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Desjardins: Got some rest, good eats, ready to go

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 discusses what he did on a rare day off with two full days off before Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

TAMPA -- Having two off days between games can be nice because you can split them into two separate categories.

Priority No. 1 Thursday was to kind of rest your body, get some good eats, get the right things into your body, hydrate.

But also to just sleep and rest. It's always hard to sleep after games. Every game's different, but sometimes you don't get to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning, for myself. So I try to sleep in, but it's kind of hard to sleep in sometimes. So I got up, ate breakfast, and went back to sleep.

Blackhawks' top four keep carrying load on defense

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 5:28 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TAMPA -- Logic and an understanding of the limits of the human body would suggest that this cannot last.

The Chicago Blackhawks have ridden four defensemen into the Stanley Cup Final, and they have ridden them hard. Each of the four, Duncan Keith (31:27), Brent Seabrook (26:21), Niklas Hjalmarsson (26:20) and Johnny Oduya (25:17), is averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time per game.

No other healthy Blackhawks defenseman is averaging more than 11 minutes.

In the Western Conference Final, the Anaheim Ducks figured they would pound those four defensemen every chance they got, on every forecheck, on every Blackhawks breakout and every pass attempt. Eventually, the physical toll being dished out had to have an effect, and over the course of a long series the Ducks would see the benefit of it.

It was a very sound theory. It didn't work.

Blackhawks' Keith entering Hall of Fame company

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 4:19 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch keeps seeing the same thing when he watches Duncan Keith play for the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs: a future Hall of Fame defenseman.

"I don't know how it couldn't be looked at that way," Leetch told "From the eye test. From watching him on the ice. His age. And then you bring up the individual and team awards, I'm not sure how you'd be able to keep him out."

Keith, 31, is three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup for the third time. The Blackhawks lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final with Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Senators GM Murray inducted into Ottawa Sports HOF

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 2:42 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- As a teenager from the Ottawa Valley town of Shawville, west of Canada's capital and across the Ottawa River in Quebec, Bryan Murray would travel into the city to play hockey.

Murray, 15 at the time, played for the Shawville Pontiacs in a Senior A hockey league, competing against and playing with men 20 years older. They played at the Auditorium when they visited Ottawa, a building long gone.

Almost 57 years later and a few blocks away from where the Auditorium used to stand, Murray will be inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame on Friday.

"Obviously, very proud of that," said the 72-year-old Ottawa Senators general manager, who will be honored for his career in hockey, which includes 34 years in the NHL as a coach and manager.

"I'm a Valley boy from Shawville. Coming to Ottawa was a big event. We didn't come that often. We were the country bumpkins, I guess, at that point, but when we came we usually beat them in hockey."

Claude Julien to return as Bruins coach

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 2:23 PM / News

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Claude Julien and his staff will return to the Boston Bruins for the 2015-16 season general manager Don Sweeney said Friday at the 2015 NHL Draft Combine.

"[Julien has] got great accountability, structure, he's had a lot of success," Sweeney said. "He's a veteran coach that I'm going to look forward to learning from, as I say, in my new role. He communicated to me that they had already been thinking of some of the changes I had spoken about and he was looking forward to attacking that, and clearly that's going to revolve around some roster decisions as well.

"I think it's all of the above and I'm going to lean on those guys, see what they bring to the table and I'm hoping it's the other way around. And that was part of it for me to make sure that they knew that my voice was going to be heard and respected in that regard."

There was a question whether Julien would remain when former GM Peter Chiarelli was fired on April 15 and replaced by Sweeney.

“I know there’s been speculation, so I want to make sure to put that to bed," Sweeney said. "I'm fully supporting this staff and looking forward to working with them all."

Shore, Manchester aim for franchise's first Calder Cup

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 1:42 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to

For a team that has dominated the American Hockey League from the start of the season, Saturday night will mark the Manchester Monarchs' first Calder Cup Final appearance in the franchise's 14-year history. Despite all the individual and team accolades, and the continued success in 2014-15, the top development affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings remains even-keeled, ready to take on anything.

"Whether we're up in a game or down in a game, everyone is still the same," Monarchs center Nick Shore said. "If we keep playing the way that we can, we still have a really good chance at the end of the night. It was a good series for us to sweep Hartford [in the conference finals] and that earned us the 10 days to rest and get ready for the next one."

After dispatching familiar foes in the Portland Pirates, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Hartford Wolf Pack, "the next one" is the 2015 Calder Cup Final against the Utica Comets, a team that they haven't played this season.

Two-way forwards Palat, Hossa ready to shine in Final

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 1:38 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

The Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game, is generally the province of centers.

In January, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper made a case for Ondrej Palat, who plays on the left wing, to break the run of centers winning the award for each of the past 10 years.

"I still believe Palat is the straw that stirs the drink on that line," Cooper said. "He's oozing with hockey sense and he's skilled. He is like Patrice Bergeron as a winger to me."

Opposite Palat in the Stanley Cup Final is Marian Hossa, another defensively skilled forward whom the Selke has eluded.

Each of these players, though, is key in their team's defensive schemes, and each will be relied upon in that capacity for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) as the Tampa Bay Lightning look to even up the series with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rangers' Staal, Girardi each have successful surgery

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 12:39 PM / News

New York Rangers defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi each had successful ankle surgery, the team announced on Friday.

Staal had a bone chip removed from his ankle and Girardi had a bursa excision on his ankle.

Each player is expected to be ready for training camp.

Combine bike tests will push prospects to their limits

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 8:03 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- Goaltender Luke Opilka offered a simple approach to the two stationary bike tests the players at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine will take part in at HarborCenter during the next two days.

"I haven't prepared ahead of time other than my regular training. But I'm going in there with the mindset to do my best and just ride until I drop; that's my plan," Opilka said.

He might not be alone in his approach.

DeGregorio to step down as president of USA Hockey

Friday, 06.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

Ron DeGregorio will step down as president of USA Hockey after 12 years and four terms on Saturday with a legacy of excellence as one of the architects of the United States National Team Development Program.

Founded in 1996, the USNTDP is a two-year residency program for the top 16 and 17-year-old players in the United States. DeGregorio's vision was to build teams that can compete with the big boys of the world. Winning Olympic gold twice in 20 years (1960, 1980) wasn't enough. DeGregorio's mission was turning a miracle into a model.

"We wanted to have a program of excellence that set standards and something that people would have to compete against in terms of the most high-performance players to attract them," DeGregorio said. "I believe right now it's not a miracle when we win. Frankly it's a great disappointment when we don't win gold, let alone participate and contend very well. Our goal is to [win the gold medal] each and every tournament now. That's the perspective that I think is it a bit changed since the last two decades."

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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