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How Nathan MacKinnon Shaped the Avalanche into Stanley Cup Champions

After years of postseason disappointment, Colorado is on top thanks to the culture created by its young star. (Author: Gardener)

Nathan MacKinnon Shaped-- Nathan MacKinnon lifted the Stanley Cup over his head and then lowered it to his lips. The Colorado Avalanche, a team he dreamed of growing up, became champions for the first time since 2001. MacKinnon, their 26-year-old superstar, scored and assisted the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 2-1 Game 6 win over the Colorado Avalanche to win that championship. When he raised the trophy again, MacKinnon's face looked strange. But you could just see how excited he was to lift it," said Colorado general manager Joe Sakic. "Maybe now he can relax and enjoy the summer a little." MacKinnon scored 13 goals en route to 24 points in the playoffs and did whatever it took to secure a championship for Colorado and secure his own legacy as an NHL star. Although the latter didn't bother MacKinnon much ahead of the Stanley Cup Finals. You guys?" he said on media day. I do my best for my team. That's all I think about." To start his own legacy, he finished another, eliminating consecutive Stanley Cup winners. "It's crazy how they went back to back," MacKinnon said. "I could get so fat right now, so I don't know if we're going back to back. But I'm definitely going to enjoy it.” The Lightning have said that they must lose before they can learn to win. So does MacKinnon. Those nagging regular-season and postseason disappointments that defined his nine-year NHL career were undoubtedly worth it, within the span of a single win. Those years of demanding nothing short of excellence from teammates, to the point of behind-the-scenes rigidity. This personal journey for MacKinnon, learning the mindset of unlocking playoff achievement from mentors like Sidney Crosby. It paid off as Nathan MacKinnon was finally able to enjoy the unbridled excitement of bringing a Stanley Cup title to the Avalanche. Off the ice, MacKinnon was "the battery of our team, he makes everything work," as defenseman Erik Johnson put it. The guy who would say or do anything to make sure his team finally fulfills their potential. "I think what makes him so good is his extreme competitiveness," said former Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole, now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. He will do anything to win. What MacKinnon would do, with frequency. By the time one of the best players in the world finally earned a whirl with Lord Stanley, he'd molded himself and his teammates into champions - even if it meant smashing some egos along the way. was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to the Avalanche before the deadline, he knew MacKinnon's intensity as an opponent on the ice. Little did he know the intensity paled in comparison to what players experienced with MacKinnon outside of games — in training, in the locker room and in life. But he's very intense," Manson said. I'm here to win.'" Many who've played with MacKinnon have seen or experienced firsthand the manifestation of those expectations. There is a standard of quality that applies to everything from an exercise routine to a fitness decision. "For one of the best players in the league, who is so devoted to organizing when he's a little tense when someone's not doing the right thing? I don't see that as a problem," said Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who played for MacKinnon for two seasons , before joining Lightning last summer. Hurricanes defenseman Cole spent portions of three seasons with the Avalanche and considers MacKinnon a friend. “I don't necessarily think that competitiveness is a bad thing. But I think that competitiveness and that gruffness and the ability to call out anyone at any time, whether they're right or wrong, that's what makes the guys face the record and makes the guys play better," he said. They're either scared of being called, or they don't want to look stupid and are excited to play better." That's true for both NHL veterans on the Avalanche and newcomers. "A lot of young people are like, 'I just want to don't shit and get yelled at,'" said Cole. Cale Makar was one of those young players. He famously joined Avalanche in the 2020 playoffs straight from the NCAA. He had six points in 10 playoff games and then won the following regular season the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year. It was obvious he was going to be a special player. That wasn't good enough for MacKinnon. "Cale had all the talent in the world," said Cole. "But Nate was still pushing him. He told him he had to be better on the power play or whatever. And now Cale is one of the best players in the NHL. That culture is something Makar has embraced, and the Norris Trophy winner credits MacKinnon with driving it in the practice sessions. "He's obviously a touchstone, a very intense guy," Makar said. “And I think for me I'm a very competitive guy. So it's fun, especially practicing with him. He's a guy who pushes other people to be better, and I'm a guy who likes to think that I'm trying to make the people around me better too. " Logan O'Connor was that young player too. This was his first full campaign with the Avalanche, having played parts of the team for the last three seasons. "He's a great role model for a lot of young people. He's at the top of his game, considering being one of the best players in the world. He's always out there before and after training, pushing the guys. When guys aren't sharp or tired because it's a long season, he's always there to refocus people and hold them accountable," he continued. "I think that's the greatest thing about our team. Everyone has high expectations of each other and he is one of those people who uphold these standards.” Even if these standards mean that, for example, you do not dare to eat junk food in his presence. "I'm not a candy guy," O'Connor said. Former Avalanche defense attorney Nikita Zadorov provided an example of MacKinnon's aggressive intensity last summer. He conducted a Russian-language interview in which he shared some of MacKinnon's dietary standards that he believes according to his teammates."Two years ago in Colorado, he got rid of all the pop, ice cream and desserts," Zadorov said. “He got rid of them from the dressing room and pre-game meals. He says: "Guys, if you want to eat crap, you've got the off-season for it. If you come here, there's going to be none of that because we're going to win the trophy.'” He then compared MacKinnon's behind-the-scenes intensity to Michael Jordan's. When MacKinnon saw it pop up on social media, MacKinnon reached out and said, "Dude, you're such a jerk," MacKinnon said. I said, "Brother, can you stop talking about me in Russia?" MacKinnon didn't deny that he eats healthy and encourages teammates to do the same. "Maybe if I saw 'Z' eat a big candy bar, I'd give him crap," he said. I like to eat what everyone else does too.” Makar said that MacKinnon said he wouldn't yell at him if he saw him eating a cupcake. "He can have a few cheat meals, and he's not that crazy. Gluten-free, dairy-free and careful about his own diet, Cole was never on MacKinnon's culinary hit list while he was playing for the Avalanche. But he said the pressure MacKinnon put on his teammates to eat right was real. “There were guys on our team where he didn't pull punches. He says, 'You're fat. Stop eating shit,'" said Cole. He says, 'I don't give a shit. MacKinnon is far from the only NHL player to prioritize nutrition. But I think all the guys are so aware these days," said Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby. Crosby and MacKinnon. Two NHL superstars from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. "He and Sid are good friends," said Cole, who is also Crosby was a teammate with the Penguins, "and they're both very similar in that sense — hyper, hyper competitive." MacKinnon, when Nate was 17, played for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. MacKinnon rejoined Cole Harbor back in the summer and is training there, as is Crosby.The Penguins star and Avalanche star spoke ahead of the playoffs, but MacKinnon declined to share what they discussed.Crosby said the two had open discussions hockey, including the mental side of the hockey game. I think it's just experience. He's going to go through different things than he already has that he's going to learn and figure out," Crosby said. I'm still trying to figure it out, and I'm sure he is, too." Crosby has matured into a well-balanced leader after coming to the league as an enfant terrible. But MacKinnon cautioned against confusing that composure with a lack of aggression . He's the most competitive guy I know. I think earlier in his career he kind of wore his feelings on his sleeve. And now he's calmer," MacKinnon said of Crosby. "I think it's better to be like this. I think every year I get a little [calmer]. But I definitely don't think I'll be there any time soon.” While MacKinnon learned from Crosby's demeanor, he also embraced Sid's total immersion in hockey. Cole believes MacKinnon started breathing the sport in 2016-17, which was Jared Bednar's first season as head coach and the franchise's lowest point, when the Avalanche finished bottom in the league with a .293 point percentage. "They're both extremely hockey-centric," said Cole. But to be honest, it was a conscious decision for Nate to make after a really bad losing season. "He felt like he had to live and breathe and do whatever it took to be successful because that sucked," Cole continued. "I think he made a conscious decision: 'That was miserable. That was the worst season I've ever been a part of. And I will hold myself and everyone else accountable to make sure something like this never happens again." "MacKinnon's approach to practices and teammates was reinforced in the years between the last-place season and the team's recent postseason outages. Just like As Crosby learned to channel his intensity, so did MacKinnon – to the Avalanche's advantage: “He's always going to push, he's always going to be the engine of our offense and take a lot of responsibility on himself, but I feel like he to relax a little more," Bednar said. "There's a little bit more inner confidence in what he can achieve over the years and what our team can achieve if he plays his role to the best of his ability. It doesn't have to be everyone Be the perfect game tonight.” Press conferences were a place for MacKinnon's emotions to shine, like after last postseason when the Avala nche lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in six games and MacKinnon said: “Of course there's always next year. That's all we talk about, I feel like ninth year next year and I didn't win s---. Looking back at that press conference, MacKinnon said his team's unwavering belief that it could finally be the year led to his dour charge. I mean, I've probably had two or three chances to win in nine seasons. So whenever you feel like you're that close to winning with your team and you don't... you know, I think we're all upset. So it wasn't just me, it was all the boys," he said. MacKinnon says he's not that guy anymore. "I feel like a different person than I did then. You know, I would get emotional again if we didn't win. But I think the mindset is a bit more balanced, a lot more positive," he said. The goal is to win." It's oversimplified, but the Colorado Avalanche are now Stanley Cup champions for failing to become one in the past few seasons. They learned from the seven-game loss to the San Jose Sharks in 2019; grew from that Game 7 overtime loss in 2020 to the Dallas Stars; understood what went wrong when he gambled away a 2-0 lead to the Golden Knights in 2021. “Every time you lose you have to learn a little bit and figure out a few things. Vegas kinda took it from us and we got away with playing to our strengths. We got a little shy out there. We were a bit hesitant, I think," MacKinnon said. "If you play like that, you're not going to win against a team that's rolling." It's a wonderful coincidence that the Avalanche finally won the Stanley Cup against the Lightning, as teams have similar paths to glory.Tampa Bay has been open about learning how to win through playoff disappointments.Their win in the first round of the 2019 playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets is a pivotal moment in their forming story and demonstrates the Lightning on how they had to play — and think — to be successful in the postseason."Knowing how devastating this was for the group, it was pretty easy to get mad at each other and point the finger at others show. But everyone looked in the mirror and came back the next year with a little chip on their shoulder," Tampa Bay defense attorney Zach Bogosian said of the Flash. Erik Johnson said the Avalan che was inspired by the resilience of lightning. "I think we knew what they were going through. They lost to Columbus in the playoffs that one year and everyone kind of wrote them off. They've been through some ups and downs and now they're the team that everyone wants to emulate," Johnson said. Sometimes you have to learn from those losses and defeats. To win, sometimes you have to go through heartbreak. Makar reiterated that lesson: No matter what the situation, the Avalanche must remain vigilant. Like eliminating an opponent after getting them on the ropes. “One of the things we took away from last year is that when we were out in games, the guys got frustrated or looked forward. Even if we win a game, we might take our foot off the gas," he said. "But I feel like this team, we're so determined to do our best and play our winning style." It wasn't just the players who learned from Lightning. Incredible as it is, now after back-to-back Stanley Cup wins, it's contemplating whether Tampa Bay's core should have been blasted after a string of disappointments in the playoffs. “After 2019 I was a bit skeptical, I can tell you that. We kept the faith," Cooper said. The Avalanche did the same despite four consecutive seasons without a third-round appearance. It's a belief in your core," said GM Joe Sakic. Over time, we just got a little bit better. This year especially, we really competed." MacKinnon was a leader in this regard and did whatever was asked of him. He also learned that he didn't have to win games alone. "I think one of the areas where he's grown this year is that he hasn't invested as much... I feel like he's more relaxed in our team game. I think there's a confidence in our team game that he also doesn't put a lot of weight on his own shoulders," Bednar said. It's just a more mature player that we've had here every year, especially in the playoff period with the experiences we've had." It all led to the ultimate experience - winning the Stanley Cup together, with MacKinnon leading the way.

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Avs win first cup since 2001; Makar Playoff MVP

Despite giving up an early goal in the first half, the Colorado Avalanche rallied in Game 6 Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning and secured the franchise's first Stanley Cup since 2001. (Author: Gardener)

2001-- The night before the Colorado Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup in over two decades by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 on Sunday, they called a players-only meeting. Colorado could have won the trophy in Game 5 on home ice. Instead, Tampa Bay extended the streak with a 3-2 win. The Avalanche's lead group had been through too much heartbreak before, making three consecutive second-round exits prior to this season. "We knew what we had to do," said Cale Makar, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy for postseason Most Valuable Player. “But we just needed to talk about staying mentally locked in and not looking too far ahead. It was [Andrew Cogliano] and [Gabriel Landeskog] and [Nathan MacKinnon] who spoke and basically just reassured the lads and made sure that that was the case regardless of "I felt like throughout the game our mentality, just winning that time and winning the next one, getting the next shift and so on, and we've never looked too far at the result - and we definitely feel like we deserved it. The 23-year-old won last Week ago, he also won the Norris Trophy, becoming the third defenseman to win both the Norris and Conn Smythe in the same season. He said before the cup final began, Colorado was trying to forge a legacy, while two-time cup winners Lightning were trying to building a dynasty.The Avalanche's journey began in earnest with the franchise's first cup win since 2001. In a hard-fought Game 6 to the end, Makar worked to establish himself Don't let your emotions get the better of you. "I tried not to watch the clock too much, I just tried to stay in the moment," Makar said. "Once we had them at the line a couple of times, I saw the puck go down and I was like, 'I don't want that thing to come out on the corner,' so I had to do whatever it took to keep it there. It's so amazing to be able to experience it with such an amazing group of guys so it's awesome. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar had a gut feeling for Sunday's game. He wasn't part of the meeting that took place, but "got the gist" of what was being said. That the players took it upon themselves to rally after losing Game 5 told Bednar everything he needed to know about where his team stood. "I had a pretty good feeling tonight because they called this meeting and these guys said what they said," Bednar said. “I was really impressed that our boys [did that] to try to mentally overcome [Game 5] and discuss what was going on at home, turn the page and get ready. After that meeting you could just feel a sense of relief, some of the nervous tension we had at home [was gone] and the focus was back." Still, the Avalanche stumbled out of the net in Game 6. Steven Stamkos scored his 11th goal in the postseason to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in 20 minutes The Avalanche's pushback came in the second period MacKinnon had been waiting for a breakthrough moment in that series and finally found it by equalizing scored with a one-timer from the left circle past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Artturi Lehkonen scored his Game Winner in the second half, and the Avalanche held on from there to deny Tampa Bay his three-goal chance. Landeskog said he thinks , that Colorado's third period was as good as it could have been and showed all the key points the team touched when they met. "We said, 'We've been going fast all season learns, we also learned quickly in the playoffs'" Landeskog recalled. "We kind of screwed it up, we didn't put in our best performance in Game 5 but come back here tonight and we just wanted to be aggressive." For MacKinnon, the road to cup-winning with Colorado was particularly painful. He's part of the core that finished last in 2016/17, a brutal low he, particularly Landeskog, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen didn't know they would overcome. "It's honestly hard to describe," MacKinnon said. And it took us a lot of character building over the years to do that, so it feels great." "The 2016-17 season was rock bottom from an NHL perspective," he said. They didn't blow things up after a second-round elimination for the third year in a row. They added strong characters who would do anything to get that win. As captain, Landeskog was the first to lift the trophy after it was presented to him by NHL Assistant Commissioner Bill Daly. who has taken on that duty, as well as the traditional end-of-season speech with Commissioner Gary Bettman, who has been sidelined by the coronavirus. Landeskog passed the trophy directly to Johnson. Landeskog and Johnson are the longest-serving players in the Avalanche. Just as then-captain (and now Avs general manager) Joe Sakic knew he was going to hand the trophy over to Ray Bourque in 2001, Landeskog had only one teammate in mind for the event. You get it first," Johnson said. Just a super humbling, gratif ying feeling, it's amazing. It was like watching a video game or something. The Colorado Cup victory was the culmination of a dominant postseason in which the Avalanche won 16-4 on aggregate and won both their first-round series against Nashville and the Western Conference Finals against Edmonton. It also fitted into a theme for the Avalanche to win their trophy on the road. Colorado has been great on the road in every playoff, finishing with a 9-1 mark and completing all four of their streak wins away. The Avalanche also got the job done when key players were injured. Andre Burakovsky fractured his foot in the Conference Finals and was sidelined for most of the Cup Finals after breaking his thumb in Game 2. Valeri Nichushkin struggled with a painful lower body injury in Game 5 This point harkens back to the 2016-17 campaign, which became a foundation upon which the Avalanche could build their brighter future. Sakic was the architect of Colorado's success, but it was the players' refusal to give up their eventual dream of winning the cup that led them to the ultimate prize. "I'm really happy for the guys [who stayed]," said Sakic. They believed in each other all year and really stuck together and didn't let anything get in their way, really. If they had a bad game, they were ready to do better the next day."

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Avalanche D-Man Cale Makar Wins Conn Smythe as Playoff MVP

Cale Makar led the Colorado Avalanche towards winning the Stanley Cup. (Author: Gardener)

Avalanche D-Man CaleColorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) controls the puck next to Tampa Bay Lightning Center's Anthony Cirelli (71) during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla., Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) shoots against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period in Game 5 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Friday June 24, 2022 in Denver. Colorado Avalanche's Cale Makar poses with the Norris Trophy after the NHL Hockey Awards Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. The Norris Trophy is awarded annually to the league's top defender. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period in Game 2 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Denver. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) is congratulated for his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period in Game 5 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals Friday, June 24, 2022 in Denver. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, right, celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with right wing Valeri Nichushkin, center, and defenseman Devon Toews during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Friday, June 24, 2022, Denver. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar runs with the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. The Colorado Avalanche celebrate winning the Stanley Cup over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. The Colorado Avalanche pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. Cale Makar led the Colorado Avalanche towards winning the Stanley Cup. It came as no surprise that the dynamic fullback was the unanimous pick for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. "It's surreal to me," Makar said. No one has played or produced more for Colorado during that cup run than Makar, who also won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in the regular season. The 23-year-old ran 27 minutes a game and led the Avalanche with 29 points in 20 games -- more than anyone but Edmonton stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. When asked how other teams could emulate Colorado after winning the cup, captain Gabriel Landeskog thought for a moment and said with a grin, "Get a Cale Makar somewhere." Makar's carefree play resulted in eight goals to his tally and many more, which he helped shape on his way. Makar is the second defender to win the award in the last three years. He follows Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the back-to-back titleholder who was eliminated from Colorado in Sunday night's Stanley Cup Finals. "We saw him play like that from day one of the season," said coach Jared Bednar. "This guy is elite and with him, the work he's doing for us offensively and defensively, watching him play, how dynamic he is, he's just the best defender in the game right now." And the best player in the playoffs, bringing an incredibly creative flair on offense to fast turnover-enforcing defense. "I don't think anything goes to his head," said general manager Joe Sakic. Such an amazing hockey player, and he plays both ways.” Makar's development into one of hockey's top stars has taken some time since he played junior hockey in Alberta, Canada and was drafted fourth by the Avalanche in the 2017 draft. He helped Canada to the junior world title in 2018 and turned down an invitation to represent his country without NHL talent at the Olympics in order to further improve his game at UMass-Amherst. "I just didn't think it was the right thing for my development," Makar told The Associated Press in September. "I needed more time to develop my defensive aspect of the game. I just felt like I wasn't going to have the same experience at the Olympics, that maybe they would only use me for my strengths instead of allowing me to work on my weaknesses.” It was so important to Makar, those weaknesses to make up for returning to college for a second season before making his NHL debut for Colorado in the 2019 playoffs. He felt he wanted to be "overripe" to play in the pros and thought facing older competitors helped him prepare for it. "It can be a bit difficult for a young defender and if you start early and work at it, the game takes a turn," Makar said ahead of the final. I don't feel like it's a permanent part of my game, so you have to get better at it every day.” Former Marine resigns July 4 at Texas Town Grand Marshal's parade after threats of violence A Texas man intercepts a giant alligator snapping turtle and then releases them back into the wild Rockets' NBA draft picks: How the Pundits Think Houston Drafted Makar into the Lightning Series as Conn Smythe Frontrunner and Then Got No Shot in Game 1, which the Avalanche won in overtime. After seeing Tampa Bay players block so many attempts, Bednar recalled the adjustments Makar made earlier in the playoffs and never lost confidence in the young defenseman's ability to make a difference. "I'll never tell him not to shoot," Bednar said. If he sees something he likes on the net, I want him to send it over there." Makar started the series with two goals in Colorado's 7-0 win over Tampa Bay in Game 2 to make his mark 2-0 -Take the lead in the series. "He's a great player," Edmonton defenseman Tyson Barrie said amid the avalanche that swept the Oilers into the Western Conference Finals. "Since he's been in the league he's been exceptional and it's amazing how he creates offense and still plays defense. He's as good as they come at the back end and the way he skates and moves the puck and retrieves the puck, he's got every tool. Makar used these tools to help this core group win the Stanley Cup for the first time.

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top of the mountain

-- Nathan MacKinnon couldn't find the words. Gabriel Landeskog managed a smile and a joke. (Author: Gardener)

-- Nathan MacKinnonAfter years of disappointments in the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche are back at the pinnacle of hockey after dethroning the two-time defending champion. After a goal and assist from MacKinnon, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history and for the first time in more than two decades by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 last Sunday night. "It just built up over time," said playoff MVP winner Cale Makar of the Avalanche's journey. It's the first title for the Avs' core group, led by MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Makar, and it follows several early exits in the postseason - each in the second round of the last three seasons and the first round of 2018 The 2016-17 team was the worst in hockey, ending with just 48 points. "It's hard to describe," said MacKinnon, who took the lead in the clincher by blocking shots and hitting big on top of his offensive performance. “Some tough years interfered, but it's all over now. With a mix of speed, high-end talent, and the experience gleaned from those defeats, Colorado broke through this time around -- and earned every bit of the championship by putting in a deep punch "you is to beat." probably a little more satisfying, to be honest, because they're champions," said veteran striker Andrew Cogliano, who won the trophy for the first time aged 35. And in the end, when you can beat the champions, you know you really deserve it.” As expected from the Avalanche, it wasn't easy. An early turnover from Makar resulted in an easy goal from Steven Stamkos that put Colorado in a hole and several more bumps and bruises followed. The Avalanche equalized as MacKinnon defeated 2021 playoffs MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy with a near-perfect shot and scored another big goal through the acquisition of Trade Dead Artturi Lehkonen. They wrapped things up by holding the puck and held Tampa Bay without a shot at Darcy Kuemper until the middle of the third period. His teammates finished the job, and Colorado improved to 9-1 on the road this postseason. Much like the Lightning went all-in multiple times, trading high-draft picks and prospects to win the best shot at the cup, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic wasn't afraid to make a bet in March to help Lehkonen to take on defensemen Josh Manson and Cogliano. They became the perfect complement to Colorado's core, which had shown a lot of playoff promise but had yet to produce a championship. Sakic, who managed Colorado's first two title-winning teams in 1996 and 2001, used a well-known recipe to get his team over the hill. Much like Pierre Lacroix, the architect of the Avalanche teams that have found so much success after the organization moved to Denver, Sakic placed great emphasis on skill, speed and versatility. That speed overwhelmed every opponent en route to the Finals, from an opening win in Nashville to a hard-fought six-game streak against St. Louis to yet another win in Edmonton. It was a different challenge against Tampa Bay, as the Avalanche had to absorb counterattacks from back-to-back champions to end them. In the end, Tampa Bay was two wins short of becoming the NHL's first treble winner since the New York Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s. "It hurts just like it did the first time," Stamkos said, referring to the Lightning's loss to Chicago in the 2015 Finals. Ahead of the series, Makar said he and his teammates were trying to end a dynasty and start a legacy. That legacy eventually includes a championship, thanks in large part to enduring coach Jared Bednar who, in his sixth season, found a way to keep his team focused on the mission at hand from the start of training camp. Bednar became the first coach to win the Stanley Cup, the American Hockey League's Calder Cup and the ECHL's Kelly Cup — all after that abysmal 48-point performance in his first season behind the Colorado bench. “He had a tough first year in the league and so did I. I can't believe we're here six years later.” Bednar won the chess match with Jon Cooper, also a Stanley and Calder Cup champion and considered one of the NHL's greatest tacticians. The Lightning fell into a 2-0 hole as they faced their strongest opposition since their winning streak began in 2020, then went down 3-1 before forcing Game 6. When asked how other teams might copy the Avalanche's success, Landeskog quipped, "Get a Cale Makar somewhere." In fact, Makar won the Conn Smythe after leading Colorado with 29 points in 20 games. Depth made the Avalanche possible To overcome lost defender Samuel Girard with a broken sternum and finish off the Lightning, although standout striker Andre Burakovsky was out through injury and Valeri Nichushkin was limping around on a injured right foot and Nazem Kadri played at center through a broken right thumb, The Avalanche defeated the Lightning before the attrition could take too great a toll and before the frightening possibility of elimination against Vasilevskiy in Game 7. Instead, they return to Denver to celebrate with the Stanley Cup, with a parade expected Thursday, Colorados Victory at the end of the series is not as emotional as in the last However, the tenth two years since Stamkos received the trophy marks another conclusion to an NHL season during a pandemic -- the first back to 82 games with a normal playoff format since 2019. Commissioner Gary Bettman wasn't even able to to present the trophy to Landeskog for testing positive for the coronavirus, leaving it to Deputy Bill Daly to do the honors. The Avalanche and Lightning struggled with occasional rough ice through late June, which shouldn't happen again when the league returns to its regular schedule. When that happens, Colorado will get a chance to defend its crown and try to follow Tampa Bay and become a perennial cup contender.

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Joe Sakic joins Denver icon John Elway as a double champion

Joe Sakic was so busy enjoying and reminiscing that he almost missed the team photo with the Stanley Cup before rushing over just in time to attend the on-ice celebration at the Amalie Arena. (Author: Gardener)

Joe SakicDENVER -- Joe Sakic was so busy rejoicing and reminiscing that he almost missed the team photo with the Stanley Cup before rushing over just in time to attend the on-ice celebration at the Amalie Arena. The Colorado Avalanche general manager joined Denver icon John Elway to lead his team from the front office to a championship two decades after winning two titles during his playing career in the Hall of Fame. A strong captain and focal point as the Avalanche won it all in 1996 and 2001, Sakic secured a third Stanley Cup championship Sunday night as the architect of the star-studded Firebolt of a team that dispatched back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. Sakic joined Elway's exclusive club as the Avalanche ended their dominant playoff run with a 2-1 Game 6 win in Tampa. Elway led the Broncos to Super Bowl wins in his last two seasons as quarterback in 1997 and 1998, and he added one as an executive when Denver won the Super Bowl six years ago with a historically dominant defense and an aging but still masterful Peyton Manning won. Just as Elway brought his beloved Broncos back to the top of the NFL world, Sakic built the Avalanche team from the ground up. They shrugged off stumbles and heartbreaking early eliminations from the NHL playoffs in recent years to outlast the Lightning and become the first team to win four best-of-seven series away from home. They defeated Nashville and Edmonton and defeated St. Louis in six games to reach their first Stanley Cup final in 21 years. After a nine-day hiatus, they defeated a Lightning team that had won 11 straight playoff series, an amazing feat in the salary cap era. With an extensive roster filled with top draft hits like Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar and key deadline acquisitions like Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Cogliano, the Avalanche twice beat and beat the Lightning in overtime in a game 2, 7-0 masterwork and lifted their third trophy with another jewel on Sunday night. Their 16-4 run in the playoffs, which included a 9-1 road record, was the second-best of all time, only behind Wayne Gretzky's 16-2 run against Edmonton in 1988. Elway said that he and Sakic over the course of the Years together occasionally regretted that it was so much easier for both of them to lead their teams to titles playing the games rather than breaking a sweat watching them. "Being GM has been fun because you can't play anymore and it's good to stay close to the game," said Elway, who moved to a consulting role with the Broncos after his contract expired earlier this year. Sakic faced a major transformation when friend and former teammate Patrick Roy stepped down as head coach on the eve of the 2016-17 season and Bednar, who had just won the Calder Cup, oversaw a 48-point slog in his first year as coach an NHL head coach. "Yeah, we had the worst record, but we had some really good young players who were on the verge of becoming stars and a great core and we just built around them, we got a little bit younger and faster." , said Sakic after hoisting the trophy for the third time. Sakic stayed with Bedar after that 22-win first season, then selected Makar, who on Sunday night at the tender age of 23 became the first player to win the Hobey Baker Award for Best College Player and the Calder Memorial Trophy for Best Rookie, which Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman, Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP, and the Stanley Cup championship. Five years after their crash-and-burn season, the Avalanche are gearing up for a championship parade Thursday in downtown Denver after upending the Lightning and their superstar goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Avalanche won it all despite not having a superstar on the web like most champions. Darcy Kuemper, on the other hand, went into the playoffs 10:4 and won twice in Tampa. "These older guys have been around for a long time and had the opportunity to win their first trophy," he said. "And as a former player, I know how happy they are right now and how relieved they are to finally have the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup."

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How fast Avs won the Stanley Cup

The Colorado Avalanche were playing hockey in fast-forward and making their way to the Stanley... (Author: Gardener)

the Stanley CupThe Colorado Avalanche pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022. Colorado Avalanche center Andrew Cogliano, center, and defenseman Josh Manson (42) celebrates teammate center Nazem Kadri (91)'s overtime goal in Game 4 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday, May 22, 2009 June 2022, in Tampa, Fla. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, right, celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with right winger Valeri Nichushkin, center, and defenseman Devon Toews during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Friday, Jan. June 2022, Denver. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, center, and left wing Artturi Lehkonen, right, congratulate center Nazem Kadri, left, after his overtime goal against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday April 22, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) stops a shot from Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finales Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) shoots the puck past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) on Sunday, June 26, 2022 to score in to score the second period of Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, in Tampa, Florida. Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper celebrates after the Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Denver. Colorado Avalanche right winger Valeri Nichushkin celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Denver. Gloves and sticks are thrown as the Colorado Avalanche celebrate winning the Stanley Cup against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. HEAD COACH JARED BEDNAR – Colorado Avalanche Skills Coach Shawn Allard wins the Stanley Cup after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. Colorado Avalanche celebrates after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. The Avalanche won 2-1. Colorado Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic speaks to reporters on media day prior to Game 1 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in Denver. Playing hockey on the fly, the Colorado Avalanche smashed their way to the Stanley Cup championship with a mix of speed and high-end skill that only required defined focus to get past the top. There was no denying that a team with Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen had the talent to win. But after four consecutive early playoff eliminations, the Avalanche invented a different ending, defeating the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning by focusing on something simple: winning every 5-minute burst at once. "They never thought ahead — they just prepared every day and just focused on that," said general manager Joe Sakic. If they had a bad game, they were ready to do better the next day.” Coach Jared Bednar, in his sixth season behind the bench, is behind this strategy of breaking games into 5-minute increments. It's a lesson he learned from playoff disappointments that served far more as Colorado's internal mantra than the "find a way" marketing slogan. "We've got a good five minutes and we're moving on to the next one," Bednar said. Even before the final against Tampa Bay, Bednar praised his team for adhering to this philosophy, and the players acknowledged it was repeated on the bench during games. The chatter became the soundtrack to the Avalanche, which made the playoffs with 16 wins in 20 games. "We want to make sure there's a focus every five minutes: no matter what, we're backing down and backing out because we want to get the game to the teams," said defenseman Josh Manson, one of Sakic's key figures in closing deals. "We have a lot of speed and our forecheck is a big part of our game, so we want to reset every five minutes to do exactly what we need to do." Behind all that speed, the Avalanche swept across Nashville in the first round, defeating St. Louis in the six, defeated Edmonton in the West Final and finished Tampa Bay with a six on Sunday night, giving the Lightning only their second loss in their last 13 series. "All four lines can skate," Rantanen said. Just a team effort. We've got a lot of skill, but it takes more than skill to win a championship, and that's exactly what we did.” saki Viewers from outside the finals could see the extra hockey taking its toll in Tampa Bay — no team has played more games since 2020, the prize that comes with winning two straight titles and playing for a third — and just marveling at Colorado's pace. This includes Bryan Trottier, who won the Stanley Cup six times as a player and again in 2001 as an Avalanche assistant. "Holy cow, they're fast," he said. Sakic, the captain of that title team in 2001 and again in 1996, had a blueprint on how to win and set about finding players who would fit. Opponents had little time to think. 2013 was all about beating MacKinnon with first pick to find what Sakic called a "game changer." The same goes for Makar (the fourth pick in 2017), and Sakic added grins on the side by trading in Manson, center Nazem Kadri and deep forward Andrew Cogliano. But the key to Colorado's game has always been speed Sakic said. Complemented by the rest of the players finishing two of the first three series in four games, that speed was a significant advantage over the two-time champions who were built to do just about anything at this time of year could do with the kind and how Colorado handled it.A 7-0 Avalanche Blowout in Game 2 was a perfect example.The Lightning, from 2021 Playoffs MVP goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, to the dependable veteran skaters before him, made one freak error after freak error over Colorado's shrewd, aggressive skating and playmaking Former Marine steps out as Grand Marsha after threats of violence ll July 4th parade from Texas Texas man catches giant alligator snapping turtle and then releases it back into the wild "Our skating has to be a factor for us, regardless of the opponent," Bednar said. "And then playing fast is more than that: it's about getting in the right places and doing the right things so that we're predictable to ourselves." of Fame, Grant Fuhr, predictable. He said that as the better team in the Finals, Colorado followed the path they had been on since October. "They've been great all year," Fuhr said. "They looked like the best out west from the start of the year, and they've been the best in the league basically all along." It started in September when the Avalanche began to shake off their recent playoff loss. Bednar said he and his team did some experimentation during the season to secure first place in the West. When it came time to finish the job, Colorado was ready. "You don't preach it all year and practice it all year only to throw it away at the most important time of the year," Bednar said. "That's why we started preaching it on the first day of training camp: focus on the process and what we need to look for in order to succeed."

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Lightning's Steven Stamkos is setting a point career high this postseason

TAMPA — Minutes after the Lightning suffered their most heartbreaking loss in three seasons, defense attorney Ryan McDonagh stood in front of a pool of reporters, struggling to find the right words. What's the best way to sum up what captain Steven Stamkos meant to the team during their run to three straight Stanley Cup finals? (Author: Gardener)

Steven StamkosFans are enlightened by a spinning replay of the Stanley Cup prior to the start of the first half of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at the Amalie Arena, Tampa. TAMPA — Minutes after the Lightning suffered their most heartbreaking loss in three seasons, defense attorney Ryan McDonagh stood in front of a pool of reporters, struggling to find the right words. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) is seen on the ice after an early penalty against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. What's the best way to sum up what captain Steven Stamkos meant to the team during their run to three straight Stanley Cup finals? Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates scoring his first goal against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38), center, along with Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram (4), left, and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) watch the game during the first period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Stamkos scored the team's only goal Sunday night in the Lightning's 2-1 loss to the Avalanche that sealed Colorado's first title since 2001. Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is seen on the bench during the first half against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. He opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the postseason, tying Ondrej Palat for most on the Lightning list. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) falls onto the ice during the first half against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Less than four minutes into play, Nikita Kucherov was fighting for the puck behind Colorado's net and worked it against Nathan MacKinnon from the wall. Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71), left, chases the lost puck in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Stamkos' 19 points, including 11 goals, was a postseason high, surpassing his 18 in 2020-21. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) gets caught between Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7), left, and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) during the first period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday 26th 2022 in Tampa. Stamkos' 19 points also put Victor Hedman third on the team, behind Kucherov (27) and Palat (21). In 23 postseason competitions, Stamkos had five multi-point games (including three in the Conference Finals). Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71), left, and Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37), tangle during the first period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa . Stamkos, 32, already had a regular-season career under his belt. This season was his first with 40 goals or more since he scored 45 in 2018/19. Fans cheer for the Tampa Bay Lightning after scoring their first goal during the game against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in front of the Amalie Arena on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. The captain's offense anchored the Lightning for much of the season, particularly as they struggled without Brayden Point and Kucherov, both of whom were out for extended periods through injuries. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal in the first period of the game between Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. On April 21, Stamkos passed Martin St. Louis (953) for most points in Lightning history. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) defends the net and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) from Colorado Avalanche center Darren Helm (43) during first period play between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche for Game 6 of the Stanley - Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. It was fitting that Stamkos ended the Lightning season with a goal on Sunday at the Amalie Arena. His performance and leadership helped see the team return to the cup final for the third straight season. Fans watch as the Tampa Bay Lightning play the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in front of the Amalie Arena on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) collide with the boards in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) chases Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) in the first period during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17), left, along with his left wing teammates Nicholas Paul (20), center, and left wing Brandon Hagel (38) look on after a goal in the second period by Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday June 26, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Nicholas Paul (20) runs past Colorado Avalanche players as they score a second goal from Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, May 26 June 2022 in Tampa. Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96), left, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson (42) celebrate a second-half goal from teammate center Nathan MacKinnon in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June (29) against the Tampa Bay Lightning 26th, 2022 in Tampa. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), left, looks to goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) after a second goal by Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, May 26. June 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), center, watches the puck in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Tampa.

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Top goalie prospects discussed ahead of 2022 NHL draft

Western Hockey League's Prince George's Tyler Brennan could be the first goaltender selected in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft. (Author: Gardener)

2022The 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal. The 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal. NHL.com counts down to the draft with in-depth profiles of top prospects, podcasts and other features. NHL.com counts down to the draft with in-depth profiles of top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a look at the top North American goalies in a Q&A with NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen. Today, a look at the top North American goalies in a Q&A with NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen. For NHL.com's full draft coverage, click here. For NHL.com's full draft coverage, click here. Western Hockey League's Prince George's Tyler Brennan could be the first goaltender selected in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft. Brennan (6-foot-4, 185 pounds), No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's final North American goaltender rankings, was 11-25-2 with 3.58 goals against average, .899 save percentage and four shutouts in 39 games and 0-3 with 1.86 GAA and .954 save percentage in four WHL playoff games. Tweet from @NHLdotcom: @NHLCentralScout's Al Jensen took to the @NHL Draft Class Podcast to talk about this year's goalie selection. Why is @WHL's @PGCougars' Tyler Brennan the top ranked goaltender? Apple: https://t.co/XAm8rhBfDZSpotify: https://t.co/7kZ6RQkO2x pic.twitter.com/KE3MnMnrb1 The 18-year-old has good speed and athleticism overall, can move the puck well behind the net and is able to make large savings in a timely manner. According to Central Scouting goalie evaluator Al Jensen, he has very good professional potential. "I think this kid has a big advantage," said Jensen. He just has that presence that you could see, later he will have a chance to play. He's the size of a Carey Price (6-3, 217). I'm not saying he's Carey Price, but he definitely has the potential to be a top-notch NHL goaltender. I really liked its consistency and there is so much to do. He covers so much of the web and I like his presence. To break down many of the top eligible North American goalies in the 2022 draft, here are five questions for Jensen: Brennan played on a team that was struggling a bit, and his stats don't jump off the page. When you have a goalkeeper who doesn't have amazing numbers, is it harder to tell how he's really doing? These kids are so young; You have to look beyond the numbers and see if the guy is good enough to play in the NHL because nobody's going to even mention those numbers in 5-6 years. My job is to find out if one day he will have a chance to play in the NHL. It's great to have the numbers, and some of those numbers stand out, but Brennan's team wasn't at the top of the Western Hockey League, so he faced a lot of quality shots. He's young, he plays a lot of games. Can this player become an NHL goalie one day? USA Hockey's Under-18 National Team Development Program team has two goalies in the top four, Dylan Silverstein at No. 3 and Tyler Muszelik at No. 4. “Two very different goalies. Silverstein (6-0, 179) is "Fast, athletic and very intense. There's not a huge difference in the potential of these guys. They'll all go down different paths. Some teams might want their keepers to be like that, and some might like them differently . They both have." good potential with good skills but they are goaltenders of a different breed. @mikemorrealeNHL Tweet: NHL Draft Class: @NHLCentralScout's Al Jensen signed up for a conversation about @NHL Draft eligible goaltenders in 2022 @USAHockeyNTDP goaltender Dylan Silverstein & Tyler Muszelik - Apple: https://t.co/HplJPg30PWSpotify: https://t.co/efvtkXOiv1 pic.twitter.com/ZUWvGycaYO Can you discuss the play of two goalies who were passed over? in the 2021 NHL draft?” Goaltenders sometimes take a little longer to develop This is the first year I've seen Zhigalov (6-3, 167) and he impressed me from the first game I saw him saw play. It just has this presence and it carries itself well. There's so much to do for an NHL team and this guy has a really good chance of playing in the NHL one day; I really think so. He's got the size, the speed, and he just looks like an NHL goalie in it. Whitehead (6-3, 172) showed great development since the year before he played with the Utica Jr. Comets of the National Collegiate Development Conference. He has the presence, the ability. I think if he shows it in the USHL it gives the Boy Scouts a vision that if he improves so much from NCDC to USHL he's going to rise even higher. What will he be like in a year or two after he's moved up to a higher level?" We've seen at least one goalie get picked in the first round of the NHL draft in the last three years. Do you think that series at ?the 2022 draft?' "I don't care too much about that, especially the goaltenders, as there are a lot of good players to draft. Goaltenders tend to only get drafted in the second or third round. In the last three years." only four goaltenders were picked in the first round so it wouldn't surprise me if no goaltenders were picked in the first round.It depends on a team's needs and how many draft picks they have.Are there goaltenders on the North American list who you think are good late round picks and could prove an upset in 5-6 years?I can see the back half of the list where there are a number of goalies who e have a chance to surprise. This boy is really a good goalkeeper and has a lot of potential. Rockland's Charlie Schenkel (No. 17; 6-5, 193) of the Central Canada Hockey League started the year with Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario Hockey League) and I caught him playing a few games there. He still needs work, but he's tall, moves extremely well and he just needs one chance to play, so I see potential in the future. I've been watching Luke Pavicich (#23; 6-2, 175) from the University of Massachusetts for three years and every time he plays he gives his team a chance to win. He's a little inconsistent and gets a little timid, but he has a lot of high-end qualities for NHL goalie coaches to work with."

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Cobb gets the upper hand and goes into the Forbidden Door

At last night's Rampage, a stacked card with United Empire's Jeff Cobb collided in a grudge match with FTR's Cash Wheeler. (Author: Gardener)

CobbThe final Rampage before Sunday's AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door pay-per-view featured a colossal card that featured ROH Women's Champion Mercedes Martinez, Andrade El Idolo, Rey Fenix, HOOK and more. There's also a Forbidden Door preview where IWGP World Tag Team and United Empire's Jeff Cobb clashes with half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, FTR's Cash Wheeler. Both men would waste no time and fly at high speeds while Fenix ​​dodges Andrade's attempted lasso, bringing him down with a springboard hurricanrana. Fenix ​​continued to press Andrade, beating him with many aerial maneuvers including a gravity-defying springboard lariat off the top rope. Andrade attempted to regain control with the help of Jose, but Fenix ​​would soon regain control. This was until the referee was distracted by Jose and Alex Albrahantes fighting, allowing Andrade's partner Rush to emerge and hit Fenix ​​with a low blow. Andrade would follow with a hammerlock DDT to take the win and confirm the La Faccion Ingonerables reunion. This was followed by Rush showing the ultimate disrespect and unmasking Fenix. Martinez then tagged in and followed up with a huge spinebuster. Martinez would continue hitting and unload with a barrage of lassos. The match would end with Serena and Martinez syncing their signature submission holds together to claim the win. With Forbidden Door just two days away, the undefeated HOOK would be put to the test by going up against one of the top NJPW LA dojos at The DKC. HOOK would start the fight quickly, snapping a kneebar that The DKC was only able to break after he reached the bottom rope. HOOK followed with signature crossface punches before locking in the Redrum for a quick win. In the highly anticipated 3-way tag team match, with the winners just two days away, FTR's Cash Wheeler and United Empire's Jeff Cobb wanted to make sure they could inflict as much penalty as possible to avoid to have a greater advantage Sunday. The United Empire Juggernaut would soon take control of the match, using his power to tear apart the rag doll Wheeler both inside and outside the ring. Wheeler's toughness would see him crack Cobb with a couple of punches, but Cobb would soon smash Wheeler into the ring post. Cash would finally regain some control after a crushing uppercut sent Cobb flying outside before dropping the big man with a sunset flip powerbomb. Wheeler would almost get the win after pulling off a roll-up with a skillful reversal of Cobb's powerbomb, but Cobb would step out on two. In the closing moments, Cobb hit a German suplex with a snap low release before reaching the Tour Of The Islands to take the win and give United Empire the advantage going into Sunday. After the game, Cobb's partner and another half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions Great-O-Khan show up before FRTR's Dax Harwood would show up to level the playing field. The brawl would continue as the entire United Empire would collide on the outside, as well as Roppongi Vice and Orange Cassidy. While the countdown to Forbidden Door and Blood and Guts heats up. You can watch AEW's Forbidden Door and AEW X NJPW internationally on FITE TV.

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Police are investigating two armed robberies Sunday morning, and one victim was hospitalized with life-threatening gunshot wounds

Police are investigating two armed robberies that took place near a housing complex in Santa Maria early Sunday morning, one of which had a victim hospitalized with life-threatening gunshot wounds. (Author: Gardener)

Sunday- Police are investigating two armed robberies that occurred near a housing complex in Santa Maria early Sunday morning, one of which left a victim hospitalized with life-threatening gunshot wounds, according to the Santa Maria Police Department. The department said officers were responding to a report of a shooting around 3:30 a.m. in the Knudsen and Western area. Police said it appeared the victim was shot by one of the people who robbed him. Officials took the victim to the hospital for his serious, life-threatening injuries, and the department said it was awaiting updates on his status. In addition, police said another man told officers he was robbed and stabbed early that morning near the first crime scene. Police said his injuries were minor and he is expected to make a full recovery. Investigators believe the two crimes were related, both with a motive for a robbery. Officers said they were looking for witnesses who might have information about the suspects - investigators believe the suspects were two young men dressed all in black. To contact the department with tips or leads for this investigation, SMPD said you can call Detective Sergeant Andy Magallon on his cell phone at 805-928-3781 ext.

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