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Posted On Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 8:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Flyers forward Giroux in lineup vs. Rangers

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux will be in the lineup for the Wednesday Night Rivalry against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Giroux, who sustained an apparent lower-body injury during practice on Monday and was considered doubtful against the Rangers, took pregame warmups and declared himself ready to go. He will center a line with Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek.

Jason Akeson will be a healthy scratch.


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Posted On Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 3:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Seattle top prospect Barzal sustains knee injury

Seattle Thunderbirds forward Mathew Barzal, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, will be out approximately 4-6 weeks after having knee surgery performed on Nov. 13, according to the team.

Barzal, who is second on the team with seven goals and 18 points, is in his second season with the Thunderbirds. He has 21 goals and 72 points in 75 career games. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound right-handed center, who has not played since a 3-2 shootout victory against the Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 4, required surgery for a fractured kneecap.


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Posted On Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 1:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Rangers

NEW YORK -- Center Scott Laughton will make his season debut for the Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Rangers in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, SN1).

Laughton was recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after it was learned that captain Claude Giroux would miss the game because of a lower-body injury.

"I'm definitely a little bit surprised," Laughton said. "I was taking a nap back home and got a call from [coach] Terry Murray with the Phantoms. He just told me I was coming up. It's definitely an exciting time for me and my family. I'm definitely looking forward to coming here and trying to make an impact."

The 20-year-old, a first-round (No. 20) draft pick in 2012, has six goals and 11 points in 13 games for Lehigh Valley this season. Laughton appeared in five games for the Flyers in 2012-13 and averaged 11:31 of ice time before being returned to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.


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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 3:08 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Stamkos confident McDavid will bounce back

Steven Stamkos knows the pressure associated with being an elite prospect and the difficulty in living up to expectations in your draft year.

The Tampa Bay Lightning captain was asked for his opinion on the Nov. 11 fight that took place involving Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, who is projected by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

McDavid, who had scored a point in every game but one this season and leads the Ontario Hockey League with 51 points in 18 games, fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand in the fight and is expected to be sidelined 5-6 weeks.


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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid injured; Eichel extends point streak

The season-long statistical showdown between Boston University center Jack Eichel and Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, the projected top two picks at the 2015 NHL Draft, took a bit of a hit when the latter fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand against the Mississauga Steelheads in a fight on Nov. 11.

McDavid is expected to be sidelined 5-6 weeks, but Otters general manager Sherry Bassin is confident McDavid will be able to represent Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto. Let's keep our fingers crossed as the McDavid-Eichel battle in the WJC would certainly add to what is sure to be an exciting world junior tournament.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.15.2014 / 5:09 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Colorado Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay isn't at all surprised by the impact Mike Cammalleri has made in his first season with the New Jersey Devils.

Tanguay, who is also playing a significant role with the Avalanche, was teammates with Cammalleri on the Calgary Flames for two seasons (2011-12, 2012-13) so he knows him well.

Cammalleri, who signed a five-year contract with the Devils worth a reported $25 million on July 1, has 11 points and a team-leading seven goals despite missing six games due to injury this season.

"He's got a great mind for the game and he has a great stick and he's always dangerous around the net," Tanguay said. "He's not the guy who will dominate the game but he's a guy that when he's around the net or in the opposing zone is always well placed. He's got a knack for scoring goals and he understands the game very well so I'm not surprised at all by how well he's played in Jersey."

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Posted On Friday, 11.14.2014 / 12:29 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Local fixture Pagni to be remembered in Connecticut

The college hockey showdown between Sacred Heart University and the University of Connecticut on Friday won't include many blue-chip prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, but it will have special meaning nonetheless at The Taft School in Watertown, Conn., at 7 p.m. ET.

In addition to the sellout crowd being treated to what is sure to be a pretty intense game between rivals, all proceeds will be donated to the family of Jason Pagni, who died in a car accident Jan. 31 at the age of 43. He left behind his wife Kate and daughters Maddy and Gabby.

Pagni was a major fixture in Connecticut hockey circles. After graduating from The Avon Old Farms School in 1989, he devoted his life to hockey in Connecticut. He was dedicated to advocating, developing and touching the lives of numerous players and parents on all levels of the sport from youth hockey, high school, prep school, college and the NHL.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 5:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Otters general manager copes with losing McDavid

Erie Otters general manager Sherry Bassin knows his team will have a different look and feel without the services of captain Connor McDavid.

The hockey prodigy from Newmarket, Ontario, projected by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand against the Mississauga Steelheads in a fight on Nov. 11 and is expected to be sidelined 5-6 weeks.

"What can you do now after losing a superstar?" Bassin asked NHL.com on the morning after receiving the news of the report from the hand specialist that evaluated McDavid on Wednesday in Ontario.

"Connor was our undisputed leader, a world class player who consumed 25 minutes a game," he continued. "You can't fill his shoes and you can't replace his minutes because that's not possible so it comes down to us all stepping up as a group until he returns in a couple of months."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Rangers

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle will be in the lineup for the first time in more than a month when the Rangers play the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Boyle, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Rangers on July 1, hasn't played since breaking his hand early in the third period of the Rangers' season-opener Oct. 9 against the St. Louis Blues. Boyle, who has missed 14 games, will replace Michael Kostka in the lineup.

In addition to returning to the lineup, Boyle is looking forward to playing at MSG for the first time as a member of the Rangers.

"Better late than never," Boyle said. "I was certainly upset not to be in uniform here on opening night, that's for sure. This was the most exciting rink to play in as the visiting team and it'll be nice to have the opportunity to play on the home side for a change. It's a special building; not just for the hockey but I'm a big music lover and there have been a lot of concerts here so it's a pretty special building."

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 6:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Injury to McDavid won't affect high draft ranking

There is certainly no reason to believe the hand injury sustained by Erie Otters center Connor McDavid on Tuesday is career threatening. The fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand will sideline him 5-6 weeks before he can continue his offensive wizardry in the Ontario Hockey League.

But will his absence affect his standing in the 2015 NHL Draft? Before the injury, McDavid was considered the slight favorite in a two-player race to be the top-rated prospect in the draft. Boston University freshman Jack Eichel is the other player in that race. Boston College freshman defenseman Noah Hanafin is on the periphery of that conversation, according to several scouts.

"Injuries are part of the game and we've made it a point, as you recall three years ago when there were so many players out, of adapting here at NHL Central Scouting," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com on Wednesday before the Otters announced the prognosis. "We've got a lot of views on Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin, and are very comfortable with ranking them where they are.

"Hopefully in Connor's case, it's nothing serious and he'll be back playing and be able to participate with Erie because they look like they've got a team set for a long run."

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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