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Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 10:31 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Predators' Forsberg starring in up-tempo system

From the surprise of being traded to a difficult start to his NHL career, Nashville Predators rookie Filip Forsberg came into this season as a 20-year-old in need of a fresh start. He was fortunate that Predators first-year coach Peter Laviolette didn't know and didn't care about what had happened to Forsberg in the past.

"It was perfect," Forsberg said during the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, where he had two goals on two shots in his first NHL All-Star Game. "Coming into training camp with a new coach, everyone had to start at the first page and I think that was good for me."

Laviolette gave Forsberg the freedom to play his game, not to mention skilled linemates in Mike Ribeiro and James Neal. Feeling more comfortable and less restricted, Forsberg has answered with a performance that, to date at least, makes him the favorite to win the Calder Trophy.

Forsberg enters Nashville's game Thursday at the St. Louis Blues with 41 points and a plus-25 rating in 46 games. He leads all rookies in points, assists (25) and plus-minus rating. He is tied with Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman for the most goals among rookies (16).

Posted On Wednesday, 01.28.2015 / 10:50 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Jan. 28, 2015

Here is the Jan. 28 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Where do you see the Los Angeles Kings finishing and can they make a Stanley Cup run? -- @_ewok

I'm starting to worry about the Kings. I really am. I'm not saying they don't have a run in them because all indications are that they do, particularly with their fancy stats domination. They are one of the best puck possession teams by the proxies we have available in Corsi and Fenwick. That typically means betting on long-term success is a good idea despite short-term failures. But time is ticking and the Kings haven't been able to turn their strong fancy stats into points in the standings, at least not enough points in the standings. It's very possible that the amount of hockey they have played since the 2011-12 season (322 games) is finally catching up with the Kings.

The Calgary Flames are the team that won't go away. I still think the San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets have some fragility, but they too have cushions on the Kings.

Posted On Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 9:45 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Ovechkin finally gets car, donates it to special cause

COLUMBUS -- Even though he wasn't named MVP of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin finally got his new car. He won't be keeping it for too long.

Ovechkin, who missed out on the car Friday night after lobbying to be picked last in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Presented by DraftKings, was given the key to a new Honda after the game Sunday.

He is donating the new wheels to the Washington Ice Dogs hockey program.

Ovechkin's connection with the Ice Dogs program includes his friendship with Ann Schaab, a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who went on a sushi dinner date with Ovechkin in September.

"It means a lot," Ovechkin told "Honda connected with my agent and they just gave me a car, so I'm going to donate to [Ice Dogs] and that sweet little girl."

Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 9:02 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Team Foligno extends lead in Skills Challenge Relay

COLUMBUS -- Team Foligno increased its lead to 12-2 by taking two of three points in the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay.

Team Toews and Team Foligno split the heats with the latter winning the first and Team Toews winning the second, but Team Foligno got the bonus point because it posted the best time in the competition at 1:37.979.

Team Foligno got off to a good start in the first heat when Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk and Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin scored on six consecutive one-timers off of passes from New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias.

Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 8:15 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Johansen lifts Team Foligno in Breakaway Challenge

COLUMBUS -- The entertainers were on display in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge on Saturday, but Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen stole the show with three unique attempts that were good enough to sway the fans who voted for the winner on Twitter.

Johansen got Team Foligno the point available in the Breakaway Challenge to give Team Foligno a 6-0 lead in the Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Johansen used a prop, six fellow all-stars, and even the son of Blue Jackets trainer Mike Vogt to win the event.

Before going in for his first shootout attempt, Johansen played to the Columbus crowd by pulling off his Blue Jackets sweater to reveal an Ohio State football jersey. The No. 5 he wore belongs to Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller.

Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 6:48 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Lightning center Johnson out of Skills Competition

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson will not participate in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday at Nationwide Arena because of a lower-body injury.

Johnson, who was drafted by Team Toews on Friday, was picked to be in the Gatorade NHL Skills Relay as a mini net passer. He was not expected to participate in any other events.

It is not known if Johnson will play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Posted On Friday, 01.23.2015 / 4:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Stamkos eyes long-term extension with Lightning

COLUMBUS -- Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos hopes to sign a contract extension after this season so he can stay with the team for an extended period of time.

Stamkos is eligible to sign an extension on July 1. His five-year, $37.5 million contract expires at the end of next season.

"Yeah, I think that's exactly what the plan is," Stamkos said Friday at NHL All-Star Media Day presented by DraftKings at Nationwide Arena. "Obviously, July 1 you can announce a deal. … It's a long ways away. I'm not really focused on that. We haven't really talked about that at all. We'll discuss that in the summertime, but I'm obviously very happy with where I am in Tampa.

"You see the team we've been able to develop the past couple of years, the ownership we have, obviously [general manager] Steve Yzerman, the coaching staff, the young nucleus of the team. I feel like the old fart at 24, all these guys coming in here, but they've played extremely well and I want to be part of it, to say I was there from the beginning to see the end result."

Posted On Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 9:27 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Jan. 21, 2015

Here is the Jan. 21 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Are the Islanders in the conversation for the Stanley Cup? -- @IanBirny

The Islanders are in the conversation as a contender at this point in the season. To say they're in the conversation for the Stanley Cup is premature because I don't think that conversation starts until the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin and we get to see the matchups, health of each team, the way each team is trending, the goaltending, etc.

That said, I have been thoroughly impressed by the Islanders this season. I love the way they play, with speed and relentless pressure. They smother everyone in their path with a fast and fun brand of hockey to watch. They are getting contributions from up and down the lineup. Their fourth line has been a gamechanger at times. They shoot from everywhere and are always getting to the net.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 1:38 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Q&A: Ryan discusses Ottawa's play under Cameron

NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators have shown marked improvements in their overall game since coach Dave Cameron took over for Paul MacLean on Dec. 8. The results, though, have been the same.

The Senators were 11-11-5 under MacLean before he was fired; they're 7-7-3 under Cameron heading into their game Tuesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The fact that in 17 games under Cameron the Senators have had the puck considerably more than they did in 27 games under MacLean and as a result have been able to establish more of a transition game has not shown up on the scoreboard.

The Senators are still giving up approximately the same number of goals under Cameron (2.7 per game) that they gave up under MacLean (2.66) even though under Cameron they have a better 5-on-5 Corsi-for percentage, according to, and are giving up more than five fewer shots on goal per game.

Ottawa's 5-on-5 Corsi-for percentage under Cameron is 52.5; it was 47.7 under MacLean. The Senators are allowing 29.1 shots on goal per game under Cameron; they gave up 34.4 per game under MacLean.

Bobby Ryan, who has one goal in his past seven games, spoke with Tuesday morning at Madison Square Garden to go over some of the reasons he thinks the Senators are improving under Cameron but also the frustration that comes with not getting the results.

Here's that Q&A:

Posted On Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 1:21 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Rangers

NEW YORK -- For as maddeningly inconsistent as they have been this season, the Ottawa Senators have two games before 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend that could go a long way to changing their overall team psyche and perhaps even the course of their season.

At least that's how the Senators are choosing to view their games Tuesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden and Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Canadian Tire Centre.

Ottawa is 10 points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, but could pass Toronto and move within six points of the Bruins with back-to-back wins before the break. The Senators have won back-to-back games only three times since winning four straight from Oct. 11-18.

"It's an opportunity to finish strong," Senators center Kyle Turris said. "We feel we've been doing good things and moving in the right direction in terms of how we're playing, chances for and against, that sort of thing, but now we have to start taking advantage of our opportunities and scoring, hopefully getting a couple bounces, and start winning games. The end result is what matters."

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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process