Stanley Cup Final
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Babcock: thrill of new challenge led him to Toronto

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 12:13 PM / News Staff

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Friday what led him to leave the Detroit Red Wings after 10 seasons as coach was the need for a new challenge.

"I love it here," Babcock said after cleaning out his office at Joe Louis Arena. "But I also think that it was time for me … I wanted a different challenge."

Babcock was hired by the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, signing what was reported by TSN and Sportsnet as an eight-year, $50 million contract.

However, Babcock said Friday it wasn't the money that lured him to Toronto.

"Is it about money? Sure it's about money," Babcock said. "But there was enough money in every place that it didn't factor into the decision. I already have enough nice suits. I'm good."


Lightning's Carle out for Game 4 vs. Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matthew Carle won't play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) because of an undisclosed injury.

Carle did not practice Friday. He left Game 3 on Wednesday at 9:55 of the first period following a collision in the neutral zone with Rangers center Derek Stepan.

He has two points and a minus-6 rating while averaging 16:34 of ice time per game in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games.


Kings' Weal leading AHL affiliate through playoffs

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 11:02 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to

From the start the American Hockey League season, the Manchester Monarchs have been a force to be reckoned with.

They had 109 points, the most in the league, and the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings hasn't slowed down in the playoffs, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2010. The Monarchs have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series against the Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers; Game 2 is Saturday.

Jordan Weal, a third-round pick (No. 70) by the Kings in the 2010 NHL Draft, has been an instrumental part of the Monarchs' success. His 69 points were third in the league in the regular season; in the playoffs he has 10 goals and a league-high 15 points.

"These first two series have been really hard battles and kind of two different dynamics," Weal said prior to the start of the conference final. "It was a big rivalry against Portland [in the first round], and then it was more of a systematic series against Wilkes-Barre [in the second round]. Whoever we play, I don't think it’s going to change our game."


Despres steps up with game-winning goal for Ducks

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 10:00 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres is becoming less of a mystery to his team every day.

Despres made one of his bigger reveals Thursday, finally illustrating in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final the goal-scoring touch that was part of the reason he was so coveted by Anaheim general manager Bob Murray as the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline approached.

Despres scored the first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his career on a well-placed one-timer with 55 seconds remaining in the second period at United Center, breaking a tie and providing the winning margin in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.


Special teams play defining role for Ducks in Game 3

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- The Anaheim Ducks believe failures on their penalty kill cost them Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

An improved penalty kill may have won them Game 3.

Special teams played a defining role Thursday at United Center in the Ducks' 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks, which gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 is Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Ducks were shorthanded five times in Game 3, including a first-period double minor to Jakob Silfverberg. But Chicago couldn't capitalize; the Blackhawks managed one shot during 9:18 of man-advantage time for the game.

Meanwhile, Anaheim got one power play and scored on it. Patrick Maroon deflected a shot past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford 27 seconds after Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa negated a power play with a holding penalty in the offensive zone.


'Fresh legs' don't help Blackhawks in Game 3

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville likes options, so the Chicago Blackhawks coach used two Thursday in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

Rather than sticking with the lineup that won Game 2 3-2 in triple overtime on Tuesday, he replaced center Antoine Vermette and rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen with Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom.

The moves changed Chicago's bottom two lines but failed to pay dividends in a 2-1 loss at United Center that put the Blackhawks behind 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

Quenneville said the changes weren't related to injuries, but the length of Game 2 did play a role.

"We just wanted to get some fresh legs in there," Quenneville said. "We felt that [Versteeg] never played over a long stretch there in the last series and we wanted to get him back in there. Tough game the other day with travel and we wanted to bring some new guys in."


Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Thursday, May 21

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 12:27 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Frederik Andersen stopped 27 shots, including all 21 he faced after the opening period, and Simon Despres scored the go-ahead goal at 19:05 of the second period to power the Anaheim Ducks past the Chicago Blackhawks and to a 2-1 series lead.

* The Ducks improved to 10-2 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 4-1 mark on the road. Elias says Anaheim also won 10 of its first 12 playoff games when it advanced to its first Stanley Cup Final in 2003. The Los Angeles Kings were the last team to accomplish the feat, opening with an 11-1 run en route to their first Stanley Cup in 2012.

* The Ducks handed the Blackhawks their first home loss of the playoffs (5-1), just two nights after Chicago did the same to them. Anaheim also improved to 5-1-0 in its last six visits to United Center dating to Feb. 12, 2013, including 2-0-0 in 2014-15 (regular season and playoffs).


Shero expects Elias to be 'big part' of Devils in 2015-16

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 12:03 AM / News

New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero on Thursday said he expects forward Patrik Elias to be a "big part of this team" next season.

Elias said earlier in the week he did not know what his role would be and he was willing to leave the only NHL team he's ever played for, if needed.

Shero told he will talk to Elias in person soon. The two have spoken only by phone since Shero was hired to replace Lou Lamoriello on May 4.


Blashill says he wants to be Red Wings coach

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 11:32 PM / News

Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill said Thursday he wants to succeed Mike Babcock as coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

"Yes, I want to be the next head coach of the Detroit Red Wings," Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. "An ultimate goal of mine was to become an NHL head coach; obviously, within this organization, it's a great organization to be part of."

Babcock on Wednesday left the Red Wings after 10 seasons to become coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was introduced in Toronto on Thursday, when Blashill was leading the Griffins, Detroit's top farm team, in preparation for the American Hockey League Western Conference Finals against Utica. Game 1 is Sunday.


Strangis: Morrow sacrificing for another Cup chance

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 9:20 PM / Strangis' Stories

Ralph Strangis - Special to

I'll tell you a story. It's a good story. Late May 2000; second straight Western Conference Final between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.

The Stars are the defending Stanley Cup champion but needed seven games to get past the Avalanche on the way to winning it. The Avalanche add defenseman Ray Bourque to help them get over the hump. Epic stuff.

Patrick Roy and Ed Belfour; Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk against Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Jere Lehtinen. Sergei Zubov, Derian Hatcher; Sandis Ozolinsh, Adam Foote.

This time Colorado takes a 2-1 series lead with a Game 3 win at home. It's May 20, a day off between games. The Stars have a 21-year-old rookie who wears No. 45; his name is Brenden Morrow. Nobody sees him doing much in the series because he had broken his ankle in Game 1 a few days earlier. The Stars bring him on the trip but leave his gear in Dallas. He ain't a player.

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Quote of the Day

I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans