Sharks shut out Blues again, updates on Steven Stamkos & Ben Bishop and more in this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
THE MERCURY NEWS/STLTODAY.COM: Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski each had two assists and Martin Jones made 22 saves for his second straight shutout as the San Jose Sharks blanked the St. Louis Blues 3-0 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. The Sharks hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The struggles of Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko is among the reasons his club hasn’t scored since Game 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko isn’t solely to blame, as his club has been dominated over the last two games by the Sharks. However, if they’re to overcome this series deficit, the Blues need their top scorer to start cashing in .
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who’s still recovering from blood-clot surgery, all but ruled himself out of skating in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. He also suggests there’s a real possibility he won’t play at all in the postseason. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (knee) is doubtful for Game 4.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins “HBK Line” (Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel) has drawn the attention of another HBK; none other than former WWE star Shawn (Heartbreak Kid) Michaels.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers re-signed forward Zack Kassian to a one-year, $1.75 million contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s fortunate the Oilers are willing to take a chance on him for a full season. As the report points out, the 25-year-old is at a crossroads in his professional career. Another disappointing effort could spell the end of his NHL career.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings won’t be re-signing defenseman Kyle Quincey and center Brad Richards. Both are unrestricted free agents in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 36-year-old Richards could be facing the end of his NHL career. He hasn’t been a top-line player in years and is now relegated to checking-line duties. He managed only 28 points in 68 games. That’s the lowest over a full season in his NHL career.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Poor drafting since 2008 has held back the Boston Bruins. “Next year, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak project to be the Bruins’ only roster players selected by them from the 2007-15 drafts. That would be the fewest in the Atlantic Division.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli justifiably received considerable praise for building the Bruins into a Stanley Cup champion in 2011 and a Cup Finalist in 2013. His draft record, however, leaves much to be desired. It’s too early to accurately judge the draft record of first-year Bruins GM Don Sweeney. If he’s going to rebuild the Bruins, he and his staff must do better at the draft table than their recent predecessors.