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  • We've known the 16 teams that will compete for the 2014 Stanley Cup for a few days now, and the match-ups were finally set Sunday afternoon. Now, as the 2013-14 NHL regular season comes to a close, the league has released the schedule for Round 1.

    Here's the Eastern Conference:

    NHL

    Here's the Western Conference schedule:

    NHL

    Interesting that the Montreal Canadiens, the only Canadian team in the post-season, does not have a single opening round game on Hockey Night in Canada. Also, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers is the only series scheduled with back-to-back games, should they go the distance.

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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 Your 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round TV schedule
  • In what’s expected to be his final start as a New Jersey Devil, Martin Brodeur did what he’s done best since 1993: He won.

    The Devils’ 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins was career victory No. 688 for Brodeur, all with New Jersey. But after a very inconsistent season, and with Corey Schneider clearly poised to be the Devils’ starter next season, this was likely Marty’s farewell – and his teammates and fans treated it as such with an emotional postgame moment:

    Patrik Elias was the one who encouraged that Brodeur head out there, saying he deserved it.

    Here’s Brodeur speaking to the crowd after the game:

    After the game, Brodeur had some interesting comments about the past season and the future, via Tom Gulitti.

    On the two-headed goalie monster this season:

    "The position the coaching staff was in with having two goalie No. 1, just doesn’t work. It didn’t work in Vancouver. It didn’t work here too good. We didn’t make the playoffs."

    "It’s important when you have 1 good goalie you’ve got

    Read More »from Marty Brodeur honored by fans; says facing Devils as foe ‘would kill me’
  • If there's a team the Toronto Maple Leafs should try to emulate next season, it's the St. Louis Blues.

    Not so much the toughness, or the decision to retain good hockey player Alex Steen, or the committment to team defense, mind you. Mostly, it's the way the Blues made sure to make the playoffs before they completely forgot how to play hockey.

    The Blues closed out the season with their sixth straight loss on Sunday, and in so doing, handed the Central Division title over to the Colorado Avalanche, who finish with the same number of points -- 111 -- but hold the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker.

    Embarrassing. But relinquishing the Central isn't the end of the world. The Blues can survive not winning the division. They may not survive the punishment, however: a first-round matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    All eight NHL playoff first round matchups are now set. Here are the battles out West:

    PACIFIC DIVISION

    Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars

    San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles

    Read More »from All playoff matchups set, as Avalanche win Central thanks to Blues' collapse
  • The playoffs have this weird, indescribable way of taking lesser-known support players and temporarily turning them into guys worthy of Conn Smythe consideration. It’s like in Mario Kart when you drive over a mushroom and suddenly have this burst of speed that propels you past everyone while you laugh maniacally.  

    It’s a phenomenon we witness almost every year. A guy that almost no one has ever heard of (sorry Bryan Bickell) comes along and produces career-best numbers. 

    I don’t know if there is a way to accurately pinpoint these guys beforehand. Who saw Fernando Pisani coming in 2006 for Edmonton? Or J.S. Giguère emerging in Anaheim? (Okay, in hindsight we knew his pads were a wee bit TOO BIG).

    But we can try to determine guys that are in a position to succeed and will provide value on draft day. Here are seven players I’ll be bumping up my draft board this post-season:

    Cam Atkinson – Columbus Blue Jackets

    It’s hard to get more under the radar than a guy who has never been in the

    Read More »from Potential Stanley Cup Playoff sleepers (Fantasy Hockey)
  • The St. Louis Blues enter Sunday’s game with the Detroit Red Wings needing at least a point and then some help to win the Central Division.

    The Colorado Avalanche are in Anaheim, tied in points (111) but ahead in ROW (47-43) vs. the Blues. So St. Louis needs to have more points than Colorado at the end of the day, or it’s a first-round date with the Chicago Blackhawks rather than the Minnesota Wild.

    But at this point, it might not even matter who the opponent is for the Blues. They’re beat up and beating themselves.

    The Blues have lost five in a row, but they’ve lost so much more than that recently: Top forwards, the swagger of their goaltender and the confidence that had carried them through a Presidents’ Trophy contending season until a late-season skid derailed those hopes.

    Specifically, the injuries: David Backes, Brenden Morrow, Vladimir Sobotka, Derek Roy, Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie are all banged up. The hope is that it’s for the short-term.

    "We’ve been

    Read More »from Panic time for the St. Louis Blues?
  • Considering the season the Oilers have had, this sign from tonight’s game reads super sarcastic. 

    No. 1 Star: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

    Price was flawless Saturday versus the New York Rangers, stopping 41 shots, and he had to be, as this game went into overtime before Brian Gionta's penalty shot made it a 1-0 overtime victory for the Habs:

    With the win, the Canadiens leapfrogged the Lightning, their first-round playoff opponent, for home-ice advantage. Tampa Bay has a chance to win it back in their season-closer on Sunday. 

    No. 2 Star: Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers

    Voracek was in on all three of the Flyers' regulation goals versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring twice, then assisting on Claude Giroux's goal late in the third. It was a typically wacky Battle of Philadelphia, with scuffles galore and high drama: the Flyers and Pens traded goals in the final two minutes before going to overtime to settle things. There, Mark Streit scored to give the Flyers a 4-3 win and a 4-1

    Read More »from NHL Three Stars: Bruins win Presidents' Trophy; Smyth's farewell
  • The Union College Dutchmen celebrate the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship.

    PHILADELPHIA — Union College overcame another early deficit and claimed their first ever NCAA national championship Saturday night, defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 7-4 in front of 18,742 fans at Wells Fargo Center.

    For the second straight game, Union allowed the opening goal, something that didn’t happen too often during the regular season.

    The magnitude of a national championship game will rattle the nerves, but that opening goal was a blessing in a disguise, according to head coach Rick Bennett.

    “It actually settled us down because I thought we were kind of gripping that stick a little bit,” he said. “Guys were huffing and puffing on the bench. Guys were standing up, which is not our style. So we just needed to take a deep breath, and that was a theme on the bench throughout the whole game is deep breaths, take it easy, sit down, relax. This is just another game. We're back at Messa Rink. That's how we approached it between periods, and guys bought in.”

    During Thursday’s

    Read More »from Union captures first NCAA championship with 7-4 win over Minnesota
  • The Boston Bruins clinched the Presidents' Trophy on Saturday with a win over the Buffalo Sabres. Then, like many teams, they closed out their final home game with a "Shirts Off Our Backs" ceremony, with each player giving his game-worn sweater to a lucky fan, as opposed to the unlucky guy that does all the team's laundry.

    Imagine the excitement of being in that line, with a player's name in your envelope. There's plenty of star power on the Bruins. Why, you might Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic or Jarome Iginla! So many fabulous players!

    Then there's Jordan Caron, who played 33 games as the Bruins' spare forward this season, scoring once and finishing the season a minus-9. He also plays for the Bruins, and the fan that drew his name didn't seem all that happy to be reminded about it. Watch her cringe to the guy beside her before forcing herself to be a good sport about it as Caron skates her way: 

    If you look closely, you can actually poinpoint the exact moment her heart breaks in two. (I

    Read More »from Bruins fan draws Jordan Caron in 'shirts off our backs' ceremony, rues her rotten luck (Video)
  • The Dallas Stars wrapped a playoff spot with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues Friday, a feat that has to be exciting for the Stars and their fans (and terrifying for the Blues and theirs -- what is up with that team?). But it's a little disappointing for hockey fans outside of Texas, who were sort of hoping the NHL would reach the weekend with at least one playoff spot still on the line.

    Still, while some of the suspense is gone, what with all 16 playoff teams decided, there are still plenty of reasons to stay in this weekend and watch hockey (beyond the fact that hockey is awesome). Here are ten.

    The Man, The Smyth, The Legend

    The Oilers have been playing meaningless games for awhile now, but their season finale is a special one: it's the eleventh hour (actually the 1,270th hour, if we're being pedantic) for Ryan Smyth, who announced his retirement on Friday. It's sure to be a special one. Add in the fact that they're playing an embarrassed Canucks team they've battled with all

    Read More »from With the playoff spots decided, 10 reasons you should still watch hockey this weekend
  • PHILADELPHIA – Viewed on an historical basis, this is a matchup that in and of itself should be incredibly lopsided. The No. 1 overall seed is the same team it has been for most of the season, and that's mighty Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have knocked down five NCAA titles in their time, sent scads of players to the NHL and other professional leagues, and in doing so become perhaps the most storied hockey program in NCAA history.

    In the other dressing room is Union, which has until recently been a team which often struggled to even make it to .500 for the season. Only in the past four years have they really established themselves as being a program worth revering, as they've sent very few players to the NHL, and have won no national hockey titles.

    The University of Minnesota is huge. Huge enrollment, huge sports and academic programs, huge every thing. Union is small. Small enrollment, liberal arts college, little in the way of national recognition.

    This game might change all that.

    Read More »from NCAA Frozen Four: Minnesota, Union title game shaping up as one for the ages

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