Konroyd: Steady Leddy

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Konroyd: Steady Leddy

Last night in the game broadcast I mentioned that the trade that saw Nick Leddy come to the Chicago Blackhawks from the Minnesota Wild for Cam Barker was a great deal. play-by-play man Pat Foley took it one step further and said it wasn't often you hit a home run with a trade, but this was certainly one of them.

Leddy was a dominant force all night long against his former team, chipping in with two assists and playing almost 23 minutes. What you sometimes forget is here is a guy who just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago. He has been a nice addition to the power play since Duncan Keith was suspended for five games, and has helped the team go 3-for-10 over the last two games.

He is certainly one of the Blackhawks top-4 defensemen, something Cam Barker could never crack into. Barker, a former 3rd overall pick from 2004, has bounced around from Minnesota to Edmonton, where he was injured and then a healthy scratch for a good part of this year. Leddy may not bowl you over with his strength, but is a deceptively smooth and powerful skater who uses his stick instead of his body to break up plays. At 21 years of age and in barely his second year in the NHL, Leddy is the type of player in today's NHL that many GM's dream of.

Stanley Cup Final preview: Commonalities between Penguins, Sharks

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Stanley Cup Final preview: Commonalities between Penguins, Sharks

The San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins don’t see each other much during the regular season but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a common bond. For each, the chance to end years of frustration – certainly more for the Sharks than the Penguins – is here.

It’s the Stanley Cup Final, and for just the second time since 2010 the Western Conference is represented by someone other than the Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings. Instead, the Sharks are making their first Cup appearance in franchise history. They’re facing a Penguins team that’s back in the final for the first time since 2009, when they beat the Detroit Red Wings for the Cup.

A show of hands: Who had these two in the final when they did their preseason predictions? Not many, if any. Two years ago the Sharks had a 3-0 series lead against the Kings, who came back to beat San Jose in four straight. From the summer of 2014 to the spring of 2015, the Sharks took letters off sweaters, missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and dismissed coach Todd McLellan. From an outside perspective, it looked like things would get worse before they got better.

As for Pittsburgh, the Penguins have been in the postseason every year since 2009 but failed to return to this stage each time.

So what changed this year for each? Let’s start with the Sharks. As my Bay Area colleague Kevin Kurz pointed out, the Sharks are here for several reasons: A change in attitude and goaltending and finding the right pieces to complement a longstanding core are among them. Removing/renaming captains could have torn the Sharks apart. And while there was plenty of friction and a few verbal jabs at the time, the Sharks stuck together. General manager Doug Wilson made a few key moves, including acquiring Martin Jones from Boston on June 30, 2015 (the Bruins had traded for Jones just four days prior). The backup-turned-starter was excellent.

The Penguins are here due to a lot of the same reasons: They changed coaches and tweaked their lineup around their core. Acquiring defenseman Trevor Daley from the Blackhawks in December proved pivotal. Daley, who didn’t log many minutes with the Blackhawks, fit in immediately with the Penguins. Blackhawks fans who took to Twitter asking, “Why did they trade for Daley?” in July 2015, asked, “Why did they trade Daley away?” in April.

Pittsburgh went with a new goalie, too, albeit for different reasons. When Marc-Andre Fleury was sidelined with a concussion in March, Matt Murray got his chance. And outside of Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Murray is still in there. It’s one more feel-good story from a final that is teeming with them.

The path to the Stanley Cup Final is rarely an easy one. Some teams have had to go through massive changes to get there (please see the Blackhawks just prior to 2010). The Sharks and Penguins had to make their changes as well, from personality to personnel. Both have gone through their turmoil to get here. Now to see who ultimately triumphs.

Thirteen Blackhawks land on finalized World Cup of Hockey rosters

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Thirteen Blackhawks land on finalized World Cup of Hockey rosters

Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger and defenseman Ville Pokka were added to Team Sweden and Team Finland, respectively, as team rosters were completed for the World Cup of Hockey on Friday.

Christian Ehrhoff, who was traded to the Blackhawks during the season, was added to Team Europe.

Nine Blackhawks were already chosen for their respective country’s teams back in March: Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith (Team Canada), Patrick Kane (USA), Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin (Russia), Teuvo Teravainen (Finland), Niklas Hjalmarsson (Sweden) and Marian Hossa (Team Europe).

Michal Kempny, a defenseman the Blackhawks signed earlier this week, was also named to Team Czech Republic in March.

The World Cup of Hockey will be held from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 in Toronto.

Watch: Kid imitates Patrick Kane's post-goal celly in youth hockey game

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Watch: Kid imitates Patrick Kane's post-goal celly in youth hockey game

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that young hockey players are patterning their games off Patrick Kane.

But the next generation of scorers are modeling their post-goal celebrations after the Blackhawks star, too.

Check out this video of a kid in a youth hockey game mimicking Kane's celebration from this year's playoffs, when he scored the double-overtime winner in Game 5 of the Blackhawks' series against the Blues.

Not bad, kid!

Kane recognized the kid's celly game, tweeting the video out to his followers Friday afternoon.