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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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Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, who grew up in East Amherst and played at the Nichols School, announced his retirement from the NHL Tuesday morning after a career spanning 1,035 games and two Stanley Cup victories. Orpik, 38, was born in San Francisco but was raised in Western New York and played youth hockey in the area. He was named for U.S. "Miracle on I…

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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 – 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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No Goal. Those were Lindy Ruff's final two words to fans in Niagara Square when a rally was held in 1999 to celebrate the Buffalo Sabres' run to the Stanley Cup final. You all know what they mean. In the annals of Buffalo sports, there is Wide Right and there is No Goal and every other disappointment has to take its place in line. It was 20 years ago Wednesday whe…

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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 …

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ST. LOUIS — Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara says he's fine. At least that's what it sounded like as the 42-year-old gritted through answering a few questions from reporters Saturday in Enterprise Center. The Bruins captain would not answer a direct inquiry if he has a broken jaw after being struck by a Brayden Schenn shot in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final. Chara m…