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Stanley Cup Final
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Sobotka will decide soon on return to Blues: report

Sunday, 05.24.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL.com

The St. Louis Blues expect to know in the next week whether forward Vladimir Sobotka will return from the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2015-16 season, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A restricted free agent when he left the Blues in the summer of 2014 to sign a three-year contract with Avangard Omsk of the KHL, Sobotka has an out clause following each season allowing him to return to the NHL.

Sobotka has two weeks from the end of the IIHF World Championship to let Omsk know of his decision. The World Championship ended May 17, giving Sobotka until the end of the month.

"If he decides to come back to the NHL, we'll welcome him back with open arms," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said according to the Post-Dispatch. "And if not, we'll address it a year from now. He knows he's going to come back through St. Louis."

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Babcock will attract free agents to Toronto: Franson

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 9:15 PM / News

NHL.com

Defenseman Cody Franson, who played almost four seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs before being traded in March, said Saturday that free agents, like himself, will find the team more attractive now that it's coached by Mike Babcock.

"I definitely think it makes [Toronto] more interesting," Franson told TSN 1050 Radio. "... Definitely, with Mr. Babcock going there, it's an exciting time for people in that organization and I think it makes it more intriguing to free agents for sure."

Franson will be a free agent July 1 after finishing the season with the Nashville Predators. He said he would like the chance to return to Toronto.

"One hundred percent; I've always said that I loved it in Toronto," the 27-year-old said. "... I'm hopeful that Toronto's in the mix come July 1 and my phone will definitely be on and hoping that they're one of the teams that calls."

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Bowman not surprised Babcock left Red Wings

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 11:20 PM / News

NHL.com

Former Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said Friday he can see why Mike Babcock is now coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I wasn't surprised Mike left Detroit," Bowman told the Edmonton Journal. "The offers were high in Buffalo (and Toronto). I don't know if Detroit wanted to go that high."

Babcock was hired by the Maple Leafs on Wednesday after 10 seasons with the Red Wings. Detroit gave Babcock permission to look elsewhere with his contract expiring June 30 and failing to sign him to a new one before that.

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Babcock says goodbye to Red Wings: 'I love it here'

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 12:13 PM / News

NHL.com Staff

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Friday what led him to leave the Detroit Red Wings after 10 seasons as coach was the need for a new challenge.

"I love it here," Babcock said after cleaning out his office at Joe Louis Arena. "But I also think that it was time for me … I wanted a different challenge."

Babcock was hired by the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, signing an eight-year, $50 million contract, according to TSN and Sportsnet.

Babcock said Friday it wasn't only the money that lured him to Toronto.

"Is it about money? Sure it's about money," Babcock said. "But there was enough money in every place that it didn't factor into the decision. I already have enough nice suits. I'm good."

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Shero expects Elias to be 'big part' of Devils in 2015-16

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 12:03 AM / News

NHL.com

New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero on Thursday said he expects forward Patrik Elias to be a "big part of this team" next season.

Elias said earlier in the week he did not know what his role would be and he was willing to leave the only NHL team he's ever played for, if needed.

Shero told Northjersey.com he will talk to Elias in person soon. The two have spoken only by phone since Shero was hired to replace Lou Lamoriello on May 4.

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Blashill says he wants to be Red Wings coach

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 11:32 PM / News

NHL.com

Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill said Thursday he wants to succeed Mike Babcock as coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

"Yes, I want to be the next head coach of the Detroit Red Wings," Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. "An ultimate goal of mine was to become an NHL head coach; obviously, within this organization, it's a great organization to be part of."

Babcock on Wednesday left the Red Wings after 10 seasons to become coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was introduced in Toronto on Thursday, when Blashill was leading the Griffins, Detroit's top farm team, in preparation for the American Hockey League Western Conference Finals against Utica. Game 1 is Sunday.

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Sabres GM resumes search, won't reveal candidates

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 8:28 PM / News

NHL.com

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said he is continuing his search for a coach but on Thursday would not reveal who the candidates might be.

Murray did confirm to WGR Radio that the Sabres negotiated with Mike Babcock, who on Wednesday left the Detroit Red Wings to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Murray refused to confirm an ESPN.com report that he will be interviewing former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.

"I just don't feel like making the list public," Murray told the Buffalo radio station. "I have no preconceived notions that I want a veteran NHL guy or that I want a young guy to grow with young players. I’m looking for the best guy, the guy that comes in here and is a good fit."

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Brodeur ready for challenge as Blues assistant GM

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 5:47 PM / News

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- When Martin Brodeur announced his retirement as a player, he had an idea where he wanted his life to go. He just didn't know where that would be.

Brodeur, who retired from the NHL with the most regular-season wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes played (74,439), joined the St. Louis Blues front office as a senior adviser to general manager Doug Armstrong in January and was named assistant general manager on Wednesday.

"I'm really excited to join the organization," Brodeur said Thursday. "I had a good learning curve last season jumping in after retirement and going as a senior adviser to Doug. That led me to make the decision to stay long term here in St. Louis and I'm really excited for the opportunity."

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Shanahan says Maple Leafs in no rush for new GM

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 4:32 PM / News

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- It is traditional for teams to hire a general manager first and let him choose his coaching staff.

However, when a coaching candidate with the stature of Mike Babcock suddenly becomes available and expresses interest in coaching your team, you jump all over it.

That is what Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan did in hiring Babcock who coached the Detroit Red Wings the past 10 seasons.

Now Shanahan, who will turn his attention to finding a new GM for the Maple Leafs, said he's in no hurry.

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Hitchcock, Blues still talking about possible return

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 4:30 PM / News

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have not made a decision regarding who their coach will be next season, but the dialogue between general manager Doug Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock is ongoing.

Armstrong and Hitchcock, whose contract expires June 30, are having conversations to decide whether the 63-year-old will return for a fifth season.

Armstrong, who addressed the media Thursday on the signing of Martin Brodeur to a three-year contract as assistant GM, would not commit to when the Blues will make their decision on a coach.

"I'll again go back to what we talked about at the end-of-the-year meeting," Armstrong said. "We weren't going to put a specific date on when we're going to have a decision. Ken and I have had really good communication since the end of the season. When I was in Europe, we talked quite a bit. We're talking again now. We're both still discussing what we need to do to get better going through the process. I certainly can say we're a lot closer to the finish line now than we were two or three weeks ago, but we're not there yet."

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Quote of the Day

That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4