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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 5:07 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Top-ranked Kapanen puts tough season behind him

TORONTO -- Kasperi Kapanen is happy to be the top player in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft.

That was about the only thing that went well for the Finnish forward this season.

Kapanen had seven goals and 14 points in 47 games with KalPa in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. KalPa won 15 of its 60 games, finished last in the league and scored 101 goals.

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

MacLellan embraces top role for Capitals at Combine

TORONTO -- In his role as assistant general manager of the Washington Capitals for the previous seven seasons, Brian MacLellan was part of the club's annual amateur scouting meetings and draft preparation, but it wasn't one of his main jobs.

Now that he's become the Capitals' general manager, he's gone from observer to the final authority.

"You have more responsibility to accept than [in] the previous position," MacLellan told NHL.com. "I think we have a good staff so I think the transition should be pretty smooth. It should work out well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:44 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Dumba's legacy helps Red Deer's Fleury at Combine

TORONTO -- Red Deer Rebels defenseman Haydn Fleury feels pretty comfortable this week at the NHL Scouting Combine. He has a former teammate to thank for that.

Fleury, No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, and No. 2 among defensemen, learned a lot from Matt Dumba, a first-round pick by the Minnesota Wild (No. 7) in 2012.

"He just tells me not to listen to all the outside influences," Fleury told NHL.com. "There's going to be a lot of critics during a year like this. Just play your game and showcase yourself as much as you can."

Dumba and Fleury were teammates in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and kept in touch after Dumba started the season with the Wild and then was traded to the Portland Winterhawks prior to returning to the Western Hockey League.

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:33 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Florida GM Tallon open to options in No. 1 slot

TORONTO -- There are many advantages to being the general manager of the Florida Panthers. For Dale Tallon, who has held that position since May 2010, one of his favorites is getting to meet some of the top draft prospects at the NHL Scouting Combine.

"One of the great perks of this job is getting to meet all the young kids and see how they handle this pressure," Tallon told NHL.com. "It's not easy coming into meetings at this age. I don't know if when I was 17 or 18, I certainly wasn't capable of doing this. It's great to see the maturity process and the development of these young people. Every year seems to get better and better."

The Panthers won the NHL Draft Lottery and hold the No. 1 pick, but Tallon said he's open to moving the selection if the right trade came along.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Frontenacs' Bennett named top CHL prospect

There might not be a consensus top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, but the Canadian Hockey League award voters made their choice Saturday, naming Samuel Bennett the top prospect in the league.

Bennett, a center with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, was ninth in the OHL with 91 points in 57 games. He led his team in points, goals (36), assists (55), plus/minus rating (plus-34) and power-play goals (10). He had a league-best 25-game scoring streak in which he scored 17 goals and 46 points.

The 6-foot, 178-pound forward is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 Draft.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 7:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Glass in, Bennett out of Penguins lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tanner Glass will return to the lineup for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers.

Glass replaced Beau Bennett in the lineup and took line rushes during warm-ups alongside Brandon Sutter and Lee Stempniak. Glass last played in Game 1 against the Rangers. In seven games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Glass has four penalty minutes and 10 shots on goal.

The Penguins changed their top two lines, putting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on separate lines for the first time in the series. Crosby skated with Chris Kunitz and Brian Gibbons, and Malkin was between Jussi Jokinen and James Neal.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 6:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers embrace winner-take-all mentality of Game 7

PITTSBURGH -- When New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault looked at what his team would be facing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference Second Round series, beating the Penguins four times in a seven-game span appeared to be a daunting task.

"If you had asked me before the series started against this opponent, with the firepower they have and the strength that they have, if I'd prefer to play four out of seven or one game, winner take all, I would have taken the one game, winner take all," Vigneault said.

Vigneault got what he wanted. The Penguins and Rangers will play Game 7 of their series on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 1:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Crosby gets last chance to impact series

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday there will be one defining image of Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference Second Round series with the New York Rangers.

He doesn't know what that picture will be, or who will be in it. But there's a pretty good chance it could include Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

When the Penguins take the ice against the Rangers on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Crosby will be the most talented player out there. But he'll also be a player with one goal in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games this year, and three points in six games in the series.

It's not that Crosby has played poorly in the postseason. He has nine points in 12 games. He's won 57.3 percent of his faceoffs against the Rangers, including 66.7 percent in Games 5 and 6. And he's the second-best possession player in the postseason, with a Corsi-for percentage of 61.1 percent.

But when you're Sidney Crosby, and you have the resume he's built in nine seasons in the NHL, strong possession numbers and faceoff-success rates are not what people are looking for. And Crosby knows as much.

"I think everyone puts pressure on themselves," he said. "As far as talking about myself, of course I put more pressure on myself to make sure I'm at my best. You want to help the team as much as you can. Big game, big moment, you want to be at your best."

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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 6:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

St. Louis to play for Rangers after mother's death

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis will be in the lineup for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), one day after the death of his mother.

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said St. Louis learned of the death of his mother France, 63, on Thursday, not long after the Rangers landed here. Vigneault said St. Louis immediately left the team to return to his family's home in Montreal.

Speaking with St. Louis on Thursday and Friday, Vigneault said St. Louis expressed a desire to play in Game 5.

"This morning he said that he talked to his dad," Vigneault said Friday. "And him and his dad both agreed that his mom would want him to be here, and that's what he did."

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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 5:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins control puck by dominating faceoff circle

PITTSBURGH -- One of the biggest reasons the Pittsburgh Penguins hold a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers has been their dominance in the faceoff circle.

The Penguins can return to the Eastern Conference Final with a win Friday in Game 5 (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

One way they can get there is to continue to win the possession battle, starting with their success on faceoffs. Through four games, the Pens have won 54.3 percent of the draws.

That dominance was most evident in Game 4, when the Penguins won 31 of 49 draws in the game en route to a 4-2 victory.

"Faceoffs are big," Penguins forward Marcel Goc said following practice Friday. "If you can win the majority and you start with puck possession, that's what we want."

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Right now I'm just happy to be back and get through this season and make sure I do my job. I've never had an issue with having to prove myself again and I'll try to do it again. We'll see where it takes me.

— Defenseman Torey Krug on signing with the Boston Bruins
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