National Hockey League
NHL News Wire
  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    NHL notebook: Babcock ready for 'massive' challenge in Toronto
    By The Sports Xchange

    Mike Babcock said he enters his new job as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs with his "eyes wide open" and understands it will be a "massive, massive challenge."

    • Babcock, who received an eight-year contract reportedly worth a record $50 million, was introduced Thursday as the Maple Leafs' coach.

      "They've made a long-term commitment to me," the 52-year-old said. "In turn, I've made a long-term commitment to the Leafs, and our plan is to grow the team."

      Babcock spent 10 years as coach of the Detroit Red Wings, leading them to the Stanley Cup in 2008. His record in Detroit was 458-223-105, and the Wings made the playoffs every year.

      He said it was a "hard decision" to leave Detroit but he did "the best thing for Mike Babcock and his family and for the next 10 years."

      ---Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is recovering at a Toronto hospital after a liver transplant earlier this week.

      The surgery was made possible by an anonymous fan of the team, who donated part of his or her liver.

      Dr. Atul Humar said the 55-year-old Melnyk remains in intensive care but is awake and talking.

      Dr. David Grant, who led the transplant team, said the donor wanted Melnyk to be able to enjoy family and friends and "most importantly to bring the Stanley Cup home to the Ottawa Senators."

      ---The Boston Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen to a one-year, two-way contract on Thursday.

      The deal could be worth up to $700,000 at the NHL level.

      In the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season, Kemppainen played 59 games and had 11 goals and 21 assists. In 19 playoff games, he added 10 goals and 14 assists.

      ---The Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms with center Dylan Larkin on a three-year, entry-level contract, the team said Thursday.

      The Red Wings drafted Larkin 15th overall in 2014. As a freshman at Michigan last season, he tallied 47 points (32 assists) and ranked 11th in the nation in scoring while earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and all-conference honors.

      Larkin, 18, scored five goals in five games for the United States at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, and he helped the national team win the bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Red Wings have deal with Michigan star Larkin
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms with center Dylan Larkin on a three-year, entry-level contract, the team said Thursday.

    • The Red Wings drafted Larkin 15th overall in 2014. As a freshman at Michigan last season, he tallied 47 points (32 assists) and ranked 11th in the nation in scoring while earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and all-conference honors.

      Larkin, 18, scored five goals in five games for the United States at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, and he helped the national team win the bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Bruins sign Finnish forward Kemppainen
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen to a one-year, two-way contract on Thursday.

    • The deal could be worth up to $700,000 at the NHL level.

      In the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season, Kemppainen played 59 games and had 11 goals and 21 assists. In 19 playoff games, he added 10 goals and 14 assists.

      The 27-year-old recently competed in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, ranking third on the Finnish team in goals (three), second in assists (six) and second in points (nine) in eight games.

      The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Kajaani, Finland, native has spent the past nine seasons in the Finnish Elite League and has totaled 62 goals and 99 assists in 464 regular-season games. In 65 postseason games, he had an additional 13 goals and 20 assists.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Senators owner Melnyk recovering from liver transplant
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is recovering at a Toronto hospital after a liver transplant earlier this week.

    • The surgery was made possible by an anonymous fan of the team, who donated part of his or her liver.

      Dr. Atul Humar said the 55-year-old Melnyk remains in intensive care but is awake and talking.

      Dr. David Grant, who led the transplant team, said the donor wanted Melnyk to be able to enjoy family and friends and "most importantly to bring the Stanley Cup home to the Ottawa Senators."

      Melnyk's family thanked the donor via a statement. The family had made a public appeal for a donor last week, and 500 people responded. Grant said more than 20 of them are willing to donate to others who need livers.

      "So many lives will be saved as a result of this appeal, and we as a community should be very proud of these heroic, caring individuals," Grant said.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Babcock ready for 'massive' challenge in Toronto
    By The Sports Xchange

    Mike Babcock said he enters his new job as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs with his "eyes wide open" and understands it will be a "massive, massive challenge."

    • Babcock, who received an eight-year contract reportedly worth a record $50 million, was introduced Thursday as the Maple Leafs' coach.

      "They've made a long-term commitment to me," the 52-year-old said. "In turn, I've made a long-term commitment to the Leafs, and our plan is to grow the team.

      "You know, I've had a lot of opportunities to coach Canada's teams and enjoyed that immensely," he added. "Whether you believe it or not, I believe this is Canada's team, and we need to put Canada's team back on the map."

      The Maple Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967 and have missed the playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons. They are coming off a 30-44-8 season that ended with the dismissal of the entire coaching staff and general manager David Nonis.

      Babcock spent 10 years as coach of the Detroit Red Wings, leading them to the Stanley Cup in 2008. His record in Detroit was 458-223-105, and the Wings made the playoffs every year.

      The Canadian-born coach led the national team to Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014. He also took Anaheim to the Cup Finals in 2003 and became the first NHL coach to win 50 games in each of his first four seasons.

      The Red Wings tried to keep Babcock, offering $4 million per season over four or five years, and the Buffalo Sabres reportedly offered $5 million per season.

      He said it was a "hard decision" to leave Detroit but he did "the best thing for Mike Babcock and his family and for the next 10 years."

      "You want to be in an environment where people care, and this fan base here, in my opinion, really cares about the Leafs," he said. "And they want us to be good, and they understand that we're going to be in a long process to where they want to go. So I embrace this opportunity of coaching the Maple Leafs. ... In the end, I've made the right decision and I'm excited about it."

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    NHL notebook: Babcock gets record deal to coach Maple Leafs
    By The Sports Xchange

    Mike Babcock bolted Detroit for a record eight-year deal that could be worth up to $50 million from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    • Babcock was engaged in contract talks with multiple teams for more than a week before Wednesday's decision. The deal reportedly will pay Babcock nearly double the highest ever salary for a coach in the NHL.

      Babcock, 52, led the Red Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup.

      The Detroit Red Wings had offered $4 million per season over four or five years, and were outbid by at least two other teams before the Buffalo Sabres dropped out of the bidding Tuesday night. The Sabres reportedly offered $5 million per season, and the San Jose Sharks showed strong interest.

      ---The Boston Bruins promoted Don Sweeney to general manager to replace his former boss.

      Sweeney, 48, had served as the team's assistant general manager for the past six seasons under former general manager Peter Chiarelli, who was fired on April 15.

      The Bruins missed the Stanley Cup playoffs this season for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Bruins went 41-27-14 for 96 points, two behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

      ---Longtime NHL goaltender Martin Brodeur was named assistant general manager by the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

      The Blues and Brodeur reached agreement on a three-year contract, general manager Doug Armstrong announced.

      The 43-year-old Brodeur set records for wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes (74,439) by a goaltender during the first 21 years of a spectacular 22-year career for the New Jersey Devils. He was signed to a one-year contract by the Blues on Dec. 2 after a knee injury to starting goalie Brian Elliott left the team short at the position.

      ---The Ottawa Senators agreed to terms with goaltender Andrew Hammond on a three-year, $4.05 million contract extension Wednesday.

      Hammond will earn $1.2 million in 2015-16, $1.35 million in 2016-17 and $1.5 million in 2017-18.

      Hammond, 27, had a record of 20-1-2 in 24 games with the Senators this season, posting a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, while recording three shutouts.

      ---The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Yevgeni Medvedev.

      Medvedev, 32, is a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia. He comes to North America for the first time after a long professional career in his home country. He has played in the Kontinental Hockey League since its inception in 2008 and spent three seasons playing in the KHL's predecessor, the Russian Elite League.

      For the past eight years, the 6-foot-3, 187-pound Medvedev has played for Ak Bars Kazan, the last seven as a member of the KHL. He has appeared in 373 games for the team, recording 165 points (128 assists), along with 408 penalty minutes and a plus-100 rating.

      ---The San Jose Sharks signed forward Joonas Donskoi to an entry-level contract.

      Donskoi, 23, finished the 2014-15 season with 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) and a plus-13 rating in 58 games with Karpat of the Liiga -- Finland's top professional hockey league.

      At the 2015 IIHF World Championships, Donskoi had eight points (five goals, three assists) and a plus-4 rating in eight games for Finland that helped the team register a 6-2 record and an appearance in the quarterfinals.

      ---The Columbus Blue Jackets named forward Nick Foligno as the sixth captain in franchise history.

      Foligno follows defenseman Lyle Odelein (2000-02), forward Ray Whitney (2002-03), defenseman Luke Richardson (2003-05), defenseman Adam Foote (2005-08) and forward Rick Nash (2008-12). Columbus has not had a captain since trading Nash to the New York Rangers before the 2012-13 season.

      Foligno, 27, is coming off the best season of his eight-year NHL career as he set career highs in virtually every offensive category with 31 goals and 42 assists for 73 points with 50 penalty minutes and a plus-16 rating in 79 games. He led the team in goals, points, plus/minus rating, power-play goals (11), shooting percentage (17 percent) and multi-point games (17).

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Blues elevate Brodeur to assistant GM
    By The Sports Xchange

    Longtime NHL goaltender Martin Brodeur was named assistant general manager by the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

    • The Blues and Brodeur reached agreement on a three-year contract, president of hockey operations and general manager Doug Armstrong announced.

      The 43-year-old Brodeur set records for wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes (74,439) by a goaltender during the first 21 years of a spectacular 22-year career for the New Jersey Devils. He was signed to a one-year contract by the Blues on Dec. 2 after a knee injury to starting goalie Brian Elliott left the team short at the position.

      After joining the Blues for seven games and posting a 3-3-0 record, Brodeur announced his retirement as a player on Jan. 29 and moved into the front office as a senior adviser to the general manager.

      Brodeur also ranks first in NHL postseason history in starts (204) and shutouts (24) and second in wins (113). He played in 10 NHL All-Star Games, led the NHL in wins nine times, shutouts five times and games played six times, and was a member of three Stanley Cup winners with the Devils (1995, 2000, 2003).

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Sharks sign F Donskoi
    By The Sports Xchange

    The San Jose Sharks signed free agent forward Joonas Donskoi to an entry-level contract Wednesday.

    • Donskoi, 23, finished the 2014-15 season with 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) and a plus-13 rating in 58 regular-season games with Karpat of the Liiga -- Finland's top professional hockey league.

      At the 2015 IIHF World Championships, Donskoi had eight points (five goals, three assists) and a plus-4 rating in eight games for Finland that helped the team register a 6-2 overall record and an appearance in the quarterfinals.

      "Joonas plays a solid two-way game and combines a mix of offensive skill and defensive responsibility," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He has proven to be one of the more dynamic players in a strong league and we are excited to add a player with his skill set to our organization."

      The 6-foot, 190-pound native of Rahee, Finland, has tallied 156 points (60 goals, 96 assists) and a plus-41 rating in 271 career regular-season Liiga games.

      Donskoi was originally drafted by Florida in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Babcock to coach Maple Leafs in record deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    Mike Babcock bolted Detroit for a record eight-year deal that could be worth up to $50 million from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    • The Maple Leafs will introduce Babcock at a press conference on Thursday.

      Babcock was engaged in contract talks with multiple teams for more than a week before Wednesday's decision. The deal will reportedly pay Babcock nearly double the highest ever salary for a head coach in the NHL.

      Babcock, 52, led the Detroit Red Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup. The Canadian-born coach led the national team to Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014. He also took Anaheim to the Cup Finals in 2003 and became the first NHL coach to win 50-plus games in each of his first four seasons.

      The Maple Leafs fired Randy Carlyle in January. Toronto will sacrifice a third-round pick for signing Babcock, who was under contract until the end of June with Detroit.

      The Red Wings had offered $4 million per season over four or five years, and were outbid by at least two other teams before the Buffalo Sabres dropped out of the bidding Tuesday night. The Sabres reportedly offered $5 million per season, and the San Jose Sharks showed strong interest.

      The highest-paid coach in the NHL was Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks, who earns $2.5 million per season.

      Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill is expected to get strong interest from the Red Wings to be elevated to the head coaching position and replace Babcock.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Flyers sign D Medvedev
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Philadelphia Flyers signed free agent defenseman Yevgeni Medvedev on Wednesday.

    • Medvedev, 32, is a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia. He comes to North America for the first time after a long professional career in his home country. He has played in the Kontinental Hockey League since its inception in 2008 and spent three seasons prior to that playing in the KHL's predecessor, the Russian Elite League.

      For the past eight years, the 6-foot-3, 187-pound Medvedev has played for Ak Bars Kazan, the last seven of which have come as a member of the KHL. He has appeared in 373 career games for the team, recording 165 points (37 goals, 128 assists), along with 408 penalty minutes and a plus-100 rating.

      During his seven years in the KHL, Medvedev has won two Gagarin Cup league championships with Ak Bars Kazan (2008-09, 2009-10) and has been a three-time KHL All-Star. He has also represented Russia internationally for the past four years, winning gold medals at the World Championships in 2011-12 and 2013-14, and a silver medal in this year's World Championships in Prague that ended last weekend. Medvedev also represented Russia at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Senators sign G Hammond to 3-year extension
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Ottawa Senators agreed to terms with goaltender Andrew Hammond on a three-year, $4.05 million contract extension Wednesday.

    • Hammond will earn an average of $1.35 million per season -- $1.2 million in 2015-16, $1.35 million in 2016-17 and $1.5 million in 2017-18.

      Hammond, 27, had a record of 20-1-2 in 24 games with the Senators this season, posting a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, while recording three shutouts.

      Hammond took over the No. 1 job after the Senators lost Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to injuries.

      Hammond tied an NHL record by giving up two goals or fewer in 12 consecutive starts to begin his career and went his first 15 starts without a regulation loss (14-0-1), helping the Senators rally to claim the first wild card into the Stanley Cup playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

      Hammond started and lost the first two games of the first-round playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens before Anderson started the remainder of the series. The Senators lost in six games.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Blue Jackets name Foligno team captain
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Columbus Blue Jackets named forward Nick Foligno as the sixth captain in franchise history on Wednesday.

    • Foligno follows defenseman Lyle Odelein (2000-02), forward Ray Whitney (2002-03), defenseman Luke Richardson (2003-05), defenseman Adam Foote (2005-08) and forward Rick Nash (2008-12). Columbus has not had a captain since trading Nash to the New York Rangers prior to the 2012-13 season.

      "Over the past three seasons, Nick Foligno has distinguished himself on the ice, in the dressing room and in our community," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. "He has earned the respect of his teammates, coaches and our fans through his work ethic on and off the ice, as well as his passion for the game and compassion for others. We are proud to introduce him as the next captain of our hockey club."

      Foligno, 27, is coming off the best season of his eight-year NHL career as he set career highs in virtually every offensive category with 31 goals and 42 assists for 73 points with 50 penalty minutes and a plus-16 rating in 79 games. He led the team in goals, points, plus/minus rating, power-play goals (11), shooting percentage (17 percent) and multi-point games (17).

      Foligno ranked 10th-tied in the NHL in points and 12th-tied in goals, and served as a team captain at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game held at Nationwide Arena.

      The Blue Jackets were hampered by injuries throughout the season. They missed the Stanley Cup playoffs after qualifying the prior season, but won a franchise-record nine in a row and 12 of 13 to finish the season 42-35-5 for 89 points.

      "He's ready for this next step," coach Todd Richards said. "We faced lots of adversity, and leaders become visible in moments like that."

      Foligno was selected this past season as the winner of the club's Community MVP Award, which recognizes the player who best exemplifies community stewardship.

      The Buffalo, N.Y., native has registered 279 points (116 goals, 163 assists) with 473 penalty minutes in 545 career games with the Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators. He has 131 points (55 goals, 76 assists) and 174 penalty minutes in 194 games with Columbus.

      Ottawa's first pick (28th overall) in the 2006 NHL Draft, Foligno spent five seasons with the Senators before joining the Blue Jackets in July 2012.

      Foligno represented the United States at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF World Championships and spent just over a year with the United States National Development Program before a three-year stint with the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves from 2004-07.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Bruins promote Sweeney to GM
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Bruins promoted Don Sweeney to general manager on Wednesday to replace his former boss.

    • Sweeney, 48, served as the team's assistant general manager for the past six seasons under former general manager Peter Chiarelli, who was fired on April 15.

      "I am fully aware of everyone's expectations to move the organization forward," Sweeney said in a statement released by the team. "The challenges ahead rests with the players, the coaches and the management group to work hard to make the necessary changes to bring the Bruins back to the forefront of contending for the Stanley Cup."

      The Bruins missed the Stanley Cup playoffs this season for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Bruins went 41-27-14 for 96 points, two behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

      "Don Sweeney stood out amongst an incredibly talented group of candidates that we considered for this hire," chief executive officer Charlie Jacobs said. "He carries a unique and impressive mix of playing experience, front office experience and business acumen. Don has complete understanding of what it means to be a Bruin and we have full confidence in him to steward the organization back to being Stanley Cup contenders year in and year out."

      Sweeney becomes the eighth GM in franchise history. He will enter his 10th season in the front office, joining the Bruins in 2006 as the team's director of player development. He was named to the position of director of hockey operations in 2007 before being promoted to assistant general manager in September 2009.

      His portfolio expanded further in 2014 when he was appointed as general manager of Boston's American Hockey League affiliate in Providence where he oversaw all hockey operations.

      "Don has excelled in every role he has been in with the Bruins organization and has a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of our hockey operations department," Bruins president Cam Neely said. "His commitment and drive to bring a championship caliber team to the Boston fans was evident every step of the way through this search process, and I am confident that his leadership of our hockey operations department will lead to success."

      Drafted by the Bruins in the eighth round in the 1984 NHL Draft, Sweeney went on to play four seasons at Harvard University.

      The defenseman played 16 seasons in the NHL, including 15 in a Bruins uniform. He played his final NHL season with the Dallas Stars in 2003-04.

      Sweeney had 52 goals, 273 points and was plus-112 in 1,115 regular-season games for the Bruins and Stars. He helped the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final in 1990 and had nine goals and 19 points in 108 Stanley Cup playoff games.

      "I am both excited and humbled for the opportunity to be named the general manager of the Boston Bruins," Sweeney said. "I would like to thank the entire Jacobs' family and specifically Mr. Jacobs and Charlie, as well as Cam, for bestowing the confidence and trust in me to direct this historic franchise in which I have been a part of for 24 years. My family and friends have been extremely supportive throughout the general manager search process and I certainly want to acknowledge them today to show my heartfelt appreciation."

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    NHL notebook: Oilers hire McLellan as coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Edmonton Oilers filled their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, naming Todd McLellan to the position.

    • The move, reported for several days, makes him the 14th coach in franchise history.

      The 47-year-old McLellan guided the San Jose Sharks to six playoff appearances and two Western Conference finals in seven years. His 195 wins in his first four seasons behind the bench are an NHL record.

      In 540 games with the Sharks, McLellan posted a 311-163-66 record. But while enjoying regular-season success, the Sharks struggled in the postseason under McLellan.

      After missing the postseason this year, the Sharks and McLellan mutually agreed to part ways.

      --Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is ready to make a decision about his future, and an announcement is expected Wednesday.

      Babcock has multiple suitors and set a deadline of Wednesday, after he visits with general manager Ken Holland a second time in the past two weeks.

      --The Calgary Flames signed defenseman Jakub Nakladal from TPS Turku of the Finnish SM-Liiga to a one-year, entry level contract.

      A native of Pardubice, Czech Republic, Nakladal played in 50 games for TPS Turku of the SM-Liiga last season and finished three goals, 12 assists and 63 penalty minutes.

      --John Spano Jr., who once tried to purchase the New York Islanders, was convicted on fraud-related charges in Ohio and could face up to 16 years in prison.

      The 50-year-old Spanos pleaded guilty Monday to 16 counts of forgery after he collected close to $70,000 in sales commissions on fraudulent accounts that he created. He remains free on bond before sentencing next month in a Lake County (Ohio) courtroom.

      In 1996, Spano conned the NHL into believing he was a wealthy Texas businessman when he attempted to buy the Islanders. After persuading banks to lend him $80 million to purchase the team for $165 million, he was unable to make a $5 million down payment and the scheme unraveled, leading to an FBI investigation.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Flames sign Finnish league D Nakladal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Calgary Flames signed defenseman Jakub Nakladal from TPS Turku of the Finnish SM-Liiga to a one-year, entry level contract on Tuesday.

    • A native of Pardubice, Czech Republic, Nakladal played in 50 games for TPS Turku of the SM-Liiga last season and finished three goals, 12 assists and 63 penalty minutes.

      Most recently, Nakladal was part of the Czech Republic team at the 2015 IIHF World Championships. He led the team's defensemen with five assists in 10 games.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Oilers hire McLellan as coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Edmonton Oilers filled their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, naming Todd McLellan to the position.

    • The move, reported for several days, makes him the 14th coach in franchise history.

      The 47-year-old McLellan guided the San Jose Sharks to six playoff appearances and two Western Conference finals in seven years. His 195 wins in his first four seasons behind the bench are an NHL record.

      In 540 games with the Sharks, McLellan posted a 311-163-66 record. But while enjoying regular-season success, the Sharks struggled in the postseason under McLellan.

      After missing the postseason this year, the Sharks and McLellan mutually agreed to part ways.

      Asked Tuesday for his impressions of the Oilers when the Sharks played them, McLellan said, "I think there were games where, if you could get off to a good start and push them out of the game, and get to the mental aspect of them not being in it for the whole night, you thought you had a chance to succeed .That's something we’ll have to change. There's going to be games where it's not going your way, but you're not out of it. You have to fight through it and you have to keep going.

      "They haven’t had a lot of success as far as wins and losses go, so you have to find other ways to build that mental strength. That comes before the games are even played. That comes in practice. That comes in meetings. That comes in being good teammates. So we have some things to work on."

      McLellan most recently was the head coach for Team Canada at the 2015 World Hockey Championship. The team took the gold for the first time since 2007 and finished with a 10-0 record.

      "We are extremely happy to introduce Todd as our new head coach," Oilers president of hockey operations and general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "He is a high energy person and a high level thinker who will work well and demand the most from our group. Todd has had success at many levels and we are looking forward to him leading our team next season."

      Before McLellan became San Jose coach, he spent three seasons as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings and was a head coach with the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League and the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey Legue.

      Todd Nelson took over the Oilers in December on an interim basis after Dallas Eakins was fired. Edmonton finished the season 24-44-14.

      The Oilers won the NHL draft lottery and have the No. 1 pick on June 26, when it is expected they will select Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Man who tried to buy Islanders found guilty of forgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    John Spano Jr., who once tried to purchase the New York Islanders, was convicted on fraud-related charges in Ohio and could face up to 16 years in prison.

    • The 50-year-old Spanos pleaded guilty Monday to 16 counts of forgery after he collected close to $70,000 in sales commissions on fradulent accounts that he created. He remains free on bond before sentencing next month in a Lake County (Ohio) courtroom.

      In 1996, Spano conned the NHL into believing he was a wealthy Texas businessman when he attempted to buy the Islanders. After persuading banks to lend him $80 million to purchase the team for $165 million, he was unable to make a $5 million downpayment and the scheme unraveled, leading to an FBI investigation.

      Spano pleaded guilty to fraud and theft charges in New York and was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. He also was ordered to pay $11.9 million to the Islanders and victims of other scams, including hockey legend Mario Lemieux.

      After Spano was released from prison, he returned to Ohio and started a finance company that collected money for services never delivered and landed in prison again for more than four years after he pleaded guilty in federal court.

      Upon his second release from prison, Spano landed a job as a salesman and began creating fake accounts with fradulent commissions that led to the latest conviction.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Red Wings' Babcock near decision
    By The Sports Xchange

    Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is ready to make a decision about his future, and an announcement is expected Wednesday.

    • Babcock has multiple suitors and set a deadline of Wednesday, after he visits with general manager Ken Holland a second time in the past two weeks.

      Holland has been optimistic about the Red Wings retaining Babcock with a deal worth $3.25 million per year over the next four years. But based on reports, at least four teams are interested in bringing Babcock aboard, including the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the Sabres could push their annual offering to or beyond $5 million.

      "Just going to re-visit everything one more time (with Holland)," Babcock told MLive.com. "I've talked to all the teams I'm talking to. I learned a lot. I talked to lots of good people. I kept Kenny abreast the whole time. We'll talk one more time (Tuesday) and then I'll sit down with my family one more time (Tuesday) night and make a decision."

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Reports: Oilers to hire McLellan as next coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan is expected to be hired as coach of the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

    • McLellan first met with new Oilers president and general manager Peter Chiarelli a few weeks ago while at the IIHF World Championship in Prague, where McLellan was coaching the Canadian team. Since then, many speculated McLellan would be behind the bench for the Oilers next season.

      On Sunday, McLellan and Canada captured the World Championship title with a 6-1 thumping of Russia.

      Oilers forward Jordan Eberle played for McLellan and the Canadian squad and spoke highly of McLellan.

      "I've been impressed," Eberle said of McLellan to the Edmonton Sun. "I have nothing but positive things to say so far."

      McLellan, 47, coached San Jose for seven seasons, posting a 311-163-66 record. While enjoying regular-season success, the Sharks struggled in the postseason under McLellan.

      After missing the postseason this year, the Sharks and McLellan mutually agreed to part ways.

      Todd Nelson took over the Oilers in December on an interim basis after Dallas Eakins was fired. Edmonton finished the season 24-44-14.

      The Oilers won the NHL draft lottery and have the No. 1 pick on June 26, when it is expected they will select Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    NHL notebook: Flyers name Hakstol head coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Philadelphia Flyers hired college veteran Dave Hakstol, who has no NHL playing or coaching experience, as the 19th head coach in team history.

    • Hakstol, 46, had been the coach at the University of North Dakota for the previous 11 seasons.

      Hakstol replaces Craig Berube, who was fired April 17 after the Flyers missed the Stanley Cup playoffs. In two seasons, Berube went 75-58-28.

      Hakstol compiled an overall record of 289-143-43 at North Dakota with a .654 winning percentage in 475 games. In 2014-15, he led North Dakota to a 29-10-3 record with a .726 winning percentage and a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four.

      --Columbus Blue Jackets assistant general manager Chris MacFarland is leaving after 16 years with the organization.

      Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen made the announcement.

      MacFarland originally joined the Blue Jackets in 1999 and served as the club's manager of hockey operations from 2001-07. He was promoted to assistant to the general manager in July 2007 and a year later was named assistant general manager.

      --New York Rangers RW Mats Zuccarello, who has not played since Game 7 of the first round, skated on his own Monday. The Rangers have not disclosed his injury, but it's very likely a concussion. He is still listed as being out indefinitely.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Jackets assistant GM MacFarland leaving
    By The Sports Xchange

    Columbus Blue Jackets assistant general manager Chris MacFarland is leaving after 16 years with the organization.

    • Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen made the announcement Monday.

      "Chris MacFarland has been an important member of this organization for many years and his contributions to our hockey club have been significant," Kekalainen said in a statement. "He has been presented with an exciting opportunity outside our organization and while we are sorry to see him leave, we thank Chris for his years of service, hard work and commitment to the Blue Jackets and wish him and his family all the best in the future."

      MacFarland originally joined the Blue Jackets in 1999 and served as the club's manager of hockey operations from 2001-07. He was promoted to assistant to the general manager in July 2007 and a year later was named assistant general manager.

      MacFarland assisted the club in all hockey-related matters. He also oversaw hockey operations efforts of the club's minor league affiliates.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Flyers hire college veteran Hakstol as coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Philadelphia Flyers hired college veteran Dave Hakstol, who has no NHL playing or coaching experience, as the 19th head coach in team history.

    • Hakstol, 46, had been the coach at the University of North Dakota for the previous 11 seasons.

      Hakstol replaces Craig Berube, who was fired April 17 after the Flyers missed the Stanley Cup playoffs. In two seasons, Berube went 75-58-28.

      Flyers general manager Ron Hextall, who said he only was interested in finding the right coach in his search, had a number of better-known options available.

      "I wasn't going to choose the coach that was the people's choice, the popular choice," Hextall said. "I was going to pick the coach that I felt like for this franchise from today, next year and moving forward was the right coach. And Dave is the right coach for this franchise at this point."

      Hextall's son, Brett, played for Hakstol at North Dakota for three seasons. Brett Hextall is currently playing for the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate.

      "In watching my son over the years I grew an appreciation for Dave, for the way he coached," Hextall said. "I followed his career. I've thought about him long before this as a head coach in the National Hockey League. I believe he was destined for it.

      "I had a list of things I wanted from a head coach and went down this checklist in my mind and every box was checked except for the NHL experience. Quite frankly, for me that's the one that's least important. It's no different from a rookie player. Does Dave have things to learn? Absolutely. He'll be the first to admit it. He's got a lot of time here to get to know the league, get to know our team, familiarize himself with the area, look into forming a staff.

      "It's a big jump -- that's fair to say."

      Hakstol compiled an overall record of 289-143-43 at North Dakota with a .654 winning percentage in 475 games. In 2014-15, he led North Dakota to a 29-10-3 record with a .726 winning percentage and a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four.

      Hakstol said he understands moving from college to the NHL will have a learning curve but he believes his philosophies will work at the highest level.

      "You have to be a good team without the puck," he said. "You've got to work and play fast without the puck and with good structure. It's about transition. But you've got to have the puck in order to be able to transition up the ice. You're going to see with me an expectation that our defensemen are involved in an awful lot of our play in terms of our play with the puck. I think it's essential as far as getting up the ice and in the zone.

      "I don't have experience at this level so I'm not going to pretend that I do. But I do have a great deal of confidence in what we do, in what my philosophies are and that they're going to be successful here. It's going to take an awful lot of communication. I have to get to know our players and I want them to get to know me. I want to have some clear expectations of the way we're going to play the game.

      "We want players that are buying into the philosophy of winning and what that takes. When you break that down it comes down to doing all the little things day after day, taking care of the details, being disciplined enough to do them day in and day out and understanding why you're doing them is going to be very important. That's something that I'm confident I can convey to our group."

      Hakstol has sent 20 players to the NHL, among them Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie, New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene. A total of 46 North Dakota players under Hakstol from have played professionally at some level. Toews and Greene each have won two Stanley Cups since leaving the school.

      North Dakota made the NCAA Tournament in every one of Hakstol's 11 seasons and reached the Frozen Four seven times in that span, which is the most of any program in the country during that period. Hakstol led North Dakota to an overall postseason record of 54-24 for a .692 winning percentage, including a 17-11 record in the NCAA Tournament, during his tenure.

      Hakstol joined the school's coaching staff in 2000 as an assistant coach, and took over the head coaching job four years later. Under Hakstol's watch, North Dakota won three regular season conference championships -- two in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA, 2008-09, 2010-11) and one in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC, 2014-15). North Dakota also won WCHA playoff championships in 2005-06, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

      Hakstol received conference coach of the year honors twice -- in the WCHA in 2008-09 and in the NCHC in 2014-15. He was also an eight-time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year.

      "I am extremely excited to be named the Philadelphia Flyers new head coach," Hakstol said in his statement Monday morning after being hired. "Through the process here with Ron (Hextall) and everybody in the Flyers organization I have gained even more of an understanding of the history and tradition of this organization and I'm very proud to become part of the Philadelphia Flyers today."

      North Dakota later hired Brad Berry, an assistant on Hakstol's staff, as its new head coach. Berry becomes the 16th head coach in North Dakota's history and the sixth former player to assume the role. Berry, who coached the defensemen, completed his ninth season as an assistant at the school.

  • Saturday, May 16, 2015
    Callahan back 5 days after appendectomy
    By The Sports Xchange

    Forward Ryan Callahan was back in the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup on Saturday, five days after having an emergency appendectomy.

    • Callahan skated with his teammates during pregame warmups at Madison Square Garden and the Lightning announced about 20 minutes before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers that he would play.

      After experiencing abdominal pain on Monday, Callahan underwent surgery that night and was released from the hospital the next day.

      He skated on Thursday and Friday.

      Tampa Bay scratched former Rangers forward Brian Boyle from the lineup because of an unspecified injury. He was listed as day-to-day.

  • Friday, May 15, 2015
    NHL notebook: Lightning's Callahan may play Saturday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan, who had an emergency appendectomy Monday night, might play in Saturday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers.

    • He is listed as day-to-day, and it will be left up to Callahan whether he plays on Saturday.

      He missed Tuesday's Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens, but he returned to practice on Thursday and practiced again Friday, working on a line with Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault.

      Callahan's ability to play Saturday is "a pain-tolerance thing," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "Ultimately it's up to Ryan Callahan."

      --The Rangers will have defenseman Dan Boyle available for Saturday's Game 1 against the Lightning, but left winger Mats Zuccarello is unlikely to be ready for the series opener.

      That was the injury update from Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Friday.

      Boyle was knocked out of Wednesday's game against Washington due to a hard hit by the Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik. However, he practiced Friday with the team, and is ready to go.

      Vigneault said Zuccarello is progressing in his recovery from what is believed to be a concussion, but he is still not skating with the team in practice. Vigneault has not dismissed the possibility of Zuccarello playing at some point in the series.

      --The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Andreas Martinsen to a one-year, entry-level contract, the team announced.

      Martinsen, 24, spent the last three seasons playing for Dusseldorfer in Germany's top professional league -- Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

      --The Washington Capitals reassigned center Andre Burakovsky to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

      Burakovsky, 20, registered two goals and one assist in 11 games with the Capitals during the 2015 playoffs. He scored two goals in Washington's 2-1 victory in Game 4 against the New York Rangers on May 6.

  • Friday, May 15, 2015
    Lightning's Callahan may play Saturday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan, who had an emergency appendectomy Monday night, might play in Saturday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers.

    • He is listed as day-to-day, and it will be left up to Callahan whether he plays on Saturday.

      He missed Tuesday's Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens, but he returned to practice on Thursday and practiced again Friday, working on a line with Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault.

      Callahan's ability to play Saturday is "a pain-tolerance thing," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "Ultimately it's up to Ryan Callahan."

      Callahan spent his first seven NHL seasons with the Rangers before being acquired by Tampa Bay during his eighth season. In March 2014, the Rangers sent Callahan and two draft picks to the Lightning in exchange for Martin St. Louis.

      Callahan had 24 goals and 30 assists in 77 games during the regular season, and he has no goals and three assists in 12 playoff games this year.