This is your Morning Links, where we here at MHS will update you on the goings-on around the NHL.
The deal for Jonathan Bernier might have just been the beginning for the Toronto Maple Leafs:
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Leafs GM Dave Nonis could be busy on the trade front this week, because he’s “eager” to add a young center and top-four defenseman.
Following the Bernier trade, it was reported the Leafs had spoken with the Edmonton Oilers regarding center Sam Gagner, a restricted free agent whom it was thought the Oilers would have difficulty re-signing. A subsequent report in the Edmonton Journal, however, claimed the Oilers and Gagner may be close to a new contract.
Dreger also claimed there’s some talk Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is “in play,” though Nonis said no one has yet contacted him about the blueliner’s availability.
One furious last-minute flurry (as well as a few broken-hearted Bruins) later and we have new Stanley Cup Chamions — the Chicago Blackhawks:
The greatest — or at the least the most publicly accessible — victory lap in all of sports has picked up where it left off three years ago, with the Blackhawks trotting the Stanley Cup around Chicago as the city celebrates its second NHL championship since 2010.
And this time the fans are ready.
Hundreds waited behind fences at O’Hare International Airport to welcome the bleary-eyed team home fromBoston. The team plane carrying the Blackhawks and their championship trophy touched down shortly after 4 a.m., taxiing between fire trucks shooting water into the air and coming to rest in front of a small throng of fans.
The Minnesota Wild re-upped goaltender Niklas Backstrom (the Finnish one) to a three-year deal:
The contract is worth $10.25 million over the three years, sources told ESPN.com. The annual breakdown of the value is $2.5 million in 2013-14, $3.75 million in 2014-15 and $4 million in 2015-16.
Without much room under the decreasing salary cap, due largely to the mega-deals given to stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer, the Wild were in a tough place. Improving on their one-series-and-done playoff appearance will be difficult enough in the Western Conference, let alone without a true No. 1 goalie.
But Backstrom didn’t want to leave, even if that meant not testing a free agent market that will be thin in the crease. When Los Angeles traded backup Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, the options shrunk further.
And a must-watch from Yahoo Sports — Game 6 in GIFS.