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(Page 100 of 254)
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Blackhawks brush off fatigue, focused on winning

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 5:01 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have played the most games in the NHL the past two seasons and are halfway to repeating as Stanley Cup champions.

Between the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs they've played a whopping 165 games in the past 16 months, and that's not including games played by the 10 Blackhawks who participated in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

That's a lot of hockey, with a lot of high-intensity games and wear and tear on their bodies and minds. Coming off a six-game victory against the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Second Round, there are murmurs that some of Chicago's players are running on fumes heading into the Western Conference Final, which will start Sunday. They'll play the winner of Game 7 on Friday between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

The Blackhawks strongly disagree.

"I don't think we're worried about anything right now," said right wing Patrick Kane, who scored the series-clinching overtime goal in Game 6 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center. "We're in a pretty good position that not a lot of teams get to go through. We're in a conference final and it's going to be a great matchup whoever we face, so there's no real cause for concern and we feel our best game's ahead of us. So it's exciting."

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Latvia upsets U.S., Canada routs Denmark at Worlds

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 4:18 PM / News

NHL.com

Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres) scored the go-ahead goal with 5:25 remaining Thursday and Latvia pulled off a 6-5 upset of the United States in a preliminary-round game of the 2014 IIHF World Championship played at Minsk Arena in Belarus.

Latvia (3-1, 9 points), which is led by Sabres coach Ted Nolan, ended a six-game losing streak to the U.S. in the tournament by beating the Americans for the first time since 2001.

"It was an up-and-down game. We went up there, they went up there," Girgensons told the IIHF website. "But we have to stop taking so many penalties. A lot of them were our own fault."

Brock Nelson (New York Islanders) and Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning) scored power-play goals in the second period to rally the U.S. (2-2, 6 points) from a 3-1 deficit, but Latvia never let the United States pull in front in the third.

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Rangers excited to start conference final in Montreal

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- A matter of hours after learning they would be playing the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final, the New York Rangers were already looking forward to Game 1 on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Most Rangers did not participate in New York's optional skate Thursday, leaving plenty of free time to get excited about the next round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's going to be an exciting series. I've been fortunate enough to play in the playoffs up there, there's really nothing like it," forward Brad Richards said. "I can't wait to get up there."

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Konopka releases statement regarding suspension

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:32 PM / News

NHL.com

Buffalo Sabres forward Zenon Konopka released the following statement on Thursday following the announcement that he has been suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program:

"I deeply regret that I have tested positive for a prohibited substance in violation of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. I accept full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake.

"I want to make it clear that this violation occurred because I ingested a product that can be purchased over-the-counter and which, unknown to me, contained a substance that violated the program. Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance. I want to stress, however, that I did not take this substance for the purpose of enhancing my athletic performance.

"I apologize to my teammates and to the Buffalo Sabres organization, as well as to my friends and family. I have learned a great deal from this experience, something I hope to be able to share with younger players. I will accept this suspension and continue to work hard to prepare for the 2014-15 season."

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Penguins forward Bennett to have wrist surgery

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:24 PM / News

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett needs surgery to repair a hand/wrist injury that never fully healed.

He is scheduled to have surgery next week and said he expects to be prepared for training camp next season.

Bennett was expected to return in early March after missing three months. A setback kept him out for another few weeks; he finally returned March 28 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played in the final nine regular-season games and the Penguins' first 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games but was scratched for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers. He said Thursday he wasn't completely healthy in the postseason.

"Unfortunately that setback I had was a back-to-square-one setback," Bennett said. "They gave me the option to either play with it or get [the surgery] done then and there in February, and I was kind of sick of watching and I was taping it and hoping for the best and that kind of limited me in that way."

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Penguins feel right players, coaches are in place

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:11 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will not speculate on any potential organizational changes.

Two days after being eliminated by the New York Rangers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Second Round, Penguins players reflected on another failed Stanley Cup Playoff run but avoided looking toward the future. They were consistent in their belief that the relationship between the players and coach Dan Bylsma and his staff was not fractured.

"You're going to hear a lot of that stuff and a lot of negativity and a lot of different rumors," captain Sidney Crosby said. "That's normal when you lose, and there's always people looking for reasons. But if we win [Game 7 against New York] we don't have to answer these questions. But that's the difference between winning and losing."

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Sabres' Konopka suspended 20 games

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:00 PM / News

NHL.com

NEW YORKBuffalo Sabres forward Zenon Konopka has been suspended for 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.

The player's contract expires with the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. The term of the suspension will be served at the beginning of any new contract.

The National Hockey League will have no further comment on this matter.

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Inaugural Ducks-Kings series peaks with Game 7

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 1:37 PM / Ducks vs. Kings - 2014 SCP Second Round

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff series between Southern California rivals the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings reaches its pinnacle with the excitement of Game 7 Friday at Honda Center in Anaheim (9 p.m., ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS). The winner will advance to the Western Conference Final against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The Ducks-Kings showdown will be the third Second Round series decided in a Game 7, joining both Eastern Conference matchups (New York Rangers defeated Pittsburgh, Montreal defeated Boston). Since 1988, there only have been two other years when three or more second-round series required a Game 7: 2001 and 2009. Friday's contest also will mark the sixth Game 7 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one short of the single-year playoff record of seven (1994, 2011).

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Rangers, Canadiens battle in Original Six series

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 12:16 PM / Canadiens vs Rangers - 2014 Eastern Conference Final

Adam Kimelman and Dan Rosen - NHL.com Staff Writers

Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist have been here before. They were on opposite sides of the rink in the gold-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and they'll be facing off again when the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers play in the Eastern Conference Final.

It's the 15th time the Original Six franchises will play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; they split the first 14 matchups, with the most recent series coming in 1996.

Each team arrived after rallying from deficits to win their second-round series in seven games.

Montreal trailed the Boston Bruins 3-2 but got outstanding goaltending from Price in the final two games. The Rangers were down 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins but came together as a team, and with Lundqvist backstopping their defensive effort won three in a row to advance to the conference final for the second time in three years.

The Canadiens won two of three regular-season games but the season series saw a total of four goals scored. Price stopped 74 of 75 shots in two games, and Lundqvist allowed two goals on 27 shots in his one game against the Canadiens.

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Islanders' Tavares skating, cleared for full activity

Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 11:22 AM / News

NHL.com

New York Islanders captain John Tavares has been cleared to skate and his recovery from a knee injury that ended his 2013-14 season is going well, he told a Buffalo radio station Thursday.

"Everything's pretty much back to normal," Tavares told WGR 550 in Buffalo. "I was cleared last week to resume full activity, so I skated with the London Knights [of the Ontario Hockey League] as they're preparing for the Memorial Cup for three days and three practices, and I feel really good.

"I'm just happy I'm able to put this behind me, move forward, and look toward next season."

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Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com