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.

  • After each victory, the Chicago Blackhawks hand out a championship belt to the player of the game. It’s a tradition they’ve done dating back to the 2010 Stanley Cup run.  

    There was no belt handoff after Game 6 because, well, the players were a bit busy celebrating their third Cup in the last six seasons. So when Kris Versteeg took the mic after being introduced to a packed Soldier Field crowd during Thursday's parade, he awarded it to a special member of the Blackhawks family: C.J. Reif.

    Nine-year old C.J. is the son of Clint Reif, the late assistant equipment manager who passed away in December. While the long-time member of the staff wasn’t with the team when they won the Cup on home ice Monday night or when they celebrated again during the parade, he was still on the minds of the team and won't ever be forgotten.

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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 Twitter!

    Read More »from Kris Versteeg, Blackhawks offer touching tribute to late equipment manager’s son (Video)
  • Matt Cooke placed on waivers by Wild; buyout coming?

    The NHL’s buyout period began on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET and runs until 5 p.m. ET June 30th. One player who won’t be getting bought out? Vincent Lecavalier of the Philadelphia Flyers. One who likely will be is Matt Cooke of the Minnesota Wild.

    Via TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Cooke has been placed on waivers with the intention of buying out the final year of his contract, which he is owed $3 million.

    As War on Ice’s contract tool shows, if Cooke clears waivers, he’ll be paid $1 million in each of the next two seasons. The Wild will then have a $500,000 cap hit next season and a $1 million cap hit in 2016-17 on their books due to the buyout. 

    Cooke has spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, with the 2014-15 campaign being one to forget. He limited to only 29 regular games due to injury and will turn 37 in September.

    According to Mike Russo of the Star Tribune, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had been shopping Cooke with the draft approaching next week.

    UPDATE: The Wild

    Read More »from Matt Cooke placed on waivers by Wild; buyout coming?
  • Todd Richards, Team USA head coach, had a window of several weeks to try and sell free agent-to be Mike Reilly one final time on the Columbus Blue Jackets while at the World Championships.

    It didn’t work.

    On Wednesday, the Blue Jackets announced that Reilly, who the team drafted 98th overall in 2011, would not be signing with them. Columbus held the former University of Minnesota defenseman’s rights until June 15, but the CBA allowed him to opt out of signing and pursue a deal elsewhere. 

    Ryan Johansen, your thoughts? 

    “We did everything we could, but we have to make other plans now. He was a good prospect for us, but we have to move forward,” said Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen to the team’s website.

    In three years with the Golden Gophers, Reilly posted 89 points in 117 games.

    You may remember a similar situation last summer with Kevin Hayes, who opted not to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks and moved onto the

    Read More »from Mike Reilly heads to free agency after choosing not to sign with Blue Jackets
  • Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates with Kelly Reif, left, widow of former Blackhawks equipment man Clint Reif, who died at his home in December, and her children, after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final series on Monday, June 15, 2015.Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates with Kelly Reif, left, widow of former Blackhawks equipment man Clint Reif, who died at his home in December, and her children, after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final series on Monday, June 15, 2015.

    CHICAGO — As the Chicago Blackhawks celebrated their third Stanley Cup in six seasons, two people who played roles in the franchise were on the minds of many players. 

    Long-time assistant equipment manager Clint Reif, who spent nine years with the franchise, and Steve Montador, who played two years in the organization, both died in a two-month span earlier this season.

    Reif died a few days before the Blackhawks’ holiday break in December. He left behind a wife and four children, who were on the ice after Chicago’s Game 6 clincher Monday night. Following his death, decals with Reif’s initials were affixed to the player’s helmets in his honor. A fan fundraiser in February raised more than $10,000 to benefit his family. 

    In the days following his death, it was clear in listening to player’s talk just how much the 34-year old Reif meant to the team. 

    “I was only here a short time and I couldn’t believe how close I got to him, how unbelievable he was with the players,” said Brad Richards,

    Read More »from Blackhawks remember Clint Reif, Steve Montador during Stanley Cup celebration
  • Kimmo Timonen ends 17-year NHL career as a Stanley Cup champion

    CHICAGO — It was all new to Kimmo Timonen and he didn’t know what to do. 

    The 40-year old defenseman received the Stanley Cup from Jonathan Toews, who tipped him off this would happen at the morning skate, as the Chicago Blackhawks began their celebrations. When Timonen was ready to pass it off, his teammates told him to go give it a skate, and he did, planting one more kiss on the trophy before handing it to Antoine Vermette.

    Monday was Timonen’s final day in the NHL. After working his way back after being diagnosed with blood clots last August, the Finnish blueliner will now hang up his skates as a champion, something he hasn’t been able to call himself before.

    In Timonen’s decorated hockey career, he owns an Olympic silver medal; a silver from the 2004 World Cup of Hockey; three silvers from the World Championships; and lost to the Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. 

    Always a bridesmaid but never

    Read More »from Kimmo Timonen ends 17-year NHL career as a Stanley Cup champion
  • Lightning's Nikita Kucherov 'probable' for Game 6

    CHICAGO — Nikita Kucherov will participate in warmups prior to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night, and then the decision on whether he plays will be up to Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

    After leaving Game 5 with an upper-body injury following a collision with a goal post, Kucherov was involved in Monday’s morning skate and took a few shots on net. His upper-body injury is suspected to be related to his right shoulder/collarbone.

    A day after Cooper said Kucherov was in “considerably better shape,” he listed the second-leading scorer of the playoffs as “probable" for Game 6.

    In his absence, Cooper made Steven Stamkos an honorary Triplet, putting him on the line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Chicago would win 2-1 and take a 3-2 series lead. 

    “He’s an all-world talent. There are some things he can do with the puck that’s just amazing,” said Johnson of Kucherov. “Smart player, works hard, competes. He’s a 200-foot player. He’s a guy that Pally and I really enjoy

    Read More »from Lightning's Nikita Kucherov 'probable' for Game 6
  • 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

    Read More »from Brad Richards embracing opportunity for second Stanley Cup
  • 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

    Read More »from Antoine Vermette can't stop scoring big goals for the Blackhawks
  • 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

    Read More »from Ben Bishop gets Stanley Cup Final Game 5 start for Lightning
  • 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!

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