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  • 01 Jul
    PITTSBURGH -- When Daniel Alfredsson pulled off the stunner of the NHL off-season by leaving the Ottawa Senators as a free agent, the rationale he gave was simple: He thought the Detroit Red Wings offered him a better chance to win the Stanley Cup. [b]Pierre Desir Jersey[/b] . At the time, skeptics looked at the Senators and questioned if that was true. They had just overcome injuries to Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson to reach the second round of the playoffs, and even Alfredsson saw a bright future ahead. Playing into his 40s, Alfredsson just didnt "have the time to wait for that." As a disappointing season unfolded in Ottawa, it became clear the longtime Senators captain was right, and on Wednesday night the Red Wings validated his decision to sign in Detroit by making the playoffs and giving him another opportunity to chase the Cup. "Thats what you play for: to get into the playoffs," Alfredsson said after the Red Wings clinched with a shootout loss in Pittsburgh. "I played a long time in this league, I played a lot of playoff games but I havent won the Stanley Cup, and thats what you dream about. Thats the only reason Im still playing." The easy move, as Alfredsson acknowledged July 5, wouldve been to re-sign with the Senators and play out a career that would then include his No. 11 being raised to the rafters and maybe a statue being built outside Canadian Tire Centre. Leaving immediately clouded his legacy. In the wake of Alfredssons departure, the Senators couldnt seem to get out of a fog early and were never able to catch up. They missed the playoffs for the third time in six years, but even from afar the former face of that franchise didnt get any satisfaction in watching the Sens struggle. "I was hoping that they would do well, theres no question," Alfredsson said Tuesday in Buffalo. "Other than that, my focus is solely on this team and on the present and finishing out this season strong." Led by Alfredsson and fellow Swede Gustav Nyquist, the Red Wings made a strong push to qualify for the playoffs on the night they played their 80th game of the season. And they did so despite missing stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg for almost half the season due to injuries, while Alfredsson, himself, missed 13 games. Thanks to major contributions from young players like Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, Detroit overcame those and many more injuries to make a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance. The Red Wings also leaned heavily veteran defenceman Niklas Kronwall, Alfredsson and coach Mike Babcock to steady the ship. "I think theres a few factors: goaltendings been consistent for us, I think Kronwall has pulled a really heavy load throughout the year on and off the ice for this team," Alfredsson said. "And (the) coaching staff, as well, adjusting to the team we have and giving us a chance and a game plan to win every night. Theyve been pushing us hard. Its been hard-fought to get here, but it feels great." A season full of injuries putting a coach in line for a Jack Adams Award -- sound familiar? Ottawas Paul MacLean won it last year, and Babcock will be a serious candidate given how many Red Wings regulars missed time this season. Of course someone has to score to make that happen. Alfredssons 49 points on 18 goals and 31 assists have him tied with Kronwall for the team lead with two games left. Alfredsson was all smiles in the visiting locker room Wednesday night after helping Detroit pick up the one point it needed to make it. And while clinching a playoff spot was a proud accomplishment, he didnt deny doubts crept in when the Red Wings learned Datsyuk and Zetterberg would be out for a while. "We knew it was going to be tough," Alfredsson said. "We had a similar situation in Ottawa last year where we lost Spezza, Karlsson, (Milan) Michalek and Anderson for longer periods of time. "If you get something going and you get a good feeling within a locker-room, you can accomplish a lot of things, and I think thats what weve done. Were a good group, we have fun and we know how to work for each other. Its kind of contagious when you see everybody going. Everybody kind of drags along and knows that they have to pull their share, as well." Taking a step back from the situations, Alfredsson didnt see much more of a correlation between the triumphs of the 2013 Senators and the 2013-14 Red Wings. In his estimation, this year was worse. "I think in Ottawa it was more right away we knew a few guys were out for longer periods of time," he said. "It wasnt as much guys coming back, guys coming out. Weve been shuffling lines for most of the year but still found ways to get everybody contributing." Alfredsson was one of 34 skaters to dress for the Red Wings this season, second only to the Penguins (37) among playoff teams. Beyond Nyquist and Tatar, Detroit likely wouldnt have extended its NHL-best playoff streak were it not for minor-league call-ups Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Tomas Jurco. The kids -- a couple of whom werent even alive the last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs -- are all right in Alfredssons eyes. But he also believes Babcock and his staff deserve some credit. "They gave them that chance and didnt make it a big deal," Alfredsson said. "Its just, You can do this. I think that gave them confidence. They definitely made the most of it. I think Coach gave them a chance, and they repaid him with solid play." Anything less than solid play wouldve meant an early summer for the Red Wings and a quicker start to the retirement questions for Alfredsson. Instead, the 41-year-old winger gets to compete in the playoffs for the 15th time in his NHL career. This time is extra special because of how difficult it was. "I think we worked extremely hard to get to this point, and it feels great," Alfredsson said. "This group has overcome a lot of adversity and that makes it even more fun." [b]Anthony Walker Jersey[/b] . The Yankees made the moves before Tuesdays game against Baltimore. Robertson was listed retroactive to Monday. Robertson posted two saves in three games as the replacement for retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before getting hurt. [b]Marvell Tell III Jersey[/b] . MacLean clocked 8:24.91 seconds, eclipsing the previous mark of 8:27.59 set by Brittany Reimer of Victoria at the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal. MacLean and Tabitha Baumann of Ottawa -- second in 8:32.37 -- both went under the qualifying standard to be nominated to the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific teams.PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The New York Rangers have momentum, a unified locker room and Henrik Lundqvist. The Pittsburgh Penguins have two of the worlds best players and a coach who could be needing a win to keep his job. No pressure or anything, just a Game 7 that could alter the long-term future of one of the NHLs most stable franchises and boost the immediate prospects of an emotionally charged group rallying around one of the games most respected veterans. Looking overmatched and overwhelmed while falling behind 3-1 to the Penguins four games into the Eastern Conference semifinals, its the Rangers who head to Game 7 on Tuesday night looking like the team ready to move on. Martin St. Louis, just days removed from the death of his mother, scored the first of New Yorks three goals in Game 6 to provide the jolt that carried the Rangers all the way back from the brink. The way St. Louis figures it, he is simply repaying the guys in a dressing room hes still learning after arriving in New York after a trade with Tampa Bay in February. "I think when something like that happens to one person to see the support you get from everybody else, it really makes it real," he said. "Theres not phoniness about the family feeling you want to create." Its a feeling that ebbs and flows in Pittsburgh. Dominant and disruptive to start the series, the Penguins have spent the last six periods giving New York every reason to believe it can rally from a 3-1 deficit for the first time in franchise history. Centre Sidney Crosby has just one goal in 12 games. The power play — which tied with Washington for the leagues best in the regular season — has converted just one of its past 19 chances. And now coach Dan Bylsma finds himself 60 minutes away from either taking the Penguins back to the conference finals for the third time in six years or possibly looking for work. Not that Bylsma is ready to talk about the big picture yet. The task at hand is worrisome enough. "These are the ones you dream about playing," Bylsma said. "This is one were going to remember." The memories havent been kind to the Penguins in deciding games on home ice. Pittsburgh is just 2-6 at home in Game 7s in franchise history, including losses to Montreal in 2010 annd Tampa Bay three years ago. [b]Zach Pascal Jersey[/b]. . The Penguins played the entire series against the Lightning without Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, who sat out with injuries. Both have been healthy this time around, skating alongside each other in the hopes theyll provide offence. Only Malkin, who has six goals in 13 games, has delivered. Though Crosby ended a 13-game playoff goal drought in Game 3, he spent as much time in Game 6 jawing with the Rangers and getting water squirted on him by Lundqvist as he did trying to become the magnetic force that can sometimes change the course of a game with his will. Crosby insists he is healthy even while averaging just .75 points per game during the post-season, well below his career playoff average of 1.28. The leagues leading scorer received a pep talk from Penguins co-owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux in the aftermath of Game 6. Having a quick chat is nothing new for Crosby and his mentor. "He definitely has a pretty good understanding of dealing with the pressure," Crosby said. So does Lundqvist. The goaltender thrives when the pressure is its highest. He was New Yorks best player early in the series, the main reason 3-2, 2-0 and 3-0 losses didnt look worse. When it looked as if the Rangers were out of it after falling behind 3-1, he responded by stopping 67 of the next 69 shots he faced and is 9-2 with a 1.35 goals-against average with the Rangers facing elimination. The three-time All-Star is 4-1 in Game 7s. "He takes his game up to another level," New York coach Alain Vigneault said. "But this Game 7 against this team, its going to have to be a team level. Its going to have to be everybody taking their game to another level." The same can be said in the Penguins dressing room, which could have a very different look. If the team built to become a dynasty after winning it all in 2009 falls short of the Stanley Cup finals for the fifth straight season. The Penguins won that title in Game 7 on the road against Detroit, the defending champions. To take the next step back they have to find that magic at home. "We worked hard all year to get home ice in the playoffs," Crosby said. "To get to this point weve got to look at this like an opportunity and make the most of it." Wholeslae Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Cheap College Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys ' ' '