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CHICAGO — Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko got plenty of inquiries about the impact of their short summers and how tough it will be to defend a Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin got prodded to give insight on what the St. Louis Blues are in for trying to defend their title. But the NHL Player Media Tour also showcased the other side of Game 7 f…

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CHICAGO — Before you think about this season, there's plenty of relevance in probing how the last one ended for Jack Eichel. And that's not a reference to the Buffalo Sabres' miserable finish or the firing of Phil Housley. Eichel went to the World Championships in Slovakia, where he first met new coach Ralph Krueger to get started on building the player-coach relationsh…

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Tage Thompson knew darn well the question was coming Wednesday. And he handled it in a mature way. Amerks coach Chris Taylor said Thompson showed plenty of maturity at the end of last season too. Good signs indeed. Thompson isn't going to be the most important prospect at Sabres development camp this week in Harborcenter or during training camp in September. But circ…

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VANCOUVER – There are a lot of reasons the job of an NHL general manager is a tough one. Here's the latest one to add to the list: How do you know what kind of team to build these days? It sure seemed like the NHL was going back to a speed game when the Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Last year's Washington-Vegas Cup final certainly h…

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LAS VEGAS – Fellow Swede Elias Pettersson was the winner and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin finished in third place in balloting for the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year announced here Wednesday night. Pettersson's victory was a landslide as he finished with 1,650 points and got 151 of 171 first-place votes from members of the Professional Hockey Writers…

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LAS VEGAS – Patrick Kane is a self-professed hockey nerd. The South Buffalo native watched the Stanley Cup playoffs closely as Central Division rival St. Louis capped its run from last place in the league in January to the summit in June. It's a lesson Kane said his Chicago Blackhawks and a lot of other teams can learn from. "You're just watching as a fan, not really ro…

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The St. Louis Blues just won the Stanley Cup on Wednesday and were feted with a parade and rally under the Gateway Arch on Saturday. The official end of hockey season? Hardly. Things are done on the ice for now but will really start heating up off of it. The NHL Awards are Wednesday night in Las Vegas, with Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin joining St. Louis goalie Jordan…

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BOSTON – It was seven games over 17 days, the first Stanley Cup final to go the distance since 2011. In the end, the St. Louis Blues completed their worst-to-first transformation and won the Cup for the first time in their history with Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 at TD Garden. Here are seven random thoughts in the wake of the final: 1. Hea…

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BOSTON – Gary Bettman had given Ryan O'Reilly the Conn Smythe Trophy. Then St. Louis teammate David Perron took care of the big moment. As a 3-year-old idolizing his 8-year-old brother, Cal, O'Reilly had practiced this in the family kitchen of their home outside London, Ont. Take the Stanley Cup and hold it over your head. Use whatever you could. A garbage can, milk jug…

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BOSTON – It all comes down to this. Virtually every player on both teams has had this vision, either on a driveway or a backyard rink. Game 7. Stanley Cup final. The winning goal. Somebody's dream is coming true Wednesday night in TD Garden. The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues will stage the NHL's first ultimate game in eight years, since the Bruins' 4-0 win in …

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BOSTON – High draft picks for sure. Big money sometimes. That's a generally accepted recipe for successfully building your team in the NHL. The combatants in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final here Wednesday night in TD Garden don't follow that formula at all. The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues are the composite results of a good deal of luck, but are also the works of …

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BOSTON — When it comes to goaltending during the run to the Stanley Cup, Jordan Binnington is getting the bulk of the notoriety. But Tuukka Rask could end up with all the hardware. You can make a solid case that Rask has been the better goalie in five of the six games played in the Cup final, and his strong play might give the Bruins a key advantage when the series c…

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ST. LOUIS -- Something about this town makes Boston sports icons speak up and have their teammates listen. It was nearly six years ago, midway through Game 5 of the World Series, when David Ortiz gathered the Red Sox in the Busch Stadium dugout -- in full view of fans and television cameras -- and urged them to settle down and play their game. The message got through…

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ST. LOUIS – It's just random chance landings I've had here over the years. Add another one to the list of a wild run at the mouth of the Mississippi. The Stanley Cup was in town Sunday night with the St. Louis Blues trying to raise it for the first time in their 52-year history with a win over the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Cup final. And for all the talk of Bost…

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ST. LOUIS — One more win for the St. Louis Blues to win the first Stanley Cup in their 52-year history. One win for the Boston Bruins to get the series back home for the ultimate showdown Wednesday night. That's what will be at stake Sunday night in Enterprise Center as the Blues and Bruins play Game 6 of the Cup final. St. Louis has won two straight to take a 3-2 lead …