‘Rebuild’ accelerated – are the Rangers ready to contend now?

Jul 23, 2019 Greg WyshynskiESPN Artemi Panarin walked out of Madison Square Garden with the first New York Rangers jersey bearing his name draped around his shoulders like a cape. The grandeur of his play — only seven NHL players have amassed more points the past four seasons than Panarin (320) — had been matched by the scale of his free-agent contract with the Rangers on July 1, totaling seven years and $81.5 million. Striding toward Seventh Avenue, Panarin turned and faced the large video board atop Penn Station. His…

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Wysh List – Can the St. Louis Blues repeat as Stanley Cup champs?

11:01 AM ET Greg WyshynskiESPN By the end of the summer, this is what the typical St. Louis Blues player will have done: You hoist the Stanley Cup for the franchise’s first time before walking through a car wash’s volume of champagne and beer in the dressing room, and then having an all-night celebration with teammates. A few hazy days later, you attend a parade in your honor, as hundreds of thousands of St. Louis neighbors flood the streets to acknowledge your accomplishment and general greatness. You travel to Vegas…

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Blues hire 2-time All-Star Savard as assistant

ST. LOUIS — The Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues hired Marc Savard as an assistant coach Wednesday. The 42-year-old Savard spent 13 years playing in the NHL, splitting time among the Rangers, Flames, Thrashers and Bruins. The two-time All-Star was part of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup title team. Since his retirement, Savard has been part of broadcasts for Hockey Night in Canada and on Maple Leafs pre- and postgame shows. He also has been coaching a junior hockey club in Ontario. Blues coach Craig Berube called Savard a “tremendous…

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Winningest coach-athlete duos in sports history

8:00 PM ET Kelly CohenESPN Tim Duncan spent his entire 19-year career with the San Antonio Spurs — and this week, he came out of retirement to join the team’s coaching staff as an assistant coach. “It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich joined the Spurs organization in 1996, then Duncan was drafted by San Antonio as the first overall pick of the 1997 NBA draft. The player-coach duo…

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Predators sign Sissons to 7-year, $20M deal

The Nashville Predators have signed forward Colton Sissons to a seven-year, $20 million contract that runs through the 2025-26 season. Sissons, 25, scored 15 goals and had 30 points — both career highs — in 75 games with the Predators this past season. “Colton will be an important part of our team for the next seven seasons, and we are happy he has made a long-term commitment to our organization and the city of Nashville,” Predators president David Poile said Tuesday in a statement released by the team. “He’s a…

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Penguins, Aston-Reese agree to 2-year, $2M deal

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins and forward Zach Aston-Reese avoided arbitration on Monday, agreeing to a two-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 season. The deal is worth $1 million annually. The two sides came together minutes before heading to arbitration. “We were actually setting up for the meeting and kind of right before it started, right at nine o’clock, it got done,” Aston-Reese said. “Right on time.” Aston-Reese, 24, posted career highs in goals (eight) and assists (nine) despite being limited to 43 games because of a hand injury.…

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Report — Ex-Preds captain’s death apparent suicide

DETROIT — A police report says the death of former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson was an apparent suicide, according to the Detroit News. The paper said Wednesday it had obtained a Rochester Police report, and that Johnson was found by his wife shortly before 10 a.m. on July 7. A gun and a single bullet were found near him. No suicide note was left. The Oakland County Medical Examiner declined to discuss findings from an autopsy, according to the paper. Johnson was with Nashville for the franchise’s first season…

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Ron Francis’ vision for Seattle’s NHL team

10:48 AM ET Emily KaplanESPN The still-unnamed Seattle franchise is two years away from debuting in the NHL, but the league’s 32nd team has its first GM. That’s Ron Francis, the Hall of Fame player who spent four years as the Carolina Hurricanes GM before being demoted, then fired, under new owner Tom Dundon in 2018. Francis landed a coveted job in Seattle and has about 27 months before the 2021-22 season opener. The biggest challenge for Francis and his new squad? Matching the expectations that the Vegas Golden Knights…

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