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Blackhawks lean heavily on top-four defensemen

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 8:29 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks arrived Wednesday looking like a team that played deep into the night Tuesday to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in the third overtime of Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center.

Among those who met with reporters was defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who still looked bleary-eyed after playing a career-high 47:35 in the win that evened the best-of-7 series at 1-1. He wasn’t the only one who looked a little bushed.

Centers Brad Richards and Jonathan Toews did too, and it’s a safe bet the other three defensemen who comprise Chicago’s top four were dragging just as much. Duncan Keith (49:51), Brent Seabrook (47:46) and Johnny Oduya (46:06) all played at least 46 minutes in Game 2, as Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville continued to lean on them heavily in the absence of injured veteran Michal Rozsival (fractured ankle).

"Yeah, [that] was a lot of minutes last game," Hjalmarsson said. "But we won the game, and we move on from there, start focusing on [the] next game. Personally, I feel fine. I have no complaints."

Blues name Brodeur assistant general manager

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 7:59 PM / News

Martin Brodeur has agreed to a three-year contract to be assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong announced Wednesday.

Brodeur retired Jan. 29 after playing the final seven games of his career with the Blues; he spent the remainder of the season as a senior adviser to Armstrong.

"It's a great opportunity," Brodeur told the Blues website. "I got a little taste of it last season and really enjoyed being around Doug and the organization. It's a good fit for me, and it works out well. I'm really happy about it.

"I want to put the work in. I want to learn how everything works, to learn the organization. I'm committed to do the work and do as much as I can to help the team get better. It's a good fit for me to be able to learn what I have to learn."

Red Wings GM moving forward without Babcock

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 7:14 PM / News

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland repeatedly referred to the past 10 years working with Mike Babcock as "fabulous" but stressed the franchise is looking ahead to the future after its former coach was hired Wednesday by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Holland said he met in person with Babcock at 8 a.m. Wednesday before heading in to his office. He spoke with Babcock again by phone at 11:15 a.m., at which time Babcock told him he had made his choice.

"I know it was a difficult decision, but at the end of the day he made a decision that was best for him and now I have some decisions to make," Holland said.

Babcock received an eight-year, $50 million contract from the Maple Leafs, according to media reports. Holland didn't reveal how much money he was willing to give Babcock to stay, but said he didn't feel comfortable going more than five years.

Mike Babcock hired by Maple Leafs as coach

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 6:55 PM / News

Mike Babcock was hired Wednesday as coach by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Terms of the contract were not released, but Sportsnet and TSN reported that Babcock, who spent the past 10 seasons coaching the Detroit Red Wings, has agreed to an eight-year contract worth approximately $50 million.

He will be introduced Thursday at a press conference at Air Canada Centre.

"I think Mike Babcock is a phenomenal coach and we're really lucky to get him," Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, said in video posted by Sportsnet. "As everyone knows we weren't the only one bidding for his services."

Analysis: Babcock to face uphill battle with Toronto

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 5:55 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

In deciding to accept the contract offer to become coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Mike Babcock also accepted the offer to take on the greatest challenge of his career in the NHL.

"I think it is," NHL Network and TSN analyst Craig Button said.

It is because coaching the Maple Leafs at this time is unlike anything he has taken on in his career with the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, or Canadian Olympic teams.

Don Sweeney named Bruins general manager

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 5:30 PM / News

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON – After 15 years as a player for the Boston Bruins and nine seasons in the Bruins' front office, Don Sweeney will have an opportunity to transform the visions of a championship team he has in his head into a reality on the ice.

Sweeney, whose 16-year career as a defenseman also included one season with the Dallas Stars, was introduced Wednesday as the eighth general manager in Bruins history, replacing Peter Chiarelli. Sweeney worked for Chiarelli in several capacities, including the past six as an assistant general manager.

The Bruins missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons in 2014-15. Under Chiarelli they won the Stanley Cup in 2011, reached the Stanley Cup Final a second time in 2013 and won the Presidents' Trophy last season. Chiarelli was fired April 15.

Sweeney will be tasked with turning the Bruins back in the right direction.

Chabot: Ducks must stick to their blueprint for Game 3

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 5:08 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final series, has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

In a three-overtime loss, it's inevitable there will be bounces that don't go your way.

The Anaheim Ducks hit a post and two crossbars during their 3-2, triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, evening the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

Chicago had its bounces too; one puck bounced off the head of forward Andrew Shaw and into the net, which was ruled a goal on the ice and then disallowed after a video review. The Blackhawks eventually got their bounce in the form of Marcus Kruger's game-winning goal 16:12 into the third overtime.

Bounces tend to even out, but the Ducks played a strong game, according to Frederic Chabot, and don't need to change their plan for Game 3 at United Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Talbot: Bruins can compete for Cup under Sweeney

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- When Don Sweeney was named general manager of the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, CEO Charlie Jacobs called it a new era in Bruins hockey during a press conference announcing the move.

Bruins forward Max Talbot knows what it's like to be on a team when a new general manager is hired. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when Ray Shero was named GM in 2006. Acquired by Boston prior to the 2015 Trade Deadline, Talbot said the Bruins are ready to compete for the Stanley Cup and it's an exciting time to be a Bruin with Sweeney at the helm.

"The situation I was in with Pittsburgh is a little different than the situation now because it was a GM from the outside," Talbot said. "Ray came and brought a totally new mentality. He rebuilt everything and he was from the outside so he really changed a lot of things.

"Now, Sweeney has been with the organization as a player and in management, so he's seen things and he knows the team. He knows the culture and stuff."

Ducks focus on positives from marathon loss

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 3:46 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks teammates Francois Beauchemin and Kyle Palmieri have different experiences when it comes to marathon games.

Beauchemin played in a quadruple-overtime game in the 2003 Calder Cup Finals.

"It's funny, they made a T-shirt about it because it was the longest game in [American Hockey League] history that we ended up losing, unfortunately," Beauchemin said.

Palmieri played a long peewee game at his home rink in New Jersey.

"It was a little different format," Palmieri said. "I think it went 4-on-4, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, 1-on-1, and I remember losing and I was out there for the 1-on-1. That was probably the longest game before this."

"This" is a reference to Anaheim's 3-2, triple-overtime loss against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final on Tuesday.

Hammond, Senators agree on three-year contract

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 3:30 PM / News

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Goaltender Andrew Hammond, whose remarkable late-season run helped the Ottawa Senators to a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, was rewarded Wednesday with a three-year, $4.05 million contract.

Now the Senators will have to figure out what to do with a crowded crease with Hammond, Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner all under contract for next season.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray said at the end of the season if Hammond signed a contract with the Senators, Anderson or Lehner would be traded to make room for him.

Hammond, whose contract carries an average annual value of $1.35 million, said Wednesday he didn't receive any indication from the Senators what was going to happen in terms of trading a goaltender.

"No, they didn't make any guarantees like that," he said. "It's something that I'm just going to go into camp with the approach that I'm trying to play as many games as I can this year and trying to earn as many starts as I can."

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