Morning Skate: Thursday, April 26

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Morning Skate: Thursday, April 26

Elliotte Friedman has some thoughts on the Roberto Luongo trade rumors among other things.

The Pro Hockey Talk boys have George McPhee saying that the Washington Capitals absolutely had to win this kind of playoff series.

Nick Cotsonika has the story of the Capitals taking down the Bruins with grit over glitz in the first round of the playoffs.

Kerry Fraser says in his TSN blog that Joel Wards game-winning goal in overtime on Wednesday night shouldnt have counted and the game should have played on.

Joel Wards agent denounces the racial slurs that disgusting Bruins fans have tossed his way via Twitter.

The Maple Leafs are among the teams in the Roberto Luongo derby, according to the Toronto Star.

Braden Holtby has been a find for the Washington Capitals and is one of the biggest reasons theyre moving on in the series.

Nicklas Lidstrom wants to keep the band together in Detroit with the Red Wings, but it remains to be seen if thats possible.

Solder, Patriots training staff earn Ed Block Courage Awards

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Solder, Patriots training staff earn Ed Block Courage Awards

FOXBORO -- Patriots left tackle Nate Solder has been through a lot over the last few years. 

He battled and beat testicular cancer before the 2014 offseason and then went on to help the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl title. In 2015, he tore his biceps in Week 5 and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve. Just weeks later after suffering that season-ending injury, Solder's son, Hudson, was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumor in his kidneys. 

A quiet leader in the Patriots locker room, Solder has used his platform with the team to spread awareness stemming from personal hardships in addition to serving as a prominent supporter of the Hockomock Area YMCA. For his devotion to helping those in need, and for the example he sets at his job and in the community, he has been named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner for 2016. 

Solder also participated in the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative wearing cleats to raise awareness for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which gives financial aid to cancer patients and their families. He also supports The Fresh Truck, which describes itself as a mobile food market on a mission to radically improve community health.

Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker and Tedy Bruschi have also recently been named Ed Block Courage Awards-winners for the Patriots. 

The team's training staff, led by head trainer Jim Whalen and assistant trainer and director of rehabilitation Joe Van Allen, was also honored on Tuesday as it was named the 2016 Ed Block Courage Award NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year.

"The annual award, named for the longtime head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts who demonstrated an untiring dedication to helping others, recognizes an NFL staff for their distinguished service to their club, community and athletic training profession," the Patriots announced in a statement. 

In the release, trainer Daryl Nelson and physical therapist Michael Akinbola are also credited with helping keep the Patriots healthy. 

Others, including head strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera and team nutritionist Ted Harper, have a hand in keeping players at their physical peak. Combined, given the overall health of the roster this season, they've all had a hand in keep the team humming as it heads into its sixth consecutive AFC title game.