The Conference Finals begin tonight with the New York Rangers taking on the Montreal Canadiens. It should be the start of a great series. I know it's not as fun with the Wild out, but the Stanley Cup playoffs are still the best sporting event of the entire year. We've got a few more weeks of great hockey.
It was media day yesterday as Chuck Fletcher and many players spoke about the playoffs and the future. A few things of note:
- Fletcher basically confirmed Yeo will be retained. The details of the contract will be coming soon.
- Assistant GM and draft expert Brent Flahr has signed a multi-year extension. Good move by the front office.
- Fletcher doesn't expect to use a buy-out this offseason.
- Fletcher doesn't know what the goalie situation will be. The team could very well carry three goaltenders next season.
- There will be a priority of re-signing the youth, especially Granlund, Coyle, Brodin, Haula, and Scandella who will be RFA next year.
- Almost every player played through some kind of injury, especially Charlie Coyle who separated his first shoulder in Game 4 against Colorado.
- Mikael Granlund says he needs to be better next year. Concussions "are a thing of the past."
- Nino Niederreiter says his goal is to play top line minutes next season.
It should be a a fun and interesting offseason! On to the walk.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher looks ahead to a busy offseason | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- Some good quotes from Fletch. Lots of work ahead for him and his staff.
Wild's Coyle downplays injuries | Star Tribune- Hockey players are tough.
Wild GM Fletcher wants to save cap space for team's young stars - TwinCities.com- Smart thoughts from Chuck. It's important to retain the pieces you've spent so long trying to get.
Minnesota Wild considering three goalies on roster next season - TwinCities.com- The goalie drama will most likely never end for this team
Mike Yeo Likely To Get Contract Extension- It seems like an obvious move at this point. The players support their coach.
Wild Signs Assistant GM Brent Flahr To New Multi-Year Deal- Good move by the front office. Flahr has done some great work with the draft.
Off The Trail
Why wasn’t Dan Bylsma fired by Penguins? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Big news of the day was that Penguins GM Ray Shero was fired. Dan Bylsma on the other hand is still employed temporarily, until the new GM makes a decision.
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014 - Pulling No Punches - Interesting tidbit: Apparently Matt Cooke was an important piece to Sidney Crosby's dominant play for the Penguins the last few years by constantly pushing him to be better.
Milan Lucic not sorry about handshake threats, laments hockey tattletales | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- In typical Lucic fashion, Lucic refuses to apologize for his comments.
USA edges Kazakhstan at world championships- The United States probably shouldn't be that proud of beating Kazakhstan by only 1 goal, but Seth Jones is proving to be the talented player everyone thought he would be.
Marc Savard can't understand why NHL has been light on Matt Cooke | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Savard has every right to still be mad. His career ended in the worst way possible.
Report: Konopka's 20-game suspension resulted from over-the-counter supplement | theScore- Konopka claims he didn't know the drug he was taking was illegal. I blame Hoppy.
NHL Grab Bag: Milan Lucic Goes Off Script- Always a fun look around the league.
Habs, Fallon make bet ahead of Conference Final - Montréal Canadiens - News- Fallon makes a bet of epic proportions.
Stanley Cup playoffs: Marian Gaborik finds the right fit in Los Angeles - SBNation.com- Gaborik is dominating for the Kings. It wouldn't surprise me if he resigned with them in the offseason.
Twilight of an enforcer: A hockey player fights to stay in the game he loves - SBNation.com- Great article on how the enforcer is becoming extinct in the NHL.