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9/17/2018 8:19 pm  #1


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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are disappointed, though not discouraged. Despite being swept in the first round of the NHL playoffs, the young team led by Steven Stamkos has plenty of reasons to feel encouraged about the future. One year after struggling to the 28th-best record in the league, the Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division and posted the third-best mark in the Eastern Conference. The Montreal Canadiens eliminated them from the post-season in four games, but coach Jon Cooper said none of his players should hang their heads because the Lightning had a successful season. "Its been a transition year for us in an unbelievably positive way," said Cooper, whos completing his first full season behind the bench. "I dont want this series to be looked at as they were a failure," Cooper added. "Those guys got swept in the first round, but they had a heck of a year." Stamkos missed 45 games because of a broken right leg but still amassed 25 goals and 40 points in 37 games to help Tampa Bay return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The 24-year-old captain has scored more goals than any NHL player since the start of the 2009-10 season. His absence from early November to just before a late-season trade sent Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers created unexpected opportunities for several young players who helped the team stay afloat while Stamkos was out. Goaltender Ben Bishop set a franchise record with 37 victories before a left elbow injury sidelined him for the final week of the regular season and the playoffs. Rookie Ondrej Palate led the team with 59 points and another first-year player, Tyler Johnson, set a club record for rookies with 24 goals. In all, Tampa Bays rookies combined for 201 points, more than twice as many for first-year players from any other team. "Its been well documented what this team has gone through this year," Cooper said, adding that few people gave the Lightning much of a shot at making the playoffs when the season began. Stamkos said its important young players learn from their post-season experience. The Lightning dropped the first two games to the Canadiens at home and didnt feel they played their best hockey until the third period of Game 4 in Montreal on Tuesday night. "Everyones probably feeling a little embarrassed. But in the long run, you probably had to go through something like this," Stamkos said. "I think we will learn," the captain added, "that sacrifice, determination and work ethic is what wins at this time of year." Ryan Callahan, the former Rangers captain obtained in the deal that sent an unhappy St. Louis to New York, agreed. "This means nothing if as a group (the Lightning) doesnt realize how hard the playoffs are and how consistent you have to be moving forward," Callahan said. "Its a waste if you dont learn from it." Eight rookies made their playoff debut in Game 1, while another key player -- goalie Anders Lindback, standing in for Bishop -- entered the series with just 13 minutes of post-season experience. Six first-year players notched their first playoff points in the opener, won by the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. The next step is returning next season and proving this years success wasnt a fluke. "The amount of youth that we have here is very promising," Stamkos said. "We want to be a perennial playoff team. This is a start." Alex Cappa Jersey . Van Slyke drove in a career-high four runs with two homers off struggling left-hander Tony Cingrani, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled away to a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night, a rare comfortable win in their pitching-dominated series. M.J. Stewart Jersey . Johnson shared an update after his surgery Tuesday on Twitter. He also wrote, "now lets get on the grind." The running back told The Tennessean he was having surgery in Pensacola, Fla. http://www.authenticfootballshopbuccaneers.com/vita-vea-jersey/. Today, well look at five frontcourt players today, here from the Bay Area. 1. AMIR JOHNSON (Raptors): I cant figure out what the issue or problem is, but based upon what Im seeing, hes not right. John Lynch Buccaneers Jersey . Advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals should be a formality after Lionel Messi scored a penalty and Dani Alves added a late second to secure a commanding 2-0 advantage over City in the round of 16 on Tuesday. Alex Cappa Buccaneers Jersey .com) - His team lost in the round of 16 of the FCS playoffs, yet Northern Iowa football coach Mark Farley says his team has made a strong case to be voted to the top 5 in the final rankings.NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia -- President Vladimir Putin sought to ease concerns that Russias new anti-gay law would be used to punish athletes who display rainbow flags during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, while insisting that gays are not discriminated against in his country. "I assure you that I work with these people, I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields," Putin said in an interview with The Associated Press and Russias state Channel 1 television late Tuesday. "We have absolutely normal relations, and I dont see anything out of the ordinary here." He added that Russians love Tchaikovsky even though the composer was said to have been a homosexual. "Truth be told, we dont love him because of that, but he was a great musician and we all love his music," Putin said. Putin offered to meet with members of the gay and lesbian community if they asked to see him. The law on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," which Putin signed in July, makes it illegal to expose minors to information that portrays these relationships as normal or attractive. The law imposes hefty fines, while also subjecting foreign citizens to up to 15 days in prisoon.dddddddddddd While Russian officials have reassured the International Olympic Committee that Russia will not discriminate against homosexuals during the Feb. 7-23 Sochi Games, they also have said that the law will be enforced. This has left open the question of what would happen to athletes or fans if they made statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda. In the interview at his country residence outside Moscow, Putin said that they would not be punished. But he clearly has no intention of allowing a gay pride parade during the Olympics. Last month, he signed a decree banning all demonstrations and rallies in Sochi throughout the Winter Games. Putin said he had full confidence in Russias special services and law enforcement agencies to provide security during the games. Sochi sits just west of Russias North Caucasus, where an Islamic insurgency is simmering. "Terrorists are always a threat to someone," he said. "If well be scared of them, it means they have won. But that doesnt mean we can have a devil-may-care attitude toward this threat. We must do everything to stop these threats and not give the terrorists a single chance to demonstrate their brutality and hatred of mankind." 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