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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Thursday, 09.08.2011 / 1:21 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Grabner 'outworks' Tavares at NHL Store

From the moment he found out he'd be facing John Tavares in a competition at the NHL Store Powered by Reebok, Michael Grabner knew he would be victorious.

The Calder Trophy finalist squeaked past his New York Islanders teammate Thursday afternoon in a skills competition that saw the pair attempt to sell T-shirts to consumers, as well as folding shirts and pressing their names and numbers on Isles' sweaters.

One thing Tavares learned after the competition, though -- Grabner had previous experience.

"It was a little rigged, but my first job was working in a hockey store … I was 14," the speedy Austrian winger said afterwards. "I was used to talking to customers and printing shirts and stuff like that. I'm one-up on Johnny to start the year. It's 1-0 and that's all that matters right now."

Not surprisingly, Tavares first earned his paycheck on the ice. He wasn't pleased in dropping the competition to Grabner, but he was humble in defeat.

"My first job was working for a goalie school," Tavares said. "It was definitely a lot easier than this. I think it was a little bit rigged, but I'll let Mike take this one."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 09.08.2011 / 1:14 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Tavares would love the 'C'

When Doug Weight retired in May, it left the New York Islanders without a captain.

That vacancy is expected to be filled, with the most likely candidates being Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo. But if John Tavares joins that mix, that's just fine the third-year pro who turns 21 this month.

"I'd love to be (captain)," Tavares told NHL.com Thursday morning. "I definitely understand maybe I am still too young and just need to worry about the game, but if it was presented to me, it definitely would be something I would talk about and make sure it's the right decision for the group and for myself as well. I'd love to be a leader of this team.

"Mark Streit and Kyle are great guys and are going to be highly recommended, for sure. But I still feel I'll be a big leader no matter what, and I'll still have a lot of responsibility in a lot of ways. Whatever way it goes, it's going to be a guy that definitely deserves it and will do a great job at it. If I get the opportunity, it would be a huge honor."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 9:02 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

Perry grabs Hart Trophy

After carrying the Anaheim Ducks to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, Corey Perry was recognized by being named the Hart Memorial Trophy winner, which is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. 

Perry appeared in all 82 games for the Ducks this season and led the club in both goals (50) and points (98). Nineteen of those goals came in the final 16 games of the season as Anaheim finished fourth in the Western Conference.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

St. Louis wins another Lady Byng

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for a second straight season on Wednesday night.

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of
sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

St. Louis was the runaway winner with 70 first-place votes and a total of 994 points. Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom -- who won his seventh Norris Trophy on Wednesday night as the League's best defenseman -- finished second in the voting for the fifth time in his career. Lidstrom tallied 464 points.

Also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player, St. Louis had 31 goals, 68 assists and just 12 penalty minutes (which matched last season's career-low). He had points in each of the final nine games of the regular season and 15 of the last 17 to help the Lightning finish fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay rallied from a 3-1 series deficit in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games. The Lightning then swept the Washington Capitals in Round 2 before losing to the Boston Bruins in a tremendous seven-game Eastern Conference Final.

"This is a great honor to be here," St. Louis told the audience after repeating as the Lady Byng winner. "Thanks to the organization and everybody that has supported me all the way through this."

While St. Louis is now a two-time winner of the Lady Byng, Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk took the award home the previous four years (2006-09).




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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:51 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

Skinner wins the Calder Memorial Trophy

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League's top rookie on Wednesday night.

Skinner, who turned 19 last month, was Carolina's first-round pick (No. 7) at the 2010 Entry Draft.

He appeared in all 82 games for the Hurricanes and 31 goals, 32 assists and 46 penalty minutes. His 63 points finished second on the club, trailing only veteran center Eric Staal (76).
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POSTED ON Monday, 06.13.2011 / 9:45 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Historic first period at TD Garden

History was made at TD Garden during the first period of Game 6 on Monday night.

During a wild opening 20 minutes, the Boston Bruins set the Stanley Cup Final record for the fastest four goals by one team as they accomplished the feat in 4:14. The previous record was 5:29, set in Game 4 of the 1956 Stanley Cup Final by the Montreal Canadiens against Detroit.

The  Bruins also tied the Stanley Cup Final record for the most first-period goals by one team. Twelve other teams scored four times in a first period, but it hadn't been done in 15 years, as the Colorado Avalanche were the last team to do it in 1996 against Florida.

Also, Brad Marchand's first-period goal made him the fifth rookie in NHL history with as many as nine goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also became the 11th rookie with as many as 16 points in one postseason.

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who is 3-0 in Vancouver in this series, was pulled 8:35 into the first period Monday night. He has allowed 15 goals on 66 shots in Boston and has an 8.05 goals-against average and .773 save percentage.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.08.2011 / 11:17 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Home-ice advantage is key at Stanley Cup Final

Once again, it's the home team that has reigned supreme in the Stanley Cup Final.

With the Boston Bruins' 4-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 at TD Garden on Wednesday night, home clubs improved to 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season.

In 2009, the home team won the first six games before the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena. In 2010, the home team was 5-0 until Patrick Kane's goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime of Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center.

In the 20 years prior to 2009, the home team won the first four games just once. That happened in 2003, when the New Jersey Devils beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in seven games.

With Boston's win on Wednesday night, home teams improved to 15-2 in the Stanley Cup Final since 2009.
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POSTED ON Monday, 05.30.2011 / 6:38 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Recchi won't rely on past experiences

One would think Mark Recchi's two-plus decades of NHL experience will come in handy when the puck drops on the 2011 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

But the Boston Bruins' veteran forward strongly disagrees.

"You know what? It doesn't," the 43-year-old told reporters on Monday, two days before his team opens a best-of-seven series against the Vancouver Canucks. "At this point, it really doesn't matter. We've learned a lot through the course of the season with this group of guys. There's been some guys that have been through a lot. Same as Vancouver -- they've got some guys that have been through a lot. Some hardships, some good things, and it's just a matter of going out and playing and enjoying it. I mean, this is fun. It's exciting times for everybody."

It's been five years since Recchi was last in position to win a Stanley Cup, when he helped the Carolina Hurricanes win that franchise's lone championship in 2006. Considering there's a strong possibility this season will be his last in the NHL, the Bruins are hoping the Kamloops, British Columbia native can leave the game with one more piece of jewelry.

"It would be nice for a couple of reasons," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Obviously his commitment especially to our team since he's been with us and the will to really go above and beyond his role as a player and really have taken some young players under his wing and has been bringing them home for meals, or whether he's talked to them about certain situations and certain times of the year. Some young guys go through slumps, and as a coach you can talk to those guys and try and do the best you can, encourage them and help them correct what needs to be corrected.

"But when you got a guy like Mark Recchi in the dressing room that will go up to this player and put his arm around him and say, 'Listen, I've been through this' and so on and so forth, these are the things that are part of the game. And coaches are as good as the people that surround them, and a lot of time you think it's just about assistant coaches or other people. It's also about their players, and when their players get it, they can certainly be a big asset to us because we come in the dressing room, we give them the message that we need to give them, but it has to be reinforced by players. And Mark [Recchi] has always been the one who, one of many in that dressing room that's done that. He's been a really valuable asset to our hockey club and he's got a lot of things to back it up with."

Certainly, it will take an all-hands-on-deck approach for the Bruins to win this series that pits them against the Presidents' Trophy winners. Vancouver racked up 54 victories and 117 points during the regular season and disposed of the No. 2 San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals in just five games.

"We only played them once this year, so we haven't gone over really a lot of team stuff," Recchi said. "But, I mean obviously they're a Presidents' Trophy winner, they're a great hockey team, deep and well coached, and we'll look at things we have to do. I mean obviously, any key to your team's success is how you play personally. I think we focus on what we do ourselves. Our coaching staff will give us obviously their tendencies, and their coaching staff will give them our tendencies. It's who’s going to want it more and who's going to play to their abilities the best and their game plan the best."
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 11:05 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Fleming awake, alert after brain surgery

TAMPA, Fla. -- It was a great night all around for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Not only did they take a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series, but assistant coach Wayne Fleming is alert and talking after undergoing surgery earlier in the day to remove a malignant brain tumor.

Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher confirmed to reporters after Tuesday night's 4-3 win in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Washington Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum that Fleming is awake and alert.

"It was the first thing we talked about with players after the game," Boucher said. "We didn't even talk about the win. I did get information from (Lighting GM) Steve (Yzerman) that Wayne's wife had talked to Steve and said that the operation was over. He was awake and alert, which is something extremely positive for that type of operation that he had to go through. For us, any positive note on Wayne is big for us."

The Lightning rallied from a 3-2 deficit by scoring twice in a 24-second span early in the third period. Steven Stamkos tied things up with a laser at 5:23 before Ryan Malone redirected Nate Thompson's feed past Michal Neuvirth for what proved to be the game-winner.

Afterwards, Stamkos -- who is now 4-2-6 in 10 playoff games -- dedicated the victory to his ill coach.

"We're obviously very excited about that," said Stamkos, who, along with his teammates, was informed of the positive news immediately following the game. "It's still a long battle for him and he's a fighter. All we can do now is pray for him and his family. It was a big win for him tonight."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 1:55 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Gagne, Kubina still out for Lightning

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher managed to crack a joke when asked about the statuses of forward Simon Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina for Tuesday night.

"Simon and Kubina are not going to play. If I want them to play tomorrow, I better start praying," Boucher said Tuesday morning at the St. Pete Times Forum, where Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal will be held in just a few hours. "They're day-to-day -- except for today and tomorrow."

The Lightning lost both Gagne and Kubina during Friday night's Game 1 at the Verizon Center. Gagne fell awkwardly early in the first period due to a hit from Scott Hannan and his head struck the ice. Kubina was injured in the second period after being hit by Jason Chimera -- a hit Kubina declined to comment on Tuesday morning.

"It's getting better every day," Kubina said. "I'm not playing tonight. We'll see about tomorrow."

Randy Jones took Kubina's spot in the lineup Sunday night and started the play that led to Vincent Lecavalier's goal in overtime. Jones will be in the lineup again tonight, as will Blair Jones, who replaced Gagne on Sunday.
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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild