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Chicago Blackhawks Morning Links: Then There Were 4

By Colin Likas
May 12, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) and defenseman Brent Burns (88) and center Patrick Marleau (12) shake hands with Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher (12) and defenseman Barret Jackman (5) after the end of the game seven of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. San Jose defeated Nashville 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) and defenseman Brent Burns (88) and center Patrick Marleau (12) shake hands with Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher (12) and defenseman Barret Jackman (5) after the end of the game seven of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. San Jose defeated Nashville 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Here Are Your Chicago Blackhawks Morning Links As The Conference Finals Are Set

Good morning, Chicago Blackhawks fan. The Stanley Cup Playoffs train rolled on Thursday, with the second round of action concluding in San Jose. The Nashville Predators again couldn’t get over the postseason hump and were thwacked by the host Sharks, 5-0.

That leaves the final four in the postseason as a very odd group. You’ve got the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins in the East, and the Sharks and St. Louis Blues in the West. While the Penguins are easily the hottest team in the league and have been for some time, the other three teams still being around the postseason picture is a surprise to some.

The Lightning knew before the playoffs they’d be without star forward and captain Steven Stamkos due to injury. That hasn’t stopped them from pushing through to their second consecutive conference final, although you could argue they had a pretty easy path through Detroit and the New York Islanders.

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The Sharks and Blues, meanwhile, are more known for recent postseason chokejobs than anything else. It should be interesting to see how they handle this spot. The Blues at least had a group that looked capable of making a sustained postseason run. The Sharks looked like their Stanley Cup window had closed a few years back, as the team was in turmoil trying to decide whether or not to engage in a youth movement. Somehow, their pretty awful management of the situation has gotten them to this point.

Of course, not all Thursday’s hockey news involved those four teams. The Blackhawks appear to have won the Michal Kempny sweepstakes, with the Kontinental Hockey League defenseman reportedly ready to sign with the team.

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The Blackhawks struggled mightily on defense this season, so Kempny’s impending addition (he is NHL-ready) would likely be a sizable boost.

Here’s what else is going on around the world of hockey as we enter the weekend.

Patrick Kane for Blackhawks forward of the year? You don’t say. Chicago Blackhawks

Well, they’ve already won a few series, so … that’s something. ESPN

The Muppets will not be coming to a new city. ESPN

Johnny Hockey looks like he’s still in high school. Philly.com

Who doesn’t need their Stanley Cup superlatives? YouTube

As long as Stan Bowman doesn’t get replaced by a 12-year-old. SportsNet

FIN. NHL.com

An old one, but if you have some time to kill, go for it. Bleacher Report

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