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Posted On Friday, 01.24.2014 / 1:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals' Ovechkin won't play vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin was unable to finish the team's morning skate at Prudential Center on Friday and will miss a second consecutive game against the New Jersey Devils.

Ovechkin missed his third game of the season on Tuesday with an undisclosed lower-body injury in a 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators at Verizon Center in Washington. He also missed two games in November while dealing with a shoulder injury.

"He went out onto the ice, [skated two laps] and then went off," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "I still haven't found out why he went out so fast. I don't know if it was because it was more serious than he thought or not healing. I was hoping he might be able to go [Saturday against Montreal Canadiens], but I don't know."

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Posted On Friday, 01.24.2014 / 12:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Whitney to debut on line with Jagr

NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Joe Whitney is expected to make his NHL debut for the New Jersey Devils against the Washington Capitals on Friday at Prudential Center.

Whitney, 25, was recalled from the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany Devils, on Thursday. The team re-assigned forward Reid Boucher to Albany on Wednesday. In 39 games with Albany, Whitney has 16 goals, 36 points and plus-4 rating.

He'll begin the game on the top line with center Travis Zajac and right wing Jaromir Jagr.

"It was tough sleeping last night," Whitney said. "I'm pretty anxious and ready to come to the rink and have a good game. It's a great opportunity for me to play on the top line with two very, very good and smart players, so I'm just going to try and play my game and play it smart and do all the right things out there."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 12:59 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils expect to have Brunner back to face Blues

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Damien Brunner is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues at Prudential Center.

Brunner, who missed the past 14 games after sustaining a sprained right knee in a loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 20, was back practicing with the team Monday and participated in the morning skate Tuesday. He will wear a brace to help stabilize the knee as a precaution.

"I'm feeling good," Brunner told NHL.com. "I made a good recovery and put in some good hard work last week when the guys were on the road trip. I feel comfortable to play; there's no pain."

Brunner has eight goals and 13 points in 32 games this season.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.15.2014 / 2:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

Fun and games for Reinhart family

CALGARY -- There was a moment during practice for Team Cherry at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday when Sam Reinhart engaged in a 1-on-1 battle with his father at center ice to the delight of those in attendance.

There were no high sticks or taps to the shin, just an all-out game of keep-away. Paul Reinhart acknowledged afterward that long gone are the days when he used to win those little scrums with his sons.

"It's not even close anymore with any one of them [Sam and older sons Max and Griffin]," Paul Reinhart said. "I stopped trying to compete with them a while ago. I used to have an advantage with a little bit of knowledge but that's long gone. Their strength and puck control and their stamina is way too much for most of us."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.15.2014 / 10:19 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

A family affair at Top Prospects Game

CALGARY -- The last time center Ryan MacInnis stepped on the ice at Scotiabank Saddledome was two years ago when his father, Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis, was being honored as "Forever A Flame" to a capacity crowd.

The elder MacInnis, who played in 12 NHL All-Star Games and won the 1989 Norris and Conn Smythe trophies, was accompanied on the ice by his family and Flames alumni during a special pregame ceremony that was established to honor members of the Flames organization.

"It was pretty cool," Ryan MacInnis told NHL.com. "I walked out onto the ice with my family and dad made a speech. It was awesome to see how Calgary just loves him."

Ryan MacInnis returned to the Saddledome this week for the first time since that February 2012 evening to represent Team Cherry at the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet). The 6-foot-4, 185-pound MacInnis, who is in his first season with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, is one of five players in the game with fathers who played in the NHL.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 11:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

Clarke out to impress scouts, show he belongs

CALGARY -- Saginaw Spirit left wing Blake Clarke has dealt with many off-ice distractions in what should have been a season to impress scouts considering him for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Clarke, No. 93 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, changed teams last month when the North Bay Battalion dealt him to Saginaw in exchange for forward and fellow 2012 first-round Ontario Hockey League draft pick Zach Bratina.

Clarke sustained a shoulder injury in the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh in September that limited him to 21 games with North Bay. He'll play for Team Orr at the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Calgary on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet) with hopes of turning some heads.

"I look at this as a big opportunity for me," Clarke said. "I was invited because people still believe in what I can be as a player in the future, so I have to prove them right.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 10:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

Goldobin latest Russian starring in Sarnia

CALGARY -- Sarnia Sting right wing Nikolay Goldobin knows all about Nail Yakupov and how he was selected first by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2012 NHL Draft.

Yakupov spent two seasons in Sarnia, totaling 31 goals and 69 points in 42 games during an injury-shortened 2011-12 season. As a rookie in 2010-11 he had 101 points to lead the Sting and all Ontario Hockey League first-year players. His scoring also surpassed Steven Stamkos' team records for goals (42) and points (92) by a Sarnia rookie.

Does Goldobin consider himself the best Russian out of Sarnia since Yakupov?

"I want to be drafted high, in the top five," Goldobin told NHL.com. "We don't talk much about Yakupov but we do talk about his play in the NHL. It's been a big transition for me playing in Canada the last two seasons. In Canada the hockey is way faster than Russia."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 10:14 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

Nedeljkovic admires Devils' Brodeur

CALGARY -- Plymouth Whalers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic never has seen live any of the three goals scored by New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, but admits to watching replays on the Internet every chance he gets.

"I've always wanted to score a goal and I keep that in the back of my head sometimes and envision myself doing it," Nedeljkovic said. "Marty was my favorite goalie growing up and still is. Just the way he plays the game and the accomplishments he'd had … it's been an incredible career."

Nedeljkovic (6-foot, 182 pounds) acknowledged he blew his one good opportunity to score a goal, during his midget-minor season.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 3:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

Brayden Point to replace Samuel Bennett

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, an A-rated skater on the NHL Central Scouting's December players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft, will not participate in the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet) after sustaining a lower-body injury.

Moose Jaw Warriors center Brayden Point will replace Bennett on Team Orr roster the Top Prospects Game, which will be played in Calgary at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Point, a 5-foot-9.5, 160-pound forward, has team-highs of 19 goals and 42 points in 44 Western Hockey League games.

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Posted On Friday, 01.10.2014 / 3:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Top Prospects Game blog

Top prospects to undergo testing before game

Before 40 of the top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible prospects from the Canadian Hockey League showcase their ability at the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday, they'll undergo a series of on- and off-ice tests that will provide scouts and general managers an instant profile on each player.

All 40 of the players competing in the game will be put through those tests Tuesday at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, home of the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League and the site of the Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet).

These standardized tests, which will be conducted by Sport Testing Inc., have been completed in all three CHL leagues for the past four years and will be performed on all athletes participating. This will provide players, coaches and scouts detailed comparative data on an athlete's athletic ability.

The CHL has been using Sport Testing since 2010 at various skills combines at the bantam and minor-midget level to assess top OHL, WHL and QMJHL draft prospects for such gameplay qualities as speed, agility, explosiveness, stick handling and reaction time. Highly accurate measurement technologies and standard test protocols provide apples-to-apples benchmarking data that has shown a tight correlation to hockey performance.

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— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level