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Devils Arena pre game pump up!
The Kings can now say that they have won Game 1 of every series so far.  They can also say that they are 3 wins away from their 1st ever Stanley Cup.  Both goaltenders showed up.  Jonathan Quick made 17 saves on 18 shots.  Martin Brodeur made 23 saves on 25 shots.  The 25th shot being scored on a breakaway by Anze Kopitar.  It was a beauty of a goal.  It came in overtime and Kopitar was patient patient patient as he skated towards the net.  Kopitar waited until Brodeur made the first move and took his shot to win the game.  Only 3 penalties were taken total.  Two by LA, one by New Jersey.  It was fun to watch the players get over the jitters they had at the start of the game.  When teams meet up in the playoffs one team is from the western conference and one team is from the eastern conference.  This might not sound like a big deal but think about it this way.  The NHL season this year started on October 8th.  Los Angeles and New Jersey played each other on October 26th.  Since then Los Angeles has picked up Jeff Carter and Darryl Suter as head coach while New Jersey has 8 new players!  So long story short these teams had to get a feel for each other.  It was a physical, fast game. Los Angeles is now 9-0 on the road in the playoffs!  That is wild!  Game 2 of this final sereis is Saturday at 5:00 in New Jersey.  Below check out photos of the game and videos!

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I saw Quick make a safe that looked exactly like this in Round One vs the Vancouver Canucks? Can't he come up with something new?
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Ok, yeah, there we go. Quick got a new move. Still stopped it though. Quick stops everything!
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The New Jersey Devils scored and the best part of this photo is the Kings look so shocked? They actually can't believe that just happened. It is like a goal scored on them is so foreign?!
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Anze Kopitar and his breakaway game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils. Kings take a 1-0 lead in the series.
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Anze Kopitar and Colin Fraser the goal scorers chat with teammates while Jonathan Quick can breath easy. Game One Won!
Here in Vancouver it isn't to late to sign up for the Scotiabank Marathon and support the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.  
 
 
It has been rumored the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in professional sports.  Why you may ask?  First a Stanley Cup contending team isn't born in a single season.  It usually takes a few seasons.  Finding the forwards, defence and the all important goalie and backup goalie.  Some players become permanent fixtures on the team signing multi year contacts, other players sign for a year or 2 to fill holes on a team.  After this happens a team plays 82 games in a single season.  For a team to make the playoffs they must be in the top 8 at the end of the season.  The playoff structure is set up with 4 rounds.  Each round is a best of 7 series.  Meaning a minimum of 4 games in every series is played and a maximum of 7 games.  Do the math and a team plays a minimum of 16 games or a maximum of 28 to win the Stanley Cup!  No team wins the Cup in a night, the playoffs take 2 months to unfold. The New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings are heading to the final round this year.  It is not a final anyone predicted but that is NHL hockey.  Below you can get the facts you need to know about these 2 teams.
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The well respected Stanley Cup Ring
  Let's start with the New Jersey Devils.  The Devils entered the NHL in 1974. They play in the Eastern Conference in the Atlantic Division.  The Devils have won 3 Stanley Cups.  The first came in 1995, the second 2000 and the 3rd in 2003.  The team has never taken home a Presidents Trophy for most points collected in a single season league wide.  The New Jersey Devils have not always been called the Devils.  They started out as the Kansas City Scouts.  In the 1976-77 season the team was relocated to Denver and became the Colorado Rockies. In 1982-83 the team moved to New Jersey and became the New Jersey Devils. The Devil came from Jersey Devil folklore tale. The Jersey Devil is creature that lives in the Pine Barrens in southern Jersey.  This creature has hooves, flies and has been a tale in the area for over nearly 400 years.  One of the biggest WOW factors in this franchise is the #1 netminder Martin Brodeur has lead the team to all 3 of their Stanley Cup wins!  The Captain leading the team to this hopeful win is 27 year old Zach Parise.  Parise has a lot to live up to because the previous 3 cups were all won with the same Captain Scott Stevens. Below you can check out pictures and 2 different videos of the game 7 highlights in 2003!  The 1st video has more detail on the game and the 2nd video shows the celebration with the Devils win!

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The 1995 New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup winning team!
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One of my personal favourite hockey players, Scottie Neidermayer! Neidermayer won 4 Stanley Cup total during his career. Three with the Devils and one with the Anaheim Ducks!
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The new generation Kings Winning!
The Los Angeles Kings journey is much different then the New Jersey Devils history.  The Kings joined the NHL in 1967 in the expansion as we learned in episode 8 of season 1 of Hockey Talk with Courtney. The Kings are in the Western Conference in the Pacific Division. The team plays currently at the Staples Center along with the LA Lakers and LA Clippers.  The Kings have never won a Stanley Cup but have been in the Finals once in 1993 against the Montreal Canadiens where they lost in 5 games.  Their Captain at the time was none other than Wayne Gretzky.  The have also never won a President's Trophy.  That being said don't let those stats let you think New Jersey is a shoe in for the win.  The Kings started off with a rough season this year but come playoff time they were a team out to win and win they did.  The Kings were up against the 1st seed in the west the Vancouver Canucks.  The Canucks were coming off a second year of winning the Presidents Trophy and making it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last year.  The Kings beat them in 5 games.  Up next in round 2 was the 2nd seed in the west the St. Louis Blues.  The Kings swept them (swept meaning the Kings won games 1, 2, 3 and 4).  Round 3 was against the 3rd seeded Phoenix Coyotes.  The Kings bumped out the Coyotes in a Game 5 OT win with a goal scored in the first OT period by Dustin Penner.  And now the Kings face the Devils.  Dustin Brown is the Captain of the team and Jonathan Quick is the unbelievable goalie on this crazy run for the cup Hollywood story.  Below check out photos from 1993 and videos.  The 1st video is the Kings winning the Campbell Conference in 1993 and celebrating heading to the Stanley Cup Finals.  The 2nd video is the Kings in their last minute of play and eventual loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the Finals.

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The one and only Wayne Gretzky led the Kings to the last Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. I bet Gretzky will be at Staples Center during his former team's run!
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Like in any true sportsman like manner the LA Kings were ready to go at the start of the 1993-1994 season with this team photo.
Let there be a Mess!
Series starts May 30th.  Puck drops at 5:00pm

Good Luck to both the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils!
 
 
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Devils win Game 5!
Hello Everyone!  Well well well don't we have an interesting 2012 Stanley Cup Final on our hands.  I don't think anyone could have predicted this.  I have heard everyone combination from hockey loving fans over the playoff run but never once did Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils pop up?!  I didn't get a chance to blog about game 5 but it was a goodie.  In 6 sentences it went like this: The New Jersey Devils took a commanding 3 goal lead in the 1st period with 3 goals in just over 7 minutes.  New York scored one goal to end the 1st period, a goal 32 seconds into the 2nd period and a 3rd goal 17 seconds into the 3rd period.  Tie game with 19:43 to go!  Devil Ryan Carter scored to make it 4-3 which forced the Rangers to pull their goalie.  Which left an empty net and plenty of room for Devil Captain Zach Parise to score an empty netter!  Game over, Devils win 5-3.  Taking the series back over the Hudson river and Game 6 at home for the Devils!  Check out the Zach Parise goal below and keep on scrolling for a recap, photos and video clips from a wild wild game 6!

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Henrique's team can barely handle the WIN!
In an elimination game for the New York Rangers being played in New Jersey it was kind of a big deal.  If the Rangers were to follow their playoff run pattern they would have won the game forced a game 7 and won that.  The Rangers went to game 7 in series 1 against the Ottawa Senators and series 2 against the Washington Capitals.  New Jersey on the other hand beat Florida in 7 games in the 1st series and beat Philadelphia in 5 games in round 2.  In that series Philadelphia won game 1 and New Jersey went on the win the next 4 in a row!  In this series it went:
Game 1 New York 3-0
Game 2 New Jersey 3-2
Game 3 New York 3-0
Game 4 New Jersey 4-1
Game 5 New Jersey 5-3
Game 6 New Jersey 3-2
This game was a great game to watch.  New Jersey made it 2-0 with 2 goals in the 2nd period.  First goal by Ryan Carter, second goal by Ilya Kovalchuk.  Ranger head coach John Tortorella didn't take that sitting down.  Rusian Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan both scored for New York in the 2nd period.  All of a sudden we had a tie game on our hands.  A scoreless 3rd period meant sudden death OT.  This wasn't the first time sudden death OT was happening in the playoffs.  The Los Angeles Kings bumped out the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 OT round 1, and Los Angeles also bumped out the Phoenix Coytoes in Game 5 OT.  The OT was fast and painless for everyone in New Jersey.  For everyone rooting for New York the sting lingered for a long time after original blow worn off.  The OT goal game with 1:03 gone in the period and rookie Adam Henrique scoring the goal!  It was sneaky goal.  Henrique found the puck after it slipped past Lundqvist's pad and tapped it a few inches past the goal line and game done.  Henrique's victory dance looked a lot like the Max Lapierre goal/dance in Game 5 of the finals last year.  I little bio on Henrigue: drafted in 2008 by New Jersey.  Henrique played 1 game in the 2010-11 season for the Devils and 74 games this past season.  Henrique has played 18 playoff games this year and scored 3 goals and helped out on 8 others.  Adam stands 6 feet tall, is 22 years old and a smile that could melt your heart.  New Jersey now face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final starting May 30th!

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There are a lot of great guys who play in the NHL. Ranger netminder Henrik Lundqvist and veteran Devil netminder Martin Brodeur are definitely two of them.
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When Zach Parise accepted the trophy for winning the Eastern Conference Final he got his whole team up to accept and NOBODY TOUCHED IT! Hockey players are also uber superstitious!
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Patrik Elias and Zach Parise hug it out after a huge win for their team! Hugs all around!
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Travis Zajac and Ryan Carter are all smiles on the ice after winning, winning and WINNING! Game 4, 5 and 6 all victories for the Devils and New York hadn't lost 3 games in a row since the start of the regular season!
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The game winning goal scored #14 Adam Henrique looking handsome in his suit at the press conference after the game. Look at that smile! Handsome, handsome and handsome!
Just because I can check out the Max Lapierre goal below and don't forget to sign up for the Scotiabank Marathon and support the Canucks Autism Network! http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.  
 
 
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Los Angeles Captain Dustin Brown accepts trophy.
It started in Phoenix and it ended in Phoenix.  Last night the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3.  With the winning goal scored late in the 1st period of overtime for the Western Conference Crown.  Los Angeles in now heading to the Stanley Cup Final for the 1st time in 19 (since the Great One Gretzky was the Captain).  King Captain Dustin Brown did not touch the trophy when he accepted on behalf of his team (hockey players are some of the most superstatious people ever).  It was a very good game to watch.  To say the least it was jammed packed with entertainment to the hard hitting series.  Former Canuck and current Coyote, good looking Taylor Pyatt scored the opening goal in the early minutes of the 1st period, only to have King Anze Kopitar score his 6th goal of the playoffs and tie the game.  The second period would be the highest goal scoring period in the series with 4 goal in 10 minutes.  Two for Phoenix and two for Los Angeles.  Both teams wanted to win bad and after a scoreless 3rd period it was onto sudden death overtime.  It looked like it was heading to a 2nd period of OT but Dustin Penner scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs and it was a done deal.  Like a lot of series goaltending played a huge factor in the success of both teams making it to the Conference Finals.  Last night between both goalies 92 shots were taken!  Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick had the slower night stopping 38 of 41 shots while Coyote netminder Mike Smith stopped 47 of a whopping 51 shots!   Los Angeles to the Stanley Cup Final!  With this series win it means Los Angeles elimnated the 1st seeded Vancouver Canucks in 5 games, 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues in 4 games and 3rd seeded Phoenix Coyotes in 5 games.  That has to be a record!  Congrats boys!  Below check out video of Taylor Pyatt's opening game goal, Dustin Brown kneeing Michal Rozsival, Mike Smith playing without a glove, Dustin Penner game winning OT goal followed by the handshakes!

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Mike Smith stopping the puck with his bare hands!
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The quest for the Cup is over in Phoenix. The team salutes their fans in traditional fashion. Better luck next year Coyotes.
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The winning team and their Trophy. If Los Angeles ends up winning the Stanley Cup it will be the 1st time in their 44 year franchise history!
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Parise Shoots, Parise Scores!
The battle of the Hudson River is now tied 2-2 after Monday's game.  The New Jersey Devils came out guns blazing wanting to avoid a loss and fall behind 3-1 in the series.  Mission accomplished.  With 2 goals in less then 4 minutes in in the 1st period and nothing for the Rangers the Devils had a slight bit of breathing room.  A scoreless 2nd period meant the Devils had to kill off 20  minutes and they would win game 4.  Devil Captain Zach Parise didn't think that was good enough and scored the 3rd goal for his team early in the 3rd period.  Slight more breathing room for the team.  Unlike the 3-0 shutout for the Rangers in game 3, New Jersey wasn't so lucky.  Ruslan Fedotenko scored for the Rangers  bringing his team within 2 goals.  Leave it to veteran netminder and excellent puck handler Martin Brodeur to get the puck to Bryce Salvador who got it to Zach Parise who then shot it straight into an empty New York net with 89 seconds left in the game.  Done like dinner.  Game over.  New Jersey ties the series and it heads back to Madison Square Garden for game 5.  Both teams took 29 shots on net.  Lundqvist stopped 26 shots and Brodeur stopped 28.  Below check out the opening goal by Bryce Salvador and the empty netter by Parise!  Enjoy

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As Vancouver netminder Cory Schneider has said "as a goalie you have to wait for the play to come to you." Henrik Lundqvist showed how it is done while the faceoff gets organized in the New Jersey end of the ice.
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Man of the hour Martin Brodeur answering questions after his team's game 4 victory.
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New Jersey Devils Captain and oh so cute Zach Parise scored not only the insurance goal for his team to win game 4, Parise also scored the empty netter asssited by goalie Martin Brodeur.
With the Western Conference settled by the game 5 and 4-1 series win for the Los Angeles Kings, the only series still on is the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.

Tonight the Devils and Rangers face off at 5:00pm
Keep in mind both theses teams have interesting standings when it come to game 5s in their prior series.  It is really any team's game.  In round 1 New York fell behind 3-2 in the series with a game 5 loss to the Ottawa Senators but won game 6 & 7 for the eventual win!  New Jersey also fell behind 3-2 in their series in round 1 to the Florida Panthers but came back to win games 6 & 7 and win the series.  New Jersey went on to win round 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games only losing game 1 in round 2.  New York on the other hand went back and forth for 7 games winning game 1, 3 ,5 and 7 against Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin's Washington Capitals in round 2.  Only the future will tell with this series in the east.  Enjoy X
Also remember to sign up for the Scotiabank Marathon and support the Canucks Autism Network!  http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.
 
 
Hello everyone!  How are you?  It has been a few days since I have posted a blog bit.  What can I say? A lot has happened.  Canada and the USA were bumped out of the World Championship for a medal and Russia ended up beating Slovakia for the Gold!  Phoenix avoided a sweep to Los Angeles winning game 4 of their series and New York is leading their series 2-1 after a 3rd period scoring spree in game 3.  Below check out the highlights and fun facts!
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Russia's winning 2010 Team!
Russia took GOLD for the 1st time since 2009!  Beating Slovakia 6-2.  This tournament is the deciding factor for the seeding process at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.  Meaning Russia will be seeded 1st in their home country.  What fun!  Evgeni Malkin scored the final goal of the series in the dying seconds of the 3rd period.  When the medal presentation happened Slovakia received their medals with jerseys bearing the name of former Slovakia superstar Pavol Demitra.  The jerseys simply said "Demitra"  All in all it was a great tournament.  Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin joined there Russian teammates late in the tournament after the Washington Capitals NHL playoff bid ending.   Detroit Red Wing scored 1 goal and recorded 2 assists in the Russian win.  All in all it was a great tournament and with some surprising wins and surprising early exits by countries it will continue to surprise!

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Evgeni Malkin not only took home gold but also took home the record for most points in the tournament.
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Gretzky was the 1st player ever to win both the NHL and World Championships scoring race in the same year. Evgeni Malkin is the 2nd. Gretzky in 1982, Malkin in 2012.
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Captain Callahan & King Henrik happy about their win.
The New York Rangers once again lead their series.  With a 3-0 win on Saturday the team leads 2-1 in the series.  It was a game clearly both teams wanted to win.  In what has been dubbed "the Battle of the Hudson River"these 2 teams are out to win and so are their fans!  It was a scoreless 1st and 2nd period.  New Jersey was trying taking 11 shots in the 1st period and 15 shots in the 2nd period.  New York only took 5 shots in the 1st and 9 in the second.  It wasn't until the 3rd period fans saw action.  Ranger Dan Girardi scored early in the 1st period to give his team the lead.  Playoff hot shot Chris Krieder scored the 2nd goal for his team less then 2 minutes after Girardi.  New Jersey in a desperate attempt not to lose pulled their goalie with over 2 minutes left.  It proved pointless and New York Ranger Ryan Callahan scored into the empty net with 2:13 left in the period.  Game over!  New York wins 3-0 and King Henrik stopped 36 shots for the win.  Game 4 in New Jersey.  Let's take a minute to talk about Chris Kreider.  The kid is 21.  Kreider has played 15 games total in the NHL and all 15 games have been played in the 2012 playoffs.  With 5 goals and 2 assists to his record so far, Kreider is proving to be a force to be reckoned with.  Drafted by the New York Rangers 19th overall in 2009, Kreider signed an entry level contract with the team on April 10th 2012.  Chris practiced with the team the next day and played his 1st game in the 16th of April.  One week and 3 game later Kreider scored his 1st NHL playoff goal!  Keep an eye on this kid!  Below check out not only pictures from Game 3 in New Jersey but 3 Chris Kreider goals including his first ever NHL goal.  Enjoy!

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Dan Girardi scoring the game winning goal.
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Chris Kreider scoring the insurance goal for the Rangers.
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Handsome King Henrik (Henrik Lundqvist) talking the press after winning!
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Coyotes celebrated a win!
The Phoenix Coyotes avoided a Western Finals sweep with a win in game 4 against the  powerhouse team the Los Angeles Kings.  Coyote Captain Shane Doan scored both goals for his team and Jonathan Quick did something rarely seen: he let in more goals in a game then his opposing netminder.  Quick stopped 19 of 21 shots while Phoenix Coyote netminder Mike Smith finally got a well deserved win stopping 36 shots.  This game was won by the Coyotes in the Staples Center in Los Angeles which forces game 5 in Phoenix.  Doan scored the 1st goal late in the 1st period.  Doan scored the 2nd Coyote goal with 11:10 gone in the second period.  Los Angeles was never able to come back.  Coyotes win!  Below check out photos from the game, Doan's second goal of the night and a wild Mike Smith save!

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Shane Doan's backhander scores........
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Shane Doan gets to celebrate his backhander goal!
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Coyote goalie Mike Smith stopped everything that came his way.
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A very rare sighting: Jonathan Quick on the bench.
Tomorrow  consists of only one game
New York Rangers take on New Jersey Devils at 5:00  Enjoy X
And don't forget to register for the Scotiabank Marathon on June at http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.
 
 
The Eastern Conference Finals kicked off last night from Madison Square Gardens in NYC.  It was a battle of the Hudson River.  Personally I was wondering if the teams would be traveling to games via subway?  A pretty easy commute that requires no airplanes and hotel rooms.  The last 2 times these 2 teams met up on the 3rd round was in 1994.  The Rangers won, went on to play the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final and ended up winning the Stanley Cup.

Last night's game ended in a 3-0 victory for the Rangers.  The game was a nail biter.  It was a totally scoreless game until Dan Girardi scored 53 seconds into the 3rd period.  Then followed by a Chris Kreider goal and a Artem Anisimov empty net goal to seal the deal.  New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur stopped 25 of 27 shots.  Brodeur was also between the pipes in the 1994 series against the Rangers.  Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout.
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New York Rangers are on the scoreboard and there is lots of reason to celebrate in New York City!
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The Toast of the Town King Henrik!
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Dallas Star Jamie Benn, Edmonton Oiler Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Blackhawk Patrick Sharp celebrate goals and winning hockey games! Go Canada Go!
Oh Canada, our home and native land!  With the 5-1 victory over Belarus early this morning Team Canada heads to the medal round in the top spot in their pool!  Below you can see Alex Burrows 1st career international goal.  Burrows scored it at the beginning of the tournament but who cares.  Have fun!
Tonight is game 2 for the Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes.  It is anyone's game.  Puck drops at 6:00pm Enjoy X
 
 
Round 3 of the Stanley Cup Conference finals kicked off last night and what a game it was.  Los Angeles and Phoenix Pacific division rivals met up in the desert and it was anyone's game.  With Jonathan Quick manning the pipes for Los Angeles and MIke Smith stopping pucks for Phoenix.  As usual Los Angeles opened up the scoring, Anze Kopitar it was.  Not before the 1st period ended Phoenix tied it up.  Dwight King made it 2-1 Kings in the 2nd period but Mikkel Boedker made it 2-2 before the 2nd ended.  Again in true Captain leading a team to victory fashion Kings Captain Dustin Brown scored the game winning goal early in the 3rd period.  Dwight King scored his 2nd goal of the night on an empty net with 48 seconds left in the 3rd.  Kings win game 1 with a 4-2 final and lead the series 1-0.  Jonathan Quick stopped 25 of 27 shots.  Mike Smith was the busier goalie stopping 44 of 47 shots.  Below you can check out the 1st goal of the series by Anze Kopitar,  the Derek Morris goal from CENTER ICE and the game winning goal by Captain Dustin Brown.  Plus a video clip of Jonathan Quick's style and a crazy glove save by Mike Smith!
There is only one game tonight:
Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders!  Enjoy X

Now onto the Men's World Championships:
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Semin and Ovechkin are off the World Championships!
Team Russia has cause to celebrate.  Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin will be flying to the World Championships.  After the Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers both players are joining Team Russia!

I can now breath a little easy in Vancouver when I say how handsome I believe Patrick Sharp to be.  Being Canadian and Patrick is playing for Team Canada here you go ladies!
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The handsome Chicago Blackhawk in a Team Canada jersey!
For all of you Vancouver fans who love Alex Burrows here you go!
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Alex Burrows looks super sharp in his Team Canada practice jersey!
Victoria B.C. Man Jamie Benn is competing for his country.  Benn is no stranger to wearing the Team Canada jersey.  Benn was on the Gold Medal World Junior Team in 2009! 
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Dallas Star Jamie Benn donning the Team Canada jersey for yet another international tournament!
Jordan Eberle has been lighting up the scoreboard at the World Championships.  Nothing new for Eberle though.  Eberle played on the same World Junior Team as Jamie Benn.  Gold in 2009 came with a tying goal with 5 seconds left in the 3rd by Eberle.  A win in OT meant Russia was out and Canada was onto the Gold Medal round vs Sweden.  Canada Won!  For old time sake you can watch Eberle's goal at WJC 2009 below!
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Not only does Jordan Eberle rock the Team Canada jersey on the ice he represents off the ice as well!
Also don't forget to send in your ideas for Hockey 101s, Fun facts and Hearts of the Week for season 2 of Hockey Talk with Courtney.  And again the link for the Scotiabank Marathon!  Don't be scared to run fast and raise lots of money for the Canucks Autism Network http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.
 
 
Hello everyone!  How are you?  It is a beautiful day here in Vancouver BC and the only thing better then writing about hockey on this fine day would be if I had a laptop so I could type outside!  I know I said I would get some info up about the Men's World Championships yesterday and I am sorry I didn't get it done.  Busy writing and planning the next season of Hockey Talk!  What fun!  Plus I did do some reading about the World Championships.  They are actually a lot of fun but I have managed to find what is important to know, what is fun to know and which cute players are on each team!

Like any sport there are certain countries that dominant.  In the world of Hockey I would say Canada, USA, Russia, Finland, Czech Republic and Sweden are the strongest countries.  Canada and USA went to the gold medal round in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.  Sweden won the World Junior's this past year and beat Russia.  Canada placed third.  Russia won gold at World Juniors year prior in a game against Canada.  

The World Championships started in 1920.  Canada won gold, USA silver and Czechoslovakia bronze.  The host country was Antwerp, Belgium.

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Canada's Gold Winning World Championship team in 1920. Unlike today's tournament were players are chosen for different teams to represent their country, as a whole back in the early days one whole team was chosen to represent their country. In 1920 it was the Winnipeg Falcons who went. This picture was taken on the way to the games. Notice how the players are traveling via boat and not plane! My how things have changed!
Canada actually won gold for 6 years straight until a gold medal game loss to the USA in 1933.  Canada won the next 2 years until a gold medal game loss to Great Britain in 1936.  Canada went on to win gold the following 3 years.   
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Canada is the leader in Medals overall with
24 Gold
13 Silver
9 Bronze

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The USA has won
2 goal
9 silver
5 bronze

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Sweden with it's cold cold winters is a strong record with
8 gold
19 silver
16 bronze

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Before the Soviet Union became Russia they had a medal record of
22 gold
7 silver
5 bronze

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Russia has managed to collect 
3 gold
2 silver 
3 bronze

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Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic have a strong record
The former Czechoslovakia recorded      Czech Republic has recorded
6 gold                                                              6 gold
12 silver                                                          1 silver
16 bronze                                                       4 bronze

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Finland rounds out the top placing countries with 
2 gold
6 silver
3 bronze

Great Britain and Slovakia have won gold once. Germany, West Germany, Switzerland and Austria have never won gold but have all picked up silver or bronze over the years.  The World Championship tournament always seems to take place somewhere in the eastern hemisphere.  The Championship did take place in the USA in 1932, 1960 and 1962 but oddly enough didn't touch down on Canadian soil till 2008 where is was played in Halifax and Quebec City!

This year's games are being played in 2 countries.  Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.  The tournament is divided into tow pools A and B.  Each pool has 8 teams and the top 4 finishing teams in each pool advance from the quarterfinals.  The points system in the WCS is slightly different then the NHL.  A team gets 3 points for a win in regulation and 0 points for a loss.  But for an overtime win the team collects 2 points and with a overtime loss they get 1 point.
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Team Russia!
Pool A
Russia with 5 wins 0 lost and 15 points
Sweden with 4 wins 1 loss and 12 points
Czech Republic with 3 wins 1 loss and 11 points
Norway with 2 wins 2 loses and 7 points
Latvia with 2 wins 3 loses and 6 points
Germany with 2 wins 3 loses and 6 points
Italy with 0 wins 4 loses and 2 points
Denmark with 0 wins 4 loses and 1 point
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Team Canada! Oh Canada, Oh Canada!
Pool B
Canada with 4 wins 0 lost and 13 points
Finland with 4 wins 1 loss and 12 points
USA with 2 wins 1 loss and 10 points
Slovakia with 3 wins 2 loses and 9 points
France with 2 wins 3 loses and 6 points
Switzerland with 2 wins 3 loses and 6 points
Belarus with 1 win 4 loses and 3 points
Kazakhstan with 0 wins 4 loses and 1 point
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On tomorrow's post I will let you know who is playing on what teams after the history lessons you got today!  But real quick Evgeni Malkin is leading the points race with 6 goal and 6 assists!  12 points total! But are we really shocked?  I mean Malkin did win the points race this year in the NHL by a landslide!  WIth 109 points including 50 goals and 59 assists.  Steven Stamkos finished 2nd in the NHL with 97 points.  Loui Eriksson of Sweden is 2nd on the World points race with 9 points total including 3 goals and 6 assists.  Russia is again on top with their goalie Semyon Varamov playing 4 games, winning all 4 games and a .943 save percent.  Check back tomorrow and I will let you know what NHL hot shots are playing for their countries!  It is fun seeing NHL teammates battling it out on the ice for different countries like watching Detroit Red Wing Henrik Zetterberg play for Team Sweden and takes shots on Detroit and Team USA goalie Jimmy Howard!  Team Canada consists of a Vancouver Canuck, a few Anaheim Ducks, at least one Dallas Star, a New York Islander and a Winnipeg Jet and 2/3s of the Edmonton Oilers Kids line!!  What Fun!

Remember today is the last game in the 2nd Round of the NHL:
The New York Rangers take on the Washington Capitals in Madison Square Gardens at 4:30!  Enjoy 
And don't forget to register for the Scotiabank marathon and support the Canucks Autism Network. Info at http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.  
 
 
The Western Conference Finals are set.  The Los Angeles Kings will be playing the Phoenix Coyotes.  Neither of these teams has won a Stanley Cup so it will be an interesting Conference Final.  Los Angeles last made it to the Stanley Cup final in 1993 with a team lead by Wayne Gretzky.  Phoenix has never made it this far and their Captain Shane Doan had been playing on the team since before they were the Coyotes and were the Original Jets back in 1996.  It will be what I like to call fresh hockey.  This is history making as these teams have never squared off in the Conference Finals and we all know the stop after the Conference Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals.  
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Wayne Gretzky was the last Kings Captain to lead his team to the Stanley Cup final. The only time in Kings history they went to the final round. Current Captain Dustin Brown is leading his team all the way scoring an empty netter in Game 4 vs St. Louis to seal the deal and advance to the Conference Finals. Only time will tell how this plays out.
The East hasn't played out the same.  The New Jersey Devils pumped out the Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games.  New Jersey has won Stanley Cups in the past.  It was interesting to watch Philly play New Jersey.  Philly managed to get Pittsburgh out in 6 games in the first round and made some pretty crazy comebacks in multiple high scoring games and by high scoring I mean each team scoring 5 plus goals a game.  It was the highest goal scoring series in NHL history!  Now that we know New Jersey is moving through that only leaves one series still going.  Below you can  check out all 4 goals scored in the final game of this series and the handshakes!
The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers are heading back to New York's Madison Square Gardens for Game 7.  If we are going to base game seven on patterns New York would win.  New York has won games 1, 3, and 5 while Washington has won games 2, 4 and 6.  The only thing standing in New York's way could possibly be the one and only Braden Holtby.  Holtby is the rookie goaltender who is as cool as a cucumber between the pipes.  Holtby as I have mentioned in the past only played 21 NHL total between two different season before this run.  Holtby has now played a total of 13 NHL playoff games.  Officially passing Washington's #1 netminder Tomas Vokoun who has played a total of 11 playoff games during two different seasons that were both with the Nashville Predators.  Back up netminder Michal Neuvirth has played 9 games in the playoffs.  All nine games Neuvrith has played were last season with the CAPS.  Enter Braden Holtby 13 playoff games in, in a single season.  The 1st round he helped his team pump out the current Stanley Cup Champs the Boston Bruins and in the 2nd round Game 7 puck drop is Saturday and Holtby with a victory would pump out the top seeded team in the east.  That is quite the resume for potential full time goaltending duties next year!  Below you can check out all 3 goals scored in this Game 6 last night.  Also a quick interview with super cute goalie Braden Holtby and possibly the most famous CAPS fans his Mum!
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King Henrik #1 netminder for the Rangers always looks good. This blue swedish eyes get me every time. Braden Holtby the 22 year old Canadian goaltender is sure to have a much larger fan base and possibly a full time NHL goalie job next year!
There is only one more game possible in the second round.  Game 7 between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals happens Saturday at 4:30.  I am guessing after that the third round will start either Sunday or Monday!
Tomorrow's blog will consist of coverage of the Men's World Championships in Helsiniki!   Enjoy X
Don't forget to enter for the Scotiabank Marathon and support the Canucks Autism Network.http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/.
 
 
Last night's games were both intense!  I don't need to write much and you will get the picture!
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Marc Staal scores to win!
In Game 5 of the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals series it ended in a wild wild finish.  Ranger Anton Stralman scored for a 1-0 lead to end the 1st period.  Captial Brooks Laich scored the only goal to tie the game in the 2nd period.    Then early in the 3rd Capital John Carlson scored and Capitals took a 2-1 lead.  Then like movie magic in the dying seconds of the 3rd and I mean dying with only 6 seconds left Ranger Brad Richards scores to tie it up.  On the power play with Capital Joel Ward in the sin bin on a double minor.   Intermission and into OT.  The penalty clock drops to 2 minutes left to Ward but it was 2 minutes to long.  Alternate Captain Marc Staal scores to win the game for the Rangers with 25 seconds remaining in the Ward penalty.  Game over 3-2  and New York leads the series 3-2.  The teams head back to Washington for game 6.  You can watch the Brad Richards tying goal and the Marc Staal's game winning goal below.

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Hugs all around in Madison Square Garden. Rangers with a comeback like no other.
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The best part of hockey: the hand shakes!
The mohawks are over for this season.  Nashville for the 2nd year in a row was pumped out of the Stanley Cup running, this time by the Phoenix Coyotes.  It was a scoreless 1st period.  Followed by 2 goals for Phoenix in the 2nd by Derek Morris and Martin Hanzal.  Nashville had a bit of a pick me up with a Colin Wilson goal assisted by David Legwand and Ryan Suter in the 3rd but it wasn't enough.  Phoenix advances to the Western Conference Finals for the 1st time ever in franchise history!  Coyote captain Shane Doan after a patient 1198 games played will finally make his Conference Final debut!  This moment for Doan is well deserved.  Doan moved with the team from Winnipeg to Phoenix and is the last standing Original Jet playing for the franchise.  Interesting fact: On March 18th 2012 neither Phoenix or Los Angeles had a playoff spot.  Fast forward to May 7th 2012 and they are going head to head in the best of 7 Conference Finals and the winner competes for the Stanley Cup.  Check out the Colin Wilson goal (last Nashville goal of the season) and the traditional handshakes below!

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Pekka Rinne and Mike Smith hug it out after Game 5.
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Carrie Underwood aka Mrs. Mike Fisher is a constant fixture at Nashville Games even in Phoenix!
There are only 2 series left going both in the east.  Another one could end tonight.
New Jersey takes on Philadelphia at 4:30 (New Jersey leads the series 3-1)
Tomorrow New York takes on Washington at 4:30 (New York leads 3-2)  Enjoy X
Don't forget to send in your suggestions for Hockey 101s, Fun Facts and Heart of the Week for the 2nd season of Hockey Talk with Courtney.  Plus register for the Scotiabank Marathon and support the Canucks Autism Network!   http://canucksautism.ca/get-involved/scotiabank-half-marathon-and-5k-charity-challenge/