Nick Leddy motivated by Blackhawks' latest Stanley Cup victory


Nick Leddy motivated by Blackhawks' latest Stanley Cup victory

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Nick Leddy watched on Wednesday night when the Blackhawks hoisted another Stanley Cup banner at the United Center.

As much as the New York Islanders defenseman would love to hoist another Cup again himself, as he did with the Blackhawks in 2013, he was happy to see some of his former teammates do so again.

“It was excitement for all my buddies and seeing them win again was incredible,” said Leddy, who will face the Blackhawks in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. “They have such a great hockey team there, a great organization. I couldn’t ask for anything more for them.”

The Islanders are looking to reach that point again with their franchise, and have made players like Leddy cornerstones of their resurgence. Leddy, who signed a seven-year, $38.5 million contract in February, is part of an Islanders team looking to build off last year’s postseason appearance.

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“I think it’s like in Chicago: it’s a very experienced team,” Leddy said of the Islanders. “You go through ups and downs and you get used to the playoffs and not a lot of guys have been through the playoffs. The guys from last year finally have, and they kind of know what to expect.”

Leddy didn’t get a chance to catch up with any of his former teammates on Thursday night but his close friend Andrew Shaw joked that he’s ready to reacquaint himself with Leddy at Friday's game.

“If I get a chance to run him in the corner, for sure I’ll do so,” Shaw said with a grin. “[We talk] a couple of times a month, just asking how each other is, how the families are doing, stuff like that. We came up together and we were roommates for a few years, so that bond won’t be broken. But once that puck drops, it’s hockey.”

Leddy didn’t play at the United Center when the Islanders were there last season; he skated with the team, but an upper-body injury kept him out of the game. So Saturday will mark the first time he’s played at the UC since Game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings in the spring of 2014. Leddy said could be an emotional night.

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“It’ll be very exciting. It’s always exciting playing against all your buddies. But obviously it’ll be a little nerve-wracking being out there for the first time [since the trade],” he said. “I think once I get out there and get that first shift under the belt, all the nerves will calm down and I’ll be able to go from there.”

On Thursday night, Leddy and teammate Brock Nelson flipped the switch for a ceremonial lighting of the Empire State Building, which displayed the Islanders’ blue and orange colors. That ceremony was a great way to start the Islanders’ latest campaign in their new home. The Blackhawks’ banner-raising ceremony is the one that Leddy hopes to experience with his Islanders teammates soon.

“It definitely motivates you,” said Leddy. “Going through it once, you want to relieve that. Seeing it definitely makes you a little jealous and definitely motivated." 

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center


Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: