Morning Skate: Tickling, licking...'this league's getting weird'

Morning Skate: Tickling, licking...'this league's getting weird'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Royal Wedding talk goes on, and on, and on, and on.

*After being the target of Marc-Andre Fleury’s tickling attempt behind his ear, Blake Wheeler admitted “this league’s getting weird” with tickling and licking at the center of this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

*Don Cherry takes aim at some of the consistency from the officials as they once again missed a clear high-stick/cross-check to the head of Mark Schiefele during the Jets/Golden Knights series.

*What a great story, by the way, as the Vegas Golden Knights stand just one win away from being in the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.

*The heat is on for the Washington Capitals as the Tampa Bay Lightning have taken control of their playoff series, and it’s time for the Caps to craft a response.

*The John Tavares Watch has begun for a number of hopeful Canadian teams as the July 1 open of free agency approaches.

*What’s next for Mike Fisher after the Nashville Predators veteran once again retired after the premature end of Nashville’s playoff run?

*For something completely different: It’s probably time for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to stop trying to mirror the events of the cinematic universe quite so much.



Bruins not ruling out bidding on John Tavares

Bruins not ruling out bidding on John Tavares

Ilya Kovalchuk signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings Saturday despite receiving significant interest from the Boston Bruins. 

After missing out on acquiring the 35-year-old Russian winger, the Bruins may have set their eye on free agent center John Tavares. 

Tavares, 27, has played all nine seasons of his career with the New York Islanders, scoring 272 goals and tallying 349 assists. He scored a near career-high in goals last season with 37, and should be in line for a large pay-day once NHL free agency begins on July 1st. 

If the Bruins decide to commit big money to Tavares, they risk their salary cap flexibility if they decide to resign Charlie McAvoy and Ryan Donato. Nevertheless, Boston has shown a willingness to spend and upgrade their roster in order to make a Stanley Cup run next season. 


Morning Skate: Ex-Bruin Dougie Hamilton on the move once again

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Ex-Bruin Dougie Hamilton on the move once again

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while declining all interviews prior to the July 1 free agency period.

*Dougie Hamilton has now been traded twice in the last three years despite statistically being one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Certainly, he’s got fancy stats fanboys in his corner with an armada of bar graphs and pie charts that will tell you he’s one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL, and anybody can see that he scored 17 goals last season. But it’s also clear that Hamilton has soured on each of his last two organizations leading to an exit, and the feeling seems pretty much mutual based on the stuff surrounding both of those departures.

I can tell you in Boston that one of the final straws with Hamilton was a Vegas team party at the end of the regular season where every member of the team aside from Hamilton and Reilly Smith was in attendance. They were both traded within a couple of months after that. By all accounts even noted party machine (sarcasm included) Zdeno Chara was there. It was one of several signals in that final season that Hamilton wasn’t really fitting in with what the Bruins were doing as a team. There were other things as well over the years where it was clear that Hamilton was a little sensitive to criticism and a little set in his ways, and self-focused, on the ice. He’s certainly not a bad kid or a divisive teammate, but it says a lot that Hamilton dropped to Boston’s spot in the draft and now has been dealt twice despite his considerable talent.

Hopefully, the Carolina Hurricanes become the NHL organization where Hamilton gets comfortable and doesn’t eventually want to leave for another fresh start.  


*Speaking of the Hurricanes/Flames deal, Carolina is certainly getting the new look that they were hoping for.


*John Tavares will opt to talk to several teams in the free agent interview period, so he’ll become the focus of the next couple of weeks until he decides where he wants to sign a mega-big deal.


*TSN has their top-60 free agents with the pre-July 1 interview period officially set to begin on Monday morning.


*The first born-and-bred Brit was selected in the NHL entry draft this weekend when Liam Kirk heard his name called.


*For something completely different: Here’s what to expect from the next Jurassic World movie in the series.