NHL News Recap Heading Into Round 2 of Stanley Cup Playoffs

  • Wayne Gretzky joined TNT as studio analyst this week after resigning from his Oilers post
  • Evgeni Malkin could be shipped out of Pittsburgh following the Penguins’ first-round series loss to the Islanders
  • Stephen A. Smith roasted NHL superstar Connor McDavid after the Oilers were swept by the Jets

Unlike Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry, nothing gets by us. As we head into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll get you caught up on everything in the world of hockey over the past week, whether it happened between the boards or off the ice.

Before diving in, be sure to check out our NHL betting tips page for advice on how to wager on hockey.

The Great One lands at Turner Sports

Earlier this spring, the NHL signed a seven-year television rights deal with Turner Sports worth at least $1.57 billion, or roughly $225 million per season. Turner followed up this week by signing Wayne Gretzky, the league’s all-time leading scorer, to become their lead studio analyst where he will appear at key moments during the regular season, The Winter Classic and throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

While TNT struck gold years ago by putting Charles Barkley in studio, anyone who has actually watched “The Bland One” on TV knows this a dreadful idea.

Capitals and Penguins lose in Round 1

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry followed up his overtime gaffe in Game 5 by letting the Islanders score five times in a Game 6 elimination game. Since switching general managers in early February, Pittsburgh went 32-11-2 to win the East Division. But now the question becomes, what does new GM Ron Hextall do next? After years of rumors, the Pens could finally say “das vidaña” to Evgeni Malkin after a 15-year career in the Steel City where he won three Cups. 

Fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin says he wants to retire with the Capitals so don’t expect too big of a shakeup in Washington after their five-game series loss to Boston, but Evgeny Kuznetsov’s future is in question and one has to wonder if Hall of Fame defenseman Zdeno Chara has played his last game in the NHL.

Oilers disappoint yet again

Despite having the past two Hart Trophy NHL MVPs on their roster, including generational superstar Connor McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers were swept in four games by the Winnipeg Jets.

On a brighter note for Canadian hockey teams, on Thursday night, the Leafs will have an opportunity to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Could this be the year Toronto breaks its 50-plus year Stanley Cup curse?

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Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on heart-clogging eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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