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Ryan O’Reilly wins Conn Smythe Trophy after incredible postseason run with Blues

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Last season he was going through the motions and admittedly lost his love for the sport with the Buffalo Sabres. This year, things are completely different.

Following the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins to capture the Stanley Cup in Game 7, veteran forward Ryan O’Reilly was rewarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 2019 Playoffs.

It was tough to put in words how he felt, but O’Reilly has overcome a lot (including legal issues) to get to this point in his career and he couldn’t be happier.

“It’s tough to describe…Most of these guys on here I pretended I was as a kid, and now to be on there with them, it’s an incredible feeling.” said O’Reilly.

The 28-year old, who was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on July 1, 2018, had made the post-season just the third time in his 10th NHL season, and advanced past the first round for the first time in his career in 2019.

Through 26 games, O’Reilly compiled eight goals, 15 assists and a plus-2 rating. He was at his best in the Stanley Cup Final, scoring five goals in the last four games to lead the Blues to their first-ever Cup.

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Mikko Koivu’s days with the Minnesota Wild are numbered

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It’s the end of an era in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Wild announced on Friday that they will not be bringing back captain Mikko Koivu for the 2020/2021 campaign.

“His hard work, dedication and team-first mentality will be extremely difficult to replace in our lineup. Off the ice, Mikko’s impact in the State of Hockey was immeasurable as he went out of his way to make a positive impact on so many people in our community, including his charitable contributions to Children’s Minnesota.” said Wild GM Bill Guerin.

“We thank Mikko for everything he has done for our organization and wish him and his family the best in the future.”

The 37-year old has spent his entire 15-year NHL career with the franchise. During his tenure in Minnesota, he posted 205 goals, 504 assists and a plus-70 rating in 1028 games. Koivu, who was been the Wild captain since 2009, is the franchise leader in games played, assists and points.

Rumors have suggested that the veteran will continue his playing career in his native Finland. He is not interested in playing for any NHL franchises other than the Minnesota Wild.

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Geoff Ward becomes 20th head coach in Flames history

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The Calgary Flames have decided that Geoff Ward is their guy moving forward.

The team officially removed the interim tag from the 58-year old, making him the full-time head coach heading into the 2020/2021 season. He has officially become the 20th head coach in franchise history.

Ward, who replaced Bill Peters behind the bench in November due to his racism scandal, led the Flames to a 25-15-3 record this past season.

The Flames ended up beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, but fell short in the first round of the playoffs against the Dallas Stars.

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Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy named 2020 Jack Adams Award winner

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The Boston Bruins may have seen their playoff run end in disappointing fashion, but that shouldn’t take away from their incredible season. They were the only team to reach 100 points prior to the league’s shutdown do the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result had the NHL’s best record in 2019/2020.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been rewarded for his contributions to the team’s success this past season. It was announced on Wednesday night that he has taken home this year’s Jack Adams Award, a trophy given to the NHL’s coach of the Year recipient.

“You think about your family. It’s been a long road,” said Cassidy while reflecting on winning the award during a Zoom press conference.

“Started at the bottom in Providence. Thankful for the opportunity. Fortunate to get the chance in Boston.”

The 55-year old, who took over as Bruins bench boss in February 2017, has posted a 161-66-34 record in his three-plus season tenure with the franchise. During that span, they have reached the playoffs every season, and came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup back in 2019.

He signed a multi-year extension with the Bruins prior to the season back in September 2019.

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