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Hanifin, Werenski among top defensemen for '15 draft

Thursday, 06.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

For the first time in 24 years, two college defensemen could be drafted among the top 10 picks of the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

The probable candidates are Noah Hanifin of Boston College and Zachary Werenski of the University of Michigan. The previous time it happened was 1991, when Boston University's Scott Lachance went No. 4 to the New York Islanders and the University of Michigan's Aaron Ward went one pick later to the Winnipeg Jets.

The last time as many as two college defensemen were selected at any point in the first round was 2002, when Boston University's Ryan Whitney went No. 5 to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Minnesota's Keith Ballard went No. 11 to the Buffalo Sabres.

Hanifin (6-foot-3, 203 pounds), No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 draft, has been projected as the best defenseman on the board since the start of the season. Werenski (6-2, 206), No. 9 on Central Scouting's final ranking, was named to the All-Big Ten Hockey First Team, and the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

There are differences between the two college standouts.

Crouse highlights top left wings available in draft

Wednesday, 06.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

There is no shortage of power forwards available in the 2015 NHL Draft, to be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

At the top of the list is left wing Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Crouse had an impressive season, which included helping Canada win a gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. But uncertainty looms on where he might be selected.

In's post-NHL Draft Lottery mock drafts, one writer had him going as high as No. 5 and the other at No. 10. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound left-shot forward is No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters.

Fans greet Lightning back home after Final loss

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 6:46 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning were greeted by hundreds of fans upon at Tampa International Jet Center on Tuesday afternoon, less than a day after losing Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0 at United Center, and failing to win the championship.

The Lightning remained in Chicago on Monday night and arrived home around 2:30 p.m. ET.

"It's tough not being able to come back with the Cup," captain Steven Stamkos said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "To see the turnout here and to see the turnout [Monday at the watch party at Amalie Arena] is pretty remarkable."

Five reasons Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 3:35 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Of the three Stanley Cup championships the Chicago Blackhawks have won during the past six seasons, the one they clinched with a 2-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at United Center on Monday was the most difficult and least probable.

The Blackhawks played most of the Cup Final using four defensemen; one of them, Johnny Oduya, told he played the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final with a torn elbow tendon.

Chicago's top forwards, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, were limited to one goal each in the six-game series by the Lightning defense.

The Blackhawks' four wins in the Cup Final weren't pretty, but they showed why they were the last team standing.

Here are five reasons the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup:

Five reasons Lightning lost Stanley Cup Final

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 3:08 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Long - Correspondent

After a memorable run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Blackhawks won Game 6 2-0 and the best-of-7 series 4-2. Each game was tightly contested, with neither team holding a lead of more than one goal until Patrick Kane scored at 14:46 of the third period in Game 6.

Here are five reasons the Lightning failed to win the Stanley Cup:

Goalie matchup: Inside Game 6 for Crawford, Bishop

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 1:28 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

A big part of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was the battle between 2013 Cup winner Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. scouted the goalies before the series and tracked their performances each game, identifying attack trends and shot quality. Kevin Woodley, managing editor of InGoal Magazine, uses Double Blue Sports Analytics software to chart goals and shots in each game. Here are his findings from Game 6, a 2-0 Cup-clinching victory by the Blackhawks, as well as a shot quality overview of the entire Stanley Cup Final.

For all the questions Corey Crawford faced as the Chicago Blackhawks' No.1 goaltender, he has twice won the Stanley Cup. He faced more tough chances in the Stanley Cup Final than the Tampa Bay Lightning's Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy to win his second championship with the Blackhawks' 2-0 victory in Game 6 on Monday.

Crawford gives Blackhawks timely goaltending in Final

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 11:00 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

With his Tampa Bay Lightning trailing 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final and scoreless in Game 6, captain Steven Stamkos had a chance to give his team the lead and take some energy out of a raucous United Center on Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Stamkos, who had hit the post in the first period, found himself in on a breakaway 59 seconds into the second period. As Stamkos moved the puck from his backhand to his forehand, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford went down to the ice but kept his left leg anchored against the post. He saved Stamkos' initial shot attempt before the Lightning captain shot his own rebound off the post, keeping the game scoreless.

Crawford made 25 saves in Game 6, shutting out the Lightning in a Stanley Cup-clinching performance as Chicago won 2-0. Crawford made 80 saves on the final 82 shots he faced in the Cup Final, and with his 49th playoff victory on Monday tied Tony Esposito for first all-time in Blackhawks franchise history.

Sherbrooke's Roy hopes skill set helps him stand out

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 10:14 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- For a player to make their mark as a defenseman in the 2015 NHL Draft, they have to have a special set of skills to help them stand out from the crowd.

For Jeremy Roy of the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it's his offensive game that will ensure his name is called early.

The 6-foot, 188-pound right-shot defender is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Draft, free agency can keep Blackhawks contenders

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 9:00 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been the NHL's best franchise in June for years, whether it has been winning the Stanley Cup three times in six seasons or building the core of championship contender through the NHL Draft.

If the Blackhawks are to stay on top after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, general manager Stan Bowman must correctly make some difficult decisions about the roster.

Thinking this is the end of the line for Chicago because Bowman might need to make some salary cap-induced trades ignores the process and culture he has helped establish. Even with the pending cap crunch, the Blackhawks are built to continue their success.

"We'll try to enjoy this for a little while, but we'll get it done. We always do," Bowman said. "Obviously I've been thinking about that as well, but we're trying to enjoy this win as well."

Blackhawks' Richards made Cup promise come true

Tuesday, 06.16.2015 / 8:50 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards stood on the ice Monday surrounded by his family, a few feet away from the Stanley Cup, and thought back to the phone conversation that convinced him that signing with the Chicago Blackhawks last summer was the right move.

On the other end of the phone was Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville. There was some foreshadowing.

"The last thing Joel said when I hung up was, 'Come to Chicago, we'll win a Cup,'" Richards said. "He said it like three times in that conversation. He kept interrupting me, kept saying that, and I kept hearing that, thinking, 'How does he know that?'

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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