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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings have taken similar paths toward the top, hitting big in the draft and making shrewd moves after rough stretches. Custom Buffalo Bills Jerseys . They find themselves trying to knock each other out in the Western Conference finals for the second straight year. The Blackhawks prevailed last year on their way to the Stanley Cup, and they have the early lead this time after taking the opener, 3-1. They will try to go up 2-0 when the best-of-seven series resumes Wednesday night in Chicago. "We felt this year were in the toughest division and conference," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We just played two real competitive series (against St. Louis and Minnesota). Every game is tight. I think finding a way to win is what its all about in todays game. Our guys are really diligent of doing the little things particularly that some nights give you an edge." Yes, the Blackhawks keep finding ways. Its why theyre eyeing their third championship in five years and are trying to become the first team to repeat since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. In an era with a hard salary cap where players want raises, thats simply not supposed to happen. Parity is the rule, yet the Blackhawks keep rising toward the top. The same goes for the Kings. Theyre enjoying their most successful era with three straight trips to the conference finals and a Stanley Cup two years ago after following a similar path to the Blackhawks. The Kings missed the playoffs from 2003 to 2009 and lost in the first round in 2010 and 2011 before winning their first championship in 2012. Like the Blackhawks did with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they hit in the draft with Anze Kopitar. They also collected a strong cast to support their core and filled in the gaps with key trades, like the one that landed Marian Gaborik from Columbus in March. "You have to be able to adjust to the game, adjust to the rules, adjust to the style," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I think thats a big reason why were both in the conference finals again. Whether we can adjust enough to beat the Stanley Cup champions, I dont know." The Blackhawks missed the playoffs from 2003 to 2008 and landed at rock bottom, with dwindling attendance and an alienated fan base unable to watch home games on TV because then-owner Bill Wirtz believed it would be unfair to season ticketholders. They finally emerged with a run to the conference finals in 2009, losing to Detroit. A year later, they beat Philadelphia to end a 49-year championship drought, only to have to part ways with a huge chunk of their team because of cap issues. So they reloaded. "I think management did excellent job with the team," Chicagos Marian Hossa said. "We got a great coaching staff. I think the whole organization, its top class. ... (Los Angeles) is a great organization also. They did an excellent job the last few years. They did it three times in a row. Its just amazing these two teams battling for the West again." The Kings had a few adjustments to make after losing 3-1 in Game 1. Their top line of Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Gaborik got shut down by Toews line, managing just six shots without scoring. Los Angeles will need more from a trio with 16 goals and 24 assists in the playoffs. Even when the Kings had their chances, Corey Crawford stopped most of them. He made 25 saves with several neat stops, turning back Kyle Clifford on a 2-on-1 rush and stopping Gaborik and Brown in rapid succession. So its the Blackhawks with the early lead in the series and the Kings trying to pick themselves up -- again. They did it after dropping the first three games to San Jose in the first round and then rallied from 3-2 down to knock out Anaheim in the conference semifinals. "San Jose and Anaheim had arguably the top two, three, four best home records this year. We went into those tough buildings and won," Jarrett Stoll said. "Chicago is no different. A tough building. Were going to have to figure out a way to win Game 2 and move on." Bruce Smith Jersey . Bowditch, the 30-year-old Australian seeking his first PGA Tour title, shot a 4-under 68 to reach 12 under at TPC San Antonio. Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe were tied for second. Kuchar shot 65, and Loupe had a 70. Zay Jones Jersey . Beanballs were the theme Friday night as the Red Sox and Rays had another AL East rumble, with Boston earning a 3-2 victory on A. http://www.shoptheofficialbills.com/Elite-Nick-Oleary-Bills-Jersey/ . Bouchard went down to a 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Svitolina in her opening match at the Sony Open on Friday. Bouchard got the rivalry going two years ago when she won the junior Wimbledon title over Svitolina. PENTICTON, B.C. -- Hunter Shinkaruk has a second chance to make a first impression. The 19-year-old left-winger was selected by the Vancouver Canucks 24th overall at the 2013 draft when Mike Gillis was the teams general manager and John Tortorella was its head coach. Shinkaruk was among the final cuts at training camp last season before being returned to the WHLs Medicine Hat Tigers, where he suffered a hip injury that eventually ended his year. Now back healthy, and with both Gillis and Tortorella gone after Vancouvers disastrous 2013-14 season, Shinkaruk has an opportunity to start fresh in the organization that drafted him. "With so many new people in the upper management and the coaching staff youve got to come in and show them what youre all about," said Shinkaruk. "Last years camp is basically out the window. It doesnt matter too much. Ive got to come in and play my game and let them know what kind of player I am. "First impression is pretty huge in any profession so Ive just got to go out there and do my best." Shinkaruk is among the players taking part in the Canucks four-team rookie tournament in Penticton that also includes prospects from the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets. Canucks GM Jim Benning and head coach Willie Desjardins will have lots to mull over, including a number of players like Shinkaruk who they had no part in drafting. "I think youve just got to come in and play your game," said the outgoing Shinkaruk. "Obviously we all have an opportunity to catch the GM and coachs eye, and thats what youve got to do. Weve got to go out there, have fun, but most of all, play our game. Im sure if I do that everything will work out well." Shinkaruk played just 18 games last season for the Tigers before undergoing surgery on his hip after being cut from Canadas world junior hockey camp, but in his 2013 draft year the five-foot-10, 185-pound Calgary native amassed 37 goals and 49 assists in 64 games. "Obviously last year was a pretty emotional year," said Shinkaruk. "I went through a lot. It feels really good to be back on the ice and know my hips 100 per cent." Among the other players under the microscope at the rookie tournament who should be at the Canucks training camp when it gets underway on Thursday are centre Bo Horvat and right-winger Nicklas Jensen. Horvat was selected ninth overall in 2013 with the pick the team received in the trade with the New Jersey Devils for goaltender Cory Schneider, and like Shinkaruk, he knows hes starting from scratch. "Im just playing my game, playing a good two-way game and making a good first impression on the new (coaches)," said 19-year-old from Rodney, Ont. "This is the first time some of them have seen some of us play and this tournament is a good opportunity to show our stuff and show them why we deserve to be here." Travis Green coaches the Utica Comets, Vancouvers AHL affiliate, and is in charge of the Canucks rookie team. The former NHLer has been impressed with Horvat, who had 30 goals and 44 assists in 54 games with the OHLs London Knights in a 2013-14 campaign that included a spot on Canadas world junior team. "Hes a real good player, without a doubt. He does a lot of good things that go unnoticed," said Green, who coached against Horvat when he was behind the bench oof the WHLs Portland Winterhawks at the 2013 Memorial Cup. Cordy Glenn Jersey. "Hes a guy that you know is going to play the right way. He doesnt cheat to make offence. He just plays a good 200-foot game. I really like him as a player." Its possible Shinkaruk could be sent to the AHL if he doesnt make the Canucks, but its either the NHL or back to junior for Horvat, who might get a nine-game tryout with Vancouver to start the season before his entry-level deal kicks in. "For me I just dont want to make things too cute -- just play my game, play the way I got noticed in the first place," he said. "I cant play out of my comfort zone. Ive got to play the way that got me here." The six-foot, 206-pound Horvat gets extra attention from fans and media because of the goalie controversy that precipitated the draft-day trade that brought him to Vancouver, but he said its something that hasnt really crossed his mind much recently. "Im sure its going to be brought up throughout my whole career, being part of the Schneider trade," said Horvat. "I try not to think about it too much. Hes a goaltender, Im a player." Another Vancouver prospect with legitimate NHL aspirations this season at the rookie tournament is left-winger Niklas Jensen. He split time between the Comets and Canucks last season, registering three goals and three assists in 17 NHL games. The 29th overall selection at the 2011 draft, Jensen is at his third rookie tournament -- which could be viewed as a slight -- but instead hes embracing the opportunity. "Youve got to show up and prove that you want to be here every night," said the 21-year-old from Herning, Denmark. "I had a good little run last year but I kind of have to forget about that and start all over and work as hard as you can when you get out there and prove that you want to earn a spot." Like any player looking to make an NHL roster, Jensen know its a numbers game, with maybe one forward spot open on the Canucks after a number of new faces were brought in up front to compete for jobs. "If you do as well as they want you to do theyll give you a chance," said Jensen, who has good size at six foot two and 208 pounds. "Thats what were all here for, to take that opportunity. "Were all fighting for maybe one spot, if (that)." Green said its not uncommon for a player to take longer to develop in the professional ranks, as appears to be the case with Jensen. "Its a big jump for guys to the NHL at 19, 20, 21," said Green. "Sometimes it takes being 22, 23 years old when youre ready to play there full time. Its definitely not make or break time for him." For his part, Shinkaruk is just soaking up the experience, knowing that hes healthy and has a real chance to influence his immediate future in front of a new coach and GM. "Its just up to us and how well we play and how hard we come in. I wouldnt have it any other way," he said. "If someone told me four years ago Id be trying out for an NHL team and its up to the way I play, I would have taken that and smiled. "Its a pretty cool chance that I have and Im just trying to make the best of it." Note: Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in June, is skating with the Canucks prospects but has not been cleared for contact after undergoing shoulder surgery in the spring. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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