ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- When Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens had his day with the Stanley Cup in 2012, he took it home to Ontario. Thursday, he brought it to his other home near the beaches of New Jersey, where he spent almost two decades as a player and coach in the Philadelphia Flyers organization
"I was here for 18 years," Stevens said. "My kids grew up here. We have a home in Sea Isle [City]. We won last time in 2012, we wanted to take it home to my family. It meant a lot to them to see it. I thought if we were ever fortunate enough to win it again we'd bring it here because the kids grew up here. So many friends here that we've known for so many years, we'd love the opportunity to share it with them. That's what we're doing. It means a lot."
PHILADELPHIA -- With two days and seven rounds in the book, Philadelphia Flyers president Paul Holmgren was all smiles after his organization hosted the NHL Draft for the first time.
"Obviously the League does a lot of the stuff too, but our staff working behind the scenes did a tremendous job," Holmgren said. "I was really proud of our organization [Friday] and again [Saturday]. We had a good turnout again [Saturday], what's normally a light day, the second day. But [Friday] was incredible."
PHILADELPHIA -- Thatcher Demko did more than just see the sights in Malmo, Sweden, during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
As the third goaltender for the United States at last year's tournament, he did not dress for a game. Instead, he kept a close eye on what was happening around him. He hopes to put that learning experience to good use when he goes to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in August.
"I didn't play in any games, but I had a bird's-eye view from the tournament up there," Demko said. "You learn what the atmosphere is like and what to expect. I learned a lot from Jon Gillies, who was the starter there He's rubbing off some of his experiences on me and hopefully that can carry over this year."
PHILADELPHIA -- The focus for most of the top prospects who took part in a media availability session at the National Constitutional Center on Thursday was what they could do to make the NHL next season. For Calgary Hitmen left wing Jake Virtanen, the goal is a bit different: He's focused on getting healthy enough to return to the lineup as soon as possible.
Virtanen had surgery on his left shoulder in May to repair a torn labrum. The initial diagnosis was a recovery time of four to six months, and he told NHL.com he's targeting a mid-October return.
Virtanen, No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the draft, played through the shoulder injury for the second half of the season and had 45 goals and 71 points in 71 Western Hockey League games, as well as six points in seven games for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
PHILADELPHIA -- While his attention has been focused on the final things he has to do to get ready for the start of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl had his focus tuned to another sport.
The native of Cologne, Germany, tried to watch as much as he could of the World Cup match Thursday between Germany and the United States. Germany won 1-0 but both teams advanced to the round of 16.
PHILADELPHIA -- It appears it will be the NHL or Europe next season for NHL Central Scouting's top two European skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in Finland and William Nylander of Sodertalje in Sweden's second division both said they would like to play in the NHL in 2014-15. If not, they would rather play against more developed opponents in their home countries rather than play junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League.
Nylander, Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked European player, played with three teams this season, including Rogle in Sweden's second division, where his teammate was his father, former NHL player Michael Nylander. He also played for Modo in the Swedish Hockey League, but had his most success with second-division team Sodertalje, totaling 11 goals and eight assists in 17 games. He is eligible for the 2014 CHL Import Draft next month, but said junior hockey isn't a consideration.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies were out for early stretching on the field at Citizens Bank Park while a few of the top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft were taking some swings off a batting tee.
None of the baseball players need to be worried about losing their jobs.
Though none of the six prospects came close to clearing the outfield fence, they certainly had a good time.
"It was fun," Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett told NHL.com. "I was a little disappointed we couldn't hit off a pitcher, but it was cool to hit on the field. You don't really realize how far away the wall is. It feels a whole lot farther than it looks."
PHILADELPHIA -- The top 2014 NHL Draft prospects continued their tour of Philadelphia with a stop for some pictures at Love Park, and then it was off to local culinary landmark Geno's for cheesesteaks.
All six prospects got steaks, some "wiz wit" -- local slang for with cheese wiz -- while others went "wit out." All, however, gave two thumbs up to their meal.
"Let all the people in Philadelphia know that I love cheesesteaks," Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad said.
The players also got an inside look at Geno's, and Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart worked the grill and helped prepare a few sandwiches.
NEW YORK -- Leon Draisaitl is a known commodity among NHL scouts and general managers after his outstanding season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League.
But when members of the Hockey Hall of Fame recognize you, well, that's pretty special.
Draisaitl and the other top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft were leaving a TSN set after taping a segment when they crossed paths with Mark Messier, who was to be next on the set. Messier introduced himself to the star-struck prospects; when Draisaitl said his name, Messier had an immediate reaction.
"Are you related to Peter Draisaitl?" Messier asked Leon.
Peter Draisaitl, Leon's father, played professional hockey for 18 seasons in Germany, including four seasons with the Cologne Sharks. During that time Messier would skate in Cologne in the offseason and became friendly with Peter.
Two of the top three North American goaltending prospects were among the 10 players invited by Hockey Canada to the Program of Excellence goaltending camp, to be held June 11-14 at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary.
The camp is the first step in Canada picking its team for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be played in Toronto and Montreal.
Among those invited are Mason McDonald of the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Brent Moran of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.
TORONTO -- Brandon Wheat Kings forward Jayce Hawryluk used the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine on Saturday to show any NHL scouts or general managers he was fully healthy.
Hawryluk showed upper- and lower-body strength during his stops at each of the 11 stations.
The fitness testing came two months after he had a serious health scare. After scoring a hat trick in a Western Hockey League playoff game against the Regina Pats on March 26, Hawryluk collapsed in the locker room. He was hospitalized, and the collapse was blamed on dehydration. Hawryluk returned for the next game and didn't have another health issue.
TORONTO -- Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad doesn't consider himself to be arrogant, but he's confident that he's ready to make the jump to the NHL next season.
"That's the way I believe in myself," he said. "I wouldn't say I'm cocky but I'm confident and I believe that if I work hard and do all the little things, pay attention to details, I can be in that League next year."
Ranked second by NHL Central Scouting on its final list of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, Ekblad has reason to be confident. In 58 games this season, the 6-foot-3, 213-pounder led all Ontario Hockey League defensemen with 23 goals and tied for fifth with 53 points. He also had one goal and one assist in seven games with Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
TORONTO -- The Calgary Flames are putting together a list of the players they might select when they announce the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27.
Properly ranking those players, however, remains a challenge.
"It would be easy to say whoever is there at four we'll take at No. 4, but our group is bigger," Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button said. "We have six, seven, eight guys and we're still sorting that out and this is part of the process."
TORONTO -- Forward Jake Virtanen of the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen couldn't go through the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine after having surgery two weeks ago on his right shoulder. But that didn't stop him from having a few memorable moments during his week here.
TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of two teams, along with the Anaheim Ducks, currently holding two first-round picks in the 2014 NHL Draft. That's a pretty nice place to be, according to Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray.
"It's always a good year to have two first-round picks," he told NHL.com. "If you look at any draft, there's always 45 to 55 [players], depending on the year ... that become regular NHL players. It's our job to make sure we find at least two of those guys in the first round."
The Lightning have their pick at No. 19 and will also have either the 28th or 29th pick, depending on how the New York Rangers fare in the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning acquired the pick from New York in the Martin St. Louis trade.
TORONTO --Al MacInnis, a Hall-of-Fame player who now serves as senior advisor to the general manager for the St. Louis Blues, was keeping a close eye on the prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft as they made their way through the testing floor at Toronto International Centre on Saturday.
But he followed one prospect a bit closer than others: his son Ryan, a center with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. MacInnis is No. 20 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 Draft.
"It's a good process to go through," Al MacInnis told NHL.com. "Obviously he knows a lot of these kids. He had a pretty good idea coming in here what to expect. He's been working at it. ... It's an exciting week for the boys."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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."
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."
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."
PITTSBURGH -- It's usually the team trailing in a series that feels a need to play desperate hockey. But the New York Rangers are feeling their own level of desperation going into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).
The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0 and have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead back to New York. That's despite a power play that has been in a deep sleep for much of the postseason.
"It's a great opportunity," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "I think everybody is looking to this game and really feeling good about our last game, and hopefully we can carry that over to [Game 2]. It's a big game. If we can get out of here with a 2-0 lead that would be great."
PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault knows how important it is for his team to be successful on the power play. But the current struggles with the man advantage aren't causing him too much concern.
The Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series despite going 0-for-4 on the power play. That ran their streak of consecutive unsuccessful power plays to 25, dating to Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Game 2 against Pittsburgh will be Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).
While the NHL stars of today are ready to start the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the players of tomorrow are focused on their goal of reaching the Memorial Cup.
The Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League all will start their league finals this week, with the winning teams advancing to join the host London Knights in the Canadian Hockey League championship series May 16-27.
The first series to start is the OHL final between the Guelph Storm and North Bay Battalion, which begins Thursday.
Leading the way for Guelph is center Robert Fabbri, who is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 164-pound center had nine goals and nine assists in 11 playoff games; his nine goals are tied for second on the team and he has at least a point in eight straight games.
NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube knows what's at stake Wednesday, but said he's trying to treat Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference First Round playoff series against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) as he would any other game.
"We'll talk about the same things we always talk about before games," Berube said. "Go over things, get them prepared."
Berube said his team played its best game of the series in its 5-2 win in Game 6 on Tuesday. To win Game 7 and advance to a second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he said they need to repeat that effort.
"We want to have lots of energy; good energy," Berube said. "We want to play aggressive. It's important to get skating right away in a game like this."
Grossmann was injured in Game 4 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers when he fell into the boards during a battle for the puck with the Rangers' Derick Brassard.
PHILADELPHIA -- For the second straight game the Philadelphia Flyers will have a new defenseman in the lineup.
Erik Gustafsson will replace Hal Gill when the Flyers face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, NBCSN, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.
"I like his speed," coach Craig Berube said of Gustafsson. "He's a quick player up ice. ... Just looking at that aspect of it."
VOORHEES, N.J. --Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn't ready to disclose his lineup for Game 6 of his team's Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
But with his team looking to upgrade its speed, one option could be inserting defenseman Erik Gustafsson.
The 25-year-old had two goals and eight assists in 31 regular-season games, but has played four games in April and has been a healthy scratch through the first five games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"He can get up the ice," coach Craig Berube said of Gustafsson. "We have guys that can do that; we just haven't done it enough."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers remain a confident bunch heading into Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH) because they feel they still haven't played their best game.
In order to get there, the focus has to be on being better in the offensive zone.
"We have to be more aggressive," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We have to get more shots. When we are more aggressive I think we create some turnovers, we score more, we get more shots on net. It comes down to being more aggressive.
"Sometimes you sit back a little too much and give too much room for the other team. That's not really our game. Our game is skating and forecheck hard and being aggressive. … We've got to play our game. It doesn't matter what they do. Sometimes we worry way too much about what they do, how many shots they block. Who cares? Just go out there and do your job, and we're going to be fine."
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will each have one lineup change when they play in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).
The Rangers will insert J.T. Miller at right wing on the third line with center Brad Richards and left wing Carl Hagelin. Miller had three goals and three assists in 30 games with the Rangers and 15 goals and 42 points in 43 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate.
It will be the first Stanley Cup Playoff game for Miller, 21. He replaces Daniel Carcillo, who had a goal in Game 3 and six penalty minutes in two games.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- One focus for the Philadelphia Flyers heading into Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series Sunday against the New York Rangers is getting off to a better start than they have in the previous three games.
The Flyers have been outscored 6-4 in the first period of the first four games and have allowed the first goal in three in a row. The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC,RDS,TSN).
"We've got a guy that's a quick guy, he closes quick," Berube said. "He's been a good player for us. And you got the old, crafty veteran back there that has played a lot of games and has got good leadership. He doesn't have the feet the other guy has [but] he's smart. So it's not an easy decision.
"I'm going to sleep on it [Saturday] and wake up in the morning and make a decision."
But with Mason making his first start of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH), there is one skill that sets him apart from Emery, and that's Mason's ability to handle the puck.
"When you have a guy that can make the right decisions behind the net, it's very important," forward Vincent Lecavalier said. "It helps our defensemen out for sure. Just making that first quick play or them communicating with the defense. It's important to get out of the zone. I think it's going to be a great help for us."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- After having 28 shots blocked in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers, including nine during five power plays, the Philadelphia Flyers spent a large portion of practice Thursday working on puck movement in 5-on-4 situations.
The hope is that the extra work pays off in Game 4 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Coach Craig Berube opted not to change any of his personnel or base set-ups, but one noticeable strategic alteration on the top unit was forward Jakub Voracek having more pucks worked through him in his rover spot along the right side, rather than have everything flow through captain Claude Giroux along the half boards on the left side.
"It's more about puck movement and opening things up, doing things quicker," Berube said. "It's about execution. We had a lot of zone time on the power play but not enough executing pucks through to the net."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Goalie Steve Mason will start for the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).
The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Mason was on the ice for the entire practice session Thursday and said he feels ready to go.
"Second day in a row, third day really, where there were no issues on the ice," he said. "Was a good feeling."
It will be Mason's first start since April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he sustained an upper-body injury late in the second period.
VOORHEES, N.J. --Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn't ready Wednesday to name his starting goalie for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Forward Claude Giroux took a hard tumble into the boards during the Philadelphia Flyers' morning skate Tuesday but popped right back up and said afterward he felt fine.
The Flyers hope he feels just as good after they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, SNET-360, MSG, CSN-PH).
The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1, but Giroux has zero shots. He does have an assist and a plus-3 rating, but for a player who finished third in the NHL in scoring with 86 points and tied his career-best with 28 goals, the hope is there's more offense for him to contribute.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers fans have gained a bit of a reputation over the years for their raucous behavior at Wells Fargo Center. Could it be affecting how the team performs on the power play?
"It's a little harder when 19,000 people yell shoot after 20 seconds on the power play," forward Jakub Voracek said.
The Flyers had the 25th-ranked power play at home during the regular season at 15.1 percent. After the Olympic break it was 9-for-56 (16.1 percent) in 14 games at Wells Fargo Center; however, that includes a 2-for-6 effort in the final two home games against the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 12 games against teams that were playoff contenders, it went 7-for-50 (14.0 percent).
VOORHEES, NJ --Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason ruled himself out of Game 3 of the team's Eastern Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).
Ray Emery, who made 31 saves in a Game 2 win Sunday and has a .913 save percentage for the series, will start, with rookie Calvin Heeter as his backup.
Mason, who is listed by the team as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, skated for about 45 minutes Monday, on his own and as part of the team's optional practice. He said he felt better but not well enough to dress for Game 3.
"You know how you feel when you're done practice," he said. "I feel good with the goaltending part of the practice, but there's other things that are affecting the decision."
NEW YORK --Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was on the ice with teammates at an optional practice Friday but his availability for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Sunday (Noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS) remains unknown.
Mason has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and his hour-long session Friday was the first time he skated with teammates since Tuesday.
"Felt pretty good for being on the ice for the first time in a couple days," Mason said. "It was a good step."
NEW YORK -- Growing up in Austria, Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl said he tried to follow the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but with the time difference it was difficult. His teammate, forward Jason Akeson, had easier access to the NHL as a child in Ottawa.
On Thursday they will find out what the NHL postseason is really like when the Flyers face the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG).
"It's great," Raffl said. "I feel like a child before Christmas. Just want to get out there."
Raffl had 68 regular-season games to acclimate himself to life and hockey in North America, but said he's sensed things have changed now that the postseason has started.
"You feel it," he said. "It's something special, like a new season starting."
With Game 1 of the First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have the advantage of having the last change.
Said Hartnell on what he's learned from four regular-season games against McDonagh and Girardi: "How good they are, especially here."
In four games against the Flyers this season, McDonagh had one goal, one assist and a plus-2 rating, while Girardi had no points and an even plus/minus rating.
"We have to get it behind them, make them go 200 feet, be physical on them every chance you get," Hartnell said. "In a seven-game series that's wear and tear on them. If we're not turning pucks over, especially our line, against those two guys we'll be fairly effective."
Mason was ruled out of Game 1 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference First Round series Thursday against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) due to an upper-body injury sustained Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 2 is Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN, RDS).
"He is doing better [Thursday] and he'll be joining the hockey team," Berube said.
Starting goaltender Steve Mason is out with an upper-body injury sustained Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He remains listed as day-to-day. Flyers coach Craig Berube said Mason will not travel with the team to New York on Wednesday afternoon and instead stay behind to receive treatment.
Berube said Tuesday he expected Mason to join the Flyers for practice Wednesday but Mason never made it to the facility. Mason was on the ice for about 40 minutes Tuesday, but most of that time was spent doing individual work with goalie coach Jeff Reese. Mason spent about 15 minutes with the full team.
"[Mason] just didn't feel good," Berube said Wednesday. "It's precautionary. We're doing what we can to help him do what's best. ... He's a day-to-day thing. Not ready to go. That's it. He's not ready to go, so he's not playing."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Jason Akeson was hoping all season he would get the call, the one that would summon the 23-year-old from the American Hockey League to the Philadelphia Flyers.
But as the days left in the regular season wound down, he gave it less and less of a chance of it happening.
A week later, Akeson finds himself on the cusp of starting his first Stanley Cup Playoff game when the Flyers open the Eastern Conference First Round at the New York Rangers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN).
"A couple weeks ago if you asked me I never would have told you I'd be here," Akeson said after practice Tuesday. "So it's pretty special."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason joined the team for practice Tuesday as it prepares for its Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers, but the Flyers remain unsure if their top goaltender will be available for the start of the postseason.
Mason sustained an upper-body injury with 2:33 left in the second period Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins when teammate Andrew MacDonald was pushed into him by Penguins forward Jayson Megna. Mason played the remainder of the period but Ray Emery came on in relief to start the third.
"I feel better each day and we'll see how I feel [Wednesday]," Mason said via the Flyers public relations department. He opted not to speak to the media after practice.
PHILADELPHIA -- With the Philadelphia Flyers focused on the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, coach Craig Berube is using the game Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes to get a few of his players an extra day of rest while getting a closer look at two depth players.
Berube said Calvin Heeter will make his first NHL start in goal. He had been called up twice previously this season, but the 25-year-old undrafted rookie only had gotten as far as the bench as the backup.
In 44 games with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League team, Heeter went 16-25-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
"He moves well in net," Berube said. "He's a competitive guy, good-size goalie. He really moves well in the net, very active in net. A competitive guy, makes second-effort saves."
PHILADELPHIA -- With one win in their past seven games and teams racing up behind them in the Stanley Cup Playoff chase, the Philadelphia Flyers have their focus squarely set on their opponent Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
"I'd say it's a must-win for us," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "We have to treat this as the last game of the year to get in the playoffs. We need two points. It's getting little too close for comfort right now with the way we've played the last few games."
Timonen sat out Philadelphia's 1-0 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday with an upper-body injury after being hit in the chin by a puck in their shootout loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
"It's always good to have him," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "He's a great player, a very good player for us. Power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5. He's a very good player, so when he's out of the lineup we miss him."
Timonen, 39, is second among Philadelphia defensemen with 32 points in 71 games; in 14 games since the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics he has three goals and 10 assists.
"I like this time of year," Timonen said. "The sun is up. We get right into playoff mode, every game matters. It's easier coming to the rink when you know you have to play your best. Especially after the Olympics. I knew there were tough games coming up and it was a tough schedule. Anytime it gets under 20 games it's really easy to play."
The focus Monday is to finish this stretch as strongly as possible.
"It's really big," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "We've been playing good teams and L.A. is up there [in the standings]. The way they play, they play a physical game defensively. I think if we're not responsible defensively they're going to score a lot of goals on us. We have to make sure we're responsible like we've been the last few games.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, a healthy scratch the past five games, will return to the lineup Saturday for St. Louis. Colaiacovo's last played March 9, when he had a goal in 12:21 of ice time against the Minnesota Wild.
Chiasson has 12 goals and 29 points in 65 games, but two of those goals have come in the past four games.
"He competes, he drives to the net hard, he's standing in front," Seguin said of Chiasson. "Playing against teams like Philly, you need to be competing, you need to be battling, you need to be getting into the dirty areas, and Chiasson does that."
It won't be the first time Ruff has put Chiasson with Seguin and Benn.
"We've tried a couple times throughout the year," Chiasson said, "and to be honest it hasn't worked really well. Let's hope that [Thursday] maybe something changes.
PHILADELPHIA -- It's been nearly four years since his Stanley Cup-winning goal here at Wells Fargo Center, but for Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane there's still something magical about coming to Philadelphia.
"Kind of cool to be back and remember what happened," Kane said after the Blackhawks' morning skate, which featured a toned-down re-creation of his goal celebration after he scored in overtime of Game 6 of the 2010 Cup Final. "It was a long time ago, but feels like it was just yesterday."
VandeVelde will replace Zac Rinaldo on the fourth line, where he'll play left wing alongside center Michael Raffl and right wing Adam Hall. He is also likely to see time on the penalty kill. The Flyers announced Rinaldo is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
In 17 NHL games this season, VandeVelde has one assist, a minus-3 rating and eight shots on goal. In 39 AHL games, he has nine goals and 14 assists.
Whatever Henrique did certainly is paying dividends now. He has at least a goal in all six games since play resumed, an NHL-best nine goals since the break ended, and his 11 points are tied with Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen for most in the League.
Henrique's six-game goal streak has tied a Devils record, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first Devils player since John MacLean in December 1988 to score at least nine goals in a six-game span.
"I think we probably overplayed some people, including him, the first half of the year, dealing with injuries and some things," DeBoer said. "I think he got a little bit fatigued. I think the break helped him as much or more than anybody recharge and come back with a little more jump, which has helped."
The pick would become a second-round selection if the Bruins reach the Eastern Conference Final and Meszaros plays two-thirds of their Stanley Cup Playoff games, or if he is re-signed before the draft. Meszaros can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. If the Bruins fail to reach the conference final and Meszaros signs after the draft, the Flyers will get the Bruins' fourth-round pick in 2015.
Meszaros, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, became expendable when the Flyers acquired defenseman Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
"Lack has played really well the last two games and deserves the start," Canucks coach John Tortorella told the team's website.
It will be Lack's third straight start. He had a 20-save shutout Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues and then made 22 saves on 23 shots in regulation and overtime, plus six saves on seven shots in the shootout in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
But in speaking with the 38-year-old, it's obvious how important is for him to play for his native Finland in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. And after missing two games with a foot injury, Timonen said two days of skating has him feeling healthy enough to get back in the lineup for the Flyers for their game Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.
"The last five, six days have been tough," said Timonen, who was injured blocking a shot during a game Jan. 31 against the Anaheim Ducks. "I want to play. The Olympics is coming. I want to get a couple games in, at least one. It [the foot] is going the right way and I feel pretty good. It's a good feeling."
PHILADELPHIA -- Only once this season has the Colorado Avalanche gone more than two straight games without a win, a four-game stretch in December that saw three of the games end in overtime or a shootout.
That's why there wasn't a lot of worry around the Avalanche locker room Thursday ahead of their game against the Philadelphia Flyers, two days removed from one of their most lopsided defeats this season, a 5-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
"Just a bump in the road," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "It's one of those things. We're all professional. We just have to put it behind us. We've all dealt with big losses before and this is no different. … That's what's great about this sport, you get a chance two days later to regroup. We're looking forward to [the game Thursday]."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers are one of seven teams separated by eight points in the Metropolitan Division, but just two of them will claim the division's automatic spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With a home-and-home set against the New York Islanders starting Saturday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Flyers have a chance to do some serious damage to the competition.
The Flyers enter the game second in the division while the Islanders are eight points back in eighth.
"Playing a division rival, you want to be able to take the two points," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said after the team's morning skate at its suburban New Jersey practice site, Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone. "We've got a back-to-back here. The more separation we can create the better."
The Flyers' next four games are against division opponents; after their game Monday at Nassau Coliseum, they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and then play at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
PHILADELPHIA -- With the early afternoon start at Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning passed on morning skates. However, both teams announced who their starting goaltenders will be.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper announced Friday that Anders Lindback would start for the fourth straight game while Ben Bishop recovers from an injury to his right wrist.
Lindback is 1-2-0 in his three most recent starts, allowing 10 goals on 59 shots. He's 4-9-1 in 15 games this season, with a 3.18 goals-against average and .877 save percentage. However one of his four wins this season came Nov. 27 when he stopped 19 of 21 shots in a 4-2 win against the Flyers in Tampa.
In six NHL games against the Flyers Lindback is 3-3-0 with a 2.18 GAA and .917 save percentage.
PHILADELPHIA -- The last time the Montreal Canadiens were in Philadelphia was Dec. 12. The Flyers were in their first game at home after a six-game road trip and it was the back end of a back-to-back.
When the teams play Wednesday it's the same situation for the Flyers, who are in their first game back after a six-game road trip that concluded with a win Tuesday at the New Jersey Devils.
“The last time we played Montreal was the exact same situation,” Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said. “We kept our game simple, we got pucks deep, we grinded their [defense] down and we played a strong 60 minutes. I think we’re going to try to the exact same thing [Wednesday].”
Doing the exact same thing would give the Flyers 10 straight wins at home. Helping that effort would be another strong game from forward Scott Hartnell, who is riding a career-best eight-game point-scoring streak.
Giroux and Briere played for Eisbaren Berlin during the lockout last season and the team went on to win the championship of the DEL, Germany's top-tier league.
The players were honored by members of the team's fan club. About 20 fans arrived in Philadelphia wearing custom jerseys that had Briere's name and number on one sleeve and Giroux's name and on number on the other sleeve. They also wore scarves with the players' faces on them.
Galchenyuk, fourth on the team with 10 goals and 23 points, will miss six weeks with a broken hand sustained during a game Jan. 6 against the Florida Panthers.
Bergevin, speaking during the Canadiens' optional morning skate Wednesday prior to their game at Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN), said he will look at the current roster for someone to step into Galchenyuk's role before investigating any trades.
"We always look within first," Bergevin said. "A player like Alex you don't, unless you want to give up the house, the farm, to replace him, it's impossible. You look at Tampa Bay when they lost [Steven] Stamkos … he's not Stamkos but I'm just saying. [Phoenix Coyotes captain] Shane Doan went out for a while. You don't replace these players. You just give more guys ice time and they have to come through for you."
PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens had eight players named to their respective countries' rosters for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the second-most of any team in the Eastern Conference and tied for the fourth-most of any NHL team.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin sees that as a point of pride, but he won't take a lot of credit for it. Instead, he points to Trevor Timmins, the team's director of amateur scouting.
Timmins and his staff were responsible for drafting four of the eight players picked -- forward Max Pacioretty (United States); defensemen Alexei Emelin (Russia) and P.K. Subban (Canada); and goaltender Carey Price (Canada). Forward Tomas Plekanec (Czech Republic) and defenseman Andrei Markov (Russia) were picked by the Canadiens prior to Timmins joining the organization in 2002. The only players not drafted by the Canadiens to make an Olympic team were backup goalie Peter Budaj (Slovakia), signed as a free agent in 2011, and defenseman Raphael Diaz (Switzerland), a free-agent signee who never was drafted and made his NHL debut with the Canadiens in the 2011-12 season.
"[Six] of those guys were Montreal draft picks and most of them were drafted by Trevor's staff," Bergevin said. "Our drafting, from Day 1 when I got here, was the way to build a team. This shows we are on the right track."
With the long-awaited unveiling of the Russian team that will look to defend home soil at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said the reality of what will come next month is starting to set in.
"Every day it's getting closer," Ovechkin said during a conference call Tuesday. "All my friends are calling and asking what's happening, who's going to be on the team. I'm very excited. I'm very happy to be on the roster, very excited to represent my country in my country at the Olympic Games."
Ovechkin will be a central figure not just on the Russian hockey team, but the entire Russian Olympic delegation. He was the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch when it left Greece in August.
Russia will be expected to contend for the gold medal and the pressure on the team will be extreme. However, Ovechkin said he's trying to ignore that pressure as best he can.
"I don't think about it," he said. "I don't want to take the pressure right now on me. Soon I'm going to feel all kinds of pressure on myself, on the team and on the coaching staff. Right now I don't think about it. But it's hard to do because every time I get the news on the Internet it's all about the Olympic Games and all that kind of stuff. The fans and media, everybody wants more information, wants more news about the team and about the rosters."
Germany’s Frederik Tiffels had a goal and an assist and Marvin Cupper made 34 saves as Germany beat Norway 3-1 Sunday to survive the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Top 2014 NHL Draft prospect Leon Draisaitl had two assists and Dominik Kahun and Patrick Klopper each had a goal as Germany won the final game of the best-of-three relegation series and will take part in the 2015 WJC in Montreal and Toronto.
It will be the third straight year Germany remains at the top level of elite under-20 international hockey, the longest such streak since a run from 1992-98.
“It’s awesome," Draisaitl told the IIHF website. "It’s our goal to be a top-10 nation and that’s what we did [Sunday]. It’s going to be probably the greatest experience you’ll ever have next year, playing in Toronto and Montreal. Those are huge cities. They’re crazy about hockey. We’re just really happy about what we did today."
Sweden forward Jesper Pettersson has been suspended by the IIHF Disciplinary Panel for the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday against Finland (1 p.m ET, NHLN-US).
Pettersson was suspended for leaving the penalty box to engage in an altercation with a Russian player during Sweden’s 2-1 win against Russia in the semifinals on Saturday.
Pettersson had been in the penalty box after being whistled for slashing with 19 seconds left in the game. When the final buzzer sounded, Pettersson left the penalty box and entered a scrum along the wall. Pettersson grabbed Russia’s Andrei Mironov and the pair began exchanging punches.
Russia scored twice in the first period and Andrey Vasilevskiy shut down the Canadian offense as Russia won the bronze medal at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 2-1 win Sunday at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.
Mikhail Grigorenko and Eduard Gimatov each had a goal and Vasilevskiy made 30 saves as Russia ended Canada's medal hopes in the third-place game for the second straight tournament. At the 2013 WJC, Russia beat Canada 6-5 in overtime in the bronze-medal game.
It also marked the fourth straight tournament in which Canada lost to Russia in the medal round, following a 5-3 loss in the 2011 gold-medal game and a 6-5 loss in the semifinals in 2012.
The win gave Russia a medal in nine of the past 10 World Juniors. They've also medaled in four straight tournaments, with gold in 2011, silver in 2012 and now back-to-back bronze medals.
When it comes to European-based international hockey, the best rivalry could be the one between Sweden and Finland.
"It's a dream final for us, Finland and Sweden," Finland forward Henri Ikonen told reporters following his team’s 5-1 win against Canada on Saturday in the semifinals. "It's a great rivalry. Young players like ourselves can't imagine a better situation than that. Hopefully I can sleep well [Saturday]."
That acrimony will be at its highest level Sunday when the two countries play at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden, in the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship (1 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). It will be preceded by the bronze-medal game between Canada and Russia (9 a.m. ET, NHLN-US).
Finland scored three times in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory against Canada on Saturday at Malmo Arena in the semifinals of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Finland will face Sweden in the gold-medal game Sunday (1 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). It's the first time Finland will play for the gold since losing to the Czech Republic in the 2001 championship game.
Finland last won WJC gold in 1998.
"It's a dream final for us, Finland and Sweden," Finland forward Henri Ikonen told the IIHF website. "It's a great rivalry. Young players like ourselves can't imagine a better situation than that. Hopefully I can sleep well [Saturday]."
It's a big comeback for Finland, which finished seventh at the 2013 WJC and hasn't won a medal since taking the bronze in 2006.
Canada will play Sunday (9 a.m. ET, NHLN-US) in the bronze-medal game against Russia for the second straight year. Russia beat Canada 6-5 in overtime in the third-place game at the 2013 World Juniors in Ufa, Russia, snapping Canada's 15-year streak of winning a medal at the WJC.
Griffin Reinhart showed again why he was worth the wait for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The defenseman had a goal and an assist to lead Canada to a 4-1 win against Switzerland on Thursday in a quarterfinal game played at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden, and a spot in the semifinals.
Reinhart sat out the first three games of the tournament while serving the carryover of a four-game suspension for a high-sticking incident during the semifinals of the 2013 World Juniors.
After a solid defensive performance in the 3-2 win against the United States on New Year's Eve to finish preliminary-round play, Reinhart, taken by the New York Islanders with the fourth pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, showcased more of his skills Thursday.
Since Brent Sutter was named coach of Canada's team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, he has preached getting better every day.
That included Wednesday, when he put his team through a rough practice in preparation for its quarterfinal game against Switzerland on Thursday (11 a.m. ET, NHLN-US) at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden.
"When you get to this point, every game is like a Game 7," Sutter told Canadian Press. "We have to make sure our emotions are in control and our details are good. It doesn't matter who your opponent is, you have to be at the top of your game. We've got to practice like it's for keeps. You can't just turn a switch on."
Canada rallied for a 3-2 win against the United States on Tuesday to earn the top spot in Group A and a medal-round opener against Switzerland, which finished fourth in Group B.
Canada got a pair of goals 2:19 apart early in the third period to rally for a 3-2 win against the United States on Tuesday in the finale of preliminary-round play in Group A at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The win gave Canada first place in Group A and a spot in the quarterfinals Thursday against Switzerland (11 a.m. ET, NHLN-US), which finished fourth in Group B.
Canada has beaten the U.S. seven straight times in preliminary-round play, a stretch that dates to the 1999 World Junior Championship.
Riley Barber and Stefan Matteau scored for the Americans and goalie Jon Gillies made 21 saves. The U.S. finished second in Group A and will play Russia, the third-place team in Group B, on Thursday in the quarterfinals (6 a.m. ET, NHLN-US).
Dominik Simon scored the winning goal in the shootout, giving the Czech Republic a 5-4 win against Canada in a preliminary-round game Saturday in Group A of the 2014 World Junior Championship played at Malmo Issatadion.
Simon skated in on Paterson and deked forehand to backhand. As he skated to the left, Paterson followed him but Simon left the puck on his backhand and tucked it behind Paterson for the winner.
"As soon as the coach told me I was taking the shootout, I knew I was going to do it," Simon told the IIHF website. "It was the last shot, so I knew the goalie would react to my first move so I moved to the forehand and then went back. Fortunately, it was successful.
"I haven't tried it a lot but it's harder in practice because the goalie isn't scared of your moves. You look like a jerk when it doesn't work, but in a game it's a good play.”
The Czechs led the game four different times en route to the nation's first WJC win against Canada since 1993, when the country was known as Czechoslovakia.
"You always want to win the first game of the tournament," Anderson said on TSN. "Now we're just looking forward to the next game."
Dorian Saeftel and Janik Moser scored for Germany. Goalie Marvin Cupper, who plays for the Shawinigan Cataractes in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, made 23 saves.
Germany scored the game's first goal 95 seconds into the game and tied the game 2-2 with 4:01 left in the first period, but Canada scored twice in a 53-second span to take a lead it would not relinquish.
"The first seven or eight minutes were [slow]," Canada coach Brent Sutter said on TSN. "Then we started playing the game, doing things the way we talked about the way we wanted to do it. We started making plays, making passes stick to stick, having speed through the neutral zone, being a better puck-possession team, creating opportunities offensively."
PHILADELPHIA -- One day after his team lost its second straight game and fifth in its past eight, Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo wasn't very revealing about what his lineup would look like Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
"There will be some changes," Yeo said. "It's going to be a surprise. I love surprises."
There wasn’t much of a surprise in their results Sunday against the New York Rangers, a 4-1 loss. It marked the seventh time in the past 14 games the Wild had scored one goal or fewer.
"Mikko is a skilled player and he needs skilled players with him," Yeo said. "You look around the League, we're not the only team to do that. First-line centermen generally are going to play with first-line wingers. Skilled players need to play with skilled players, that's what it comes down to."
Mason was a third-round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft (No. 69) of the Blue Jackets and spent his first five NHL seasons in Columbus. As a rookie in 2008-09 he backstopped the Blue Jackets to the franchise's only berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and won the Calder Trophy as the League's best rookie.
He never reached that level of play again, however. While his physical skills didn't diminish much, RJ Umberger, Mason's teammate and roommate for five years with the Blue Jackets, said the raised expectations began to affect the goaltender mentally.
"He almost hurt himself by having such a great rookie year," Umberger said. "He brought us into the playoffs [then] he struggled with trying to find his game in his own head. He had a lot of different tweaks, a lot of different people working with him. It became too much for him."
Rather than sit and stew too long on that game Sunday at Verizon Center, Berube said he was happy to be back at it against the Capitals again Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).
“It’s always good to get back right away and play,” Berube said. “I know the guys are hungry to get back and play.”
Upon a second viewing of the game, Berube said the problems in the third period was more of what his team didn’t do rather than what the Capitals did to them.
“I didn’t think there was a whole lot wrong [with the third period],” Berube said. “We weren’t under siege or under pressure. I thought that we stopped making some plays and plays were there to be made that would have put us down in their end and put some more pressure on them but we didn’t do that.”
The Flyers had recalled forward Tye McGinn from their American Hockey League team when Vincent Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. However, McGinn brought some bad germs with him and hasn't been able to play, so with the team in need of an extra healthy body, they went for VandeVelde.
VandeVelde was one of the Flyers' final cuts from training camp. He had seven goals and six assists in 23 games with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate.
"Just from training camp and when I saw him in a couple exhibition games," Flyers coach Craig Berube said, "he was a good-sized centerman, penalty killer. Seems like he's a smart player."
PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers will have something in common when they meet Thursday at Wells Fargo Center. Both teams will be looking to move past dismal previous performances.
"You'll see two teams that want to bounce back from their last performance," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "That should be a good hockey game."
Therrien said knowing the character of his team, he's confident the players will return with a better effort Thursday.
"Games like that one we played last game, it happens to every team," Therrien said. "It's a matter of how you bounce back, how's your attitude. I like the team attitude we got and I expect we're going to bounce back from that performance. We got a lot of character and we want to bounce back. They can't wait for the opportunity to play again to make sure that's behind us."
As young hockey players, Bill Guerin and Doug Weight were drawn to hockey in part to the success of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" United States Olympic hockey team.
Today, though, both know that no miracle would be needed for the U.S. to win the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"I think where we are now with USA Hockey, I don't think it would be a miracle anymore and I don't think it would shock the world," Guerin said Monday, prior to his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. "That's the position USA Hockey has put itself in. We go not only to compete but to win. We expect to win."
DETROIT -- There’s a special bond between Detroit native Doug Weight and Peter Karmanos Jr., who is such a large part of the amateur hockey scene there.
Karmanos founded the Compuware hockey organization, and Weight played with and against those teams growing up.
Years later, the duo was reunited when the Carolina Hurricanes acquired Weight from the St. Louis Blues late in the 2005-06 NHL season. Weight had 13 points in 16 regular-season games then 16 in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help the Hurricanes win their only Stanley Cup.
DETROIT -- Growing up in Detroit, Doug Weight likely would have found his way onto a hockey rink eventually. But a suggestion from the family physician paved the way to a career that landed him in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Weight told reporters that when he learned to walk he was bowlegged, and at the suggestion of a doctor, his father put him into hockey.
“I was in these braces when I was 2 years old and couldn’t walk,” Weight said. “I was bowlegged. [My father] started putting me on the ice to strengthen my legs on a suggestion from a doctor.”
DETROIT -- Ron Mason was there for the giant landscape change in NCAA hockey.
Mason’s 36-season college coaching career started at Lake Superior State University in 1966, and he said most of his players came from just over the border in Ontario. It was a similar situation when he went to Bowling Green State University in 1973.
“When I started coaching, I was in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and we had a few kids from the Soo, but most of them were from across the road in Ontario,” Mason said. “When I went to Bowling Green, we were mostly Canadians."
Guerin is in his third season as Penguins player development coach, where he’s worked with the team’s prospects at all levels. He said it’s been a good learning experience for him and the best opportunity possible to learn how an NHL front office works.
“I’m trying not to get ahead of myself,” Guerin said Monday prior to his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. “I really want to take the next step of my career slowly. I’m trying to be a little more methodical about it and make sure I do it the right way. I want to climb the ladder eventually, but to what spot I don’t know.”
DETROIT -- United States Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Cindy Curley and Bill Guerin went out of their ways Monday to mention how important New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello was in the growth of their careers.
Lamoriello was the men’s hockey coach and athletic director at Providence College during Curley’s time as a player at the school. Curley said few people at that time were as dedicated to the advancement of women’s hockey as Lamoriello.
“He did so much for that school and promoting hockey,” Curley said. “All hockey, women’s hockey, men’s hockey. I think he was way ahead of his time by treating the women’s program equally to the men’s program.”
DETROIT -- Cindy Curley couldn’t believe the call when it came from USA Hockey. In fact, she really didn’t believe what executive director Dave Ogrean was telling her.
“I thought he was calling me for some arbitration panel,” she said Monday prior to her induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. “Then he told me [it was the Hall of Fame], and I thought, ‘He has the wrong person.’ I didn’t want to volunteer, this is Cindy Curley, you probably called me by mistake.”
DETROIT -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he was proud of all five members of the 2013 induction class for the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, but he was most excited that Peter Karmanos Jr. was receiving one of hockey's highest honors.
"I consider Pete to be a great friend," Bettman told NHL.com. "It's nice to see somebody who's contributed to the game at all levels get recognized, not just for his ownership of the Hurricanes and winning a Stanley Cup, but the fact that at the grassroots level, teaching thousands of kids how to play the game and how to excel at the game has been immeasurable in terms of the growth of the game."
DETROIT -- Things are set up here at the Sound Board Theater at the Motor City Casino for the United States Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Former NHL stars Bill Guerin and Doug Weight; former Michigan State University men's hockey coach Ron Mason; Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr.; and former United States women's hockey star Cindy Curley represent the Class of 2013.
Also being honored Monday is long-time NHL writer Kevin Allen, who will receive the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States.
Winning five of six like the Flyers have generally puts a smile on people's faces.
"When you're winning it's definitely a better atmosphere," Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier said. "I think we're having a lot of fun out there. We're working hard but we're smiling. We're just playing. ... I think everything snowballs in a good way. When things go well you feel better out there individually and as a team."
Ivan Barbashev, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, was named to Russia's roster for the 2013 Subway Super Series games.
Russia will play six games across Canada -- two each against all-star teams from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League.
The Super Series games are part of the decision-making process toward picking the team that will represent Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden. That tournament runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014.
QMJHL fans certainly know about Barbashev, who plays for the Moncton Wildcats. A 6-foot-1, 185-pound left wing, Barbashev is tied for ninth in the QMJHL with 29 points in 20 games. His 19 assists lead Moncton and he also has 10 goals.
Sam Reinhart, expected to be one of the first players taken at the 2014 NHL Draft, will play in both games for the Western Hockey League against Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series.
Reinhart, a 6-foot-0.75, 185-pound center with the Kootenay Ice, is fifth in the WHL with 34 points in 21 games. He received an "A" rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary list of players to watch for the 2014 draft from the WHL.
The Super Series games against Russia will be played Nov. 27 in Red Deer, Alberta, and Nov. 28 in Lethbridge, Alberta. The games are part of Canada's decision-making process toward picking the team that will play for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden. That tournament runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014.
Sam Reinhart, expected to be one of the first players taken at the 2014 NHL Draft, was named Monday to the preliminary roster the Western Hockey League will use in its portion of the 2013 Subway Super Series.
Reinhart, a 6-foot-0.75, 185-pound center with the Kootenay Ice, is fourth in the WHL with 28 points in 17 games. He received an "A" rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary list of players to watch for the 2014 draft from the WHL.
Five players taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft highlight the team the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will field for its two games against Team Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series.
Games will be played Nov. 18 in Gatineau, Quebec, and Nov. 20 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The games serve as another step in the evaluation process used by Canada to pick its team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, expected to be one of the top players picked at the 2014 NHL Draft, is one of 13 players who will skate in both games for Team Ontario Hockey League during the Subway Super Series against Team Russia.
A 6-foot-3, 216-pound defenseman, Ekblad has six goals and seven assists in 14 games, and received an "A" rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary list of players to watch from the OHL. He also is the only player eligible for the 2014 draft that will play in both games, which serve as another step in the evaluation process used by Canada to pick its team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
PHILADELPHIA -- While much has been made of the Philadelphia Flyers' inability to generate much offense -- they enter their game Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks 28th in the League with an average of 1.80 goals per game -- their defense quietly has rounded into shape.
Canada's coaching staff for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will have a big hand in the next step in the selection process for the team that will go to Malmo, Sweden for this year's tournament.
Brent Sutter, who will coach the team as it looks to return to the medal stand after finishing fourth at the 2013 WJC, will serve as coach for the two games the Western Hockey League stars will play against Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series.
Sutter, who coaches the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, will lead the team in games Nov. 27 in Red Deer, Alberta, and Nov. 28 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Serving as Sutter's assistant coach in those games will be Kootenay Ice coach Ryan McGill, who also will be on Sutter's staff for the WJC.
In the ensuing two days, the players came to a greater understanding of how Berube -- elevated from assistant coach Monday after Peter Laviolette was fired -- wants them to play. They now feel far more comfortable heading into their game Friday against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.
"I think we worked really hard," forward Scott Hartnell said. "We were focused the time we were on the ice. We had a few meetings. I think everyone felt a little uncomfortable with the new system, but after a few days of practice everyone should be dialed in. We just have to get things done."
Berube said he didn't expect the players to have everything down pat after two practices, but what he has seen so far has been positive.
"I like the work and the skating of it," he said. "The system will be a bit more sound in their head after practicing. I like the work. Guys put in good work. The skating was good."
PHILADELPHIA -- As a player, Craig Berube made his NHL debut as a member of the Flyers in Philadelphia. Tuesday night, a day after being named the Flyers new bench boss, his NHL coaching debut will also take place in the City of Brotherly Love.
But the 47-year-old recently-named Flyers coach is a long way removed from March 22, 1987, when he had no points and 16 penalty minutes against the Pittsburgh Penguins as a 21-year-old rookie with the Flyers.
"As a player I was young, I was probably a lot more nervous than I am now," said Berube, who was promoted from his assistant position Monday to replace the fired Peter Laviolette. "I'm an old man now."
Berube said that being an assistant coach at the NHL level for six seasons, as well as a head coach for parts of two seasons in the American Hockey League, has him feeling prepared for his NHL head coaching debut Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.
"I've been behind the bench for a long time," he said. "I think my team is ready to compete and work hard."
According to the Miami Herald, the only change based on the team's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia appears to be Drew Shore replacing Krys Barch at right wing on Scott Gomez’s line.
It appears Tim Thomas will make the start in net, one game after allowing five goals on 28 shots in two periods. In eight career regular season games in Philadelphia, Thomas is 8-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. He's allowed 15 goals in those eight games.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers are set to begin their 2013-14 season against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night, and there appear to be some changes from what was seen during the preseason.
"I think both those guys in the preseason played really strong," Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk said. "The one [preseason] game in Detroit we hung him out to dry a little bit. He's really solid. You notice it in practice, even trying to score on him then, he doesn't give you much to shoot at and he really competes in there."
Injures to his back and shoulder, as well as a torn Achilles tendon, has limited him 12 games since March 1, 2012. He played 11 games last season.
"I'm really excited," he told NHL.com after taking part in the team's optional skate Wednesday. "I can't wait to play again. It's been a while. Preseason is over, so now I'm ready to go and it should be fun."
PHILADELPHIA -- After a full training camp and a few preseason games, Vincent Lecavalier has grown familiar with his new orange jersey.
However, he said it will be a different feeling when he skates onto the ice here at Wells Fargo Center for his first regular season game as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I'm definitely really excited," Lecavalier said. "Any opening night, especially when it's your first game with a new team, it's definitely extra special. I've never been through it. I've had a lot of great years in Tampa but I'm happy to be here. I think we have a great hockey team and I'm just excited to start."
Lecavalier, who will start centering the second line between Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, said he hasn't needed to change much of his game to adjust to new teammates and a new style of play.
"It was their choice," he said. "We've been practicing hard here, going at it pretty hard here. Whatever they wanted to do to get ready to play."
It's been a long time since the Flyers played a meaningful game, and a few players said they felt a little extra jump in their step when they got to the arena Wednesday.
"It's been a while waiting here," captain Claude Giroux said. "A long summer. You think about it a lot in the summer. Last year, not being happy with the results, every day thinking about it, and today's the day. I think everybody is pretty excited."
The 25-year-old, who joined the team in April after a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, went 4-2-0 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in seven games.
"Both goaltenders played well," Laviolette said. "We have to have a starting point here. Steve came here at the end of last year and really played terrific for us. Either one of them could have started, but we had to choose. Based on what Steve did at the end of last year, and the way Steve came into camp in shape, and the way he played through camp … both goaltenders, you could make a case for either one. We had to start somewhere and we decided to go with Steve. He had a great camp and he's ready to go."
PHILADELPHIA --Steve Mason and Ray Emery are new teammates, but they're in a very familiar situation.
The two parts of the Philadelphia Flyers' goaltending tandem started training camp on equal footing in the quest for playing time, and it's a situation both should be used to.
Last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mason started the season battling Sergei Bobrovsky for playing time. It was a battle Bobrovsky eventually won, which led to Mason's arrival in Philadelphia at the trade deadline.
At the same time Mason was competing with Bobrovsky, Emery was doing the same with Chicago Blackhawks teammate Corey Crawford for time in net. That situation was a bit different as Emery pushed Crawford all season, and Crawford only emerged as the No. 1 option when Emery was sidelined late in the regular season and at the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a lower-body injury.
Mason received his new mask Thursday, a zombie-themed creation that features a number of Revolutionary War-era historical figures.
"I feel like a kid on Christmas morning," the goaltender said.
"I'm very impressed," Mason told NHL.com. "He [artist Franny Drummond] had sent me photos throughout the week so I knew what to expect, but when you see something in person for the first time, knowing the amount of hours Franny had put into the helmet, it's pretty impressive to see it in person."
PHILADELPHIA -- Claude Giroux wasn't a full participant in the first-day, on-ice activities at Philadelphia Flyers training camp, but he continued to make progress in his recovery from surgery to repair two torn tendons in his right index finger.
Giroux sustained the injury during a golf outing Aug. 15 and had surgery that day to repair the damage. The Flyers announced he would need five to six weeks of time to recover, but Thursday he was able to move the puck around more than he thought he would.
"It felt better than I thought," he said. "I wasn't too sure what I would be able to do. I was handling the puck and it was feeling good. I started passing it and it felt pretty good, and it still feels good."
PHILADELPHIA -- Daniel Cleary had an invitation in hand from the Philadelphia Flyers to attend their training camp, but instead he'll be staying in a place he never wanted to leave.
Cleary on Thursday signed a one-year contract to remain with the Detroit Red Wings. Terms of the deal were not released, but the Detroit Free Press reported the value to be $1.75 million.
"We think we're a better team with [Cleary]," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com. "He's versatile on the wing, he's good in the locker room. In the end, he flew up [Wednesday] to meet with [coach Mike Babcock] and I at the airport [in Traverse City, Mich.] and his message was he wanted to be a Red Wing and he wanted to work with us."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Heading into this week, Canada coach Brent Sutter said he had a feeling the game Saturday against United States had a chance to be a rough one for his team.
"It's Day 5 or Day 6 of a training camp," Sutter said following his team's 5-1 loss. "These kids have two practices come in here and play three games in four days. I was worried about this game going into it with our mental and physical side of it. Usually that Day 5 or Day 6, a player kind of hits a wall a little bit and I thought we hit a wall today with it a little bit. Some players' play was not at the level you wish it would have been."
However, Sutter wasn't going to let one bad game ruin what he believed was a positive week as far as the early stages of evaluating the players that ultimately will make up the roster of the team that represents Canada in Malmo, Sweden at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
This week also marked a shift in philosophy for construction of the team, as Hockey Canada elected to move away from past practices of bringing in two teams' worth of players and having them play against each other in high-intensity intrasquad games. Instead, after two days of practicing in Brossard, Quebec, the team shifted here for games against the United States, Finland and Sweden.
"I think it's a great format for us," Sutter said. "I think the change was great. It's good to do what we did. You get a better read and better feel for guys. From my perspective, you're right with the group all the time, you're coaching the group. You get a better feel on the bench where guys are at and who might fit better with who. It's different when you go to a Red/White format; then your head coach isn't involved with coaching either team because you want to watch. When you're on the bench with the guys you get a better feel. The whole week has been great.
"[Saturday] you lose a hockey game, but at the same time you get to evaluate, too, and see the group do it together the whole week. There was a lot of positives coming out of this for the way it was set up and the format we did."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The USA Hockey staff charged with picking the team that will go to Sweden for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship spent this week seeing which players fit into the best roles not only on the ice, but off it as well.
That includes early assessments of who could provide leadership, and among the early candidates for team captain is defenseman Patrick Sieloff.
Sieloff, one of three players from the 2013 WJC team that won the gold medal back for this year's camp (forward Riley Barber and goaltender Jon Gillies are the others), never made it onto the score sheet, but he was the team's most physical defenseman and one of the key parts of a penalty-killing unit that got better as the week went on, culminating in a perfect 9-for-9 performance in a 5-1 win against Canada on Saturday.
Sieloff, a 2012 second-round pick (No. 42) of the Calgary Flames, said he hasn't thought far enough ahead yet to consider himself captain of a team he still hasn't made yet.
"At the end of the day I'm here first to make the team and then just do whatever they ask me to do," Sieloff told NHL.com. "If it comes down to [being captain], than absolutely. I'm here to play my game and see how it plays out."
USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations Jim Johansson, who will serve as general manager of the WJC team, said Sieloff filled a leadership role this week at the national junior evaluation camp.
"He has great leadership qualities," Johansson said. "He's a guy that you end up talking more and more to about getting messages through to his teammates. He does it on and off the ice. He's a guy that we will look for for leadership. … Sitting here today, he's a candidate to fill that role and be a guy that helps lead this team."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The rivalry between Finland and Sweden is a deep and sometimes bitter one when it comes to hockey. That's why there was some extra yelling and cheering from Finland after their 3-2 shootout defeat of Sweden on Saturday.
For the group of 1994- and 1995-born Finnish players, it was the first time in five years of top-level international hockey, dating to under-16 tournaments, that they had beaten their counterparts of the same age from Sweden.
"It felt great," Juuso Ikonen, who scored the winner in the shootout, told NHL.com. "It was a good game for us. This wasn't a big tournament, but it still feels good."
Teuvo Teravainen, who scored a pair of goals, each of which tied the game, said the post-game celebration in the locker room was extra loud and long.
"It's always a big thing to beat Sweden," he told NHL.com. "They're tough battles every time. I think we haven't beaten Sweden so much. It was an awesome win."
However, Paterson does have one advantage on the competition -- he's the only one of the three to have played on a world junior championship team.
Paterson, a 2012 third-round (No. 80) pick of the Detroit Red Wings, was the third goaltender on Canada's WJC team that finished fourth at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. While he never dressed for a game, he said he did learn something from going through the process.
"It's how tough the tournament is to win," he said. "It's a one-game elimination. I learned last year you have to be at your best every single game."
He might not have been at his best Saturday, allowing five goals on 25 shots in a 5-1 loss to the United States, but Sutter said no result one way or the other in August was going to sway his decision on the final roster he'll lead at the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden.
Paterson will return to his club team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, knowing what's really important is how he starts the 2013-14 season.
"The biggest thing is trying to develop my game as much as I can and try have a good start to the season," he said. "It [WJC] is going to be in the back of anyone's head, that someone might be watching you. You're trying to make the team through the first four months of the season. I'm just looking forward to having a good start and everything will take of itself.
"Canada is filed with a bunch of good goaltenders so I know it'll be tough, but I'm looking forward to it."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Sam Reinhart and Conner McDavid got their first taste of play at the international under-20 level, and while they may have been the two youngest players in camp this week for Canada, they never looked out of place in the first part of their quest to make Canada's team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Reinhart scored Canada's lone goal in its 5-1 loss to the United States to close the camp Saturday, giving him a goal in both games he played.
"I'm very confident with how I played," Reinhart, the early leader to be the first pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, said. "I definitely gave myself some confidence going home now."
McDavid, bidding to become the sixth 16-year-old to play for Canada at the World Junior Championship, and first since Sidney Crosby in 2004, also looked impressive. He was held off the score sheet Saturday against the United States, but had a power-play goal Thursday against Sweden.
Like Reinhart, McDavid understands this junior evaluation camp was the first step to making the WJC team, and knows he needs a strong start with his club team, the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, if he wants to be on the team that goes to Malmo, Sweden in December.
"I thought I played all right against Sweden," he said. "[Saturday] I think was obviously a step back toward making this team, but still a long way to. I think if I can have a good start to the year I'll be all right."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Despite a lackluster final showing, Hockey Canada executives were pleased with how things went during the portion of the national junior evaluation camp spent here.
"It's been great," Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada's senior director of hockey operations and national teams, told NHL.com. "Any time you can play meaningful games in August when you're trying to evaluate players and prepare your team, it's a great experience."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The final game of this week's national junior evaluation camp features Finland and Sweden getting back injured players.
For Finland, top defenseman Olli Maatta returns to the lineup after missing most of the week with the flu. For Sweden, Oscar Dansk will be back in goal after missing a few days while recovering from taking a puck off his mask.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The United States finished its time on the ice here at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp with a solid 5-1 win against Canada
Already up 3-0, Quentin Shore scored his second of the game, this time on the power play, at 5:17 of the third when Adam Erne threw a pass through the slot that he was able to knock past Canada goalie Jake Paterson. Stefan Matteau made it 5-0 at 13:21 before Sam Reinhart scored for Canada.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The United States used more strong special-teams play to increase their lead against Canada to 3-0 after two periods here at Herb Brooks Arena.
Quentin Shore scored the period's only goal. With the Americans killing a penalty, Shore chased defenseman Derrick Pouliot deep into the Canadian zone, stripped him of the puck and rocketed a shot under the crossbar at 13:57. The U.S. got two late power-play goals in the first period to grab the lead.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- An even first period saw the momentum shift to the United States thanks to a pair of power-play goals in the final minute. Riley Barber and Ian McCoshen scored 47 seconds apart to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead against Canada after one period here at Herb Brooks Arena.
Barber scored at the 19-minute mark and McCoshen connected with 13 seconds left in the period, both on 5-on-3 power plays.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said Oscar Dansk, who has missed the past two games since being hit in the head by a shot in practice Monday, will start in goal in the team's final game of the national junior evaluation camp Saturday against Finland.
Gronborg also said forward Oskar Sundqvist, who sustained an injured neck when he collided with a metal stanchion at the end of the team's bench during a game against the United States earlier in the week, will play Saturday.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Hunter Shinkaruk grew up in Calgary and went to games at Scotiabank Saddledome, so when he saw the Flames walk to the podium at the 2013 NHL Draft to make the 22nd pick, he admits he was hopeful his name would be called.
Shinkaruk, who was No. 6 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American prospects, said he had expected to go in the top 15, maybe the top 10. But as the wait got longer, he actually got a bit hopeful knowing the Flames were coming up with their second of three first-round picks.
The Flames instead picked Gatineau Olympiques forward Emile Poirier, who has joined Shinkaruk to play for Canada at this week's national junior evaluation camp; Vancouver, with the 23rd pick, then chose Shinkaruk.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The first game on the final day of the USA Hockey National Evaluation Camp will feature Canada facing the United States.
Among the U.S. forward lines to watch is the trio of Quentin Shore centering Nicolas Kerdiles and Adam Erne. Erne had the game-tying goal and the shootout winner Thursday against Finland, while Kerdiles has been arguably the best American forward during the entire week of camp.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Finnish defenseman Julius Honka, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, told NHL.com on Saturday that he will play this season for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League.
Honka said the chance to be seen by more NHL scouts in his draft year was the biggest reason he opted to come to North America.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Despite a 7-3 loss to Canada on Thursday, Sweden coach Rickard Gronborg said he saw some positive things from his team.
"We did a great job of coming back from the 4-0 deficit to come back to a 4-3 situation at the start of the third period," he said. "In the third period we ran out of gas. A team like Canada, they'll take full advantage of that.
"We can't be slacking like that and have a period off or even time in a period off because they're going to capitalize right away. At the same time, I saw some good things last night with a short bench with injures. I saw some character coming back from 4-0 to 4-3 and make a game out of it. It's a game where you lose but you learn quite a bit from that loss."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --Tom Wilson and Scott Laughton knew before they arrived here for this phase of the national junior evaluation camp that they only would be playing the final game, Saturday against the United States.
While it hasn't been fun sitting out, they've tried to make the most of it.
"It's been pretty relaxing, but also I've been learning a lot," Wilson, taken by the Washington Capitals with the 16th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, told NHL.com. "I've been watching all I can during the games, learning during practices and trying to take in everything I can."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- United States coach Don Lucia had most of his players on the ice for practice Friday as the team prepared for its final game of the national junior evaluation camp, Saturday against Canada.
Lucia said he's watched parts of Canada's two games so far, wins against Finland and Sweden and said he's been impressed by what he's seen.
"They have a lot to choose from," he said. "The hard part for them is going to be which guys to select, ultimately. They're big, they're strong, they're talented -- kind of like they are every year. … They're obviously very deep."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It wasn't that long ago that Warren Rychel and Tie Domi were NHL players watching their sons start minor-hockey careers.
Now, Kerby Rychel and Max Domi are the future for Hockey Canada, and the dads still are watching and having fun.
"It's nice to sit up there," Warren Rychel told NHL.com. "I'm up there with Tie, we played together and we're good friends. … It's funny how they grew up, grew into men. First they're in midgets, the OHL draft, playing in international events, the NHL draft. Kind of goes real quick. It was good to see."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Canada's Connor McDavid will make his national junior evaluation camp debut Thursday against Sweden. The 16-year-old will start at center on a line with Max Domi on the left wing and Charles Hudon on the right side.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --Adam Erne scored twice in a shootout to give the United States a come-from-behind 4-3 win Thursday against Finland.
After Juuso Ikonen scored in the sixth round to give Finland the lead, Erne snapped a wrist shot past goalie Joonas Korpisalo to tie it. In the seventh round, U.S. goalie Anthony Stolarz poke-checked the puck away from Finland's Ville Leskinen. With a chance to win it, Erne deked and slid the puck between Korpisalo's pads.
The win capped a rally that saw the United States finally find some offense in the third period.
The United States continued to be its own worst enemy. The team failed to convert on four power plays, including a 65-second 5-on-3 advantage that saw the U.S. fail to produce a shot while barely earning any zone time. And two of the power plays were short-circuited by the Americans taking penalties.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The American players who skated Thursday morning weren't scheduled to play Thursday against Finland, but they did get a special treat. Joining them for practice was Meghan Duggan, a member of the U.S. national women's team.
"I'm here for two weeks working a camp and staying at the [Olympic] Training Center," she told NHL.com. "I told the director of our program that I'm going to be here and she spread word to JJ [Jim Johansson, national junior team general manager]. He grabbed me the first day I was here and said listen, Thursday, 10:45, if you want to jump out with the guys, you can. I'm just honored. USA Hockey is a big family. It was great for me to be out there."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The United States will go with a new-look roster Thursday against Finland. Among the changes is a heavyweight line that features Henrik Samuelsson centering left wing Boo Nieves and right wing Adam Erne.
Anthony Stolarz will start in goal for the U.S., with Thatcher Demko backing up. Coach Don Lucia did not attend the morning skate for extra players, so there's no way of knowing if Stolarz will play the full game, or split time similar to how Lucia used Jon Gillies and Demko on Wednesday against Sweden.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Hockey Canada enlisted Sean Burke to help with its Program of Excellence with the hope that some of the success he's had working with NHL goalies as the Phoenix Coyotes' goaltending coach will help the next generation of Canadian goaltenders.
So far, Burke said he's been impressed by what he's seen from Eric Comrie, Zachary Fucale and Jake Paterson, the three goalies skating with the team this week as part of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.
"We have three excellent goaltenders here, all guys that are capable of playing very well," Burke told NHL.com. "This is a great opportunity for us to observe these guys."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Though the United States lost 4-0 Wednesday to Sweden, coach Don Lucia said he was happy with the play of his two goalies, starter Jon Gillies and Thatcher Demko, who each played half the game.
"I thought they both made some real good saves tonight," Lucia said. "I'm not going to fault our goaltending in any way for the result of the game."
Gillies, a Calgary Flames prospect, finished with 19 saves on 22 shots in his 30 minutes. Demko, considered by some to be the top goaltending prospect in the 2014 NHL Draft class, stopped 16 of 17 shots.
Collberg twisted his right knee during the second period of a game Monday against the USA White squad. Sundqvist sustained a neck injury when he collided with a metal stanchion in the final seconds of the second period.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --Tobias Tornkvist, one of the top Swedish players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, scored the lone goal of the first period as Sweden took a 1-0 lead against the United States after one period here at Herb Brooks Arena.
Sweden out-shot the U.S. 13-7.
Each team had chances on its power play, but the American penalty killing was better than in previous split-squad games against Sweden. The U.S. killed both Sweden chances, including a hooking call on Stefan Matteau 20 seconds after Tornkvist's goal.
Girard crashed the net to poke in a loose puck at 3:39 to put Canada ahead 3-2, and then Brendan Gaunce got credit for a goal from the crease after new-look heavy line of Gaunce, Anthony Mantha and Kerby Rychel created havoc in the Finland zone.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Goals from Sam Reinhart and Frederik Gauthier in a 27-second span gave Canada a 2-1 lead after one period against Finland.
Finland took a 1-0 lead on their first shot when Henri Ikonen fed a pass from below the goal line to Kasper Kapanen alone in front, and the top 2014 NHL Draft prospect didn't miss, beating Canada goalie Eric Comrie 51 seconds into the game.
Canada evened the game when Reinhart, potentially the top pick in the 2014 draft, showcased his offensive skills. He skated the puck around the Finland zone, lost it, got it back, spun and fired a rocket of a shot that beat Finland goalie Juuse Saros at 10:11.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Finland will be without its top defenseman when it faces Canada on Wednesday here at Herb Brooks Arena.
Olli Maatta will sit out as Finland coach Karri Kivi gets a look at some of his other defensemen in high-level competition.
Finland also broke up its successful top line, shifting right wing Kasper Kapanen, a top 2014 NHL Draft prospect, to a line with center Topi Nattinen and left wing Henri Ikonen. Ville Leskinen will replace Kapanen on the right side of center Teuvo Teravainen and left wing Artturi Lehkonen.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --Brady Skjei has been a valuable player for the United States during this week's junior evaluation camp. Not only for his skill with the puck, but for his role in translating coach Don Lucia's instructions to his teammates.
Skjei is the only player on the United States roster to play for Lucia, the coach at the University of Minnesota. As a freshman at Minnesota last season, the defenseman and New York Rangers first-round draft pick (No. 28, 2012) had three points and a plus-11 rating in 36 games.
With that built-in knowledge of how Lucia wants to play the game, Skjei served as a solid buffer over the first few days of the camp as the players adjusted.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The players who won't be part of Canada's lineup Wednesday against Finland skated after the main group, then got a bit of extra time after their session ended.
A youth hockey camp was booked on the ice at Herb Brooks Arena, but coach Brent Sutter wasn't quite ready to leave -- so he kept his whistle at the ready and got his players in line for drills with the kids.
The Canadian juniors mixed seamlessly with the youngsters, who appeared to range in age from 10 to 12.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --Slater Koekkoek understood why he was left off Hockey Canada's original roster for the national junior team's summer evaluation camp. That isn't to say he liked not seeing his name there, however.
But an injury to New York Islanders prospect Adam Pelech opened a spot, and Koekkoek was more than happy to spend a week of his summer in Brossard, Quebec and now here as part of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.
"After the first list came out it was as bit discouraging, but I knew it had a big part to do with my shoulder," Koekkoek told NHL.com. "Now that I got it cleared and everything, it's good looking forward here."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With a smaller group for the first time, United States coach Don Lucia said Tuesday’s practice allowed him to really drill into his players how he wanted them play in all facets of the game.
"We got a lot accomplished today," he said after the 60-minute workout. "We had good tempo with our group. We tried to do some concepts with our guys, the way we want to try to play. It was the first time we've had the opportunity to do that. We got a lot of repetitions with that many guys on the ice. All in all, a good practice."
With six lines of forwards and five pairs of defensemen, it was tough for him to keep his eyes on everybody at all times, but Lucia said one line that continued to stand out was the trio of Daniel O'Regan centering Nicolas Kerdiles and Riley Barber.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Hours after arriving here, Canada was on the ice Tuesday afternoon for its first practice, and already announced its lineup for its first game, Wednesday against Finland.
Eric Comrie, who missed most of last season with a hip injury, will get the start in goal, with Zachary Fucale serving as the backup. Jake Paterson, who was the third goalie on the team that finished fourth in Sochi, Russia, at the 2013 World Junior Championship, will be a healthy scratch.
Also getting into the game will be Sam Reinhart, who will play right wing on a line with center Brendan Gaunce and left wing Kerby Rychel. Reinhart is the early leader to be the first pick of the 2014 NHL Draft.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It was good news for a pair of Sweden players injured Monday during the second period of the team's 4-3 defeat of USA Blue.
Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg reported that forwards Oskar Sundqvist and Sebastian Collberg were feeling better Tuesday. However, neither player was on the ice for the team's optional on-ice practice, and Gronborg said both likely will would sit out Wednesday against Finland.
Sundqvist collided with the metal stanchion at the end of the Sweden bench near the end of the second period, but Gronborg said the Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick was feeling better Tuesday.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Tuesday began with 12 players being sent home from the National Junior Evaluation Camp as USA Hockey trimmed its camp roster from 43 to 31 players.
"As a staff, we have been happy with the players' intensity and compete level," Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations and the general manager of the 2014 United States national junior team. "The players released today will continue to be evaluated this fall for Team USA. For the players that are staying, the games this week give us an opportunity to continue assessing them."
Of the 31 players remaining, there are 18 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goalies. The only goalie released was Collin Olson, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect. In two games for USA White, Olson allowed three goals on 32 shots, but stopped all 15 shots he faced Monday in a 5-2 win against Finland.
With Finnish star Teuvo Teravainen in the penalty box, Cammarata controlled the puck just to the right of Finland goalie Joonas Korpisalo. With the defense focused on Cammarata, he sent the puck through the slot to Stepan, who tapped it into an open net at 6:22.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said center Oskar Sundqvist had a head and neck injury after hitting a corner metal stanchion in the second period of the game Monday against USA Blue, but did not need to go to the hospital.
Sundqvist, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, was carrying the puck down the right side of the ice with USA Blue forward Vincent Hinostroza tracking him. Hinostroza attempted to angle Sundqvist off the puck along the wall, but instead the Swedish forward collided with the stanchion near the end of the Swedish bench in a play reminiscent to the one that injured the Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty in 2011.
Sundqvist remained face-down on the ice for several moments, but eventually was able to get off the ice and walk to the locker room under his own power.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- USA White will juggle a few of its lines and defense pairings for Monday's game against Finland, while the Finnish lineup will look mostly the same from its first game, a 6-5 overtime win against USA Blue on Sunday.
Collin Olson will start in goal for USA White, and play about half the game. Jon Gillies, who started Sunday in a 4-2 loss to Sweden, will play the second half of the game.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- USA Blue made a strong push late for the tying goal, but Sweden was able to escape with a 4-3 win Monday at Herb Brooks Arena.
Alexander Wennberg gave Sweden a 4-2 lead with a shot from the slot that rocketed off the crossbar, dropped behind goalie Anthony Stolarz and dribbled across the goal line at 10:13. After a replay review, the goal counted.
USA Blue got within one on a nice individual effort by Vincent Hinostroza. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect carried the puck down low in the Sweden end, beat two Swedish players in a battle along the end boards, went behind the net and fed the puck to Will Butcher above the left circle. His shot beat goalie Marcus Hogberg at 17:43 to make it 4-3.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- A wild second period saw Sweden extend its lead to 3-0 before USA Blue rallied for a pair of goals to make it a 3-2 game after 40 minutes.
Besides the goals, however, were serious injuries to three players. USA Blue forward Stefan Matteau was knocked out of the game when he was hit hard in the head by Sweden's Anton Lindholm. Matteau turned in the defensive zone to receive a pass, and when he started up the ice, Lindholm appeared to launch himself into Matteau, making contact with the head of the New Jersey Devils prospect. Matteau remained on the ice for a few moments before skating off the ice and walking back to the locker room.
Lindholm was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- United States coach Don Lucia stressed improvement on the penalty kill with his players Monday morning, but after one period against Sweden, the USA Blue squad obviously needs more work.
Sweden got a pair of power-play goals from Sebastian Collberg to take a 2-0 lead after one period.
The other main change comes in goal, where Thatcher Demko will start. He relieved starter Anthony Stolarz on Sunday and allowed five goals on 19 shots. Stolarz will play the second half of the game; he stopped 14 of 15 shots Sunday.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With five games in seven days, Finland coach Karri Kivi is approaching this week's National Junior Evaluation Camp like a mini-tournament.
"It's like a tournament," Kivi told NHL.com. "I'd like to see how they handle it."
They started off nicely Sunday with a 6-5 overtime win against USA Blue.
Kivi, who coached Assat to the SM-liiga championship last season, said he didn't follow Finland at the 2013 World Junior Championship, when the team finished a disappointing seventh. Because of that, he said what happened in the past is done and it's time to move on.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- One of the early standouts at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation camp has been Daniel O'Regan, who scored twice in USA Blue's 6-5 overtime loss to Finland on Sunday, and nearly had a hat trick.
O'Regan's line -- he skated at center between Nicolas Kerdiles and Riley Barber -- looked the best of any of the two USA squads. The trio combined for two goals and five assists.
"The line with O'Regan and Kerdiles and Barber, I thought, was very good," USA coach Don Lucia said Sunday. "That's something we were hoping to see, them generate offense, and they did [Sunday]."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The third day of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp was more education in how coach Don Lucia wants his players to play.
USA White was the only group to take the ice Monday in preparation for their game against Finland (4:15 p.m. ET) here at Herb Brooks Arena. USA Blue stayed off the ice while getting ready for their game against Sweden (1 p.m. ET).
The big lesson for the day was on the penalty kill. Both games Sunday turned on how the two USA squads handled the opposition power play. In USA White's 4-2 loss to Sweden, they allowed three goals on nine Swedish power plays.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- While he didn't do anything that showed up on the score sheet, defenseman Connor Clifton, a 2013 fifth-round pick (No. 133) of the Phoenix Coyotes, certainly made his presence known for USA White in Sunday’s game against Sweden.
Clifton was a strong presence in the defensive zone, blocking shots, being physical and having a smart stick in the passing lanes.
"The big thing I noticed about Connor was his work ethic," USA White defenseman Patrick Sieloff told NHL.com. "He's a guy that's going to get in your face. He likes to make that hit if it's there. He's going to be an agitator. He keeps it simple but he's got that mean streak to him."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- After watching his players in action in two games Sunday, United States coach Don Lucia started the evaluation process for what could end up as his roster for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
While the final scores didn't go the way he wanted -- USA White lost 4-2 to Sweden and USA Blue was beaten 6-5 in overtime by Finland -- Lucia said there was a lot to like.
"We've had one 45-minute practice, that's it," Lucia said. "We wanted to spend most of the time worrying about evaluating what we have. That's the whole point, especially early in the week before we make some cuts. [Have the players] do the things they did, why they were selected to come here. Let's not worry so much about systems, go play. We gave them a little bit of a structure [and] 5-on-5 they were fine, did a good job. You could see the penalty kill, which we haven't spent any time on, we struggled there, which is no surprise."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- A wild flurry of goals saw USA Blue score twice in 29 seconds in the third period to take a 5-4 lead, only to watch Finland tie it with 11 seconds left in regulation and win it 41 seconds into overtime in a 6-5 victory Sunday.
Gage Ausmus was called for closing his hand on the puck at 25 seconds of overtime, and it didn't take long for Finland to take advantage of the 4-on-3 power play.
Teuvo Teravainen and Olli Maatta worked the puck around the perimeter, with Teravainen, who finished with two goals and two assists, getting the puck over to Pokka. The New York Islanders prospect ripped a shot from the left faceoff dot past USA Blue goalie Thatcher Demko to win it.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Silver never will be as good as gold, but Sweden goalie Oscar Dansk still was able to enjoy a win against USA White in the opener of USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp on Sunday.
It was the first time Sweden and the United States had met since the gold-medal game of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, when the Americans' won the gold medal with a 3-1 victory. Dansk was the third goalie for that game.
Sunday, however, he was the starter and made 15 saves on 17 shots in Sweden's 4-2 victory.
The first step in picking the teams for the 2014 World Junior Championship starts this weekend, when the United States, Finland and Sweden arrive in Lake Placid, N.Y., to take part in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.
The teams will practice and play exhibition games from Aug. 3-10 on the Herb Brooks 1980 Arena ice at the Olympic Training Center.
Canada will join them in Lake Placid after a two-day camp Aug. 4-5 in Brossard, Quebec, at the Montreal Canadiens' training site.
NEWARK, N.J. -- Rimouski Oceanic defenseman Samuel Morin was happy to see Chris Pronger, the NHL player he grew up idolizing, at the table after the Philadelphia Flyers selected the 6-foot-6 defenseman with the 11th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.
"I just said hi," Morin said. "I didn't know what to say. I just said hi."
The fact Morin and Pronger can look at each other eye to eye is about the only thing the pair has in common right now. The future, though, looks promising.
"Samuel has come a long way in a short period of time," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He's ultra-competitive. For a guy that big he skates very well. Great range, pretty good understanding of the game, and his puck skills have gotten so much better in a not very long period of time. I think he's a very good prospect with a chance to really blossom over the next year or two."
NEWARK, N.J. -- Popeye Jones was standing in the tunnel just off the NHL Draft floor, taking in the sights at Prudential Center. It's a long way from 1992, when he was chosen by the Houston Rockets with the 41st pick of the 1992 NBA Draft.
"This is all new to me," he told NHL.com. "A projected second-round pick, you don't get to come to the draft in the NBA. I was at home watching on TV."
He has a choice seat for the 2013 NHL Draft, where his son, Seth, was chosen with the fourth selection by the Nashville Predators. Rather than fretting for his son's fate, Popeye said he was excited and proud.
"I was more nervous about myself," he said. "Am I going to get drafted? Am I not going to get drafted? With Seth, he's going to get drafted, it's a matter of to who. I'm more excited for him and a very proud dad."
NEWARK, N.J. -- Before becoming coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Ron Rolston got an early glimpse of why defenseman Seth Jones will be one of the first players picked at Sunday at the 2013 NHL Draft (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).
Rolston was coaching the United States National Team Development Program's under-18 team during the 2010-11 season when Jones was called up from the U-17 team to play 20 regular-season games, and six more during the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Rolston said all of the attributes that have intrigued NHL scouts were obvious from the moment he first saw Jones on the ice.
"Obviously his size and that potential, he's probably going to grow more," Rolston told NHL.com. "His ability to command the game, his hockey sense. He can control the game when he's on the ice. He can attack with the puck, he can move it up with his transition passing. He's a guy that really accelerates your team both defensively and offensively. You can tell the poise he played with as a young player, especially on defense. We're looking at defensemen at the NHL level to have the poise with the puck on the defensive end, and he's one of the guys who has that."
WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- A few of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft took part in a media event along the Hudson River on Friday, posing for pictures and having a good time.
It wasn't always this way. Darnell Nurse's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds faced Sean Monahan's Ottawa 67's twice in the Ontario Hockey League, and Hunter Shinkaruk's Medicine Hat Tigers played Seth Jones' Portland Winterhawks once in the Western Hockey League.
Rivalries on the ice, however, led to respect, and each prospect had only good things to say about his counterpart:
WEEHAWKEN, N.J. --Nathan MacKinnon stands 6-feet tall, but on the hockey rink he casts quite a shadow.
It was big enough to block some from discovering how good Jonathan Drouin, his teammate with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, really is.
Drouin certainly produced worthy of the No. 3 ranking NHL Central Scouting gave him in its final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft. He finished second in the QMJHL with 105 points in 49 games, played for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, helped Halifax win the QMJHL title, and capped a run to the Memorial Cup championship with five assists in the title game. He was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.
"He deserves all that [attention]," MacKinnon said Friday. "He's had a heck of a year and definitely helped carry us to the Memorial Cup championship. He's been a great player and a great teammate all year. He definitely deserves all the attention he's getting."
NEW YORK -- It's no secret that Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse comes from an athletic background.
Most sports fans have heard of his uncle, former NFL All-Pro quarterback Donovan McNabb. His father, Richard Nurse, was a wide receiver with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Darnell said he's seen the result of that career crop up as his father has gotten older.
"The other day we were sitting on the back deck and that was one of my questions," Nurse said during a press event Thursday at the Empire State Building. "He can't straighten one of his elbows, he's got a couple fingers pointing the wrong way."
NEW YORK -- While the Colorado Avalanche appear to have decided on taking Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon with the top pick of the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN), MacKinnon said he isn't paying much attention to it.
Joe Sakic, the Avalanche's executive vice-president of hockey, said of MacKinnon during a television interview Monday, "I think if we had to do it today, right now, he would probably be the guy, yes."
In an interview with ESPN.com on Monday, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy echoed those sentiments: "It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon. MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow."
MacKinnon said he didn't hear the comments directly, but learned pretty quickly what had been said.
“Actually both times I was asleep in bed, so I woke up with a bunch of texts and I didn't know what was going on at first," MacKinnon said during a press event Wednesday at the Empire State Building. "But I kind of just checked my [Twitter] mentions and then people will kind of let me know what's going on in my own life. That's the way it works these days -- you find out from Twitter and not the news or anything. Word gets around pretty quick, I guess."
TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers defenseman Tyler Lewington measures in at 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, but no player was bigger when it came to some of the upper-body tests during the two days of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.
Lewington, No. 66 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, performed a Combine-best 16 repetitions on the 150-pound bench press, one more than forward Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires and Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Dylan Labbe.
Lewington also did the most pushups, 42, finishing ahead of Rimouski Oceanic defenseman Jan Kostalek, who had 37. United States National Team Development Program center John Hayden and Portland Winterhawks center Nicolas Petan were next with 36.
TORONTO -- Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic had a solid season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and earned the No. 7 spot in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies for the 2013 NHL Draft.
However, if those rankings had been re-done after the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, there's a chance Desrosiers might have been a bit higher.
The 6-foot-1.25, 182-pound goalie topped the tournament with a 0.80 goals-against average and .970 save percentage in five games to help Canada win the gold medal. He allowed three goals in his final three games, including a shutout against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
"I think it was a good showcase for me to prove myself," Desrosiers told NHL.com. "I played great and coming to Canada with the gold medal was awesome. I'm very proud of myself. Maybe I proved something. Maybe a lot of scouts saw me. I'm very happy."
TORONTO -- The St. Louis Blues won't make their first pick at the 2013 NHL Draft until the middle of the second round. At least, that's the plan right now.
"We don't have a first round pick yet," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told NHL.com. "But the draft's not tomorrow either."
The Blues traded this year's first-round pick to the Calgary Flames as part of the Jay Bouwmeester deal, but Armstrong said getting back into the top round this year remains a possibility.
"We know we're not going to get into that top five or six, but anything after that is always a potential on draft day," he said. "There's a lot of emphasis put on, don't worry about what we don't have, we could acquire something, and make sure we're prepared for it."
TORONTO -- The first day of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine saw 72 players get measured, poked, prodded and tested in front of scouts and managers from all 30 teams, as well as members of the media.
The two most infamous tests are the bike tests: the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and the VO2 Max. The Wingate measures a player's peak output in a 30-second sprint, and the VO2 tests a player's stamina and ability to recover between shifts.
TORONTO -- It was a long wait for Quebec Remparts forward Anthony Duclair, but he became the final draft hopeful to complete the fitness testing portion at the NHL Scouting Combine on Friday.
"The excitement builds up to it, but at the same time it's done and it was a pretty good experience," Duclair told NHL.com.
Though the tests can be challenging or unique to some prospects, Duclair had a bit of an advantage; he had gone through a mock test with the same York University professionals. That includes the bike tests, which feature players having their feet duct-taped to the pedals and trainers screaming motivation from their left, right and front.
"I did it with the same staff," Duclair said. "My trainer had contacts. We called them up and we had them scream in my face as well, so it was pretty fun."
TORONTO -- The NHL Scouting Combine is an opportunity for teams to learn about the players they might take in the 2013 NHL Draft. But sometimes the players learn something about themselves. That was the case for Aleksander Barkov, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated European skater.
"I didn't know that my English is so good," he said. "I thought that I can't speak but then it was easy."
Barkov already was highly regarded because of his play. The 17-year-old center had 21 goals and 48 points in 53 games with Tappara in sm-Liiga, Finland's top professional league, and had three goals and four assists in seven games for Finland at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
TORONTO -- Les Jackson has been scouting prospects for the Dallas Stars organization for 25 years, so he knows there are no guarantees when it comes to the NHL Draft.
"Nothing's for sure," he told NHL.com. "We've picked high and never gotten anybody. You just hope that you draft the right guy if there's a player there and you take him. You work with him, develop him, be patient with him and see what you get."
Jackson, the Stars' assistant general manager, oversees the team's amateur scouting department. This year, the Stars have two first-round picks: their own at No. 10 and the Boston Bruins' pick they acquired in the Jaromir Jagr trade (number yet to be determined).
"Anytime you can get two picks it's a good deal," Jackson said. "It's a good draft this year. We're fortunate. We got one late. We wish our first pick was late, but unfortunately it's 10. It's a deep draft, so I think teams are going to do well in the first top of the draft."
TORONTO --Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe wasn't ready to talk about what his team's plans were for the 2013 NHL Draft, but did tell NHL.com that with the seventh pick, "We're going to get another great piece to add to the group."
That's if the Oilers keep the pick.
Edmonton appears to be overflowing with young talent, thanks in part to having the first pick of the draft in each of the previous three years.
Lowe said the decision to keep or move the pick lies with general manager Craig MacTavish, but admitted the organizational mindset is to listen to any suggestions.
"Because the draft is deep, as you move along, if someone offered us something we felt could fit in with our group, a different age and a certain type of positional player we need, we wouldn't be opposed to moving the pick," Lowe said. "Maybe where teams are positioned with the [salary] cap going down, all those sorts of moons aligning could lead to something."
TORONTO -- Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones might make things look easy on the ice, but NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft said he didn't have the easiest time getting started in the sport.
The son of former NBA player Ronald "Popeye" Jones, Seth's father obviously hoped his three sons would follow in his path. Instead, Justin, Seth and Caleb opted for hockey.
Convincing dad they wanted to be hockey players wasn't easy.
"I have two brothers and we all started playing about the same time," Seth said. "He wasn't very happy at the time, but he's fine with it now.
"He was probably expecting all of us [to be basketball players]. A lot of kids want to follow their father's footsteps and do the same things he did. It was a little different in our house."
TORONTO --Jonathan Drouin is five days removed from winning the Memorial Cup, and after 72 games of hockey this season during the regular season, playoffs and international hockey, he opted Friday to not take part in the fitness testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.
Drouin, No. 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, went through the medical exams and had his height, weight and body fat measured, but chose to skip the more rigorous testing.
"We've been through a lot of hockey lately," Drouin said. "Just came back [from the Memorial Cup] four days ago. We didn't want to hurt each other. We didn't train a long time, no off-ice stuff. Just a little dangerous to do it."
TORONTO -- Even though the Minnesota Wild doesn't have a first-round pick, general manager Chuck Fletcher said he isn't approaching the NHL Scouting Combine this week or the build-up to the 2013 NHL Draft any differently.
The Wild sent their first-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Jason Pominville trade. Minnesota's first selection will be in at No. 46 in the second round.
"You're always preparing because you never know what can happen between now and the draft," Fletcher told NHL.com. "Whether you make trades and maybe acquire an extra pick. Maybe you can package some picks and move up in the draft. We haven't focused on the top end of the draft as much, because realistically we're not going to pay to the price to get into that level. We're interviewing a lot of guys, as many as normal, and it's also a draft, too, with the depth of this draft, I think there's going to be a lot of variation on everyone's list between 15 and 40. And we expect at 46 to be looking at a player we have significantly higher than that on our list."
TORONTO -- Belleville Bulls defenseman Jordan Subban has been hearing about NHL drafts for a long time -- going back to the 2006-07 season, when his oldest brother, P.K., was going through the process, including a trip to the Scouting Combine.
Last season Jordan got to watch his middle brother, Malcolm, go through it. Now, finally, it's Jordan's turn to meet with NHL teams, go through the fitness testing and enjoy a taste of the NHL draft experience.
"It's been exciting so far," Jordan told NHL.com. "I can't wait to get the testing going [Friday]."
TORONTO --Anthony Mantha of the Val-d'Or Foreurs comes from a rich hockey background. His grandfather, Andre Pronovost, won the Stanley Cup four times with the Montreal Canadiens during a 10-season NHL career that started in 1956-57. Three great uncles -- Claude, Jean and Marel Pronovost -- played in the NHL.
Mantha led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 goals this season, so as he told NHL.com, "It's in the family."
TORONTO -- Every kid who ever picked up a hockey stick at some point pretended to be the player to score the championship goal at the buzzer.
London Knights forward Bo Horvat, No. 15 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, got the rare opportunity to live the dream in Game 7 of the Ontario Hockey League finals.
With the Knights and Barrie Colts tied in the waning seconds of regulation, Horvat banged in a bouncing cross-ice pass just as the final buzzer sounded.
"[Seth Griffith] made a nice play to dump it in and get it in deep," Horvat told NHL.com, reliving the moment. "I think there was five seconds left when he did that. It came around to [Alex] Broadhurst and he got along the wall and just fired it out front as fast as he could. Fortunately it made a couple bounces and came right to me and all I had to do was put it in."
TORONTO --Ryan Hartman is right-handed, but that arm hasn't done much for him this season.
The Plymouth Whalers forward sustained a nasty skate cut to his right wrist during an Ontario Hockey League playoff game April 9 that needed surgery to repair and sidelined him for two weeks.
That came after he sustained a torn labrum in his right shoulder in late December, an injury he was able to play through. He finally had surgery two weeks ago.
Despite the injury, Hartman had 23 goals and 60 points in 56 regular-season games and four goals and two assists in nine playoff games. He also had two goals in seven games to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
TORONTO --Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is at the NHL Scouting Combine this week with an open mind as to who his team will select with the second pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. Though he wasn't going to divulge publicly whom he and his scouting staff have on top of their list, there is one thing Tallon hopes that player can do, and that's step into the NHL lineup immediately.
"We're hopeful," Tallon told NHL.com. "We're going to be a young team. It's going to be a necessary part of our puzzle moving forward. I would hope the guy we select can play for us next year."
Drouin, No. 3 in NHL Central Scouting's their final ranking of North American skaters for this year's draft, on Saturday was named Canadian Hockey League CCM Player of the Year. He's the first player to win the award in his first NHL draft-eligible season since Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic in 2005. He's also the first QMJHL player to win the award since Alexander Radulov of the Quebec Remparts in 2006.
The CHL handed out its full slate of awards for the 2012-13 season Saturday at the Remai Arts Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The 5-foot-10.5, 186-pound Drouin finished second in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season with 105 points while playing 49 games; he was five points behind the league leader despite playing 19 fewer games. His 41 goals were tied for seventh and he also had a league-best 29-game scoring streak, during which he had 26 goals and 39 assists. He won the QMJHL MVP award and was voted the league's top professional prospect.
He also excelled with or without MacKinnon, his frequent linemate and Central Scouting's No. 2 North American skater. MacKinnon had 40 goals and 75 points in 44 games.
No NHL Draft-eligible player has won the Canadian Hockey League player of the year award since 2008, but that could change when the CHL announces its award winners for the 2012-13 season.
Halifax Mooseheads left wing Jonathan Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, is one of three finalists for the CCM Player of the Year award. He was second in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 105 points in 41 games. He scored 41 goals, and had a league-best 29-game streak with at least a point. He was named the league's MVP and top professional prospect.
The previous draft-eligible player to win it was Justin Azevedo of the Kitchener Rangers in 2008, but he was 20. The last first-time draft-eligible player to win it was Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic in 2005.
Drouin also is a finalist for the Jack Link's Top Prospect of the Year. Joining him as finalists are two other players likely to hear their names called early when the 2013 draft is held June 30 -- defensemen Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL).
Valeri Nichushkin, NHL Central Scouting's second-rated European skater in its final rankings of prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, told a Russian newspaper that he plans on playing hockey in North America next season.
"I have already decided I will go to the NHL," Nichushkin told R-Sport news agency in Russia. "Dynamo [Moscow] has accepted this calmly and I was told that I can leave if I want to. There are no legal problems. My deal with Dynamo is terminated and I am leaving a free agent."
Nichushkin had four goals and two assists in 18 regular-season games with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Kontinental Hockey League. He raised his play in the postseason, scoring six goals in 25 games to help Traktor reach the KHL finals. He won the KHL's Alexei Cherepanov Award, given to the league's top rookie.
Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon have been friends since they were 15 years old. But that friendship will get put on hold Saturday, when Jones' Portland Winterhawks face MacKinnon's Halifax Mooseheads at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
They are the top two prospects in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, and it's likely they will be the first two players to hear their names called when this year's draft is held June 30 at Prudential Center.
Their relationship goes back to when each was 15 years old, when they were roommates at a summer camp run their CAA, the agency that now represents both players.
"We just started bonding and sharing each other’s similarities," Jones told Yahoo! Sports. "It just took off from there."
PHILADELPHIA -- Kimmo Timonen missed 15 games in his first five seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, but it's not like he's been a fully healthy all that time.
That's why it takes something like a broken bone to get the veteran defenseman out of the lineup. The club announced Tuesday morning that Timonen would miss the Flyers' final three games with a compression fracture in his right foot.
"This particular thing has been bugging him for a couple weeks," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "Every time we'd want to go further than an x-ray with it, maybe get an MRI, take a little deeper look, Kimmo said no, it feels better [so] we just kind of put it aside. He got an MRI [Monday] and it showed this compression fracture and the doctor thought because of where it is, the potential risk of doing something much worse if he were to get hit there in that same spot, you're asking for trouble, so we just shut him down."
Holmgren said with rest, Timonen should be healthy in four to five weeks. It might Timonen that long to get over being taken out of the lineup.
"Kimmo hates missing games," Holmgren said. "He was decimated [Monday] when we called him and said this is what we're doing. He was in a bad mood this morning when I talked to him. He hates missing games. He's a tough, competitive older player."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette hates having Timonen out of the lineup just as much.
"Losing a guy like Kimmo is tough," Laviolette said. "He provides a lot of veteran leadership on this team, a lot of quality minutes He's had a really good year for us. He's played strong. Taking a guy like him out of the lineup certainly is not what you want to do. … He's a reliable fixture in the locker room. That's why not having him in there tonight will be a difficult sight for everybody. We're used to him being in there."
In Timonen's place, Andreas Lilja was recalled from the American Hockey League Tuesday and will play his second NHL game Tuesday against the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN).
The Flyers' other lineup change will be Steve Mason starting in goal for the fifth time since being acquired by the Flyers on April 3. In five games with Philadelphia, he's 2-2-0 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
Here is how the Flyers' lineup likely will look when they take the ice against the Bruins:
However, Jagr's first game back in Philadelphia, the team he played with last season, also drew eight fans from western Canada. The Traveling Jagrs, a group of eight fans dressed like Jagr, flew from Calgary to Philadelphia on Tuesday to get to Wells Fargo Center in time for the game.
The "Traveling Jagrs" in Philadelphia.(Click to enlarge)
Each fan wore a classic Jagr mullet and a personalized Jagr jersey from over the years -- from a Czech Republic national team sweater, through his NHL stops with the Penguins, Capitals, Rangers, Flyers, Stars and Bruins. An eighth Jagr, wearing a Wales Conference all-star jersey, was a late arrival after getting stuck at the airport in Chicago.
Tyler, also known as Ranger Jag, originated the Jagr look a few years ago in Las Vegas.
"We were looking for a group costume and a couple of us had Jagr jerseys," he told NHL.com. "We're all Jagr fans and said, 'let's go dressed as Jagr.' That was our thought process."
PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Bruins enter their game Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) tied with the Montreal Canadiens with 59 points. The Bruins, however, hold the top spot in the Northeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference based on having played one fewer game.
But with each team playing Tuesday -- the Canadiens play at the New Jersey Devils -- the Bruins know they have to be on their game to stay ahead in the race.
"We have to play a big game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We're hoping to hang on to our top spot in our division and at the end of the night you've got to come up with the two points."
PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Bruins are fighting for the top spot in the Northeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference, but the major topic of conversation around the team's locker room after its morning skate was the return to Philadelphia of Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr.
The game Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) will mark the first time Jagr has played here since his one-season stint with the team ended. Jagr, in his return to the NHL after three seasons in Europe, had 19 goals and 54 points in 73 games, helped the Flyers reach the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and after the season said it was the most fun season he had in the NHL.
"It was pretty good last year, that's for sure," Jagr said. "It's too bad we didn't beat New Jersey [in the conference semifinals] to go a little further. I had fun."
In the offseason, while the Flyers pursued high-profile free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Jagr took a one-year offer from the Dallas Stars. At the NHL Trade Deadline, he was moved to the Bruins.
"I was happy here [in Philadelphia]," Jagr said. "Everybody knew it. I loved that team. I loved the fans. I loved the city. But on the other side, I always believe in God. And I always believed He would find the best place for me. I had a fate that something good would happen to me even if [returning to Philadelphia] didn't happen."
PHILADELPHIA -- New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus has played more than 1,000 games in the NHL, and even he can't believe what's going on with his team right now.
Mired in a 10-game winless skid (0-6-4), Zubrus is positive his team is playing far better than its current record shows.
"Since my injury I've played seven games, and other than maybe the first game, we've played five, six games and honestly they're as good as any of the games I've played in my career and not get a point," he told NHL.com. "It's been five or six in a row like that."
He played nearly 33 minutes in the team's win Monday at the Montreal Canadiens, and one night later, against the New York Rangers, he skated 24:39. He was solid, going a plus-1 and taking one penalty. He also helped rookie defense partner Oliver Lauridsen continue to adjust to the game at the NHL level.
Schenn averaged 16:02 per game last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, seventh among that team's blueliners. This season, he's now up to 21:40 per game, and that number likely will continue to grow through the Flyers' final five regular-season games.
"I think his year has been a strong year for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's taking on more minutes, I think by necessity based on certain situations and line matchups that have to happen for us. But I think he's had a strong year. The minutes have gone up recently because of the injuries on the back end. You see him pushing almost 60 minutes combined the last two games. That's an opportunity for him. He's had it all year and he's played well."
With the Memorial Cup starting one month from Wednesday, the three leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League -- the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League -- have all reached their conference finals. And a number of 2013 NHL Draft prospects have helped their respective teams get to this point.
The conference finals in the WHL start first, with a junior-hockey version of the Battle of Alberta when the Eastern Conference Finals open April 18 with top-seeded Edmonton Oil Kings facing the Calgary Hitmen.
Aiding in Edmonton's effort to this point has been forward Curtis Lazar, No. 26 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2013 draft. A 5-foot-11.75, 193-pound center/right wing is fifth on the team with four goals in nine games. Lazar already has proven himself as a quality postseason player -- Lazar led all first-year WHL players with eight goals and 19 points in 20 playoff games last season to help Edmonton reach the Memorial Cup.
Helping Calgary's case has been forward Gregory Chase, No. 94 on Central Scouting's list. The 6-foot, 195-pound right wing/center is fourth on the Hitmen with seven points in 10 games.
An injury-depleted blue line saw two more players join the injury list -- Kent Huskins, who sustained a concussion during the game Monday against the Canadiens, and Bruno Gervais, who team announced Tuesday needs surgery to repair a torn stomach muscle. They join Braydon Coburn and Andrej Meszaros, who are out with shoulder injuries, and Nicklas Grossmann, who has a concussion.
Here is what the Flyers' lineup likely will look like when the puck drops:
The rookie defensemen, both recalled from the Flyers' AHL team Tuesday, saw four teammates from earlier this season dressing in same room.
On a defense depleted by injuries -- the latest are a concussion sustained by Kent Huskins during the game Monday against the Montreal Canadiens and the torn stomach muscle that will sideline Bruno Gervais indefinitely -- the arrival of Manning and Konan mean four of the Flyers' seven healthy defensemen started the season in the minor leagues.
Manning has four games of NHL experience from last season, but if Konan gets in, it will be the first game for the undrafted native of Orange, Calif.
"It does [help with the nerves], seeing Olie [Oliver Lauridsen], Gussy [Erik Gustafsson], Mand-dog [Manning]," Konan said. "It does help seeing those guys. I'm excited to be here. I'm thankful and I'm going to do whatever I can to be ready. If they need me I'll be ready to go."
Konan had offseason surgery to repair a pair of sports hernias and started the season in the ECHL. He also missed time this season with a concussion, but in 42 AHL games he has two goals and four assists.
"Konan was a guy that he keeps getting talked about that he's playing well down there," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "A tall kid; a good, steady two-way defenseman."
Manning was plus-1 with six shots on goal in four NHL games last season. He admitted to struggling at times this season, and in 65 AHL games he has 21 points, 135 penalty minutes and a minus-28 rating that ranked as the second-worst in the league. However, he did play in the AHL All-Star Game.
"My game hasn't been where I want it to be," Manning said.
Laviolette said he's looking forward to having another look at Manning in the NHL, based on his "familiarity with [him] from having him up here. You know what he brings."
Laviolette said he won't change much of the game plan, but did say there have been "tweaks."
"We've tried to just play a more dependable game defensively," Laviolette said, "and in certain situations where maybe we'd be a little more aggressive we've tried to back off the numbers a little bit if the circumstances aren't allowing us to be aggressive."
One of Manning or Konan has to play for the Flyers to have six defensemen, but Laviolette would not say which one or both would play.
"I think defense is a tough, tough position for young players," Laviolette said. "Forwards you get a little bit of latitude if there's a mistake in the offensive zone or the neutral zone. Your defense is your last line of something in front of your goaltender. When there's a breakdown it's a little more obvious. So it's a little more difficult for young defensemen."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
It was the first time Staal has taken the ice with teammates during the pregame skate, but coach John Tortorella said there was nothing new to report in regard to Staal's condition. The defenseman hasn't played since being hit near the right eye by a deflected puck during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 5.
PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off one of the New York Rangers' better efforts of the season in their previous game, coach John Tortorella said he will stick with the same lineup he used Saturday when his team faces the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
That means Henrik Lundqvist will be back in goal. In seven games since the calendar flipped to April, Lundqvist is 5-1-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. In the Rangers' 1-0 overtime win against the New York Islanders, Lundqvist stopped all 29 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season.
"If he wasn't standing on his head that game we would not have won that one," defenseman Anton Stralman told NHL.com. "He saved us two points right there."
Most notable is the insertion of Simon Gagne as the left wing on the top line, alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. It's a line that appeared to spend the most time together at the Flyers' morning skate, but Laviolette had different trios making rushes in drills, which included injured center Danny Briere.
PHILADELPHIA -- The last time the Ottawa Senators were in Philadelphia, on March 2, a rare thing happened -- Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct.
Alfredsson was angered over a hit by the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo on Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips near the Ottawa bench in the third period, and cross-checked Rinaldo immediately after the hit on Phillips. Alfredsson was assessed a major for cross-checking and a game misconduct. It was the second time in Alfredsson's 17-season NHL career he had been called for a major penalty and game misconduct, with the other time coming April 9, 2002.
Of Alfredsson's 29 penalty minutes this season, 15 came on that one play.
Thursday marks the first time the teams have met since then, but it's doubtful we'll see the same level of physicality, but it has nothing to do with the fact that Rinaldo is out of the lineup with a sprained left ankle.
"It's an important game for both teams," Alfredsson said. "I don't expect anything special to happen unless one team gets up four or five goals."
Alfredsson said he does expect the Flyers to play their usual aggressive, attacking style, but hopes his team can use that play to its advantage.
"We know they're going to be aggressive, it's up to us to make that to our advantage and move the puck quick," he said. "If we can make them go out of their way to makechecks and we move the puck quick, we should create a lot of chances from that."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow himon Twitter: @NHLAdamK
"We're trying to put the best team on the ice to give us a chance to win the game," MacLean, whose team has lost six straight, said after the team's morning skate here at Wells Fargo Center. "Right now we're not winning games, so we need to find a better group to do that with and that's what this is about."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- A year ago Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers were in Pittsburgh, preparing for Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Penguins.
If they have any hope of getting back to the postseason this year, they'll need what Flyers forward Scott Hartnell called an "epic" final nine games of the regular season, starting with their game Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators.
The Flyers are 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of a playoff spot.
"We need to have an epic ending to the season," Hartnell said after practice Thursday morning. "Basically we need to win them all to have a chance. We need to get back to our winning ways. Hopefully we can come out here hard, lay it all out on the ice."
"He's a young goaltender that's had some success in the League," Laviolette said. "I'm sure he's looking to get here and get going with us. Fresh start for him. We're excited. He's a big goaltender that's had a lot of success in the League."
Mason said he planned to arrive in Philadelphia sometime Wednesday evening and hopefully meet the team after its game against the Montreal Canadiens, then fly with the club to Toronto for its game against the Maple Leafs on Thursday.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens certainly have missed defenseman Raphael Diaz, who hasn't played Feb. 25 due to a concussion. The team did find a bright side, using Diaz's absence as an opportunity to see how some of the organization's younger players could handle NHL pressure.
However, the stretch run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs means it's time to get serious, and the Canadiens did that Tuesday by trading for defenseman Davis Drewiske from the Los Angeles Kings.
Drewiske, 28, had four points and a plus-3 rating in 20 games with the Kings this season, his fifth in Los Angeles.
However, he had played twice in March, and said the best thing about leaving the Stanley Cup champions will be the opportunity play more often. And with Diaz just now skating for the first time since his injury Wednesday at the team's practice rink in Brossard, Quebec, Drewiske could get lots of playing time.
"You get to play games, that's a positive," he told NHL.com. "You make the most of the opportunity."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers have a chance to do something Wednesday when they face the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN) that they have yet to do this season: win their third straight game.
However, entering the game 13th in the Eastern Conference and six points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 13 games to go, the Flyers know they need a lot more than three wins.
"All games are huge for us and we have to put ourselves in a situation to play a good hockey game and put ourselves in position to try to get the two points at the end of the night," forward Simon Gagne said. "Sure we won the last two games and it would be nice to get three in a row [but] it doesn't matter what happened in the past. We have to focus on the game [Wednesday] and win this one. All points are going to be key for us right to the end of the season."
One of the surprise teams of the 2012-13 NHL season has been the Montreal Canadiens, who head into their game Saturday at the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC) leading the Eastern Conference standings.
It's a long way from last season, when the Canadiens finished 15th in the conference; entering this season they weren't predicted to finish much higher.
As the April 3 NHL trade deadline approaches, the decisions only get tougher for Canadiens first-year general manager Marc Bergevin. Does he stay with the team that's gotten the Canadiens this far? Or does he look to add pieces for a Stanley Cup Playoffs run?
"I think it's a constant revisiting of how you can improve your team on a daily basis," Canadiens assistant GM Larry Carriere told NHL.com. "That's something we started when Marc came in and it's something we do every day."
PHILADELPHIA -- The New Jersey Devils heard all the talk earlier in the week about how the Philadelphia Flyers were approaching the teams' home-and-home set as if they were the Flyers' biggest games of the season.
After a 5-2 win Wednesday at Prudential Center, the Devils go into the rematch Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) with a chance to give themselves an eight-point lead on the Flyers, as well as continue to lock in their spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"We want to try to bury the teams below us as quickly as possible," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Doesn't matter whether it's Philadelphia or Florida or anybody else -- you get an opportunity to separate yourself from the teams below you, you want to take full advantage of that. It's all about getting points right now. It's not necessarily about the opponent; it's about putting points on the board and trying to solidify a spot in the top eight."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- After a day of meetings and a light morning skate Friday, can the Philadelphia Flyers get into the right mindset heading into their game against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US)?
"I hope so," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "What else could it be? If it's not in the right place, in the right spot, then we're not doing the right things. Looks like we're focused. We had a lot of meetings [Thursday], so hopefully it's in the right place."
The Flyers enter the game with losses in four of their past five, including a 5-2 defeat Wednesday at the Devils, and they enter the game Friday 11th in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot with 20 games left in the regular season.
As the April 3 NHL Trade Deadline approaches, one of the more interesting names to watch is Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla. Iginla is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and while he's become the face of the franchise in his 18 years with the Flames, the Calgary Sun reported Saturday that there has been no talk of a new deal between the Flames and Iginla.
Iginla's agent, Don Meehan, told the Sun that Iginla is "not currently in negotiations" with the Flames. The newspaper also reported that Iginla has not instructed Meehan on whether to resume talks on a new contract with the team or to request a trade.
The decision facing the Flames is a tough one. Entering games Tuesday, the Flames are 15th in the Western Conference, but just six points out of eighth place.
Iginla is tied for the team lead with 12 assists and 19 points, and is third with seven goals, showing his offensive skills remain strong at age 35. If the Flames have any hopes of returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008, Iginla will be a major part of getting him there.
He also is someone the Flames could use as a trade chip to reinvigorate their prospect pipeline. Any team with hopes for a Stanley Cup surely would do its best to put together a package of prospects and draft picks that intrigues the Flames.
The third option, allowing Iginla to go into the offseason without a new contract and potentially sign elsewhere with no return for the Flames, is highly undesirable.
So with three weeks until the trade deadline, eyes will continue to be focused on Iginla and how the Flames opt to handle his future.
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Leopold had missed nine games with an upper-body injury. Interim coach Ron Rolston had said following the morning skate he was looking forward to having Leopold in the lineup for the first time since he replaced Lindy Ruff behind the Sabres' bench. Leopold was injured in practice the same day Ruff was fired.
"It'll be good back there," Rolston said of Leopold. "He's a good puck-mover, and that's what we've been emphasizing form our defense corps. He'll be one of those guys that can get us out of our zone. … He can be a player that can really be a difference-maker back there on the blue line."
To make room on the roster, the Sabres announced defenseman Adam Pardy had been sent to Rochester of the American Hockey League. Pardy had one assist, a plus-2 rating and 10 penalty minutes in five games this season. He had been a healthy scratch the previous two games.
Bryzgalov gave up three goals in a 2:18 span midway through the first period Saturday in a 3-0 loss at Boston, and he has allowed 11 goals on 64 shots in his previous three games, a save percentage of just .828. His 1,349:58 of ice time is three seconds less than Nashville's Pekka Rinne for the League lead; he's faced the third-most shots (621) and made the fourth-most saves (558).
Even with a three-day break coming up, as well as the recall of goalie Michael Leighton from Adirondack of the American Hockey League, Laviolette said he believes Bryzgalov is the best option to help the Flyers snap their three-game losing streak.
"I think you go through everything, you roll though all your options of personnel that's available to you," Laviolette said. "I think just coming off [Saturday], Bryz is a guy that needs to be in there and we need to get a win. Our group needs to dig out of this. Not to put him in there and give him that opportunity doesn't seem right."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
PHILADELPHIA -- The Buffalo Sabres enter Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2) 14th in the Eastern Conference, but the signs of improvement have been there recently. And facing a Flyers team that's lost three in a row, including a 3-0 defeat at the Boston Bruins on Saturday, could have the Sabres in the perfect spot to steal two points.
"I'm sure they're going to want to come out strong," Sabres captain Jason Pominville told NHL.com. "Obviously we've heard about how they've been going through a bit of a tough go, had a big meeting [Saturday] and everything. I'm sure they're going to want to have a big start. We're going to have to make sure we can calm that storm right off the bat and be ready to play after that. They're a team we're trying to catch, they're ahead of us right now, and it’s a big game for us."
The Sabres have earned points in five of the eight games since Ron Rolston took over as interim coach (3-3-2), and enter Sunday just two points behind the 11th-place Flyers. However, the Sabres have played to a shootout in four of their previous five games, giving teams ahead of them just enough to keep the Sabres stuck near the bottom of the standings.
VOORHEES, N.J. --Matt Read, who hasn't played since Feb. 20 because of torn muscles in his rib cage, took part in the Philadelphia Flyers' morning skate and looks like he'll return to the lineup.
The original diagnosis was for Read to miss six weeks, but if he does play Thursday against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, he'll have missed two weeks and one day. He left the lineup after a hard hit by the Penguins' Chris Kunitz in the first period of that Feb. 20 game.
"Just getting better every day," Read said. "I look forward to getting back into lineup. It's gone day to day right now. It's getting better."
Read said he still has soreness when he shoots the puck.
"I've still got to do some treatments, some stretching and see how I feel," Read said. "It's really not my decision, it's [coach Peter] Laviolette and [general manager Paul Holmgren] if they want me out there."
With the Flyers coming off a win against the Washington Capitals in their prior game, it's doubtful they change their lineup. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who left that Feb. 27 game against the Capitals with a lower-body injury, said after practice Friday he would be ready to play Saturday.
The Senators, who lost in overtime to the Boston Bruins on Thursday, will make one lineup change, with Ben Bishop to start in goal after Robin Lehner made 44 saves in the overtime loss to the Bruins.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The first player on the ice for the Flyers at their morning skate Wednesday was forward Matt Read, which was odd because he's not expected back for six weeks due to torn muscles in the left side of his rib cage sustained Feb. 20.
After Read skated and shot a few pucks, the second-year forward said he's far from making any kind of speedy recovery.
"It's pretty painful," he told reporters. "I guess it could be a lot worse. … I can skate but can't do anything else beside that."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The news of Simon Gagne returning to the Philadelphia Flyers added a bit of energy to the locker room following Wednesday's morning skate.
"It's exciting," Danny Briere said. "It's fun to see an ex-teammate come back in the fold. Having someone you know, that you played with, that you fought battles with before, it's fun to have him back on your side."
The Flyers acquired Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday for a 2013 fourth-round draft pick, and likely will have him in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
The Flyers held their morning skate at their suburban practice facility in Voorhees, N.J., with the most significant news being that Ilya Bryzgalov will make his League-high 19th start in net.
He enters 9-8-1 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. He stopped 34 of 37 shots in Saturday's 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets, and after saying he was "exhausted" during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station, he sounded more energized after Saturday's game. When asked after the game how he felt, he answered, "Good, like always."
Here is the lineup the Flyers likely will use when they face the Maple Leafs on Monday:
After three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, van Riemsdyk returns to play his first game at Wells Fargo Center as a visitor.
"It's a lot different now," van Riemsdyk said following the Leafs' practice Monday. "It's weird the things you think about when you walk in here for the first time. You think about all the memories you had playing here, but at the same time it's time to put those in the past and focus on tonight's game."
PHILADELPHIA -- The Toronto Maple Leafs had all three goalies on the ice for Monday's morning skate, but it looks like the same two who have been playing will be in the lineup Monday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
That means Ben Scrivens likely will make his seventh straight start, with Jussi Rynnas backing him up. James Reimer, who hasn't played since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the Leafs' game against the Flyers in Toronto on Feb. 11, will sit out.
Reimer told reporters after the skate that he's feeling better and is "inching closer" to a return, but isn't there yet.
Hartnell has missed the past 16 games since breaking the first metatarsal in his left foot Jan. 22 against the New Jersey Devils. He had surgery to repair the injury Jan. 25, and at that time was expected to miss 4-6 weeks; Saturday's game marks four weeks and one day.
"Obviously, Hartsy is a big part of it," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We haven't had a practice with him yet. It'll be good to get him back on the ice in a game and get him moving forward. It's been a long time without him. Certainly, I think we can benefit from having him in the lineup. He brings a lot to the table."
Read, who has a team-best seven goals, was hurt with 3:24 left in the first period of Wednesday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins when he was hit by the Pens' Chris Kunitz.
Read's absence in the short term allows Tye McGinn to return to the lineup in Read's spot on the Flyers' top line, alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. And with forward Scott Hartnell about a week away from returning, the Flyers could temporarily survive any dip in offense.
Coincidentally, it's the third time already this season one of Giroux's linemates has sustained a serious injury. Hartnell broke his foot Jan. 22 skating with Giroux. Simmonds replaced him and then missed three games with a concussion suffered Feb. 1.
Contact Adam Kimelmanat email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
McGinn's return makes it likely forward Matt Read will sit out Thursday. Read left Wednesday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with an upper-body injury after being hit by Chris Kunitz with 3:24 left in the first period.
The Flyers would not give further details on the injury, but CSNPhilly.com is reporting Read has a concussion.
"You never like to see an injury, that's unfortunate, but I've just got to go out and do my best, keep working hard, stay positive and take it one game at a time," McGinn said.
Top prospect Jacob Markstrom, called up from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, will be a healthy scratch, but the newspaper reported he is expected to play Friday, when the Panthers play at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Herald also is reporting forward Alex Kovalev will be a healthy scratch Thursday.
Here are the lines the Flyers and Panthers likely will use when they meet in Philadelphia on Thursday:
Top prospect Jacob Markstrom, called up from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, will be a healthy scratch, but the newspaper reported he is expected to play Friday, when the Panthers play at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Herald also is reporting forward Alex Kovalev will be a healthy scratch Thursday.
The Halifax Chronicle-Herald is reporting top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Nathan MacKinnon will 1-2 weeks with a lower-body injury.
MacKinnon, a center listed at No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of players for this year's draft, has 28 goals and 69 points in just 41 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games this season.
He also has played for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship and also served as a team captain at the 2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax last month.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Simmonds skated with the rest of his team at practice Friday and reported feeling no lingering symptoms from the head injury he sustained when the Washington Capitals' John Erskine elbowed him in the face during a game Feb. 1.
"I feel pretty good right now," Simmonds told reporters Friday. "I think it's just up to the coaching staff whether they want to put me in or not."
Simmonds has missed the past two games since sustaining a concussion when he was elbowed in the face by Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine during a game Feb. 1. Erskine was suspended three games for the hit.
Simmonds missed Saturday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes and Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but practiced with the team Wednesday, wearing a yellow (non-contact) jersey.
"I feel pretty good," Simmonds said after Wednesday's skate. "I feel good today especially."
It was his first season back after a horrendous leg injury, and he wasn't sure he could become the player he was developing into during three previous solid seasons with the Minnesota Wild.
He only spent one season with the Lightning, but Foster believes his time in Tampa Bay -- and especially his time around Lightning veteran forward Martin St. Louis -- was essential to him remaining in the NHL.
"The thing I learned about the most from Marty was his drive for the game," Foster said. "He's 37, 38 years old and he loves being at the rink every day. He's one of the hardest-working guys in practice every day. I think he knows to stay in this League when he was younger he had to do that being a smaller guy. Now that he's created the aura of himself in the League, you think he'd take a day off and he really doesn't."
PHILADELPHIA -- You can forgive Matt Carle for feeling a bit out of sorts Tuesday morning when he arrived at Wells Fargo Center.
It's been nearly five years since the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman had to use the visiting facilities here.
This will be Carle's first game back after signing with the Lightning as a free agent over the summer. In four seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, he had 137 points in 308 games, including a career-best 39 assists in 2010-11. He also had 26 points in 51 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and joined with Chris Pronger to form the Flyers' top defense pairing when they went to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
"It's obviously a familiar place," Carle told NHL.com. "It is weird walking by the [home] locker room. I think I've played maybe one or two games here as a visitor. I had to do a quick tour of the visiting locker room because I really didn't remember what it looked like. It'll be weird going on the ice. I played here four years, and it was a good four years. Lot of memories out there."
Simmonds, who is tied with Matt Read for the team lead with five points in seven games, was elbowed in the face by Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine late in the first period of Friday's game and did not return.
The Flyers gave no timetable for how long Simmonds would be out, but Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Simmonds would be re-evaluated Sunday.
"It's disappointing," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of Simmonds' absence. "We certainly could use him in the lineup right now. His ability to score, his physical presence, the roles and situations and the minutes that he plays on our team, we'll miss him."
PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Thursday that forward Scott Hartnell could miss from four to eight weeks with a broken first metatarsal in his left foot.
Hartnell sustained the injury during the third period of Tuesday's game against the New Jersey Devils when he was hit in the foot by a shot by teammate Kimmo Timonen.
"Right now we're trying to decide, talking to the doctor, what the best way to proceed is as far as how to approach this," Holmgren said before the Flyers' game against the New York Rangers. "I can't give you a time frame. It's probably going to be between four to eight weeks. … Obviously it's a significant injury."
The 21-year-old, who stepped into the lineup and excelled in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring, has just one shot and a minus-2 rating in three games this season.
"He's just a kid," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "He's not even gone through an NHL training camp. He has not played a lot, and the regular season is a whole different ballgame as far as the grind of it and what you have to do. … This is a different situation. He understands."
Kreider, one of the few players at the rink for Thursday's optional morning practice, said he's going along with the plan.
"I trust the organization and I trust all the decisions they make and ultimately they'll make the right decision and have my best interests in mind," he told The (Bergen) Record.
Tortorella said Kreider has been spending extra time watching video with him and assistant coach Mike Sullivan, and that process will continue. However, he also believes watching the game from the press box can be a good thing for Kreider.
"We have him focus on people," Tortorella said. "I know last year when he was out we had him look at [Carl] Hagelin because they're similar with their speed. I think it'll help him. He's a good kid. But it's a situation where I have to make a decision on what gives us the best chance each and every night. There's been some struggles there, especially away from the puck. That's how young players, especially with this coach, are able to get on the ice, to understand that part of the game. We'll work with him and see where he goes with it."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Tri-City Americans goaltender Eric Comrie, a top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, will miss the remainder of the season due to a hip injury.
Comrie told the Tri-City Herald that he will have surgery Feb. 5 in Colorado and will be out for 3-4 months.
"It [stinks] right now," Comrie told the newspaper. "It is better to do it [surgery] while it is minor. The doctors say I will be more flexible, have better range of motion and be pain-free.
"We [Comrie and his parents] sat down and talked about it and decided this would the best course of action. I have to move forward and next year I will be 100 percent. It's really hard to leave. We've really become a family. This is the closest team I have ever been on."
Comrie is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American goalies for this year's draft. In 37 games this season, he is 20-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts.
The Flyers and Penguins finished the 2011-12 regular season against each other, then engaged in a memorable, hard-fought six-game playoff series. In fact, the Penguins' last eight games have been against the Flyers.
For the Penguins, Bylsma said his team should have extra inspiration for the way their season ended, a 5-1 loss to the Flyers here at Wells Fargo Center.
"When the news stated rolling around and it looked like we were going to have a season, and the possibility of when the season could start … [it] would be against the Flyers, you kind of smirk at the decision-makers who put that schedule together," Bylsma said. "But now we're getting in the plane, coming here, coming into this building, certainly no better way to start for us. A shortened season, the sprint it's going to be to the playoffs, the place where our [season] ended last year, disappointed with us not playing the way we thought we could, starting here against the Flyers, our rival, it's going to be a great way to start."
Laviolette said he's just as happy to see the Penguins written first on his team's schedule. As much as he's pleased for having a rival to open the season against, he's glad the fans who have missed hockey for so long will have what should be an entertaining game for their first day back.
"It's a good way to kick off the season for us, for sure," Laviolette said. "We've got a real strong opponent here. There was a real emotional series last year, I think, and it's a perfect opening game.
"The fact that it's the Penguins, an afternoon game, NBC, that brings the hype already. The lockout adds a little bit. I think you've got a couple teams that have a pretty good rivalry going, it's the first game of the year. People that love hockey still love hockey after the lockout. We're happy they're here and we want to put on a good game for the fans."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Baie-Comeau Drakkar left wing Valentin Zykov has been named Canadian Hockey League Player of the Week, after totaling three goals and seven assists in three games last week.
The 6-foot, 210-pound forward started his week by scoring the opening goal and assisting on the game-tying goal in 4-3 come-from-behind win against the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Wednesday. Two nights later, he scored the game-tying power-play goal with 1:48 left in regulation and also had an assist in a 4-3 loss to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Friday. And then Saturday he had a goal and five assists for a career-best six points in a 7-0 defeat of Rouyn-Noranda.
Zykov, who will skate for Team Cherry at Wednesday's CHL/NHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game, extended his streak of games with at least two points to six. Listed at No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, Zykov leads all first-year Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players with 28 goals and 53 points, in 43 games.
The party is under way for the United States, but its opposition for the 2014 World Junior Championship already has been set.
The tournament, which will be held in Malmo, Sweden, will see the United States take part in Group A. Joining them will be Canada, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. Group B will include Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Finland and Norway. Norway replaces Latvia, which was relegated after finishing 10th in this year's tournament.
"It's the first time ever that we'll have the IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo and we will try to do our best to make it a successful event," Mikael Haglund, the general secretary of the organizing committee, told reporters in Ufa, Russia.
It wasn't the medal they wanted, but Russia took home a piece of hardware after a 6-5 overtime win against Canada in the bronze-medal game at the 2013 World Junior Championship.
Valeri Nichushkin scored his first goal of the tournament 1:35 into overtime to allow the host nation to finish third.
NHL Central Scouting's top-rated Russian skater, Nichushkin took a pass from Artem Sergeev and steamed up the right side. He walked around Canada defenseman Ryan Murphy, cut to the net and stuffed the puck inside the post before goalie Malcolm Subban could get his skate in place.
Yakupov scored a power-play goal one minute into the period to put Russia ahead 5-4. Russia won a battle along the boards behind the Canada net, with Kirill Kapustin emerging with the puck. He walked in front and passed to Yakupov, who was stationed on the left post and scored his second of the game.
Canada pulled even at 10:46 on its first even-strength goal of the game. Russia goalie Andrey Makarov stopped Phillip Danault's shot from the left side, but the rebound went to defenseman Scott Harrington, who tried to drag the puck through traffic in the slot. The puck bounced off a Russian player but went right to Ritchie, who scored from in close to tie the game 5-5.
Canada nearly went ahead with about 2:40 left, but Ritchie's shot from in close hit the post and rolled under Makarov, and the Russian goalie was able to clear the puck into the corner.
Canada continued to take advantage of Russia's lack of discipline, scoring a pair of power-play goals to tie their bronze-medal game against Russia 4-4 after two periods.
Mark Scheifele and Ryan Murphy scored power-play goals, as Canada improved to 4-for-5 with the man advantage through two periods.
Scheifele tied the game 3-3 just 3:16 into the second. With Yaroslav Kosov in the box for high sticking, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins possessed the above the right circle, and found Scheifele alone in the slot. Scheifele had enough time to kick the puck onto his forehand and slide his shot under goalie Andrey Makarov.
Russia answered just 1:07 later when Yevgeni Mozer scored his first of the tournament. Maxim Shalunov's shot was blocked by Tyler Wotherspoon, but Mozer stepped between three Canadian players to grab the loose puck and beat Canada goalie Malcolm Subban under his glove at 4:23.
Khokhlachev opened the scoring when his low shot from the right circle squeezed under the right pad of Canada goalie Jordan Binnington just 3:31 into the period.
After a roughing penalty on Canada's Boone Jenner, Yakupov made it 2-0 just 1:26 later when he played the puck off the right wall, skated to the net and took a return cross-ice pass from Albert Yarullin for a back-door tap-in goal at 4:57.
A penalty to Yevgeni Mozer allowed Canada to get on the board. Andrey Makarov stopped Ryan Murphy's shot from the point, but as Russia tried to clear the puck, it bounced off Mark Scheifele and went to Nugent-Hopkins. His shot from the high slot beat Makarov at 6:58.
Canada coach Steve Spott will have a different look to his top-six forward group for Saturday's bronze-medal game (4 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN) against Russia.
Ty Rattie, who scored Canada's only goal in its semifinal loss to the United States, will start at right wing on the top line, replacing Mark Scheifele. Scheifele takes Rattie's spot on the second line.
Canada also will have just six defensemen as Griffin Reinhart begins serving his four-game suspension.
Here is the roster Canada will go with, as well as the lineup for host Russia:
Martin Frk's goal with 1:07 left in the second period snapped a tie game and helped the Czech Republic finish its run at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 4-3 win against Switzerland in the placement game.
Tomas Hyka had a goal and two assists, and Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist as the Czechs finished fifth for the second consecutive year.
Sven Andrighetto, a 2013 NHL Draft prospect who plays for Rouyn-Noranda in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, had a pair of goals for Switzerland, which finished sixth.
TSN is reporting that Jordan Binnington will start in goal for Canada against Russia on Saturday (4 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN) in the bronze-medal game at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Binnington, a 2011 third-round pick of the St. Louis Blues, saw his first action of the tournament in Thursday's semifinal loss to the United States. He replaced Malcolm Subban at 12:44 of the second with Canada trailing 4-0, and stopped 25 of 26 shots as Canada lost 5-1.
Binnington had dressed as Subban's backup in Canada's first five games. Playing with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League this season, Binnington is 17-6-3 with three shutouts in 23 games. His 2.31 goals-against average is fourth in the league, and his .930 save percentage is third.
Aleksander Barkov and Ville Pokka scored two goals each, and Markus Granlund had a goal and three assists as Finland started play in the relegation round with an 8-0 win against Germany on Thursday.
Joel Armia had a goal and two assists, and Miikka Salomaki and Artturi Lehkonen also had goals, and Janne Juvonen stopped all 15 shots as Finland outshot Germany 56-15.
Finland led 3-0 after two periods but blew the game open with five goals in third. Salomaki and Pokka scored in the first five minutes, and then Barkov, Pokka and Armia scored in a 2:30 span in the game's final minutes.
Early offense and an outstanding goaltending exhibition late by John Gibson allowed the United States to skate away with a 5-1 win against Canada in the first semifinal at the 2013 World Junior Championship.
John Gaudreau scored his second goal of the game with 4:19 left in the third period, and Gibson was at the top of his game as the United States advanced to the gold-medal game for the first time since the 2010 WJC in Saskatoon. They now await the winner of the second semifinal, between Sweden and Russia, in Saturday's championship game (8 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
Jake McCabe had a pair of goals and an assist, and Jimmy Vesey also had a goal and an assist for the United States.
Despite playing their sixth game in eight days -- and third set of back-to-back games -- the United States remained the faster, more aggressive team and took a 4-0 lead after two periods in their semifinal game against Canada.
John Gaudreau and Jimmy Vesey scored as the United States extended its lead and moved within 20 minutes of playing for the gold medal.
Gaudreau, the hottest American player, scored his sixth goal in the last three games at 2:58 of the period. Gaudreau carried the puck out of his end and crossed the Canada blue line. He dragged the puck around Canada defenseman Ryan Murphy, using him as a screen, and fired a shot that beat Canada goalie Malcolm Subban.
Vesey made it 4-0 at 12:24 when he took a pass from Gaudreau, stepped around Canada's Xavier Ouellet and beat Subban to the far side, over his blocker.
That marked the end of Subban's game, as he was replaced by Jordan Binnington for the first time in the tournament.
Jake McCabe wasn't added to the United States roster for the 2013 World Junior Championship for his offensive skill, but the defenseman scored a pair of goals to give the Americans a 2-0 lead after one period in their semifinal against Canada.
United States coach Phil Housley has wanted all his defensemen to be active in the offensive zone, and McCabe did just that, pinching into the high slot for a pair of scoring chances.
Midway through the first Riley Barber had a pair of opportunities from right in front of the net, but Canada goalie Malcolm Subban stopped both. The puck came back to Barber a third time, and he spotted McCabe alone in the high slot. McCabe fired a shot through a ton of traffic that went past Subban at 7:18 of the period.
Late in the first, Rocco Grimaldi rushed the puck into the Canada end and dropped a pass for McCabe. The American captain, from nearly the same spot he scored his first goal, ripped a shot past Subban's glove with 3:58 left in the period to make it 2-0.
Here is the lineup Canada will skate with against the United States in their semifinal matchup (4 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN). It's a lineup that looks identical to the one used in the team's preliminary-round finale against Russia:
Here is the lineup the United States will use in its semifinal game against Canada on Thursday (4 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN). After scoring seven goals a day before against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, the Americans will return basically the same lineup.
Nikita Kucherov scored the lone goal for Russia. They had a chance for another when Vladimir Tkachev was pulled down by Canada defenseman Ryan Murphy and awarded a penalty shot with 19 seconds left in the third, but goalie Malcolm Subban got his right pad on Tkachev's attempt to push it wide.
Jonathan Drouin continued his outstanding play, scoring the lone goal of the second period to give Canada a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes in its preliminary round final against Russia.
The winner of the game claims first place in Group B and earns a bye into the semifinals, while the loser finishes second in the group and plays Switzerland in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
Drouin, promoted to the top line for the game by coach Steve Spott (ED NOTE: link to http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=12477), went behind the net and was in the right place when a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot went wide of the net and onto the back wall. Drouin jumped on the puck, went behind the Russia net and stuffed the puck inside the post before Russia goalie Andrey Makarov could get into place.
With a full complement of 13 forwards for the first time, Canada coach Steve Spott has decided to shuffle his lines heading into the game Monday against Russia.
The winner of the game will clinch Group B and a bye into the semifinals. The loser will finish second in the group and play the third-place team from Group A in a quarterfinal Wednesday.
Canada's most striking change is on the top line, where top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin will play at left wing, alongside center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and right wing Mark Scheifele. Drouin has a goal and two assists in three games.
The United States earned a spot in the medal round with a 9-3 rout of Slovakia on Monday, the final day of preliminary round play.
John Gaudreau and Vincent Trocheck each had two goals and an assist to lead the U.S. attack. Jimmy Vesey, given an expanded role after serving as the 13th forward in the first three games, had three assists.
The U.S. also killed off six of seven Slovakia power plays, including a pair of extended 5-on-3 Slovakia power plays in the second period.
Vincent Trocheck scored a pair of goals as the United States continued to build its lead and just about clinch a spot in the medal round, leading Slovakia 8-2 after 40 minutes.
The Americans had to start the period killing off the final 1:50 of Shayne Gostisbehere's slashing major, and after surviving that, they took advantage of their own man-advantages.
John Gaudreau's second goal of the game at 4:55 made it 6-2 at 4:55, and then Gaudreau set up Trocheck for a power-play goal at 6:16 to make it 7-2.
Trocheck, a Florida Panthers prospect, then scored his second to make it 8-2 at 10:00 of the period. He won a faceoff in the Slovakia end, skated to the net and scored off the return pass from Tyler Biggs.
The United States rediscovered its offensive groove when it needed it most, filling the net early and often against Slovakia to take a 5-2 lead after 20 minutes of the final Group B game for each team.
The winner of this game advances to the medal round, which begins Wednesday. The loser moves to the relegation round.
Jimmy Vesey, promoted to the top line after being the 13th forward for the first three games, led the charge with a pair of assists in the period.
The teams traded breakaway goals early, as the U.S. took a 1-0 lead on a Cole Bardreau goal, but just 14 seconds later Slovakia's Matus Matis tied it.
U.S. captain Jake McCabe put his team ahead when he pinched in and lifted a backhander off a nice pass from Vesey at 5:10. John Gaudreau made it 3-1 when he scored in close on a rebound at 9:00.
United States coach Phil Housley has switched one of his lines as his team faces Slovakia on Monday with a berth in the medal round on the line.
Jimmy Vesey, who had been the 13th forward in the first three games, will switch spots with Rocco Grimaldi and start on a line with John Gaudreau and J.T. Miller as the U.S. tries to re-discover its offensive touch. The team hasn't scored gotten a goal from a forward since the third period of its opening game against Germany.
Canada forward JC Lipon has been suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation and will have to sit out Sunday's game against the United States (4:30 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
Lipon, a 2013 NHL Draft prospect, was assessed a major for a hit to the head/neck area and a game misconduct for a high hit on Slovakia's Tomas Mikus during Friday's game.
Canada will play Sunday with just 11 forwards, as Lipon joins Boone Jenner on the sideline. Sunday is the final game of Jenner's three-game suspension for a hit during a pre-tournament game against Sweden.
The United States did pretty well with six defensemen in its opening game at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, getting three goals from its blue-line corps in an 8-0 win against Germany on Thursday.
It's one below the maximum number allowed to play, but coach Phil Housley didn't sound like someone rushing to add anything to his roster.
The U.S. plays Russia (9 a.m., NHLN-US), last year's silver medalists, on Friday.
"We're going to talk as a staff tonight and digest this game, maybe make that decision tomorrow," Housley told NHL.com following his team's win against Germany. "Depending on any medical things going on with our team, I think we may make a decision."
They played together from 2010-12 with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. In 2010-11, Yakupov was third in the league in goals with 49 and led all first-year OHL players with 101 points, while Galchenyuk was second with 83 points.
A knee injury kept Galchenyuk sidelined for all but two regular-season and six playoff games, while Yakupov had 31 goals and 69 points in just 42 games. At the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov was taken No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers, while Galchenyuk went No. 3 to the Montreal Canadiens.
The strong play the United States displayed in the first period stayed intact through the second as the U.S. scored three times and forced the play for most of the second to lead 6-0 after 40 minutes of action against Germany.
After scoring 19 seconds into the first period, the U.S. needed just 15 seconds to get its first goal in the second, as Alex Galchenyuk forced a turnover behind the German net and flipped the puck in front to Riley Barber to make it 4-0.
Shayne Gostisbehere's power-play one-timer from the right side made it 5-0 at 6:33, and then Ryan Hartman, a top 2013 NHL Draft prospect, scored on the rebound of a Blake Pietila shot off a 2-on-0 rush to make it 6-0 at 7:55. Cole Bardreau started the play going the other way in the neutral zone as Germany got caught on a line change. He spotted Pietila who broke in alone on Germany goalie Marvin Cupper and fired a shot from the left side. Cupper slid over to make the save, but the puck bounced right onto Hartman's stick on the right side, and he buried his chance.
United States coach Phil Housley couldn't ask for much more from his team in the first period of its World Junior Championship opener against Germany.
The U.S. scored three times in the first 10 minutes, took just one penalty and kept Germany without a shot for more than 13 minutes.
Sean Kuraly opened the scoring just 19 seconds into the game, and Jacob Trouba made it 2-0 at 8:30 with a shot from the point through traffic.
Alex Galchenyuk scored the prettiest goal of the game, and maybe of the tournament so far. The Montreal Canadiens prospect pulled the puck off the wall on the left side in the Germany end, curled back to the blue line, and when no German skaters tried to stop him, skated into the slot and fired a shot that beat Germany goalie Marvin Cupper over his glove at 9:54.