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Posted On Monday, 01.05.2015 / 4:15 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Lightning's Palat should be among Selke candidates

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat might be a longshot to win the Selke Trophy at any point in his career for one reason only:

He's not a center.

The Selke Trophy has been awarded to a center for 10 consecutive seasons and 27 of the past 32 seasons because typically when you talk about forwards who play as many as 20 minutes per game, on the power play and on the penalty kill, and who are used in close situations (down a goal or up a goal) late in games, you're talking about centers.

Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar are the gold standard in the League today. Pavel Datsyuk won the Selke Trophy three consecutive seasons from 2007-09. Ryan Kesler, the Selke winner in 2010, still has a major impact all over the ice.

But Palat's impact all across the ice can't be denied either.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 7:00 PM

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

At the Rink: Flyers at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux will not play Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Giroux sustained a cut on the back of his left leg Friday in a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

"I think it's just how he feels," Flyers coach Craig Berube said before the game. "I'm not sure, I've never had that [injury], but I'm sure he just wants to see how he feels. I can't really comment on it other than that."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 6:54 PM

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

Flyers forward Giroux out against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is not in the lineup Saturday against the New Jersey Devils after sustaining a cut on the back of his left leg Friday in a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Giroux did not skate in warm-ups despite Flyers coach Craig Berube saying Giroux would be a game-time decision after deciding how he feels in warm-ups.

Scott Laughton also is out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury, leaving the Flyers with 11 healthy forwards. Luke Schenn, who was scratched the past two games, will go into the lineup as the seventh defensemen.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 7:27 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Orpik's defense helps Capitals shut down Blackhawks

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik went from being a questionable to play Thursday because of a knee injury to playing a team-high 24:44 in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park.

Orpik, who sustained a knee injury in a game Monday against the New York Islanders, said he decided after warm-ups he was capable of playing. He wore a brace on his right knee that helped him get through the game unscathed.

"I felt better on the ice than I did off the ice," Orpik said following the Capitals 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. "Without the brace on, it's a little worse, so once you get the brace on it's a little more secure. Obviously I really wanted to play in the game."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 7:19 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Hawks' Versteeg hurt, 'could be out for a bit'

WASHINGTON -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg left the Bridgestone 2015 NHL Winter Classic with a hand injury and did not return.

Versteeg blocked Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr's shot from the slot 48 seconds into the third period Thursday at Nationals Park, and left the playing surface with a towel covering his left hand. He also left the Blackhawks' dressing room with his hand wrapped in medical gauze.

Washington's Troy Brouwer scored with 12.9 seconds remaining in the third period to claim a 3-2 victory.

"We'll know more tomorrow, but we'll see," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "He could be out for a bit, but we'll know more tomorrow."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 3:21 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

End of 2nd: Capitals 2, Blackhawks 2

WASHINGTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals finished the second period tied at 2-2 on Thursday in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park.

Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad tied the game with a redirection goal 3:15 into the second period. It was Saad's ninth goal of the season. It came off of a Capitals giveaway that led to two bang-bang passes from Marian Hossa to Jonathan Toews and from Toews to Saad.

Capitals defenseman John Carlson tried to send the puck around the end boards to Brooks Orpik, but his soft backhanded pass off the end boards from the left circle never made it to Orpik on the other side.

The puck hit off the boards and caromed off the back of the goal, where it was intercepted Hossa. He quickly found Toews in the right circle; Toews one-touched a pass to Saad, who was cutting through the left circle with his stick out for the redirection.

With the assist, Toews became the NHL's all-time leader in points in outdoor games with five on two goals and three assists in three games. He also played in the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field and in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Soldier Field.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 2:17 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

End of 1st: Capitals 2, Blackhawks 1

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park on Thursday.

Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead, but Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp scored a power-play goal at 13:36. The Capitals outshot the Blackhawks 15-13.

Fehr scored his 11th goal of the season on a breakaway at 7:01 to give Washington a 1-0 lead. He became the NHL's all-time leading scorer in outdoor games with three goals. Fehr also scored two goals in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Fehr sprung himself for a breakaway after Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was unable to keep the puck in at the right point. Fehr gained a step on Seabrook and went in alone on Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, deking to his forehand to tuck it inside the right post.

Ovechkin scored off a rebound from the lower part of the left circle to give Washington a 2-0 lead at 11:58. Crawford fumbled Mike Green's shot from the right point, leaving the puck out for Ovechkin, who had an open net to shoot at from the left side.

Sharp cut the deficit in half seven seconds after Nicklas Backstrom was called for holding Jonathan Toews in the offensive zone. Sharp beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with a wrist shot through traffic coming out of the sun and into the shade from the right point. Andrew Shaw was in front of the net screening Holtby.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 6:47 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

NHL considers allowing sunglasses at Winter Classic

WASHINGTON -- The question was set up on a tee for Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner to knock it out of the park.

He crushed it.

Every Capitals player was issued Oakley sunglasses on Wednesday, but Alzner was the only player to wear them during the practice at Nationals Park. Alzner was asked why he was the only one who did.

"Because I'm the only smart one," Alzner joked.

OK, we'll leave the IQ tests for another day. On Wednesday, though, Alzner's solution to practicing in the sun became the envy of his teammates, and also brought about a legitimate question:

Is it legal for players to wear sunglasses during the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday at Nationals Park if the sun is as bright and the glare on the ice as challenging as it was Wednesday. The forecast calls for a sunny day.

The answer is that the NHL is currently considering it, according to Kris King, the senior vice president of hockey operations. No decision had been made as of Wednesday night.


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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 5:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Blackhawks' Richards a veteran of outdoor games

WASHINGTON -- Chicago Blackhawks center Brad Richards has become an outdoor-game regular. He's also undefeated in these games.

The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park on Thursday will be Richards' fourth career outdoor game and third in just over 11 months. His previous three came while he was a member of the New York Rangers.

Richards made his outdoor debut in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic in Philadelphia, a 3-2 win for the Rangers thanks to Richards' game-winning goal at 5:21 of the third period.

He also played in both 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium. The Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 7-4 on Jan. 26, and the New York Islanders 2-1 three nights later.


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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 5:17 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Capitals to honor Chicago manager with helmet decal

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals have put a white decal with the initials 'CR' in red on the back of the helmets they will wear in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday to honor Clint Reif, the Chicago Blackhawks assistant equipment manager who recently passed away at the age of 34.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said the idea to put the sticker on the helmet came from the Capitals training staff.

"I think what you find in this community--the hockey community--it's a lot smaller than people think, and the trainers are very close. They're very tight just like all the players are across the league, the coaches; all that," Trotz said. "When a member goes down they all want to show the respect."

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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes