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Rangers look to slow down Lightning in Game 4

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The New York Rangers have thrived all season on being one of, if not the fastest team in the National Hockey League. After being opened up and exposed by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the past two games of the Eastern Conference Final, they realize speed won't get them to the Stanley Cup Final.

"We don't want to play this way, a track-meet game, back and forth," defenseman Dan Girardi said after the Rangers lost 6-5 in overtime in Game 3 on Monday. "They're fast, we're fast, but I think we want to make it a little more tight checking next game."

Girardi said he doesn't think the Rangers need to necessarily slow themselves down to win Game 4 on Friday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), but they need to be better in their structure and more precise in their decision making if they want to even the best-of-7 series at 2-2.

Brodeur ready for challenge as Blues assistant GM

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 5:47 PM / News

Louie Korac - 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."

Farrish: Lightning's speed getting in Rangers' heads

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning during the Eastern Conference Final series, has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

The New York Rangers know they have to get back to playing their structured, tight-checking game in order to even their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dave Farrish isn't quite sure if they'll be able to do it after watching the Lightning pick them apart in the past two games of the Eastern Conference Final.

"I don't know if they can," Farrish said. "I don't know if Tampa is just too fast for them to be able to do that. I think they're caught between gears of what they're trying to accomplish. They've been confronted with a different animal and they're not sure of the best way to handle it."

Shanahan says Maple Leafs in no rush for new GM

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 4:32 PM / News

Mike Brophy - 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.

Hitchcock, Blues still talking about possible return

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 4:30 PM / News

Louie Korac - 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."

Babcock intends to change culture of Maple Leafs

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 3:59 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, warned Maple Leafs fans to be ready for some pain.

Babcock was hired Wednesday after 10 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Terms of his contract were not released but Sportsnet and TSN reported it to be an eight-year contract worth about $50 million.

"I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey," Babcock said. "It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming."

Larkin, Red Wings agree on entry-level contract

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 3:35 PM / News

DETROIT – The Red Wings today announced that they have agreed to terms with center Dylan Larkin on a three-year entry-level contract. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed.

Larkin was Detroit’s top choice in the 2014 NHL draft, selected by the Red Wings with the 15th pick of the first round. The Waterford, Mich., native spent the 2014-15 season with the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines, ranking among team leaders with 15 goals (2nd), 32 assists (T1st), 47 points (2nd), a plus-18 rating (T2nd) and 151 shots (1st). He ranked 11th in the nation in scoring and was second among freshmen, behind Boston University’s Jack Eichel, earning national recognition as an a Second Team All-American and within the conference as Big Ten Freshman of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten and All-Big Ten Rookie Team.

The 18-year-old also represented the United States at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal and with the men’s national team at the 2015 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. At the WJC, he led his country with seven points (5-2-7) in five games, tying for the tournament lead in goals. With the men’s national team, he skated in all 10 games and helped the U.S. capture the bronze medal as the second-youngest member of the team.

To read more from the Detroit Red Wings website, CLICK HERE.

Senators owner 'recovering well' after liver transplant

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 3:20 PM / News

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is recovering after having a successful liver transplant, his doctors said Thursday.

"Both the recipient [Melnyk] and the donor are currently stable and recovering well from their operations," said Dr. Atul Humar, medical director of the multiorgan transplant program at University Health Network in Toronto. "… Mr. Melnyk is in our transplant ICU but he is awake, he is smiling and he is answering questions."

Several weeks ago, Melnyk was assessed by doctors who determined he was in urgent need of a liver transplant. He had the procedure Tuesday.

Three keys for Blackhawks, Ducks to winning Game 3

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 3:14 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- There might be some heavy legs among the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), but they will be mitigated somewhat by a combination of emotion and desperation.

For the Blackhawks, the emotion will come from returning to their home arena to play a game for the first time in 18 days. Chicago last played at United Center in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Minnesota Wild, a 4-1 victory May 3.

"I think our players know the advantage, the perk of playing in front of such a passionate fan base, the excitement," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We look forward to this. I think playing here at home against a good road team here, it's going to be a good test."

For the Ducks the desperation will come from the desire to dictate by regaining control of the fate of the series. Much like Chicago earlier this week, Anaheim knows it needs to win a road game and the best way to clear that hurdle is to do so immediately.

Here are three keys for the Ducks in Game 3 that, if executed properly, will give them a chance to regain command of the series.

Also here are three keys for the Blackhawks that, if executed properly, give them their best chance to move within two wins of another trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Lightning's Stamkos focused on enjoying the moment

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- If the right post at TD Garden in Boston never got in his way, never was the guilty party in why Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos broke his right leg early last season, he of course would be fine with that. After all, nobody wants to feel that kind of pain.

But if it never happened, Stamkos said he wouldn't have the same level of appreciation he has now for the journey on which he and his Lightning teammates have embarked.

The Lightning are two wins from reaching the Stanley Cup Final. They lead the New York Rangers 2-1 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final, with Game 4 set for Friday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Just knowing that anything can happen in this sport, anything can happen the next game, it just puts a greater appreciation for what you have and a little more burning desire to leave it all on the ice every shift," Stamkos said Thursday. "You never know what's going to happen."
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