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NHL Insider

Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets ready for showdown

Visit Capitals with first place in Metropolitan Division, NHL on line

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

COLUMBUS -- Sergei Bobrovsky sat at the end of the bench and stared up at the clock as the final seconds counted down at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday. When the horn sounded on the Columbus Blue Jackets' 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, he didn't move. He waited patiently as his teammates headed to the locker room. Finally, he stood up and joined them.

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Playoffs are starting point for Blue Jackets

Columbus wants best season in its history to end with Stanley Cup championship

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

COLUMBUS -- Amid the celebration, the music cut off, and the locker room went quiet. Coach John Tortorella patted goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on the arm as he passed by, then addressed the team.

The Columbus Blue Jackets had made the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Sunday.

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NHL Insider

Zach Werenski breaks through rookie wall

Blue Jackets defenseman rejuvenated for stretch run, playoffs

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

COLUMBUS -- At 19, Zach Werenski felt like an old man. He would wake up tired. His body would be sore all over. He'd shuffle on the walk from his place to Nationwide Arena, where he plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, stretching his back and legs on the way. He'd stretch some more to get ready for games but would just want to go sit down, exhausted when he should have been energized.

This is what they mean by the 'rookie wall.' 

"It's something you kind of have to go through in order to understand," Werenski said. "I shouldn't say 'hit the wall,' but you kind of start to feel it. You can really feel it."

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Good stats not good enough for Jack Eichel

Second-year center focused on making Sabres better, reaching Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

DETROIT -- The sigh said so much.

Before he scored in the Buffalo Sabres' 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, center Jack Eichel was asked what he would take away from this season. He didn't talk about how he had come back from a high-ankle sprain sustained the day before the season opener to become one of the most productive players in the NHL.

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Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary

Bryan Trottier relished every second after first Cup

Islanders' championship in 1980 holds special place for Hall of Fame forward

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

Editor's note: The Stanley Cup turns 125 years old March 18. To celebrate the historic anniversary, NHL.com talked to the players and coaches who dedicated their lives to winning the Stanley Cup, some succeeding, some failing, but all with incredible stories about their quest for hockey's ultimate prize.

Bryan Trottier wanted to be Jean Beliveau growing up. He wanted to hoist the Stanley Cup over his head the way he had watched his hero do it on television with the Montreal Canadiens.

"So when it actually happened," Trottier said, "it was like fulfilling that."

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Blackhawks coming together in time for playoffs

Patrick Kane's surge, maturing young talent have Chicago atop Western Conference, set for Stanley Cup run

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

This is what Stan Bowman envisioned.

The general manager knew that for the Chicago Blackhawks to succeed this season, the core players would have to excel as usual and the younger players would have to grow into their roles. He knew it would be a process. He knew it could be done.

Now, with less than a month left in the regular season, the core players are excelling, one above all. Right wing Patrick Kane has 76 points, tied with Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the NHL lead, and is threatening to win the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion for the second straight season. He should be in contention to win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player for the second straight season as well.

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Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary

Chris Pronger made most of second chance

Hall of Fame defenseman recalls winning Stanley Cup year after losing in Final

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

Editor's note: The Stanley Cup turns 125 years old on March 18. To celebrate the historic anniversary, NHL.com talked to the players and coaches who dedicated their lives to winning the Stanley Cup, some succeeding, some failing, but all with incredible stories about their quest for hockey's ultimate prize.

Growing up in Dryden, Ontario, a town on a lake four hours due east of Winnipeg, Chris Pronger was a typical Canadian kid. He played hockey. He would pretend it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and he was scoring the winning goal in overtime.

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Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary

Al MacInnis couldn't wait to hoist Stanley Cup

Hall of Fame defenseman recounts final seconds before Flames' championship in 1989

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

Editor's note: The Stanley Cup turns 125 years old on March 18. To celebrate the historic anniversary, NHL.com talked to the players and coaches who dedicated their lives to winning the Stanley Cup, some succeeding, some failing, but all with incredible stories about their quest for hockey's ultimate prize.

Al MacInnis was in the penalty box as the clock counted down.

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Derek Stepan finally breaks through

Rangers center scores for first time since Jan. 17 in win against Red Wings

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

DETROIT -- Twenty-three games. Sixty-one shots. No goals for New York Rangers center Derek Stepan.

And then on the power play late in the third period of a game the Rangers were leading by two, forward Mats Zuccarello won a battle in the right-wing corner. Forward Chris Kreider passed the puck from the right circle across the slot. The puck skipped and wobbled.

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Wild still can't shake Blackhawks

Minnesota having best season in its history, but rival Chicago still biggest test

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

The Minnesota Wild are having the best season in franchise history. Never before have they had 92 points through 66 games. Never before have they led the Western Conference this late in the season.

Yet three points behind are the Chicago Blackhawks, who are having, well, the usual.

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