James O'Brien


Photo: Clearly, President Obama isn’t rooting for the Lightning


The Tampa Bay Lightning have backers including Hulk Hogan and Chris Jericho (plus supporters outside of the professional wrestling world, one would assume). The Chicago Blackhawks have the ultimate trump card: the Leader of the Free World.

President Barack Obama showed his Chicago allegiance in posing for a photo with a Blackhawks sweater alongside Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final:

Talk about being a puck partisan.

WATCH LIVE: Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final – Lightning at Blackhawks

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One
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The Tampa Bay Lightning got what they needed by tying up the series in Game 2. Still, the Chicago Blackhawks probably feel solid about heading back home with a 1-1 tie in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

As the series shifts to the United Center, we wonder a few things. Will it be Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Tampa Bay net? What smaller lineup tweaks might be made?

Most importantly, we wonder which team will take a 2-1 series lead. If Game 2 was any indication, Game 3 should be a great deal of fun (or a mixture of enjoyment and stress if the Blackhawks or Lightning stand as your favorite team).

Either way, you can watch all the action on NBCSN and also stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra.


Video: Part 1 of ‘The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson’

Derek Sanderson
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As we watch Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, we’ll be witnessing some of the best moments for members of the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning. Some will enjoy more great achievements, yet for others, this could represent a personal peak.

Former Boston Bruins forward Derek Sanderson can relate, as he struggled on and off the ice not that long after enjoying celebrity status (not to mention grabbing a Stanley Cup ring). Check out part one of the upcoming documentary “The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson” below:

Want to see more? Check out the full documentary tonight, as it will air on NBCSN following Game 3.

Bruins sign NCAA champ Noel Acciari, whose ‘motor never stops’

2014 Hockey East Championship - Semifinals

Noel Acciari was a significant part of the Providence College team that won the 2015 NCAA title. The Boston Bruins hope that he can help them win some big games, too.

The team made it official that they signed the 23-year-old forward to an entry-level contract on Monday. Specifics regarding terms and money were not shared, although ESPN’s John Buccigross indicated that it’s for two years a few days ago.

CSNNE.com passed along the views of a scout that certainly point to a player who could be well-liked in Boston.

Here’s what one NHL scout from a Western Conference team had to say about Acciari after multiple viewings of the player: “High energy, hard-working 2-way center. The kids motor never stops. Average size but gets his nose dirty and plays really hard. Will need some time in AHL, but he has 4th line/checking upside, and is smart. Think Antoine Roussel minus the fighting and agitating, or a Derek McKenzie type. Just loves to play.”

Roussel without the fighting and agitating? That’s kind of tough to imagine.

Acciari may be able to mix some decent scoring touch in with his energy game, too, it seems. Acciari scored 15 goals and 32 points for Providence College in 2014-15. He gained accolades such as Hockey East Defensive PLayer of the Year this pas season.

Sounds like a decent depth pickup for the Bruins all around.

Red Wings to announce Blashill hiring during Tuesday press conference


The Detroit Red Wings didn’t officially say what announcement will come on Tuesday afternoon, but it will clearly involve Jeff Blashill’s promotion to head coach.

Blashill, 41, enjoyed great success behind the bench of the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. With Mike Babcock headed to Toronto, the time seems right for him to become the second-youngest head coach in the NHL.

Members of the Grand Rapids Griffins spoke of “mixed emotions” after exit interviews on Monday, but they also praised the run they enjoyed with their ascending bench boss to MLive.com.

That same publication provides a detailed look back at Blashill’s rise from college hockey goalie to rising coaching talent (and now Red Wings head coach).

Even early on as a “solid goalie at the Division I level” with Ferris State, it seemed like he had the makings of a coach. Bob Daniels (his head coach at the time) remarked at his skills as Blashill ascended from a lowly position as a graduate assistant to an assistant gig.

“He understands the X’s and O’s. He knows how to break down video. He has a game plan,” Daniels said. “He’s able to paint a picture so that players have confidence.”

The NHL has seen a nice run of AHL coaches who quickly found success at the next level. Blashill has big shoes to fill in Detroit, yet at least it seems like he’s shown serious promise in his rise to this position.

In other Red Wings coaching news: