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.

  • Brad Richards embracing opportunity for second Stanley Cup

    CHICAGO — Eleven years ago last Sunday, Brad Richards lifted both the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup trophies as the Tampa Bay Lightning were crowned champions of the NHL. If there’s anyone on the Chicago Blackhawks that knows just how hard it is to get back to the mountain top again after winning once, it’s him.

    Since leaving the Lightning in 2007, Richards has been on a quest for a second Cup. He’s reached the conference finals three times — once with the Dallas Stars and twice with the New York Rangers — and went back to the Stanley Cup Final last year as the Rangers fell in five games to the Los Angeles Kings.

    Richards knows he’s on the back nine of his career and the opportunities to win don’t come around often. He gave himself a great opportunity to do so by signing with the Blackhawks last July, filling a need down the middle for the team and adding another Cup ring to the dressing room. 

    When the Lightning won in 2004, Richards was 24. Last month he turned 35 and the time to win

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  • Antoine Vermette can't stop scoring big goals for the Blackhawks

    AP Photo/John RaouxAP Photo/John Raoux
    TAMPA — When the Chicago Blackhawks acquired Antoine Vermette two days before the March NHL trade deadline, they did so with depth in mind. They gave up a hefty price — a 2015 first-round pick and defensive prospect Klas Dahlback — but three months later it’s paying off big time.

    Vermette’s goal two minutes into the third period helped give the Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Chicago now leads the series 3-2 and has the opportunity to win the Cup at home for the first time since 1938. 

    Before coming to Chicago, Vermette had spent the previous three years in Arizona where he averaged over 18 minutes a night with the Coyotes. But moving to a deep Blackhawks team he would have to adapt to a new role, a message that was made clear to him early by Kris Versteeg. 

    “[I told him] you got to understand that, you got to understand the situations you’re in, you might not be in where you’d be on other teams,” Versteeg said. “You got to play

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  • Ben Bishop gets Stanley Cup Final Game 5 start for Lightning

    TAMPA — Ben Bishop will start Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final after being a scratched for Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. 

    Bishop skated and spoke to the media after practice prior to Game 4, but when warmups began it was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who started that game, and Kristers Gudlevskis listed at the goaltenders for the Lightning. 

    Saturday’s morning skate saw Bishop in one goal and he again spoke with the media, but said he still needed to discuss things with head Jon Cooper before a decision was made. “There's progress being made since the beginning,” he added.

    Bishop left Game 2 in the third period with an undisclosed injury before returning and then exiting again minutes later. He started Game 3 in Chicago and helped Tampa to a 3-2 victory.

    Whatever is/was ailing Bishop, he’s had four full days of rest and he re-enters the Final with the series tied 2-2.

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    Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at

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  • Puck Daddy Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Live Chat!

    It's Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, and we're live chatting it tonight!

    Who will move to within one win of the title? Will Ben Bishop start? We'll find out that and more tonight.

    The fun begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. You bring the funny; we bring the insight, odd football photo on the template and the Hamburger Women.

    Live Blog Puck Daddy Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Live Chat!

  • Stanley Cup Final: Five keys to Lightning vs. Blackhawks in Game 5

    TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday, scheduled for 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. 

    The series is tied 2-2. Here are five keys for Game 5:

    1. Bish or no Bish? Jon Cooper said after Saturday’s morning skate that he wasn’t sure if Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy would start Game 5. Bishop skated and spoke to the media afterward, saying “There's progress being made since the beginning,” but he also did that before Game 4 where he was scratched and Vasilevskiy stopped 17 of 19 shots he faced in a loss. Lightning players were more concerned about their inability to finish chances in the 2-1 defeat. Bishop hasn't played since Game 3, so he's had plenty of time to rest. The Blackhawks likely won’t know who’s starting until warmups, but having now seen both Tampa netminders for at least one game, they know the scouting reports.

    2. Take advantage of the advantage. Tampa has only scored on one of their 11 power-play chances in the

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  • Blackhawks penalty kill stifling Lightning power play

    TAMPA — For the first time since 1968 and third time in NHL history, all four games of the Stanley Cup Final have been decided by a single goal. When you’re in a series as tight as the one the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning are battling in, your special teams success/failure can be a gamechanger.

    As the Finals shifts back to Amalie Arena for Game 5 Saturday night, the Blackhawks penalty kill has done its job when needed, killing off 11 of 12 Lightning power plays. Seven times in this series Tampa has failed to capitalized on extra man opportunities to either tie the game or take the lead, including a second period 5-on-3 for 1:26 in Game 3; a game which they would eventually win 3-2. 

    “Every series has been different. We didn't mind the way we killed in all the rounds to date,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “The efficiency didn't show that in a couple of rounds. A couple of goals that you could explain the score and things like that.

    “But I think when the games

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  • Andrej Sustr hoping for second meeting with Stanley Cup

    BRANDON, Fla. — Andrej Sustr knew the superstition and he wasn’t about to take any chances.

    It was the summer of 2009 and the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman was 18 and watched fellow Plzen, Czech Republic native Petr Sykora win the Stanley Cup as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. As part of the annual tradition, the trophy made its way to Sustr’s hometown with Sykora dropping by a local hockey camp.

    “I didn’t touch it,” Sustr said. “Even though I was a little kid I remember that I knew the rumor that you shouldn’t touch it if you want to win it, so I made sure I didn’t touch it. Hopefully that’ll work out.”

    Sustr is the tenth player from Plzen to reach the NHL, and with the likes of Sykora and Martin Straka playing in North America while he was growing up, he had a weekly ritual.

    “Me growing up, I would always watch the NHL news. It showed up on a Sunday morning, kind of early, so you’d have to wake up for that,” he said. “When you see something like that happen [winning the Cup],

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  • BRANDON — The day before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was nowhere to be seen during the team’s skate at their practice facility. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who filled in for Bishop in Game 2 and started Game 4, was in one net, while Kristers Gudlevskis was in the other.

    After Game 4, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper wouldn’t confirm Bishop would be back in goal Saturday night, only saying that the netminder would play again in the Final. On Friday, he reiterated that.

    “I’m not going to sit here and commit as to whether he's going to play Saturday,” he said. “He’s feeling better with each day.

    “When we made the decision not to play him the other night, the decision just wasn't made, ‘Oh, we're not going to play him.’ It’s, ‘We’re not playing you and you're taking the next three days off.’ This was all in the plan.” 

    Cooper added that he’ll know more after Saturday’s morning skate, but we likely won’t learn anything until the goalies lead their

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  • Longtime Blues defenseman Barret Jackman won't be re-signed

    Beginning next season, the city of St. Louis will have a new longest-tenured professional athlete with the news that pending unrestricted free agent Barret Jackman will not be re-signed, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    The St. Louis Blues told the 17th pick of the 1999 NHL Draft that they would be going in a “different direction,” a.k.a. “younger” beginning next season. The 34-year old Jackman played 803 games over 13 seasons with St. Louis, compiling 28 goals and 181 points and winning the Calder Trophy in 2003, beating out Rick Nash and Henrik Zetterberg.

    Speaking to the Post-Dispatch in April, Jackman said despite an uncertain future he wasn’t ready to call it quits just yet:

    “I have lots left in me,” he said in April. “I don’t know, four or five years. I take care of myself away from the rink. The body’s the best it’s felt in years. This is actually the best I’ve felt in years health-wise. I don’t see myself as a 40-year-old playing the game, but

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  • Brandon Saad creating 'chaos' led to Blackhawks' Game 4 winner

    CHICAGO — When the puck slipped to Brandon Saad after a chaotic face-off in the Tampa zone early in the third period, the 22-year old Chicago Blackhawks forward wanted to create a little of his own.  

    Seeing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman stuck in the face-off circle, Saad realized the space he had and drove the puck to the net. Thanks to a stick check by Brad Richards on Stralman — “I had to pick the stick so Saader could get to the net,” Richards would say afterward — Saad had room to create a scoring chance. 

    Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy managed to poke-check the puck but it deflected into Saad skates. With Vasilevskiy moving laterally to recover his position, his five-hole opened, which is where Saad’s backhand ended up going through on its way to the back of the net.

    “I was really pretty lucky,” Saad said afterward.

    “We were trying to run a faceoff play,” said Patrick Kane. “There was a little battle in the circle. [Brad Richards] hit it once, I hit it

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