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2015 NHL Draft
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Red Wings target May for Babcock contract: report

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 8:56 PM / News

NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Thursday that he would like Mike Babcock to return as coach.

"He's regarded in the industry as one of the top coaches in the game, if not the top coach," Holland told MLive.com. "He's in the prime of his career. Our hope is that Mike wants to stay, but he's positioned himself to have the option to explore."

Babcock has led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his 10 seasons in Detroit, but his contract expires June 30. Detroit has lost five of its past six playoff series and hasn't advanced past the second round since 2009.

The Red Wings would like to sign Babcock to a long-term contract before his current one expires, but Holland said there is no timetable for when Babcock will make his decision.

"There's an element of urgency, but not hours or days," Holland said. "Probably in the month of May."

Canadiens want to avenge season sweep by Lightning

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 8:50 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens had a team dinner Wednesday and sat down to watch and see who they would face in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Montreal's players and coaches wined, dined and watched Game 7 of the first-round series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning after hitting the ice for the first time since closing their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators with a win in Game 6 on Sunday.

When all was said and done, the Canadiens learned they will host Tampa Bay in Game 1 at Bell Centre on Friday (7 p.m .ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN).

"That's going to be a huge challenge," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said after practice Thursday. "[Tampa Bay] is the best offensive team in the League and they proved it. They've got a lot of weapons offensively and they've got tremendous speed. We take a lot of pride about making sure that we're solid defensively, that we're taking speed away, and this is something for us we're going to have to focus on. We've got to make sure we play a really sound defensive game."

Dubnyk, Hammond, Letang voted Masterton finalists

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Goaltenders Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey," the National Hockey League announced today.

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Canadiens' Price credits team for Hart nomination

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 6:06 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price is so in the zone right now he hardly saw his Hart Memorial Trophy nomination coming.

Price learned he was a finalist Wednesday, which is when he said that possibility first occurred to him.

Really?

After all the talk throughout the NHL about his sensational season leading the League in wins (44), which broke the Canadiens record held by Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, goals-against-average (1.96) and save percentage (.933)?

Canadiens X-factor Markov important to power play

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 5:36 PM / X-Factor

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Andrei Markov got off on the wrong foot in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs when he scored the first goal of the Montreal Canadiens' Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators.

The defenseman's own-goal on Carey Price in Game 1 of Montreal's six-game series win set the tone for the 36-year-old Russian's play against Ottawa.

"Yeah, I know I have to be better," Markov said after practice Wednesday. "Those things happen and there's no question that I have to be better and I will try to be better next series, and try to look forward and move forward."

Crosby seeks Triple Gold as Canada captain at Worlds

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 5:28 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- As an alternate captain and later as captain, Sidney Crosby helped Canada win two consecutive Olympic gold medals, at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Now, after being named captain again, he is on a mission to help Canada win its first IIHF World Championship since 2007.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward took part in his first practice Thursday at O2 Arena in Prague; Canada begins the 16-nation tournament Friday against Latvia (10:15 a.m. ET).

"I'm excited," Crosby said. "Obviously, it's always a great honor to represent your country and this is a great event. The competition will be very good and I'm excited to be with this group of guys."

Blackhawks' Keith excels even as ice time climbs

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 4:47 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2015 SCP Second Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith someday might run a marathon.

He's not the biggest fan of distance running, but he does have some experience with it and might get bored enough to try after he retires.

"I used to do a little running," Keith said Thursday, following practice at United Center. "To me it wasn't a whole lot of fun … just plain running. But I enjoy exercise, you know? I was always a pretty good long-distance runner."

For now, Keith is content as a defenseman long on endurance. He'll look to continue as the Blackhawks' marathon man on defense as they open their Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Dubnyk's arrival changed Wild's outlook, season

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 4:17 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In the tight-knit quarters of an NHL locker room, adding a player has the potential to change a team's energy, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.

In the case of the Minnesota Wild, adding goaltender Devan Dubnyk not only was a positive, it was a stroke of genius.

DESPERATE FOR A CHANGE

On the morning of Jan. 13, the Wild were a team in crisis. Hovering around .500 and in last place in the Central Division, a season that began with high expectations was spiraling out of control.

Hart finalist Tavares still reeling from Islanders loss

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 4:14 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The pain of losing Game 7 against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference First Round on Monday will haunt New York Islanders captain John Tavares throughout the offseason, but he will at least be rewarded with a trip to Las Vegas in June.

Tavares, who finished second in the NHL with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games, on Wednesday was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team." The trophy will be awarded on June 24.

But after removing his belongings from his locker at Nassau Coliseum for the last time (the Islanders are moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season), Tavares admitted it's going to be hard to move on from the 2-1 loss at Washington in Game 7.

"It's really hard to think about right now just because obviously we're so fresh off the playoffs and with the way they finished," Tavares said at the Coliseum on Thursday. "It's obviously a great honor. Anytime you're up for the Hart Trophy in this League it's pretty special company. Just to be a nominee, it speaks volumes to our team and my teammates, coaching staff, the belief they have in me, and the amount of support I get from them and how well they played, how well my team played … both years I've been nominated (2012-13), both years we went to the playoffs and that's because everyone was contributing. We had a tough team to play against."

Lightning X-factor Boyle key on faceoffs, penalty kill

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 3:12 PM / X-Factor

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- After signing forward Ryan Callahan to a new contract and picking up defenseman Anton Stralman in free agency, the signing of center Brian Boyle did not get the big headlines for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

However, the value of the 6-foot-7, 244-pound forward was well known in the locker room, and Boyle's versatility and leadership has proven to be crucial to the Lightning's success in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Boyle was one of the players who spoke to the team before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. His experience on the ice and leadership in the locker room makes him revered by teammates.

"We appreciate everything Brian brings to this team," Callahan said. "He's one of the best teammates you can have. He plays the game the right way and he's an important part of what we do here."

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Quote of the Day

I think when you build a team, you look at pairs, and I think the pair of [Voracek and Giroux] is very good, certainly one of the top pairs in the League.

— Flyers GM Ron Hextall on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek after giving Voracek a multiyear extension Thursday