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Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

'Jammer's Speech' key to Blackhawks' Cup Final run

Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 3:15 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- If the Chicago Blackhawks can win the 2013 Stanley Cup, one of the lasting memories of their remarkable season will be "Jammer's Speech."

It happened inside the Blackhawks locker room at United Center the day after Chicago fell behind 3-1 in its Western Conference Semifinal against the rival Detroit Red Wings. After losing Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, several players stepped forward to speak, including 38-year-old Jamal Mayers.

His words left a lasting impression on his younger teammates and might have given the Blackhawks the kick they needed to get things back in gear. Chicago stormed back to win the next three games against Detroit, then defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Western Conference Final.

They open the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday here (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

"I just spoke from the heart and I think -- this is what I try to tell young guys -- if you're authentic about the team you can say whatever you want to the team, or you should say whatever you want to the team, because your heart's in the right place and all you really want to do is win," Mayers said. "That's kind of what I was talking about. At the end of the day, the guys on the ice did the job and came back, but I think, at the very least, maybe I gave them a little bit of perspective on what it's like to be 38 and at the end of your career."

Five key questions surrounding Stanley Cup Final

Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 10:14 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

CHICAGO -- The buildup finally is finished. After days of discussion and dissection, the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks will commence Wednesday with Game 1 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at United Center.

Once the puck drops, the answers to all the questions that have been raised during the past four days of inquisitions will begin to reveal themselves.

Asked to identify the biggest key to the series, Boston's Rich Peverley hinted at the frustration the players are starting to feel as they wait to get back to those things they can control -- mainly their actions on the ice.

"That's for you guys to write about, I don't know," Peverley told during Stanley Cup Final Media Day on Tuesday. "They have a lot of depth, we have a lot of depth; they are playing really well at the right time and I feel like we are playing pretty good right now, too. I think it is going to be a really good series. I can't focus on one thing."

Nobody can identify just one thing that will win or lose the final series of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but here are five key questions whose answers will play a part in determining which team will raise the Stanley Cup later this June.

Blackhawks will try to be fast, physical against Chara

Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 9:24 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa believes he has devised a strategy to neutralize gargantuan defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Hossa doesn't claim to have this inside information because he lives across the street from Chara in Trencin, Slovakia; rather, he knows his Chicago Blackhawks will have their work cut out now that they're matched against the 6-foot-9, 255-pound captain of the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

"He's the biggest guy on the ice and his stick is so big that if you don't move your feet, he's going to hurt you," Hossa said. "He's going to come close to you and pin you on the board. You have to make sure you're moving your feet, stop and start."

Stanley Cup Final by the numbers

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 7:29 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

John Kreiser - Columnist

Sixteen teams began the quest for the Stanley Cup in late April. Just two – the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks -- remain.

Both teams are trying to build on recent successes as they prepare for the opener of the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins ended a 39-year championship drought in 2011 by rallying to beat the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game Final. They succeeded the Blackhawks, who ended a 49-year drought in 2010 by beating the Philadelphia Flyers in six games.

Both are coming into the Final off dynamic performances in their conference finals. The Bruins swept the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0, wrapping up the Eastern Conference Final with a 1-0 victory in Game 4. Patrick Kane, whose overtime goal gave the Blackhawks the Cup three years ago, eliminated the Los Angeles Kings by completing a hat trick with another OT winner that gave Chicago a 4-3 victory and a five-game triumph in the Western Conference Final.

A few days off should leave both teams fresh when they take the ice at United Center for Game 1 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

After 21 years, Bruins' Jagr back in Stanley Cup Final

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 7:21 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The night Jaromir Jagr deked past four Chicago Blackhawks to score one of the most memorable goals of his career at the old Civic Arena, George and Sandy Saad were five months and one day from welcoming a future NHL player into their family.

Brandon Saad grew up in Gibsonia, Pa., about a half-hour north of Pittsburgh watching Jagr and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Igloo. Saad is now a 20-year-old rookie for the Blackhawks, and he will face Jagr and the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, starting with Game 1 on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

It is the first time Jagr will play on the NHL's biggest stage since he and the Penguins defeated the Blackhawks in a four-game sweep in the 1992 Cup Final.

"It is a long time ago, but it was such an important series and such an important playoffs for me because we won. I remember almost everything," Jagr said. "That first game we were down 4-1 halfway through the game and I thought we didn't have much of a chance. They played very good hockey. They forechecked very well and we were making a lot of mistakes. Then all of a sudden with five minutes left, we were down one and I was lucky I scored a very good-looking goal and then Mario [Lemieux] won it with I think 10 or 15 seconds left. Even though it was the first game, I thought it was a key game."

'Baby Jagr' Frolik all grown up with Blackhawks

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 7:03 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- There was a time when Chicago Blackhawks wing Michael Frolik was dubbed "The Baby Jagr" while starring in his hometown of Kladno, Czech Republic.

The comparisons were a bit far-fetched, according to Frolik, but he was honored to be mentioned in the same breath as his childhood hero: current Boston Bruins wing Jaromir Jagr.

"When I was young, they called me ['Baby Jagr'] but I never really got into it," Frolik said Tuesday. "I know it's not true. I know how he was … he's one of a kind. What he did in his career is unbelievable."

Wednesday, Frolik will be living a childhood dream when he plays in the Stanley Cup Final for the Blackhawks against the Bruins in Game 1 here at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), competing with Jagr for hockey's grand prize.

Tale of the Tape: Stanley Cup Final favors Blackhawks

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 6:30 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

By virtue of record and seeding -- as well as a poll of 19 NHL Network and panelists -- the Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, which begins with Game 1 on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

But are the Blackhawks the better team? It's a hard call to make because the finalists have not met on the ice this season and haven't played any common opponents because of the intraconference schedule used during the 2012-13 season.

In the end, the seven-game series will determine who is the better team -- as it always does.

But who wants to wait that long? Instead, writers Shawn P. Roarke, Dan Rosen, Arpon Basu and Corey Masisak break down the teams in key categories to find out which team has the overall edge entering the series.

Not surprisingly, the Tale of the Tape came out in favor of the Blackhawks, but it was a close contest throughout the categories.

Toews not sweating goal slump, doing the little things

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 5:59 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It happened on a power play in Game 5 of the Chicago Blackhawks' Western Conference Semifinal series against the rival Detroit Red Wings.

Jonathan Toews fired a puck off goalie Jimmy Howard's mask into the upper right corner of the net from close range -- and that's the only goal the Blackhawks captain has scored so far in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Let that sink in for a second.

Toews, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 as most valuable player of the playoffs, has scored once on 51 shots during this postseason. Despite that, his team is still set to play the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). That's how deep the Blackhawks are this year -- and that's how much Toews has grown as a person, teammate and captain.

"There's a lot of people on the outside watching, and the easy thing to notice is when you score goals or when you score points," Toews said at Tuesday's Cup Final media day. "I mean, at the end of the day that's how you win games, by scoring goals, but I feel like there's still a lot of good things in my game, [and] that all of a sudden it could change [in Game 1]. I could score a couple goals and next thing you know, no one's really worried about that anymore. That's just the way it is. I know that's the way things are, so I'm not too worried about it."

NHL, NHL Network Stanley Cup Final predictions

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 5:45 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

The 2013 Stanley Cup Final starts Wednesday night between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins at the United Center with Game 1 (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS). It appears from a panel of experts from NHL Network and that we are in for the long haul.

Of the 19 voters on the panel, 18 felt that the series would go at least six games and 11 believe that the Final will go seven games for the second time in three years.

There was far less agreement, though, on which team will claim the Stanley Cup.

A dozen of the voters opted for the Blackhawks, while seven selected the Bruins as the eventual champion.

Senators started Chiarelli on path to Bruins' GM job

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 10:12 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

The 1998-99 season was a landmark campaign for the Ottawa Senators. Following years of losing since rejoining the NHL in 1992, the Senators established franchise marks for wins (44) and points (103) before being swept in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Buffalo Sabres.

It was a pivotal season for a young, up-and-coming club, but one that saw assistant general manager Ray Shero leave for the Nashville Predators. By season's end, general manager Rick Dudley left to join the Tampa Bay Lightning barely a year after taking the Ottawa job. Suddenly, the main front-office tasks fell on new general manager Marshall Johnston and his right-hand man, Trevor Timmins. Both men's backgrounds were in scouting, so the Senators decided to hire someone to help with legal and managerial tasks.

Their choice was 35-year-old Peter Chiarelli, an Ottawa native and agent/lawyer who today is among the NHL's premier GMs and on the cusp of winning his second Stanley Cup in three seasons with the Boston Bruins.

"We decided we needed somebody to come in and do contracts, look after the day-to-day business," Timmins told "That's how Peter got into this side of the business from the agent business. He was doing all the contract stuff, doing other legal stuff for the organization."

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