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S.W. Florida Daily News


The Stanley Cup final is over, but the summer of hockey is just getting started

The Stanley Cup final is over, but the summer of hockey is just getting started

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

A new Stanley Cup champion was crowned last night in Florida, where the Colorado Avalanche dethroned the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2-1 win in Game 6 of the final. The Avalanche’s victory ended Tampa Bay’s hopes of becoming the NHL’s first three-peat champion in 40 years and gave Colorado its first Cup since 2001 — and the first for the Avs’ current core group of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog. MacKinnon scored last night to finish with a share of the post-season goals lead with 13, while Makar became the youngest defenceman since Bobby Orr in 1970 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. On a less-positive note, Nicolas Aube-Kubel dented the bottom of the Cup when he dropped it during the on-ice celebration.

So that’s a wrap on the 2021-22 NHL season. But more big hockey news happened today, and there’s plenty more interesting stuff to come over the next few weeks. Here’s a rundown:

The Sedin twins headlined the new Hockey Hall of Fame class announced today. Drafted back-to-back by Vancouver in 1999, Daniel and Henrik spent their entire 17-season NHL careers together with the Canucks. They finished with eerily similar point totals (1,041 and 1,070, respectively), won the scoring title in consecutive years and even signed identical contracts. So it’s only fitting that they’ll go into the Hall of Fame together this fall. The Sedins will be joined by their former Vancouver teammate Roberto Luongo and longtime Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who finally made it in his fifth year of eligibility. The other player voted in today was Riikka Sallinen, a longtime star of Finland’s women’s national team. Herb Carnegie, considered the best Black player never to make it to the NHL, will be inducted in the builder category. Read more about the 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class here.

The Memorial Cup semifinal is tonight. It’s the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Shawinigan Cataractes vs. the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs at 6 p.m. ET. The winner will play for the Canadian major junior hockey title on Wednesday night against the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, who got a bye to the final after topping the round-robin standings.

The NHL draft is next week. The July 7-8 event will take place in Montreal, where the Canadiens have the No. 1 overall pick after finishing dead last in the league — a year after playing in the Stanley Cup final. The Habs are expected to take Shane Wright, an 18-year-old centre who had 94 points in 63 games this season for Kingston of the OHL. The top European prospect is Juraj Slafkovsky, a big forward who was named MVP of the Olympic men’s tournament as a 17-year-old after leading all scorers with seven goals in seven games and helping Slovakia win the bronze medal. New Jersey should have the first crack at him with the No. 2 pick.

NHL free agency opens July 13. The biggest prize on the unrestricted market is Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, who finished second in the league in scoring this season with 115 points, including 40 goals. Other interesting UFA skaters include Colorado’s Nazem Kadri (career-high 87 points this season) Edmonton’s Evander Kane (the playoff co-leader in goals) and Nashville’s Filip Forsberg (42 goals in the regulars season). The past-their-prime big names include Florida’s Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron is eligible to hit unrestricted free agency too, but he’s reportedly eyeing a one-year deal to stay in Boston. Teams looking for a goalie might turn to Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Toronto’s Jack Campbell or Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. In addition to Kuemper and Kadri, Avs GM Joe Sakic must decide what to do with important forwards Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin and defenceman Josh Manson after they helped deliver the Cup.

The world juniors are coming up in… August? That’s right, Edmonton will take another crack at hosting the traditional Christmastime event from Aug. 9-20. The original tournament was abandoned just a few games in after COVID-19 outbreaks on multiple teams made it untenable. It’ll start over from scratch, and Canada’s roster could look different than it did back in December. Star defenceman Owen Power, the No. 1 pick in last year’s NHL draft, has since joined the Buffalo Sabres. Forward Shane Wright, the presumptive top choice in next week’s draft, will likely soon belong to the Montreal Canadiens. It’s unclear whether those players will be released for the rescheduled world juniors, though phenom Connor Bedard, who turns 17 in July and is not draft eligible, should be available.

The women’s world championship is being held in August again. Typically, the tournament is held in the spring. But last year’s was moved from May to August (and from Nova Scotia to Calgary) due to the pandemic. A more-welcome change is happening this year as, for the first time since women’s hockey joined the Winter Games in 1998, the world championship is being held in an Olympic year. It will take place Aug. 25 to Sept. 4 in Denmark. Canada is looking to remain atop the sport after defeating the archrival United States in the Olympic gold-medal game in Beijing in February. The Canadians are also the reigning world champs after Marie-Philip Poulin’s overtime goal against the U.S. in the 2021 final gave her team its first world title since 2012. – * Source link

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