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Championship-clinching Game 6 draws big ratings

ProHockeyTalk

There was no shortage of people watching the Chicago Blackhawks win their third Stanley Cup championship in six years last night. Monday’s game drew a 5.6 overnight rating, which is the third highest mark for a Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final since 1995, per NBC Sports PR. It’s also the fourth-best overnight rating ever for an NHL contest.

The Chicago market topped the list with a record-setting 41.0 household rating. Tampa Bay came in second with a 15.2 household rating. Buffalo (10.5), Milwaukee (7.9), and Denver (7.6) rounded out the top five.

Every game in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was fiercely competitive as the first five were decided by just one goal while Chicago managed to…

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Capital pains? Backstrom could reportedly miss five months after hip surgery

Backstrom has hip pain.

ProHockeyTalk

The Washington Capitals could be without their No. 1 center to start next season.

Per a report from Swedish news outlet Gefle Dagblad, Niklas Backstrom could miss up to the next five months of action recovering from arthroscopic hip surgery, a procedure he underwent in late May.

Per a (admittedly rough) translation, Backstrom said the hip had been giving him issues since early last season, and that he’s been told recovery can last up to five months. That would be at odds with what the Capitals said following surgery:

“Based on the nature of this procedure we are confident that Nick will be completely healthy prior to the start of the 2015-16 regular season.”

As for where he’s currently at, Backstrom said he’s primarily working on getting movement back in the hip.

Should rehab go five months, Backstrom would be on target for a late-October return. Though the Caps’…

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Could Kessel block the Leafs from trading him?

Kessel on the way out.

ProHockeyTalk

Even if the Toronto Maple Leafs are intent on trading Phil Kessel, they may be challenged by a limited no-trade clause that’s believed to allow Kessel to submit a list of eight teams to which he can be sent.

From TSN/NBC insider Bob McKenzie:

Prior to the trade deadline, TSN reported those eight teams were believed to be: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh.

But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of the Leafs finding a suitable deal with a team not on the list and asking the player to amend the list. Also, with each new contract year, it’s believed a new list can be submitted by the player so the list can change from year to year. The contract year expires June 30.

What’s interesting about Kessel’s list is that all eight teams are currently facing significant cap challenges. For any one of them to acquired…

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Been there, lost that: After years of falling short, Timonen relishes chance to win it all

Robin Hood?

ProHockeyTalk

CHICAGO — If you can think of a big hockey game, Kimmo Timonen has probably lost it.

In three gold medal games at the World Hockey Championships, he’s left with three silver medals. Same thing at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Five years ago, he lost his first trip to the Stanley Cup Final. No runner-up medal there.

But now — at age 40, and with retirement looming — Chicago’s veteran Finnish blueliner is eagerly anticipating one final chance to be crowned a champion.

“I’ve been in every final there is in the hockey world, but I haven’t won anything,” Timonen said on Monday, prior to tonight’s Game 6 at the United Center. “I’ve always been on the losing part of this side of the story.”

As the ‘Hawks look to hoist their third Cup in the last six years — old…

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Stars add Reese to goalie coaching mix, sign Jokipakka

Reese will help out all the goaltenders!

ProHockeyTalk

The Dallas Stars really struggled in net (and in preventing goals in general last season), but they took further measures to improve in that area on Monday.

In an interesting twist, the Stars hired Jeff Reese as goalie coach as expected, yet they’re not parting ways with Mike Valley. Instead, Valley will work under the title director of goaltending development.

ESPN’s Craig Custance was impressed by the Stars’ creativity there:

The only “salary cap” for coaching is a team’s own budget, after all, so why not add more keen minds on that subject?

Of course, improving on defense would also make life easier for the Stars’ goalies, and they also kept a young defenseman in the fold. Amusingly named blueliner Jyrki Jokipakka

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Punchface


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Habs lose terribly to the Sens

The Ottawa Senators  did not get a shot on net in the first 10 minutes of game 5, and yet somehow managed to sneak away with a win. Montreal outshot the Senators 46-25.

Fist-face

Prust punches neil.

At the end of the game Brendan Prust spears Craig Anderson with his stick. I suspect Prust will face suspension for his actions. The league does not tolerate violence towards its goaltenders like that.


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On the Wild’s financial future

Vanek and the Wild.

ProHockeyTalk

Over the last three years, few teams have been as financially aggressive as Minnesota. The team dropped a combined $196 million on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, acquired big salaries at each of the last two trade deadlines (Matt Moulson and Jason Pominville; the latter inked a $28M extension in October) and gave Thomas Vanek a three-year, $19.5 million deal in July.

One reason GM Chuck Fletcher’s been able to spend like this is because he’s had a number of good, young contributors playing on entry-level deals: Nino Neiderreiter, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Darcy Kuemper and Erik Haula, to name a few.

But things are about to get tight.

The Wild have roughly $8M this year to get deals done for RFAs Neiderreiter and Kuemper, and both figure to be signed in due time. Next year, though, is when things will get tricky — Brodin, Coyle, Granlund and…

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