Milan Lucic on ‘pins’ and needles preparing for 2014-15

Ken Campbell
Lucic

The wrist injury Milan Lucic suffered in Game 7 of the Boston Bruins second-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens is healing quite nicely, thank you very much. But the ignominy he and the Bruins suffered in that same game, well, that’s taking a little longer to wear off.

Shortly after the Bruins lost Game 7 of that series on home ice and were bounced from the playoffs, Lucic underwent surgery to repair the wrist, which he said later got jammed in the first period of that game. Doctors just recently removed the pins and while Lucic has been able to do some lower-body training so far, he has not been able to do any lifting. He hopes to start very soon now that the pins are out of the wrist and it’s on its way to healing fully. Read more

Which franchise will be the next to win its first-ever Stanley Cup?

Wild-Blues

We recently sorted out our Yearbook predictions for 2014-15, which included projected standings and which team will win the Stanley Cup. Without giving it away, our anticipated winner has been to the promised land before. Which mathematically, should not be surprising. Only 12 of the NHL’s 30 teams have never won the league title and it’s hard to say who will be next. When the Los Angeles Kings won their first Cup in 2012, they broke a streak of futility that had stretched back to 1968 when the team originally entered the league. The following teams would like to join them:

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Don Metz’s cameos always paid off for Maple Leafs

Don Metz

For almost a decade in the 1940s, unobtrusive career-minor-leaguer Don Metz strived to become a full-time NHLer with the Toronto Maple Leafs alongside his starry big brother, Nick. But poor, beleaguered Don endlessly failed.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, over a nine-year span, Don, a Saskatchewan wheat farmer, became only one of three Toronto skaters to play for five Stanley Cup winners. (Hall of Famers Turk Broda and Ted Kennedy were the others.) “I was lucky that way,” Metz told me during a telephone interview I conducted with him more than 10 years ago.

Don was more than lucky. He was the right Metz at the right time with the right team. His older brother excelled for the Maple Leafs over 518 games compared with Don’s paltry 172 contests, but Nick never could top Kid Metz’s feat. Read more

Congratulations Dean Lombardi, now get back to work

Ken Campbell
Dean Lombardi

Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi has done an outstanding job of keeping the core of the best team in the NHL so far. The key, of course, has been an uncanny ability to identify which players are essential to the cause and which are expendable.

And Lombardi has done a masterful job at that. Only six players that were a part of the 2012 Stanley Cup team were not around to hoist it two years later – defenseman Rob Scuderi, forwards Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson, Simon Gagne and Andrei Loktionov and backup goalie Jonathan Bernier. It would be difficult to make a case that the Kings have missed a single one of those players and that the ones with whom they replaced them, both from acquisitions from other teams and within the organization, aren’t actually better. Read more

On the anniversary of Brett Hull’s infamous goal and team’s low point, Sabres’ future is looking blindingly bright

Brett Hull (Joe Traver)

It’s been 15 years to the day that the most infamous game in Buffalo Sabres history began: On June 19, 1999, the franchise squared off in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final – and when it ended in controversy and anguish in the wee hours of the next morning, with Brett Hull’s foot, the rest of him, and his Dallas Stars teammates celebrating their championship on the ice of the then-named Marine Midland Arena (now known as the First Niagara Center), Buffalo fans might have believed they were at their nadir.

Unfortunately for the Sabres, the next decade-and-a-half hasn’t been much better. Sure, they enjoyed a brief resurgence after the 2005 lost lockout season, making two appearances in the Eastern Conference Final. However, in fourteen seasons after playing in the 1999 Cup Final, Buffalo missed the playoffs eight times and made it out of the first round on just three occasions. More often than not, the biggest news coming out of the organization has been about players leaving, ownership changes and management blunders.

That’s the bad news. The good news? Virtually all the circumstances that went on to affect the Sabres in that time have changed. Consequently, the next fifteen years are likely to be much better to Sabres fans. And I mean much better. Read more

Justin Williams, Alec Martinez make a margarita in the Stanley Cup on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Rory Boylen
cupmargarita

The Stanley Cup has been through a lot of adventures in its lifetime. It’s been left on the curb at the side of the road. It’s been kicked, dented and tossed into a pool. It’s been pooped in. It’s been used for a baptism. It’s been left behind at a photographer’s house – and then used as a flower pot. It’s been used as a horse’s feed bag. Steve Yzerman showered with it, Doug Weight’s family ate an ice cream sundae out of it.

But you can’t do just anything with the Stanley Cup. The days of the Montreal Wanderers and Ottawa Silver Seven are long gone. Read more

Blackhawks odds-on favorite for 2015 Cup, that’s no surprise to Kings

Hawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have been installed by Bodog as the odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2015 and if you listened to Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi and coach Darryl Sutter during their Stanley Cup celebration Friday night, you might want to put a few dollars down on the Blackhawks next season.

To hear the GM and coach of the best team in the NHL this season tell it, they feel the best team in the NHL last season is the biggest obstacle between them and a Stanley Cup repeat. The Blackhawks, you might remember, battled back from a 3-1 deficit to the Kings and lost in overtime in Game 7 of the Western Conference final. Read more

Final thoughts from the Stanley Cup final: It wasn’t even close

Kings celly

LOS ANGELES – Once again, the Stanley Cup final provided Eastern Conference teams a glimpse of what they’re up against when it comes to building legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. And once again, the Western Conference proved so superior that it’s almost as though teams in the east and west are playing in two different leagues.

Not only did a Western Conference team win the Stanley Cup for the sixth time in nine years since the 2004-05 lockout, it wasn’t even close. Don’t let the fact that three of the five games of the Stanley Cup final between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers went to overtime fool you. Read more