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Penguins ride maturity, resilience back to Stanley Cup Final

first_imgOttawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) blocks the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jake Guentzel (59) and Kyle Turris (7) approach the goal against Ottawa Senators’ Fredrik Claesson (33) and Cody Ceci (5) during overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Pittsburgh, Thursday, May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz stood shoulder to shoulder at center ice as midnight approached, crowd on its feet, Prince of Wales Trophy in hand. Another shot at the Stanley Cup in the offing.On the surface, it could have been a scene ripped from 2008 when the longtime Pittsburgh Penguin teammates earned their first crack at a championship together, the one that was supposed to be the launching pad for a dynasty.A closer look at the weary, grateful smiles told a different story.This team has learned over the last decade that nothing can be taken for granted. Not their individual greatness or postseason success, even for one of the NHL’s marquee franchises. Not the cohesion it takes to survive the crucible of the most draining championship chase in professional team sports or the mental toughness (along with a dash of luck) needed to stay on top once you get there.So Crosby paused in the giddy aftermath of Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory over Ottawa in Game 7 of the helter-skelter Eastern Conference finals to do something the two-time Hart Trophy winner almost never does. He took stock of the moment, aware of how fleeting they can be.“Every series you look at, the margin for error is so slim,” Crosby said. “We’ve just continued to find ways and different guys have stepped up. We trust in that and we believe in that and whoever has come in the lineup has done a great job. That builds confidence. We’ve done it different ways, which is probably our biggest strength.”And they’ll have to do it one more time in the final against swaggering Nashville if they want to become the first team in nearly 20 years and the first in salary-cap era to win back-to-back championships.It’s a daunting task. When the puck drops in Game 1 on Monday night in Pittsburgh, the Penguins will be playing in their 108th game in the last calendar year, and that doesn’t count another half dozen for those who played in the World Cup of Hockey and a handful of exhibition games.Pittsburgh, however, has survived to do something even Chicago and Los Angeles – who have combined for five of the seven Cups awarded since 2010 – could not in putting itself in positon for a repeat.Credit coach Mike Sullivan’s ever-prescient tinkering with the lineups, including his decision to throw Kunitz back into the fray with Crosby as Game 7 wore on, an experiment that ended with Crosby feeding Kunitz for the winner 5:09 into the second overtime .Credit goaltender Matt Murray, thrust back into the lineup when Marc-Andre Fleury’s hot play that helped carry the Penguins through the opening two rounds finally cooled.Credit a maturity – or maybe it’s wisdom – from the team leaders who watched the first half of the decade come and go with plenty of gaudy regular-season numbers but no Cup banners to join the one they captured in 2009.Pinning down what changed is difficult. General manager Jim Rutherford’s ability to remake the team on the fly to build one of the fastest lineups in the league helped. So did Sullivan’s ability to cut through the noise when he replaced the professorial Mike Johnston in December 2015.Yet the Penguins understand there’s something else at work too, a resiliency and accountability they lacked while falling to lower-seeded teams every year from 2010-14.“I believe that the resolve and the resilience of this team is the strength of this team,” Sullivan said.Both were on full display in Game 7.Kunitz, who missed the first-round series against Columbus with a lower-body injury, returned to see himself bumped from the first line to the fourth, scored his first two goals of the playoffs. Conor Sheary, a blurring revelation last spring who suddenly found himself a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 against the Senators, returned to set up Kunitz’s first goal .Justin Schultz, who has assumed the as the minute-hogging, puck-moving defenseman role held by the injured Kris Letang, returned from his own health scare and scored a go-ahead goal in the third period.If the Penguins were a force of nature last spring while earning the franchise’s fourth Cup, this one is more of a throwback. More blue collar. More anonymous.Some of the key cogs that helped Pittsburgh get to this point – rookie forward Jake Guentzel, 37-year-old playoff newcomer Ron Hainsey and career grinder Scott Wilson – weren’t even around last spring. Yet they and so many others not named Crosby or Malkin have become equal partners in pursuit of a title.“This year it’s been back and forth, it’s been tough,” Kunitz said. “We’ve had great individual performances. We had great goaltending. It’s something every night.”It hasn’t been pretty. So what? Perhaps the biggest sign of the team’s growth is it has abandoned the pursuit of style points for something far more tangible. Like a 34-pound piece of hardware, one Pittsburgh has no intention of handing off anytime soon.___More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockeylast_img read more

What Mo Salah did when a thief stole from him

first_imgAdvertisement f9ouciNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsd4oWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E0yf91( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 6v3taWould you ever consider trying this?😱37suCan your students do this? 🌚40vjRoller skating! Powered by Firework There is an awe-inspiring story about recent Champions League winner Mo Salah from his early years in Egypt. Now , the Egyptian is an world beater and one of the best forwards in world football but when he was kicking off his career in Alexandria , his house was robbed. Though Mo’s father wanting to press charges, he convinced his father not to and even gave the thief some money to get his situation sorted. Such is the kindness of the Premier League golden boot winner.Advertisement There is an interview of Salah with his club Liverpool’s media team which sheds light on the incredible sacrifices the Egyptian made to reach where he is today.Advertisement “I had originally been playing for a club that was half an hour away from my village in Basyoun,” he told Liverpool’s official website.Then I signed for a club in Tanta, which was one-and-a-half hours away. From there, I went to Arab Contractors in Cairo, so it was a four to four-and-a-half-hour journey five days a week to get to training.Advertisement I was having to leave school early to travel to training. I would go in from 7am until 9am and then I had an official paper to give to my club to say, ‘Mo can leave school early so he can reach the club at 2pm to train.So I was only at school for two hours a day during that time. Now, everything would be difficult if I was not a footballer, I think!For five days a week, every week for three or four years, I would make this journey. I was leaving at 9am in the morning, then I would arrive at the training ground at 2pm or 2.30pm. Training was always at 3.30pm or 4pm. I would finish training at say 6pm, then I’d go home and arrive at 10pm or 10.30pm. Then it was eat, sleep and then the day after the same thing.And it wasn’t just taking one bus – I’d have to transfer buses three, four or even sometimes five times just to arrive at training and then back home again.” Advertisementlast_img read more

Fast finish from a junior

first_imgPAKENHAM PIGEON RACING LAST week’s pigeon race from Rupanyup (near Horsham and some 340 kilometres as the… pigeon flies) was…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Triple bundles of twin joy

first_imgBy ANEEKA SIMONIS IT’S not often multiple sets of twins are born at a time in St John of God…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Poch can’t remember what things were like when Spurs last won at Chelsea

first_imgMAURICIO POCHETTINO admits even HE can barely remember what things were like the last time Spurs won at Chelsea.Gary Lineker’s winner back in February 1990 was the most recent occasion Tottenham returned from Stamford Bridge with bragging rights.6 Gary Lineker fires the winner in February 1990 but Spurs have not triumphed at major rivals Chelsea since thenCredit: Action Images – ReutersTheir 30 subsequent trips to SW6 have brought 19 DEFEATS and 11 draws in all competitions.Chelsea supporters have revelled in their superiority and even celebrated the 2-2 comeback draw two seasons ago — which handed Leicester the league title — as ANOTHER win.Pochettino does not have to be told about the depth of the animosity bet­ween the two sides, having also lost against the Blues at Wembley three times.And that hat-trick of defeats includes Spurs’ opening home game at their temporary home in August.6 Spurs frontman Gary Lineker hails what has now become an historic winnerCredit: Action Images – Reuters6 Mauricio Pochettino says it was a totally different world for him in the days when Spurs last triumphed at Stamford BridgeCredit: Getty – ContributorBut the Argentine conceded he had no real knowledge of English football when the Tottenham fans last had something to really celebrate at the Bridge.Boss Pochettino said: “I was in a different world. A completely different world in 1990.HOT SPUR Tottenham star Mousa Dembele casts doubt over future with contract talks on hold until after World Cup“I was playing at Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina. My debut was in 1989, so my second season was 1990.“Yes, I remember. I remember. I was so young — 17 or 18 years old.“Argentina was not in the period it is now with the internet where you can see everything. There were not too many TV channels to watch games.“Maybe sometimes you heard things on the radio but it was somewhere very distant.”One player every Premier League club should sign this summer Back then, Spurs were ahead of Chelsea both on and off the pitch, and Pochettino would love that to be the case again.Victory tomorrow would put fourth-placed Tottenham eight points clear of the Blues, who are fifth, in the battle for Champions League slots.Poch has conceded Spurs’ lack of big results away from home have been a key factor in his impressive side falling short of their title ambitions.The only win at a so-called ‘Big Six’ rival in his four seasons at the helm was the 2-1 victory at Manchester City in 2016-17.6 Chelsea chief Antonio Conte is protecting an amazing home record against SpursCredit: Getty – ContributorThis term, four of Spurs four defeats came at the hands of Arsenal, Manchester United and City on the road, and Chelsea at home.They also needed a late penalty from Harry Kane to salvage a draw against Liverpool at Anfield.Laying that Stamford Bridge hoodoo to rest would help end jibes about Spurs not having the bottle for the battle.6 Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino knows Spurs ending their Stamford Bridge jinx would put them eight points clear of ChelseaCredit: PA:Empics SportAnd it would also set up Poch’s men for their FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United next month — and a potential final against Chelsea IF both get through their last-four clashes.More crucially, perhaps, it would settle the nerves of the Spurs fans, who fear missing out on the top four and a third successive season of Champions League football to coincide with their return to N17 and the club’s gleaming new home.CLAIM YOUR FREE £30 BET Check out this new sign up offer from Sun BetsA win would see Spurs pull a healthy distance away from Antonio Conte’s Blues with just seven games to go and make them look secure.Yet Poch insists his team do not have to beat the past — merely the 11 men in blue sent out by Italian Conte.But they are set to go into the game without Kane, who seems likely to have a spot on the bench at best.Pochettino said: “Of course the history is the history and it is there. But it is not going to help Chelsea or us.6 Tottenham will still be without their top scorer and best player Harry KaneCredit: PA:Press Associationmost read in footballRETRACING STEPSJack Charlton’s granddaughter Emma Wilkinson ‘would love’ to visit IrelandROY RAGEFurious Roy Keane launched foul-mouthed rant at Pique over Fabregas friendshipPicturedTOP FORMBrazil icon Ronaldo soaks up sun with partner Celina Locks on yacht in FormenteraPicturedON THE PAOLPaolo Maldini shows off shredded physique at 52 while on holiday with wifeLive BlogUNITED LATESTMan Utd transfer news LIVE: All the gossip and updates from Old TraffordExclusiveLOCK CLOWNPaul Scholes flouts local lockdown rules by throwing huge 7-hour birthday bash“There are still a lot of games to play this season. It’s not a final — just a decisive game.“But it’s important for confidence and motivation to win.“To compare with Arsenal, the rivalry between the clubs — it’s similar. Similar in everything. It’s a derby.“For me it is similar type of opponent and, of course, for the fans it is so important. Three points would put us in a very good position in the table.”last_img read more