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Tag Archives: Stanley Cup

NHL Stanley Cup Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins came on strong in the second half of the season and have been rewarded with the highest honor with a Stanley Cup trophy. The last cup came to the team back in 2009 and this one couldn’t feel any sweeter considering last years performance, the mid-season firing of Mike Johnston and hiring of new coach, Mike Sullivan.

I often write about the New York Rangers, but there’s also a reason why I’m writing about the Pittsburgh Penguins outside of being relevant news after winning the Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins have two individuals — a coach and player — that have made tremendous contributions to the team. Both of these individuals were former members of the New York Rangers organization. Lets take a look:

Mike Sullivan, Coach 

Once the assistant coach of the New York Rangers under John Tortorella, Mike Sullivan came to Pittsburgh when Mike Johnston was fired halfway through the season. Since taking over, the team went on to win 33 of 16 games (.675 win percentage) and took the cup from the San Jose Sharks. Sullivan has had interesting coach career spanning 14 years (2002 – 2016):

  • Providence Bruins (AHL), Head Coach
  • Boston Bruins (NHL), Head Coach
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), Assistant Coach
  • New York Rangers (NHL), Assistant Coach
  • Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Assistant Coach
  • Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Player Development Coach
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), Head Coach

Carl Hagelin, Forward

A tremendously fast, often considered ‘unrefined’ Swedish player, Carl Hagelin was with the New York Rangers organization for three years before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks. At the mid-season mark, Hagelin was subsequently traded to the Penguins where he certainly found his place contributing quickly on the third line. He played a pivotal roll with his speed on a line with Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino that frequently made the stat sheet during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Looking back, it is clear the NY Rangers lost two important individuals that later came together to hoist the cup. Carl Hagelin and Mike Sullivan must feel pretty good about where they are, and likely share the “everything happens for a reason” motto given their journey in the league.

via Bruce Heen: http://bruceheen.net/nhl-stanley-cup-champions-pittsburgh-penguins/

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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Bruce Heen

 

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When Will Henrik Lundqvist Get His Cup?

Bruce HeenHenrik Lundqvist is a true competitor, and he won’t back down from the overarching goal that comes with the territory of being a professional ice hockey player – a Stanley Cup Championship. Over the past two seasons, Lundqvist has come so close but to no avail. What could rock someone to their core after nearly receiving the greatest achievement in the sport’s history, in back to back seasons, continues to be the biggest motivation factor to one of the best goaltenders the sport has ever seen. Lundqvist believes he will get his Stanley Cup, and at his current age of 33, it calls to question how much he has left in the tank.

Lundvist will continue to prepare before every game with extreme dedication. He will take care of his body with a strict diet, keep his body in fantastic shape in order to handle the rigorous 82 game season, and lastly and maybe most important, believe. Part of believing in winning the one trophy that is missing from his illustrious career are the off season moves made by the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are bringing back a tight nucleus of young talent locked up in long term deals and are looking to build off the positive outcome of the past two seasons under the steady leadership of coach Alain Vigneault.

But still, you can’t help but questions Lundqvist age and how tough it is to get the big one. He only has two to three years and some may consider him to be past his prime after coming in to league back in the 2005-06 season as a rookie.

We will have to wait and see.

via Bruce Heen http://bruceheen.net/when-will-henrik-lundqvist-get-his-cup/

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Bruce Heen

 

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Rangers lose out on Stanley Cup race, but the future looks bright

The New York Rangers are a solid team every year as playoff contenders, and more recently they have had the type of relentless dedication on both sides of the puck that can carry a team all the way to a Stanley Cup title. A surprising run last year to the finals, followed by a season with huge promise this year, including a President’s Trophy during the regular season, panned out to be not enough. It is a big disappointment after what will be an unforgettable season, but the NY Rangers shouldn’t hang their heads in defeat, and instead should look forward to more great seasons much like this one, as they have found a great identity, with a phenomenal nucleus of young and seasoned veterans to lead the charge.

Taking a look at the team that will be coming back next year, you can’t help but like your chances again despite missing out on what seemed like a sure shot to the Stanley Cup finals, especially with the play of the team in Henrik Lundqvist absence. See below for three key areas that bode well for continued Ranger success next season:

1. World Class Goaltending

Bruce Heen

Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist can flat out play and he is absolutely coming into his prime as a goaltender. Not only is he hands down phenomenal, but he is also clutch in big time positions. You think Lundqvist would be rattled after what unfolded a couple weeks ago, but don’t fret – he is a competitor and a great professional. He will continue to show up every night and give it his all, standing on his head game after game, frustrating his counterparts and invigorating his team.

2. Young Talent / Veterans

You have to like this if you’re a coach and fan. Your young players are coming into their own at such an early age and your veterans have plenty left in the tank to motivate and provide developmental direction.

Bruce Heen

Jesper Fast

We see this with the emergence of Jesper Fast in the playoffs and the heady play of Kevin Hayes during the regular season / postseason. You also can’t leave out Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider from the core of young players that can flat out play on the NY Rangers squad. These two can sometimes get lost in the veteran talk because they have been good for some time, and by some time we are talking 3-5 years, which is really quite young in hockey terms. They are growing, learning and their ceiling has yet to be met and should only continue to provide great scoring / playmaking touch that you can’t help but love. Not to mention,

Kreider is a freak athlete that is fast, strong, and is only truly starting to realize his

Bruce Heen

Chris Kreider

potential. Just check out this video of him jumping out of the shallow end of a pool, it’s crazy.

Looking at the veterans, you can’t ignore Rick Nash and his scoring during the regular season, but you do need to point out his subpar play in the postseason. Subpar might be a bit harsh, but if you look at the stat sheet you can see how people could judge him, especially after a season filled with scoring and assists. Nash can do a lot of things, and that’s exactly what he did during the Rangers post season run this season. He didn’t always show up on the state sheet, but his presence was definitely felt most times he was on the ice. Another veteran worth noting is Derek Brassard. His play in the postseason was on display big time an you’d think if it wasn’t for him the Rangers wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as they did with such little scoring than they are accustomed to in their postseason run.

3. Blue Line Presence

The Rangers have one of the best defenses in the league, hands down. Each line gets the job done and some, with a few capable providing offense on the other end. There’s not much to pick at here and they will continue to have this identity for years to come, as there major assets are locked into long-term deals.

The NY Rangers exit from the postseason came as a surprise to many, but it shouldn’t dissuade you in the least. This team won’t be changing drastically from the cast that carried them all the way to a President’s Trophy during the regular season. The future looks bright, so sit back and enjoy a team that will be fun to watch for the foreseeable future.

via Bruce Heen: http://bruceheen.net/bruce-heen-rangers-lose-out-on-stanley-cup-race-but-the-future-looks-bright/

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Bruce Heen

 

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NY Rangers looking forward to next season

The NY Rangers deserve a pat on the back and some acknowledgement. After a beginning to the season that looked far from good, the New York Rangers responded and came to life. Clawing at the middle of the pack for most of the season, the Rangers found their way into the playoffs and surprisingly a spot in the Stanley Cup final against the big and mighty L.A. Kings. Though the Rangers lost 4-1 in the series, you can’t say that they lacked effort. The team was right in the mix almost every game (three of the five games were decided in extra periods). A different bounce of the puck could have resulted in a win for any of those games. When they say hockey is a game of inches they aren’t joking. The Rangers showed they can score, defend and skate with the best.

The Rangers, like many other teams in the league, face a number of decisions regarding resigning players. The team has already spoken out, saying they want to keep the group intact, hopeful to get back to the Stanley Cup next year. After getting a taste, it is no surprise just how anxious many players must feel after coming so close to the ultimate prize.

Another looming question mark is who will become captain? Many people believe Ryan McDonagh will likely be the candidate to receive the high honor. McDonagh displayed the kind of work ethic and leadership that people envision for a captain in the New York market. He does all the little things, works hard, and provides a scoring touch that we haven’t seen from a defenseman since Brian Leetch. You can see that McDonagh would love the challenge, and with departing veteran Brad Richards leaving, the distinguish is all but his.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Rangers shape up in the short off season. A lot of question marks will be answered soon and it’s exciting.

via Bruce Heen http://bruceheen.net/ny-rangers-looking-forward-to-next-season/

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Bruce Heen

 

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