the backbone of the team,” he said over the summer, “and try to be a leader and just do whatever I can to be the rock for the guys on the back end and let the guys do the rest of the work.”

At 32 years old, Elliott is no spring chicken either. So, instead of giving him another chance, the Flames may look to sign 30-year-old Ben Bishop or 28-year-old Scott Darling. Both are pending UFAs.

Or maybe they get Marc-Andre Fleury from Pittsburgh. He’s only signed for two more years, which could provide a bridge to youngsters Jon Gillies, Mason McDonald, or Nick Schneider.

It’s all up in the air for GM Brad Treliving — that is, assuming he’s still the GM.

Treliving is like his two goalies. He doesn’t have a contract extension either.