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D-men Gonchar, Zidlicky want to play in NHL in '15-16

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 11:05 PM / News

Veteran defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Marek Zidlicky each would like to play in the NHL for at least one more season.

"Had a meeting with Marek Zidlicky over the weekend," agent Allan Walsh tweeted Monday. "He is 100 percent committed to playing in the NHL next season."

Zidlicky, 38, had 27 points in 84 games with the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings this season. He had three goals and eight assists in 21 games with the Red Wings after he was traded in early March but no points in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Gonchar, 41, told TVA Sports he intends to play one more NHL season. He had one goal, 13 assists and a plus-6 rating in 48 games for the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens this season.

Farrish: Lightning's Bowness key against Blackhawks

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 9:00 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

In breaking down the coaching matchup in the Stanley Cup Final, former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish concluded that the X-factor for the Tampa Bay Lightning could be the guy standing next to coach Jon Cooper behind the bench.

Farrish is talking about associate coach Rick Bowness, who was on Alain Vigneault's staff with the Vancouver Canucks during the heyday of their Stanley Cup Playoff rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canucks and Blackhawks played each other in three straight postseasons (2009-11). Vancouver lost to Chicago in 2009 and 2010 but won their first-round series in seven games in 2011.

"Rick has had a lot of experience in the West with Vancouver, so he's got a pretty good track record," Farrish said. "I'm sure Cooper will be leaning heavily on Rick."

Blackhawks have plan for big goalies like Bishop

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 8:15 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Almost as impressive as advancing to the Stanley Cup Final three times in six seasons is the list of big goalies the Chicago Blackhawks have defeated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in that span.

The Blackhawks, who will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), hope to add a new one to the list: 6-foot-7, 209-pound Ben Bishop.

To do so, Chicago plans to stick to its usual game plan, captain Jonathan Toews said.

"I've definitely watched quite a bit these playoffs, and we know [the Lightning are] fast and skilled, they play a good team game," Toews said Monday before the Blackhawks traveled to Tampa. "[Their defensemen join] the play, great goaltending ... we know they don't have a whole lot of weaknesses. I think we'll have to be prepared for that and do as we normally do: talk about making things difficult on their goaltender, getting to him and making them play in their own end."

Five reasons Blackhawks can win Stanley Cup

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 5:50 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- The Chicago Blackhawks have staked claim to the title of best franchise in the salary-cap era, but four more wins in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs will put them in some exclusive company.

Chicago faces the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). If the Blackhawks prevail, it will be their third championship in six seasons.

Five franchises have accomplished that in NHL history. The Detroit Red Wings were the most recent, winning in 1997, 1998 and 2002. The Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders did so in the 1980s. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are the other teams to win the Cup three times in a six-season span.

Chicago nearly had a chance to win three times in five years, but it lost Game 7 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Western Conference Final and then had to watch the Kings dispatch the New York Rangers in a five-game Cup Final.

The Lightning should be a more formidable opponent. The Blackhawks should still be the favorite. Here are five reasons:

Rangers confident they can contend with core group

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - Staff Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers have competed in the Eastern Conference Final in three of the past four seasons, but have yet to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Despite being older next season, most of the players feel their chance of winning the Cup with the current group is still very high.

"We have the same core guys here for the last six or seven years and built the team around that," defenseman Dan Girardi said Monday. "Just kind of brought guys in the last 3-4 years. It just seems this team jells. We get a couple of guys at the deadline and they just fit right in. … Hopefully we will be able to get a lot of guys back for next year and have another good run."

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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.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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