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Ron Cook: Penguins stars may add to year of difficult Pittsburgh goodbyes

Sports / Hockey /

PITTSBURGH — Locker-cleanout day always is a brutal day, one of the worst days of the year for all sports teams. It signifies the end of a season and, unless your team won the championship, of failure to one degree or another. Maybe worst of all, you know the same group won't be back to try again next season. Some of your teammates — your ...Read more

Geoff Baker: Win now or build for future? In today's NHL, choice becoming clear.

Sports / Hockey /

SEATTLE — Watching the just-completed opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs underscored yet again how difficult it is to win a championship.

Or, at least, to plan on winning one. There's a difference. And one that Kraken fans should take note of.

We saw five opening-round series go to Game 7, the second-most in NHL history. Among ...Read more

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America/TNS

Hurricanes surge past Rangers in overtime take 1-0 playoff series lead

Sports / Hockey /

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes are still unbeaten at home in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it took overtime.

The Canes fell behind the New York Rangers in the first period, tied the score late in the third and then won, 2-1, on defenseman Ian Cole’s goal at 3:12 of overtime in Game 1 of their second-round series.

The Hurricanes, ...Read more

Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

Who in the world steps in front of a puck at 100 mph? Yeah, these guys.

Sports / Hockey /

SUNRISE, Fla. — The face, right? You’ve got to protect the face first.

And then it’s easily breakable bones. The forearm, the knees, even the feet.

Really, when it comes to blocking a frozen hockey puck whizzing at you at breakneck speed — and that’s not necessarily a euphemism — it’s best to go into turtle mode and pray it hits ...Read more

Benjamin Hochman: Blues got the loss they deserved. Here's what they should do for Game 2.

Sports / Hockey /

DENVER — The Blues didn’t deserve to win with the way they played.

So, sure, it was pretty impressive and exciting that Game 1 went to overtime. All they needed was one shot to win.

Fittingly, they didn’t even get off one shot in the overtime.

The Blues lost here at Ball Arena, 3-2, and it easily could’ve been 6-2. Or 16-2. Take the ...Read more

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images North America/TNS

Ron Cook: The time has come to break up Penguins' core

Sports / Hockey /

PITTSBURGH — I hate to disagree with Tristan Jarry, who gave his all against the New York Rangers on Sunday night by playing hurt after missing a month with a broken foot and playing well enough to give the Penguins a chance to win Game 7.

But I must.

"They're generational players," Jarry said of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang....Read more

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America/TNS

Josh Manson lifts Avs to 3-2 overtime victory over St. Louis in Game 1

Sports / Hockey /

Colorado’s Josh Manson zipped a game-winning shot past Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington for a stunning 3-2 overtime victory at an electric Ball Arena Tuesday night. Manson’s shot from the top came midway through the first extra period of Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The Avalanche played a penalty-free game until late in the...Read more

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America/TNS

Nikita Kucherov leads Lightning to Game 1 win over Panthers

Sports / Hockey /

SUNRISE, Fla. — With Brayden Point, the best player in the Lightning’s first-round playoff series win over Toronto, sidelined for Tuesday’s second-round opener against Florida, the Lightning needed someone else to push the pace.

Enter Nikita Kucherov, who put the game on his stick in the second period and brought the Lightning back from a...Read more

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America/TNS

Luke DeCock: Why the Hurricanes' recipe for a victory over the Rangers sings a familiar refrain

Sports / Hockey /

RALEIGH, N.C. — In the same sense that we’re doomed to repeat the same stupid timeline over and over again off the ice — a New York broadcaster using the word “hillbilly” to describe the Carolina Hurricanes, and before the series even starts — there’s a pretty good chance the second round is going to look a lot like the first for ...Read more

Ted Kulfan: Battle of Alberta sure to stoke passion for Canadian hockey fans

Sports / Hockey /

DETROIT — Everywhere else around the NHL, especially in many passionate sports cities in the United States, this series isn't going to get much attention.

But in Canada — and obviously, especially, in the province of Alberta — this is going to be something else.

When the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames renew the Battle of Alberta ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Jeff Greenberg brings system he learned with Theo Epstein's Cubs to Blackhawks as he tries to 'close that gap' with baseball

Sports / Hockey /

CHICAGO — Even Jeff Greenberg knows this feels crazy, right?

Here’s a former Chicago Cubs assistant general manager, who worked in baseball for 16 years, making the leap to professional hockey — and not just switching from another sport but occupying one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ top three front-office positions as an associate general...Read more

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America/TNS

Luke DeCock: A tale of two Domis: A Game 7 hero and a famous father jumping on Hurricanes bandwagon

Sports / Hockey /

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Let us not visit the sins of the father upon the son. Tie Domi was as hated here as he was anywhere else, although it’s a two-way street, given that the Carolina Hurricanes put an end to what may have been his best shot at a Stanley Cup.

So what a strange world we are living in that nobody, nowhere could have been ...Read more

Paul Zeise: This could be the end of an era for Penguins, but does it need to be?

Sports / Hockey /

The Penguins' first-round playoff loss to the Rangers is the fourth consecutive early exit for the team. It is their third straight first-round loss, and it was a series they all but had won and blew. The Penguins led 3-1 in the series, they had a two-goal lead in Games 5 and 6 and lost, and then in Game 7 entered the third period with a 3-2 ...Read more

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images North America/TNS

Will Nazem Kadri be a marked man against St. Louis? The Avalanche isn't overly concerned about the bad blood from the past

Sports / Hockey /

Nazem Kadri is prepared for whatever shenanigans might develop in Game 1 Tuesday in the Western Conference semifinals against St. Louis.

The Avalanche center might be asked to fight for the third time in four meetings against the Blues this season. Or, he could be targeted for big hits and taunted.

What is known is that St. Louis will try to ...Read more

Joe Puetz/Getty Images North America/TNS

Wild's goaltending situation is a major question after playoff defeat

Sports / Hockey /

Cam Talbot was benched during the best run of his NHL career, assigned to being the Wild's backup when the team started the playoffs before making a last-ditch, pinch-hit effort in a season-ending loss to the Blues.

But the goaltender wants to remain with the Wild and with another year left on his contract, he expects to stick around.

"Unless ...Read more

Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America/TNS

Mac Engel: Dallas Stars blow historic performance by their goalie; enter offseason needing change

Sports / Hockey /

The running joke with the Dallas Stars is that this entire season is their version of “The Last Dance,” minus the championships, titles and victory parades.

Indeed.

When Tom Gaglardi bought the franchise and saved it from bankruptcy in November of 2011, he thought he had a nucleus similar to the Chicago Blackhawks when that franchise was ...Read more

John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

Panthers' Brunette says facing Tampa Bay 'is a great opportunity for us'

Sports / Hockey /

After winning their first playoff series in more than 25 years, the Florida Panthers will face a familiar foe in the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Panthers pulled off a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 Friday to close out the series, winning their first ...Read more

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Who are the coaching options? What will they do in free agency? What to watch for this Chicago Blackhawks offseason

Sports / Hockey /

CHICAGO — The 2021-22 Chicago Blackhawks season probably has faded from fans’ memories already — because who really wants to remember anything that transpired on or off the ice during that turbulent time?

The team would rather have fans look forward as it begins to reinvent the franchise, including introducing potential season ticket ...Read more

David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS

For Panthers, 'a lot of guys wanted to play' Lightning. And a 'hard decision' on Duclair

Sports / Hockey /

The Florida Panthers were not openly rooting for anyone Saturday when the Tampa Bay Lightning took down the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series.

A day later, they couldn’t help but be excited about the outcome, though.

“In the end,” defenseman Brandon Montour said, “I think a lot of guys wanted to play this team.�...Read more

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America/TNS

Rangers eliminate Penguins on Artemi Panarin's overtime goal

Sports / Hockey /

NEW YORK – A series that began in Game 1 with a triple overtime marathon that tested both teams’ stamina and Louis Domingue’s stomach was bookended in the same way.

Well, with one notable exception: The result.

The resilient Rangers fought back from 2-0, second-period deficits in Game 5 and Game 6 to force the all-or-nothing Game 7. They...Read more