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Lace ’em up. Time for the Morning Skate.
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With one final shootout goal by Philadelphia Flyers forward Sam Gagner, the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs contention on Wednesday.
Along with the rest of Canada.
Yes, for the first time since 1970, no Canadian NHL team will play in the postseason. Instead of wallowing in sorrow and sympathy, let’s rank the Canadian teams by likelihood of reaching the postseason next year.
1. Montreal Canadiens
I’m much more inclined to think of this season as a fluke than the beginning of a trend.
2. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets have as much blue-chip talent in the pipeline as any other team in the Western Conference, and could make a run with an infusion of that talent.
3. Ottawa Senators
4. Calgary Flames
Either that 2015 playoff appearance or this year of regression is the fluke. It’s probably the former.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Mitch Marner and the other young guns will be fun to watch, but the rebuild should continue.
6. Vancouver Canucks
If Jim Benning is smart, he’ll hit the rebuild panic button by December.
7. Edmonton Oilers
Keep Connor McDavid in your thoughts and prayers.
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The leaked emails show the NHL’s top leaders have wildly conflicting views about the role of fighting in hockey.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT
- If the Flyers and Capitals game on Wednesday was a preview of playoff fun on the horizon, we can’t wait.
- It was a thrilling night for Philly fans, but a few concerns popped up.
- The Capitals should get used to physicality before the playoffs start.
- Dustin Byfuglien sent a dude to the hospital with the biggest hit of the season.
- The Senators won, got eliminated and are now just playing for pride.
- Meanwhile, Jets fans are just counting down the days to the offseason.
- Hunter Shinkaruk got his first goal as a Flame!
- But his team gave up eight to the other team.