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June 16, 2014

Former hockey captain denied Stanley Cup glory

The Stanley Cup finals ended Saturday night with the Los Angeles Kings winning 3-2 in double overtime, stealing Cup immortality away from former Wolverine Carl Hagelin, who excelled during the playoffs for the New York Rangers.

The former U-M captain (2011) ranked sixth among Ranger skaters with 12 postseason points, but was second with seven goals in 25 games, including two shorthanded markers and a game-winner.

Hagelin was lauded throughout the playoffs by the New York and hockey media, and he even caught the attention of Michigan basketball coach John Beilein.

Some would say even without the Finals win, this was a great year for Hagelin, but he came so close to the pinnacle twice only to be denied both times - taking silver at the Winter Olympics with Team Sweden and losing in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Will Hagelin have another chance? He would have become the ninth Wolverine in school history to win a Cup (those eight combined for 17 titles) or will he join the list of seven former U-M skaters to appear in a Cup Finals but never win?

Meanwhile, another former Wolverine, Max Pacioretty, spoke to the Canadiens' Web site about his breakthrough season.

Pacioretty's Montreal team was eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by Hagelin's Rangers, but Pacioretty scored a career-high 39 goals in his sixth NHL season.

"I don't like to judge my game based off of numbers," Pacioretty told the site. "This year I made a lot of steps in the right direction in terms of helping the team. I started penalty killing and I started playing a bit of a role defensively at the end of games. I think that's the most rewarding thing,"

A member of Team USA, Pacioretty competed in the Winter Olympics - the American lost in the bronze-medal game -- and noted that the increased workload this season took its toll.

"This year was very physically demanding on me personally with the Olympics and the travel involved," he shared with the site. "It seemed like a shortened season a bit because of the Olympics. I've gotten better over the years in terms of learning to handle my body and getting used to the grueling schedule.

"I think next year things might feel a bit easier with the NHL games spread out more. Hopefully we can take advantage of that."

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