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Posted On Monday, 06.10.2013 / 3:45 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Gonchar adds dimension to Stars

Sergei Gonchar may be in the latter stages of his NHL career, but he proved this past season he can still be a valuable fantasy contributor when given a prominent offensive role.

Sergei Gonchar
GOALS: 217 | AST: 558 | PTS: 775
PPG: 101 | +/-: 39

His new two-year contract with the Dallas Stars, which was made official Monday after the Ottawa Senators traded his rights last Friday, indicates he could be quarterbacking the team's first power-play unit once next season rolls around.

If Gonchar transitions well, he's likely to remain valuable and under the radar from a fantasy standpoint entering 2013-14. With Norris Trophy-winner Erik Karlsson sidelined in February, the 39-year-old stepped into his teammate's role and proved he can still make a difference. Gonchar kept the team afloat in the playoff race and even set a franchise record with at least one assist in 10 consecutive games (Mar. 3 to Mar. 23). He also led all Ottawa skaters with 12 power-play points in the regular season.

Posted On Monday, 06.10.2013 / 3:23 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Getting waived best thing for Daugavins

BOSTON -- In late March, Kaspars Daugavins barely could crack the Ottawa Senators' lineup and eventually was waived.

Now, the left wing not only is heading to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Boston Bruins, he seemingly is part of their top 12 forwards in the aftermath of Gregory Campbell's broken fibula sustained in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 24-year-old said he feels blessed he was plucked off the waiver wire by Boston on March 27.

"Well, obviously I was lucky to get out of there [Ottawa] and come to a great organization, and I wasn't thinking this far," Daugavins said after the Bruins practiced at TD Garden on Monday. "Like at the time, I was just hoping to get some ice time and play and prove that I can be in this League. And we picked up in the playoffs, so it's awesome. It's like a big bonus right now."

With Campbell out for the remainder of the postseason, it's likely Daugavins will continue to fill Campbell's spot when the Cup Final begins Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

Posted On Monday, 06.10.2013 / 2:52 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Hard to find edge in fantastic Final matchup

Usually the two teams that get to the Stanley Cup Final have had to overcome something. The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have both been tested. They've overcome the challenges and they're playing their best hockey right now. You don't get this far unless you're playing great hockey, and I think both these teams are playing the best hockey they've played all year long. They both have six excellent defensemen, they both play four lines and both teams are playing great, as you could see in their respective conference finals. To dominate two teams like the Los Angeles Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins the way Chicago and Boston did is just phenomenal.

The 2013 Stanley Cup Final is pitting two teams that are deep, talented, experienced and playing with a ton of momentum. You probably have to go back to the 1980s when the Edmonton Oilers were playing against the Philadelphia Flyers, or maybe when the Flyers faced the New York Islanders a few years earlier, to find two teams that are this experienced in the Stanley Cup Final. It's very unusual to have a Final with two teams that have each won the Stanley Cup so recently.

So, with all that said, who has got the edge?

The answer is probably that neither team has any edge, at least not one that's obvious. I think what you've got is a powerful offensive team like the Blackhawks against a team that loves to try and play matchups and match lines. I think that's exactly what Bruins coach Claude Julien is going to have to do. He's going to want Zdeno Chara out against Jonathan Toews' line and Patrice Bergeron out against Marian Hossa's line, and it'll go from there just like it did against Toronto, the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh. And don't forget, this team returns a lot of the players that shut down a big offense in Vancouver in the Stanley Cup Final two years ago.

Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 8:11 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Richards returns to Kings lineup in Game 5

CHICAGO -- Center Mike Richards is back in the Los Angeles Kings' lineup for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night after missing three games with a concussion.

Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 3-1 and can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final with a win.

Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 2:24 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Sutter calls Richards '50/50' to play in Game 5

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter said "it's possible" center Mike Richards will play in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). Richards has missed the past three games with a concussion.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series, 3-1.

"I'd say it's 50/50," Sutter said of Richards' chances of playing.

Richards took rushes on the fourth line between Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford during the morning skate Saturday. He declined a request to be interviewed in the dressing room afterward.

Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:38 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Keith happy to be back in Blackhawks lineup

CHICAGO -- After watching teammates scramble to fill in during a one-game suspension, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is excited to get back in the lineup.

The Blackhawks will try to close out the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). With his team leading the best-of-7 series, 3-1, Keith said he's eager to rejoin the fray.

"I'm looking forward to the game and know it's going to be the biggest game of the series. I want to play a good hockey game," said Keith, who was suspended for one game after hitting Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face with his stick in Game 3. "It's tough to watch. When you're playing every game and then all of a sudden you're watching on TV, it's just a different feeling altogether. I couldn't really tell you, to be honest, if we were playing good or bad in the first period [of Game 4] or not … or what was going on."

Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:03 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Richards skates with Kings' fourth line

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards was taking rushes with the fourth line Saturday morning at United Center, an indication that he may be in the lineup for the first time since he suffered a concussion in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Game 5 is Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series, 3-1.

On Friday, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Richards was "doubtful at best" for Game 5, but he was centering the fourth line between Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford during the morning skate. Nolan has gone pointless in the postseason and has not played since Game 6 of the Kings' second-round series against the San Jose Sharks.

Richards was injured when he was hit behind the goal line late in Game 1 by Chicago center Dave Bolland. He skated in between Games 3 and 4, but was not on the ice for the morning skate prior to Game 4 at Staples Center on Thursday. The Kings did not practice Friday.

Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:44 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins' Vokoun good but not good enough

BOSTON -- Under any other circumstances, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be a hero. Friday, he just wasn't heroic enough.

With Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posting a .985 save percentage and two shutouts in their four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final, Vokoun's performance wasn't enough to allow the Penguins to reach their goal of the Stanley Cup Final.

"Tomas, I thought, was two goals short of brilliant, two goals short of Tuukka Rask in these two games," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after a 1-0 loss in Game 4 ended Pittsburgh's season. "He was great. Not as many saves as Rask in Game 3, but he was equally up to the task, and he was again tonight. I thought he played outstanding. It was dueling goaltenders there for a lot for Games 3 and 4."

Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 9:16 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings center Richards 'doubtful at best' for Game 5

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (concussion) made the trip here for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), but it's likely he'll miss his fourth straight game.

"Honestly, I couldn't tell you," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "It is doubtful at best."

Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 8:55 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings need some goals from power play

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been brilliant when the opponent has more players on the ice.

That statement is beyond repute at this point in 2012-13. The Blackhawks were third in the NHL in penalty-killing proficiency during the regular season, and they've turned up their PK a few more notches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Through 16 games, the Blackhawks have erased 54 of 56 power plays (96.4 percent). Chicago's PK prowess is a big reason the Blackhawks can return to the Stanley Cup Final by beating the Los Angeles Kings at United Center in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Kings have managed one power-play goal in four games -- and that one was a meaningless score after the outcome of Game 2 had long since been decided.

"I think they do an excellent job of blocking shots. I mean, that's plain and simple," Kings forward Justin Williams said Friday. "They get their bodies in shot lanes and you can sometimes fake that you're in the shot lanes when you're actually not, but they're in them every time. They're manning-up and getting behind them.

"We're getting a lot of zone time on the PP. I think we've only had one goal to come of it. We haven't scored a big power-play goal yet. Getting through the first layer is important because we've had a lot of possession time, a lot of zone time, but just getting it through their blockers is key."

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Quote of the Day

I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL