Let’s take a tour through the league and some of the stories that are making headlines this week:
- Connor Brown had four (!) assists as Canada blasted Italy 7-1 on Sunday at the World Championships to keep their hopes of qualifying for the play-off rounds alive.
- Ian Mendes ran a mailbag on Friday ($) where he answered a number of interesting reader questions, including whether the Sens really can be players for some big names like Dougie Hamilton or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
- As you may have heard, the Toronto Maple Leafs have squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Montreal Canadiends and must now win a deciding game at home to avoid yet another embarrassing early play-off exit. Outwardly they’re maintaining a cool demeanor, but you can’t tell me they aren’t feeling some real pressure in that dressing room.
- While the Leafs and Habs get ready for Game 7 tonight, the Winnipeg Jets have been calmly biding their time after their first round sweep of the Edmonton Oilers. The break has been particularly beneficial to Nikolaj Ehlers, probably the Jets’ best forward all season, who has been battling an injury and missed the first two games of the first round series.
- We are now just a couple of weeks away from the winner of the North Division needing to play games against American teams. The NHL appears to still be working away at an agreement with the Canadian government that would let players cross the border.
- There have been several reports that Seth Jones has informed the Columbus Blue Jackets he will not be signing a contract extension. That would make the rearguard a UFA after next season, so if Columbus is to take him at his word you would expect they’ll make a serious attempt to move him ASAP. I’m not sure he’d be a great fit for the Sens, especially considering the contract he’s likely to command, but the eternal quest for a top pairing RHD partner for Thomas Chabot does continue.
- Over at the Athletic ($), Sean Shapiro has some insights into the ESPN and TNT broadcasting teams that will be leading the American networks’ NHL coverage next season. As you may have heard already, Wayne Gretzky will be joining TNT. /