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Lightning's Kucherov skates, probable for Game 6

Monday, 06.15.2015 / 1:40 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov took the morning skate Monday and is probable for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), coach Jon Cooper said.

"Go in football terms; how do they go?" Cooper said when asked about Kucherov's status. "Probable. I'll go probable."

Kucherov handled the puck and took shots during the practice.

"I'm going to take warm-up and then it's up to coach if I play or not," Kucherov said after the skate.

Capitals sign goalie Grubauer to two-year contract

Monday, 06.15.2015 / 12:47 PM / News

The Washington Capitals have re-signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a two-year, one-way contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced Monday. Grubauer will earn $650,000 during the 2015-16 season and $850,000 in 2016-17.

OHL draft snub Cirelli emerges as Memorial Cup hero

Monday, 06.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli couldn't believe where he was or what he had done.

There he was, inches in front of Kelowna Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle in overtime of the championship game of the Memorial Cup. Then a loose puck popped onto his stick with an empty net to shoot it into.

"It was kind of a blur," Cirelli said. "I remember it going in. Then we were hoisting the cup."

Cirelli scored both goals in a 2-1 win that clinched Oshawa its first Memorial Cup title since 1990.

Oshawa's lineup for the championship game featured seven players who had been drafted by NHL teams, two in the first round, and another who could go late in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

But it was Cirelli, passed over twice in the Ontario Hockey League draft, who made it to the Generals after surviving two training camps, that had the biggest moment of the season.

Blackwood, Vladar among top goaltenders for draft

Monday, 06.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

At a time when goaltenders are more athletic and better coached than ever, don't be surprised if a run on top prospects at the position ensues after the early rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., June 26-27.

"If this year has proven anything when it comes to goalies it's that having the ability to stick with it and work hard can lead to good things," said Al Jensen, NHL Central Scouting's top evaluator at the position. "There were so many goalies out there this year [in the NHL] who didn't make it at first. But when given an opportunity proved they could thrive."

Among the goalies who excelled this season after bumpy paths included Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, Cam Talbot of the New York Rangers, Scott Darling of the Chicago Blackhawks and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators.

"Goalie is also a position where when you get on a roll, your confidence rolls and the puck begins to look like a beach ball," Jensen said. "There isn't a whole lot of difference between stopping pucks in the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League."

Allen defeats South Carolina to win ECHL's Kelly Cup

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 8:33 PM / News

The Allen Americans won the ECHL championship with a 6-1 victory against the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Finals at Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas, on Sunday.

Americans forward Chad Costello had two goals and an assist. He led the ECHL with 125 points in 72 games during the regular season.

Lightning confident underdogs heading into Game 6

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 8:01 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- For the third time in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning will face elimination on the road in a game they'll enter as underdogs.

For a team that was relatively inexperienced when this postseason began, this situation is one they no longer feel uncomfortable in.

The Lightning trail the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, and Game 6 of the best-of-7 series is Monday at United Center (8 p.m., NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Either Tampa Bay wins, or an offseason likely filled with disappointment and remorse about being so close to claiming the Stanley Cup begins.

These Lightning have faced this scenario before, though the stakes weren’t quite as high. Tampa Bay trailed the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in an Eastern Conference First Round series. The Red Wings had frustrated the high-powered Lightning with shutouts in two of the previous three games and had Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena.

Avalanche center O'Reilly on trading block: report

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 6:46 PM / News

Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly is on the trading block, Sportsnet reported Saturday.

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is believed to be asking for at least a “significant defenseman” in exchange for O’Reilly, Elliotte Freidman reported.

O’Reilly, 24, signed a two-year, $12 million contract last summer after he had 28 goals and 38 assists to help the Avalanche go from the worst record in the Western Conference in 2012-13 to a first-place finish in the Central Division in 2013-14. Negotiations, however, reportedly were contentious.

Versteeg responds for Blackhawks after tough start

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 6:44 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg met the media at United Center on Sunday, smirking and happy to play along with captain Jonathan Toews, who referred to him as "the new guy," at the press conference table.

There hasn't been a lot of face time for Versteeg at press conferences in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs; a turbulent postseason has bounced him in and out of the lineup since playing in all six of Chicago's games in the Western Conference First Round against the Nashville Predators.

Despite his familiar name and face, Versteeg does seem like a new guy for the Blackhawks, who can win their third championship in six seasons with a victory in Game 6 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Thanks in part to Versteeg's effort on center Antoine Vermette's game-winning goal in Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday, the Blackhawks have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. They have a chance to clinch a championship on their home ice for the first time since 1938, but the "new guy" is trying to take a measured approach.

Playoff-tested Blackhawks aim for third title since 2010

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 6:27 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- If it were left up to history to decide which team will win the Stanley Cup this season, the Chicago Blackhawks would just have to show up Monday night at United Center and would be crowned champions.

It obviously doesn't work that way. The Tampa Bay Lightning are not history. Far from it.

The Lightning are down 3-2 in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 6 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), but they rallied from the same deficit against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round to advance. They also beat back the history stacked against them in the Conference Final to be the first team ever to defeat the New York Rangers in a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

Desjardins: Soccer keeps Blackhawks loose

Andrew Desjardins - Special to

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this edition, he explains why players use soccer to warm up before games.

CHICAGO – I know a lot of you have probably seen hockey players playing soccer to get warmed up for a game, and I love doing it, but I thought I’d explain how the game works for those of you who don’t know.

I can’t say it goes as far back as the beard thing, but playing soccer before the game has become a hockey tradition. It’s one of those things that’s just been done. I did it in the Ontario Hockey League, I did it in Laredo, Texas when I played in the Central Hockey League, I did it in American Hockey League in Worcester, and I did it in San Jose. I don’t know where it came from or what the history behind it is, but it’s one of those things where it seems like every single team does it.

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Quote of the Day

It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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