Cam Tucker

Antti Niemi
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Court upholds $3M verdict for Gordie Howe just before he passed on

DETROIT (AP) A day before Gordie Howe’s death, the Michigan appeals court upheld a $3 million verdict in his favor in a lawsuit over the loss of tapes, videos and personal documents belonging to the Hall of Fame hockey player.

Howe and an affiliated company, Power Play International, had sued former managers over the failure to return certain possessions. Truckloads of merchandise and memorabilia were returned in 2008. But the Howe family learned that more than 1,000 videos, compact discs and DVDs had been destroyed.

The managers claimed destruction was part of an earlier agreement. But a suburban Detroit jury in 2013 awarded $3 million to Howe and Power Play.

In a 3-0 decision Thursday, the appeals court said there was no “reasonable excuse” for the destruction. Howe died Friday.

A key defendant in the lawsuit, Del Reddy, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015.

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    Lake Erie Monsters bring the Calder Cup back to Cleveland

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    The Lake Erie Monsters capped off a dominant AHL post-season with a Calder Cup championship on Saturday, thanks to a thrilling 1-0 overtime win over the Hershey Bears.

    Oliver Bjorkstrand scored on a scramble in front with two seconds remaining in the first overtime period to lift the Monsters to a series sweep of the Bears. Lake Erie, AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, finished the playoffs with an overall record of 15-2.

    That includes nine straight wins.

    The Monsters triumphed on home ice in front of a massive crowd of 19,665 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.

    Despite the loss, Bears goalie Justin Peters was sensational as this game turned into a classic goalie duel. He made several key saves, including an amazing desperation stick save on Blue Jackets prospect Sonny Milano in the second period.

    At the other end, Anton Forsberg wasn’t quite as busy, facing 23 shots, but he was also strong, particularly in overtime when the Bears pressed for the winner to extend the series.

    Related: One win away from Calder Cup, Lake Erie has ‘everybody under contract’ in Columbus on notice

    Malkin: The Sharks are a ‘good team, but they were a little bit lucky’


    Martin Jones.

    His play in a must-win Game 5 for the San Jose Sharks was a big reason, the main reason, why the Sharks have been able to extend this Stanley Cup Final to a sixth game. In three of the five games in this series, Jones has faced 40-plus shots, including 46 in that fifth game, in which he made 44 saves.

    Outside of the opening five minutes or so, the Penguins were dominant. They have been most of the series. Jones, though.

    The Penguins just couldn’t get that tying goal. As disappointing as that may have been, they seem to have taken the positives. Evgeni Malkin said what many may have already been thinking.

    “Yeah, 4-2 we lost, but I think we played a little bit better than San Jose,” said Malkin, as per “They’re a good team, but they were a little bit lucky.”

    “We really liked a lot of our game. We carried the play for long stretches. Our power play was good. A lot of the aspects of our game we really liked,” added head coach Mike Sullivan.

    The Penguins can now clinch their second Stanley Cup in eight years with a win on the road Sunday.

    Road team advantage?

    There was plenty of anticipation in the city of Pittsburgh to see their team win it all at home. Heck, the city re-named a street after rookie goalie Matt Murray for at least day of Game 5.

    “Well, we’d like to win the next game, regardless of where it’s being played. I think being on the road, it’s just the team,” said Sullivan.

    “There are less distractions for sure.”


    Can the Sharks create ‘a little frustration’ for the Penguins if they force a Game 7?

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 09: Joonas Donskoi #27 of the San Jose Sharks and Nick Bonino #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for position during the third period in Game Five of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on June 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) No one needs to remind the San Jose Sharks about the difficulties of closing out a playoff series, how each missed opportunity can give confidence to the opponent and plant seeds of doubt in the leading team.

    Two years after becoming the fourth NHL team ever to lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first three games, San Jose is trying to pull off a historic comeback of its own in the Stanley Cup Final.

    The Sharks looks to stave off elimination for a second straight contest and force a decisive seventh game in the final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 on Sunday night.

    “The longer it goes, you just feel that pressure, `You got to get it done, you got to get it done,”‘ defenseman Justin Braun said. “And when it doesn’t happen it creates a little frustration and you’re like, `We could have been done with this days ago and we’re still going.’ I think that gets in your head a little bit.”

    That’s what happened to San Jose in the first round in 2014 against Los Angeles and what the Sharks hope the Penguins are feeling after failing to win the Cup on home ice in Game 5.

    Despite being outplayed for much of the series, including the Game 5 win when Pittsburgh outshot San Jose 46-21, the Sharks know the pressure on the Penguins will only increase of they can win at home to force the winner-take-all seventh game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

    “I’ve been a part of teams, especially over there, that have lost being up 3-1,” said Sharks defenseman Paul Martin, who spent the previous five years with Pittsburgh. “I think it’s more of a mental thing realizing your opportunity to finish it off is getting smaller and each loss gives that other team that much more belief and momentum that they can get it done and pull it off.”

    Related: Paul Martin knows Penguins can lose a big series lead (He’s been there)

    No team has lost the Stanley Cup Final after going up 3-1 since Toronto rallied to beat Detroit in 1942 after losing the first three games of the series.

    But the Penguins have had problems closing out their playoff series in recent years. Since winning their third Stanley Cup back in 2009, they have blown series leads three time in the previous six postseasons.

    They lost to Montreal in 2010 after going 3-2 in the series and then squandered 3-1 edges in losses to Tampa Bay in 2011 and the New York Rangers in 2014.

    Now they lost in their first chance to close out the Sharks.

    “I thought our guys did a really good job of handling it the right way,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “It was unfortunate that we didn’t get the result we were looking for. But we’re playing a very good opponent and we know that. We know this is the most difficult win to get. Our players are well aware of the expectations and the heightened intensity that we need to have in order to get this next win.”

    The Penguins have little they would want to change from their Game 5 loss, other than the start. After allowing two goals in the first three minutes, Pittsburgh dominated much of the rest of the contest.

    The Penguins scored twice in a 22-second span to tie the game just a few minutes after their early deficit and controlled the play over the final 58 minutes.

    Only a stellar performance by San Jose goalie Martin Jones and a somewhat soft goal that Matt Murray allowed to Melker Karlsson later in the first gave the Sharks the win.

    “While we were pretty good, it wasn’t enough,” forward Matt Cullen said. “You can look at good fortune or bad breaks or whatever. It doesn’t matter ultimately. The bottom line is we get a second shot at this and we don’t want to miss it.”

    Murray has done especially well this postseason after any subpar performances. The rookie netminder has not lost back-to-back games all postseason. He followed up a shaky performance in Game 3 by topping 23 of 24 shots on the road in a 3-1 win in Game 4.

    Murray is 5-0 with a .935 save percentage in the starts following his first five playoff losses.

    “Usually it takes players a few years to acquire that type of mental toughness where your confidence doesn’t get shaken or your performance doesn’t get influenced by some of the adversity that you go through throughout the course of a game or from game to game,” Sullivan said. “Matt has shown an ability to just stay focused and just stay in the moment and be ready to compete and make that next save.”

    How can the Sharks spark a struggling power play? Drawing more penalties would be a start


    The San Jose Sharks own a power play operating at 24.6 per cent in the playoffs.

    But in five games of this Stanley Cup Final, which have all been close at least on the score board, they’ve scored only once with the advantage.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins have, for the most part, dictated the play at five-on-five in this series, yet the largest margin of victory in any game has been two goals. As the Sharks look to force a Game 7, at some point they will need a contribution from their power play, which hasn’t been successful since Game 1.

    For the Sharks, it hasn’t been the lack of success on the power play that’s been the big problem. It’s the lack of opportunities.

    Just 10 opportunities in five games. The Sharks feel the onus now falls on them to earn more chances on the power play, as officials have, in the hockey parlance, let the two teams play.

    “It goes in waves. I think we haven’t had as many opportunities as we have some other series. You don’t get in that rhythm when you go long stretches without one and then get one,” said Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer.

    “We got to keep moving our feet, keep trying to draw penalties. I think there’s penalties out there. They’re letting the teams play. So we’ve got to attack more holes, you know, find a way to draw some more penalties to get in our rhythm. I think when we’re getting power plays, we usually work our way into it. When we’re getting one or two a game, it’s tough.”

    While the Sharks are looking to draw more penalties, the Penguins are in a similar situation. They’ve had only 11 power play opportunities in the final, scoring with the advantage in each of the last two games.