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Features

Blackhawks' core in position for historic Cup win

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 8:35 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Winning the Stanley Cup is a dream for millions of youth hockey players, and ends up remaining a fantasy for most.

Winning it twice is an incredible achievement. Moving beyond twice is when the really exclusive clubs start to come into play, and that is the opportunity at hand for many of the core members of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Seven Blackhawks (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson) are four wins from having their names engraved on the Cup for a third time.

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Blackhawks' Desjardins enjoys Cup Final buzz

Andrew Desjardins - Special to NHL.com

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for NHL.com periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final.

TAMPA -- The time since we won Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday was really valuable so we could get recharged.

We knew we had a few days to really get the body rested and to just prepare again mentally.

You just relax.

I didn't do too much, just stayed in the apartment and hung out with my family and spent as much time as I could with them. You've been away from your family throughout the playoffs because of the travel, days at the hotel, so it was nice to have a few days with the family.

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Media Day new for Lightning, old hat for Blackhawks

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 6:00 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn was on one knee, listening to coach Jon Cooper go over a drill on the whiteboard at practice Tuesday when his eyes drifted into the stands behind him at Amalie Arena.

The reason Killorn was distracted was because there were at least 20 cameras recording the moment, a fairly routine talk between a coach and his team.

"Jeez," Killorn thought to himself, "what are they filming?"

Welcome to the Stanley Cup Final, Alex.

The first official event of the NHL championship series was Media Day on Tuesday, with every player from the Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks available to speak to reporters about the series, hockey in general, or about any subject under the sun.

It can be an overwhelming experience for players who haven't gone through it.

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McDavid, Eichel start Combine interview process

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 5:35 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel got their first taste of what life might be like in the NHL during the first day of team interviews at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine on Tuesday at First Niagara Center.

McDavid interviewed with two teams, among them the Edmonton Oilers, who hold the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, which will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. He has three interviews remaining Wednesday.

Eichel had three of his scheduled six interviews Tuesday, including one with the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the No. 2 pick.

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Blackhawks' Toews gets high praise from Yzerman

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 5:16 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Steve Yzerman is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and someone many current NHL players look up to as one of the superstars of their youth.

Yzerman, the longtime Detroit Red Wings captain and current Tampa Bay Lightning general manager, said Tuesday at Stanley Cup Final Media Day that Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is a better player than he was.

"Well, we [each] wore No. 19," Yzerman said when asked about Toews. "The reality is Jonathan is bigger, stronger … better. He just is. Tremendous all-around player, great person. I got to meet him at the World Championships in person for the first time in 2007, in Moscow. He played for us right out of North Dakota. Fit in on the team, one of our best players.

"Over the course of my career, my play evolved and became, through (Red Wings coach) Scotty Bowman and the way he wanted our team to play, we became more defensive-minded players, more well-rounded players. And Jonathan's been that since Day One when he came into the League. Just a complete hockey player. So he's stronger than me. I don't think I could even take him in a race, so probably faster. Just a better hockey player."

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Lightning's Filppula eager for another chance at Cup

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 5:15 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- It's been seven years since Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula won the Stanley Cup. He's ready for another celebration.

Filppula won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings and he's the only player on the Lightning roster with a Stanley Cup ring. Now 31, Filppula wants to relive the excitement all over again.

The Lightning will face the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"This is what you play for; this is where you want to be," Filppula said Tuesday of winning the Cup. "In my first three years in the [NHL], we made the conference final and the [Cup] Final twice. So you think it's going to happen again, and it doesn't. I'm just happy to be back here."

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Garrison: Lightning feeling excitement of community

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 5:04 PM / Player's Blog with the Lightning's Jason Garrison

Jason Garrison - Special to NHL.com

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for NHL.com periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final.

TAMPA -- Let's start this off by looking back.

As soon as we won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday, obviously there was a lot of excitement, but it was the first time I came back to my cell phone after a game to find, I think, over 120 text messages.

As fun as it is, as much as you're trying to embrace it all, trying to take it all in, we know we haven't done anything yet because there is still another series to go. But that said, and this goes back to my point about the text messages, there is just so much support out there for me, for us.

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Yzerman's patient approach paying off for Lightning

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 4:49 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TAMPA -- Through 12 seasons and three Stanley Cup championships, Kris Draper watched and played alongside Steve Yzerman as he masterfully mixed qualities such as being humble with being calculated in order to become one of the greatest players of all time.

Draper, watching from a distance now, has seen Yzerman use those same qualities to become one of the best general managers in the NHL.

Yzerman inherited forward Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman and has used them as his centerpieces to carefully and methodically, piece by piece, build the Tampa Bay Lightning into a Stanley Cup contender.

The Lightning start the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Yzerman won the Stanley Cup three times as a player with the Red Wings and once as a member of Red Wings management.

The Lightning are without question his team now, and they have a chance to be his masterpiece.

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Devils will be fast, attacking, supportive, Shero says

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 2:22 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Before New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero introduced coach John Hynes at Prudential Center on Tuesday, he spelled out the blueprint for what the Devils will look like under his leadership.

"Since this is really the first time I've had a chance to address everybody here, I think it's important for me to establish and say what I think exactly the identity of this hockey team is going forward," said Shero, who was hired May 4. "There are three things that I think you can identify the New Jersey Devils with moving forward, and that's going to be fast, that's going to be attacking, and that's going to be supportive."

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Goaltender Matchup: Inside Lightning's Bishop

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 9:53 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so NHL.com broke down the Stanley Cup Final battle between Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. After starting with Crawford, it’s Bishop's turn in the spotlight.

Much like many goaltending coaches do before a playoff series, NHL.com correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. Regular-season goals were recorded in their original Save Review System, and playoff goals, including how they were scored, were tracked in the soon-to-launch SRS 2.0. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from on the ice are nice, but the real value is analyzing the plays that led to them and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

OVERVIEW

Bishop has put himself in the history books during this playoff run by becoming the first goalie to backstop his team to the Cup Final with a road shutout in Game 7 of the conference finals, which Bishop did in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers. He also is the first goaltender with road shutouts in Games 5 and 7 of the same playoff series, and the first to win his first two Game 7 starts, a run that started in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings. But Bishop's first playoff experience hasn't all been positive, which is fitting because there are ups and downs that come with being a 6-foot-7 goaltender in the NHL.

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Quote of the Day

For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday