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(Page 69 of 168)
Features

Vigneault's steady hand leads Rangers to Cup Final

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 3:35 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- To figure out how and why Alain Vigneault became the ideal coach for the New York Rangers this season, first you have to go back to the preseason schedule in late September.

"It might sound stupid, it probably is, but I always say for a 7 o'clock game, 6:30 warm-up, at 6 o'clock my teams always shut the music off in the dressing room," Vigneault said Sunday. "It sounds stupid, but I always shut it. I did the same thing here."

Until he didn't.

Vigneault on Sunday recounted the story of how his rule changed.

He said defenseman Dan Girardi approached him before an exhibition game to let him know the players, particularly goalie Henrik Lundqvist, would prefer to keep the music on rather than adhere to what at the time might have seemed like a rigid rule of 6 o'clock.

"I said, 'OK, we'll go [to] 6:15,'" Vigneault recalled.

That wasn't good enough.

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Blackhawks, Kings wrap up epic series with Game 7

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- One team is going to make history Sunday night at United Center, and one is going to spend the offseason wondering what might have been.

This Western Conference Final has been an epic showdown befitting the hype that preceded it, and Game 7 is one of the most anticipated NHL games that isn't part of a Stanley Cup Final in years.

There are so many positive numbers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings that's it is hard to sort through them all. These are the two most successful franchises of the past three NHL seasons, and both are set up for future achievements at this level as well.

"Being a part of it we know it's been a special series, a lot of ups and downs, fast, high-paced games," Chicago forward Ben Smith said. "You want to be on the winning side of it. The loser of this series probably won't be remembered… you want to be the guys who come out on top of what's been one of the best series in a while."

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Rangers back at work to prepare for Stanley Cup Final

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 2:46 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- A group of New York Rangers players went to the Yankees game on Saturday as a way to unwind. Rick Nash said he walked around Manhattan to get some fresh air and relax. Others stayed home with their wife and kids, catching up on some lost family time.

"Definitely a mental break," said Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, one of the few who went to Yankee Stadium.

To a man, the Rangers' players commented that staying away from the rink Friday and Saturday was exactly what they needed after playing 20 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and booking their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final with a 1-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

They were thrust back into reality Sunday, even though it still feels like a dream to be playing meaningful hockey in June.

The Rangers went through the first of three consecutive workouts in preparation of the Cup Final at their suburban training facility. It was a 45-minute high-paced practice. The only players missing were backup goalie Cam Talbot (undisclosed injury, day-to-day) and forward J.T. Miller (upper-body injury, day-to-day).

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Rangers' Talbot day-to-day with unspecified injury

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 1:13 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

NHL.com

New York Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot did not practice Sunday due to an unspecified injury. Coach Alain Vigneault said Talbot is day-to-day but did not elaborate further.

David Leneveu, the Rangers' third-string goalie behind Talbot and Henrik Lundqvist, skated Sunday in New York's first practice since advancing to the Stanley Cup Final with a 1-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final this past Thursday.

The Rangers will play either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. The Kings and Blackhawks will compete in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Canadiens mascot Youppi! honors bet with Fallon

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 12:49 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

On Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens and their mascot Youppi! fulfilled the terms of a bet made with late-night television host Jimmy Fallon.

Because the Canadiens lost the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final to the New York Rangers 4-2, the team changed its Twitter avatar to a picture of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist playing guitar. In addition, Youppi! tweeted 10 pictures of himself wearing a Rangers jersey around town before ending Sunday morning by riding a mechanical bull at Montreal bar Chez Serge.

Beginning with a shot looking up at Montreal's Bell Centre, here's Youppi!'s tour of the town wearing a Rangers jersey with Fallon's name.

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NHL Scouting Combine continues to evolve

Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 11:20 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- The NHL Scouting Combine has come a long way since the days of fitness testing in the basement of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

That was evident this week when the 21st installment of the Combine was held at the Westin Bristol Place and The International Centre.

A total of 119 of the top prospects from North American and Europe did their rounds of interviews and fitness exams at one of the NHL's premier events leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28.


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Kings can't avoid Kane, even on off day

Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 9:57 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2014 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Kings are getting tired of talking about Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane and the new line combination that's given them problems in Games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference Final.

In fact, the Kings on Saturday were tired of talking about the Blackhawks in general. They've lost two straight games to the defending Stanley Cup champions to let a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series slip away, forcing Game 7 on Sunday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

It will be the third straight series the Kings have played a Game 7, making them the third team in NHL history to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs that way, the first to do it with every deciding game on the road.


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Seven questions for Blackhawks-Kings Game 7

Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 8:36 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2014 Western Conference Final

Shawn P. Roarke and Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writers

CHICAGO -- Game 7 is the only fitting ending to this unforgettable Western Conference Final between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks.

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 3-3 with the deciding game Sunday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Everything is on the line for these teams, who have been equals of each other in almost every available metric. Like great heavyweight boxers, they have spent the first six rounds probing the opponent's weaknesses and defending their shortcomings as best as possible.

Some knockout punches have been landed, for sure. Los Angeles scored six straight goals in Game 2 to even the series, playing 22 minutes of superior hockey out of 60 that night. The Kings followed with two wins to take a stranglehold on the series, but the Blackhawks have found ways to get up and inflict damage of their own.

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Blackhawks, Kings each have good Game 7 history

Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 6:37 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2014 Western Conference Final

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks each have some history on their side as they prepare for Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, to be played Sunday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Not only will the Blackhawks have more than 21,000 fans rooting them on, they'll have the precedent of 91 wins by home teams in 155 Game 7s since the best-of-7 format was adopted in 1939. That includes Chicago's 2-1 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, the Blackhawks' most-recent Game 7.

The Blackhawks are 6-5 in Game 7s, 5-2 at home. They've won their past four Game 7s in their building since losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971 Stanley Cup Final at Chicago Stadium.

Los Angeles has won two Game 7s in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, each on the road and each in convincing fashion. The Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-1 to complete a comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in the Western Conference First Round, then knocked off the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 in the second round to advance to the conference final.

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Rangers overcame tough start to get to Cup Final

Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 3:11 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- This was Alain Vigneault letting his hair down for a few moments.

His tie was still done up and his shirt was still crisp, as if it had been recently pressed, but the New York Rangers coach was very much at ease and even somewhat giddy as he stood at the podium in the press conference room at Madison Square Garden late Thursday.

Vigneault was fielding questions following the Rangers' 1-0 series-clinching win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. He had already answered two questions before hearing the third.

Now Vigneault was laughing.

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players