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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Thursday, 07.19.2012 / 4:56 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Sutter family ready for weekend with Cup

Hockey's first family of central Alberta is about to have a great weekend.

The Sutters have already enjoyed a summer to remember in 2012. It started with Brody Sutter signing an entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on June 1, followed shortly by his uncle Darryl capturing his first Stanley Cup as coach of the Los Angeles Kings. Then, on a draft day to remember, Brandon Sutter was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins shortly before the Winnipeg Jets selected his cousin, Lukas, in the second round.

Following all these incredible milestones, the Sutter family will have one final memory this weekend when the Stanley Cup arrives in Red Deer for Darryl's day with the most iconic trophy in sports.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 07.18.2012 / 2:03 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Fraser enjoys day-long festivities with the Cup

The weekly farmer's market in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, was forced to move this week from Friday to Wednesday, but area vendors shouldn't be too inconvenienced by the switch. It's all part of the day-long festivities welcoming Los Angeles Kings forward Colin Fraser and his special guest, the Stanley Cup.

It's not Fraser's first day with the Cup. After winning it for the first time with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, he brought the iconic trophy to his parents' home in Surrey, B.C. It was there he enjoyed a game of ball hockey with some old friends before being escorted by Royal Canadian Mounted Police to an official reception at Central City Plaza.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.17.2012 / 2:31 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kings commemorative milk bottle a big hit

As one of the last dairy farms still packing their product in glass containers, the staff at Broguiere's Dairy likes to have fun with their bottle designs.

Photo courtesy Don Broguiere

A family-run business since 1920, the company has made commemorative bottle designs honoring numerous Southern California teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, UCLA, USC, and even Little League teams. But the response they're getting for their new bottle honoring the L.A. Kings' Stanley Cup win has shocked everyone, especially the head of the company.

"The response caught us off guard. We did a 'Congratulations Lakers' bottle three different times and never had a response like this," said company owner Ray Broguiere, whose son Chris is a big Kings fan and came up with the idea. "The response has been better than anything we've ever done."

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POSTED ON Monday, 07.16.2012 / 5:28 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup spends first of two days in Brandon

After spending much of the last week moving around the east coast, the Stanley Cup made a stop in Canada's heartland Monday, where it was scheduled to spend two days in Brandon, Manitoba. With two Kings staff members hailing from Brandon, the Cup gets to enjoy an extended stay in town.

On its first day in Manitoba's second-largest city, the Cup officially belonged to Kings head equipment manager Darren Granger, who was born and raised in Brandon before playing junior hockey for the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings and eventually serving as the team's trainer for five years before moving on to the NHL.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 07.14.2012 / 5:03 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup makes second trip to Massachusetts this week

After spending Tuesday and Wednesday in Massachusetts with members of the Los Angeles' Kings training and scouting staff, the Stanley Cup spent two days in Quebec with Jonathan Bernier and Simon Gagne before boarding an Air Canada flight for a return trip to the Boston area.

This time to spend its second day in the last four years with Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi.

A Boston College product who makes his off-season home in the Boston area, Scuderi enjoyed his first Cup win in 2009 with the Penguins by bringing the Cup to his childhood home on Long Island.

In his first day with the Cup, the veteran defenseman visited the local Nassau County police station, where his father Bob served on the force for 31 years, before arriving at Bethpage High School, where his mother Leslie works as a chemistry teacher. It all culminated in a memorable event at Newbridge Park, as locals honored the first Long Island native to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup.

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POSTED ON Friday, 07.13.2012 / 2:10 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Gagne enjoys day of golf with Cup in Quebec

Eleven months after Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron brought the Stanley Cup to Quebec City, enjoying a nice breakfast with the trophy at the city's historic Chateau Frontenac hotel, another native son brought the Cup to town.

With a golf tournament followed by a public event at the Le Relais ski resort just a few miles north of the city, Los Angeles Kings forward Simon Gagne made it a Friday the 13th to remember in La Belle Province's capital city.

After receiving the Cup in the morning and enjoying a family brunch, the Gagne was escorted by local police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the Golf de la Faune resort, where he kicked off his annual golf tournament with the Cup serving as the guest of honor. This year marked the 11th edition of the annual tournament, which has contributed $600,000 over the years to children's cancer charities.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 07.12.2012 / 6:41 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup takes break from Kings to appear in 3D film

As on most film sets, the crew setting up at the hockey arena in Penticton, British Columbia, was forced to work around the schedule of its star.

That can be difficult when the shoot is in early July and the star is the Stanley Cup.

Fortunately for the producers of "Stanley Cup Odyssey," a short 3D film about the Cup set to premiere this fall at the Hockey Hall of Fame, it all worked out.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 07.11.2012 / 4:41 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kopitar's Cup journey ends in church where it began

Over the Stanley Cup's grand history, it has visited some of the most picturesque sites on the planet, including its fair share of castles, lakes and arenas.

But it would be difficult for any of those to match the scene surrounding the Cup last week when it arrived at the Church of the Assumption, a 15th-century Baroque-style place of worship located in the Julian Alps of northwestern Slovenia.

After carrying the Stanley Cup around Slovenia, the first time the trophy ever visited the country, Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar brought it, along with family and friends, to the church. For the NHL all-star, the visit brought his Cup journey full circle.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft blog

USA Hockey excited by defensemen in draft

The past two months have been good ones for American hockey players, culminating with Dustin Brown becoming the second U.S.-born captain to hoist the Stanley Cup and Jonathan Quick becoming the third U.S.-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy -- all on a Kings team constructed by American-born general manager Dean Lombardi.

But the celebration for USA Hockey began in April, when the National Team Development Program's Under-18s won their fourth straight world championship. Players from that tournament now are likely to be selected at the 2012 NHL Draft, to be held June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

"It was unique this year with Zach Parise [of the New Jersey Devils] and Dustin Brown both being [Stanley Cup Final] captains from the United States, then Jonathan Quick winning the Conn Smythe. That's something we've been striving for," said Danton Cole, who coached the U.S. U-18 team. "Hopefully we see more guys like that in the NHL."

Cole's USNTDP team could figure prominently in that goal. The U-18s cruised through the world championship tournament in the Czech Republic, wrapping up gold with a 7-0 victory over Sweden in the final.

The program had five graduates selected in the top 39 picks at the 2011 Draft. This year, their choices likely will start with Jacob Trouba, a physical defenseman and national team co-captain who was No. 9 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final ranking. He could be one of a number of U.S. defensemen hearing his name called.

"[Trouba] is a heck of a player and a really good man and a great competitor. He's going to make somebody pretty happy for a lot of years, throwing him out on right D every night," Cole said. "Staying on D, Brady Skjei is probably going to go very high as well. [He is] probably one of the best skaters to come through this program. Patrick Sieloff will go fairly high, in the first couple of rounds probably. [He has] good offensive skill but makes his mark on the defensive side of the puck by being physical. We had a pretty strong D corps this year."

The real jewel of the U-18 blue line could be its other co-captain, Seth Jones. The Texas product and son of former NBA player Popeye Jones won't be draft eligible until 2013, but is already at the top of a number of boards. If he goes No. 1, he'll be the first American to do so since USNTDP product Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane did it in in 2006 and 2007.

"He's certainly in the mix at the top there," Cole said of Jones. "He's got work to do, a whole other year to build that resume. But somebody is going to sleep well at night throwing him out every night on D.

"I felt the same way about Jacob at the end of the tournament. Those two guys did a good job."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 6:04 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Versatility proves key for Devils forwards

The Devils fourth line of Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, and Steve Bernier has been a source of energy and timely scoring throughout the postseason. But the most surprising aspect of that line's success may be that its center isn't really a natural center at all. That versatility has allowed head coach Peter DeBoer and the Devils to adjust from game to game, prolonging the team's Stanley Cup Playoff run.

"I was a little worried to start but I kind of like playing center now," said Gionta. "I just need to work on my faceoffs more."

The ability of the Devils' forwards to shift from one position to another has been an asset for New Jersey, most recently during Game 4 in Los Angeles. That night against the Kings, DeBoer inserted veteran winger Petr Sykora onto a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus, forcing Elias to move to center. On his new line that night, the longtime Devil scored his first goal of the series.

"Patrik played center before. He knows how to play it," said Alexei Ponikarovsky. "We have a few guys like that, who know how to play either wing or center."

In a postseason that has seen the Devils trail 3-2 to Florida, 1-0 to Philadelphia, and 2-1 to the Rangers, the ability to mix things up and adapt has been key for a team looking to complete a comeback for the ages against the Kings. And it’s the adaptability of New Jersey's forwards that could be key if the team wants to make history.

"It's more of a forward position rather than right wing, left wing, center," said Gionta. "I think guys have done a good job of that throughout the playoffs, filling in the different spots."

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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