To help you with planning for NHL free agency on July 1 http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kolton-miller-jersey , here are some of our coverage plans. Please direct questions to Dave Zelio (dzelio(at)ap.org). Plans subject to change. All times Eastern.
MONDAY, JUNE 25
Movement at the NHL draft sets the stage for one of the most active free agency periods in recent history with John Tavares, Paul Stastny, Ryan O’Reilly, James van Riemsdyk, James Neal, David Perron, Rick Nash, Thomas Vane, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis and Ian Cole among those potentially available. They can start speaking with other teams Monday ahead of the market opening July 1. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words Denzel Ward Browns Jersey , photos.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
HKN–FREE AGENCY-THINGS TO KNOW
The New York Rangers are expected to be among the most active teams in free agency with a boatload of salary-cap space and aging goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. But they won’t be the only team looking to find top-end talent in a rare free agent pool full of it. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 600 words, file photos by 5 a.m.
FRIDAY, JUNE 29
HKN–FREE AGENCY-NAMES TO WATCH
NHL free agency is top heavy, and the price will be high for the likes of John Tavares, Rick Nash, James Neal and Mike Green if their teams can’t keep them off the market. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
HKN–FREE AGENCY-GOLDEN KNIGHTS
The Vegas Golden Knights are among the NHL teams with the most salary cap space, giving the Western Conference champions some chips to put on the table in a bid to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by noon.
SUNDAY Troy Niklas Color Rush Jersey , JULY 1
HKN–FREE AGENCY RDP
John Tavares and a host of other players could be in play as free agency opens in the NHL. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m. Developing from free agency opening at noon.
– HKN–FREE AGENCY-THE LATEST, real time updates throughout the day.
– Team separates on merit.
For the Columbus Blue Jackets, it’s about playoff positioning.
For the Nashville Predators, it’s about fun and tuning up for what they hope will be a long playoff run.
Saturday night’s regular-season finale in Bridgestone Arena can make the difference between a potential first-round series with two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh for Columbus (45-29-7) or maybe falling all the way to a wild card and a matchup with a division champion.
As for Nashville (52-18-11), it took care of its remaining regular-season business in one fell swoop Thursday night. Shortly after clinching the Central Division title and the Western Conference’s top seed with a 4-3 win in Washington, the Predators watched the end of Boston’s 3-2 loss in Florida on locker room TVs.
That assured Nashville of the league’s top regular-season record, which means it will have home-ice advantage for any playoff series. Or to put it another way, if it carries its home games, it will hoist the Cup for the first time in franchise history.
“All year we’ve talked about doing the best we can and it’s always been just about home ice,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “The guys did an incredible job of staying really focused and fairly consistent with their game Youth Orlando Brown Jr. Jersey , and because of it, we sit where we sit.”
Which means Nashville has earned the right to play this game any way it sees fit. It can play to win, it can play some of its mainstays to keep them sharp, or it can rest everyone and basically call up its AHL affiliate from Milwaukee for the night.
Laviolette is tight-lipped under any circumstance, and with the playoffs looming, doubly so. Don’t expect any big pronouncements concerning a lineup until Saturday’s morning skate, if then, but it wouldn’t be surprising if multiple regulars got the “maintenance night” treatment they’ve received during the last month.
“It’s big for the organization,” said right winger Craig Smith, who scored two goals Thursday night. “A lot of guys have put in a lot of hard work and a lot of time to produce a season like that. We’re having fun with each other and holding each other accountable to get out there and play for each other, so it’s great.”
While the Predators can treat this game however they desire Authentic Ronnie Harrison Jersey , the Blue Jackets are likely chasing the two points. Even though they’ll open the Eastern Conference playoffs on the road, they’re at least in there, clinching despite Thursday night’s 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.
This will be the first time that Columbus has made consecutive playoff appearances.
“We were the youngest team in the league most of the year,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “If you want to continue to build your organization and find your way and be that team that’s going to be there all the time, you have to experience it. You can’t be in one year, lose in five games and then take two years to be back in it.”
Nashville is looking for a sweep in the season series. It posted a 3-1 win on Nov. 7 in Columbus, scoring two goals in the last five minutes.