No Brainer

Welcome to the Pregame Skate, a Five Minute Major Upgrade to Your Inbox

Davidson’s Dream Duty

(@nyrangers)

What’s Happening: The Rangers have a new president—John Davidson—tasked with rebuilding a team that just finished a season that saw declining attendance as the season progressed. On accepting the job, the former TV color commentator said “Dreams do come true.”

What He’s Working With: Lots of young talent and even more picks in this June’s draft—nine to be exact. And the best part for Davidson? The Rangers won the second pick in the draft lottery, which likely means they will get Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko.

What Else: The Blueshirts also have an impressive pipeline of prospects to work with in the coming years. Hobey Baker Award finalist Adam Fox was acquired in a trade with Carolina, and University of Wisconsin defenseman K’Andre Miller—who the Rangers took 22nd overall in last year’s draft—is expected to play one more college season before making the jump to the NHL.

Roster of Rookies: The Rangers roster was often filled with rookies this past year—which at times meant lackluster results, but it was great for the development of the young players. Filip Chytil showed great promise in his first season, but the Rangers will expect more out of former first rounder Lias Andersson, who had just six points in 42 games.

One Veteran to Watch: Chris Kreider is in the last year of his four year deal, so the first half of next season will likely determine if he is part of the Rangers future plans.

And There’s This: The St. Louis Blues owe a lot of their current success to Davidson, as he brought the franchise back from the dead. While in St. Louis, Davidson was a part of drafts where they acquired Jordan Binnington, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, and Colton Parayko. Rangers fans hope that this sort of renaissance is upon them in the coming years.

No Brainer

(@hilaryknight)

What’s Happening: Women’s hockey is undergoing massive changes, from the folding of the CWHL to the boycott of the NWHL to the formation of the PWHPA. What’s next? Quite possibly a WNHL as soon as 2020.

The WNBA, which began its 23rd season on Friday, “is a great example of what could be,” said Monique Lamereux-Morando, a U.S. player who is helping lead the movement for a change in the game. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman did his homework in 2010, hiring Val Ackerman—the WNBA’s first president—to assess the situation. At the time, she felt an NHL-backed league wasn’t possible, but now, she says it’s a “no brainer.”

But why does she feel this way? The 2018 Olympics and female participation at the 2019 NHL All Star game have propelled the women’s game—Ackerman feels that the NHL needs to act in the next year to take advantage of this momentum.

By the Numbers: The NHL reached record-status in 2018 when the value of a team was found to be in the neighborhood of $630 million. NHL players earn between $650,000 and $12 million, while the females in the NWHL or the now-extinct CWHL bring home between $2,000 and $10,000.

The Bottom Line: Last season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman allocated $50,000 to both the NWHL and CWHL. But what if someone like, oh say Hilary Knight, asked him for an NHL-backed league. Bettman responded vaguely, “We’d have a conversation and see what she has in mind.” (via Seth Berkman from The New York Times)

Practice Makes Perfect?

10 days: That’s how long it has been since the Bruins played a Stanley Cup playoff game. It’s great to have a healthy, well rested team, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case this post season. The Islanders were swept by the Hurricanes following a ten day break before the B’s swept those same Hurricanes after they had a six day break.

Will history repeat itself? Just four teams have swept the conference final since 1994–two of the four lost in the Stanley Cup, while the two winners each required six games before they could lift Lord Stanley.

Practice Makes Perfect: Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy knew that they could only practice so many times before it became stale, so he decided to organize a scrimmage at night to mimic a normal game day. Last Thursday at 7 PM, the Bruins played an intrasquad game with real referees and all, giving the players the chance to go through their normal routine ahead of Monday’s Game #1.

One Big Thing: B’s captain Zdeno Chara participated in the scrimmage and should be good to go for Game #1 of the finals after missing Game #4 of the Hurricanes sweep. Chara’s +11 rating is tops in the league this post season.

Dig Deeper: Marisa Ingemi, Boston Herald

History Made in the Mem Cup

What's happening: The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies beat the Halifax Mooseheads one last time to win the Memorial Cup - a 4-2 win for their first Canadian major junior championship in franchise history. Peter Abbandonato scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and from there the Huskies never looked back.

History Made: Defenseman Noah Dobson became the 13th player in Memorial Cup history to win consecutive titles with different franchises after also winning in 2018 with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Mario Pouliot became the first head coach to win back-to-back titles with different teams, after also winning last year with Acadie-Bathurst.

Why it matters: the small-market team is now on top of the junior world.

Full Recap…

More Links from the Rink

  • This 90-year-old played in two Memorial Cups back in the 1940s while playing for the Halifax St. Mary’s Juniors. Harold (Red) Conrad later became a firefighter in Halifax and is the last player remaining from those two Memorial Cup teams. Did you know? In those days, the Memorial Cup was play over several weekends in different cities around the country.

Monday May 27th Games

  • St. Louis Blues (C3) vs. Boston Bruins (A2) Monday, May 27, 8:00 p.m.: Blues @ Bruins | NBC | Series tied 0-0