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Latest Headlines

Cooke set to return, grateful Wild prolonged season

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 2:57 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke is ready to return to hitting and being hit at high speeds and throwing his body in the path of slap shots. He figures those dangerous pursuits are far better for his health than the past two weeks of watching others do that work.

He served the final game of his seven-game suspension during the Wild's 4-0 victory Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round series. He is eligible to return Friday in Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Cooke was suspended by the NHL in the first round for a knee-on-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. At the time, the Wild were trailing the series 2-0, but came back by winning four of the next five games, including erasing four one-goal deficits in an overtime victory in Game 7 on the road.

According to Wild coach Mike Yeo, Cooke will most likely return to active duty Friday, although he has not decided who the forward will replace in the lineup.

"The last couple of weeks, I think I earned myself an ulcer watching games," Cooke said during a press conference Wednesday morning at Xcel Energy Center. "Obviously the team's played great, but it's tough to sit and watch. I pride myself on being a guy that performs and has a game built for the playoffs, and it's not fun to sit and watch."


Flyers promote Holmgren to president, Hextall to GM

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 1:00 PM / News

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Ron Hextall called Wednesday the culmination of a 15-year dream.

Hextall on Wednesday was promoted to general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, replacing Paul Holmgren, who was named president of the team in a sweeping change to the front office.

After playing 11 of 13 NHL seasons with the Flyers, Hextall moved into a scouting role with the organization after he retired in 1999. He returned to Flyers in the summer of 2013 as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations after seven seasons as assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Kings.

"When [chairman Ed] Snider brought me in and talked about offering me this job, not only did I reach my goal of being a general manager, I got my dream job," Hextall said during a press conference at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. "I'm thrilled to be sitting here and I'll do the best job I can do. I'll work hard toward reaching the ultimate goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia."


Wild's mental toughness leads to Game 3 win

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 2:06 AM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild used their will, more than their skill or their speed or any of the other physical tools at their disposal, to win Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild was the mentally superior team Tuesday night and, as a result, found new life in this Western Conference Second Round series against the defending Stanley Cup champions. With a 4-0 victory, fashioned on an unexpected third-period offensive outburst, Minnesota has a chance to even this best-of-7 series at two victories apiece when the teams play Game 4 here Friday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).


Haula continues to play huge role for Wild

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 1:44 AM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After a first-period breakaway drifted harmlessly off his stick, Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula sat on the bench with hopes that he would get another opportunity in a similar spot.

Early in the third period, he got that chance and didn't miss. Haula scored the game-winning goal at 1:41, the first of a four-goal barrage for the Wild en route to a 4-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Second Round series at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night.

Chicago now leads the best-of-7 series 2-1; Game 4 will be played in Minnesota on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

With the game scoreless and quality chances at a premium, each player on Minnesota's third line connected for the first goal. Haula's stretch pass to Matt Moulson in the neutral zone started the rush. Moulson passed to right wing Justin Fontaine, who had a full head of steam across the Chicago blue line. Fontaine skated in and found Haula flying past Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane at the backdoor, lofting a saucer pass towards the front of the net that Haula slapped in off a bounce past Corey Crawford.


Mistakes cost Bruins again in Game 3 loss

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 12:15 AM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- These were not the Boston Bruins who won 12 games in a row and earned a point in the standings in 16 straight games during a historic March.

Well, the personnel was the same, the uniforms were the same, but the Bruins who are down 2-1 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens are playing a completely different type of hockey.

The Bruins are playing mistake-riddled hockey.

After losing 4-2 in Game 3 on Tuesday at Bell Centre, the Bruins will try to right themselves in Game 4 on Thursday in the same rink (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

They'll try to snap a streak of three straight games during which they have fallen behind by at least two goals. They were able to force double overtime before losing Game 1 then won Game 2 with a four-goal third period.


Therrien making right moves behind Montreal bench

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 12:14 AM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Michel Therrien lives in a petri dish under the microscope that is the Montreal hockey market.

Every one of Therrien's moves as coach of the Montreal Canadiens is dissected and analyzed to death, and to say he is open to criticism would be stating things mildly. He works in a firing range of criticism.

When Therrien was hired by general manager Marc Bergevin for his second stint as coach of his hometown team, the endorsement from the fan base and the media was far from unanimous. His decisions sometimes appear strange from the outside, but they also work more often than not.

The latest example came Tuesday in Game 3 of the Canadiens Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Boston Bruins, a 4-2 win that gave Montreal a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.


Ovechkin to play for Russia at World Championship

Tuesday, 05.06.2014 / 6:57 PM / News


Forward Alex Ovechkin will play for Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus, the Washington Capitals announced Tuesday.

The tournament begins May 9 and ends May 25.

Ovechkin will be Russia's captain. It is his 10th World Championship appearance; the Moscow native has 46 points (27 goals) in 56 games and won a gold medal with Russia in 2008 and 2012.

Ovechkin scored 51 goals this season to win his second consecutive and fourth career Rocket Richard Trophy. It was his fifth 50-goal season in the NHL.


Predators expect Laviolette to improve offense

Tuesday, 05.06.2014 / 6:35 PM / News

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

The idea of hiring Peter Laviolette as the Nashville Predators' second coach seemed like a natural fit to general manager David Poile.

The two worked together for the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Poile as general manager and Laviolette as an assistant coach. Poile was impressed with Laviolette's preparation and game plans and liked Laviolette's experience and motivational abilities.

Yet Poile wanted to do his homework. It was 17 years since he hired a coach and he wanted to get it right. So Poile spoke with some who played for Laviolette with the Carolina Hurricanes, who he coached to the 2006 Stanley Cup, and the Philadelphia Flyers, who he brought to the 2010 Cup Final. Poile spoke to Predators center Matt Cullen, who won the Cup with Laviolette in Carolina.

Poile might have ended his search where he started. The Predators announced Laviolette on Tuesday as the successor to Barry Trotz, who coached the team for its first 15 seasons. Poile, the third-longest tenured general manager in the NHL, said his confidence in the hire was about as high as any decision he had ever made.

"Peter is a very successful coach," Poile said. "Am I glad that we have that an experienced coach who won a Stanley Cup? Yes, sir. That's good. All of the criteria is great. Again, I think I knew all that but I wanted to check it out with other people, other players. Again, I just did my due diligence. This is arguably the most important decision we're making this offseason."


Frustrated Ducks vow to be better in Game 3

Tuesday, 05.06.2014 / 5:58 PM / Ducks vs. Kings - 2014 SCP Second Round

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf sounded like he was channeling "The Incredible Hulk," the 1970s television show in which the main character's famous line is, "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

The Anaheim Ducks captain said Monday night he was "ticked off" after a Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in their Western Conference Second Round series. That frustration hadn't waned much a day later. Ticked?

"I'm not allowed to use other words," Getzlaf said. "Yeah, I'm still mad. I want to win, and when we don't win, I get mad. That's the nature of my well-being, I guess."

Anaheim's frustration was palpable after Los Angeles protected the house area like a security guard in a 3-1 win that gave it a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 3 is Thursday at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).


Penguins' Letang finding form 3 months after stroke

Tuesday, 05.06.2014 / 5:06 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- That defenseman Kris Letang has keyed the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers isn't entirely surprising.

Letang has provided a spark on Pittsburgh's vaunted rush, much as he has throughout his NHL career. The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 heading into Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Letang had three points in Game 2, including the game-winning goal, before finishing Game 3 with a plus-1 rating and 24:31 in ice time, which ranked second on the team.

What is surprising is he's doing it slightly more than three months after having a stroke.

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Quote of the Day

I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential