Updates on the Canadiens-Lightning and Ducks-Flames series, plus the latest on the Canucks and Oilers.
MONTREAL GAZETTE/TAMPA BAY TIMES: While Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Galchenyuk struggles to cope with rising expectations and playoff pressure, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov has learned from his previous playoff frustration.
CALGARY SUN/LOS ANGELES TIMES: Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano (bicep surgery) participated in full practice with his teammates, but he still isn’t expected to suit up for this series against the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, veteran Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin has been mentoring young defenseman partner Hampus Lindholm.
THE PROVINCE: Despite calls from some Vancouver fans and pundits for the Canucks to blow up their roster by shipping out their aging stars in favor of young talent, management persists in taking a more patient approach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Canucks surprised everyone by reaching the playoffs in the first year of their supposed rebuild, I can’t say I blame their front office for their current course. They will gradually phase in younger players, but they still haven’t fully restocked their system yet. It’s wise not to rush their promising kids before they’re fully ready, as that can do more harm than good. The Canucks are transitioning rather than doing a full roster rebuild. So far, so good. Should they take a step backward next season, then you’ll likely see them ship out more veterans while cycling in youth.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The prospect of drafting wunderkind Connor McDavid, along with the recent front-office changes and the prospect of a significant coaching hire, has brightened the Oilers’ future.