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Posted On Friday, 02.20.2015 / 1:19 PM

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

No rebuild, moves possible for Devils, GM says

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello discussed the season and hinted at some possible maneuvering at the NHL Trade Deadline following the morning skate at Prudential Center on Friday.

The Devils host the Vancouver Canucks in the second game of a six-game homestand.

Lamoriello said it has long been his belief that winning low-scoring games behind solid defense is the formula for a championship season. He would know; he was the architect of three Stanley Cup titles in New Jersey (1995, 2000, 2003).

At the same time, he understands the frustration with regard to the lack of goal-scoring, particularly over the past five games. The Devils haven't scored more than one goal in a game since Feb. 7, a 6-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

"I know you have to score goals, so I don't want to be misinterpreted or misrepresent how important it is to score goals, but we know the way our teams have had success in the past: from the goalie out," Lamoriello said. "When our young defense gets more mature, it will help us create offensively."

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Posted On Friday, 02.20.2015 / 12:06 PM

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

At the Rink: Canucks at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Vancouver Canucks are using adversity as motivation in an attempt to keep pace with the top teams in the Western Conference and ultimately solidify a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The injury-depleted Canucks, who opened a five-game Eastern Conference road trip with a come-from-behind 5-4 shootout victory against the New York Rangers on Thursday, will look to make it five wins in the past six games when they visit the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday.

Despite the absence of top-four defensemen Alexander Edler (upper body), Christopher Tanev (upper body) and Kevin Bieksa (broken hand), second-line center Nick Bonino (lower body) and third-line center Brad Richardson (ankle), the Canucks have found a way to defeat the Rangers, Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks in a span of nine days.

"I've always liked this team, liked our character," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said after the win against the Rangers. "It's tough when you're losing. But the character in our room has never changed."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.19.2015 / 1:09 PM

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

At the Rink: Canucks at Rangers

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will lead you to believe that the game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday is simply just another important regular-season match at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are second in the Metropolitan Division with 34 wins and 73 points and trail the first-place New York Islanders by four points with three games in hand. The Canucks are third in the Pacific Division with 32 wins and 67 points, one point behind the second-place Calgary Flames and 10 behind the Anaheim Ducks.

Still, the memory bank will certainly be flooded when Vigneault leads his charges against the team for which he spent seven seasons as coach. From 2006-07 through 2012-13, Vigneault was Vancouver's all-time leader in games coached (540), wins (313), Stanley Cup Playoff wins (33) and playoff games coached (68), marks that will always have a place in his heart.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.17.2015 / 12:42 PM

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

At the Rink: Sabres at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Center Stephen Gionta will return to the lineup for the first time in seven weeks when the New Jersey Devils play the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

Gionta, who has been out with a fractured left hand, participated in the Devils full practice on Monday and was again on the ice for the morning skate on Tuesday. One incentive to returning to the lineup against the Sabres is having the opportunity to play against his older brother, Brian Gionta.

"It's been a long wait, but I'm excited to get back and the opponent we're playing tonight has extra meaning," Stephen Gionta said. "This is probably the fourth or fifth time we've played against each other and each time it's pretty special, so it's a cool thing to do and to experience. Once the game starts though, it's just another opponent, but it's something fun to experience."

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Posted On Monday, 02.16.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Erie's McDavid on verge of setting team record

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, will look to establish a team record for points in consecutive games when the Otters travel to play against the Mississauga Steelheads at Hershey Centre on Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

McDavid had four goals and seven points in three games last week to extend his season-high point streak to 18 games, tying the team mark set by Tim Connolly in 1997-98 and Rob Hisley in 2004-05. McDavid (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) has 15 goals and 41 points during his 18-game streak, which began Nov. 7. McDavid sustained a hand injury on Nov. 11 that kept him out six weeks but he picked up where he left off on Jan. 8 to continue the point streak.

He has 13 multiple-point games during the streak.

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Posted On Friday, 02.13.2015 / 10:17 AM

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

Brock Boeser commits to University of North Dakota

Waterloo Black Hawks right wing Brock Boeser, No. 28 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings on the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, will attend the University of North Dakota in 2015-16.

Boeser, who originally committed to the University of Wisconsin but did not sign a Letter of Intent, first make public his decision via his Twitter account on Thursday.

"It was a combination of me feeling good with the coaches, the facilities, and their style of play," Boeser told NHL.com in an email. "I think it's the best fit for me and my development."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 3:49 PM

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

Flyers' Hextall committed to future, patience

Don't expect Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall to sacrifice future assets in an attempt to enhance his chances for present-day success.

The Flyers, in the midst of their best point streak (5-0-2, 12 points) of the season, trail the Boston Bruins by eight points for the second wild-card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 28 games remaining in the regular season. The Flyers have road games Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.

The NHL Trade Deadline is March 2.

"Being X number of points out of a playoff spot won't necessarily [dictate what we will do at the deadline]," Hextall said on a conference call Thursday. "That's going to be part of the equation. The other part will be what type of price people will pay. There's a lot of things that go into the decision-making, so as we close in [on the deadline] we'll gauge where we're at and the prices, and we'll make decisions."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 12:45 PM

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

McDavid bobblehead night a big hit in Erie

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, extended his season-high point streak to 16 games with a goal and two points on a very special night against the Guelph Storm on Wednesday.

Even though the Otters lost the game, 6-3, the first 500 children aged 12-and-under at Erie Insurance Arena were given a Connor McDavid bobblehead. On Friday, the Otters will make available additional bobbleheads of the team captain.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 11:06 AM

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

Defenseman Provorov sustains upper body injury

Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ivan Provorov, No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, according the Western Hockey League injury report.

Provorov, who sustained his injury after blocking a shot in a victory against the Kootenay Ice on Feb. 7, could miss games against the Spokane Chiefs on Friday and Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday.


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Posted On Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 10:43 AM

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

Sadek, Jaremko, Borgen among Mr. Hockey nominees

Lakeville North defenseman Jack Sadek, No. 83 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, has been named one of the 10 candidates for Minnesota's prestigious Mr. Hockey Award.

The Mr. Hockey Award, chosen by NHL scouts, junior-hockey scouts and coaches, and select media members from around Minnesota, is given to the outstanding senior high school boys' hockey player in the state each season. Three other awards will be presented at a banquet that is set for March 8 at the Grand Ballroom at RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn.

Sadek (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) is Central Scouting's highest-rated Minnesota scholastic hockey player. The University of Minnesota recruit has four goals and 24 points in 23 games for Lakeville North (23-0-0) this season. He has a point in 15 of Lakeville North's 23 games.

"Jack is a two-way defender who skates well in all directions," Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen told NHL.com. "He handles the puck well and runs the power play from the top with good passing ability, quick release from the point and overall good decisions.

"He's a bit of a late bloomer but overall a solid prospect."

There are two other players among the 10 nominees who are listed on Central Scouting's midterm report: Elk River senior center Jacob Jaremko (5-11, 170) and Moorhead senior defenseman William Borgen (6-2, 189).

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens