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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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Canadiens' Price optimistic despite injury, playoff loss

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 12:05 AM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Just as he had a year earlier, Carey Price met with the media Saturday to discuss how the Stanley Cup Playoffs came to an end for his Montreal Canadiens with him on the sidelines.

The situation was similar, but the circumstances were wildly different.

Price missed the Canadiens' fifth and final game of their first-round loss to the Ottawa Senators a year ago with a knee injury he sustained at the end of regulation time in Game 4.

That was a disappointing end to a disappointing lockout-shortened season for Price, who started strong but finished poorly, leaving some doubt as to his ability to plant himself among the elite goaltenders in the NHL. When he spoke to reporters afterwards he lamented the way he and his team ended the season, speaking with remorse and regret.

Fast forward a year and Price was again addressing reporters two days after the Canadiens were eliminated from the playoffs, this time in six games by the New York Rangers.


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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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Wild coach Mike Yeo signs contract extension

Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 10:05 PM / News

NHL.com

The Minnesota Wild and coach Mike Yeo have agreed to a multiyear contract extension, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced Saturday. Terms were not disclosed.

"I am very excited to continue to coach the Minnesota Wild and pursue a Stanley Cup for the State of Hockey," Yeo said. "Our fan support has been amazing and it went to a new level during the playoffs this season. We are all motivated to reward them."


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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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