Men’s Health names Steven Stamkos in list of 25 fittest men

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Sure, he slowed down a bit in the second half of the season, but Steven Stamkos made a compelling argument that he’ll rank among the NHL’s elite for years. Apparently he already has an all-world physique, though.

Men’s Health magazine tabbed Stamkos in its list of the 25 fittest men in the world, an honor that seems to leave Stamkos a bit sheepish, according to a piece by Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. Other athletes who made the list were superhuman (and divisive) NBA star LeBron James and soccer lust magnet David Beckham.

Stamkos might want to give Gary Roberts at least some of the credit, as the former NHL player’s fitness camp helped Stamkos and several other players jump a level or two in fitness.

Hockey players joining the highest ranks of athletes from a fitness perspective reflects the sports-wide changes in training, but it’s also probably a testament to the post-lockout pace. While there are still a decent amount of “slower” players in the NHL, former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Dave Andreychuk talked to McGran about just how far training has come since he began playing.

“Let’s just say we had ashtrays in our stalls,” said retired star Dave Andreychuk, recalling his first year in the NHL — 1982 — with the Buffalo Sabres. “There was not a lot of hard bodies in that room.”

Andreychuk said few players would even go on a bike after a game, now a routine across the league. If one did, he might even be chided by a teammate for holding everybody up.

“In the early ’80s, guys got into shape in camp. Now it’s a full-time job. The game has definitely changed that way,” added Andreychuk. “These guys have their own nutritionists, their own trainers. I think you’re going to see players last longer because of their physical condition.”

And in the same Toronto Star story, Roberts said that living a responsible lifestyle is one of the few remaining “edges” a player can earn in the devilishly tough NHL.

“That’s the only edge left — the lifestyle choices you make that give you a chance for longevity in the NHL. You can fool people for a few years, till maybe 27, but when you’re closing in on 30 and you’re not making the right lifestyle choices, the game is just too fast.”

Barring injuries, Stamkos should have a lot of hockey ahead of him – and a huge raise next season since he’s a pending restricted free agent – but if he keeps up this commitment level, he could be worth every penny. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if he eventually earns much bigger honors than anything that Men’s Health could hand out.

Predators eliminate Ducks, reach first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history

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Colton Sissons made a serious argument that the Nashville Predators do, indeed, still have a No. 1 center.

At least, he certainly played that way on Monday, generating a hat trick as the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks via a 6-3 win, taking the series 4-2.

In doing so, the Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

That 6-3 score is very misleading. While Nashville managed 2-0 and 3-1 leads, there was plenty of drama in this one, as the Ducks did not go down easily. Cam Fowler tied it up 3-3 in the third period, briefly stunning a rowdy crowd in Nashville.

Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process. Sissons continues to be an unlikely hero for a Predators team dealing with the absence of Ryan Johansen (not to mention Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and others).

Two empty-netters inflated the score, and they also sapped drama from the closing moments, which must have been quite the relief considering how much resolve Anaheim showed.

Peter Laviolette distinguishes himself as one of the NHL’s most underrated bench bosses, becoming just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. He couldn’t win it all with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he does have a ring thanks to his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps he’ll take another one this spring?

It’s quite the moment for GM David Poile, too, after trading Shea Weber for P.K. Subban and Seth Jones for Johansen, among other pivotal moves.

The Ducks might wonder what could have been if John Gibson played instead of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier struggled early, allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced and generally having a tough Game 6. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, maintained his mostly great run in the playoffs; he protected a Predators lead even when the Ducks dominated long stretches of play.

Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday).

They’ll limp a bit toward that final round, but the Predators seem to be embracing new territory. And sometimes new heroes.

Video: Ducks’ 3-3 goal survives goalie interference review

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When the Nashville Predators went up 3-1 in the third period, it seemed like they might finally put the Anaheim Ducks away in Game 6. The Ducks quickly responded with “Not yet.”

Two minutes after that 3-1 goal, Chris Wagner kept Anaheim’s hopes alive with a surprising tally. Corey Perry then bumped Pekka Rinne, but he was able to reset before Cam Fowler scored the 3-3 goal 8:52 into the final frame (of regulation).

In less than six minutes of game time, the tone of the contest changed rapidly. Now we’ll see if either team can get the next tally in the remaining minutes of the third or if the Stanley Cup Playoffs will see yet another overtime contest.

Here’s the Wagner goal:

You can see the 3-3 goal in the video above. Hold onto your seats.

Update: Moments after this was published, Colton Sissons‘ hat-trick goal made it 4-3. Could there be even more drama? We’ll see …

Game 6 is airing on NBCSN. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

Coyotes’ Dylan Strome breaks Memorial Cup record with 7 points in game

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Dylan Strome’s journey to becoming a full-timer at the NHL level might be a little bumpy, but he continues to distinguish himself at other levels.

In the case of Monday, it was setting a new Memorial Cup record. With four goals and three assists, Strome’s seven-point game set a new record as he helped the Eerie Otters pummel the Saint John Sea Dogs 12-5.

They’ll face the Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday to determine which team goes to the tournament’s final round.

The performance wasn’t lost on his brother Ryan Strome.

Ducks dominate, but Predators enter third up 2-1

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So far, it seems like Jonathan Bernier playing instead of John Gibson for the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 has indeed been a pretty big deal.

Bernier allowed two goals on the first three shots he faced against to start Game 6, putting the Ducks in an early hole. The Ducks have been absolutely dominating the contest since then, but only Ondrej Kase could get a puck beyond Pekka Rinne through the first 40 minutes.

Seriously, the play’s been lopsided. Nashville managed a few shots after this tweet, yet it still tells much of the story.