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Posted On Friday, 06.05.2015 / 1:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Matthews likely to play in Europe before '16 NHL Draft

BUFFALO -- Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is leaning toward continuing his hockey career in Switzerland, agent Pat Brisson told on Friday.

Brisson said playing for ZSC in Switzerland's top professional league or for the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League are the two destinations. Brisson said Matthews has ruled out going the NCAA route. 

"It's been discussed and we have been exploring Europe and have narrowed it down to Switzerland and the WHL," Brisson said. "It's looking at the moment that the scale is leaning towards Europe." ZSC is coached by former NHL coach Marc Crawford.

Posted On Friday, 06.05.2015 / 12:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Blackhawks scouting staff watching hard work pay off

BUFFALO -- The scouting team for the Chicago Blackhawks has had the best of both worlds during the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.

Blackhawks senior director of amateur scouting Mark Kelley and his staff not only are enjoying their time here during the interviewing phase of the Combine, but watching their diligence from previous years pay off during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"This year has been special," Kelley said Friday. "In addition to trying to target players for the Chicago Blackhawks down the road, it's been nice to get a little bit of the reward by watching the Stanley Cup Final [against the Tampa Bay Lightning] and seeing all that hard work pay off."

Posted On Friday, 06.05.2015 / 11:55 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Maple Leafs impressed with depth of draft

BUFFALO -- Toronto Maple Leafs director of player personnel Mark Hunter is confident that when the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft is over, the Maple Leafs will have added two very good players.

The Maple Leafs have the fourth pick and the 24th, which they acquired from the Nashville Predators for defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli.

"We're pretty happy where we're sitting," Hunter said between prospect interviews Friday at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine. "We really believe we're going to get a top-end kid, a top-end player [at No. 4]. It's a good spot. I think there's good depth in the draft. We even believe with the 24th hole there's going to be a good player sitting there at that time."

Posted On Friday, 06.05.2015 / 11:29 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst / - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Blackhawks, Lightning

Kevin Weekes will be offering his pluses and minuses for the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning prior to each game in the Stanley Cup Final. He'll also assist fans with three must-watch elements of the game.

TAMPA -- The series is on, but we haven't seen the best yet from the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Game 1 was more of a 'feel 'em out' type of game to me, but the Blackhawks being the Blackhawks, they found a way to win it 2-1 in comeback fashion.

The Lightning learned a few hard lessons from the professors of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 1, and I have no doubt they will try to take them into Game 2 on Saturday at Amalie Arena (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Here is my breakdown of what we've seen and what to expect in Game 2:

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 7:55 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Blue Jackets' scout hopes Reilly stays with team

BUFFALO -- Columbus Blue Jackets director of amateur scouting Paul Castron remembers that when they selected defenseman Mike Reilly in the fourth round (No. 98) of the 2011 NHL Draft, it was with the hope that he could develop into a big piece of their future.

Though Reilly may become an effective NHL player, it's unclear if it will be with the Blue Jackets, who on Wednesday granted Reilly permission to speak to other teams after failing to agree on a contract with him.

Reilly is speaking with teams this week at the NHL Scouting Combine at First Niagara Center. He told on Wednesday that Columbus remains under consideration as he mulls his options. TSN reported Thursday that Reilly and his representatives planned to meet with eight other teams: the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 7:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Sabres choose not to interview Connor McDavid

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres determined it was not necessary to interview Erie Otters center Connor McDavid this week during the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.

McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft, is expected to go No. 1 to the Edmonton Oilers when the draft is held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

"We haven't interviewed McDavid and we probably won't," Buffalo director of amateur scouting Greg Royce said Thursday. "If he slips to No. 2 and Edmonton takes Jack Eichel … we have met McDavid before and we know he's a fantastic player and person.

"We just thought maybe it was wasting his time [to schedule an interview]. We'd love to meet him and bring him in. But at the same time, we know him, he's a great kid, smart kid and we have no issues with him."

The Sabres interviewed Eichel, the Boston University center ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, on Tuesday. If the Oilers draft McDavid, many anticipate the Sabres will select Eichel No. 2 in the draft.

"We did the full interview process with [Eichel] like we do any other player," Royce said. "He was great, very confident and personable. He's an intelligent person off the ice, and the on the ice his talent speaks for itself."

McDavid had four interviews this week and Eichel had six.


Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 6:24 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

Verbeek: Managing adrenaline key for Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning assistant general manager Pat Verbeek joined NHL Live to discuss the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Lightning trail the best-of-7 series 1-0 after a 2-1 loss in Game 1 on Wednesday. Tampa Bay led 1-0 until Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored less than two minutes apart late in the third to lead Chicago to victory.

"It's a game we could have won, obviously," Verbeek said. "With six minutes left to go you're nursing a 1-0 lead. We had the chance, the [Ryan] Callahan breakaway, to kind of seal the deal. But we didn't and now we have to bounce back for this game.

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 6:23 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

Devils coach Hynes relishing chance to work in NHL

New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes joined NHL Live to discuss what he called a special opportunity to coach in the League.

Hynes, 40, was hired Tuesday after coaching the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League since 2010 when he was promoted by Devils general manager Ray Shero, who held the same position with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 231-126-10-17 in Hynes' five seasons and advanced to the conference semifinals this season.

"It's very competitive coming up to the American Hockey League or junior hockey, so I feel fortunate that the last five years I've been able to been around excellent management and very good players," Hynes said. "We had a pretty good culture and structure in place in Wilkes-Barre. For me it's really exciting to be able to come in and work with a general manager that I know and trust, and have a lot of same values and beliefs."

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 5:45 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Oshawa's Cirelli still enjoying Memorial Cup moment

BUFFALO -- It's been four days since Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli scored in overtime of the championship game at the 2015 Memorial Cup and he's still smiling.

With the score tied 1-1 early in the extra period, Cirelli set a screen in front of Kelowna Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle as Oshawa defenseman Chris Carlisle fired a shot from the top of the right circle. Whistle stopped Carlisle's shot, but Cirelli had strong position at the edge of the crease, boxed out Whistle and cleaned up the rebound to start the celebration.

Cirelli also scored the Generals' goal in regulation, finishing a 2-on-1 to tie the game at 13:50 of the second period. They were Cirelli's only two goals of the tournament.

"It was kind of a blur," Cirelli said Thursday of the seconds after he scored in overtime. "I remember it going in. Then we were hoisting the cup."

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 5:05 PM

By Staff -  / - In Case You Missed It Blog

ICYMI: Thursday, June 4

Have #FOMO? Simply want to catch up after a busy day? No worries, has you covered. Welcome to our new ICYMI blog, a daily digest of all news, features and blogs we publish. Consider it your one-stop shop for all written content.


Goalie Matchup: Inside Game 1 for Bishop, Crawford
Analysis by Kevin Woodley indicates each goalie benefitted from tight defensive structure during the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Big stage doesn't rattle Blackhawks rookie Teravainen
Chicago Blackhawks' forward Teuvo Teravainen showed composure beyond years in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final.

Lightning coach Cooper finds 2nd-year success again
Jon Cooper has a movie-inspired rule that involves winning in his second year as coach, and he's poised to continue it with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee statement
Co-chairs of the NHL / NHLPA Competition Committee issued the following statement on new rules recommendations after the Competition Committee met today in New York.


Senators coach Cameron agrees to two-year contract
The Ottawa Senators and coach Dave Cameron have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract.

Capitals forward Eric Fehr has elbow surgery
Forward Eric Fehr had successful elbow surgery Wednesday, the Washington Capitals said.

Maple Leafs sign Johnson, Brennan to contracts
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Andreas Johnson to a three-year entry level contract. The Leafs have also re-signed defenceman T.J. Brennan to a one-year contract.

U.S. names Ron Wilson coach for 2016 World Juniors
Ron Wilson was named the coach of the 2016 United States National Junior Team on Thursday.

TSN's McKenzie, Kings' Nickson honored by Hall
TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie was named the 2015 winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Los Angeles Kings radio voice Nick Nickson the winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to broadcasting, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced in a release on Thursday.


Lightning strategy may force split of Toews-Kane line

The Tampa Bay Lightning's defensive strategy in Game 1 may lead the Chicago Blackhawks to split up top forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Lightning must find more offense in Game 2
The Tampa Bay Lightning tried to win a 1-0 game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. It didn't work.

Garrison: Playoff beard constant topic of conversation
In his latest blog for, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jason Garrison discusses his beard that has been a storyline during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lightning's Boyle laments missed chance in Game 1
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle is angered over a missed opportunity in a Game 1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Oilers' latest No. 1 pick viewed as rebuild accelerator
Edmonton Oilers head amateur scout Stu MacGregor knows it's a unique opportunity to pick No. 1 in a draft headlined by Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.


Blackhawks' van Riemsdyk could play in Game 2
Chicago Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk could play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday.

Capitals' Mahoney talks impact of McDavid-Eichel
Washington Capitals assistant GM Ross Mahoney discusses the impact to be made by Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.

Sabres happy to be hosting NHL Scouting Combine
Buffalo Sabres president Ted Black said the organization is very happy to be hosting the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.

Erie's Strome ready to help younger brother in OHL
Erie Otters forward Dylan Strome is ready to help younger brother Matthew adjust to the OHL the say way older brother Ryan helped him.

Saint John's Chabot not thrown by offbeat question
Saint John defenseman Thomas Chabot has had an interesting, and surprising, stay at the NHL Scouting Combine.

For more 2015 NHL Combine coverage, follow's blog.

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Quote of the Day

I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82