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Coyotes’ Dylan Strome breaks Memorial Cup record with 7 points in game

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Dylan Strome’s journey to becoming a full-timer at the NHL level might be a little bumpy, but he continues to distinguish himself at other levels.

In the case of Monday, it was setting a new Memorial Cup record. With four goals and three assists, Strome’s seven-point game set a new record as he helped the Eerie Otters pummel the Saint John Sea Dogs 12-5.

They’ll face the Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday to determine which team goes to the tournament’s final round.

The performance wasn’t lost on his brother Ryan Strome.

Hayes scores twice as U.S. hands Russia first loss at Worlds

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Team USA notched its biggest win of the World Hockey Championship on Tuesday, knocking off previously undefeated Russia 5-3.

Kevin Hayes scored twice, while Anders Lee continued his terrific tourney by netting the game-winner on the power play in the third period. Isles teammate Brock Nelson — who’s also playing very well for the U.S. — had a three-point effort, while Johnny Gaudreau and Dylan Larkin registered two points each.

The Russians were led by Nikita Gusev, who scored twice.

As mentioned above, this was the first setback of the tourney for Russia. The team had previously run roughshod through the preliminary round, largely on the strength of its “big three” — forwards Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin and Vadim Shipachyov. The trio had combined for 36 points but went silent on Tuesday. Shipachyov was the only one to find the scoresheet, registering an assist.

The U.S. has to be thrilled with today’s result. It’s a stark turnaround from its opening loss to the Germans, and has put the squad among the favorites for gold. The Americans have reeled off six straight wins and have looked dangerous offensively, scoring 16 goals over their last three games.

The U.S. also locked up top spot in Group A with Tuesday’s victory.

Germany goaltender Thomas Greiss criticized for social media likes

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BERLIN (AP) The German Ice Hockey Federation has defended its national team goaltender Thomas Greiss after he liked controversial social media posts, including one comparing former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to Adolf Hitler.

“It’s very important to make clear that Thomas Greiss is definitely not a right-wing extremist nor a right-wing populist,” federation vice president Marc Hindelang said.

Greiss, who plays with the New York Islanders, has faced criticism in Germany, where public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk first reported that he liked several pro-Donald Trump memes on Instagram.

Deutschlandfunk published screenshots of posts liked by Greiss. One was a picture of Hitler and the words, “Never arrested, never convicted, just as innocent as Hillary.”

German Olympic Sports Confederation president Alfons Hoermann was scathing in his criticism of Greiss, going so far as to say the 31-year-old should not take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

However, Greiss was always likely to miss the games after the NHL’s decision not to stop its season to allow players to compete at the Feb. 9-25 Olympics.

Greiss missed Germany’s 3-2 loss to Denmark at the ice hockey world championship due to injury on Friday, and could be out for the rest of the tournament.

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals was due to arrive on Saturday. Germany head coach Marco Sturm said the change was not connected with the social media controversy.

“It wasn’t an issue in the team at all,” Sturm said.

Hindelang said there would be no consequences for Greiss beyond a talk between the federation and the player.

“There’s a fine line between tastelessness and intolerable things … Hitler is a no-go, that’s clear,” said Hindelang, who added that players had the right to have their own opinions and political preferences.

“That’s democracy and we all have to deal with it,” Hindelang said. “He’s going to stay in the squad. He won’t be suspended.”

Isles sign goalie prospect Soderstrom, fresh off Swedish League title

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New York signed one of its most coveted young talents on Thursday, agreeing to a three-year, entry-level deal with Swedish goalie Linus Soderstrom.

Soderstrom, 20, was the club’s fourth-round pick in 2014 and is coming off a terrific SHL campaign, in which he helped HV71 capture the championship on the strength of a league-best 1.34 GAA (and a .943 save percentage).

Soderstrom has starred on the international stage as well. In 2016, he was named to the World Junior all-star team and captured top goalie honors.

There was no immediate word where Soderstrom would play next season. The Isles have two goalies currently under contract — Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss — with another prospect, Eamon McAdam, locked in with AHL Bridgeport.

Jean-Francois Berube is an unrestricted free agent, while Stephon Williams is a RFA. The Isles also have another tantalizing young prospect in Russian Ilya Sorokin, the 21-year-old that starred for KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow this season.

 

 

Bishop has ‘good relationship’ with Hitch, and that’s important

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Just hours after being acquired by Dallas, Ben Bishop said he was excited to join a team that reminded him of his old Tampa Bay squad.

But there was another reason for his excitement — the opportunity to reunite with Ken Hitchcock.

From the Dallas Morning-News:

Bishop lives in St. Louis in the offseason and often worked out with the Blues before training camp started. He said he knows Hitchcock pretty well and likes how he coaches.

“I think we have a good relationship, and I know his teams in St. Louis were tough to play against,” Bishop said.

Bishop was a Blues farmhand when Hitchcock took over from Davis Payne in 2011. He never actually played a game under Hitch, but was recalled in a backup capacity shortly before getting traded to Ottawa.

To hear talk of a good goalie relationship in St. Louis is surprising. Because during Hitch’s six years on the job, there was mostly drama.

Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Miller, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen were all tasked with the starting gig at some point during his tenure, and here are just a few of the PHT headlines that came from it:

St. Louis Drama: Hitchcock and Halak ended season feuding

Hitch addresses goalie situation after odd incident

Hitchcock on Elliott: ‘He has to play better’

Hitchcock says Allen needs to ‘man up and get better’

Some suggested the biggest problem was St. Louis’ lack of a clear-cut No. 1 goalie, which GM Doug Armstrong (seemingly) remedied by trading Elliott to Calgary, then anointing Allen as “the guy” with a four-year, $17.4 million deal.

Yet even with Allen locked in, the goalie problems continued. They ended when Hitchcock was fired in February.

Not long after the dismissal, Allen had some pretty interesting remarks about his relationship with his former head coach.

“I didn’t have a lot of communication with Hitch,” he told CBC. “I think you need to communicate. I like to know if [the coach] has a problem [with my play]. If you [want to] change something, come talk to me.

“It’s the easiest solution.”

So, back to Dallas.

There are plenty of reasons for optimism, but also plenty that still needs to get sorted. GM Jim Nill has to sign Bishop, and decide which of his two incumbents — Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi — will be cut loose.

One thing is for certain, though: Bishop is excited to work with Hitchcock, and vice versa.

“He really makes it hard for a shooter to see any openings,” Hitch said. “I think you really have to work to score on him.”