Sean Leahy

  • Stanley Cup Media Day notebook: Bowman not worried about cap crunch; Richards back in Tampa; Blackhawks remember Reif, Montador

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 6 hrs ago

    TAMPA — As the Chicago Blackhawks go for their third Stanley Cup in six seasons, one of the storylines heading into this series with the Tampa Bay Lightning is that this is the “end” for this group and that GM Stan Bowman will have to overhaul his roster this summer due to salary cap restrictions. 

    The Blackhawks will indeed have to shed some salary before next season once new contracts for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews kick in and an extension is potentially handed out to restricted free agent Brandon Saad, plus whatever RFAs and unrestricted free agents Bowman’s chooses to bring back. But he’s been through this before -- in 2010 after their first Cup win of this recent run -- so he’s not worried the work that lay ahead of him this summer.

    “The way I look at it, every team is going to have changes going into next year,” Bowman said. “We’re not the only ones. There’s going to be some new players. 

    The NHL's salary cap is expected to be around $71 million, according to Commissioner Gary Bettman. That's only $2 million more than this season. Tough decisions will need to be made, but Bowman has been able to keep the Blackhawks a contender before. Can he do it again?

  • Brenden Morrow, Kimmo Timonen know time is running out for first Stanley Cup

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 7 hrs ago

    TAMPA — Brenden Morrow and Kimmo Timonen are this year’s Old Guys Who Haven’t Won a Stanley Cup Yet as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks battle for this season’s NHL title. Both have reached this stage of the season once before, but left without a ring.

    For Morrow, his opportunity to win a Cup came early in his career, his rookie season with the Dallas Stars to be exact. In Game 6, however, Patrik Elias found Jason Arnott in double overtime and the New Jersey Devils were champions. Fifteen years later, opportunity came calling a second time.

    “It was a long time coming. Fifteen years since the last trip here,” Morrow said during Tuesday’s Media Day. “Little naive at the time about what it all meant. It’s an exciting time. Don’t want to be overwhelmed by anything here … Grinding out for 15 years you never know when you’re going to get back.”

    Next, it was on to St. Louis, who fell to the Blackhawks in six games in Round 1 last spring. Last summer Morrow joined the Lightning mostly because he trusted in what GM Steve Yzerman was building in Tampa. 

    ***

    When this season ends, so does Timonen’s 17-year NHL career.

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  • Daniel Carcillo sees positive change after Steve Montador tribute

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 8 hrs ago

    TAMPA — Daniel Carcillo lost his best friend in hockey this past February. Following the death of Steve Montador, the Chicago Blackhawks forward called for change using the platform created by The Players’ Tribune. 

    In the video, Carcillo spoke about his friend and encouraged players dealing with various issues to speak out and ask for help.

    A month and a half later, Carcillo was at Stanley Cup Final Media Day on Tuesday and said he’s received responses not just from those in the hockey world, but other sports as well. 

    “I think it’s been pretty positive,” he said. “The NHLPA has come out and they’re already trying to change things and make it easier on us to transtition out. It’s been good. All the positive response, you can kind of see a little bit of a niche for it. There’s a want for it, otherwise you wouldn’t have the overwhelming response that we did get to it. It’s encouraging and hopefully we just try to improve the current situation and just make it better.”

    “Just the one text, man, it’s amazing how far it goes.” 

  • Blackhawks vs. Lightning Stanley Cup Preview: Who has the better defensemen?

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 15 hrs ago

    Leading up to Wednesday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning— on the ice and off the ice. 

    Three Blackhawks defenseman were on the 2010 Stanley Cup team. Four (five if you want to count the injured Michal Rozsival) were on the squad that shocked the Boston Bruins in Game 6 in 2013. It’s a veteran group; one that has won together and been through the postseason grind on numerous occasions.

    Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson have seen their minutes rise (over 25 a night) as they handle heavy starts in the defensive zone.

    We saw Quenneville break up the Keith/Seabrook duo versus the Ducks to help out out the other pairings. Could Cooper think to do that as well with his top guys?

    Keith put it perfectly after Game 7 versus the Ducks: ”I don't think anybody's tired this time of year.”

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  • Blackhawks vs. Lightning Stanley Cup Preview: Who has the better aesthetics?

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    Leading up to Wednesday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning— on the ice and off the ice. 

    Cheering "The Star-Spangled Banner" at United Center has been a long-standing tradition for Blackhawks fans. From Wayne Messmer belting it out in the 1980s and '90s to Jim Cornelison today, the anthem has been a special moment inside that building for a long, long time. It's a pretty cool moment when Cornelison sings “and the flag was still there” and gestures toward the stars and stripes hanging from the rafters. He can also shatter beer mugs with his pipes. (OK, that may have been rigged.)

    Located not far from MacDill Air Force base, the Lightning have used U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sonya Bryson as their singer at Amalie Arena since 2013. Bryson is in uniform each time she performs and the scene is perfect as she’s surrounded by the color guard and, at times, veterans. It’s as patriotic an anthem as you can get. 

  • NHL Three Stars: Toews, Kane power Blackhawks back to Stanley Cup Final

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    No. 1 Star: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

    The Blackhawks captain came through yet again as his two first-period goals helped pace Chicago to a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7. 

    No. 2 Star: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

    Kane assisted on three goals in each of the three periods during Chicago’s win. He recorded seven points against Anaheim and now has 20 overall this postseason, one behind Tyler Johnson for the NHL lead.

    No. 3 Star: Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

    Crawford was kept busy, making 35 saves, the eighth time this postseason he’s made at least 30 stops in a game.

    Honorable Mention: Chicago’s power play scored on two of their four chances … Duncan Keith and Brad Richards each had a pair of assists ... The Blackhawks will play for their third Cup in the last six seasons.

    Did You Know? It held.

    If Chicago holds on Marian Hossa will have played in 5 of the past 8 Stanley Cup Finals.

    Dishonorable Mention: Bruce Boudreau fell to 1-6 in his NHL career in Game 7s … Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were held to one combined goal in the final three games of the series. Getzlaf last scored in Game 1 versus Calgary in Round 2.

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  • Devante Smith-Pelly has a bit of Twitter fun at expense of ex-Anaheim teammates

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    Devante Smith-Pelly came up through the Anaheim Ducks’ system after being drafted in 2010. This past February, he was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Jiri Sekac. 

    While he still remains friends with many of his ex-teammates, he seemed to be enjoying Chicago’s Game 7 victory versus his old team Saturday night. After Brent Seabrook’s goal made it 5-2 in the third period, Smith-Pelly Tweeted simply: 

    :)

    He followed thatup by calling Montreal an “amazing organization” in response to an upset fan as the Ducks exited the postseason for the third season in a row in a Game 7.

    Nothing like some good old fashioned chirping of your buddies. 

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  • Rangers lament limited chances in Game 7 loss to Lightning

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    NEW YORK — Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final went as you’d expect. It was a tightly-played contest that was scoreless through two periods and once the Tampa Bay Lightning grabbed the lead 1:54 into the third period thanks to Alex Killorn, the frustration levels of the New York Rangers increased.

    In Game 7, as they were so successful at all season, the Lightning won battles in the neutral zone, and didn’t give their opponents time and space to create many scoring chances. Ben Bishop made 21 saves, and was tested the greatest during a flurry of saves in the third period with Tampa holding a 1-0 lead. 

    The Lightning played out the final 18:06 of the third period with a lead, shutting down opportunity after opportunity and supressing the Rangers’ attack.  

    According to War on Ice, the Lightning held the Rangers offense to just 11 scoring chances at even strength. Tampa killed off the only two penalties in the game in the second period. New York couldn’t generate much, and when they did, Bishop was strong in net, bouncing back again after a tough start. 

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  • Lightning on Rangers' Game 7 dominance: 'Everything is in the past'

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    Four years ago Wednesday, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman skated off the ice at TD Garden following a 1-0 Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final. They left the ice — Stamkos with an adjusted face— as the Bruins celebrated and avoided touching the Prince of Wales Trophy. 

    You always hear veteran athletes say that when they win a championship or are part of a team that goes deep in the postseason early in their career they think they can get back there every year. The following season begins and they quickly realize just how tough it is to win a championship.

    Friday night at Madison Square Garden, the Tampa Bay Lightning will try again to close out the New York Rangers and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Stamkos and Hedman are the only two players remaining from Guy Boucher’s 2011 squad. Following that Game 7 loss to the Bruins, Tampa didn’t win a single playoff game until Game 2 in Round 1 of this postseason. 

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  • Vladimir Sobotka decides to stay in KHL for 2015-16 season: Report

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    Vladimir Sobotka had until this coming weekend to decide whether he would remain in the KHL or return to the St. Louis Blues. On Friday, his Russian side, Avangard Omsk, announced that the forward would be staying with the team for the 2015-16 season.

    “Yesterday we had a conversation with Vladimir Sobotka, and we agreed that he is a player of our club for another season,” said Omsk presidentVladimir Shalaev, via Google translation. “Vladimir said that he likes to play in our team. He is pleased to provide him playing time and a sense of trust of the coaching staff. He understands that he has become one of the leaders of the team and can realize themselves to the maximum.”

    Now that Sobotka is staying in the KHL for a second season, Blues GM Doug Armstrong is forced to wait until next May to try and lure the forward back to North America.

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