Mike Babcock on the additions of Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau, Yegor Korshkov drops the gloves vs. Canada, and more in the links.

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NHL Rumors: New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs (myNTR)
[McCarthy] spoke with Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock who said that he plans on playing Ron Hainsey with Morgan Rielly, and Jake Gardiner with Nikita Zaitsev. “We feel Rielly’s a real, real good player. We want him to be upper echelon in the League so we needed a partner for him.” Babcock adds that Marleau can play anywhere on in their top nine and loves the versatility he has.

‘Auston Matthews’ rapper SVDVM on hit song, Leafs fandom (Sporting News)
“I was surprised. Personally I wasn’t even going to release it,” Siboko said. “It was more for the people around me hearing it and being like, ‘Yo, release that, release that.’ I ended up putting the whole video idea together. I was like, ‘Let’s just chill in the hockey rink.’ Put it out there. It wasn’t even like a stunt or anything, it was just more like having fun.”

NHL releases full 2017 pre-season schedule (Sportsnet)
Saskatoon and Quebec City are among eight other non-NHL cities to host a pre-season game. They are: Allentown, Pa. (NY Islanders vs. Philadelphia, Sept. 20); Bridgeport, Conn. (NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers, Sept. 22); Kansas City, Mo. (Minnesota vs. St. Louis, Sept. 28); Quebec City, Que. (Montreal vs. Boston, Sept. 18, and Montreal vs. Toronto, Sept. 27); Saskatoon, Sask. (Carolina vs. Edmonton, Sept. 27); State College, Pa., on the campus of Penn State University (Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh, Sept. 19); Tucson, Ariz. (Anaheim vs. Arizona, Sept. 25) and Uniondale, N.Y. (NY Islanders vs. Philadelphia, Sept. 17).

Top 25 Under 25: Andrew Nielsen checks in at #19 (PPP)
Nielsen jumped up three spots in this ranking to #19 following his rookie season in the AHL. Given his age, physical strength, and puck skill, this is a player with clear strengths that provide us with real reasons for optimism. Nielsen looks bound to head back to the Toronto Marlies this season, and he will aim to improve his footwork and become more of a reliable option in his own end.

Canada/Russia brawl at Sochi Hockey Open includes Leafs’ Korshkov (Yahoo!)
It all started when Canadian forward Eric O’Dell, he of 41 career NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets, took a run at an unsuspecting Russian player near the benches at the end of the second period. Russian defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin retaliated by going after former Wild blueliner Maxim Noreau, an innocent bystander wandering by the scene of the crime. Canadian forward Justin Azevedo then rushed over and jumped into the melee and all hell broke loose.

Crosby believes Penguins can three-peat (NHL.com)
The thirty-something years is when it’s supposed to get harder to stay on top and harder to win, especially in a league that is getting younger with star players Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews barely into their 20s or, in the case of Matthews, 19 for another six weeks. For perspective, neither Wayne Gretzky nor Gordie Howe won the Stanley Cup after turning 30. Each won it four times in his 20s, but never three times in a row. Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr didn’t win it after turning 30 either, although their careers were marred by injuries, as Crosby’s very nearly was six years ago.

Report: Ovechkin is still ‘hopeful’ he’ll participate in 2018 Olympics (PHT)
If that wasn’t enough, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk essentially said there is no chance whatsoever at this point in the summer of the NHL re-arranging its schedule to have its players attend the Games. “As far as any chance of anything, I do know, it’s a done deal. We’re finished. It’s beyond the point of (no) return because we have our schedule,” Melnyk told Zoomer Radio, per the Ottawa Citizen. “And, now, everybody has been working very hard for the last month to (get ready).

Capitals a prime candidate to take a step backwards (TSN.ca)
I’m certain that the Washington Capitals are a good team – they’re probably a very good team. But last year’s team has the look and feel of a group that benefited from everything breaking in their favour. And although the Capitals have been able to sustain lofty goal differentials for close to a decade, we haven’t really seen many seasons like last one. Can we reasonably expect a team to continue scoring on one of every 11 shots? And can we, at the same time, reasonably expect a team to hold their opponents to about 6 per cent shooting?