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Several former Sioux still chasing the Stanley Cup

Associated Press Published: April 30, 2012
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Outside the University of North Dakota men's hockey locker room, there is a piece of wall reserved for those who go on to win the Stanley Cup with an NHL team.

There are 12 plaques featuring 10 former Fighting Sioux players who have won hockey's ultimate prize. There also is plenty of room to add plaques — and that might be a good thing the way this playoff season is going.

As the second round begins, seven former Sioux still have a shot at getting their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Captain Zach Parise and Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils are representing UND in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Devils advanced by knocking off Florida in seven games in the first round. Zajac scored an overtime winner in Game 6 to keep the Devils alive.

The Western Conference semifinals are flooded with Sioux players.

Alternate captain Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings is playing against T.J. Oshie, Chris Porter and the St. Louis Blues in one series. Porter has not suited up in the playoffs yet but has played more than the necessary 41 regular-season games required to get included on the Cup.

In the other Western Conference semifinal, the Phoenix Coyotes lead the Nashville Predators 1-0 in the series. Phoenix's head coach is Dave Tippett, who played for the Sioux from 1981-83.

Matt Watkins also played for the Coyotes earlier this season and was called up after a 25-game suspension to Phoenix forward Raffi Torres. To qualify to get his name on the Cup, Watkins would have to play in one Stanley Cup Finals game, should the Coyotes get there.

Former Sioux forward Brett Hextall also is up with the Coyotes but it is unlikely to play.

The last Sioux player to win the Cup was Jonathan Toews in 2010. Toews captained the Blackhawks to the title and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

Toews is the only former Sioux player whose team was knocked out in the first round this season. Toews' Chicago Blackhawks lost a six-game series to Phoenix. Toews already has his Stanley Cup plaque at The Ralph, though.