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Blackhawks rely on past lessons to win Game 1

Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 1:06 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TAMPA -- It's sometimes difficult to quantify the impact of experience, and it can often be a concept that gets overblown.

That appeared to be the case in the run-up to this Stanley Cup Final.

The Chicago Blackhawks, playing in their third Final in six seasons, had a clear advantage in that department when compared to the Tampa Bay Lightning, playing in their second Final, period.

But as the Lightning, fueled by a frenetic home crowd, got off to an excellent start in Game 1 on Wednesday and opened the scoring at 4:31 of the first period on a skilled deflection by Alex Killorn, the Blackhawks knew they weren't out of it.

In fact, they not only knew they weren't out of it, the Blackhawks knew they would come back if they stuck to the system and played the type of game that has brought them so much success over the years.

They believed it.

If there is one tangible benefit to experience, perhaps that is it. Belief.

"I think we always have that feeling," Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said. "It doesn't matter how the game is going, doesn't matter what the score is. I think there's a belief in our room that things are going to happen when we stick to the game plan and trust the process."

Paquette shines in surprise shutdown role vs. Toews

Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 1:00 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette wasn't expecting to draw the assignment of trying to shut down Chicago Blackhawks star center Jonathan Toews in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. However, he proved to be up for the task.

The 21-year-old spent most of his 10:51 on ice doing his best to pester and frustrate Chicago's captain and the linchpin of the Blackhawks' top line. Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, said Tuesday that Toews was a "bigger, stronger, better" version of himself.

"I think I played well against him," said Paquette, who went 3-5 on faceoffs against Toews, with all eight draws coming in Tampa Bay's defensive zone or the neutral zone. "I think our line played well defensively. His line didn't get a lot of opportunities when we were on the ice. He's smart, he's knows where the puck is going to go, he knows where his teammates are going to go. We stayed on the defensive side of the puck, we kept it in, the little details."

Blackhawks owner says GM Bowman core of success

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 9:30 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Don't call the Chicago Blackhawks a dynasty.

Owner Rocky Wirtz has another term for what his organization has become by making its third appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in the past six seasons.

"What I would really like to say is I'm so proud of [general manager Stan Bowman] to keep re-inventing," Wirtz said prior to Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday. "He invented the 2010 [championship] team. He invented the 2013 [championship] team, and I think this team is a re-invention too. So, it's more of a re-invention and being able to have a process in place to be successful."

The 'D' word is starting to get used more often when referring to the Blackhawks because of their extensive success since Wirtz took control of the team after his father's death in 2007. In eight years, a team that was regularly near the bottom is now a perennial contender looking to hoist the Cup for the third time since 2010.

Blue Jackets let '11 pick Reilly talk to other teams

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 9:19 PM / News

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have granted 2011 draft pick Mike Reilly permission to speak to other teams after failing to agree on a contract.

Reilly, along with agent Pat Brisson, began that process this week at the NHL Scouting Combine at First Niagara Center. He can officially become a free agent June 15 but would have to wait until July 1 to sign with a team other than Columbus.

Reilly, who was selected in the fourth round (No. 98) of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Blue Jackets, made public his desire to test the free agent market after opting to forego his senior year of eligibility at the University of Minnesota.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on Wednesday told The Columbus Dispatch that Reilly can talk with "whoever he wanted to talk to."

Penguins, Morgan Stanley to review strategic options

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 7:35 PM / News

The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed today that they have engaged Morgan Stanley to oversee a review of their strategic options.

Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle lead the partnership that has owned the Penguins for the past 16 years – a tenure highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 and opening a state-of-the-art arena, CONSOL Energy Center, in 2010.

"We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel," Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. "After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options."

To read more from the Penguins website, CLICK HERE.

Red Wings to name Blashill coach next week: report

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 6:13 PM / News

The Detroit Red Wings will name Jeff Blashill as their coach next week, reported Wednesday.

Blashill, coach of Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, led them to the Calder Cup in 2013 and to the playoffs in each of his three seasons behind the bench. Grand Rapids was eliminated by the Utica Comets in the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, and exit meetings are scheduled for Monday. There will be a press conference at Joe Louis Arena to announce the hiring, the website said, citing an unidentified source.

Stevens interested in staying with Devils: report

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 1:44 PM / News

Scott Stevens said Wednesday he would be interested in remaining on the New Jersey Devils coaching staff as an assistant following the hiring Tuesday of John Hynes as coach, according to

"I haven't looked elsewhere," Stevens said. "The Devils are my first choice, no question about that."

Stevens, 51, was captain of the Devils' three Stanley Cup championship teams and served as an assistant coach and special assignment coach in the organization prior to taking over behind the bench along with Adam Oates and general manager Lou Lamoriello on Dec. 26 after coach Peter DeBoer was fired.

Three questions for Blackhawks, Lightning in Game 1

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 1:36 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks haven't played each other since Feb. 27, the second game Chicago played after Patrick Kane sustained a fractured clavicle that put him out for the rest of the regular season. The Lightning won 4-0. It means nothing now.

So much is different for the Lightning and Blackhawks heading into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). For starters, Kane is back in Chicago's lineup and has 20 points in 17 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Tampa Bay has played 20 out of a possible 21 games to reach the Cup Final for the first time since 2004, when current Blackhawks center Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a member of the Lightning.

Chicago played 17 games to get to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in six seasons.

Undoubtedly we'll know a lot more about what type of Cup Final we're in once a game is finally played. Heading into it, because there is not a lot of familiarity between the teams, it's still a mystery of what to truly expect, even though many pundits have their own ideas.

So instead of having keys for each team heading into Game 1, we have questions, as in three for the Blackhawks and three for the Lightning. Here they are:

Superstars, frenetic pace promise unforgettable Final

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 1:12 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks are two of the deepest, fastest, most skilled teams in the NHL and typically try to engage in an entertaining style of play.

It could lead to a 2015 Stanley Cup Final filled with exciting plays, a frenetic pace and lots of goals.

"They've had a lot of players step up and it seems like they have a lot of offense and skill and speed to their team too," Chicago forward Patrick Kane said. "You look at it, it seems like it'd be a fun matchup and a fun series for the average fan to watch and a fun series to play in as well."

Riggle, Daughtry to headline 2015 NHL Awards

Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 12:30 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

LAS VEGAS – The 2015 NHL Awards™ special salute to the best regular-season players and performances will be hosted by actor and comedian Rob Riggle and will feature a live musical performance from rock band Daughtry followed by a full concert on Wednesday, June 24 at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the National Hockey League announced today. The two-hour primetime awards show will broadcast live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on NBCSN in the U.S. and Sportsnet in Canada. Tickets to the 2015 NHL Awards go on sale today at any MGM Resorts box office location.

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Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

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