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Posted On Friday, 06.13.2014 / 11:11 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Canucks like local prospects Reinhart, Virtanen

Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden feels the organization might target a skilled forward with its first pick at the 2014 NHL Draft, currently No. 6.

In an interview with the Global News last month, Linden acknowledged how thrilled the organization is to be selecting No. 6. It is the highest draft slot for the Canucks since choosing Daniel and Henrik Sedin with the Nos. 2 and 3 picks in 1999.

"The fact the top of the draft is thin on defensemen … it would appear there are good, big power forwards available," Linden said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.11.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Stanley Cup Final blog

Rangers' St. Louis finds motivation to keep pushing

NEW YORK -- There are two things that keep New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis motivated at a time when the odds appear slim for his hockey team.

First and foremost, it's the lessons and inspirational anecdotes he learned from his mother, France St. Louis. There's not a day that goes by that St. Louis isn't thinking or reflecting on the life she led and the love she provided. France died of a heart attack at the age of 63 on May 8. The support St. Louis has gotten from his teammates has bonded the group during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The one other motivating factor is this:

"Winning the Stanley Cup and the fact we're still alive … that's what motivates me," St. Louis said.

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Posted On Monday, 06.09.2014 / 2:08 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Stanley Cup Final blog

Rangers hoping to 'hold serve' as series shifts to MSG

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers left wing Brian Boyle believes his team has the ability to mount a comeback of their own beginning Monday against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Kings hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series despite the fact they haven't led in regulation time in either of the opening two games at Staples Center in Los Angeles; the winning goal was scored in overtime each game.

"They are a resilient team and so are we; that's why we're both here," Boyle said. "There's no easy road to get to where we are. It's kind of a see what we can do to improve upon because, obviously, mistakes are magnified at this stage."

The cardiac Kings haven't led in their past 229:15 of action, a span of four games. In Game 2 on Saturday, they fell behind 2-0 for the fifth time in the past nine games, yet scored a 5-4 win in double overtime to improve to 4-1 in such instances.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.08.2014 / 8:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Stanley Cup Final blog

Ex-Ranger Gaborik set to return to MSG with Kings

NEW YORK -- There will certainly be a lot on the mind of Los Angeles Kings right wing Marian Gaborik when he steps on the Madison Square Garden ice against the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Gaborik, who leads the NHL with 13 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, spent three-plus seasons with the Rangers before general manager Glen Sather traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for forwards Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard and defenseman John Moore. Gaborik scored 114 goals and 229 points in 255 regular-season games with the Rangers. He added six goals and 13 points in 25 postseason games.


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Posted On Thursday, 06.05.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

USHL top prospects share scholar-athlete award

Forwards Alex Tuch of the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team and Anthony Angello of the Omaha Lancers have been named co-recipients of the 2013-14 United States Hockey League scholar-athlete award.

Tuch becomes the first player from the USNTDP to earn the USHL scholar-athlete award, while Angello becomes the fourth player from Omaha to be recognized.

The USHL scholar-athlete award, established in 2007, recognizes players for their success in the classroom and on the ice. The candidates are nominated by their coaches, teachers and academic counselors based on their grade-point-average, coursework and overall school participation.

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Posted On Monday, 06.02.2014 / 4:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

New president praises USHL as development model

Bob Fallen, the newly appointed president and commissioner of the United States Hockey League, knows the importance of having players in the crosshairs of scouts and general managers at the NHL draft.

He has every intention of keeping it that way too, Fallen said Monday during a conference call to introduce him to national media.

"Those of us who watch a lot of hockey need to look no further than what we saw [in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final] when people like [Los Angeles Kings defenseman] Alec Martinez and [Chicago Blackhawks left wing] Patrick Sharp were battling for the right to play in the Stanley Cup [Final]," Fallen said. "Both played in the USHL; Alec at Cedar Rapids and Patrick at Thunder Bay.

"It's all about the American developmental model, and we consider the USHL to be an absolute lynchpin step in that path for developing players."

The 2013 NHL Draft marked the ninth straight year at least one player from the USHL was among the top 30 picks. In total a record 32 players competing in the league in 2012-13 were selected last June.

"I cannot in any way, shape or form disparage any other alternatives for developing hockey players; if people have another path to follow to the NHL, more power to them," Fallen said. "We just consider the USHL a really excellent opportunity for people and players developing not only for the NHL but college hockey before they reach the NHL."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 6:23 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Portland center De Leo happy with Combine tests

TORONTO -- Center Chase De Leo of the Portland Winterhawks didn't have much time to prepare for the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine after his season came to an end May 12.

But De Leo ripped through the fitness portion of Combine in good time on Saturday at The International Centre.

He said he enjoyed the motivation provided by the personnel at York University while on the bikes.
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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 12:01 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Devils' Conte sees value in unpredictable draft

TORONTO -- The 2014 NHL Draft might be impossible to predict, but that doesn't necessarily mean scouts thirsting for new blood in their farm systems aren't chomping at the bit.

Take for instance New Jersey Devils veteran director of scouting David Conte, who has been projecting prospects for the organization for the past 30 years.

"I think there are some very unique and special players who will have long successful careers coming out of this draft class," Conte said. "I'm excited. Because there's not a consensus pick, there is a chance of getting players that you greatly value at a reduced price compared to years where there is a consensus."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 11:01 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Stars' McDonnell looking forward to new chapter

TORONTO -- The 2014 NHL Draft signals the start of a new era in the life of Dallas Stars director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell.

McDonnell spent a decade aiding Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland at the draft table. This year, he will be sharing his insight with Stars GM Jim Nill, who hired him in July 2013.

The timing is impeccable too, as the 2014 Draft class poses a unique challenge.

"This is the toughest draft to gauge that I've ever been involved in," McDonnell told NHL.com. "Guys that maybe are tenth on your list, could go No. 30 or vice versa. It's not a big gap, like some years where it drops off. It's pretty close all the way through and I think it's just going to sort itself out at the draft table once teams start taking different players. You just hope something you have falls to you."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 10:23 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

DeAngelo hopes to show he's learned from mistakes

TORONTO -- Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo knew the 2014 NHL Combine was going to be his chance to set the record straight.

Considered by many to be one of the more dynamic point-producing defensemen available in the 2014 NHL Draft, DeAngelo found himself making headlines for all the wrong reasons this season when he was twice suspended for violating the Ontario Hockey League's harassment, abuse and diversity policy.

"At the Combine, I had a chance to tell everyone the type of person I am because I think there might have been some misconceptions out there," DeAngelo said. "I just tried to be honest with every team [during the interview stage] and talked to them and let them get to know me. It was great getting some tips on the hockey side of things; a lot of good people were trying to help."

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic