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Chiarelli fired as Bruins GM after nine seasons

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 6:32 PM / News

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Stanley Cup Playoffs won't include the Boston Bruins for the first time in eight years, but CEO Charlie Jacobs and president Cam Neely said Wednesday the decision to fire general manager Peter Chiarelli after nine seasons was about more than the Bruins' 41-27-14 season and ninth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

"I can appreciate the fact that our fans would probably like us to get a little more specific as to why," Neely said during a press conference at TD Garden, "but we believe that we made the decision moving forward to help improve the hockey club. I don't want to take away anything that Peter accomplished here. I mean, he's going to go down in history as the GM that brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston, the first time in 39 years, so that says a lot about his abilities as a general manager.

"You know, we just felt, and it's not just this particular year not making the playoffs … we just felt moving forward was the best thing for us to do. It was not an easy decision to come to. A lot of conversations about it, but we felt it was the best thing to do moving forward."

The Bruins went 386-233-85 after Chiarelli was hired in the summer of 2006. Chiarelli's tenure included the Stanley Cup championship in 2011, a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and a Presidents' Trophy for the 2013-14 season.

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Sharks coach McLellan needs time to ponder future

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 5:33 PM / News

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks cleared out their lockers Wednesday, but coach Todd McLellan's future with the organization remained unclear.

McLellan, the winningest coach in Sharks history, has one year left on his contract. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson plans to review McLellan's performance before making a decision, and McLellan said he still needs to further discuss with his family before he decides what he wants to do.

"I need a little more time," McLellan said. "I'm sure the organization needs a little more time."

McLellan was named Canada's coach for the 2015 IIHF World Championship earlier this week. He said he expects a decision on his fate with the Sharks well before he leaves San Jose on April 24 to join the Canadian team.

Wilson, on the other hand, said there is no timetable for making that decision.

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Rangers face pressure of being top seed in playoffs

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 5:20 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Being the team with the best record in the NHL entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs is new for the New York Rangers. It's not for coach Alain Vigneault, who doesn't think the Rangers have any reason to feel differently than they did in the regular season.

"I believe that we've been hunted since Day One," Vigneault said. "Any time you've got the Stanley Cup champions or the Stanley Cup finalists, any team playing against them, and I used to do the same thing, you're telling your team, 'We've gotta use them as a benchmark.' I'm sure that's what the other 28 teams were doing when they were playing against us."

Vigneault speaks from experience. Twice he took the Vancouver Canucks into the playoffs after they won the Presidents' Trophy; the second time he did it the season after they reached the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Final last season after finishing second in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points. This season, New York won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time since 1993-94, when it last won the Cup, and set Rangers records for wins (53) and points (113).

What did 53 wins and 113 points get the Rangers? The opportunity to face Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series that starts Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG).

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Berube's future as Flyers coach remains undecided

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 4:50 PM / News

NHL.com

A decision has not been made on Craig Berube's future as Philadelphia Flyers coach, general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday.

"He's our head coach and if something changes I'll let you guys know," Hextall said during a press conference in Voorhees, N.J. "At this point in the process ... we're going to evaluate everything, as I said, and at this point the decision hasn't been made."

Hextall said he and Berube spoke Sunday and the coach "was fine with it."

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Lack to start Game 1 for Canucks against Flames

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 3:42 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER – Goaltender Eddie Lack will make his first Stanley Cup Playoff start for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames (10 p.m. ET; CBC, USA, TVA), coach Willie Desjardins confirmed after the morning skate.

Most expected Lack to start because No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller is not fully recovered from a knee injury sustained on Feb. 22, but Desjardins wouldn't confirm it earlier in the week.

Now that he has, the questions shift to Lack not having any playoff experience. The easygoing Swede isn't worried about it.

"Not yet, no," Lack said when asked if he felt any extra nerves. "I've been trying to prepare as I have all season here and obviously there's a little more media in here but other than that I kind of feel normal."

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Flames sign Providence goalie Gillies to contract

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed goaltender Jon Gillies from Providence College of the Hockey East Conference.

The South Portland, Maine native played three seasons with Providence in Hockey East and was drafted by the Flames in the third round (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In 38 games during the 2014-15 season the 6'6", 225 lb. netminder led Hockey East in goals against average (2.01) and save percentage (.930), he was honoured as the 2014-15 Hockey East Goaltender of the Year, and he was named the NCAA Division 1 Tournament Most Outstanding Player in leading Providence to the national championship. Over his 108-game NCAA career he recorded 60 wins, 13 shutouts, a 2.08 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.

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Wild's Dubnyk set for first Stanley Cup Playoff game

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 2:38 PM / Blues vs Wild - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk has done a lot of things during his hockey career. One thing he hasn't: played in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

That will change Thursday when Dubnyk starts for the Wild against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series at Scottrade Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW).

It's a game that has been a long time coming for Dubnyk, who has played in 231 NHL games since entering the League in 2009, including 39 with the Wild since being acquired in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14.

The Wild were in 12th place in the Western Conference at the time of the trade, but a 27-9-2 stretch helped catapult the Wild to the top wild card.

Dubnyk will see what playoff hockey is like for the first time since six games with the Stockton Thunder in the ECHL playoffs in 2007.

"It's great, but you try not to think about it too much during the last stretch," Dubnyk said. "I've tried to embrace it a little bit this week, but at the same time, I think the most important thing is to just keep the same approach that we've had all year."

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Blues to start goalie Allen in Game 1 against Wild

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 2:30 PM / Blues vs Wild - 2015 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Jake Allen was named as the St. Louis Blues' starting goaltender for Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round Series on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW).

The 24-year-old, who has 1:07 of experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a relief appearance in Game 2 of the 2012 Western Conference Second Round against the Los Angeles Kings, has been in a strong 1-2 tandem with veteran Brian Elliott all season.

But Allen's play of late -- he was 5-1-1 in his past seven starts with a 1.14 goals-against average and .957 save percentage -- was a deciding factor for Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. Allen has given up two goals or fewer in his past seven starts and one goal or fewer in eight of his past 12.

"It’s his turn," Hitchcock said. "Both guys earned our healthy respect. We made the decision to go with Jake. He's going to play in Game 1.

"Jake got really hot down the stretch, which was good for us because we needed it. Just his overall development and the way he played in the last month, we want to give him a chance to go in the playoffs. Both guys earned the right to play in the playoffs, both guys need to stay sharp."

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Rangers' Nash misses practice because of flu

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 1:46 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers forward Rick Nash missed practice Wednesday because of the flu, a team spokesperson said.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he expects Nash will be able to play Thursday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA, ROOT, MSG).

"He'll be fine [Thursday]," Vigneault said. "He just wasn't feeling well."

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Canadiens' Pacioretty won't play Game 1 vs. Senators

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 12:42 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens will not have leading scorer Max Pacioretty in their lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA, ROOT, MSG).

Montreal coach Michel Therrien confirmed Pacioretty will not play after the Canadiens morning skate at their suburban practice facility.

Pacioretty led the Canadiens this season with 37 goals and 67 points and had a plus-38 rating that tied for the NHL lead. Therrien said it was possible the 26-year-old left wing would be able to return for Game 2 on Friday.

"Like I said at the beginning of the week, we'll take him when he's back at 100 percent," Therrien said. "It was possible that it would have been [Wednesday], but that's obviously not the case. It could be Friday, it could be Sunday, so as soon as we get the OK from the medical team we'll be very happy to have him back in the lineup."

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Quote of the Day

I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there.

— Likely No. 1 pick Connor McDavid after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday