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2014 NHL playoffs preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

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Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings

The return of the wizardly Pavel Datsyuk (13) gives the Red Wings a puncher’s chance at an upset. (Getty Images)

By Michael Blinn

Regular season recaps

Oct. 5: Bruins 4, Red Wings 1

Oct. 14: Red Wings 3, Bruins 2

Nov. 27: Red Wings 6, Bruins 1

April 2: Red Wings 3, Bruins 2

Notable injuries

Bruins: D Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL, indefinite), D Adam McQuaid (strained quad, indefinite), C Marc Savard (concussion, indefinite)

Red Wings: RW Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder, indefinite), C Stephen Weiss (sports hernia, indefinite), LW Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery, indefinite), D Jonathan Ericsson (finger surgery, indefinite), RW Daniel Cleary (knee sprain, indefinite)

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • Minnesota, North Dakota, BC and Union vie for NCAA title at Frozen Four

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    BC's Thatcher Demko was named the top amateur goalie by the NHL's Central Scouting. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    BC’s Thatcher Demko was named the top undrafted North American goalie by the NHL’s Central Scouting. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Michael Blinn

    The road to this year’s national championship has delivered two distinctly different matchups headed for the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. On one side of the bracket, a longtime power is going head to head with a rising force while the other side features one of college hockey’s most storied rivalries adding another chapter to its growing volume.

    To say that North Dakota and Minnesota are familiar with one another is like saying the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are just friendly acquaintances. The two schools have met on the ice 283 times, the NCAA’s third highest total, and up until this season they were Western Collegiate Hockey Association combatants before Minnesota joined the newly formed Big 10 while North Dakota, the last at-large bid to make it into this year’s tourney, jumped over to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in its first season.

    Despite their new homes, don’t expect any of the heat to come off the hostility between the teams. The two schools have long been among the best in the collegiate game and perennial national championship contenders. Some of the biggest names in hockey history have graced their respective ranks, including Herb Brooks and Neal Broten (Minnesota) as well Ed Belfour (North Dakota) and Dean Blais (both), while many current NHLers such as Thomas Vanek (Minnesota) and Zach Parise (North Dakota) have played a part in the teams’ histories.

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • Lightning goalie Big Ben Bishop, pint-sized Darren Pang swap pads

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    By Michael Blinn

    On Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning set Twitter on fire when they sent out a picture of Ben Bishop, their 6-foot-7 goalie, alongside Darren Pang, the 5-foot-5 former NHL netminder who now analyzes the game in the broadcast booth. The juxtaposition of two such differently sized people is always hilarious, but the duo kicked it up a notch by swapping their equipment. Bishop, wearing Pang’s old Chicago Blackhawks gear from the 1980s, looked like a teenaged player in the midst of a growth spurt, while Pang looked like a grade schooler trying on his father’s pads after donning Bishop’s already oversized pillows.

    The pair eventually moved on from the wardrobe malfunction and hit the ice for even more equally hilarious photo ops. Read More…


  • Published On Apr 08, 2014
  • GIF: Magic puck strikes again as Travis Zajac tips one past Anton Khudobin

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    By Michael Blinn

    Ah, the magic puck. It’s been known to torment goalies and fans alike through the years.

    Often known to simply change direction at a moment’s notice, the magic puck reared its head once again on Saturday, somehow spinning away from Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin. Some will argue that Travis Zajac’s tip-in can be explained by physics while using astronomical calculations and mult-syllable words that require a Ph.D. to understand. Others will claim that it’s just good old fashioned witchcraft that causes the puck to dance back over the goal line — what else do you expect from a team called the Devils?

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  • Published On Apr 06, 2014
  • VIDEO: Gustav Nyquist stays red-hot with score from below the goal line

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    Can anyone stop Gustav Nyquist right now? The Swede is carrying the Red Wings. (Paul Sancya/AP)

    Can anyone stop Gustav Nyquist right now? The 24-year-old Swede is carrying the Red Wings. (Paul Sancya/AP)

    By Michael Blinn

    With Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on the sidelines, the Detroit Red Wings needed someone to turn to while they pursue a playoff spot in the East.

    Enter Gustav Nyquist, who has been one of the NHL’s hottest players during the last few months, notching 22 goals and 35 points in his last 28 games, including his current 13-game scoring streak that has seen him light the lamp 11 times and post 13 points during that stretch.

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  • Published On Mar 30, 2014
  • Calgary Flames president Brian Burke’s hair back in the spotlight

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    By Michael Blinn

    Blustery Brian Burke is no stranger to controversy. Almost everything about him has been criticized, from his front office moves to his desire to never tie his ties. Even the man’s haircut has been put under a public microscope.

    It was no different on Wednesday night, when the follicular choices of the Flames president’ were once again thrown to the hockey business’s forefront:

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  • Published On Mar 27, 2014
  • NCAA announces seeds, regional matchups for championship tournament

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    Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere will try to lead Union to a National Championship. (J. Meric/Getty Images)

    Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere will try to lead Union to a National Championship. (J. Meric/Getty Images)

    By Michael Blinn

    March Madness is already in full swing on the court, and it’s about to get a crazier with hockey version ready to go on ice.

    Sunday afternoon, the NCAA selection committee announced seeds and regional placements for 16 men’s hockey teams, which Adam Wodon of College Hockey News notes was not a difficult task this season.

    Last year’s champion Yale did not make the tournament, but exposed the possibility that anything can truly happen, as the Bulldogs became the lowest-seeded team to take the whole shebang. Traditional powers Boston College and Minnesota look to add to their trophy cases, while sixteenth-seeded Robert Morris will make its first appearance in the NCAA postseason in just its 10th season as a Division I program. The field will be whittled down to four before heading the Philadelphia, where the Frozen Four will take place beginning on April 10, with the final two days later.

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  • Published On Mar 23, 2014
  • Toronto Furies topple Boston Blades in overtime to win CWHL’s Clarkson Cup

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    Christina Kessler was a stalwart in net, helping Toronto to its first-ever Clarkson Cup. (Meg Linehan/MegLinehan.com)

    Christina Kessler was a stalwart in net, helping Toronto to its first-ever Clarkson Cup. (Meg Linehan/MegLinehan.com)

    By Sarah Connors

    Congratulations, Toronto – you’ve got yourselves a Cup champion at long last.

    A Clarkson Cup, that is.

    The Toronto Furies defeated the Boston Blades for the Canadian Womens’ Hockey League championship in dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon at Centennial Arena in Markham, Ontario. Britni Smith scored the only goal of the game :33 into overtime, after a 60-minute goaltending clinic by the Furies’ Christina Kessler and the Blades’ Brittany Ott. Kessler made 25 saves, while Ott made 23.

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  • Published On Mar 22, 2014
  • Canucks coach John Tortorella held back from Flames’ locker room after brawl

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    By Michael Blinn

    Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella had to be restrained from going into the Calgary Flames’ locker room after a heated first period on Saturday.

    A full-scaled donnybrook ensued after Flames coach Bob Hartley submitted his starting lineup of Kevin Westgarth, Chris Butler and Brian McGrattan, a trio not necessarily known for its goal-scoring prowess. Tortorella responded by sending out Dale Weise, Tom Sestito and Kellan Lain, a threesome with a similar pugilistic skill set.

    As soon as the puck dropped to open the game, a line brawl broke out with all 10 skaters joining in the fracas, which resulted in eight ejections and 152 penalty minutes. Tortorella was leaning over his bench toward the visiting Flames, screaming at Hartley, who did not respond.

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  • Published On Jan 19, 2014
  • With Gabriel Landeskog’s ad, You Can Play has supporters on all 30 NHL teams

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    By Michael Blinn

    Gabriel Landeskog is no stranger to making history in the NHL: When he was named captain of the Colorado Avalanche last season, the Swede became the youngest in league history to hold the title.

    Today, he’s helped to make even more history, and possibly on a grander, more transcendent scale, with his :52 ad, according to the You Can Play Project:

    It’s more than a cool captain and some cooler kids representing a new era of equality in sports. It’s also the day that every team in the National Hockey League has now been represented by a player who has spoken on behalf of LGBT athletes, team staff, coaches and fans. Think about that. Every team in the NHL.

    It might not be much of a surprise that all 30 teams have given their support to the cause, as longtime scout and current Director of Player Safety for the NHL Patrick Burke (son of Calgary Flames president and Team USA GM Brian Burke) started the organization, which is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.” YCP, which goes by the simple credo of “If you can play, you can play,” was created to honor Burke’s younger brother, Brendan, who was killed in a car crash shortly after he made headlines by coming out while a student manager for the Miami (OH) RedHawks hockey team.

    EXTRA MUSTARD: Q&A with You Can Play’s director

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  • Published On Jan 08, 2014


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