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The Stanley Cup final may be over but there was no shortage of topics to discuss Monday morning as I chatted with Gord Stellick on Sirius XM's "Hockey This Morning" on NHL Network Radio. Talking points included the Caps finally getting over the Pittsburgh curse – and just skating by Game 3 in Columbus when it all could have fallen apart in the first round – as well as t…

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LAS VEGAS — For all the talk at the Stanley Cup final you heard about the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Barry Trotz and Marc-Andre Fleury, there was a player with a building buzz as the calendar crept into June and he had not played in an NHL game in more than two months. The name? Ryan O'Reilly. The Sabres center's locker cleanout day chat with reporters that resonated ar…

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LAS VEGAS -- They say what happens in Vegas stays here but the Washington Capitals will gladly dispute that point. (Minus the clubbing with the Stanley Cup they did into the wee hours of Friday morning at the MGM Grand.) The Capitals took the Cup home to DC on Friday after lifting it for the first time in their 43-year history with Thursday night's 4-3 win over the Vega…

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LAS VEGAS – There are stories behind the story for every Stanley Cup champion and the tales around the ice as the Washington Capitals celebrated here Thursday night were eye-opening. But there's no way to describe something 43 years in the making without starting with Alex Ovechkin. In his 13th season, the Great Eight finally got to hoist the Cup following Washington's …

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LAS VEGAS – Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz is a man without a contract for next season but does he have any worries? Not a chance. "I'm having a blast," Trotz said in advance of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final Thursday in T-Mobile Arena. "I’ve gone deep in Calder Cups and what have you. I don’t think you know how hard the season is. Going deep in the playoffs, it…

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LAS VEGAS – With a 5 p.m. Pacific time start, there was no morning skate for the Washington Capitals on Thursday in advance of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final. A few Caps met the media in the T-Mobile Arena interview room less than three hours before puck drop and really the only topic of conversation was the Stanley Cup. Washington leads the series over Vegas, three ga…

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LAS VEGAS – The Washington Capitals have played exactly 3,700 games since they were born in 1974, counting regular season and playoffs. They never have played any as significant as the one that will be staged Thursday night in T-Mobile Arena. The Capitals lead the Stanley Cup final, three games to one, and can finally grab the Cup for the first time in their history wit…

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LAS VEGAS --  When they won Game 1 of this series, the Vegas Golden Knights were 13-3 in the playoffs and looked like they were on a roll for the ages. Three losses later, they're on the verge of elimination. The Washington Capitals can win the first Stanley Cup in their history at Vegas' expense in Game 5 of the final Thursday in T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights h…

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LAS VEGAS – The Florida Panthers' contributions to the wildest story in recent NHL history are widely known. Coach Gerard Gallant and players Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith were all foolishly jettisoned by the Panthers and have been major factors in the growth of a first-year expansion team into a Western Conference champion. But believe it or not, the Panthers …

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WASHINGTON – The pixie dust that has enveloped the Vegas Golden Knights' inaugural season is just about gone, and the Washington Capitals are on the verge of finally capturing their long-elusive Stanley Cup. Born in 1974, the Capitals are one win away from their first Cup after Monday's 6-2 win over Vegas before a downright bonkers gathering in Capital One Arena. Evgeny…

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WASHINGTON -- It's Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night in Capital One Arena. Faceoff is shortly after 8 p.m. on NBC and the Washington Capitals can take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series if they post their third-straight win. But the Vegas Golden Knights are 6-3 on the road this postseason, with the Caps only 5-5 at home. Washington won here Saturday, 3-1. …

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LAS VEGAS -- Brayden Holtby made a miraculous save to preserve the lead. Not outrageous to think that could happen. Brooks Orpik scored the game-winning goal. Hard to fathom that could happen in the Stanley Cup final. The Washington Capitals held on for a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights here Wednesday night, the second straight breathtaking affair in a series that…

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LAS VEGAS -- The Stanley Cup final marches on with Game 2 Wednesday night in T-Mobile Arena, as the Vegas Golden Knights look to take a stranglehold on the series. Can this game match up to the supercharged atmosphere and wild mood swings of the opener? Game 1 was simply crazy. Washington overcame a 1-0 deficit to go ahead, 2-1. The Caps then fell behind, 3-2, rallied f…

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LAS VEGAS – The celebrities are agog with hockey. Celine Dion has worn a Vegas Golden Knights jersey on stage at Caesars Palace. Wayne Newton has done likewise at T-Mobile Arena. Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather was in the stands Monday for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, too. They're not the only ones who've jumped on the bandwagon. Las Vegas is awash with people fro…

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LAS VEGAS -- To get the true feeling of what it's like to be here for the Stanley Cup final, you have to start at the beginning Monday. And we're not talking the opening faceoff. There were thousands of people on the plaza outside T-Mobile Arena for a Lil John concert and the jumbtron led the paying customers inside in chants in unison with the folks outside. The place …