NHL Conference Final Preview: Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks

Cam Lewis
May 12 2017 10:50AM

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© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This is a series between two teams who finally got over the hump. After being eliminated on home ice in game seven three years in a row, the Ducks downed the young Oilers earlier this week, ending a streak of playoff frustration that's lasted for the past decade. The Predators, on the other hand, have always knocked on the door, but have never made it inside. This year, that's changed, as the Preds downed the Blues in order to advance to their first Conference Final in franchise history. 

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Future Free Agents: Joe Thornton

Cam Lewis
May 06 2017 07:00AM

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© John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Thornton is a free agent. You know what team means? It's time to speculate whether or not his time in San Jose is over or not. This is a narrative we've heard for years, but after the team went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, it's even more difficult than ever to imagine Thornton playing anywhere else. Could it happen this summer? 

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Future Free Agents: Brian Boyle

Cam Lewis
May 03 2017 07:00AM

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© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Boyle was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs for a pretty hefty price at this year's trade deadline. He said at the end of the team's season that he would be open to returning to Toronto, but as a 32-year-old, it's also likely going to be Boyle's final chance to make a big payday in free agency. Where will the elite fourth line centre end up? 

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Future Free Agents: Alexander Radulov

Cam Lewis
April 27 2017 07:00AM

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© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative surrounding Alexander Radulov has completely flipped in the past year. When he was inked by the Montreal Canadiens to a one-year, $5.75 million deal on the first day of free agency, not long after the team had pulled off a massively polarizing swap of P.K. Subban for Shea Weber, it was met with a scoff and a laugh. Radulov, an enigmatic Russian who was too lazy and into himself for the NHL attempting another comeback with this impending disaster in Montreal. Comedy! 

But Radulov was a hit this year. He was Montreal's most valuable player (not named Carey Price) for good chunks of the season, and dragged the team on his back throughout the first round of the playoffs. The team didn't win, but Radulov's performance resulted in him being called 'the best player in the league' by the notoriously xenophobic Don Cherry. 

Now nobody's laughing at the idea of Radulov, finally, at the age of 30, living up to his hype and becoming a star player in the NHL. In fact, he's going to be heading into free agency this summer not as a question mark maybe worth a one-year gamble, but instead as a player who's certainly going to lock down a lucrative, long-term contract. 

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NHL Second Round Playoff Preview: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Cam Lewis
April 26 2017 10:49AM

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© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Stanley Cup Final. 

Well, not actually, because anything can happen, a key player can get injured, a goalie can get hot, and a surprise team can win, but the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are clearly the two best teams in the NHL. They finished with the best and second best records during the regular season, their underlying numbers match it, and whoever comes out of this series will become the favourite to win it all. 

The Penguins have been the obstacle in the path to success for the Capitals forever now. Ever since Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby entered the league in 2005-06, the Penguins have come out on top. Last season, Pittsburgh beat Washington in what was as tight and well played of a series as you'll see en route to their second Stanley Cup in the Crosby era. In fact, Washington has only even beaten Pittsburgh in a playoff series once in franchise history, and that came back in 1994. 

We ask every single season, but can this be Washington's year? Can Alex Ovechkin finally beat Sidney Crosby? This might be his best — and last — chance. 

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