NHL News: Player News and Updates for 6/7/14
NHL Daily Updates: Checking in on the Game 2 Keys, NHL Finals TV Schedule and More
June 7, 2014
After two agonizing days of waiting, the NHL Stanley Cup Finals are getting back to business tonight with Game 2 between the Rangers and Kings. While we’re getting settled in and waiting on that puck to drop, let’s take a closer look at some of the noteworthy happenings around the league. Here’s the latest.
Niklas Backstrom, G, Minnesota Wild: Remember Backstrom? It’s not surprising if you don’t; He played in just 21 games in the 2013-14 campaign due to injury issues, posting an ugly record of 5-11-2. The good news is that he’s reportedly healthy once again and will be strapping on the pads again next month in preparation for next season.
Even with Backstrom at 100 percent, he’ll still have an uphill battle to make it back between the pipes. Darcy Kuemper played pretty well as a fill-in for him, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him snag the starting job.
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Pens Front Office Changes: Pittsburgh made some executive moves yesterday that will have a heavy impact on the upcoming campaign. The team fired coach Dan Bylsma and announced the hiring of Jim Rutherford as the team’s new general manager.
Rutherford had previously served as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes for a 20-year span, overseeing a Stanley cup win in 2006 and a Finals berth in 2002.
Though it was initially believed Bylsma would stay on as head coach, the team apparently decided to go in a different direction after blowing a 3-1 series lead in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Look for the team to install a new head coach prior to the start of the free agency period on July 1.
Keys to Tonight’s Game: Before the puck drops for Game 2 of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Finals tonight, let’s take a quick look at a few key areas each team needs to focus on.
For the Kings, they’ll want to get off to a hot start. They’ve been fortunate when it comes to overcoming deficits, but that luck is bound to run out sooner or later. They also need some help from their top line of Kopitar, Gaborik and Brown, who were anemic early on in Game 1.
For the Rangers, they’ll want to go with their No. 1 advantage over Los Angeles, which is sheer speed. Their breakaways led to the team’s best scoring opportunities on Wednesday, and they’ll want to try and get those going again. New York also needs to bring some physical intensity to the hits-heavy Kings while still maintaining an even keel and not getting overly-aggressive. It’ll be all about smart hockey.
2014 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Schedule: Now that the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Finals are off and running, let’s take a look at the road ahead and see what’s in store for the series.
Game 1 @Los Angeles: Wednesday, June 4 (NBC) Kings Lead Series 1-0
Game 2 @Los Angeles: Saturday, June 7 (NBC)
Game 3 @New York: Monday, June 9 (NBCSN)
Game 4 @New York: Wednesday, June 11 (NBCSN)
Game 5 @Los Angeles: Friday, June 13* (NBC)
Game 6 @New York: Monday, June 16* (NBC)
Game 7 @Los Angeles: Wednesday, June 18* (NBC)
(*Games 5-7 if necessary)
NHL Off-Season Schedule: Let’s keep our hockey fix going with a look at the 2014 off-season calendar. There should be plenty to keep us occupied as we gear up for next year.
June 25: NHL Awards
June 25-July 1: Teams can conduct interviews with unrestricted free agents
June 27-28: 2014 NHL Draft
June 30: Deadline to tender offers to restricted free agents
July 1: Start of free agency period
Early July: Rookie development camps begin
Mid-September: Training camp begins
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