Latest on the Stanley Cup Finalists, Tim Thomas may sit out a year, Marian Gaborik faces shoulder surgery, latest on top prospect Nail Yakupov, and more.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings hope to continue their phenomenal road success in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final in New Jersey. They’re an incredible 9-0 on the road in this year’s playoffs.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Devils star forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, held scoreless in Game One, expect a better effort from their side in Game Two. Team owner Jeff Vanderbeek, who was plagued with financial difficulties over the past year, expects to remain the team’s owner for a long time to come.
BOSTON HERALD/CSNNE.COM/BOSTON GLOBE: There’s a strong possibility Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas could sit out next season due to family issues, raising questions over what management will do if he decides to go that route. Suspension is one possibility, though because of his “over-35” contract, it wouldn’t remove his salary from their cap hit for next season. If Thomas does sit out, it will put the spotlight upon Tuukka Rask to step in and prove himself as a starting goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s more on Thomas and the Bruins in today’s Rumor update.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: NY Rangers forward Marian Gaborik suffered a serious shoulder injury early in this year’s playoffs, which will require surgery and should sidelined him for between five-six months. Gaborik came under considerable criticism for not playing well as the post-season went on and his offensive production declined. Those critics now owe him an apology, but he won’t get one. Once again, folks, if a star player isn’t performing well in the post-season, it usually means they’re nursing an injury. Don’t be so quick to assume otherwise.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Top prospect Nail Yakupov is trying to prove he’s not a “stereotypical Russian prospect”, distancing himself from comparisons of recent Russian prospect flameouts Nikolay Zherdev and Nikita Filatov. Yakupov is the real deal, gang. He’s got tremendous skills and will be a star in the NHL. My only concern about him isn’t the country of his birth, his size (5-10, 189 – roughly what Sidney Crosby was when he was drafted in 2005) or the possibility he might be lured away by the KHL, but his recent concussion history. Otherwise, he wants to follow in the footsteps of Ovechkin and Malkin, and has the skills to do it.
KUKLA’S KORNER: Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello has signed with KHL’s Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, CSKA Moscow’s talks with Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov are “in the home stretch”, and Blue Jackets defenseman Brett Lebda “is close to signing a contract with Barys Astana of the KHL”. Try to contain yourself from panicking over the “talent drain” to the KHL.