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  • Knights' Jack Eichel sustains injury but returns
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 5, 2023

    Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel briefly left Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final late in the second period on Monday night after sustaining an apparent right shoulder injury, but he returned at the start of the third period.

    • Eichel was skating out of his own zone when the Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk made a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit near the line that knocked Eichel onto his back and also sent his helmet flying.

      Eichel, who assisted on a goal by Jonathan Marchessault in the first period, got up and immediately skated to the locker room while grimacing in pain.

      At the start of the third period, Eichel was back on the Vegas bench, and he returned to assist Marchessault again at 2:10 of the third to put the Golden Knights up 5-1.

      The assists were Eichel's 15th and 16th in the 2023 postseason, the top total among all players. Eichel also has six goals in 19 playoff games this year after he logged 27 goals and 39 assists in 67 regular-season games.

      The Golden Knights were looking to go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

      --Field Level Media

  • Stanley Cup: Panthers underdogs as they attempt to even series
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 5, 2023

    Despite losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Florida Panthers aren't ready to hit the panic button.

    • Far from it, in fact.

      "It's just one game," forward Anthony Duclair said Sunday. "For us, we've been here before. Learn from (Saturday) night, watch a little video and just have fun."

      The Panthers are again the underdogs ahead of Game 2 of their best-of-seven series against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night in Las Vegas.

      The Golden Knights are 1.5-goal favorites at BetMGM, where they have been backed by 75 percent of the puck-line bets and 79 percent of the money. However, the Panthers' +120 moneyline has drawn 63 percent of both the total bets and money.

      Meanwhile, Las Vegas has been strongly backed by the public at BetRivers. The Golden Knights have drawn 75 percent of the money bet on both the 1.5-goal puck line and on their -137 moneyline.

      THE NEWS

      "When you're in this position, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Duclair, who scored a goal in series-opening 5-2 loss on Saturday. "So you've got to make the most of it."

      Duclair, no doubt, is taking the lead of Panthers coach Paul Maurice, who pointed out that Florida, which barely snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, has been in this position before.

      "We lost the first game in the Boston series (in Round 1) as well," Maurice said. "Got a little better. Lost two more. Got a little better. Everybody just (expletive) breathe."

      Maurice's comments drew some laughter from the media, but he made his point. The Panthers rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the record-setting Bruins, followed that up by taking Toronto down in five games and swept Carolina in four games in the Eastern Conference finals.

      So, been there, done that.

      "It's the first game," said goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 29 of 33 shots while suffering just his third loss in 14 playoff starts. "It's a long series. Lots of hockey ahead of us. We play, we learn and we move on."

      If for a little better luck and not for a highlight-reel save by Vegas goaltender Adin Hill, the outcome of Game 1 could have been a lot different.

      Florida had three shots clang off the post over the first two periods, and Hill dove across the crease to deflect Nick Cousins' chip shot on an open net with the paddle of his stick.

      "Just kind of desperation there," Hill admitted. "Reached out with my stick and got a piece of it."

      "That's an unreal save, right?" Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. "You need those saves at key moments. We didn't play our best game in front of him. I'm the first to admit that."

      Despite all that, the Panthers still were tied 2-2 entering the third period after Duclair's goal from the top of the right circle with 11 seconds left in the period.

      The Golden Knights' Zach Whitecloud scored the game-winner on a long point shot that snuck past a double screen at the 6:59 mark of the third period. Mark Stone made it 4-2 when he batted down a clearing pass in the low slot and then quickly roofed a wrist shot with 6:19 remaining, and Reilly Smith sealed the win with an empty-netter.

      KEY STAT

      Vegas also won Game 1 in its first Stanley Cup Final during its inaugural season in 2017-18, but then lost four consecutive games to the Washington Capitals.


      "Obviously, the first game was huge to get the win. (But) there's a lot of work left to do." -- Vegas center Jonathan Marchessault, who scored his team-leading 10th goal of the playoffs.

      --Field Level Media

  • Coyotes sign Slovakian D Patrik Koch to 1-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 5, 2023

    The Arizona Coyotes signed defenseman Patrik Koch to a one-year, entry-level contract on Monday.

    • Terms of the deal with the 26-year-old Slovakia native were not disclosed.

      Koch had 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 46 games for HC Vitkovice in the Czech Extraliga last season.

      "We are very pleased to have Patrik join our organization," Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said. "He is a competitive, defensive defenseman with good puck moving capability and was an integral contributor to the Slovak National Team's defense for many years. We look forward to seeing him in training camp."

      Koch had a goal and three assists in seven games while representing Slovakia at the 2023 World Championship.

      --Field Level Media

  • First-time NHL head coach Greg Cronin to lead Ducks
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 5, 2023

    The Anaheim Ducks named veteran coach Greg Cronin as their head coach on Monday.

    • It is the first NHL head coaching job for Cronin, 60, who has three decades of experience that includes a dozen years as an NHL assistant and coaching across various levels in the American Hockey League and the college ranks.

      He replaces Dallas Eakins, who was fired April 14 after the Ducks finished 23-47-12.

      "I'm excited and honored to be named head coach of the Anaheim Ducks," Cronin said. "This team has a fantastic future ahead."

      Most recently, Cronin coached the Colorado Eagles, the AHL affiliate of the Avalanche, the past five seasons. He was an NHL assistant coach for 12 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders, and Islanders associate coach in 2017-18.

      The Ducks last appeared in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2017-18, when the San Jose Sharks posted a sweep in the Western Conference first round.

      Cronin will have a hand in selecting the No. 2 pick, which belongs to the Ducks, in the NHL draft later this month.

      The Ducks said Cronin fit the qualifications they sought in their next coach.

      "While we did cast a wide net in searching for the next head coach, it became clear to me that Greg would be the ideal fit for the position," general manager Pat Verbeek said in a news release. "Being a young team, I felt we needed a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players. Greg has done all that and more, and we are excited to name him head coach of the Anaheim Ducks."

      Eakins, 56, was named Ducks coach in 2019 after four seasons coaching their AHL affiliate in San Diego. He had an overall record of 100-147-44 in Anaheim.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lightning re-sign D Sean Day to 1-year contract
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 5, 2023

    The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Sean Day and signed Finnish free agent forward Waltteri Merela.

    • Both players received one-year, two-way contracts on Monday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

      Day, 25, registered 14 assists in 63 games with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch in 2022-23. He played in two games for the Lightning in 2021-22.

      The New York Rangers drafted Day in the third round in 2016. He signed with the Lightning as a free agent in 2020.

      Merela, 24, played for Tappara in the Finnish Elite League in 2022-23 and posted 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 41 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Canadiens sign F Cole Caufield to 8-year, $62.8M extension
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 5, 2023

    The Montreal Canadiens signed winger Cole Caufield to an eight-year, $62.8 million extension on Monday.

    • Caufield, 22, was set to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

      The Habs locked up fellow forward Nick Suzuki with a similar eight-year, $63 million extension in October 2021.

      Caufield had 36 points (26 goals, 10 assists) in 46 games in 2022-23 before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in January.

      Selected No. 15 overall by Montreal in the 2019 draft, Caufield has 84 points (53 goals, 31 assists) in 123 regular-season games and 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 20 Stanley Cup playoff games.

      The Canadiens also signed forward Michael Pezzetta to a two-year, $1.625 million contract extension on Friday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Flyers-Devils, Islanders-Rangers set for MetLife Stadium in '24
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, June 4, 2023

    In a two-day event next February featuring four rival teams, the New Jersey Devils will face the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders will battle the New York Rangers in the 2024 NHL Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium.

    • Marking the first time four NHL teams play outdoor games at the same venue, the Devils will host the Flyers on the night of Feb. 17, followed the next day by the Islanders hosting the Rangers at a time yet to be determined. ESPN will broadcast both games.

      The Rangers' Madison Square Garden lease agreement forbids them from playing a home game anywhere other than their home arena, so they are the road team in this matchup.

      The NHL's initial plan was to have the Devils play the Rangers at MetLife Stadium in a single matchup.

      "There's been many iterations of what we wanted to do here. But when we started getting into the matchups, the game, the tri-state area and the great hockey that's being played in the New York area, we felt this would be unique and a way to keep our outdoor games fresh," said Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer and senior executive vice president.

      Playing at the home of the NFL's New York Jets and New York Giants, the NHL expects to draw more than 75,000 fans for each game.

      Mayer said that despite the proximity to New York City and the fact two New York teams are playing in the event, the plan is to emphasize that the games are being held in New Jersey.

      "We're going to get super creative," Mayer said. "We're going to highlight. It's our goal that when somebody tunes in to watch this, they know we're playing in New Jersey. We're going to look at all the things that the New Jersey area has to offer."

      For the Flyers, this will be their sixth regular-season outdoor game, while the Rangers will be playing in their fifth and the Devils and Islanders each will play their second outdoor game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Panthers, Knights owners pledge $100K to veterans groups
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 3, 2023

    The owners of the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers are teaming to donate $100,000 to organizations serving veterans at the end of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final.

    • The best-of-seven series between the clubs begins Saturday night in Las Vegas.

      Knights owner Bill Foley and his counterpart, Vincent Viola, announced their donation on Saturday. Both are graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Foley went on to serve in the Air Force and Viola in the Army.

      The owners chose the organizations that will receive the donation from the other owner. As a result, Viola and the Panthers will contribute to The Folded Flag Foundation, while Foley and the Knights will send a check to Gold Star Teen Adventures.

      Both nonprofits focus on the children and families of deceased military and law enforcement personnel.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Blue Jackets hiring Mike Babcock as coach
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 3, 2023

    The Columbus Blue Jackets plan to name Stanley Cup winner Mike Babcock as their new head coach, Sportsnet reported Saturday.

    • The hire will become official when Babcock's contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires at the end of June, per the report.

      The Blue Jackets fired Brad Larsen on April 15 after finishing last in the Eastern Conference at 25-48-9 (59 points).

      Babcock, 60, has not coached in the NHL since being fired by Toronto in November 2019. His eight-year contract finishes at the end of this month.

      He coached Detroit to a 2008 Stanley Cup championship and also reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Red Wings in 2009 and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

      His NHL coaching career includes 700 wins in 1,301 regular season games with the Ducks (2002-04), Red Wings (2005-15) and Maple Leafs (2015-19).

      He also coached Canada to gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2004 world championships.

      Babcock coached the men's hockey team at the University of Saskatchewan during the 2021-22 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Canadiens' Michael Pezzetta signs 2-year extension
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 2, 2023

    Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta signed a two-year, $1.625 million contract extension on Friday that spans through the 2024-25 season.

    • Pezzetta, 25, was set to be a restricted free agent on July 1.

      He recorded 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) and a team-high 239 hits in 63 games this season.

      Pezzetta has totaled 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 114 career games since being selected by the Canadiens in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Patrick Kane out 4-6 months after hip resurfacing
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 1, 2023

    Free agent forward Patrick Kane will be shelved 4-to-6 months after undergoing a hip resurfacing procedure, his agent said Thursday.

    • Pat Brisson told reporters that Kane had the surgery Thursday and that the 34-year-old still "wants to play for a long time."

      Kane played out the final 19 games of an eight-year, $84 million deal with the New York Rangers last season. The Rangers acquired Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 28. Kane had played all 1,161 games in a Blackhawks sweater prior to the trade.

      Kane tallied 12 points for the Rangers and just 57 overall, his lowest output since 2012-13. Kane is a nine-time All-Star and three-time Stanley Cup winner, all with the Blackhawks, who selected him No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft.

      Kane has also won the Calder, Smythe, Hart, Pearson and Ross trophies in his career. He won the Hart as MVP of the 2015-16 season.

      He has 1,237 points (451 goals, 786 assists) in his 16-year career.

      Hip resurfacing is an alternative to hip replacement. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "the femoral head is not removed, but is instead trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering" in hip resurfacing.

      --Field Level Media

  • Penguins name Kyle Dubas president
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 1, 2023

    The Pittsburgh Penguins tabbed Kyle Dubas as president of hockey operations on Thursday, less than two weeks after the Toronto Maple Leafs moved on from him.

    • Dubas, 37, will oversee all aspects of the hockey operations department. The Penguins fired general manager Ron Hextall, director of hockey operations Brian Burke and assistant GM Chris Pryor in April.

      "On behalf of my family, we are thrilled to join the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and all of the incredible people across Fenway Sports Group," Dubas said in a statement. "I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity that lies ahead of me. ... Everyone has demonstrated a clear commitment to building a best-in-class hockey operation."

      The move comes one day after the Maple Leafs replaced Dubas with Brad Treliving.

      Dubas spent the previous nine seasons with the Maple Leafs, including the last five as GM. He became the second-youngest GM in NHL history at age 32 when he was hired for the post in 2018.

      Pittsburgh's front-office shakeup came after the Penguins missed the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, ending the longest active postseason streak in major North American professional sports.

      During Dubas' five seasons as general manager of the Maple Leafs, the team compiled a regular-season record of 221-109-42 with a .651 points percentage, ranking fifth in the league in wins and points percentage.

      Dubas had previously said he'd either be with the Maple Leafs or nowhere for the 2023-24 season. His contract was set to expire at the end of June in Toronto.

      "You won't see me next week popping up elsewhere," he said two weeks ago.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kraken give GM Ron Francis 3-year extension
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    The Seattle Kraken signed general manager Ron Francis to a three-year contract extension Wednesday, two weeks removed from a stirring run to the second round of the playoffs in just their second season.

    • Francis, 60, now is signed through the 2026-27 season. Financial terms were not released by the club.

      "Ron has done remarkable work over the last four years and deserves this recognition," Seattle co-owner Samantha Holloway said. "He has built a tremendous team, putting Seattle hockey on the map. He is building for long-term success and is dedicated to our city, our fans and our community."

      The Kraken lost in Game 7 to the Dallas Stars on May 15 after completing a 46-28-8 mark in the regular season. The Kraken knocked off defending champion Colorado in the first round.

      The Kraken went 27-49-6 in their expansion season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Brad Treliving hired as Maple Leafs GM
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    The Toronto Maple Leafs named Brad Treliving their new general manager on Wednesday.

    • Treliving, 53, replaced Kyle Dubas at the post. The Maple Leafs informed Dubas on May 18 that his five-year contract would not be renewed. It expires on June 30.

      "I am very excited and honored to join the Toronto Maple Leafs as general manager," Treliving said. "I would like to thank Brendan (Shanahan, Maple Leafs president), MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) and its Board for their support throughout this process. I'm thrilled to join an Original Six team and recognize how much the Maple Leafs mean to this community. This is a very exciting day for my family and I."

      The Calgary Flames parted ways with Treliving in April after nine seasons as their general manager. Calgary reached the postseason on five occasions during that time, however it advanced past the first round on just two occasions.

      Treliving also previously served as an assistant general manager with the Arizona Coyotes.

      "I'm very pleased to welcome Brad into the Maple Leafs organization," Shanahan said. "Brad brings a wealth of knowledge from his years of experience as a general manager and hockey executive in Calgary, Arizona and beyond. He has earned tremendous respect amongst his peers throughout his years in the NHL and has built excellent relationships at all levels within the game. We are confident that Brad's leadership and strategic vision will elevate the Maple Leafs in our continued pursuit of a championship."

      Dubas spent the past five seasons as general manager of the Maple Leafs. Toronto opted to move on from Dubas after the team was eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Florida Panthers in five games.

      Dubas, 37, joined the franchise in 2014 as assistant general manager, and he concurrently served as GM of the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He was promoted to Maple Leafs GM in 2018.

      Toronto finished more than 10 games above .500 in each of his campaigns.

      The Maple Leafs logged 111 points this season, fourth best in the Eastern Conference. Toronto finally won a playoff series for the first time since 2003-04 by eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning before the loss to the Panthers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Andrew Brunette excited to come 'full circle' with Predators
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    The Nashville Predators named Andrew Brunette as the fourth head coach in franchise history on Wednesday.

    • Brunette, 49, takes the place of John Hynes, who officially was relieved of his duties on Tuesday.

      Brunette, who scored the first goal in Predators' franchise history, spent this season as an associate coach with the New Jersey Devils. He was an interim coach with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22 and finished as the runner-up for the Jack Adams Award, presented to the NHL's top coach.

      "When I look at our roster and those in our system, we have a lot of fast, skilled players and we will likely select more of those types of players in this year's draft," Predators incoming general manager Barry Trotz said.

      "We want to become more of an offensive team and Andrew specializes on that side of the ice -- he lived it as a player, and he coaches it as a coach. He is as good of an offensive teacher and power-play coach as there is in the game today. He will be great with our young players, and I know, because of his background as a player, he will connect well with our top, skilled players. At the end of the day, he is a good person who looks forward to working in partnership with our players to make them, and our team, better. I can't wait to get in the foxhole with him."

      Brunette shared Trotz's enthusiasm about the team's prospects for success.

      "I am super-excited to be back in Nashville and a part of the Predators organization," Brunette said. "I feel like this is coming full circle for my career -- from pulling on the jersey for the first time 25 years ago to returning now to take care of some unfinished business. It has been awesome to see how this city and its fanbase have grown since I played here and I look forward to continuing the legacy and the culture behind the bench that Barry cultivated that inaugural season."

      Outgoing Predators president of hockey operations/general manager David Poile approved of the way Trotz went about the head coaching process.

      "I want to applaud and congratulate Barry for his methodical approach to evaluating our head coaching position and his ultimate decision to name Andrew as the next head coach of the Nashville Predators," Poile said. "As we transition the general manager's position from my hands to Barry's, it was important for me and our organization to let Barry decide what is best for the franchise moving forward. I like and agree with the selection of Andrew Brunette, but perhaps most importantly, I think Barry's process and diligence in making that hire was excellent -- one more reason I know he is right to be our next general manager."

      Hynes, 48, spent four seasons as coach in Nashville, totaling a 134-96-18 record. The Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season after finishing with a 42-32-8 mark in 2022-23.

      He also spent five seasons as head coach of the New Jersey Devils, posting a 150-159-45 record.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Andrew Brunette to replace John Hynes as Preds' coach
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, May 30, 2023

    The Nashville Predators are parting ways with John Hynes and naming Andrew Brunette as their new head coach, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

    • The Predators reportedly are expected to announce the move later on Tuesday.

      Hynes, 48, spent four seasons as coach in Nashville, totaling a 134-96-18 record. The Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season after finishing with a 42-32-8 mark in 2022-23.

      He also spent five seasons as head coach of the New Jersey Devils, posting a 150-159-45 record.

      Brunette, who scored the first goal in Predators' franchise history, spent this season as an associate coach with the Devils. He was an interim coach with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22 and finished as the runner-up for the Jack Adams Award, presented to the NHL's top coach.

      Florida finished 51-18-6 after Brunette replaced Joel Quenneville, who resigned on Oct. 28, 2021.

      Brunette, 49, wasn't brought back after the team fell in the second round to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

      --Field Level Media

  • Capitals tab Spencer Carbery as next coach
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, May 30, 2023

    The Washington Capitals named Spencer Carbery their new head coach on Tuesday.

    • Carbery has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He formerly was the head coach of the Hershey Bears -- the Capitals' American Hockey League affiliate -- from 2018-21.

      "Spencer is one of the best young coaches in the game who's had success at every level at which he has coached," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. "We feel his leadership, communication skills, ability to develop players and familiarity with our organization will be a tremendous asset as he makes this next step in his coaching career."

      Carbery, 41, also played for the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays in 2010. The Stingrays are the current affiliate of Washington.

      "It's a tremendous honor and privilege to be named the head coach of the Washington Capitals," Carbery said. "I look forward to working with this group of talented players and building upon the winning culture in place. I would also like to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs organization for all their support over the past two years and wish them all the best in the future."

      The Capitals parted ways with head coach Peter Laviolette and assistants Kevin McCarthy and Blaine Forsythe last month.

      Washington missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2013-14, ending an eight-year streak of making the postseason. Laviolette's teams went 115-78-27 in his three-year stay, including a 35-37-10 mark in 2022-23.

      --Field Level Media

  • Stars' Evgenii Dadonov to miss Game 4 vs. Knights
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, May 25, 2023

    Dallas Stars forward Evgenii Dadonov has been ruled out for Thursday's Game 4 of the Western Conference finals versus the visiting Vegas Golden Knights.

    • Dadonov sustained a lower-body injury early in the first period of Dallas' 4-0 loss to Vegas on Tuesday. The Golden Knights hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

      While Stars coach Peter DeBoer announced Dadonov's status for Game 4, he did note that veteran forward Joe Pavelski will play in Thursday's critical game. The status of Pavelski briefly was in question after he failed to participate in the morning skate.

      "Just maintenance. He'll be OK," DeBoer said.

      Dadonov, 34, has recorded 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the postseason, albeit just one assist in this series.

      He totaled 33 points (seven goals, 26 assists) in 73 games this season split with the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas, including 15 (three goals, 12 assists) in 23 games with the Stars.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sabres re-sign F Kyle Okposo to 1-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back their captain Kyle Okposo for the 2023-24 season.

    • The team re-signed the 35-year-old to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million on Wednesday. The campaign will be Okposo's 17th in the NHL and eighth in Buffalo.

      "I can't say enough good things about him as a person, what he's done in the locker room," Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said at season's end. "I see it over and over again, day after day, players are down, whatever's going on in their life, they're talking to him. And I just think it's, we're lucky to have him."

      Okposo just completed a seven-year, $42 million contract he signed in the 2016 offseason.

      He tallied 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) this past season. He has 592 points (230 goals, 362 assists) in 984 career games with the New York Islanders (2007-16) and Sabres. The Islanders selected Okposo No. 7 overall in the 2006 draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Panthers' Bill Zito among GM award nominees
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    Bill Zito, the general manager of the surprising Florida Panthers, was one of the three finalists announced by the NHL on Wednesday for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year award.

    • He was joined by Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars and Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins as finalists.

      The winner will be announced on June 28 during the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft, to be held in Nashville, Tenn. The award, presented annually since the 2009-10 season, is given based on performance during the regular season.

      Zito's Panthers nabbed the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference as they finished 42-32-8 (92 points). The Panthers ousted the No. 1-seeded Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have a 3-0 lead against the Carolina Hurricanes in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

      Zito hired coach Paul Maurice on June 22 and a month later, pulled off the blockbuster trade that sent forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Calgary Flames for Matthew Tkachuk.

      Nill's Stars finished second in the Central Division this season (47-21-14, 108 points) and have advanced to the Western Conference finals, where they trail the Vegas Golden Knights by a 3-0 margin.

      Nill made numerous moves since the end of the 2021-22 season, including hiring coach Peter DeBoer and dealing for forwards Evgenii Dadonov and Max Domi before the 2023 NHL trade deadline on March 3.

      Sweeney, in his eighth season on the job, is bidding to join Lou Lamoriello as the only two-time winner; Sweeney was honored in 2018-19. He also hired a new coach, Jim Montgomery, who led the team to NHL records for wins in a season with 65 and points with 135.

      Sweeney re-signed forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and David Pastrnak, then engineered trades for forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway, and defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

      --Field Level Media

  • Panthers C Aleksander Barkov to return to lineup
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov will play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night, coach Paul Maurice confirmed.

    • Barkov left the Game 3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes with a lower-body injury, hurt when he was hit by Carolina's Jack Drury.

      Barkov was a full participant in Wednesday morning's skate.

      The Panthers lead the series 3-0 as they seek their second Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. In 1996, Florida was swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

      Barkov has been a key contributor this season. The 27-year-old center is in his 10th season with the Panthers and had 78 points (23 goals, 55 assists) in 68 games. He has added four goals and eight assists in 15 playoff games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Stars' Jamie Benn suspended 2 games for hit on Mark Stone
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn was suspended two games Wednesday following his cross-check against fellow captain Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

    • Benn was ejected less than two minutes into the Stars' 4-0 loss at home in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. Dallas now trails 3-0 and will be without Benn for Thursday's elimination game.

      Benn checked Stone near mid-ice, and as Benn fell on top of Stone, he delivered a cross-check high up Stone's body at the 1:53 mark. The referees assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.

      "It's important to note that Benn is in control of this play at all times and makes the decision to deliver a forceful cross-check to a prone player," the NHL said in its ruling Wednesday afternoon. "This is simply an unnecessary decision by Benn and it is delivered with sufficient intent and force to merit supplemental discipline."

      Benn will miss the team's first regular season game in 2023-24 if the Stars are eliminated in Game 4.

      Benn, 33, has three goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games this year, including a goal in Game 1 against Vegas.

      Stars coach Peter DeBoer said Benn "made a mistake" on the play and the team will "live with the consequences."

      "I don't think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it. I'm not going to pile on him," DeBoer said. "He's been a leader here for his entire career and leads by example every day on and off the ice. He made a mistake. Fortunately, Mark Stone's OK."

      The NHL also fined Stars forward Max Domi $5,000 on Wednesday for a slashing penalty against Stone at 18:09 of the third period.

      Domi wasn't penalized on that play but he was involved in an earlier mess at the end of the second period when he hit Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague from behind, then threw a couple of punches at Hague. Domi was assessed cross-checking and roughing minors plus a 10-minute misconduct penalty.

      After those calls against Domi, frustrated fans littered the ice with plastic bottles and other trash. Vegas goaltender Adin Hill was hit with a bag of popcorn as he walked out following the second intermission.

      The Stars issued a statement Wednesday morning apologizing for the unruly behavior by the spectators.

      "On behalf of the Dallas Stars organization, I would like to apologize to the Vegas Golden Knights and the National Hockey League for the actions of a few of our spectators at last night's game. Their actions were unacceptable and put the safety of the players and fans at risk," said Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts.

      "We take pride in providing the best experience for everyone who enters our arena. The actions of these individuals certainly do not reflect our great city, organization and loyal fan base."

      --Field Level Media

  • Stars' Jamie Benn ejected early in Game 3 for cross-check
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, May 23, 2023

    Dallas captain Jamie Benn lasted less than two minutes in the Stars' critical Game 3 against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, getting ejected from the Western Conference finals game due to a cross-check.

    • Benn checked Golden Knights captain Mark Stone near mid-ice, and as Benn fell on top of Stone, he delivered a cross-check high up Stone's body at 1:53.

      The referees assessed Benn a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

      Vegas already led 1-0 at the time of the incident, and the Golden Knights -- already up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series entering the night -- doubled the lead on the ensuing power play.

      "That's one of those that's not a hockey play," Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said of Benn's hit while speaking on ESPN after the first period. "It's pretty disgusting. He leans on top of him and gives it to him in his head there. It's one of those where we wanted to get one there on the power play to make them pay, and we just executed, so it's a pretty good first period for us."

      Benn has three goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games this year, including a goal in the opener against Vegas.

      With Vegas up 4-0 and 22 seconds remaining in the second period, Dallas center Max Domi cross-checked defenseman Nicolas Hague into the boards then cross-checked him again and punched Hague in the face, drawing a trio of penalties: roughing, cross-checking and a misconduct.

      The Golden Knights completed a 4-0 win for a 3-0 edge in the series.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: MetLife Stadium to host Flyers-Devils, Rangers-Isles games
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, May 23, 2023

    The NHL is planning to stage two Stadium Series games on back-to-back days next February at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

    • The games will pit the Philadelphia Flyers against the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders, according to The Fourth Period and NHL broadcaster Kevin Weekes on Tuesday.

      MetLife Stadium opened in 2010 and is home to the NFL's New York Giants and Jets. It has yet to host an outdoor NHL game.

      The Rangers are a perfect 4-0 in outdoor games, the best record of any NHL team. The Devils and Islanders have each played one outdoor game, coming in 2014 at Yankee Stadium; the Devils lost to the Rangers in a two-game set.

      The Flyers are 1-3-1 in five outdoor games and last played in one in 2021 at the "NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe" event.

      In the 2023 Stadium Series game in February, the host Carolina Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 at NC State's football stadium in Raleigh, N.C.

      --Field Level Media

  • Flames name Craig Conroy as general manager
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, May 23, 2023

    The Calgary Flames named Craig Conroy the team's general manager on Tuesday.

    • Conroy, 51, had served as the team's assistant general manager. The former Flames captain also spent parts of nine seasons with the club during his playing career.

      "We conducted an extensive search process and today we are thrilled to introduce Craig Conroy as our general manager," said Don Maloney, the Flames' president of hockey operations.

      "It is rewarding for the organization to learn that the most qualified individual for the position has been preparing in house. Craig brings a fresh approach; high energy; he is a tremendous communicator; decisive; a worker; and he is relationship driven. His passion for the Flames and the community are unmatched. Craig is ready for the challenge to lead our team to the Stanley Cup."

      Conroy replaces Brad Treliving, who mutually parted ways with the Flames last month.

      "Thank you to the Flames ownership group for the confidence and trust they have demonstrated by providing me with this opportunity. Also, to (Calgary Sports and Entertainment president and CEO) John Bean and Don Maloney for the very detailed process that has brought us to this moment," Conroy said.

      "Over the course of the past 12 years, I've put in the time in every aspect of our hockey operations to prepare myself for today. I'm ready to accept this challenge and promise our fans that our team will do the work required to make them proud on the journey to deliver a championship."

      The Flames finished 38-27-17 in 2022-23, two points out of the wild card in the Western Conference.

      Also on Tuesday, the Flames announced former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis joined the team as senior vice president of hockey operations and assistant GM.

      "I'm excited to join the management group in Calgary and assist in building a Stanley Cup winning team here," Nonis said.

      --Field Level Media