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.

  • Penguins GM Jim Rutherford remembers former teammate Gordie Howe

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    SAN JOSE, Calif. – Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford remembered Gordie Howe, the player and the person, on Saturday, one day after the hockey icon died at the age of 88

    Rutherford was a 21-year-old rookie goaltender when he broke in with the Detroit Red Wings during the 1970-71 NHL season. By that point, Howe was 42-years-old and owned a Hall of Fame resume featuring four Stanley Cups rings, 20 All-Star Game appearances, six scoring titles, six Hart Trophies and 763 goals. 

    For as big as Howe’s presence was within the game, Rutherford recalled that “Mr. Hockey” wasn’t just a great player, but also a tremendous teammate.

    “Of course, your first year in the league is exciting enough, but when you enter that room with such a great player like him it was special,” Rutherford said. “He was a guy that in some ways was hard to describe. He just had a special way about him. As a teammate and you looked around the room, if somebody was struggling with something, in his own way

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  • Martin Jones allows Sharks to 'live another day'

    PITTSBURGH – Peter DeBoer wanted his San Jose Sharks team to respond in Game 5 facing elimination. Two early goals by Brent Burns and Logan Couture coupled with an outstanding goaltending performance by Martin Jones is the reason why they’ve extended their season by at least one more game.

    Jones made 44 saves to help beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2, including a stellar pad stop on Nick Bonino late in the second period that could have tied the game.

    “Kind of made life a little difficult for myself a few times tonight with a couple rebounds, but just tried to get over and take away the bottom of the net,” he said.

    The Penguins dominated in every facet of the game except the final score. They out-shot and out-attempted the Sharks, but with each dangerous scoring chance Jones was there.

    “He’s been doing it all year, not just tonight. He does it every game for us. He’s just a stud for us,” said Joe Thornton.

    A lot has been made of Penguins goaltender Matt Murray’s play in the series and

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  • Penguins, Sharks open Game 5 with historic first period

    PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks opened Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with a wild, historic first period.

    In the opening 5:06 of the game, the two teams combined for four goals, breaking the record for fastest four goals to start a Stanley Cup Final game, according to Elias. It was Brent Burns and Logan Couture scoring 1:49 apart to give the Sharks an early 2-0 lead, but the Penguins answered right back as Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin evened things in a span of 22 seconds.

    The previous record also involved the Penguins as they helped set it with the Chicago Blackhawks during Game 4 of the 1992 Final, which Pittsburgh would go on to win 6-5 to claim their second straight Cup.

    During that game 24 years ago, the Penguins and Blackhawks exchanged a pair of goals each in the opening 6:51 of the game. Jaromir Jagr and Kevin Stevens tallied for Pittsburgh while Dirk Graham notched both of Chicago’s.

    After that wild start, the Sharks would head into the first

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  • Sergei Gonchar's focus on 'little things' aids Penguins' defense

    PITTSBURGH – When we previewed the defensive groups of the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Final, we gave the Sharks the edge due to a stronger top four and the absence of Trevor Daley for the Penguins.

    Through four games of the Final, it’s been clear that the Penguins’ defense without Daley was underestimated, and a lot of the credit for the group’s success should go to Sergei Gonchar.

    A member of the Penguins’ 2009 championship team, Gonchar retired in September after 20 NHL seasons and was hired by GM Jim Rutherford with the title of “Defensemen Development Coach,” working with the organization’s blueliners at the NHL and minor league levels.

    If you talk to members of the Penguins’ defense, they’ll tell you Gonchar didn’t come in and try to overhaul their individual games. It was the little things that he did that, according to Ian Cole, that helped their “complete game.”

    “He’s such a great mind of the offensive end of things,” Cole

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  • Steelers safety channels Herb Brooks for latest Penguins hype video

    Ross Ventrone of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been creating hype videos for the Penguins on their quest for the Stanley Cup. His three previous ones have resulted in wins, which means there’s probably some sort of good luck connection here.

    With the Penguins looking to lift their fourth Cup Thursday night at Consol Energy Center, Ventrone went full-on inspirational for his latest video.

    Again dressed in a Phil Kessel jersey, Steelers helmet and full street hockey goalie gear, Ventrone channeled his inner Herb Brooks.

    Judging by the stoic reaction of his Steelers teammates, they probably want to run through a wall after hearing the “Miracle” speech. If Penguins coach Mike Sullivan needs a creative way to pump up his players ahead of Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks, it’s probably best to just play this on a loop pre-game.

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    Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on

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  • Penguins maintaining routines ahead of possible Cup clincher

    PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins won their three previous Stanley Cups away from home, but have a chance to finally celebrate in their own rink Thursday night in Game 5. 

    Up 3-1 in their series against the San Jose Sharks, and with an extra rest day in between games, you can excuse some of the Penguins if they can’t help but take a moment to briefly think about how their Thursday night could end.

    “You’re human. You’ve got to think about it,” said defenseman Brian Dumolin. “Mentally, you can’t already have that in your head that it’s a guarantee. We have nothing guaranteed. We’ve got to keep working and playing our best hockey and we’ve got to get better throughout this series like we’ve done in the last one.”

    The key, according to fellow blue liner Ian Cole, is to keep a normal routine and treat Thursday just like any other game day.

    “It’s potentially the last Stanley Cup Final game we’re going to play,” he said. “It’s obviously a huge game for us, the biggest game of the year. You

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  • Malkin, Kessel break through in Penguins' Game 4 win vs. Sharks

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – The way Evgeni Malkin was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins an offensive breakthrough was just a matter of time.

    Malkin picked Game 4 as the one to finally get on the scoresheet, as the Penguins moved to within a game of winning the Stanley Cup after a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.

    Despite the zeroes in his goals and assist columns through four games of the Final, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan emphasized that he liked what he was seeing from Malkin’s game. A breakthrough was coming and it began in the first period with a very smart play in the neutral zone.

    As the Penguins were making a line change, Malkin took the puck with his back to the Sharks’ net and Roman Polak approaching. Sullivan said the coaching staff had told Malkin to try and simplify his game. In this moment, he could have backhanded the puck into the Sharks' zone and let the forecheckers chase it, but insead he noticed the situation and made a wise decision.

    While

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  • Matthew Tkachuk confident 'winning mentality' will aid NHL career

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – Matthew Tkachuk knows just what kind of grind it is to make it as a National Hockey League player. He got to see first-hand just how his father, Keith, was able to play over the course of an 18-year career.

    It also helped that the younger Tkachuk was surrounded by other NHL talent in the various cities his father played. 

    Tkachuk was too young to remember Danny Briere living with his family while Keith played for the Phoenix Coyotes, but in St. Louis, where he considers home, there was one memory that stood out during his time with a young David Backes.

    “He had a couple of buddies over one day and they were downstairs in the basement, and me and my buddy when we were 10 years old went and started playing mini hockey and they joined,” said Tkachuk. “We had a pretty intense game.”

    Nearly a decade later, Tkachuk, who's a projected top-10 pick in this month's NHL Draft, could soon be playing against his former mini hockey rival.

    “It’s actually crossed my mind once or

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  • How Martin Jones went from Kings' backup to Sharks' backbone

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones learned one important lesson during his two previous trips to the Stanley Cup Final: keep your cool.

    As a Black Ace for the 2012 champion Los Angeles Kings and then acting as Jonathan Quick’s back up during another title run two years later, Jones has used an even temperament all year long, which has resulted in a very strong first season as an NHL starter.

    “The managing of the highs and lows. It’s an emotional time of year,” Jones said on Sunday. “Win a game or lose a game, it’s important to kind of stay even.”

    Jones’ off-season got off to a wild start when he was dealt from the Kings to the Boston Bruins on the opening day of the 2015 NHL Draft. Despite Tuukka Rask’s presence, he was ready to go there and work for ice time.

    After the trade, Jones said he spoke to the Bruins and wasn’t told he would be flipped, even though he felt there was a slight chance that might happen.

    “It happened pretty quick. I was just shocked at the

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  • Joonas Donskoi, OT hero, giving Sharks unexpected clutch play

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – Through two games of the Stanley Cup Final, Joonas Donskoi had his chances to score, but couldn’t find a way to beat Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray. 

    Enter Game 3, and welcome to overtime. As the San Jose Sharks worked down low in the Penguins’ zone – an area where they’ve excelled this series to create opportunities – Chris Tierney and Donskoi had a bit of a give-and-go, with Tierney feeding Donskoi just as Ian Cole was applying pressure.

    After a brief loss of possession, Donskoi regained control, circled around the Pittsburgh net to Murray’s right and fired a shot between Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz and over the netminder's shoulder.

    Here, in all its glory, is the Finnish goal call by Viasat's Antti Makinen:

    Having not won an overtime game this postseason and having yet to win a game in the Final, Donskoi helped the Sharks kill two birds with stone.

    “I had lot of scoring chances through the whole Finals. This was good time to get it in,” Donskoi

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