Sean Leahy

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor of Puck Daddy since the blog started in April 2008. Having covered Stanley Cup Finals, NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts, his highlight might have been getting blown out playing Ryan Kesler in NHL2K11 on Nintendo Wii. That, or coercing an All-Star Game goal judge to let him control the goal light for a period. He currently resides on Long Island.

  • APIt doesn’t happen often in professional sports, so when a team comes back from a 0-3 deficit in a playoff series, it’s cause for much celebration. There will be plenty of celebrating in Wilkes-Barre as the AHL's Penguins achieved the feat over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night.

    After a scoreless opening period, the Penguins dominated the second scoring four times and taking the wind out of the Bruins' sails. Providence was unable to solve Brad Thiessen as the Penguins goaltender recorded 34 saves for his second shutout in three games during the 5-0 Game 7 victory.

    The Penguins became only the third team in AHL history to advance after being down 0-3 in a Calder Cup playoff series. The 1960 Rochester Americans and 1989 Adirondack Red Wings now have company. As does the Boston Bruins organization, who now have had teams blow 3-0 series leads at the NHL and AHL level, as Tim Rosenthal pointed out. (Wayne Whittaker also brings up the fact that poor Trent Whitfield was on the Bruins team that gave up a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.)

    Games 1 and 2 were dominated by the Bruins, with 8-5 and 4-2 victories. They took Game 3 in overtime 2-1, but beginning with Game 4, it was Brad Thiessen time. The Penguins netminder took control and slowed the Bruins’ offense over the next three games making 31, 30 and 46 saves, respectively, forcing a seventh and deciding game, even after getting jumped by Graham Mink in Game 5 during a brawl.

    Thiessen's shutout in Game 7 improved his already ridiculous stats. He leads all goaltenders with a 0.89 goals against average and a .970 save-percentage; he's also stopped 196 of 202 shots he's faced in seven starts. So, yeah, Thiessen's in some sort of zone right now.

    The Penguins will now face the Syracuse Crunch in the Eastern Conference Final beginning Saturday night.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins oust Providence Bruins, overcome 0-3 series deficit
  • Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

    Think Geek• Via Wayne B., here's how you take finger hockey to the next level. [Think Geek]

    • If Patrick Roy is set to become the next head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, according to his brother, no deal is currently in place, writes Adrian Dater. [Denver Post]

    • Joe Haggerty on why the Boston Bruins and Matt Bartkowski are happy that Jarome Iginla deal never worked out. [CSNNE]

    • Why John Tortorella's words always have a deeper meaning behind them. "Remember the "shut yer yap" command to then-Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock when Tortorella's Lightning faced Philadelphia in the 2004 Eastern Conference final en route to that franchise's only Stanley Cup? The story around the NHL is that Tortorella walked into that news conference knowing he would say something of that ilk, regardless of the questioning." [Bergen Record]

    • San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan hinted that he may opt to use seven defensemen in Game 4 Tuesday night. Jason Demers would sub in for an injured Martin Havlat. [Mercury News]

    • Roy MacGregor on what Craig Anderson brings to the Senators. [The Globe & Mail]

    • Darryl Sutter on why the LA Kings flew back home between Games 3 and 4: "Just our own practice facility. You know, what are we going to do up there for two days? Really? You know what, if we had all stayed up there for two days, we’d have been bored last night and today, right? Because you’re basically just sitting around the hotel and there’s nothing to do." [LA Kings Insider]

    Read More »from ‘No deal in place’ for Roy, Avs; Tortorella’s words; ranking player trade values (Puck Headlines)
  • Oklahoma tornado hits close to home for AHL’s Barons

    Getty ImagesThe people of Oklahoma are still looking for survivors in the wake of Monday's mile-wide F4 tornado that ravaged parts of the state, leaving 24 people dead and over 200 injured.

    Among the safe include members of the Edmonton Oilers' AHL club, the Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons practice facility is in Moore, where the damage destroyed two elementary schools and left a 20 mile-wide area of destruction. Most of the players, according to general manager Bill Scott, don't live near the area that was hit the hardest and the Barons' offices are downtown.

    One player, however, who was nearest to those affected was Alex Plante, a defenseman who's been living with a family in Moore since suffering a broken jaw last month.

    From Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun:

    “I’d come downtown for a dentist appointment and the family I was staying with in Moore, who adopted three Downs Syndrome kids, managed to get the kids out of their school before the lockdowns.

    “I told them to drive to our arena. That’s where we’re told to go. The underground parking garage at the Cox Convention Centre has a storm shelter.

    ...

    "Our team has been fortunate that until now we’ve never had to experience a tornado. When you get here, you hear a lot about the one on May 3, 1999 in Moore. That was the big one. But they say this is three times that size.

    “I haven’t seen anything yet,” Plante said of the devastation. “I don’t want to. Your heart just goes out to everybody.”

    When Plante spoke with Jones, he and the family hadn't been able to get back to their house to see if there was any damage.

    The Barons are currently waiting to see who they will play in the Western Conference Final, where they will host Games 3 and 4 tentatively scheduled for May 29 and 31.

    If you'd like to help the people of Oklahoma, there are a number of places to go, including the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Oklahoma tornado hits close to home for AHL’s Barons
  • Getty ImagesNo. 1 Star: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

    For the second straight game, Howard was able to withstand the Chicago Blackhawks' attack, though he was a little busier in Game 3. Making 39 saves, Howard backstopped the Red Wings to a 3-1 victory to take a 2-1 series lead. One of his biggest saves was early in the third period when Patrick Sharp came in on a breakaway:

    No. 2 Star: Drew Miller, Detroit Red Wings

    Miller was part of the 1-2 punch Detroit gave Chicago in the second period as his goal put the Red Wings up 2-0 and came 31 second after Gustav Nyquist opened the scoring. Miller was also credited with four blocked shots.

    No. 3 Star: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

    Datsyuk's goal gave Detroit a 3-1 lead and came two minutes after Patrick Kane cut the lead to one and a minute after Andrew Shaw's goal was waived off.

    Detroit has won nine straight games in which Datsyuk has scored a goal.

    Read More »from NHL Three Stars: Howard’s 39 saves help Red Wings take series lead over Blackhawks
  • Red Wings frustrate Blackhawks in Game 3, take 2-1 series lead

    Getty ImagesThe frustration for the Chicago Blackhawks continues.

    First, it was the referees. Now, it's the play of the Detroit Red Wings, who took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-1 victory Monday night. Just take a look at the penalties called in the third period -- all five on Chicago. Detroit did their part, killing off four Blackhawks power plays and putting the game out of reach in the second period.

    The Red Wings took the game by the neck midway through the second period and never let go. Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scored 31 seconds apart to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. Nyquist's goal was a thing of beauty:

    In the third period, the Blackhawks woke up after a questionable hit from behind by Niklas Hjalmarsson left Johan Franzen down on the ice, and Patrick Kane scored on the ensuing rush. Just over a minute later, Andrew Shaw's goal was waived off for goaltender interference and the momentum swung back in the Red Wings' favor for good.

    Jimmy Howard (39 saves) was again solid and the Red Wings continued to receive contributions from their depth, a reason why teams succeed this time of year.

    While the Blackhawks will need to quickly move past Game 3, the Red Wings -- halfway to the Western Conference Final -- know there's still work to be done and their next two wins will be the toughest to come by.

    "We won tonight, but we've got to be back at it on Thursday," Patrick Eaves told NBCSN's Pierre McGuire afterward.

    "Let's be honest, we haven't done anything yet," said Mike Babcock.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Red Wings frustrate Blackhawks in Game 3, take 2-1 series lead
  • Sometimes the Stanley Cup Playoffs make us do abnormal things, like canceling a pizza pickup order because our favorite team just tied the game in the third period. Other times it brings two fanbases together.

    This was the case for Catherine Farish from Jacksonville, North Carolina. Originally from Boston, she moved south because her husband is a sergeant in the Marine Corps. She's also a big Boston Bruins fan. Working Sunday night at a local Buffalo Wild Wings during the Pittsburgh Penguins/Ottawa Senators double overtime game, she encountered a customer who would end up making her day.

    Here's Catherine:

    Last night during my shift this young man came in alone and sat at my table. He was quiet, but friendly and very easy to take care of, he came in to watch the Penguins/Senators game. As we all know it went into double overtime, so he was there from beginning at 7pm to the very end around 11:45. After I congratulated him on the Senators win, I stepped away and during that time he left and when I returned to clean off his table, I picked up his credit card receipt (pictured below) It absolutely made my night and even though I may be a Bruins fan, completely restores my faith in humanity. It was such a kind gesture. Hope this brightens your day!! Thanks for reading!

    What she found was a $50.33 tip and this message:

    (The "KCCO" stands for "Keep Calm and Chive On", a reference to the recently revived "Keep Calm and Carry On".)

    Farish added that the generous customer said he was born in Ohio and raised to dislike all things Pittsburgh (Browns fan, perhaps?). We wish could have seen his reaction after Colin Greening's goal Sunday night.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Hockey fan leaves waitress generous tip thanks to Penguins loss (Photo)
  • Via Penguins WhoSay

    Besides being able to have their team advance out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the city of Pittsburgh has also made it possible to turn one of its buildings into a goal light.

    A Toronto Maple Leafs fan petition to turn CN Tower into a goal light for each playoff game didn't succeed. In Pittsburgh, however, it took a round, but the top of Gulf Tower will light up red every time the Penguins score in for the rest of the playoffs.

    Ian Walsh, an executive with Rugby Realty, who control Gulf Tower, met with the Penguins on Wednesday to discuss another idea when the goal light conversation came up. After figuring out a way to control the lights remotely, the plan was put into place for Game 2 on Friday.

    Here's a view from inside CONSOL Energy Center after Brenden Morrow's goal in Game 2:

    From the Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

    There was no test run, and Crosby's goal early in the first period on Friday night turned the Gulf Tower into a rotating red light for the first time. However, because there was still daylight when Crosby scored around 7:50 p.m., few people noticed.

    That was not the case about 30 minutes later when Crosby scored his second goal. A darker sky provided the perfect backdrop for the Gulf Tower to stand out.

    During the game, Wareham received word from Penguins employees that fans were posting photos of the rooftop goal-light on Twitter, but even he was surprised how quickly the idea became a success.

    The Penguins’ director of event presentation controls the lights via an iPhone and beginning with Sunday night’s Game 3, there will be 20 rotations of the lights for each goal scored, up from 15 used during Game 2.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower turns into goal light for Penguins’ playoff run (Video)
  • The Providence Bruins were unable to close out the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night in their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup as the home side forced a Game 6 with a 4-0 win. The Bruins wouldn't go quietly as a late-game brawl brought fireworks and set the scene for their next meeting on Monday night.

    Both Providence and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton combined for 113 penalty minutes in the game, with the bulk of the total coming after Bruins forward Graham Mink -- who had rolled over him just minutes before -- fell on top of Penguins goalie Brad Theissen after he froze the puck:

    What a call by the Penguins voice Tom Grace and a nice warning to the Bruins that Steve MacIntyre lurks. And we have to applaud the arena music person for using the Ultimate Warrior's theme during the brawling.

    The two teams weren't done getting at one another. Two minutes later, after Paul Thompson made it 4-0 (8:07 mark of video), Bruins netminder Niklas Svedberg took exception and slashed him in the back of the leg, setting off another round of scrums. Svedberg would get a two two-minute penalties for slashing and roughing.

    Mink was given a match penalty for deliberate attempt to injure. According to AHL rules, he's fined $200 and the penalty will be reviewed by the league for supplemental discipline.

    "I didn't say anything or do anything. It kind of happened. I'm not sure what provoked it," Thiessen (30 saves) told Jonathan Bombulie of the Citizens' Voice afterward. "Whatever they want to do, my job is still to stop the puck."

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Watch Providence Bruins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins brawl during AHL playoffs (Video)
  • NHL Three Stars: Crosby’s trick gives Pens 4-3 Game 2 victory

    Getty ImagesNo. 1 Star: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Crosby recorded his second career postseason hat trick during the Penguins' 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 2. He tallied his first two goals during a three-goal opening period for the Penguins, then completed the trick early in the second period on the power play. Crosby is the fifth player in Penguins franchise history to reach 100 career points in the playoffs.

    No. 2 Star: Paul Martin, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Martin continued his stellar play assisting on a pair of goals to give him 15 points in his last 16 games. He's now on 9 points, good enough to be tied for fourth in playoff scoring.

    No. 3 Star: Brenden Morrow, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Morrow scored his first playoff goal since 2008 by deflecting a Paul Martin shot midway through the second period. That goal would stand as the game winner. Late in the game, as the Penguins were hanging on to their 4-3 lead and time running out, Morrow killed seconds deep in the Senators' zone by protecting the puck along the boards.

    Read More »from NHL Three Stars: Crosby’s trick gives Pens 4-3 Game 2 victory
  • Getty ImagesThe last time Sidney Crosby netted a hat trick in the playoffs was 2009. The last time the Pittsburgh Penguins took a 2-0 series lead in the playoffs was 2009. It remains to be seen if those good omens from 2009 will create a similar ending in 2013, but for now the Penguins are halfway to the Eastern Conference Final after a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Friday night.

    Crosby set the tone early on scoring three times within the first 21:15 of the game as Pittsburgh stormed out to a 3-1 lead. The Penguins captain brought the CONSOL Energy Center crowd to its feet during his first goal, which left Erik Karlsson wondering what had just happened:

    Craig Anderson's night was finished after Crosby completed his hat trick early in the second period. It was the first time he was pulled since March 2012. His replacement, Robin Lehner, was valiant in relief making 20 saves and keeping the Senators in the game.

    Not helping the Senators' cause was the fact they handed six power plays to a Penguins team rolling along at a 36 percent rate with the man advantage entering Friday night, tops in the NHL this postseason. Pittsburgh only cashed in on one -- Crosby's third goal -- but Ottawa was never able to build momentum with the numerous trips to the penalty box.

    The series now shifts to Scotiabank Place on Sunday and Tuesday for Games 3 and 4 as the Senators will attempt to slow a Pittsburgh offense averaging 4.13 goals per game. The Penguins outshot Ottawa 41-21 in Game 2, with 11 coming on the power play. As the Senators stressed after Game 1, they cannot have a parade to the penalty box if they're to beat Pittsburgh in this series.

    Ottawa also needs a stronger showing from Anderson, who's now allowed seven goals thru the first two games of this series -- the combined total he allowed from Games 2-5 against Montreal in the first round. Jason Spezza's return could give them a boost, but collectively there's still plenty of work to be done.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Sidney Crosby’s hat trick powers Penguins to 2-0 series lead over Senators

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