Greg Wyshynski

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  • Can NY Rangers, Lundqvist clamp down Lightning again?

    The New York Rangers have given up 12 goals in the last two games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

    Prior to that? They hadn’t given up more than four goals but once, in the second game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1. They had given up one goal in eight of their previous 13 playoff games. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist had a save percentage of .944 entering the series. It’s now down to a mortal .926.

    So what happened?

    Game 2 was a gong-show. Twelve power plays between the teams turned the game on its ear, and the Rangers couldn’t exactly evaluate what went wrong because if it. Those games happen, and the Lightning simply converted their chances.

    Game 3 was a little more concerning. The Bolts won the 5-on-5 possession game in the first and third period. It was more fire-wagon than the Rangers have played or would like to play, which was a function of needing to rally and New York opening up its offense. Tampa Bay’s speed was starting to become a determining factor in the series.

    The

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  • Mike Babcock claims no lying to Sabres, brings the 'pain' for Maple Leafs

    Mike Babcock brought the pain in his introduction press conference as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach. 

    Like the pain of building a championship team from the ground up in Toronto, a process whose length and complexity are symbolized by the eight-year contract given to him by MLSE president Brendan Shanahan and the board.

    “If you think there's no pain coming, there's pain coming,” said Babcock.

    “The path we're taking has to be different. There’s no chance for a quick fixer here. You build a program. It’s going to take a long time. They committed to me for a long time. I committed to Toronto for a long time.”

    Like the pain being felt in Buffalo, as the Sabres and their media proxies believed Babcock had agreed to a deal to coach that franchise.

    Babcock denied he ever agreed to a contract with owner Terry Pegula and the Sabres, and bristled at the accusation that he flat-out lied to them, leveraging the Sabres’ offer to enrich the one coming from Toronto.

    “That 'lying' word’s an

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  • Winners and losers in Mike Babcock coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock addresses the media after the game against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center, in Chicago, in this file photo taken May 25, 2013. Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports/FilesDetroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock addresses the media after the game against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center, in Chicago, in this file photo taken May 25, 2013. Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports/Files

    Mike Babcock is being introduced as the next head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs after a wild Wednesday for the Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Detroit Red Wings and many, many others. 

    Here are the winners and losers in the Mike Babcock Derby:

    WINNER: BRENDAN SHANAHAN

    While Shanahan had no experience running an empire as vast as MLSE – or any empire for that matter – he had one calling card when he took over operation of the Toronto Maple Leafs: coalition building. Putting the right people in the right places, as he did in creating the Department of Players Safety with the NHL.

    The first pieces he fit with the Leafs were Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter in player personnel – both highly lauded. He expunged Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis – also lauded, although not as timely as some wanted.

    Then he landed Mike Babcock, the biggest free agent acquisition for the Leafs in recent memory and a game-changer behind the bench.

    Sure, he has resources and riches other teams don’t possess. But that’s

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  • David Letterman’s Top 5 hockey references in Top 10 lists

    David Letterman signs off for the last time on Wednesday night, ending a 33-year run in late night in which he reinvented the modern talk show. 

    It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s not. Everything Conan does. Everything Kimmel does. Most of what Fallon does. Really, name every host outside of Leno (who was the antithesis of everything Dave was) and they were influenced by Letterman.

    And really, name anyone over the age of 30 that attempts to be funny, and they probably put on the TV with the volume down at 1 a.m. to watch Stupid Pet Tricks on NBC when they were supposed to be asleep for school or work. I think the vibe I borrowed from Letterman  was that "let's just try everything, see what we can get away with and hopefully someone likes it." That's what "Late Night" was, before he started "The Late Show."

    Letterman had a great connection with sports and sports figures, usually with the ironic detachment of wooden-acting athletes attempting to read comedy bits off cue cards.

    That extending

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  • Mike Babcock to coach Toronto Maple Leafs with NHL record contract

    The theory on Mike Babcock, perhaps the most high-profile coaching free agent in NHL history, was that he would leave the Detroit Red Wings to chase the money, seek a new challenge and look to win a Stanley Cup in short order.

    Two out of three ain’t bad. Mike Babcock is the next coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, with an NHL record contract for a head coach. 

    Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was the first to confirm that Babcock has agreed to an 8-year contract, that might have an out clause after five years. He reports it’s a front-loaded deal – the CBA doesn’t govern those for coaches  – with a ton of money up front. He said there was talk about Babcock having a role in player personnel, potentially working with MSLE president Brendan Shanahan in that role.

    Darren Dreger nailed down the money: Around $50 million for Babcock over the life of the deal, which means an annual salary of over $6.25 million. Bob McKenzie reports the front-loaded deal will net Babcock $8 million per season in

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  • Todd McLellan dreams of Connor McDavid, leaves Sharks behind

    Todd McLellan, left, and Peter Chiarelli, President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers, hold up a jersey during a news conference after the Oilers announced McLellan as their new head coach, Tuesday, May 19, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDITTodd McLellan, left, and Peter Chiarelli, President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers, hold up a jersey during a news conference after the Oilers announced McLellan as their new head coach, Tuesday, May 19, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDITIt took a startling amount of time for Connor McDavid to become a conversation topic during Todd McLellan’s introductory press conference with the Edmonton Oilers. It was like having a holiday party without acknowledging the Lamborghini Veneno wrapped under the tree.  

    But when he was asked about coaching the Oilers’ next franchise player … well, McLellan was like a kid on Christmas Eve.

    “I have had a chance to think that. Quite regularly. Putting my head down on a pillow in Prague, I had plenty of thinking time,” said McLellan, who coached Canada to a gold medal in the IIHF world championships.

    Part of that championship team was Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose brain McLellan picked about McDavid. What was it like to be “The Next One” at the top of the draft? How was the transition to the NHL? What did you need to ease it?

    McLellan came away understanding that McDavid won’t need to be coddled, but would need support. “Not a protecting environment, but making sure that

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  • MVSW

    LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

    It's a (I don't like) Mondays edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

    Special Guest Star: Brian Hayward joins us to talk about Game 2 of the Ducks vs. Blackhawks series. 

    • The Conference Final coverage!

    • Stanley Cup Playoffs

    • Hockey News and Views

    Question of the Day: Tell us something we don't already know about Tyler Johnson. Email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarekClick here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!

    Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast viaiTunes or Feedburner.

    ***

    BUY THE MvsW T-SHIRTS! SUPPORT HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER!

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  • Mike Babcock Watch: Maple Leafs out, staying in Detroit?

    According to Ansar Khan, Mike Babcock is done speaking with other teams outside of the Detroit Red Wings, with whom he’ll have one final chat on Tuesday. 

    "I learned a lot. I talked to lots of good people," Babcock told MLive.com. "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."

    So he’s totally staying in Detroit, right?

    A lot of people gleaned that when he and GM Ken Holland did a sitdown with TSN’s Darren Dreger from Prague, sporting very stylish flip-flops. Granted, they wouldn’t be the first celebrity couple to give an interview right before the divorce, but it didn’t have that vibe.

    Instead, the vibe was that the Detroit Red Wings were the front-runner for his services. The vibe has been that the Buffalo Sabres are the only other viable suitor, with the Philadelphia Flyers having decided not to dabble in the dark arts of Babcock and hiring North Dakota’s Dave Hakstol

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  • Tyler Johnson, playing bigger than his narrative for Lightning

    NEW YORK – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Because if you've watched the Tampa Bay Lightning in the last two seasons, you’ve probably heard it every time Tyler Johnson does something amazing, which is quite often this season. 

    Tyler Johnson, 24, was an undrafted rookie. Tyler Johnson is listed at 5-foot-8, which may have been a measurement taken while he was standing on a stack of media guides. His undrafted status and small stature and tenacious play is all reminiscent of another former Lightning star, winger Marty St. Louis of the New York Rangers, who skated with Johnson before his trade last season.

    That’s the preamble for who Tyler Johnson has become in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is the NHL’s leading goal-scorer with 11 tallies, the reverser of the Lightning’s bad fortunes and someone that’s greater than the sum of his well-worn narratives.

    “Johnny’s his own player. I know the comparisons are going to be there [to St.

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  • NHL Three Stars: Johnson’s trick leads Lightning

    No. 1 Star: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

    The center tallied the first hat trick in franchise history, increasing his goal total to 11 for the playoffs in the Bolts’ 6-2 win over the New York Rangers. 

    No. 2 Star: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

    The blowout really got rolling in the third period; before that, it took a strong effort by Bish in the second period to maintain the lead. He finished with 35 saves.

    No. 3 Star: Chris Kreider, New York Rangers

    Kreider had a goal and an assist in a losing effort, that included a roughing penalty in the first period.

    Honorable Mention: Alex Killorn had two goals and an assist for the Lightning. … Steven Stamkos has a goal and an assist. … Nikita Kucherov had three assists. … Derek Stepan had the Rangers’ other goal.   

    Did You Know? The Rangers have split the first two games of a series in eight of their last 12 series.

    Dishonorable Mention: Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis both had two assists and were a minus-2. … The teams combined for 12

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