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Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:58 PM

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

Capitals' Walker aims to be first Aussie to reach NHL

PHILADELPHIA -- The third time was the charm for Australian-trained left wing Nathan Walker.

Walker, passed over in the previous two NHL Drafts, moved one step closer to realizing his dream on Saturday when the Washington Capitals selected him in the third round (No. 89) of this year's event at Wells Fargo Center. This was the final year of draft eligibility for Walker.

The first Australian to be drafted, Walker is now hoping to take it one step further and lock up a roster spot right out of training camp. The Capitals' managerial team is very familiar with the 5-foot-9, 185-pound forward.

Walker, 20, was one of 40 forwards invited to the Capitals' training camp last fall on a tryout basis.

"I had a good rookie camp and then got the invite to the main camp, so it went well," Walker told NHL.com last September. "I thoroughly enjoyed it."


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Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 9:17 AM

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

Islanders trade up to draft outspoken Ho-Sang

PHILADELPHIA -- Joshua Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League might be the most outspoken of any of the top prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center.

That didn't discourage New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow from trading his two second-round picks (No. 35 and No. 57) to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the No. 28 pick and the opportunity to choose Ho-Sang.

"A lot of people question why I'm so outspoken and question my confidence," Ho-Sang said. "Hockey is definitely one of those sports where quiet confidence is encouraged as opposed to the other sports like the NFL or NBA where it's a little bit louder.

"People that speak their mind are people who change the world and can change hockey. Look at guys like P.K. Subban and Patrick Kane, and even Ryan Getzlaf. I'm willing to do whatever the Islanders ask, and if they want me to clean stuff up I'll do it because I just want to play in the NHL."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 9:04 AM

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

Islanders' Dal Colle gets special call after selection

PHILADELPHIA -- As if being selected with the fifth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders wasn't exciting enough, Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle had one other reason to crack a huge smile Friday at Wells Fargo Center.

The special moment came minutes after Islanders general manager Garth Snow announced Dal Colle as the team's first draft pick and came courtesy of captain John Tavares.

"It was literally two minutes after I was picked when Tavares called," Dal Colle said. "He was the first call and welcomed me to the New York Islanders. He said the organization is happy to have me aboard.

"It was really pretty cool."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 4:29 PM

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

Hextall focused on building Flyers through draft

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is a staunch advocate of building an organization by way of the NHL Draft.

"Your core pieces, or your homegrown pieces, are big," Hextall said during a pre-2014 NHL Draft press conference at the Flyers practice facility on Tuesday.

The 2014 NHL Draft will be held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN) and the remaining six rounds on Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHL Network).

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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 2:58 PM

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

German-born Draisaitl set for draft, soccer match

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia on Wednesday to prepare for all the pomp and circumstance that will accompany the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center this weekend.

Draisaitl, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft, is projected to hear his name in the early stages of the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Considered a power-forward with good touch around the net, Draisaitl finished with 38 goals and 105 points in 64 regular-season games in the Western Hockey League in 2013-14. He also played for Germany at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and IIHF World Championship.

"I'm so excited and I can't wait for [draft] day," Draisaitl told NHL.com. "The last couple of weeks have gone by so quick and this will be pretty much the most exciting time of my life."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 5:10 PM

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

Sabres GM feels Panthers will take Ekblad at No. 1

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray acknowledged Thursday that he expects Ontario Hockey League defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts to be the first player chosen at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Florida Panthers currently have the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the Sabres hold the No. 2 selection.

"I believe that Ekblad is going to go one and then we pick who we have left; the next guy on our list," Murray said at his pre-draft press conference. "If he doesn’t go one, I'd be surprised, I guess, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


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Posted On Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 12:36 PM

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

Swedish prospects Kempe, Englund earning praise

Left wing Adrian Kempe and defenseman Andreas Englund are two intriguing blue-chip prospects from Sweden who could be playing in the NHL sooner rather than later with the proper development.

Born on Sept. 13, 1996, Kempe is not only the youngest European skater among the top 30 on NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of international skaters, but also the youngest among the top 30 skaters on the North American list.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound left-handed shooter is No. 6 on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top international skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28.

Kempe, a power forward type, is considered a first-round pick by many NHL scouts. Some have compared him to Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins as an exceptional skater with a two-way approach to the game.

"He's a big, strong, bullish forward who can play center or wing," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said. "He likes to drive hard for the net, using his strength and skating to his advantage. He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills; mobile, solid and strong."

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Posted On Monday, 06.16.2014 / 3:29 PM

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

Capitals' new assistant GM experienced at draft table

Don't expect the 2014 NHL Draft strategy of the Washington Capitals to change now that Ross Mahoney has been promoted to assistant general manager.

Mahoney, who will aid new general manager Brian MacLellan, had served as Washington's director of amateur scouting the past 16 years before his promotion was announced Monday.

Mahoney confirmed that in addition to his new duties, he will continue to head the table at the draft in addition to coordinating the club's developmental programs to establish a solid foundation for the future of the organization.

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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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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 6:26 PM

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

Functional Movement Screen test a hit with prospects

TORONTO -- The newest element incorporated into the NHL Scouting Combine, the Functional Movement Screen, introduced last year, was again a big hit with the top prospects.

The exam requires players to perform seven specific joint tests that ultimately could reveal imbalances and symmetry deficiencies in movements of the body.

Each movement in the seven tests is scored on a scale of 0-3, meaning that the highest possible total score is 21. According to research provided by NHL Central Scouting, a score of less than 14 might indicate a 75 percent likelihood of a future muscular or joint injury.


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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:42 AM

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

Bike tests loom for 2014 NHL Draft hopefuls

TORONTO -- The words "bike test" are enough to make any top draft prospect uneasy in the hours leading up to the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.

The bike tests are daunting but important for any of the prospects looking to make an impression on NHL scouts and general managers. The heart starts beating faster the moment technicians duct tape the players' feet to the pedals in preparation for those two infamous tests -- the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and VO2 Max.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 2:54 PM

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

USNTDP's Milano the man with the 'magic hands'

"He probably has as much skill and puck skills as anyone I've coached in 15 years," USNTDP U-18 coachDanton Cole said. "He does some amazing things with the puck."

As a freshman at Portledge School (N.Y.) in 2011, Milano was awestruck by an NHL.com video showcasing the magical hands and creativity of then-Saint John Sea Dogs right wing Tomas Jurco. Jurco went on to be selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (No. 35) of the 2011 draft.

"Me and my friend, Brandon Fortunato, watched Jurco do those tricks during a lunch break," Milano said. "We saw that and said let's try doing that in the lunch room at school. We started stickhandling and doing those tricks the whole year. It was a little private school so we went outside in the parking lot to do them whenever we could."

Milano got pretty good at it.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 9:46 AM

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

Lowest-ranked invitee Middleton has high aspirations

TORONTO -- Defenseman Jacob Middleton of the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League has nothing to lose and everything to gain as a participant at the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine.

Middleton is No. 172 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia next month. Despite being the lowest-rated player of the 119 prospects invited to the Combine this week, his spirits are at an all-time high.

"Knowing where I stand in the rankings, this gives me an opportunity to talk to teams and have them get to know me, because from the sounds of it a couple teams wanted to meet with me, which is an honor," Middleton told NHL.com. "To get this opportunity is exciting and I'm going to make the most of it."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 9:34 AM

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

Indiana Ice discuss thrill of victory, agony of dispersal

TORONTO -- It was a bittersweet ending for defensemen Joshua Jacobs and Ryan Mantha of the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League this season.

Three days after helping lead the organization to its second Clark Cup championship in 10 seasons after beating the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL championship series, the league completed a dispersal draft of those players that were on Indiana's season-ending roster and affiliate list.

"It was very strange," Jacobs said. "A lot of guys were heading to college but some of the younger guys were staying and needed more time, but we celebrated like it was our last hurrah. Seeing the players getting drafted was kind of bittersweet, but it was also a good thing for them and they'll get a new insight into next year and more options, more intelligence from other coaches."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 9:22 AM

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

Wheat Kings' Hawryluk eager to prove full recovery

TORONTO -- Brandon Wheat Kings center Jayce Hawryluk is looking forward to impressing NHL scouts and general managers during the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine at Toronto International Centre on Saturday.

For Hawryluk, taking part in the most grueling portion of the Combine is something he is relishing. That wasn't the case two months ago, when after leading the Wheat Kings to a 5-4 victory against the Regina Pats in Game 3 of their best-of-7 first-round Western Hockey League playoff series, Hawryluk was hospitalized after collapsing in the locker room from dehydration.

Hawryluk told NHL.com on Thursday that NHL personnel have questioned what happened that night, moments after he had been named the game's first star after scoring three goals and adding an assist. He has assured all who have asked that he is fully healthy and plans to prove that Saturday.

"I'm better than ever," Hawryluk said. "Everything is fine. I went through tests and it's all good. It was a scary situation with the dehydration. The doctors told me it was overexertion and dehydration, which caused my light-headedness. There was no heart problem and all my medical reports are good."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 4:48 PM

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

Fabbri uses Memorial Cup loss as motivation

TORONTO -- It wasn't the finish Guelph Storm center Robert Fabbri envisioned in the Memorial Cup championship game in London, Ontario, on Sunday.

Still, despite a 6-3 loss against the Edmonton Oil Kings on the final day of the Canadian Hockey League season, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-hand shot has plenty to get excited about now that the 2014 NHL Draft is less than a month away.

Fabbri, No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, finished the season with 45 goals and 87 points in 58 games in his second season in the Ontario Hockey League.

"You can't really define a season off one game, although it was the Memorial Cup and we worked really hard for that opportunity; we just didn't get the outcome we wanted," Fabbri said.

"Winning the OHL championship was one of our goals and one of the steps we needed to take to get to the Memorial Cup. Accomplishing that and the way we did was great. Not too many players can say they won an OHL championship."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 11:10 AM

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

Wheat Kings' Quenneville set to impress at Combine

TORONTO -- Wonder what the topic of discussion was when Brandon Wheat Kings center John Quenneville visited the interview room of the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday here at the NHL Scouting Combine?

Quenneville, a second cousin to Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and nephew (through marriage) of Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, had 25 goals and 58 points in 61 Western Hockey League games this season. He is No. 23 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

He told NHL.com that the meeting with the Blackhawks was "interesting."

Perhaps Quenneville offered some words of encouragement for the Blackhawks staff in attendance. Chicago trails its Western Conference Final series against the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Game 5 is Wednesday at United Center in Chicago (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"Los Angeles is playing great hockey, but there are so many good players on Chicago; I still think they can make a series of it so long as they dig deep," he said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 9:30 AM

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

Oshawa forward Smith a prospect on the rise in 2014

TORONTO -- Oshawa Generals right wing Hunter Smith is hoping the success he had on the baseball diamond someday carries over to the ice.

"I grew up playing baseball and was a catcher," Smith told NHL.com. "I was a big home-run hitter, always hitting in the [No.] three or [No.] four hole."

Smith, born in Windsor, Ontario, was a catcher with the Windsor South Canadians baseball program for a few years before he decided to make hockey his full-time ambition.

"I think I loved baseball so much because we always won," he said. "One year we went 53-1, so we were always a championship-winning team, and it was just a lot of fun. There was no better feeling than trotting the bases. But baseball has been over with now for me for about four or five years."

Smith, a 6-foot-6, 208-pound forward, had the biggest jump on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, landing at No. 39 after being ranked No. 140 in the midterm release in January.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Miller expected back in Rangers lineup for Game 4

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller is expected to make his debut in the Eastern Conference Final series against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Saturday that he intends to have Miller in the lineup.

Miller, who has appeared in three games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has two assists and a plus-3 rating, will likely join center Brian Boyle and right wing Derek Dorsett on the fourth line.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 4:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers backup Talbot marveling over Lundqvist

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot couldn't name something specific that has changed in teammate Henrik Lundqvist since the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Well, maybe one thing.

"He has risen to a new level since Game 5 of the Pittsburgh Penguins series," Talbot said with a grin.

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round was the first of what has become five straight victories for the Rangers, during which Lundqvist has allowed six goals. He is 10-6 with a 1.93 goals-against average and NHL-leading .934 save percentage in 16 postseason games.

Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final is Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

"He's the same focused and intense guy in the dressing room; I couldn't pinpoint one thing that he's changed drastically about his game or attitude, other than the fact that he may be more focused when the game is on the line," Talbot said of Lundqvist. "But I think everyone has taken their game to the next level in the playoffs, as has [Lundqvist]."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 2:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers forward Brassard practices, still day-to-day

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Derick Brassard remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will likely be a game-time decision against the Montreal Canadiens for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Brassard, who missed Game 2 at Bell Centre in Montreal with an injury sustained in the first period of Game 1, was on the ice for the first time in five days on Wednesday practicing with his teammates at MSG. He skated on a line with Mats Zuccarello and J.T. Miller, who was filling in for usual partner Benoit Pouliot (rest).

"Nothing has changed with Derick, he's day-to-day," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 11:06 AM

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

Pawloski helps Indiana Ice to Clark Cup championship

The Indiana Ice celebrated their second Clark Cup championship of the United States Hockey League on Tuesday following a 3-2 victory in Game 5 against the Waterloo Black Hawks before 3,500 at Young Arena in Waterloo, Iowa.

Alex Talcott, who is eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, and Washington Capitals prospect Brian Pinho scored goals in the third period when Indiana rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the best-of-5 series. The Ice won their first league title since 2008-09. Waterloo was seeking its first championship since the 2003-04 campaign.

Indiana goalie Jason Pawloski, who was No. 34 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of the top North American goalies eligible for the 2014 draft but failed to make the final list in April, made 33 saves to notch his eighth win of the playoffs. He finished with a 1.80 goals-against average and .928 save percentage on the way to being named most valuable player of the 2014 Clark Cup Playoffs.

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Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 10:40 AM

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

Top 2014 prospects highlight USHL All-Star teams

Top 2014 NHL Draft prospects Brandon Montour of the Waterloo Black Hawks, Jacob Randolph of the Omaha Lancers and Matheson Iacopelli of the Muskegon Lumberjacks were recognized Thursday as First Team All-Stars by the United States Hockey League.

The USHL All-Star Teams were determined by a vote of league coaches and general managers. Seven different teams were represented on the First and Second All-Star teams.

Montour, No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft, was named the USHL player of the year and best defenseman for 2013-14. He finished ninth in scoring with 62 points (14 goals, 48 assists). Montour put together an 18-game point streak, a span that saw him total four goals and 27 points as Waterloo went 16-1-1. The University of Massachusetts recruit ranked sixth in the league with a plus-35 rating.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 1:44 PM

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

Ekblad, Nedeljkovic named OHL First Team All-Stars

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts and goalie Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers, two top prospects from North America eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, were recognized as First Team All-Stars by the Ontario Hockey League on Wednesday.

The OHL All-Star teams were selected by the league's general managers.

Ekblad, who was named the defenseman of the year in the OHL after finishing with career highs in goals (23), assists (30), power-play goals (16), points (53) and penalty minutes (91) in his third season, is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters. He is projected by many scouts to be the first defenseman off the draft board in the first round on June 27 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 3:10 PM

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

Waterloo defenseman Montour wins top USHL player

Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Brandon Montour on Tuesday was named the top defenseman and player of the year in the United States Hockey League.

Montour, No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, becomes just the third defenseman in USHL history to be named the league's Player of the Year.

"What Brandon did on both ends of the ice this season was phenomenal and a big part of the magical year for the Waterloo Black Hawks," said USHL president and commissioner Skip Prince. "He may have come into the USHL a little under the radar, but he made everyone take notice this season with his tremendous abilities and talent. Congratulations to him on this dual honor and for standing out in a league full of stars."

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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 12:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Crosby: Penguins need better start in Game 7

NEW YORK -- Now would seem to be the perfect time for Sidney Crosby to break out of his offensive slump if he hopes to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2014 playoffs haven't come easy for Crosby, who has one goal and nine points and is minus-3 in 12 games. He has one goal and two assists against the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference Second Round series, which is headed for Game 7 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

In a 3-1 loss against the Rangers in Game 6 on Sunday, Crosby was penalized for cross-checking an opponent at the end of the second period. It appeared to be a penalty taken out of frustration against Dominic Moore, who was down on his hands and knees when Crosby drove his stick into the New York center's back.

It's something Crosby knows cannot happen in the series finale. It's also why Penguins owner Mario Lemieux paid a little visit to Crosby after the game to provide some support, counseling and, perhaps, advice inside the visiting room at Madison Square Garden.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 6:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Maatta to play for Penguins in Game 6

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will be in the lineup for Game 6 against the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series, 3-2.


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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 2:44 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers, Penguins share fond Mother's Day memories

NEW YORK -- To this day, New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is amazed how patient and supportive his mother was in a home of four hockey-crazed sons.

"She was a busy mother with the four of us always in need of something," Staal said. "We spent 10 to 15 years inside of a hockey rink, I think. She's a pretty amazing woman and she still wants to take care of us and make sure we're alright."

Those memories were echoed by various players for the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins on Mother's Day prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN). The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 2:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers' McDonagh after repeat showing in Game 6

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh is hoping for a repeat of his last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

McDonagh is arguably coming off his finest effort of this series Friday in a 5-1 victory in Game 5 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh when he scored his first postseason goal, blocked two shots and had three hits in a team-high 26:53 of ice time.

How was he able to do it?

"I was trying to use my legs a little more," McDonagh said. "Whether it's gap defensively or trying to keep pucks in offensively and get pucks to the net; I'm just trying to do the same out there."

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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 9:34 AM

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

Top 2015 prospect McDavid selected in KHL draft

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, who many project to be the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft in Florida, was selected by Medvescak Zagreb in the second round (No. 77) of the Kontinental Hockey League draft on Thursday.

Zagreb will hold McDavid's KHL rights, but that likely won't matter since the 17-year-old prodigy is expected to suit up for an NHL team in 2015-16 right out of training camp.

It's not the first time a player projected to be a top pick in a future NHL draft was selected by a KHL team. Ak Bars Kazan chose Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) No. 89 in 2009; Vityaz Podolsk chose Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) No. 114 in 2012 and Podolsk chose 2014 top prospect Aaron Ekblad No. 171 in 2013. Ekblad is projected to be the top defenseman off the board at the 2014 draft in Philadelphia.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 4:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Sutter praises outgoing Hurricanes GM

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Brandon Sutter will never forget the opportunity given him by Jim Rutherford and the Carolina Hurricanes seven years ago.

One of the top two-way players on the Penguins, Sutter has three goals, five points and a plus-8 rating as the third-line center in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Penguins this spring.

Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Second Round best-of-7 series against the New York Rangers. Game 4 is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Sutter was acquired from the Hurricanes in June 2012 along with Carolina's 2012 first-round pick and defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin in a trade for center Jordan Staal.

Rutherford was the general manager of the Hurricanes when Sutter was selected in the first round (No. 11) of the 2007 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound versatile forward was looked upon at the time as a player capable of logging big minutes, chipping in offensively and excelling on the penalty kill.

Sutter was recently asked about Rutherford and the impact he had in Carolina. Rutherford stepped down as GM after 20 seasons on April 28 and was replaced by Hall of Fame player Ron Francis.

"[Rutherford] drafted me and those were a great five years, four years of playing," Sutter said. "They have a good organization and a good thing going there. They have some good young players too, and now with Jimmy stepping down, he leaves a good mark.

"He's been there a long time and has done a good job, but maybe Carolina is ready for a little change there and Ron Francis will step in and do a good job."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 3:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins could get Orpik back for Game 4

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik will be a game-time decision Wednesday against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Orpik, who has missed the past five games, has one goal, two points and a plus-5 rating in four games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He sustained an undisclosed injury in the Penguins' first-round series against theColumbus Blue Jackets.

Orpik was replaced in the lineup by Robert Bortuzzo, who has one assist and a plus-2 rating in five games. Bortuzzo's highlight-reel stretch pass to Sidney Crosby in the second period of a 2-0 victory against the Rangers in Game 3 on Monday led to the first goal of playoffs for the Penguins captain.

"There are no injury updates [on Orpik]," coach Dan Bylsma said. "Our lineup will be game-time with the exception of our goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 11:02 AM

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

Notable last names part of 2014 USHL draft

The latest edition of the United States Hockey League draft concluded on Tuesday with some familiar names prepared to take the next big step in their hockey-playing careers with the hopes of following the successful paths of their fathers.

Topping the list was Edina High School forward Keiffer Bellows, the son of 1993 Stanley Cup champion Brian Bellows, who played 17 seasons with five NHL teams. Bellows was selected in the first round (No. 13) by the Sioux Falls Stampede after scoring 10 goals and 27 points in 25 games as a sophomore at Edina.

Bellows was part of Phase 1 of the two-part draft conducted over two days beginning on Monday when 124 players with 1998 birth years were chosen over eight rounds. These players normally don't play immediately in the USHL, but remain on the affiliate lists of USHL teams and compete for roster spots in the future.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 8:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Yeo: No goalie issue; Bryzgalov to start Game 3

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo said Sunday it's senseless to debate whether or not Ilya Bryzgalov will start Game 3 on Tuesday in the Western Conference Second Round Series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild lost Sunday afternoon, 4-1 to fall into a 2-0 hole in the best-of-7 series.

Bryzgalov actually hasn't played bad, but his numbers tell a different story as he is 1-4-1 with a 3.90 goals-against average and .830 save percentage in five playoff games. He was inserted back into the starter's role when Darcy Kuemper was injured in Game 7 of the first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche.

"He's in the net," Yeo said. "We got to find a way to get a win and that's all of us. That's him, but our team too and I'm not going to sit around and wait for another option, for someone else to come in. This is the guy, so let's quit even talking about it. We shouldn't even be talking about who is backing up. [Bryzgalov] is the guy right now and so we have to find a way as a team and as a staff to get a win."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild looking for consistency on the road

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo would like to see his team prove once and for all that they can consistently win on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Wild enter Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday having lost four of their past five road games in the playoffs. The Wild scored a 5-4 overtime victory against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the first round at Pepsi Center, but Yeo would like to see more.

He expressed that frustration to the media two hours before the opening faceoff at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

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Posted On Saturday, 05.03.2014 / 5:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild's Bryzgalov hoping to bounce back in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is looking forward to a little redemption against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series Sunday at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

The Blackhawks scored four goals on 21 shots, including three goals on eight shots in the final two periods, in a 5-2 win in Game 1 on Friday. Bryzgalov said he and the Wild can bounce back in Game 2.

"My confidence is pretty good. All I can do is go on the ice and give the team what I've got and hope it's enough to win the game," Bryzgalov said. "On the one side I'm feeling good, on the other one not very good. I'm not happy with the results [Friday], what we got when I played. Obviously I want to change it."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.03.2014 / 5:24 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild turn back to checking line for Game 2

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo will likely reunite one of his top checking lines for Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

Yeo had right wing Justin Fontaine working the third unit alongside center Erik Haula and left wing Nino Niederreiter during practice Saturday afternoon at United Center. It was a line Yeo had together against Colorado Avalanche rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon in Minnesota's first-round series victory and it worked effectively in Games 4, 5, 6.

Dany Heatley skated at left wing on the fourth line Saturday with center Kyle Brodziak and right wing Cody McCormick.

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Posted On Friday, 05.02.2014 / 12:19 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Bryzgalov likely to start Game 1 for Wild: report

Ilya Bryzgalov reportedly is the likely starter in goal for the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of his team's Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at United Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday night that Bryzgalov is likely to start, with John Curry serving as his backup. Bryzgalov replaced Darcy Kuemper with 8:13 remaining in the third period of the Wild's 5-4 overtime victory in Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Kuemper couldn't continue after sustaining an undisclosed injury.

Bryzgalov made one save in 13:15 of action before Nino Niederreiter's goal won the game at 5:02 of overtime.


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Posted On Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 12:44 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Lundqvist: Rangers will 'move on quickly' from loss

PHILADELPHIA -- It isn't often New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist finds himself on the bench in the middle of a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It happened Tuesday for the first time in five seasons when the Philadelphia Flyers scored four times on 23 shots against Lundqvist over two periods. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault pulled his veteran goalie in favor of backup Cam Talbot to open the third period of an eventual 5-2 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center.

The first-ever Game 7 at Madison Square Garden between the Rangers and Flyers will be played Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN2, CSN-PH, MSG).

"It's definitely disappointing, but [Game 6] is over," Lundqvist said. "We have to move on quickly. Go back to New York, get some rest and get ready. You don't want to analyze this too much. They just felt better tonight in all areas. We will move on quickly here."


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Posted On Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Rangers try to string together wins, eliminate Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Rangers will look to close out their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday before what is sure to be a boisterous crowd for Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).

A victory by the Rangers, who hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series, and preparations may commence for a second-round series showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the Flyers even things up, the teams will square off in a winner-take-all finale in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in their history on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

No team has strung together consecutive wins yet in the series. The Rangers scored a 4-2 victory in Game 5 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

"There's nothing separating the teams; we're all so close," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "You just look throughout the NHL and what's going on in these playoffs. The most consistent team in the League this year, San Jose, went up 3-0 and now they're even going into a Game 7.

"It's a tough League with good teams, and everybody prepares well and prepares hard."

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Posted On Monday, 04.28.2014 / 2:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Rangers hope Nash can help them finish off Flyers

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault believes it's only a matter of time before left wing Rick Nash finds the back of the net in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

He's hopeful that day will come Tuesday, when the Rangers and Flyers play in Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

"He's due," Vigneault said of Nash. "He's had some great looks and is working really hard. I have and his teammates have a lot of confidence in Rick. He's doing a lot of the right things, and sooner or later the puck is going to go in."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 5:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Vigneault wants Rangers to match Flyers' urgency

PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said matching the urgency the Philadelphia Flyers will exhibit from the outset is of utmost importance Friday in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).

Vigneault gave his players the morning off the ice but met with the media two hours before faceoff to discuss Game 4. The Rangers hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 5 is Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

If the series were to go seven games, the final three would be played in a span of four days with Game 6 (Tuesday in Philadelphia) and Game 7 (Wednesday in New York) on consecutive days in different cities.

"I wasn't here for those grueling series [of the past] but I have had my share of them; it's a tough league," Vigneault said. "Teams are good. Everybody that comes into the playoffs would like to win in four but the opposition has something to say about it.

"There's so little separating the teams now. It's more than normal that the series are hard-fought and long. We're going to go out [Friday] and put our focus on one thing and that's the game and what we need to do to have success."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 12:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Simmonds sees Game 4 adjustments Flyers can make

PHILADELPHIA -- After establishing career-high regular-season totals across the board in his sixth season, Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds has struggled to find that offensive form in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers.

It certainly hasn't been for a lack of effort; Simmonds has averaged 2.33 shots and two hits in three games against the Rangers. He has one goal and a minus-2 rating to show for it.

In the regular season, Simmonds averaged 2.54 shots and 1.60 hits on his way to 29 goals and 60 points in 82 games.

When Simmonds is doing what he does best -- working the corners, crashing the crease and creating havoc in front of the opposing goalie -- good things usually happen for the Flyers.

The Rangers limited Simmonds and his linemates, Brayden Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier, to four shots in a 4-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday that gave New York a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Flyers will look to get even in Game 4 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).

"We can't change our game; if we change our game we will change the identity of our team, and that's not what we're going for here," Simmonds said after practice Friday. "We want to keep the identity of our team and make sure we're playing on the line, but not over the line."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 12:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Rangers want to stick with winning formula

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Rangers will look to duplicate their blueprint for success against the rival Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).

The Rangers hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

In a 4-1 victory against the Flyers in Game 3 on Tuesday, the Rangers scored two early goals to take some of the adrenaline and emotion out of the crowd, denied their opponent lanes to shoot the puck, and consistently played with patience.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 3:15 PM

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

Barrie's Ekblad named OHL Defenseman of the Year

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Thursday was named Defenseman of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League.

Many NHL scouts project the 6-foot-3, 216-pound right-handed shot to be the first defenseman taken in the first round of the draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27.

Ekblad, who finished with career highs in goals (23) power-play goals (16), assists (30), points (53) and penalty minutes (91) in his third OHL season, earned first-place finishes for best shot, hardest shot, best offensive defenseman and best defensive defenseman in the Eastern Conference of the OHL this season. The captain of the Colts was also voted second in the category of best penalty killer.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 11:22 AM

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

Bettman praises Philadelphia as 2014 NHL Draft host

PHILADELPHIA -- Though it remains to be seen who will hear his name announced as the No. 1 choice at the 2014 NHL Draft in June, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is sure of one thing.

The city of Philadelphia will prove to be an outstanding host over the two-day event on June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center.

Commissioner Bettman spoke about the upcoming draft during a media availability session prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

"Philadelphia, from the outset, has always been a terrific hockey town," Bettman said. "When you look at the grassroots level, there were 14,000 or more kids who were playing in 50 rinks throughout greater Philadelphia. You look at Snider Hockey, which Ed Snider has created; you look at everything the Flyers have done in the community. When you look at the entry of youngsters, our new players, the future of the League coming into the draft, what better place than Philadelphia?"

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Carcillo could make Rangers playoff debut in Game 3

PHILADELPHIA -- Though New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis was grateful to receive the news of his nomination for the Lady Byng Trophy, his focus was clearly on the Philadelphia Flyers and Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).

"It's always an honor to be nominated for any award, but I think my focus is on something bigger and better right now," St. Louis said. "I think our effort and desperation need to be higher [on Tuesday]. We know that so we'll bring it."

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1.

Though Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't reveal his lineup for Game 3, there is a chance former Flyer Daniel Carcillo could make his debut in the series.

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Rangers focus on what's brought them road success

NEW YORK -- Players from the New York Rangers are expecting an emotional atmosphere for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET (CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1.

The Rangers will enter the game having lost three straight in the City of Brotherly Love, but are confident after closing out the 2013-14 regular season with a 25-14-2 record on the road. The team conducted an optional practice on Monday that included four defensemen, seven forwards and goalie Cam Talbot, prior to leaving for Philadelphia.

"It's an energetic arena to play in for sure, and they feed off of that, so you want to play a simple game," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "You can't be afraid to take an icing, take a whistle here or there to keep the game on your side and keep up the pace. If you get the momentum you have to try to hang onto it, you have to be disciplined too. Their fans will be feeding off their physicality, and you can't buy into it or get caught up in it. That's something we've done all season so far."

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 9:36 AM

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

Whalers' Nedeljkovic named OHL's top goaltender

Plymouth Whalers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic of Parma, Ohio, has become the first player in team history to win the Ontario Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year award.

Nedeljkovic, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American goalies eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, faced the second most shots (2,207) in the OHL and finished with a 26-27-7 record, 2.88 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 61 games.

"To receive this award is an incredible honor," Nedeljkovic said. "There were many other goaltenders in the league this year that also had great seasons. Credit must be given to all of my teammates that helped me to achieve this award. Game in and game out they would do their best to help make my job easier, and I would try my best to do the same for them. This award recognizes what a goalie has accomplished throughout the season, but it is also a symbol of what the entire team did over the course of the season to be as good as they possibly could defensively."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 5:04 PM

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

Canada names roster for U-18 World Championship

Forwards Jake Virtanen and Brendan Perlini and defenseman Haydn Fleury, all projected to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, highlight the roster of players that will represent Canada at the 2014 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship beginning Thursday in Finland.

Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen, Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs and Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels were all ranked among the top 10 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the North American skaters eligible for the 2014 draft. Defenseman Roland McKeown, No. 27 on Central Scouting's final ranking, is the only returning player from last year's gold medal-winning performance. Canada is the defending U-18 World Championship gold medal winner.

The Canadian roster includes three goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards. There are 12 players representing the Western Hockey League, six from the Ontario Hockey League and five from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The roster includes 18 players eligible for the 2014 draft and five more eligible for the 2015 draft.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 12:12 PM

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

Kingston's Bennett turns focus to NHL Draft

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett watched with great interest the Florida Panthers win the NHL Draft Lottery Tuesday evening in Toronto.

Bennett is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

"It was really exciting," Bennett told NHL.com. "It's really interesting but there still are a lot of questions, so whatever happens in June will happen, but I'm really excited."

Bennett acknowledged that as the teams were revealed one by one by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, he couldn't help but envision where he might land on June 27 when the first round of the draft is held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

"It's all up in the air, no one knows who will go where and it's hard to figure out, but I'll admit I was trying to guess and see where I might go," Bennett said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 2:26 PM

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

Fabbri powers Guelph into Western final in OHL

The Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League have advanced to the Western Conference final for the first time in eight seasons.

The Storm will play host to the Erie Otters in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series beginning Thursday. Not surprisingly, center Robert Fabbri, No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, has played a huge role for the Storm this season.

Fabbri was named the OHL Player of the Week for the playoff week ending April 13 after posting four goals, seven points and a plus-5 rating in three victories. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Fabbri helped lead the Storm to a five-game series win against the London Knights in the OHL's Western Conference semifinal with three multi-point performances last week.

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Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 6:51 PM

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

Brodeur in goal for Devils, possibly for last time

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will make possibly his final start for the team against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on Friday.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer wouldn't commit to a starter for Sunday against the Boston Bruins in the regular-season finale at Prudential Center, leaving open the question of whether this will be Brodeur's last game for the Devils. Brodeur can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"Marty will start [Friday] like we have done all year and we'll talk about Sunday on Sunday," DeBoer said. "We'll talk about [the end of the season] at the end of the season. Those are all hypothetical questions. I'm not prematurely going to talk about the end of anyone's career right now. I'm worried about winning a game."

Brodeur, who turns 42 on May 6, has been noncommittal about his future when asked about a possible return to the Devils in 2014-15.

"I don't expect [the Devils] to come running after me," Brodeur said earlier this week. "We'll see. Again, that's a situation I have to be OK with regardless of it it's here or somewhere else. But I have to talk to a lot of people in the offseason and make my own decision. Regardless of if I stay or leave, the Devils are in unbelievable hands with [Cory Schneider]."

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Posted On Monday, 04.07.2014 / 1:12 PM

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

Devils still without injured forwards; Schneider starts

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider is expected to make his fourth straight start Monday against the Calgary Flames at Prudential Center.

Schneider (16-14-11), who made 24 saves in a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Friday and 26 saves in a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, has allowed two or fewer goals in five straight starts (3-0-2). He has a 1.22 goals-against average and .948 save percentage over that stretch, and ranks third in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA.

The Devils extended their point streak to a season-high seven games (4-0-3, 11 points) to keep alive their hope of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by three points for the second of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 1:30 PM

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

Ritchie powers Peterborough to Game 7 win

Peterborough Petes left wing Nicholas Ritchie, No. 7 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, certainly had a tournament to remember against the favored Kingston Frontenacs in the opening round of the Ontario Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Petes, who fell behind 0-3 in the best-of-7 series, capped a remarkable comeback on Tuesday with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Frontenacs in Game 7 in Kingston. Ritchie assisted on the tying goal by Hunter Garlent 2:40 into the second before ending the game and the series 12:17 into overtime.

Peterborough became the fourth team in OHL history to rally from an 0-3 hole in a playoff series.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 12:10 PM

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

Milano, Eichel top U.S. roster for World U-18

NHL scouts will have a great opportunity to see some of the best American-born prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, to be held April 17-27 in Finland.

Among the players picked for the United States team are two players in the top 30 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for this year's draft.

Leading that group is Sonny Milano, a 5-foot-11.5, 183-pound left wing who had 24 goals and 73 points in 50 games with the United States National Team Development Program's under-18 team. He's No. 16 on Central Scouting's list.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 1:06 PM

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

Devils' Larsson recalled following injuries on defense

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson will be in the lineup for the first time in four months Monday when they play host to the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS2, NBCSN).

Larsson, who was recalled from the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany on Sunday, was second among defensemen in scoring for Albany with 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 32 games. He will replace Jon Merrill in the lineup. Merrill is out with facial injuries sustained on Saturday during the third period of a shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Larsson last played with New Jersey on Nov. 23, a 2-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks. He would sustain a lower-body injury against the Sharks, preventing him from returning to the lineup for an extended period. In 20 games with the Devils this season, he has three points, a minus-4 rating and eight penalty minutes.

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Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 3:12 PM

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

Scouts' challenges: rough winter, unpredictable draft

TORONTO -- As if the life of a scout isn't unforgiving enough, the tireless job of viewing the hundreds of prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft in June was made more difficult this season with the brutal weather that hovered over most of North America like a dark shadow.

It's something NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr acknowledged when asked for his final assessment of the meetings at the NHL offices here this week to determine the final rankings of the top North American skaters and goalies eligible for this year's draft.

"This has proven to be an exceptionally difficult winter," Marr told NHL.com. "All travel was affected. Storms left scouts stranded and unable to get to viewings or games. We have a job where we have to try and maintain our coverage, but it was a struggle and guys had to go the extra mile to make sure they got to the games and saw the players.

"So when our final list is determined and we dot the I's and cross the T's, it's going to be a job well done because when you think about it, the winter that hit all of North America never seemed to subside. It's a credit to our staff."

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Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 11:24 AM

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

2015 shaping up as battle between McDavid, Eichel

TORONTO -- It's never too early to begin to compare, contrast and ultimately predict who the better pick will be when the 2015 NHL Draft takes place at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

In a draft that looks to be loaded with offensive and defensive talent across the board, there are two headliners starring at center for their respective teams in Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League and Jack Eichel of the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League.

NHL.com asked nine scouts in attendance at NHL Central Scouting's final meetings this week for their personal choice between the two. The impromptu poll had McDavid earning a slim 5-4 victory.Both players possess two qualities that are tough to teach: work ethic and big-game ability. They each represented their country at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden; McDavid for Canada and Eichel for the United States.

"You're talking about two wonderful players who are going to be a big part of the NHL in the future," USA Hockey director of hockey operations Jim Johannson told NHL.com.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 2:42 PM

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

Central Scouting breaks down league lists

TORONTO -- It's Thursday afternoon and NHL Central Scouting is in the difficult stage of ranking the top North American skaters and goalies for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The process will continue at League headquarters in Toronto until the top 210 North American skaters and 30 goalies are finalized.

Lists were made for players in the top three Canadian junior leagues -- the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League -- as well as regional lists for USA East, USA West and Canadian junior/midget leagues.

The six area lists and top goalies, all completed Thursday afternoon, were discussed in detail over the past two days. NHL.com was given permission to provide a rough draft of the top players in each area in alphabetical order. The lists aren't necessarily final at this stage as changes could be made before the final rankings list is released in April.

Without giving away the order, this is the closest thing you'll get to a top 10 from each area at this point.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 10:58 AM

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

Marr: 120 players invited to NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine, which will be held May 25-31 in Toronto.

NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr confirmed for NHL.com that 120 players, including North American and international skaters and goalies, have been invited to the Combine this year. The 2013 Combine had the top 101 players from North America and Europe.

All NHL teams will have the opportunity for 1-on-1 interviews with the invited prospects between May 26 and May 30. The medical examinations of each player will take place May 30 and fitness testing will be May 31.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 9:08 AM

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

Wheat Kings' Hawryluk hospitalized after collapse

Brandon Wheat Kings center Jayce Hawryluk, No. 42 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, is alert and talking after collapsing in the dressing room after a 5-4 victory against the Regina Pats in Game 3 of the Western Hockey League playoffs on Wednesday in Brandon.

Hawryluk was taken by ambulance to Brandon Regional Health Centre.

Wheat Kings general manager and coach Kelly McCrimmon released the following statement after the game:

"Jayce was taken to hospital after [Wednesday's] game. While concerned, the club believes it is not serious. Until we have more information we cannot pinpoint the cause. Jayce is resting comfortably."


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Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 4:28 PM

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

Day 1 recap: How Central Scouting has evolved

TORONTO -- The opening day of NHL Central Scouting's meeting to determine the final rankings of the top draft-eligible North American skaters proved to be entertaining as well as enlightening.

Entertaining in the fact the top players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in June were discussed and debated for eight hours. Enlightening in the way Central Scouting has taken a proactive approach in making projections at a time when the game has certainly evolved since the bureau was established prior to 1975-76 as a courtesy to NHL teams.

"Our whole business is projection so you have to project where the game will be a little bit down the road," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "We have to look at those trends. We have to know that the game is evolving this way because we're telling you who will play there in the next three-to-five years; it's one of the hardest but best things about our job.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 12:55 PM

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

Familiar top prospects dominate OHL discussion

12 p.m. ET -- The Ontario Hockey League was the next league on the itinerary for discussion at NHL Central Scouting's final meeting of the top draft-eligible players in North America.

The top five OHL players listed at the midterm -- Samuel Bennett of Kingston, Aaron Ekblad of Barrie, Michael Dal Colle of Oshawa, Nicholas Ritchie of Peterborough and Brendan Perlini of Niagara -- continued to gain high praise.

On Bennett: "He's done nothing to change my mind. I think he's done a great job all season."

On Ritchie: "This guy is big (6-2.25, 231), but can still play at top speed and play well at top speed. He can up his game when he has to."

On Dal Colle: "He's had that consistency you need. He would project to be even better once he gets that strength; this kid continues to grow. He's got a good stick and his hockey sense is solid."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 11:24 AM

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

Eastern U.S. defensemen receive CSS spotlight

11 a.m. ET -- The scouts started discussion on the Eastern part of the United States and there were plenty of players up for discussion.

Several defensemen, including Gavin Bayreuther of St. Lawrence in the ECAC, Miles Gendron of Rivers Academy in Massachusetts, Scott Savage of Boston College and John-Claude Brassard of Noble & Greenough School in Massachusetts were players open for talks.

Bayreuther (6-0.5, 195) had nine goals and 36 points in 38 games for St. Lawrence. Gendron (6-1.5, 181) had six goals and 19 points for Rivers Academy. In 29 games for the Boston College Eagles, Scott Savage (6-1, 171) had four goals and 16 points. Brassard, who will attend Union College in New York in 2015-16, also had a productive season with 11 goals and 43 points in 27 games for Noble & Greenough.

Steven Merl (6-3, 186) of Belle Tire U18 (T1AAA) produced six goals and 23 points in 36 games as a right-handed center. He'll play in the United States Hockey League next season.

The scouts took a 15-minute coffee break and are now beginning to discuss players from the Ontario Hockey League. At the midterm release in January, Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL was No. 1 among North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 11:10 AM

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

Early focus on top 'Q' talents at CSS meetings

10 a.m. ET -- Chris Bordeleau, who does much of the scouting in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, began Day 1 with discussion on the top players within the league. At the midterm, forward Ivan Barbashev of Moncton was the top player from the QMJHL and left wing Nikolaj Ehlers was the second highest.

Left wing Vladimir Tkachev (5-foot-9, 141 pounds) of Moncton was discussed in detail, including his compete level, the type of player he is and can become. Tkachev had 10 goals, 20 points in 20 games after joining the Wildcats from Omsk in the Kontinental Hockey League in the middle of the season.

Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb had Tkachev ranked No. 14 on the midterm list of the top international skaters when he played overseas. Center Alexandre Goulet of Charlottetown, left wing Julien Pelletier of Cape Breton, center Cameron Darcy of Cape Breton and center Jan Mandat of Victoriaville were also discussed in length.

What was interesting, in addition to hearing the commentary on the players, was how scouts were figuring out how to rank players based on how the game has changed in recent seasons. The speed and quickness with which the game is now played might change some opinions.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 9:30 AM

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

Final meeting to rank top players for 2014 Draft begins

So the scouts are in place and we're ready to roll here at the board offices in Toronto. The final meeting to determine the top 2014 draft-eligible prospects is under way.

Scouts in attendance are director of Central Scouting Dan Marr, along with Chris Edwards, David Gregory, Al Jensen, B.J. MacDonald, Peter Sullivan, Chris Bordeleau and Greg Rajanen. Jensen is also responsible for ranking the top North American goaltenders. Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb will make his recommendations to Marr from a separate location on the top international skaters and goaltenders.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 6:24 PM

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

Clarkson, with Maple Leafs, facing Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- For the second time in four days, the New Jersey Devils will welcome back a former teammate to Prudential Center on Sunday.

Right wing David Clarkson, who spent seven seasons with the Devils before signing a seven-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in July 2013, will play in New Jersey for the first time since his departure. The Devils host the Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. ET.

"The Devils' fans were always good to me," Clarkson said. "I loved playing here, I loved wearing that Devils logo. It's a place that will always be close to my heart."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 12:32 PM

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

Devils' Carter returns against rival Rangers

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have an opportunity to inch one step closer to the second of the Eastern Conference's two wild-card spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday when they host the New York Rangers at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG, MSG PLUS).

The Devils enter the game against their Metropolitan Division rival trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets by five points for the second wild-card spot with eight of their remaining 12 regular-season games at home. The Blue Jackets travel to Uniondale, N.Y., on Sunday for a matinee against the New York Islanders. The Devils are seven points behind the Rangers with a game in hand.

The Devils have won three of the previous four meetings against the Rangers and are expected to have fourth-line left wing Ryan Carter back in the lineup. Carter missed the past three games with an upper-body injury but was skating with usual partners Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier during the morning skate Saturday. Left wing Tim Sestito, who on Monday was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League, is out with an upper-body injury.

"It will be good to get him back," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said of Carter. "We'll need that line's energy against these guys. They've had a history of playing well as a line against the Rangers and we'll need that."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 6:24 PM

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

Reinhart, Draisaitl earn WHL first-team honors

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl and Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, two of the top 2014 draft-eligible point producers in the Western Hockey League this season, were named First Team All-Stars of the WHL's Eastern Conference on Thursday.

Draisaitl, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, finished fourth in the league with 105 points (38 goals, 67 assists) in 64 regular-season games. Reinhart, No. 4 on Central Scouting's midterm list, also had 105 points (36 goals, 69 assists) in four fewer games.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 12:18 PM

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

Brodeur: Devils let Parise 'walk to free agency'

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur isn't sure what type of reception former teammate Zach Parise will receive when the Minnesota Wild play Thursday at Prudential Center.

He acknowledged that while the decision by the former Devils captain to sign a lucrative offer with the Wild in the summer of 2012 strictly was business, it also affected the Devils "in a big way."

"Hockey players have different views than the fans, but that's expected," Brodeur said. "The fans for sure are not pleased with his decision to leave us, especially being the captain. The only drawback being he went back home to Minnesota. Some fans are sensitive to that and they'll understand.

"But it affected our organization in a big way … losing him. That's what the fans care about. Us, we know it's part of the business. We had plenty of chances, two years, to talk to him to try and figure something out. We waited and waited and it was too late."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 4:42 PM

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

Ekblad earns four top honors in OHL coaches poll

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, won top honors in four different categories in the Eastern Conference of the Ontario Hockey League.

The results of the OHL Coaches Poll, which enables teams from each conference to recognize the top three players in 20 different categories, were released Wednesday in Toronto.

Ekblad, considered to be the top draft-eligible defenseman on the board this season, earned first-place finishes for best shot, hardest shot, best offensive defenseman and best defensive defenseman. He also was voted second in the category of best penalty killer, behind Philadelphia Flyers prospect and Oshawa Generals forwards Scott Laughton.


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Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 6:58 PM

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

Johnson to start for Bruins vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goaltender Chad Johnson will start against the New Jersey Devils when he leads the Boston Bruins onto the ice Tuesday at Prudential Center.

Johnson is 14-3-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average, one shutout and a .921 save percentage this season. He is 8-0-1 in his past nine starts and has won his past three, including a 30-save, 5-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 15.

Tuukka Rask, who is coming off a 33-save, 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Monday at TD Garden in Boston, has won six straight and is 10-3-2 in his past 15 starts. The 27-year-old Finn is three wins from career win No. 100.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 12:30 PM

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

Devils wary of Bruins' formidable top line

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils begin a critical five-game homestand at Prudential Center on Tuesday against the best team in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins not only enter the game having won nine straight, but have limited the opposition to two or fewer goals in eight of those games. They sport an impressive plus-72 goal differential and rank third in the NHL with a 3.19 goals-per-game average and second with a 2.12 goals-against average.

"We know they are good; I don't need to look at the goal differential to know they are a good hockey team," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We see where they are in the standings. We look at the success they've had and see their roster. They are a good team and it'll be a good test."

Martin Brodeur, who likely will start in goal for the Devils, is 25-22-10 with a 2.58 GAA, four shutouts and .908 save percentage in 59 career games against the Bruins.

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Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 1:21 PM

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

Top prospects set for tiebreaker

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, will lead his charges against the Red Deer Rebels on Tuesday in a tiebreaker game to determine the final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoffs.

The winner will play the top-seeded Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round of the best-of-seven WHL playoffs on Saturday in Edmonton.

The WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League begin postseason play this week.

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Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 12:10 PM

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

DeAngelo expected to return Saturday for Sarnia

Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, will sit out his third straight game on Friday with a lower-body injury when his team plays against the Guelph Storm at Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ontario.

DeAngelo informed NHL.com that the injury, which he sustained in the first period of a 7-0 loss against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on March 7, is "nothing too serious." He expects to be back in the lineup on Saturday in his team's regular-season finale against the Erie Otters.

The offensive-minded defenseman remains the highest-scoring player at his position in the Ontario Hockey League with 70 points (15 goals, 55 assists) in 50 games. In three seasons with the Sting, DeAngelo has 30 goals and 151 points in 180 games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 10:36 AM

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

Kingston's Bennett suspended five games by OHL

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Tuesday was given a five-game suspension by the Ontario Hockey League for his actions in a game against the Peterborough Petes earlier this month.

The suspension is retroactive to March 7, meaning Bennett would be eligible to return to the lineup for his team's regular-season finale against the Mississauga Steelheads on March 16.

Bennett had already served two games of the suspension while the league was reviewing his double minor for high sticking against defenseman Clarke Seymour 13:38 into the third period of a 5-4 loss to the Petes on March 6. Seymour was a fifth-round selection (No. 143) of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2012 NHL Draft.

The Frontenacs have 36 wins and 78 points and are in third place in the conference standings with four regular-season games remaining.


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Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 2:04 PM

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

Prince Albert's Draisaitl named WHL player of week

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Monday was named the Denny's Western Hockey League Player of the Week.

Draisaitl, who had five goals, nine points and a plus-5 rating in three victories this past week, is tied for fourth in the league scoring race with 97 points in 60 games. Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, No. 4 on Central Scouting's midterm list, also has 97 points in 56 games.

Draisaitl, chosen No. 2 in the 2012 CHL Import Draft by Prince Albert, has 56 goals and 155 points in 124 career regular-season contests spanning two seasons.

"All season long, he's continued to develop as a prospect," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "You noticed him all the time last year and he's gone out there and become a dominant player for Prince Albert this year. We like him as a top-five pick."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 11:34 AM

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

Top prospect Bennett out 'indefinitely'

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft eligible skaters from North America, missed his second straight game on Sunday as the Ontario Hockey League continues to review an incident that occurred three days ago involving the top 2014 draft prospect.

The Kingston Whig-Standard reported on Friday that Bennett is serving an "indefinite" suspension after being issued a double minor for high sticking 13:38 into the third period of a 5-4 loss to the Peterborough Petes on March 6.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:59 PM

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

Khudobin in net for Hurricanes vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin will be in net for a third straight game when his team plays the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Khudobin made 40 saves in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The 27-year-old goalie was named the game's first star.

For the season, Khudobin is 14-9-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:00 PM

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

Devils' Brodeur looking for third straight win

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is scheduled to earn his third start in five games when his team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Prudential Center.

Brodeur, who is 15-11-4 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .899 save percentage this season, has won his past two starts. Brodeur is 38-16-6 with a 2.07 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 61 career games against the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller doesn't announce his starting goalie until after pregame warmups. Cam Ward (6-9-5, 3.23 GAA, .891 save percentage), who is 9-12-2 with a 2.83 GAA and .899 save percentage in 23 career matches against the Devils, is the expected starter. The veteran goalie last won a game on Dec. 31, a 5-4 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens. Anton Khudobin stopped a season-high 40 shots in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 1:40 PM

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

Kings acquire McNabb in multiplayer trade

The Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday acquired defenseman Brayden McNabb, forward Jonathan Parker, and second-round draft picks in 2014 and 2015 from the Buffalo Sabres in a trade for prospects Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:36 PM

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

Red Wings' Datsyuk day-to-day with knee issue

NEWARK, N.J. -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will get the start against New Jersey Devils veteran Martin Brodeur on Tuesday in a battle of teams jockeying for playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Howard, who is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in two career starts against the Devils, will have to be at his best with forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss, and defenseman Jakub Kindl, all sidelined by injury. Zetterberg had back surgery on Feb. 21 and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

Datsyuk sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of a victory against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He told reporters Monday that he's dealing with an "issue with my knee and looking day-to-day."

Joakim Andersson will take Datsyuk's spot on the top line, centering Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:08 PM

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

Brodeur gears up for possible curtain call with Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- It has been almost two months since New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur last suited up and started a hockey game at Prudential Center.

Though he's excited to get that chance Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, there's also the possibility this may turn out to be Brodeur's curtain call with the organization, making for what should be an emotional atmosphere against an opponent the Devils are chasing for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL Trade Deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, and Brodeur's name has surfaced as a potential target of other contenders. NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes reported earlier this week that Brodeur waived his no-trade clause, but whether the goalie revealed a list of teams he'd be willing to play for remains to be seen.

We could learn of that decision as early as the conclusion of the game Tuesday.

"Our priority is still to win a hockey game and Marty is in net; he'll give us the best chance and we'll see what happens [Wednesday]," Brodeur's longest-tenured teammate, Patrik Elias, said. "He's obviously been one constant in my career sitting beside me all the time. It would be sad to see him go, but at the same time I can see where he's coming from."

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Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 7:25 PM

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

Samuel Bennett named OHL player of the week

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft eligible skaters from North America, was named the Ontario Hockey League player of the week on Monday.

Bennett, who had four goals, six points and a plus-3 rating in three games, helped the Frontenacs earn five of a possible six points in the standings. Kingston (34-22-5) currently holds the third seed in the OHL's Eastern Conference playoff race with 73 points.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.01.2014 / 6:23 PM

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

Fleury to start for Penguins vs. Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Marc-Andre Fleury will make his sixth straight start in goal when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field on Saturday night as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (8 p.m. ET, NBC).

Fleury is 4-1-2 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in seven career games against the Blackhawks. For the season, Fleury is 31-13-3 with a 2.29 GAA and .917 save percentage. His 31 victories are the most in the NHL.

Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma would not reveal his starting lineup other than to say Fleury will start in goal.


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Posted On Monday, 02.24.2014 / 3:39 PM

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

Eden Prairie's Snuggerud, Spinner up for Mr. Hockey

The top 10 candidates for the 2014 Mr. Hockey Award for the state of Minnesota have been announced.

The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts, NCAA Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.

The nominees include five players ranked on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft.

The 10 finalists are forwards Tyler Cline (Blaine), Spencer Naas (Benilde-St. Margaret's), Avery Peterson (Grand Rapids), Mitch Slattery (Hill-Murray), Steven Spinner (Eden Prairie) and Zach Yon (Roseau), and defensemen Phil Beaulieu (Duluth East), Tyler Nanne (Edina), Luc Snuggerud (Eden Prairie) and Nick Wolff (Eagan).

Nanne, Slattery, Spinner, Snuggerud and Wolff are on Central Scouting's midterm list.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 4:57 PM

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

Top draft prospect DeAngelo suspended eight games

Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, was suspended for eight games by the Ontario Hockey League for violation of the league's harassment and abuse/diversity policy.

The suspension was announced on the OHL website Friday afternoon.

DeAngelo hasn't played since he was involved in an incident in a game Jan. 31 against the Guelph Storm. According to the report DeAngelo made "a most inappropriate statement to a teammate" to incur his suspension. The suspension is retroactive to Feb. 1, meaning DeAngelo needs to serve three more games before being eligible to return to the lineup, Feb. 22 against the Ottawa 67's.

DeAngelo leads all OHL defensemen with 47 assists and 60 points in 43 games.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 9:50 AM

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

Reinhart named CHL's player of the week

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America, on Tuesday was named the Canadian Hockey League player of the week for games ending Feb. 9.

Reinhart, who was the unanimous top pick for the 2014 NHL Draft in three mock drafts revealed Thursday by NHL.com's draft experts, had three goals, 11 points and a plus-8 rating in a win against the Saskatoon Blades and back-to-back victories against the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

Reinhart, 18, has a point in 15 straight games, a stretch that has seen him total 13 goals and 34 points. He has 29 goals and 80 points in 45 games this season and 94 goals and 229 points in 188 WHL games spanning three seasons.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 12:04 PM

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

Devils to split up Jagr-Zajac tandem against Oilers

NEWARK, N.J. -- In an effort to jumpstart the offense, New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer will incorporate a few lineup changes Friday against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center.

DeBoer will have Andrei Loktionov centering left wing Dainius Zubrus and right wing Jaromir Jagr against the Oilers. Travis Zajac, who developed good chemistry playing alongside Jagr the past three months, is expected to skate between left wing Patrik Elias and right wing Damien Brunner.

Loktionov was a healthy scratch for six games before being held without a point in the past two games, losses to the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. He now moves alongside team scoring leader Jagr (48 points) in a game the Devils desperately need to maintain pace in the Eastern Conference. Loktionov skated with Jagr earlier in the season so they do have some experience together.

"It was tough when you're not playing," Loktionov said. "I can't say how I'm feeling right now but I know Jagr can only help my game."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 2:38 PM

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

U.S. tops host Russia to open Five Nations

Center Dylan Larkin, No. 17 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, scored two power-play goals and goalie Blake Weyrick made 19 saves as the United States Under-18 National Team scored a 5-2 victory against host Russia in the opener of the 2014 Five Nations Tournament at Dmitrov Arena in Dmitrov, Russia.

Weyrick is No. 3 on Central Scouting's midterm list of the draft-eligible North American goaltenders. Jack Eichel, a top prospect for the 2015 draft, had a goal and an assist. Sonny Milano, No. 16 on Central Scouting's ranking of North American skaters, and Louie Belpedio also scored for the United States, which seeks its first title at the Five Nations Tournament since 2011.

The Americans opened a 5-0 lead before Russia scored twice in the third period. The U.S. next plays Finland on Thursday at Dmitrov Arena at 6:30 a.m. ET.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 11:24 AM

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

Demko's 27 saves power BC into Beanpot title game

Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top 2014 draft-eligible goaltenders in North America, made 27 saves to help lead the nation's No. 2-ranked team to a 3-1 victory against Boston University on Monday before a packed house in the semifinal round of the 62nd Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden in Boston.

The Eagles (20-4-3), the four-time defending champion, will face Northeastern in the championship game on Monday at TD Garden for the third time in the past four Beanpot finals. BC scored a 6-3 victory against the Huskies in the 2013 Beanpot championship game.

Demko, who even earned an assist on a third-period goal by Johnny Gaudreau, won his sixth straight game and improved to 9-1-2 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .930 save percentage for the Eagles. Boston College received goals by Ryan Fitzgerald (Boston Bruins), Kevin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks) and Gaudreau (Calgary Flames). The Terriers received their only goal of the game by Robert Baillargeon (Ottawa Senators).

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Posted On Monday, 02.03.2014 / 6:17 PM

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

Harrold in for Devils, Giguere in net for Avalanche

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Peter Harrold will return to the lineup for the first time in almost two months Monday when his team hosts the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center.

Harrold has been out since Dec. 7 when he slid into the goal post during a 4-3 overtime victory against the New York Rangers. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who sustained a lower-body injury in the second period of an overtime loss against the Nashville Predators on Friday, will not be in the lineup for the Devils.

Harrold, who missed 25 games with a non-displaced right foot fracture, was activated from injured reserve Monday morning.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 11:17 AM

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

Windsor's Ho-Sang named OHL Player of the Week

Windsor Spitfires forward Joshua Ho-Sang, No. 18 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Monday was named the Ontario Hockey League's Player of the Week.

Ho-Sang, whose has a Jamaican father, Chilean mother and Chinese-born great-grandfather, currently is riding a four-game point streak during which he's accounted for four goals and 11 points. Ho-Sang has 23 goals, 62 points and a plus-25 rating in 23 games for this season.

He also had a goal and an assist playing for Team Orr in the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game earlier this month at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 9:34 AM

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

Triumphant return for Kingston's Bennett

Kingston Frontenacs forward Samuel Bennett wasted little time picking up where he left off when he rejoined his teammates Sunday for his first game since being tabbed No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Bennett, who missed five Ontario Hockey League games, as well as the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, with a lower-body injury, had a goal and an assist in a 6-1 victory against the Belleville Bulls and was named the game's second star.

The 6-foot-0.25, 178-pound left-shot center is riding a 25-game point streak during which he's totaled 17 goals and 46 points.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.26.2014 / 10:54 AM

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

Different atmosphere, same game for Rangers, Devils

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault believes having an opportunity to play consecutive games on the infield ice at Yankee Stadium in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series this week will be a nice change of pace at this point in the season.

The Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC) and the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2) on Wednesday.

"I think for the teams, having an opportunity to play outside and in front of great fans is going to be real exciting," Vigneault said. "It's a great time in the schedule; 82 games sometimes can be a little bit challenging."

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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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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Jagr: Nedved could be Czech Republic's best player

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jaromir Jagr won't be the oldest player skating for the Czech Republic when his country opens the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month against Sweden.

That distinction will belong to 42-year-old Petr Nedved, who won a silver medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Games playing for Canada. This year's Olympic Games will mark the first time the former Pittsburgh Penguins teammates' will join forces for the Czechs and play for their country at the highest level of international hockey.

Jagr, 41, and Nedved skated two seasons together in Pittsburgh (1995-97). Jagr is currently in his 20th NHL season and first with the New Jersey Devils. Nedved, who spent 15 seasons in the NHL, serves as captain for the provincial team White Tigers Liberec in the Czech league. He has 13 goals and 33 points in 35 games this season.

"I'm happy for Petr; good for him," Jagr said. "On a big ice surface, he can be a big factor. He might be the best player on our team. The main reason the coaching staff chose him was because he played at the [2012] World Championship for Czech and he was better than a lot of the players at that tournament."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Flyers' Giroux disappointed in Canada's decision

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux received the news he wouldn't be headed to the 2014 Sochi Olympics for Canada while preparing for his team's morning skate at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

It wasn't easy.

"[Canada general manager] Steve Yzerman called me [Tuesday] morning; it was a quick talk," Giroux said. "It's obviously disappointing. It was one of my dreams to play for Canada but there's a lot of good players from Canada and the names announced are talented, good players. It's disappointing, but it happens."

Giroux acknowledged the best medicine was the fact he'll lead his club in a Metropolitan Division game with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

"Some believe everything happens for a reason, and if I didn't make this team, there's a reason behind it," he said. "But I'm not upset or mad. It's a tough day, but it's a good thing I have a game so I can just put this behind me and keep moving forward."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 12:52 PM

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

Devils hope to limit shots from surging Flyers

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have been successful by limiting the number of shots taken by the opposition each and every game. Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube is a firm believer that offense comes from getting to the net and generating shots.

Something will have to give on Tuesday when the Devils play host to the Flyers in a Metropolitan Division contest at Prudential Center.

The Devils, who have lost two straight, have allowed a League-low 24.8 shots-per-game this season. The biggest issue facing Devils coach Peter DeBoer has been scoring as the team ranks 26th at 2.35 goals per game.

As is the case each game with Berube in charge, the Flyers will look to reach the 30-shot mark against the Devils. The Flyers, 20-10-4 since beginning the season 1-7-0, are 13-8-1 when they generate 30 or more shots in a game. The team averages 29.7 shots, which ranks 17th in the League.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 6:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Ristolainen's OT winner gives Finland WJC gold

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored 9:42 into overtime to give Finland a dramatic 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship before 12,023 on Sunday at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

Ristolainen, a first-round pick (No. 8) of the Buffalo Sabres last June, collected a pass from captain Teuvo Teravainen along the right-wing wall inside the opposing blue line and curled toward the cage before tucking a backhand underneath goalie Oscar Dansk to give Finland its third WJC title and first since 1998.

"I saw that they played man-on-man defense in their own end," Ristolainen told the IIHF website. "It was empty in front of the net. I just skated there. I tried to put the puck somewhere hard and it went in."

Teravainen, a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012, led the tournament with 13 assists and 15 points. He notched three assists on Sunday.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

2015 World Junior brackets announced

The pools for both Group A and Group B of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto were revealed on Sunday at the conclusion of the 2014 tournament in Malmo, Sweden.

The 11-day tournament will run Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2015. It will be the 11th time Canada has hosted the event, but the first time it will come to Toronto. Montreal hosted in 1978.

In Group A, Canada will play the preliminary round at Bell Centre in Montreal along with defending champion Finland, the United States, Slovakia and Germany.

In Group B, 2014 silver medalist Sweden will join bronze-medalist Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Denmark at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Norway, which lost a best-of-3 series to Germany in the 2014 WJC relegation round, will play in the Division I Group A in 2015.

The schedule will be determined at a later date.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sweden's Forsberg named MVP at WJC

Rasmus Ristolainen, who scored the golden goal midway through overtime to give Finland a 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold medal game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday, was also awarded the Directorate Award for best defenseman at the 11-day event.

Ristolainen finished the tournament with three goals and a plus-1 rating in five games. He was sidelined early in the tournament with the flu, but certainly made up for lost time when it mattered most as the Finns celebrated their first gold medal since 1998.

The Directorate's Most Valuable Player Award and Top Forward Award were given to Sweden center Filip Forsberg, who finished with four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating. The Nashville Predators prospect is the first Swede to be honored as an MVP since the awards were introduced in 2004.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 3:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Dansk's heroics lead Sweden into WJC final

Oskar Sundqvist scored the decisive goal early in the third period, and goalie Oscar Dansk made it stand with a spectacular 26-save performance, to lead the Swedish National Junior Team to a 2-1 victory against Russia in the semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Saturday before a crowd of 11,725 at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

Sweden advanced to its third straight gold medal match and will play Finland, which defeated Canada 5-1. The championship round is scheduled Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US) at Malmo Arena. Tre Kronor will look to win gold on home ice for the first time in its history, having come up short in 1979, 1984, 1993, 2000 and 2007.

Russia will face Canada in the bronze medal game at 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US) on Sunday.

"I think we played pretty good," Sweden forward Alexander Wennberg told the IIHF website. "Russia's a great team. At the end, it was tough. They had a lot of scoring chances against us. But we had a nice game and I think we deserved the win."

Sweden has won nine of its past 10 meetings against Russia, dating back to 2008. Additionally, six have been decided by one goal, including a shootout when Russia won gold in 2011, and two in overtime when Sweden won gold in 2012. The host nation also earned a 3-2 win in preliminary-round play on New Year's Eve.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

German forward Laub suspended one game

Forward Lukas Laub of the German National Junior Team was suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation disciplinary panel Saturday for his hit on Norway defenseman Erlend Lesund on Friday in Game 2 of the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

Laub will miss the final game for his country as a result of the suspension that occurred in the second period of Germany's 4-3 win. Germany and Norway play in the third and final game of the relegation round on Sunday at 6 a.m. ET to determine which team will remain in the top level at the 2015 WJC in Toronto and Montreal. The best-of-3 series is tied, 1-1.

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Posted On Friday, 01.03.2014 / 3:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Germany forces deciding relegation game vs. Norway

Leon Draisaitl scored two goals, including the game-winner midway through the third period, to rally Germany to a 4-3 victory against Norway in Game 2 of the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion, in Malmo, Sweden.

The victory sets up a one-game showdown Sunday in the best-of-3 series that will determine which team will remain in the top division at the 2015 WJC. The loser will be relegated to the Division I tournament. 

Game time is 6 a.m. ET.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 8:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Semifinals: Sweden vs. Russia; Canada vs. Finland

The semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will take the spotlight Saturday when Sweden plays Russia and Canada battles Finland at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

The survivors will meet in the gold-medal game slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US). The bronze-medal game is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Canada is making its 16th consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals. Sweden is making its eighth straight semifinal-round appearance, and this will mark the fourth straight for Russia. Finland failed to advance to the medal round at the 2013 WJC, and this is only the second time in eight years the country will have a chance to play for a medal.

A new champion is guaranteed Sunday since Russia beat the United States, the defending gold medalist, 5-3 in the quarterfinal round Thursday. In other quarterfinal action Sweden defeated Slovakia 6-0; Canada defeated Switzerland 4-1; and Finland defeated Czech Republic 5-3.

Here is a closer look at the semifinal matchups Saturday:

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Russia rides power-play goals to WJC semifinals

Russia defenseman Nikita Zadorov scored two second-period power-play goals to help rally his team to a 5-3 victory against the United States in the quarterfinals of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday.

The triumph enables Russia to advance to the semifinals on Saturday against the winner of the quarterfinal later Thursday between Sweden and Slovakia (1:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). The Russians lost 3-2 to Sweden in the final game of the preliminary round in the Group B pool Tuesday.

"We want to play Sweden," Zadorov told the IIHF website. "It was a close game last time and we're going to watch some video and play better."

After earning medals in two of the past three World Junior tournaments, including the gold at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia, the Americans will go home this year without a medal.

Stefan Matteau had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Hartman and Nicolas Kerdiles also scored for the U.S. Goalie Jon Gillies made 20 saves.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Discipline, penalty kill send U.S. home early from WJC

The trip home this year for the United States National Junior Team will not be nearly as memorable as the one the team made last year.

After celebrating a third gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, the United States will arrive home empty-handed in 2014 after dropping a 5-3 quarterfinal game against Russia on Thursday at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden.

"It's definitely disappointing," U.S. forward Ryan Hartman told NHL.com. "We came in with a goal to win gold and obviously fell short. It's a learning experience for the guys coming back next year; it's a good learning tool for them."

Hartman, U.S. captain Riley Barber and goalie Jon Gillies were the three returnees from the team that won the gold last year in Ufa, Russia. Hartman pointed to struggles on the penalty kill that led to the early dismissal this year.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 6:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. ready for quarterfinal game vs. Russia

The United States National Junior Team will look to rebound from its first loss at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship when it faces Russia in the quarterfinal round of the tournament Thursday (6 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com) at Malmo Arena in Sweden.

The Americans are 3-4-0 against Russia in the past 10 World Junior tournaments, including a 2-1 preliminary-round loss at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia. The U.S. has six wins and 20 losses against Russia in all-time at the WJC, though three of the victories have come in the past seven meetings.

The last meeting in the quarterfinal round was a 6-1 Russia win in 2002. In the last medal-round match between the teams, Russia won 4-2 in bronze-medal game at the 2008 WJC.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 9:10 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. readies for Canada with Group A top seed on line

The United States and Canada are prepared to renew acquaintances in preliminary-round action of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden on Tuesday (11:30 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com).

The top seed in Group A is on the line, meaning a quarterfinal-round match Thursday with the fourth-place team in Group B is at stake.

The United States enters atop Group A with three victories and nine points, outscoring its opposition 19-4. Canada needs to defeat the U.S. in regulation to gain the necessary three points to grab the top seed. Canada has two regulation wins and one shootout loss for seven points.

"I think right now the guys know we're playing for the top seed and it doesn't matter if we're playing Canada or the Czechs or Sweden … that's our No. 1 focus," U.S. coach Don Lucia told NHL.com. "I think it'll be good that we play a good, quality team like Canada because it will help us get ready for that quarterfinal game when it's single elimination.

"Playing a good opponent with high-end talent and full of first-round draft picks (11) means there's little margin for error. Every player must be on top of his game."

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 3:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Petan scores twice as Canada rallies past Slovakia

There isn't a player in the Canadian Hockey League who can match the offensive prowess of Nicolas Petan of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks over the past two seasons.

That success has certainly carried over into the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship as a member of the Canadian National Junior Team.

Petan, who has 186 points in the past 103 games to lead all scorers in the CHL since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, scored two of the biggest goals of his career on Monday to help rally Canada to a 5-3 victory against Slovakia in preliminary round action before 2,558 fans at Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

After spotting Slovakia a 3-1 lead in the second, the Canadians roared back to score four unanswered goals to earn their second win in the Group A bracket. Canada will conclude play in Group A against the United States on New Year's Eve at 11:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US, NHL.com). Slovakia will meet Czech Republic in its final preliminary-round match on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

"This win was a huge boost of confidence for us," forward Jonathan Drouin told TSN.ca. "Every team is good in this tournament and we had a great comeback by our team. But it's behind us and now we have a big game [against the United States]."

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 2:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Special teams spark U.S. past Germany

One of several areas the United States National Junior Team has certainly excelled at during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship has been specialty teams.

That theme continued Sunday in an 8-0 victory against Germany at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

The United States broke open the game with four power-play goals in the second to take a 6-0 lead. U.S. coach Don Lucia acknowledged that his team is beginning to gain "traction" on specialty teams.

"We have a lot of different pieces we can use on [the power play]," Lucia told NHL.com. "[Assistant coach Greg Brown] has control and he's coaching them up. We have defensemen who can make some plays and three units going. We've been a plus in every game so far on specialty teams and that goes a long way in helping you win games."

The United States, in fact, has only given up one even-strength goal in the tournament.

The Americans, who finished 6-for-10 with the man advantage against Germany, held a 22-4 shot advantage in the second when their opponent was assessed 33 penalty minutes. The United States held a 53-15 advantage in shots for the game.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Fucale to start for Canada against Slovakia

Canadian National Junior Team goalie Zachary Fucale, a second-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in June, is expected to make his debut between the pipes on Monday when his team faces Slovakia in preliminary round play of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

Canadian coach Brent Sutter confirmed the decision Sunday after his team's practice. Jake Paterson (Detroit Red Wings) was the starter in Canada's previous two games, a regulation win against Germany and a shootout loss to the Czech Republic. Paterson has a 3.36 goals-against average and .867 save percentage.

Fucale, who would be making his first appearance for Canada at the WJC, is 19-7-1 with a 2.51 GAA and .902 save percentage for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 8:27 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Stolarz earns start against Germany; Stepan returns

Zach Stepan will return to the lineup and Anthony Stolarz will earn his first start in goal when the United States National Junior Team faces Germany in preliminary round action at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

The United States enters Sunday's game in first place in Group A pool with six points. A matchup against rival Canada looms on Tuesday at the Isstadion at 11:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US, NHL.com).

Stepan (Nashville Predators), who missed Saturday's victory against Slovakia with a lower body injury, will return to the lineup against Germany and will likely begin the game alongside center Nicolas Kerdiles (Anaheim Ducks) and right wing Riley Barber (Washington Capitals). Daniel O'Regan (San Jose Sharks) will not play against Germany and is listed day to day.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.28.2013 / 11:32 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. pulls away in third, doubles up Slovakia 6-3

Forwards Ryan Hartman and Jack Eichel and defenseman Matthew Grzelcyk each had a goal and an assist and goalie Jon Gillies made 27 saves to lead the United States National Junior Team to a 6-3 victory over Slovakia on Saturday in the preliminary round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

The U.S. entered the third period holding a precarious 3-2 lead, but broke the game open by outscoring the Slovaks 3-1. The Americans outshot Slovakia, 47-30, including a 16-8 margin over the final 20 minutes.

While it wasn't textbook hockey, U.S. coach Don Lucia will certainly take it. His team remains unbeaten in the Group A pool with six points in two games.

"When you get into a tournament like this, there will be a lot of close games in the third and you have to be a good strong finishing team and we did a good job," Lucia said. "We got the puck down low and that's when our team is at its best; we're not a fancy team, that's not our identity."

The U.S., which has scored 11 times in two games and received goals from 10 different players, will next face Germany in preliminary round play on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US, NHL.com).

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Posted On Saturday, 12.28.2013 / 7:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

United States set for Slovakia; Stepan out

The United States National Junior Team will go for its second straight win in preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship with a Group A game Saturday against Slovakia at the Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden.

The Slovaks are coming off a 9-2 victory against Germany on Friday, led by two goals each from Milan Kolena and Columbus Blue Jackets 2013 first-round pick (No. 27) Marko Dano. The United States defeated the Czech Republic 5-1 in their tournament opener Thursday.

The U.S. leads the all-time series with Slovakia nine victories, three losses and one tie in 13 games. At the 2013 WJC the Americans beat Slovakia 9-3 in the preliminary round on the way to winning a gold medal. The U.S. has won the past three meetings against the Slovaks.

The only change to the U.S. lineup will come with the forward group as only 12 forwards will be in the lineup, rather than the 13 used in the opener.

Nashville Predators prospect Zach Stepan, who played left wing on the fourth line, exited the game against Czech Republic midway through the third period with an apparent lower-body injury. He did not practice with the team Friday and has been listed as day-to-day.

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Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 12:10 PM

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

Clowe to return to Devils' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe will to return to the lineup for the first time in over two months Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center.

Clowe was skating on the fourth line with center Andrei Loktionov and Stephen Gionta during the team's morning skate at Prudential Center and declared himself ready to go.

"It'll be interesting to see how I feel [Friday] but as of right now I'm in," Clowe said. "I just want to get my legs going underneath me. I'm not going to do anything crazy out there but it'll be good to get back into it."

Clowe has been out since sustaining a concussion Oct. 13, his sixth game with the Devils after signing a five-year, $24.25 million deal during the summer.

He has one assist, five penalty minutes and a minus-5 rating in six games.


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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 3:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Five score for U.S. in WJC win against Germany

The United States National Junior Team received goals from five different players on the way to a workmanlike 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the opening game of preliminary-round action in the Group A field at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Thursday at the Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden.

The defending tournament champion, which received goals from captain Riley BarberWill Butcher,Hudson FaschingJaccob Slavin and Vince Hinostroza, will next face Slovakia on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US, NHL.com).

Goalie Jon Gillies (Providence College; Calgary Flames) made 23 saves in his first career start at the WJC.

"It says a lot about our team to have five different scorers," Gillies said. "We're clicking and all lines are going. It was a great team win."

Though he didn't need to be spectacular, Gillies made some key saves at key moments in the game. His shutout bid was denied by Czech defenseman Michal Plutnar, who ripped a shot home from between the circles with his team on the power-play 5:47 into the third period. By that time, the U.S. had already built a 4-0 lead.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 8:38 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. to open 2014 WJC against Czech Republic

The United States National Junior Team will open the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship today against the Czech Republic at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden (11:30 a.m. ET).

The United States leads the all-time series against the Czechs with nine wins, one overtime win, seven losses, one overtime loss and one tie in 19 games. The Americans have won four of the past five meetings, including a 7-0 decision in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.25.2013 / 2:55 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. makes final cut for 2014 World Juniors

The final roster for the United States National Junior Team that will compete in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, was finalized Wednesday with the release of University of Michigan forward Tyler Motte.

Motte, a 2013 fourth-round pick (No. 121) of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 NHL Draft, has five goals and eight points in 14 games this season.

The U.S. National Junior Team roster consists of 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goalies. The defending gold medalists will open preliminary-round play in the tournament Thursday against the Czech Republic (11:30 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com.

Miami University forward Riley Barber (Washington Capitals) will serve as captain, with University of Michigan forward Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets) and Boston University defenseman Matthew Grzelcyk (Boston Bruins) are the alternates.

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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 3:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Maple Leafs' Reimer has new mask ready to go

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer is gearing up for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on New Year's Day.

In addition to sporting a brand new pair of goalie pads created by Bauer that he's been breaking in at selected practices, the 25-year-old Reimer will also be wearing a new mask especially made for the occasion by painter David Gunnarsson when his team faces the Detroit Red Wings.

"The helmet has a picture of the old Maple Leafs logo with horizontal lines that match the jersey," Reimer told NHL.com. "There's also a winter classic logo on it and, from afar, it looks like a retro mask. But when you get close up to it, it still has those sketches that I like to keep the [Reimer] theme."


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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 3:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Past outdoor game a thriller for Maple Leafs' Gardiner

NEW YORK -- Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner can vividly recall the fantastic outdoor finish in the Camp Randall Classic before 55,031 fans on Feb. 6, 2010.

Gardiner was starring on defense for the University of Wisconsin at the time against the University of Michigan.

The game featured several current NHL stars, including Gardiner, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith and New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan and defenseman Ryan McDonagh. All four players were Wisconsin teammates. Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was playing for Michigan.

"We won 3-2 against Michigan and Brendan Smith scored the winner [at 18:38 of the third]," Gardiner told NHL.com. "We had a good team and it was fun to be out there in front of 55,000 people."


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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 1:44 PM

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

Rangers starting Talbot doesn't surprise Lundqvist

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist confirmed after an optional morning skate that Cam Talbot would start in goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

It will be the second time this season the 26-year-old Talbot will be making consecutive starts. He made 37 saves in a victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 30 and 29 saves in a loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 2.

Talbot is coming off a 25-save, 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday at MSG. Lundqvist, who is 1-4-2 in his past seven starts, isn't surprised by coach Alain Vigneault's decision to start Talbot.

"I'm not surprised I'm not playing with the way Cam has been playing and we got a big win [Sunday]," Lundqvist said. "I expected he'd get another start. It's about winning and this team getting points and he's doing really well. I have to push myself to get better and help the team get points in order to get more starts."

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Posted On Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 5:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Barber named captain of U.S. WJC team

United States National Junior Team general manager Jim Johannson on Sunday reduced the select camp roster by two players with the release of forward Henrik Samuelsson and defenseman Brett Pesce.

Johannson will need to cut one more player to reach the maximum of 23 players eligible to participate for the defending gold medalist at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden.

It was also announced Sunday that forward Riley Barber (Miami University; Washington Capitals) would serve as the team's captain. Forward Andrew Copp (University of Michigan; Winnipeg Jets) and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (Boston University; Boston Bruins) will be the country's alternate captains.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 8:08 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

Stepan ready to face his college team

MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota State University freshman forward Zach Stepan returns to Verizon Wireless Arena on Tuesday as a member of the United States National Junior Team select camp roster.

Stepan, who had two goals and five points in his past five games for the Mavericks prior to joining the U.S. select camp last week, is looking forward to the matchup. Minnesota State (11-7-0 overall, 9-3-0 WCHA) has won its past seven games.

Stepan will center Ryan Fitzgerald and Thomas DiPauli to open the game.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 3:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

U.S. set for exhibition opener at Minnesota State

MINNEAPOLIS -- For those players on the bubble with visions of earning a roster spot on the United States National Junior Team that will travel to Sweden for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, the first major test is Tuesday in an exhibition game against Minnesota State University at Verizon Wireless Arena in Mankato (8:37 p.m. ET).

U.S. coach Don Lucia will lead his charges against the Mavericks before making three cuts to pare his roster to 26 players, including 15 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies. The coach will conduct one more practice at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Wednesday morning before he and his team depart for Angelholm, Sweden, to continue the evaluation Thursday.

The United States will have exhibition games against Sweden on Dec. 20 and Finland on Dec. 22 before announcing the official 23-player roster headed to Malmo for the WJC that begins Dec. 26.

"We have to make some cuts before we head to Sweden [on Wednesday afternoon] to continue camp," Lucia said. "Against Minnesota State, we have to start forging that identity of our team."


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Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 9:24 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

Compher to take calculus exam before game Tuesday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Long before the big game on Tuesday, United States National Junior Team hopeful J.T. Compher will have already taken a big test.

Compher, one of 29 players at selection camp this week on the campus of the University of Minnesota, is scheduled to take his calculus exam at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning. His team will practice at 10 a.m. before traveling to Mankato for an exhibition game against Minnesota State University.

Compher is a freshman at the University of Michigan, but will take the exam on the Minnesota campus.


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Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 3:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

Lucia shuffles defense pairings as goalies rotate

MINNEAPOLIS -- United States National Junior Team coach Don Lucia was right back at it on Monday morning in the first of two practice sessions at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

A second practice will be held Monday at 6 p.m. ET.

Lucia continued to shuffle his defensive combinations and made one notable shift among the forward lines, placing Jack Eichel (U.S. U-18 National Team Development Program) between Adam Erne (Quebec Remparts, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) and Ryan Hartman (Plymouth Whalers, Ontario Hockey League). Eichel was with Erne and Riley Barber (Miami University) on Sunday night.


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Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

Erne discusses WJC opportunity, incident with Drouin

MINNEAPOLIS -- There could come a time in the future of forward Adam Erne where he finds himself trading passes with Jonathan Drouin as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Both were chosen by Tampa Bay at the 2013 NHL Draft -- Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads was selected in the first round (No. 3) and Erne of the Quebec Remparts in the second (No. 33). They also were roommates in Tampa Bay during development camp prior to the season.

Until that time arrives, however, they play for different teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and likely will oppose each other at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden.

Erne is taking part in the United States National Junior Team selection camp this week on the campus of the University of Minnesota while Drouin is at Canada's selection camp.

Drouin's participation at the WJC is dependent on his health as he is still recovering from a concussion he sustained after taking a hit from Erne while in a vulnerable position along the boards in the first period of a regular-season game earlier this month.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 9:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

U.S. fondly remembers Tim Taylor

MINNEAPOLIS -- The players and coaches participating in the United States National Junior Team selection camp at Mariucci Arena are certainly doing so with heavy hearts this week on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

That's because for the first time in six years, the late Tim Taylor will not play a part of the selection process as the U.S. director of player personnel. Taylor, who succumbed to cancer in April, was an integral part of the country earning medals in three of the past four tournaments, including gold in 2010 in Saskatchewan and 2013 in Russia.

"The one thing we are going to miss this year is the presence and knowledge that Tim Taylor provided us," 2014 U.S. National Junior Team coach Don Lucia told NHL.com. "I was in Lake Placid on two different occasions [during U.S. orientation camp], and the one thing Tim had was an encyclopedic knowledge of every player. He had the book on every guy."


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Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - USA Selection Camp Blog

Veterans prepared to lead at USA selection camp

When the United States National Junior Team selection camp opens on Sunday at the University of Minnesota, goalie Jon Gillies and forwards Riley Barber and Ryan Hartman realize the real work is just beginning.

All three players are returning to camp after playing a part in the gold medal-winning effort at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

Hartman, selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round (No. 30) of the 2013 NHL Draft, had two goals, three points and a plus-4 rating in seven games as a checking-line forward at last season's tournament. He has 10 goals and 23 points in 22 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers in 2013-14.

"I'm extremely thrilled to be back," Hartman told NHL.com. "Whenever you are given an opportunity to represent your country, it's always an honor. It's something you really have to take advantage of."


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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 7:10 PM

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

Devils' Zidlicky scratched with upper-body injury

NEW YORK -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky will be sidelined with an upper-body injury on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The announcement was made by the Devils during pre-game warmups.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 12:17 PM

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

Brodeur, Lundqvist meet again as Rangers host Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- For the 39th time in their rivalry, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur are expected to oppose each other when the Metropolitan Division foes face off Saturday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET).

Lundqvist is 24-9-5 with a 1.69 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and five shutouts in his career against Brodeur. Lundqvist is 0-2-0 with a 3.53 GAA in two starts against the Devils this season; a 4-0 loss to Cory Schneider on Oct. 19 and 3-2 loss to Brodeur on Nov. 12.

In 98 career starts against the Rangers, Brodeur is 48-30-20 with a 2.12 goals-against average, nine shutouts and a .918 save percentage. The 41-year-old will be looking to snap a personal four-game losing streak. The Devils are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday when they generated 11 shots.

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Posted On Friday, 12.06.2013 / 12:24 PM

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

Devils' Boucher looking forward to playing Red Wings

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils rookie forward Reid Boucher is champing at the bit for an opportunity to play against the team he grew up idolizing while growing up in Lansing, Mich.

The Devils host the Detroit Red Wings on Friday at Prudential Center.

"I live about an hour from Detroit so it was tough to actually get to games, but I watched the Red Wings on TV a lot," Boucher said. "I enjoyed watching guys like Brett Hull and Steve Yzerman. Just a lot of special players who have been winners. That was fun to watch."

Boucher said Hull was his favorite player. Hull played three seasons with the Red Wings near the end of his Hall of Fame career.

"Hull was always my favorite player; I feel like I play like him but obviously am not as good as him," he said. "I probably don't have the shot he had."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 5:40 PM

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

Schneider to start second straight for Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goalie Cory Schneider will make his second straight start when the New Jersey Devils host the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer made the announcement during his pregame meeting with the media.

Schneider made 16 saves in a 5-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at PNC Arena. The 27-year-old goalie is 3-5-3 with a 1.89 goals-against average and .923 save percentage this season.

"He didn't get a ton of work [against Carolina], so I didn't feel the fatigue was an issue," DeBoer said. "I thought he played well and got the win and we're going to Montreal on Monday [to play the Canadiens] and that's a game we want [Martin Brodeur] to play so it just made sense."

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 12:55 PM

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

Devils' Schneider frustrated by lack of playing time

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider couldn't hide his emotions when approached by the media after the morning skate Wednesday in preparation for the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center.

Schneider was asked if he was surprised he wasn't starting.

"Yes, I'm surprised," Schneider said. "I'm frustrated."

Since making a season-high 34 saves in a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 21, Schneider hasn't gotten another chance. Martin Brodeur instead has gotten the call the past two games in losses to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday and Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

After returning from a groin injury Nov. 3, Schneider has made four starts (1-2-1) in 11 games. If he does get the nod Friday, he would have waited eight days before his next start.

"I'm trying to work hard and do what I can, but I'd just like to see the ice a little bit more is all," Schneider said. "Marty is playing really well. He's got the net and he's running with it. I know it's part of the game … it's just something where I just want to play more."

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 12:52 PM

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

Jets' Trouba eager to return, face Devils' Merrill

NEWARK, N.J. -- Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is set to make his return to the lineup on Monday when his team begins a six-game road trip against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

"I'm not hiding the fact that Jacob Trouba is going to play," Jets coach Claude Noel said after his team's morning skate.

Trouba has missed the past 17 games with a neck injury. To make room for the 2012 first-round pick (No. 9), the Jets will likely list Adam Pardy as a healthy scratch.

Trouba likely will be paired with Grant Clitsome.

"I'm excited to get back into things and it'll take some time to get some timing back so I just have to keep it simple," Trouba said. "I just know I can't really get running around at the start, just stay in control and not get too excited I guess."


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Posted On Monday, 11.18.2013 / 12:24 PM

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

Milano switches commitment to Boston College

Forward Sonny Milano, who stars for the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team, has withdrawn his commitment to the University of Notre Dame and instead has committed to Boston College starting next season.

Milano has 10 goals and 21 assists in 19 games this season, and is one of three players from the United States Hockey League to earn an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list.

"He probably has as much skill and puck skills as anyone I've coached in 15 years," USNTDP U-18 coach Danton Cole said of Milano. "He does some amazing things with the puck."


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.12.2013 / 12:10 PM

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

Devils' Brodeur carries shutout streak into Garden

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur will face the New York Rangers for the first time this season on Tuesday when his team visits Madison Square Garden in what is sure to be a spirited affair before a packed house.

What makes the Devils-Rangers rivalry unique in the eyes of Devils coach Peter DeBoer?

"I think when you live in this community you realize you have lifelong fans of both teams that grow up, a lot of times, in the same household and that's very rare," DeBoer said. "You don't get that situation unless you have two major teams within a metropolitan area, so I think that's what makes this rivalry unique."

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Posted On Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 5:37 PM

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

United States wins World Junior A Challenge

Kyle Connor scored the decisive goal late in the second period and Cal Petersen made it stand behind 16 saves when the United States Junior Select Team scored a 4-1 victory against Russia on Sunday in the gold medal game of the 2013 World Junior A Challenge at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The championship triumph was the second straight for the U.S. and the fifth in the eight-year history of the tournament.

Connor, who plays for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League, snapped a 1-1 tie with just 14 seconds left in the second period.

"Our line just got the puck and I got a good pass and just buried it," Connor said. "Me, [Nick] Schmaltz and [Connor] Hurley got in on the forecheck and that was a key for us. I think looking forward and playing our game, getting pucks deep, was critical all tournament."

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Posted On Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 1:48 PM

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

Predators continue road trip against Devils

The Nashville Predators will make their fifth stop of a seven-game road trip against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

Coach Barry Trotz will be without starting goaltender Pekka Rinne, who remains out at least one more month with a spontaneous bacterial infection in his left hip. The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist had undergone arthroscopic surgery on that hip on May 9, which required approximately four months of recovery before the season. He is on injured reserve.

Rinne is 4-4-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in nine games this season. He's sixth in the NHL with 152 wins since 2008-09.

Backup goalie Carter Hutton (4-2-1, 3.32 GAA, .898 save percentage) will be making his seventh straight start. The 27-year-old Hutton was pulled in the first period of a 5-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday and has allowed three or more goals the past five games.

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Posted On Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 1:12 PM

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

Devils hoping to find offense against Predators

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jacob Josefson will make his first start in three games Sunday when the New Jersey Devils host the Nashville Predators at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

Josefson will replace Stephen Gionta in the lineup. Gionta sustained a foot injury in the shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and is day-to-day. Josefson has no points in four games and Gionta has one assist in 16 matches this season.

Josefson will likely take Gionta's spot as fourth-line center with Ryan Carter and Cam Janssen.

The Devils have strung together consecutive wins just once this season and that trend must change if the team has any hope of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After starting the season 1-5-4, the Devils won back-to-back games against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. Since those wins, New Jersey has struggled to find its offense, scoring four times over the past four games (1-2-1).

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Posted On Friday, 11.08.2013 / 9:00 AM

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

Kapanen out for Four Nations Tournament

Top Finnish prospect Kasperi Kapanen, an "A"-rated international skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch for the 2014 NHL Draft, will be sidelined the duration of the 2013 Under-20 Four Nations Tournament in Russia this weekend due to an illness.

Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting, confirmed the news for NHL.com.

"My guess is he'll return to his club lineup at some point next week," Stubb told NHL.com.

The three-day tournament, scheduled to begin Friday, will take place in Novogorsk, Russia.


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Posted On Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 10:55 AM

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

Edwards' three stars from World Junior A Challenge

The United States and Canada West each earned byes into the semifinal round of the 2013 World Junior A Challenge after winning their preliminary-round games this week at Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The semifinals will be held Friday with the championship game slated for Sunday at 11 a.m. ET. The United States, winner of four of the past five tournaments, is the defending gold medalist.

The U.S. had won three consecutive tournament titles from 2008 to 2010 before Canada West ended the run in 2011. The Americans regained their crown last year.

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, who has been in Yarmouth this week to view the prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft, checked in with his three stars from Wednesday. For more of Edwards' insight into those top players competing at the tournament, read this week's "Prospector Files."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 9:54 AM

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

U.S. moves into semis of World Junior A Challenge

The United States can thank a trio of players from the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League for helping lead the team into the semifinals of the 2013 World Junior A Challenge with a 4-2 victory against Canada East on Wednesday in preliminary-round play at Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

In addition to starring for the Fighting Saints this season, the three players, who accounted for all four goals Wednesday, are on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Karson Kuhlman, a "C"-rated prospect, scored a pair of goals and Shane Eiserman and Seamus Malone also scored in the victory. Chris Birdsall of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL made 24 saves in his first start for the United States.


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Posted On Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 3:28 PM

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

Chanter healthy, returning to Dubuque lineup

Defenseman Dylan Chanter of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League is set to return to the lineup less than a month after sustaining a separated shoulder and concussion following a fight in an Oct. 12 game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

Chanter's availability was made official by the team in an announcement Wednesday. The 18-year-old, who will attend the University of New Hampshire beginning in 2014-15, was activated from the 25-day injured reserve list and he is eligible to play as soon as the team's next game, Friday against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

"It's a great feeling to be back," Chanter told Dubuque's website. "I'm really excited to be back and get going. I couldn't give enough thanks to our trainer Sean Murdoch as well as all the staff in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. They did a fantastic job and my neurologist couldn't have been a better guy. I'm excited to get back in the lineup. I really can't wait to be in the dressing room before a game and know I am about to play."


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Posted On Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 9:50 AM

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

Schmaltz powers U.S. in World Junior A opener

Nick Schmaltz, an "A"-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft, had two goals and two assists to help lead the United States to an 8-3 victory against Russia in its first game at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, being held at Yarmouth Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The U.S., which has won four of the past five tournament titles, outshot the Russians 41-27. Schmaltz, who plays for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League, scored twice in the Americans' five-goal second period as the U.S. opened a 6-1 advantage.

"Great chemistry and our power play was clicking [5-for-9], so that helps," Schmaltz told Tina Comeau of the Yarmouth County Vanguard. "We've got a lot of skill on this team, we're comfortable playing with these players, we've got one line that's been playing together for 100 games. I thought we had a great game."


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.05.2013 / 10:54 AM

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

Gillies' late goal leads Canada West at World Junior A

Alex Gillies, a "C"-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for 2014 NHL Draft prospects from the Canadian junior leagues, scored the game-winning goal early in the third period Monday to send Canada West to a 4-3 victory against Switzerland on the opening day of preliminary-round action in the 2013 World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Dylan Hollman, who was named player of the game for Canada West, scored a pair of power-play goals in the first period to give his team a 3-2 lead. Switzerland squared the game 3-3 in the second on a goal by left wing Matteo Romanenghi.

Gillies then scored the game-winner 1:07 into the third. The Michigan Tech University commit plays for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in the British Columbia Hockey League. Nicholas Jones, also considered a "C"-rated prospect for the 2014 draft, scored in the victory. Jones, who stars for the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, is committed to Ohio State University in 2014-15.


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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 7:07 PM

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

Elias joins Zajac among injured Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias has sustained upper-body soreness and will not play against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center on Saturday.

The injury was reported by the Devils after warm-ups.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 6:59 PM

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

Emery to start for Flyers against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery will start against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday night.

Flyers coach Craig Berube wouldn't reveal his starter during his pregame meeting with the media, but said the coaching staff had a set plan and was going to stick to it.

Emery, who totaled 29 minutes in penalties after leaving his crease to engage in a fight with Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on Friday, is 0-2-0 with a 5.08 goals-against and .846 save percentage in three games this season.


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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 6:11 PM

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

Devils forward Zajac out against Flyers

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils center Jacob Josefson will replace an injured Travis Zajac in the lineup on Saturday when the team hosts the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

Devils coach Pete Deboer confirmed following his team's optional skate that Zajac did not feel good enough to play.

"Travis is day-to-day and a decision has not been made on whether or not he will join the team in Minnesota [to face the Wild on Sunday]," DeBoer said.

Zajac appeared to sustain an ankle injury during practice Friday. According to reports, the veteran center tripped and fell during the early stages of practice and was replaced by Josefson.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 6:07 PM

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

Devils' Schneider still out; Kinkaid to back up Brodeur

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid will serve as backup to Martin Brodeur for the third straight game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

Devils coach Peter DeBoer made the announcement during his pregame meeting with the media.

DeBoer said Schneider, who is dealing with a lower-body injury, will remain on injured reserve.

Schneider had declared himself ready to go following practice Saturday morning.

"I'm feeling good," Schneider said.

Schneider sustained his injury in a loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 24. There is no timetable on his return.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 6:03 PM

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

Gill to make Flyers debut against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Hal Gill will make his season debut Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

Gill, who signed a free-agent contract with the Flyers on Oct. 1, has two goals and 13 points in 52 games against the Devils.

Flyers coach Craig Berube said Gill would be paired with Andre Meszaros, who is making his second appearance in the past eight games. Scratched from the lineup are defensemen Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson.

"I just want to shake things up," Berube said.

With Vincent Lecavalier (facial contusion) and Steve Downie (concussion) out, Berube will have Claude Giroux centering Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek on the top line.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 3:18 PM

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

Flyers' Downie out indefinitely, Lecavalier day-to-day

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie is out indefinitely with a concussion, and forward Vincent Lecavalier is day-to-day with facial injuries sustained during a 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren provided the updates prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET) at Prudential Center.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 12:35 PM

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

Flyers look to regroup against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- After accumulating the seventh-highest penalty-minute total in Philadelphia Flyers history in a home loss to the Washington Capitals less than 24 hours ago, the team got the morning off in preparation for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

The Flyers recalled forward Tye McGinn from their American Hockey League affiliate in Adirondack after it was learned forwards Steve Downie (concussion) and Vincent Lecavalier (facial injury) would not suit up against the Devils. It's possible the team might recall one other forward.

Downie and Lecavalier were injured during a fight-filled affair at Wells Fargo Center on Friday in which Philadelphia amassed 99 minutes in penalties, the most since a franchise record 231 against the Ottawa Senators on March 5, 2004.

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Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 10:18 AM

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

Barbashev returning to Moncton lineup

Moncton Wildcats left wing Ivan Barbashev, the only "A"-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of the top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will return to the lineup Friday at the Saint John Sea Dogs after sitting out the previous five games with a lower-body injury.

Wildcats coach Darren Rumble said he intends to give Barbashev between 15 and 20 minutes of ice time in his anticipated return. The coach said the 6-foot-1, 185-pound left wing has looked good in practice the last few days.

"I'll ease him in, but I'm not a big believer in [easing a player in]," Rumble said. "If you're cleared to play, you're cleared to play. Now I'm not going to give him 30 minutes but I think he'll get a regular shift and power-play time, so we'll try and get him no more than 20 minutes; about to the 15-minute mark."

Barbashev was injured while taking a faceoff in a game against Saint John on Oct. 16 when he attempted to kick the puck but instead caught his skate in a rut. At the time of his injury Barbashev led the team in points (18) and was tied for the team lead in goals (seven) and assists (11). He's averaging 1.29 points per game.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.29.2013 / 11:50 AM

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

Devils, Brodeur aiming for two-game winning streak

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will start consecutive games for the first time this season when he steps between the pipes to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Brodeur, who earned his first win of the season on Saturday against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden, is 1-2-2 with a 3.32 goals-against average and .871 save percentage in five appearances. The 41-year-old is just hoping to establish some confidence and rhythm in goal as the Devils seek their first two-game winning streak of the season.

"The expectation on Marty is always pretty high," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "The bar is pretty high with him, but I'm not worried about Marty. I'm worried about building our team game."


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Posted On Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 12:12 PM

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

Devils get Elias back, insert Gelinas vs. Canucks

NEWARK, N.J. -- Patrik Elias will return to the lineup on Thursday when the New Jersey Devils play the Vancouver Canucks here at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).

Elias, who has two goals and four points in seven games for the Devils, had missed the past two matches with an illness. The 37-year-old Elias did some skating on his own on Wednesday and, at that time, coaches were hopeful that the veteran left wing would be back in the fold against the Canucks.

"I probably starting feeling a little better on Tuesday afternoon; that's when I was able to get out of the house," Elias said after Thursday's practice. "I had a light skate [on Wednesday] and felt good. I'm OK today."


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Posted On Tuesday, 10.22.2013 / 3:53 PM

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

Miller to serve as coach/GM of new USHL team

The United States Hockey League on Tuesday announced that Steve Miller, an associate coach at the University of Denver the past 20 years, will serve as the first coach and general manager of the league's new team in Madison, Wisc., which will begin play in the 2014-15 season.

As part of his responsibilities at Denver, Miller worked primarily with the defensemen and was the school's recruiting coordinator. In addition to on-ice coaching, he assists with video breakdown and game analysis.

The new Madison team marks the return of USHL hockey to the city after nearly 20 years. The city was first part of the league for 11 seasons (1984-95), competing as the Madison Capitols (1984-91) and the Wisconsin Capitols (1991-95). The Capitols won more than 200 games during their time in Madison, including a team record 33 games in the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons under coach Scott Owens, who now coaches Colorado College.

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Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 10:06 AM

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

Top QMJHL prospect Barbashev out at least 10 days

Moncton Wildcats left wing Ivan Barbashev, NHL Central Scouting's only "A"-rated player on the list of top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible players in its preliminary players to watch list for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will be sidelined at least 10 days after sustaining a lower-body injury on Wednesday.

Barbashev was injured while taking a faceoff in a game against the Saint John Sea Dogs when he attempted to kick the puck but instead caught his skate in a rut. Wildcats coach Darren Rumble said Barbashev "tweaked it a little bit."

"It's a huge loss to be missing him for a couple of days, but that's what happens when somebody goes down," Rumble told NHL.com. "It's an opportunity for someone else to step up."


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Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 8:22 AM

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

USHL defenseman released from hospital

Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Dylan Chanter was released from an area hospital early Sunday morning after sustaining a head and shoulder injury in the second period of his team’s game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a United States Hockey League matchup on Saturday at Cedar Rapids Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The injury was severe enough at the time that the Office of the USHL Commissioner and management of both teams agreed to suspend the contest after the incident at the 11:58 mark of the second. Details for a rescheduled date of the game will be announced at a later time.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 12:20 AM

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

USHL game suspended following injury

The United States Hockey League on Saturday suspended play in the second period of a game involving the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders following an injury to Dubuque defenseman Dylan Chanter at Cedar Rapids Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Chanter (6-foot-3.25, 213 pounds) was injured 11:58 into the second when he fell to the ice following a fight. The 2014 draft-eligible native of Armstrong, B.C., who is committed to the University of New Hampshire in the fall of 2014, was conscious while being attended to by trainers and medical staff at the arena. He was transported to a local hospital for additional evaluation and testing.


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Posted On Monday, 10.07.2013 / 3:54 PM

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

Kapanen returning to Kalpa lineup

The top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible prospect from Finland, forward Kasperi Kapanen, will return to the lineup for Kalpa in SM-liiga on Tuesday after sitting out the past three games with a lower-body injury.

Kapanen, an "A"-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list of the top prospects from Finland, sustained his injury Sept. 24. According to European Director of Central Scouting, Goran Stubb, Kapanen is expected to resume his role on the team's top line, alongside his father Sami, against HIFK on Tuesday.

Kapanen (5-foot-11, 172 pounds) has a goal and two points in four games for Kalpa in SM-liiga in 2013-14. Barring injury, he'll likely play for Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden. Kapanen had eight points, including a team-leading five goals, for Finland at the 2013 WJC.

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Posted On Friday, 10.04.2013 / 5:27 PM

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

Devils' Brodeur ready for home opener

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer declared goalie Martin Brodeur "ready to go" in his season debut Friday against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center.

Brodeur sat out Thursday's season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins, ending his NHL record streak of 18 consecutive opening starts with the same team. The 41-year-old Brodeur had a light skate Friday morning in preparation for his first start of the 2013-14 season before what is sure to be an electric atmosphere at The Rock.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 11:31 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Team Johnson wins All-American Prospects Game

PITTSBURGH -- The instant chemistry between Dylan Larkin of the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program and Keegan Iverson of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks was on display at the second annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

As linemates for Team Mark Johnson, Larkin, of Waterford, Mich., and Iverson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., each had a goal and an assist to lead their team to a 5-2 victory against Team Joe Mullen on Thursday before an energetic crowd at Consol Energy Center.

Iverson, a "C" rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list form the Western Hockey League, was presented the Gillette Player of the Game Award.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 8:39 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Dylan Larkin scores only goal of 2nd period

PITTSBURGH -- Dylan Larkin of the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program scored the only goal of the second period to give Team Mark Johnson a 1-0 lead over Team Joe Mullen in the second CCM/USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game at Consol Energy Center.

Larkin, who was given an "A" rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list from the United States Hockey League for the 2014 NHL Draft, connected 37 seconds into the period to give Team Johnson the lead.


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Posted On Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 7:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Goalies sparkle in opening period of Prospects Game

PITTSBURGH -- The goalies certainly stole the show in the opening period of a scoreless tie in the second annual CCM/USA Hockey All American Prospects Game on Thursday at Consol Energy Center.

Ed Minney of the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program was kept busy throughout in the opening 20 minutes, turning aside 16 shots for coach Joey Mullen. Minney was called upon to stop several attempts from in close, as well as a few rockets from the point.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Ryan MacInnis hopes to follow in father's footsteps

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan MacInnis is hopeful that he'll one day be able to follow the path of his Hockey Hall of Fame father. The only difference is he'll do so playing at a different position.

Unlike Al MacInnis, a seven-time All-Star defenseman who spent 23 seasons in the League with the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames, son Ryan plays center for the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers. The younger MacInnis was one of 39 players in attendance here at Consol Energy Center for the morning practice session in preparation for the second annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

He'll skate with Seamus Malone of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League and Blake Clarke of the OHL's North Bay Battalion for coach Joe Mullen's team.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 5:05 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Lineups announced for All-American Prospects Game

PITTSBURGH -- USA Hockey on Wednesday announced how the teams will line up when the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game takes place Thursday here at Consol Energy Center.

The teams are being coached by Penguins alums Mark Johnson and Joe Mullen. Team Mullen will play the game one player short due to a late injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will drop the ceremonial first puck prior to the 7 p.m. ET faceoff. Bill Guerin, who will be inducted in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame this fall, will present the Gillette Player of the Game Award in a postgame ceremony. Guerin currently serves as the Penguins' player development coach.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 3:21 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Johnson and Mullen excited to return to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- The game hasn't even started, but the gamesmanship between coaches Mark Johnson and Joe Mullen began in earnest Tuesday during a media conference call prior to the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, to be held Thursday here at Consol Energy Center.

The two U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees and former Pittsburgh Penguins are excited and looking forward to the opportunity to coach 39 of the top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible American-born players.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 2:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Shero not surprised by NHL's youth movement

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero isn't surprised by the smooth transition that many young players have made to the National Hockey League in recent years.

He's looking forward to witnessing the next elite group of American-born players on Thursday during the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Consol Energy Center.

"The training is so much different at a young age and players are more physically prepared to play at a young age in the NHL," Shero said. "It could be a byproduct of the CBA and the entry-level contract that gives young players more of an opportunity. These players are very serious about their off-ice training. The League has been very fortunate to have these players come in and play, and they are very exciting to watch."


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Posted On Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 2:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Pavelek replaces Poganski at AAPG

PITTSBURGH -- Forward Dylan Pavelek of the United States National Team Development Program's under-18 team was added Wednesday to the roster for Team Mullen for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospect Game, which will be played Thursday at Consol Energy Center.

He replaces Austin Poganski of the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League, who pulled out of the game due to an injury.

In addition to Poganski, forward Greg Betzold of the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League also will miss the game due to injury. According to USA Hockey, no replacement will be named for Betzold.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.24.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Wagner, Billitier to skate in AAPG

USA Hockey on Tuesday announced two additional injury replacements for the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which will be held Thursday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Both replacements will play for the United States National Team Development Program's under-18 team this season. Forward Ryan Wagner will replace Connor Chatham on Team Joe Mullen, while defenseman Nathan Billitier replaces Johnathan MacLeod on Team Mark Johnson.

Wagner had 12 goals and 11 assists with the Chicago Mission under-16 team last season, and had one goal in five games to help the United States win the silver medal in August at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament. The 5-foot-8, 168-pound center is committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2015-16 season.

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Posted On Monday, 09.23.2013 / 2:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game blog

Top U.S. talent set for All-American Prospects Game

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- The puck drops for the second annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Thursday at Consol Energy Center.

Mark Johnson and Joe Mullen, both former members of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, will each coach a team. The game will feature two players from Pennsylvania, Philadelphia's Tony DeAngelo (Sarnia Sting, OHL) on defense and Wind Gap native Ed Minney (USNTDP, USHL) in goal. Both players, each considered "B" prospects on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, will star for Team Mullen.

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Posted On Friday, 09.13.2013 / 12:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Lamoriello: No timetable on Jagr rejoining Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr is dealing with lower-body soreness and will not rejoin the team until he is 100 percent, general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Friday.

"There's no timetable," Lamoriello told the (Newark) Star-Ledger. "But we're not concerned."

Jagr did not participate in Friday's scrimmage during the second day of training camp. Lamoriello said the 41-year-old will continue to skate lightly on his own until he feels good enough to rejoin the team for contact. According to The (Bergen) Record, Lamoriello acknowledged there is no indication from the player or team trainers that the soreness will sideline him very long.

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Posted On Friday, 09.13.2013 / 10:10 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Jagr reportedly to sit out Devils' scrimmage

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr reportedly will sit out Friday's scheduled controlled scrimmage on the second day of training camp at the AmeriHealth Pavilion.

Jagr left the ice on the first day of on-ice activity Thursday with soreness. At the time, coach Peter DeBoer didn't seem worried.

"I'm not overly concerned about it, but because time is definitely on our side we'll err on the side of caution," DeBoer said Thursday.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Salvador excited by Devils' acquisition of Schneider

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador is looking forward to the start of the season after one of the more interesting offseasons in his six seasons with the team.

"I think it was a very interesting offseason for our organization," Salvador told NHL.com. "A lot of things happened. Now it's time to put last season behind you and look forward. We got great acquisitions to fill some of the holes, and I think we're ready to surprise some people."

One acquisition that certainly had Salvador grinning ear-to-ear was that of goaltender Cory Schneider.


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Devils' Zajac focused on improving his game

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac would like to put last season in the rear-view mirror.

During the opening day of on-ice activity at the team's training camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Thursday, the 28-year-old had no choice as coach Peter DeBoer had him alongside two of the finest Czech players to ever lace on the blades in the NHL -- Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.

"They certainly are creative," Zajac said. "I think when you're playing with those guys, it's about controlling the puck. They're going to make plays and get into the open, so as a center you have to find holes and create some space for them with your speed because they'll find those plays that not too many players can make."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Soreness causes Jagr to leave Devils practice

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer will "err on the side of caution" with right wing Jaromir Jagr, who left the ice early in the second session during the opening day of training camp Thursday with general soreness.

"I'm not overly concerned about it, but because time is definitely on our side we'll err on the side of caution," DeBoer said following the on-ice activity at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

Jagr was not available to speak to the media after leaving during the early stages of his session. He was skating on a line with center Travis Zajac and left wing Patrik Elias.

"I think there are different types of soreness; it's a different level when you step out onto the ice and it's not the first time I've dealt with guys who had aches and pains on the first day," DeBoer said. "It's a long summer and especially with the older guys. It sometimes takes a little longer for the body to get used to things that quickly."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Devils' Boucher hopes to follow in Henrique’s skates

NEWARK, N.J. -- At the time New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique was given a full-time shot in the NHL two seasons ago, he was coming off his most productive season as a professional in the American Hockey League.

Henrique, who led the Albany Devils with 25 goals and 50 points, seemed like the logical choice when Travis Zajac sustained an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to miss much of the season. The 2008 third-round draft pick (No. 82) would ultimately make the most of the situation, finishing as a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2011-12.

The loss of wings David Clarkson (free agency) and Ilya Kovalchuk (retirement) in a span of seven days in July has presented the Devils with some tough choices entering the 2013-14 campaign. The team added forwards Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Ryane Clowe and Rostislav Olesz during free agency to help alleviate the offensive burden, but there's also a strong possibility that one or more of the organization's top prospects will spend considerable time with the big club as well.

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Posted On Monday, 09.09.2013 / 11:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Red Wings win first Traverse City title

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Detroit Red Wings have won six Presidents' Trophies and 11 Stanley Cup titles in their storied history, but never before has the organization fielded the best team of prospects at its traditional Traverse City Tournament here at Center ICE Arena.

That missing piece was realized Monday before a capacity crowd when left wing Anthony Mantha, a 2013 first-round pick (No. 20), connected for two goals and one assist, and goalie Jared Coreau, a free-agent signee from Northern Michigan University, made 23 saves to lead the Red Wings' prospects to a 4-2 victory against the defending champion Buffalo Sabres in the 15th annual Traverse City championship game.

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Posted On Monday, 09.09.2013 / 9:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Campbell leads Stars to third-place finish

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Dallas Stars prospect Jack Campbell, a 2010 first-round pick (No. 11), made 24 saves and forward Alex Chiasson, a 2009 second-round choice (No. 38), scored two goals to lead their team to a 7-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third-place game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament on Monday at Center ICE Arena.

Campbell, who struggled at this tournament in his previous two appearances, proved to be solid this year. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound goalie won both starts and sported a 1.50 goals-against average and .938 save percentage for the Stars.

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Posted On Monday, 09.09.2013 / 6:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Tesink's hat trick lifts Blues in fifth-place game

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Ryan Tesink connected for the hat trick and Sebastian Wannstrom scored twice as the St. Louis Blues earned an 8-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday in the fifth-place game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament at Center ICE Arena.

The Hurricanes opened up a 3-0 lead on goals by Brent Pedersen (2013, No. 126), Brody Sutter (2011, No. 193) and Sergey Tolchinsky (free agent signee) in the second period before the Blues erupted for eight straight.

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Posted On Monday, 09.09.2013 / 6:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Rangers beat Wild in seventh-place game

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Jesper Fast and Andrew Yogan each scored a pair of goals and Danny Kristo had a goal and an assist when the New York Rangers beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 in the seventh-place game of the Traverse City Tournament on Monday at Center Ice Arena.

Forwards Carter Sandlak and Miles Koules, both of whom are at camp on tryouts, scored first-period goals in the opening 5:25 to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead before the Rangers scored five unanswered goals. Fast, a 2010 sixth-round pick (No. 157), converted back-to-back feeds from Oscar Lindberg (2010, No. 57) in a span of 14 seconds to pull the Rangers into a 2-2 tie, before Kristo (2008, No. 56) gave the Blueshirts their first lead at 16:36 of the second.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 11:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Red Wings advance to Traverse City championship

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Zach Nastasiuk, a 2013 second-round pick (No. 48), had a goal and one assist and goalie Jake Paterson, a 2012 third-round choice (No. 80), made 22 saves to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on the final day of round-robin action on Sunday in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

The Red Wings (3-0-0) will now face the defending tournament champion Buffalo Sabres (3-0-0) in the tournament final on Monday here at Center ICE Arena (7:30 p.m. ET). The host Red Wings have never celebrated a tournament title.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 9:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Bjorkstrand, Dansk lead Blue Jackets past Rangers

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Forward Oliver Bjorkstrand, a 2013 third-round pick (No. 89), had a goal and an assist and goalie Oscar Dansk turned aside 21 shots to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-2 victory against the New York Rangers during round-robin action Sunday at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Dansk, a 2012 second-round pick (No. 31), earned his first victory of the tournament for the Blue Jackets (2-1-0). Defenseman Ryan Murray (2012, No. 2) scored his second goal of the tournament and center Boone Jenner (2011, No. 37) chipped in with two assists. The Kerby Rychel (2013, No. 19)-Jenner-Bjorkstrand line combined for one goal and three assists.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 7:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Chiasson, Lagace lead Stars past Wild in shootout

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Dallas Stars prospect Alex Chiasson, a 2009 second-round pick (No. 38), scored the only goal in a shootout to lead his team to a 2-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on the third day of round-robin action at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament on Sunday at Center ICE Arena.

Dallas goalie Maxime Lagace (free agent signee), who made 27 saves in regulation/overtime, denied Oliver Archambault (2011, No. 108), Mathew Dumba (2012, No. 7) and Zack Phillips (2011, No. 28) in the tie-breaker to secure the victory. After playing four skaters aside for five minutes, the teams then played an exciting three skaters aside for five minutes to the delight of the fans in attendance.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 6:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Girgensons, Baptiste lead Sabres into championship

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Nicholas Baptiste and Zemgus Girgensons each had a goal and two assists to lead the Buffalo Sabres' prospects to a 7-4 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday during the third day of round-robin action at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

The Sabres (3-0-0), the defending tournament champion, now advance to the championship against the host Detroit Red Wings on Monday at Center ICE Arena (7:30 p.m. ET).

Despite the loss, the Hurricanes brass received their first good look at 2013 first-round pick (No. 5) Elias Lindholm, who shook off some early rust before settling in nicely. Lindholm hasn't played in a competitive hockey game since last March. He sustained a shoulder injury in July during Carolina's rookie camp and had been limited to practices.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 2:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Carolina top prospect Lindholm set for Traverse debut

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Elias Lindholm, a 2013 first-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, will be in the lineup on Sunday when the team plays the unbeaten Buffalo Sabres on the third day of round-robin action in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Lindholm, selected fifth in June at Prudential Center, had been limited to practice sessions since sustaining a shoulder injury during Carolina's development camp in July at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. He sat out games in Traverse City against the New York Rangers on Thursday and Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Hurricanes enter the game with a 1-1-0 mark, while the Sabres stand 2-0-0.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 11:08 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Undrafted Tolchinsky making his mark with Hurricanes

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- One of the biggest surprises at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament this week has been the play of undrafted right wing Sergey Tolchinksky of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Despite his 5-8, 165-pound frame, the native of Moscow, Russia, has showcased plenty of speed and generated several chances. Tolchinsky played for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League in 2012-13, finishing with 26 goals and 51 points in 62 regular-season games as a rookie.

He was ranked No. 118 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, but never did hear his name or receive a call. That day has motivated him to do whatever it takes to prove everyone wrong and he's doing just that.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 3:33 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Jenner eyes roster spot on Blue Jackets

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Boone Jenner has his sights set squarely on earning a roster spot right out of training camp, which begins Wednesday Sept. 11 at the OhioHealth Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Until that time, however, he'll continue to impress Blue Jackets brass in attendance this week at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Jenner, a 2011 second-round pick (No. 37), has worked exclusively at center during the tournament and has spent much time with wings Kerby Rychel (2013, No. 19) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (2013, No. 89).

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Posted On Friday, 09.06.2013 / 10:21 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Pulkkinen stands out for Red Wings prospects

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Teemu Pulkkinen, a 2010 fourth-round pick (No. 111) of the Detroit Red Wings, had a goal and an assist to help his team to a 4-2 victory against the Dallas Stars in round-robin action Friday at the Traverse City Tournament.

Pulkkinen's goal 2:31 into the third period gave Detroit (2-0-0), which seeks its first tournament championship, a 3-1 lead. Martin Frk scored in the first period, and Andreas Athanasiou hit into an empty net to close the scoring for the Red Wings, who held a 29-19 shot advantage.

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Posted On Friday, 09.06.2013 / 9:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Carrier scores in OT to give Blues prospects win

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Left wing William Carrier, a 2013 second-round pick (No. 57) of the St. Louis Blues, scored 43 seconds into overtime to give his team a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday during the second day of action in round-robin play at the Traverse City Tournament.

Carrier's goal came off an assist by Dmitrij Jaskin, a 2011 second-round pick (No. 41). The Blues (1-1-0) opened a 2-0 lead in the first period when Ty Rattie connected for his first two goals of the tournament in the opening 4:37.

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Posted On Friday, 09.06.2013 / 8:49 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Zadorov scores in OT for Sabres prospects

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, drafted in the first round (No. 16) by the Buffalo Sabres in June, scored his second goal of the game 4:37 into overtime to give his team a 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday during the second day of action at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Zadorov's goal, off a blistering low liner from the point that entered just inside the right post, gave the defending tournament champion a 2-0-0 mark. The Sabres will next face the Carolina Hurricanes (1-1-0) on Sunday during the final day of round-robin action.

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Posted On Friday, 09.06.2013 / 8:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Murray scores in Blue Jackets prospects win

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Defenseman Ryan Murray had a goal and one assist to help lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 7-5 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday during the second day of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Murray, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, is on the ice in game situations for the first time since sustaining a serious shoulder injury while playing for his junior team, the Everett Silvertips, of the Western Hockey League in November.

"I've been hit a couple times, and it feels normal," Murray said. "It feels the same. Off the ice I can do certain movements where it still feels kind of strange, but when I'm on the ice and in the moment, I don't really notice it at all."

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Posted On Friday, 09.06.2013 / 9:12 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Stars' Oleksiak gets into heated scrap with Blues' Doty

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Traverse City Prospects tournament isn't solely for early-round draft picks hoping to leave an impressionable mark prior to training camp.

There are several players participating from each of the eight teams who happen to be here on a tryout basis with dreams of grabbing some of the spotlight and earning much more than a cup of coffee during the five-day tournament.

St. Louis Blues right wing Jacob Doty, an undrafted 6-foot-3, 223-pound enforcer, did his best to open some eyes on Thursday when he went toe-to-toe with Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (6-7, 254) midway through the second period. There's no denying the fact that Oleksiak, who was selected in the first round (No. 14) of the 2011 NHL Draft, will one day be patrolling the Stars blue line.

Doty, however, has to take a different approach.


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Posted On Friday, 09.06.2013 / 9:08 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Lindholm's shoulder almost ready for game action

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Carolina Hurricanes top prospect Elias Lindholm hopes to return to the lineup on Friday when his team battles the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second game of the Traverse City Prospects tournament here at Centre ICE Arena.

The Hurricanes coaching staff decided to sit the organization's 2013 first-round (No. 5) draft pick on Thursday as a precaution during a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers.

In July, Lindholm sustained a shoulder injury after being knocked into the boards at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., during the team's development camp. Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford labeled the injury a deep bruise.


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Posted On Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 8:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Traverse City Prospects blog

Prospects ready to shine in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- One of the premier prospect tournaments is set to begin Thursday here at Center ICE Arena.

The Traverse City Prospects Tournament, which runs through Monday, includes top prospects from the Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres , Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and host Detroit Red Wings.

Practice sessions and tournament games will be held on location at David's Rink and Huntington Rink. Tickets are available for $10 per day at www.CenterIce.org or at the arena doors prior to each day's first game. Morning practice sessions are open to the public and free of charge. The tournament consists of four games on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and wraps up with the championship round on Monday.

Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus and New York will compete in the Ted Lindsay Division. The Gordie Howe Division will feature Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota and St. Louis.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.30.2013 / 11:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Dream comes true as Devils draft Anthony Brodeur

NEWARK, N.J. -- Anthony Brodeur said he didn't have high expectations entering the 2013 NHL Draft.

He was just holding out hope to hear his name called at some point during the seven-round selection process on Sunday at Prudential Center, within the state where his father, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, has become a legend.

As it turned out, dad would be the one serving up a dream come true when he announced his son as the Devils' seventh-round pick (No. 208). Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello informed Martin of the team's decision to draft Anthony at some point during the sixth round and requested that he make the pick.

The Devils acquired the pick from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2015 seventh-round choice.

"I don't know how hard it is to get a seventh-round pick, but it's something we talked a little bit about during the season," Martin Brodeur said. "We were able to do it and it was nice of the team to allow me to make the pick."


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Posted On Sunday, 06.30.2013 / 10:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

O'Ree excited to see Jones, Nurse go early in draft

NEWARK, N.J. -- Willie O'Ree knows the journey has only begun for prospects Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse at the 2013 NHL Draft in Prudential Center.

Now comes the hard part -- making an NHL roster.

Jones, a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks, became the second African-American/Canadian player chosen No. 4 at the draft when he was selected by the Nashville Predators on Sunday. Jones now has something in common with Evander Kane, who had originally held that lofty distinction when he was picked fourth by the Atlanta Thrashers on June 26, 2009.

Nurse, also a defenseman with the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, would soon follow in Jones' footsteps when he was tabbed at No. 7 by the Edmonton Oilers.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.30.2013 / 7:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Draft produces memorable moments for Halifax crew

NEWARK, N.J. -- Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon was in the middle of an interview when he heard teammate Jonathan Drouin's name announced over the public address system in the early stages of the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center on Sunday.

"It put a smile on my face," said MacKinnon, who was chosen with the No. 1 pick by the Colorado Avalanche.

A little over three hours later, MacKinnon and Drouin were probably both grinning ear-to-ear when teammate Zachary Fucale became the first goalie off the draft board -- going in the second round (No. 36) to the Montreal Canadiens.

It wasn't too surprising when Drouin went two picks after MacKinnon to the Tampa Bay Lightning with the No. 3 choice. After all, MacKinnon was No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters and Drouin was ranked third. They played a major role in helping lead the Mooseheads to the league's President Cup by combining for 23 goals and 68 points in 17 games.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.30.2013 / 7:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Shinkaruk waits longer than expected to be picked

NEWARK, N.J. -- Hunter Shinkaruk had to wait a lot longer than expected to hear his name called Sunday at the 2013 NHL Draft. All that extra waiting time did was give him some added incentive.

Shinkaruk, a forward with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League who was rated No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, wasn't chosen until the Vancouver Canucks called his named with the 24th pick in the first round. But falling toward the bottom of the opening round did nothing to diminish the thrill of being drafted for the Calgary native.

"I'm so excited to go to Vancouver, it's unbelievable," Shinkaruk told NHL.com. "It definitely was a pretty long wait … a little longer than I had anticipated. But at the end of the day, a lot of things happen on draft day and it's going to be something that motivates me to prove all those teams wrong."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

'Cake Boss' has draft-day surprise planned

NEWARK, N.J. -- Buddy Valastro, owner of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken where TLC's "Cake Boss" is filmed, is prepared to unveil a special treat Sunday prior to the start of the NHL Draft at Prudential Center (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

Valastro, known as Buddy to those familiar with the reality television show, said a life-sized cake will be a part of the pre-draft festivities. Though he wouldn't reveal details of its look or shape, he did admit it is the second hockey cake they have done on "Cake Boss," and the biggest.

"We're doing a really cool cake for the draft and I think they're going to love it," Valastro said. "They are going to unveil it between 2 and 3 o'clock. Sorry, but I can't say too much more about it."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 6:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Former Devils D-men debate Jones vs. MacKinnon

NEWARK, N.J. -- Until Colorado Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic announces that the team will indeed select Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon with the first choice of the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday at Prudential Center (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), the speculation will continue.

Should the Avalanche instead draft a future franchise defenseman, Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks?

During the NHL Top Prospects clinic at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center on Saturday, New Jersey Devils alumni and former standout defensemen Ken Daneyko and Bruce Driver were asked that question.

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Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon's father excited for draft, proud of son

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- It's been quite the weekend for the family of Nathan MacKinnon as they follow the potential first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft through the metropolitan area in the days leading up draft day Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

During the top prospects media luncheon, MacKinnon was joined by his mother and father, Kathy and Graham, and his older sister, Sarah.

"It's very exciting," Graham MacKinnon told NHL.com. "It's almost like we're on vacation and we're here for someone else's draft. Then you look over and it's your son. You see his name and we're very excited and happy for him."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.25.2013 / 3:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Agents looking forward to big day for clients

Pat Brisson, the agent for two of the top players available for the 2013 NHL Draft, recently was asked which of his two high profile clients -- defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks or Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads -- would be selected first at the 2013 NHL Draft, to be held Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

"At this point, you could flip a coin," Brisson told NHL.com. "They're two great players and you don't find too many of them. The teams that will get them will be thrilled for years to come because I've seen a lot of young players come in over the years."

Brisson knows of what he speaks, as his client list includes three consecutive No. 1 NHL draft picks -- Sidney Crosby (2005), Erik Johnson (2006) and Patrick Kane (2007).

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.25.2013 / 10:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Murray lets season, not one tournament, be his guide

Tampa Bay Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray said he would prefer an accumulation of information over the course of a full season rather than single out one particular tournament in making final evaluations of prospects leading up to the draft.

Murray was asked if he felt the Memorial Cup performance by center Nathan MacKinnon of the champion Halifax Mooseheads would influence those teams who might have had defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks at the top of the their draft board.

"I can't speak for everyone else, but I know the way we think is an accumulation of information and not just one event," Murray told NHL.com. "The last event you see always sticks in your mind, but if you flipped the Memorial Cup to Christmas time and put World Junior Championship in April, then you'd have Seth Jones No. 1 because Seth had a dominant tourney there.

"Nathan played well [at the WJC], but his role with the team wasn't an offensive role with Team Canada and was more of an energy role. But the last time you see a player oftentimes influences people."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.23.2013 / 1:30 AM

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

Can Bruins draw off past experience in Final?

CHICAGO -- The Boston Bruins have been down this road before.

The only question is, will they be able to draw off past experiences in an all-out attempt to win their second Stanley Cup Final in three years?

Back in 2011, the Bruins rallied from a 3-2 series deficit by winning the final two games of the championship round against the Vancouver Canucks by a combined 9-2 score. They did so without the services of wing Nathan Horton, who sustained a frightening upper-body injury in Game 3 that sidelined him the remainder of the series.

The Bruins find themselves in a similar predicament following a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Cup Final on Saturday at United Center. The series shifts to TD Garden for Game 6 in Boston on Monday with the Bruins trailing the best-of-7 series, 3-2.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 2:33 PM

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

Not much has surprised players on either side in Final

CHICAGO -- There's no doubt players on both sides in the Stanley Cup Final expected a grueling series.

The best-of-7 Final is tied 2-2, and Game 5 between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks looms Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Perhaps a more intriguing question for those involved is whether there have been any surprises.

"I don't think so," Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug told NHL.com. "They are a team that basically is what you see is what you get. They play north/south hockey and it's pretty fast and they like to play with the puck. Obviously, we're a team that has no secrets … we go out and we want to do our job.

"It's been a series of what we expected, and we're ready for it to go a long way."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 10:24 AM

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

Has Bickell discovered a solution for Chara?

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic revealed a sheepish smile when asked if he felt players on the Chicago Blackhawks were beginning to get the best of captain Zdeno Chara.

It was two days ago that Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell sprinkled a little fuel onto the fire when he declared Chara "doesn't like getting hit."

"Not a lot of guys attempt it, but to get a hit on him and to see him fall down, it's rare," Bickell said.

There isn't a player in the NHL who relishes being on the receiving end of a thunderous body check. Bickell, who was in Chara's face for much of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, had a first-period hit on the 6-foot-9 defenseman that sent him to the ice and, in effect, may have set the physical tone for the entire game.

Bickell, a 6-foot-4, 233-pound left wing for the Blackhawks, likely will continue to target Chara in Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 7:18 PM

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

Bruins power play has improved during Final

CHICAGO -- In case you haven't noticed, the Boston Bruins are suddenly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the power play.

That's certainly music to the ears of coach Claude Julien. Though the Bruins had the worst power play percentage of any Stanley Cup champion when they won in 2011, there's no question coaches and players would feel more at ease if success with the man advantage came with regularity.

Despite the fact the Chicago Blackhawks entered the Final owning the best penalty-killing efficiency (94.8 percent) in the 2013 playoffs, the Bruins have managed four power-play goals in 14 opportunities. To put that in perspective, the Blackhawks had allowed three power-play goals in 58 times short through the opening three rounds.

Obviously, the Bruins hope the trend continues Saturday when they visit United Center for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The best-of-7 series is tied, 2-2.

"We've added some new personnel in there and we're moving the puck well and playing with a lot of confidence," Julien said. "Like anything else, confidence is a big part of the game. When you start feeling it, you try and hold on to it as long as you can, and right now I think our guys are feeling it. We feel confident about how we're handling the puck and moving it around and we're making some good decisions and it has gotten better.

"For all the struggles we had with it, what better time than now to be pretty decent on it."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 2:38 PM

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

Stalberg hopes to stay with Saad, Shaw for Game 5

CHICAGO -- Earning minutes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs hasn't come easy for Chicago Blackhawks right wing Viktor Stalberg, but he's certainly making the most of it.

After being a healthy scratch in the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, he was reinserted into the lineup for Games 3 and 4 in Boston and proved effective on a line with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.

Stalberg, who has averaged just under 11 minutes of ice time in 17 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, told NHL.com he expects to be in the lineup for Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Saad-Shaw-Stalberg line combined for three shots, seven hits and two blocked shots in a 6-5 overtime victory against the Bruins in Game 4 Wednesday at TD Garden that evened the best-of-7 series 2-2.

"However you want to quantify or qualify that line, it's a very dangerous line for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're all dangerous when they have the puck, and they all can make plays around the net. It's a line we hadn't gone to all year, but it's a line that is dangerous both on the attack and in the [offensive] zone, and defensively they do the right things."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.18.2013 / 10:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Anthony Brodeur to play for Gatineau

Anthony Brodeur, the son of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, announced via his Twitter account Tuesday that he will continue his career with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League next season.

The 18-year-old goalie, who is eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft to be held at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 30, just completed his senior year at Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep in Minnesota. Brodeur had been mulling his options for several weeks before finally making a decision Tuesday.

He finished 21-5-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and team-leading five shutouts in 28 appearances for Shattuck in 2012-13. He also had four assists.

Brodeur posted Tuesday afternoon on Twitter: "Really excited to finally announce that I am now part of the @LesOlympiques organization! Can't wait for next year!"

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Posted On Sunday, 06.16.2013 / 1:47 AM

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

Rask solid again for Bruins

CHICAGO -- After keeping his team within striking distance with a stellar first period between the pipes, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was rewarded with his first win in the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

Rask, who stopped 18 of 19 shots in the opening 20 minutes when the Chicago Blackhawks completely dominated, turned away 15 shots the remainder of the contest to help lead the Bruins to a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 at United Center. The series shifts to TD Garden in Boston on Monday with the series tied, 1-1.

"We definitely were in survival mode there for a bit," Rask said. "It looked like they had more guys out there than we did [in the first]. They were bouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances.


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Posted On Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 10:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

P.K. Subban: Younger brother Jordan may be better

CHICAGO -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said he believes his younger brother Jordan may one day eclipse what he has accomplished.

That's saying a lot, considering that P.K. was awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Saturday as the NHL's best defenseman. Subban, 23, finished with 38 points this season, tying the career high he set two seasons ago in 71 appearances during his rookie campaign. He also finished with a plus-12 rating.

P.K., a second-round pick (No. 43) of the Canadiens, was ranked No. 102 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters heading into the 2007 NHL Draft.

Jordan, who plays the same position as his eldest brother, is No. 55 on Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 Draft-eligible North Americans released in April. Middle brother Malcolm, selected in the first round (No. 24) in the 2012 NHL Draft, was regarded as Central Scouting's No. 1-rated goalie when he was chosen by the Boston Bruins last year.

"Jordan plays more of a cerebral type of game and is more of a thinker and I play off my instincts and try to do a little bit of everything," P.K. Subban said. "I think Jordan's skill level is much higher than mine. I'm on the ice with him every day during the summer doing skill stuff, and he's the one demonstrating the drill."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 2:11 PM

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

Bruins' Horton says he will play in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton declared himself ready to go for Game 2 on Saturday when his team faces the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton revealed the news to the media following his team's morning skate at United Center, where he skated in his regular spot on the right wing on a line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

"I feel good," Horton said. "There are no setbacks and I'm ready to go. In the playoffs, everyone is playing physical and everyone has bruises. I'm good to go."

The Bruins trail the best-of-7 series, 1-0. The Blackhawks scored a 4-3 triple overtime victory in Game 1 on Wednesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 12:26 PM

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

Marchand plans to see more of Keith throughout Final

CHICAGO -- One of the more intriguing battles that began to take shape during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday was the one pitting Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith against Brad Marchand, the Boston Bruins agitator.

It was a tad surprising to see Keith and his partner, Brent Seabrook, logging big minutes against Marchand's line with center Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr. Only because top-line Bruins center David Krejci leads all scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 23 points in 17 games.

Despite that, Marchand didn't see it that way.

"Keith and Seabrook pretty much played the whole game," Marchand said. "They were matched against everybody."

Marchand, who is fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points, isn't exaggerating either. Keith actually led all players in ice time (48:40) for Game 1, while Seabrook logged 39:12.

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Posted On Friday, 06.14.2013 / 4:15 PM

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

Bruins' Horton practices, will be game-day decision

CHICAGO -- Forward Nathan Horton returned to the ice Friday during practice as the Boston Bruins resumed preparations for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton and Tyler Seguin split line rushes with the top unit alongside center David Krejci and wing Milan Lucic. Boston coach Claude Julien reiterated to the media after practice that Horton remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury he sustained in the first overtime of Game 1 Wednesday. A decision on whether he is in the lineup will be made Saturday.

Horton wasn't made available to the media after practice.

"He's day-to-day and that's where he is," Julien said. "That's why he practiced [Friday] and we'll have to make a decision on Nate [Saturday]. But it was encouraging to see him out there today, and if he feels good, he's in the lineup."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 7:06 PM

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

Bruins' Krug set to atone for Game 1 gaffe

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug isn't about to let one mistake get the best of him. He realizes there are more games to be played in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final -- and more opportunities for a little redemption.

The rookie knew he'd be a target of the media Thursday, one day after an ill-advised pass ultimately led to a critical goal for the Chicago Blackhawks, who rallied to defeat the Bruins 4-3 in triple overtime in Game 1 at United Center.

But the 22-year-old was stoic, answered every question as best he could, and appeared already geared up for Game 2 of this best-of-7 series Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"The best players forget mistakes like that and you learn from them," Krug said. "I have a short-term memory, so for me, it was kind of get ready to get back out there when my name is called and in overtime, I was ready to go."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 6:09 PM

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

Bruins' Horton termed 'day-to-day' by Julien

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton is day-to-day heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton was injured with about seven minutes left in the first overtime of Game 1 Wednesday after a seemingly routine push to the chest of Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Bruins coach Claude Julien addressed Horton's condition Thursday. The Blackhawks won Game 1, 4-3, in triple overtime.

"You look at what he's accomplished and he's a big part of our team," Julien said. "He had a bit assist on the [Milan] Lucic goal on Wednesday. He's listed day-to-day right now, so we'll see."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 3:35 AM

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

Daugavins misses glorious opportunity to win Game 1

CHICAGO -- It will probably be replayed in the head of Boston Bruins forward Kaspars Daugavins over and over.

Not only did he have his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs there for the taking with Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford sprawled on his back and out of position, but he could have ended what would become the longest game of the postseason.

As it turned out, Daugavins would miss wide left and Boston would lose Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final by a 4-3 score a little over two minutes later when Andrew Shaw deflected home a puck at 12:08 of the third overtime.

After taking a feed from Tyler Seguin with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the sixth period, Daugavins skated across the crease and went forehand to backhand before attempting a shot that trickled harmlessly wide.

"I got great feed from [Seguin] back door, and when I got the puck, I was going to shoot, but it felt like [Crawford] had the pad down," a disappointed Daugavins said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 7:25 PM

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

Toews, Bergeron set to go head-to-head in Game 1

CHICAGO -- Two of the finest centers in the game today are prepared to go head-to-head for the first time this season on Wednesday at United Center when the Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron prepare to face-off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Still, while the two Selke Trophy nominees are preparing to do battle on the ice, they certainly have a great deal of respect for each other off of it -- for how long remains to be seen.

"I know Patrice Bergeron on a personal level, played with him at the [2010 Winter] Olympics and watched him win a Stanley Cup," Toews said. "He's one of those guys who flies under the radar because he doesn't score as many points as he probably could be if he was just focusing on being an offensive player 100 percent of the time."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 11:24 AM

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

Marchand, Shaw appear to be mirror-image pests

CHICAGO -- While Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final remains a few hours away Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), it's never too early for the Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand and the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw to begin waging a personal war of words.

During media day here at United Center on Tuesday, the agitators and big fan favorites couldn't resist the opportunity to speak about the other when the questions came fast and furious.

"We're both agitators," Shaw said. "We both play physical and we're always chirping. He's perfected it, and that's what I'm trying to do to my game. We both walk a fine line, and I've always looked up to him and admired him. It's going to be great to actually play against him once."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 9:55 PM

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

Comeback started Bruins on path to Final

CHICAGO -- The Boston Bruins have been all but unbeatable since their monumental comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Boston won eight of nine games in the conference semifinals and finals, moving them into the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

There's no question that if Boston regains the Cup it won in 2011 that the 5-4 overtime victory against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on May 13 will go down as the turning point of its season. The Bruins were just over 10 minutes away from losing a series they led 3-1 -- they lost Games 5 and 6, then fell behind by three goals in Game 7.

"When we got down to Toronto 4-1 in the third period, no one talked about it but knew that if we lost that game, no one would know who's coming back [on the roster]," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said during media day at United Center on Tuesday. "We didn't know if we'd stick together one more year. But the boys dug down deep and won that game, and we've been a great hockey team ever since."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 6:45 PM

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

Blackhawks' Keith grateful to be back in Final

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has heard the stories and has even spoken to legendary Hall of Fame member Bobby Hull about the unfortunate set of circumstances.

Bottom line is, the world-class blueliner knows opportunities like this don't happen very often.

Hull recently told Keith that after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 1961, he expected many more to follow, but that wouldn't happen over his next 11 seasons in Chicago. It's a conversation Keith remembers well. In fact, the Blackhawks wouldn't hoist the Cup again until 2010.

"I've heard that story and talked to Bobby Hull quite a bit about how they thought they would win several but never ended up getting back again and winning another," Keith said. "I take a lot of pride in being here and I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm going to try to make the most of it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Anthony Brodeur looking forward to hometown draft

Anthony Brodeur knows there's no guarantee he'll be chosen at the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 30.

It would be a surreal moment for Brodeur to hear his name announced in the state where his dad, New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, has become a legend. Anthony Brodeur, who turns 18 on June 8, just completed his senior season at Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep in Faribault, Minn., and is eligible for the draft for the first time.

Anthony Brodeur

He went 21-5-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and team-leading five shutouts in 28 games this season. He also was credited with four assists.

Anthony Brodeur was asked if he feels there's any similarity between him and his 41-year-old father, who was chossen in the first round (No. 20) of the 1990 draft by the Devils.

"I think we have the same style," Brodeur told NHL.com. "I look a lot like him when I am in net, but I might play a little more butterfly than he does. I think the most common thing for me is how we're both pretty composed in net. I've worked on that a lot lately and it has helped my game a ton.

"I am starting to work on playing the puck more and more and hope to one day be as good as he is with that."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Ristolainen, Saros debate who was in charge of room

TORONTO -- There seemed to be a difference in opinion between Finnish countrymen Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS and Juuse Saros of HPK after their stay at the Westin Bristol Place during the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week.

Ristolainen, No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible European players, informed the media Saturday following Day 2 of fitness testing that his roommate for the week was Saros.

Ristolainen, who is regarded as one of the more physical defenders among all the European players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, seemed sure about one thing too.

"I think I'm the boss in our room," Ristolainen (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) said. "I'm bigger and older. He's just a junior."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

MacKinnon 'would love to play for' Roy, Avalanche

TORONTO -- Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon finally can take a deep breath -- at least for 24 hours.

There's no telling what's next for the 17-year-old, who undoubtedly will be traveling to meet with several NHL teams for personal examinations and interviews now that his part in the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine is complete.

"I don't know if I'm living the dream yet because I'm not in the NHL, but [this week has] been fun," MacKinnon said. "It's been busy for sure. I've had a lot of requests and demands, but obviously I wouldn't trade it for anything. I had a lot of fun this year, and this was just another step toward the draft."

MacKinnon said he would be honored if the Colorado Avalanche selected him No. 1 at the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30. He said playing for new Colorado coach Patrick Roy, who was hired last week, would be a good experience.

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 2:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Nurse will have cheering section at draft, with McNabb

TORONTO -- Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse anticipates a large family contingent to join him at Prudential Center on June 30 for the NHL Draft.

Nurse, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, is expected to be chosen among the top 10 players. He told NHL.com that one of his biggest supporters is his uncle Donovan McNabb, who spent 13 seasons as a quarterback in the NFL, including 11 with the Philadelphia Eagles, and is Darnell's uncle by marriage.

"The draft will be a whole family affair, with my aunts and uncles, cousins and my parents," Nurse said at the NHL Scouting Combine. "And Uncle Donovan will be there and he can't wait. He's excited for it too."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:39 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top prospects begin infamous bike testing

TORONTO -- Is there any doubt that the words "bike test" are enough to make any top draft-eligible prospect uneasy in the week leading up to the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine?

It's a frozen moment in time for any blue-chip athlete looking to make an impression on NHL scouts and general managers. The heart starts beating faster the moment those technicians duct tape both feet to the pedals in preparation for those two infamous tests: the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and VO2 Max.

Those familiar with the VO2 Max, which measures the endurance capability of a player's heart, lungs and muscles, knows it happens to be the most grueling of all the endurance tests conducted by York University for the benefit of the 30 NHL teams.

The Wingate peak power output test measures the explosiveness of a skater and could provide critical information in learning how quickly a player might be able to begin a transition up ice.

Last year, one player lasted at least 14 minutes on the VO2: Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who was drafted No. 6 by the Anaheim Ducks.

NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-rated North American skater in 2012, Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting, lasted 12:25 on the VO2.

Defenseman Mathew Dumba, drafted No. 7 by the Minnesota Wild, lasted 11 minutes.

"That's a killer, you come right off the Wingate and guys are throwing up in the back and your legs are just shot and you've got another one [VO2] to go," Dumba said. "It's pretty hard to bear down and it really challenges you."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin might skip fitness test

TORONTO -- It's possible the long grind of the junior hockey season, including the Memorial Cup tournament that ended four days ago, will keep top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads from participating in the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

The trio is 1, 2, 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for this year's draft.

The agent for Jones and MacKinnon, Pat Brisson, told NHL.com his clients will undergo medical exams Friday as scheduled, but a decision on whether they would participate in the 13 individual tests designed to evaluate strength and fitness would be made afterward.

"In my opinion, you need about a week or two to get ready for some of those tests, and we have to respect what they've gone through here lately," Brisson said. "They're in game shape, but you have to treat them like Ferraris in a sense that now these athletes have to prepare for these things. Not that they can't do it, but we'll undergo the medical exam and take it from there."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 2:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

NHL-caliber shot makes Pulock one to watch

TORONTO -- Simply put, defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings is a warrior.

Despite missing considerable time in 2012-13 with a fractured orbital bone then a broken wrist, he impressed the scouts enough to earn the No. 12 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters.

"He does everything well," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "He's got the hardest shot I've seen in years. He's so smart. The thing that's even more impressive is I've seen him take seven or eight super hits -- body checks and hip checks -- laying guys into the boards. He's got all the tools to be a top pick."

Sullivan went as far as to say Pulock has an NHL-caliber shot right now.

"He's got one of the hardest shots not only in the Western Hockey League, but would have one of the hardest in the NHL," Sullivan said. "Don't laugh … it's that good."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Tambellini knows the drill at Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- It's pretty safe to assume that center Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles in the British Columbia Hockey League had a good idea what questions would be asked during team interviews at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.

As the son of former Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, the 6-foot-2.25, 169-pound left-handed shot had quite the advantage.

"We had a little demo going at home, and it was cool to hear what he had to say about it and what they're looking for because he used to be the one asking the questions," Tambellini told NHL.com, referencing his father. "It was nice to lean on him for some help, and I think it worked out."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 10:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Shinkaruk remains a confident leader

TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk will enter the 2013 NHL Draft with an open mind, but he admits it's only natural for him to want to hear his name announced as early as possible.

"I'm not really out to set a number where I think I'm going to go, but obviously I want to go as high as possible in the first round," Shinkaruk told NHL.com. "I feel like I've had three good years in Medicine Hat, and the scouts have seen me and know what I'm all about. I'd like to go in the No. 6-to-15 range at the draft, but a lot of things change on draft day. Either way, it'll be an exciting day for me and my family."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 7:45 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Seth Jones arrives at NHL Draft Combine

TORONTO -- Three days removed from a disappointing loss in the Memorial Cup final, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones was right back at it Wednesday at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Jones, ranked No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters, had nine interviews on his first day at the Combine. He'll have eight more  Thursday before undergoing his fitness examination Friday at the Toronto International Centre.

Jones told NHL.com he did meet Wednesday with the Colorado Avalanche, the team holding the No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

"They said there's a lot of hype that goes into [the first pick], and lot of attention and scrutiny as well," Jones told NHL.com. "They asked if I could handle it and obviously I gave them an honest answer. They listened to what I had to say and, I guess, were fine with my response."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 2:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Parade a unique backdrop for Fucale's 18th birthday

TORONTO -- When was the last time more than 4,000 fans sang "Happy Birthday" to you?

It happened to Halifax Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale on Tuesday during a parade for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

Fucale, who turned 18, said it was one of the most memorable moments of his life.

"The parade was cool, and it's amazing that it fell on my birthday," Fucale told NHL.com. "There were like 5,000 people in the streets, yelling and everything. During the little ceremony we had, there were 5,000 people singing [for] my birthday. Can you believe that?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Remparts prospect reminisces about Roy's mentoring

TORONTO -- It has to be a bittersweet moment this week for the four players invited to the NHL Scouting Combine from the Quebec Remparts.

That's because Remparts coach Patrick Roy recently was hired as coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Roy, who also served as general manager for eight seasons, and is a part-owner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, was introduced to the Colorado media Tuesday during a press conference.

Remparts center Kurt Etchegary, No. 72 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters, considered it an honor to be coached by a legend.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Red Wings scout looking forward to NHL Draft

TORONTO -- One reason the Detroit Red Wings have been a perennial contender is the organization's knack for finding premier players in the NHL Draft.

It's one thing to find a future all-star in the first round, but to pinpoint one in the later rounds takes a tremendous amount of foresight and vision. Hakan Andersson, who began scouting for the Red Wings in 1990 on a recommendation and is now the director of European scouting for the club, saw that potential in Tomas Holmstrom (No. 257 in 1994), Pavel Datsyuk (No. 171 in '98), Henrik Zetterberg (No. 210 in '99), Niklas Kronwall (No. 29 in 2000), Jiri Hudler (No. 58 in '02), Valtteri Filppula (No. 95 in '02), Jonathan Ericsson (No. 291 in '02) and Johan Franzen (No. 97 in '04).

More recently, right wing Gustav Nyquist (No. 121 in '08) has burst upon the scene.

Joe McDonnell, Detroit's director of amateur scouting with the Red Wings, is armed with a pick in each of the seven rounds for the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J., on June 30. It's a situation he's extremely pleased about.

"I think it's real deep draft," McDonnell told NHL.com. "We just finished up our year-end meetings [on May 26] and know we're going to get a player if we're picking in the 18th spot or lower. We think we're going to get a real good player no matter where we're picking in the first round."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Comrie benefits from visit by Carey Price

TORONTO -- When Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made a surprise visit to his former junior hockey team during the work stoppage last year, top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Eric Comrie was front and center.

Comrie, ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American goaltenders, finished 20-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in an injury-shortened season for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Though Comrie (6-foot, 167 pounds) is quick to credit Tri-City goalie coach Lyle Mast for much of his progress and success, he also was impressed with Price in the short visit he made with the team. The Canadiens goalie spent four seasons in Tri-City from 2003-07.

"He came to Tri-City and it was an unbelievable experience," Comrie told NHL.com. "He came back and practiced with us and shared his knowledge with me, and it was the most fun I've ever had in some time. Just being around him … he showed you how hard you have to work. It was amazing how humble he was."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

High school rivals are roommates at Combine

TORONTO -- Two of the top high school players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft were given quite the surprise this week after learning they would be sharing a hotel room during their six-day stay for the NHL Scouting Combine.

Further complicating matters is the fact defenseman Thomas Vannelli of Minnetonka, Minn., and center Connor Hurley of Edina happen to play for rival schools. As members of the Lake Division, Minnetonka defeated Edina twice last season, each time by a 4-3 score. Hurley had three assists and Vannelli two assists in the two matches.

"We're friends off the ice, but on the ice it's kind of a rivalry," Hurley told NHL.com. "We played against each other a couple of times since we're in the same conference and his team got the best of us. But 1-on-1, I got the best of him on the ice. Don't tell him that though."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 5:09 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Nichushkin '100 percent sure' he's ready for NHL

TORONTO -- Sports agent Mark Gandler confirmed to NHL.com Tuesday that his top draft-eligible client, Russian right wing Valeri Nichushkin, has terminated his contract with Moscow Dynamo in order to play in North America next season. But there is a provision.

"If he's not playing in the NHL, he's going to have to play for Dynamo," Gandler told NHL.com. "The termination [of his contract] occurred without compensation to the team. This is what we would owe the team for that provision."

Gandler isn't the only person who is confident the 6-foot-4, 202-pound left-hander will earn a roster spot on an NHL team next season.

Asked how confident he is that he will play in the NHL in 2013-14, Nichushkin said, "100 percent sure."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Functional Movement Screening set to be unveiled

TORONTO -- More than a dozen prospects Tuesday will undergo the newest element added to the NHL Scouting Combine this year, the Functional Movement Screening (FMS).

The list of players includes all 14 of the top European skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking and the top European goalie, Juuse Saros. The only North American player performing the test, which will be given beginning at 7 p.m. ET and in groups of four, will be defenseman Mirco Mueller of the Everett Silvertips. Mueller is No. 9 on Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters.

The FMS is a ranking and grading system in which players perform seven specific joint tests which document movement patterns. The test could help reveal imbalances and symmetry deficiencies in the various fundamental movement patterns of the body.

"If there's a range imbalance or if one side of the body is stronger or weaker than the other, this test will help determine that," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "A majority of NHL teams utilize FMS in some form and the NFL has been performing this screening as part of the medical process for their combine for a number of years.

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 9:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

'Smallish' Saros stands tall as only European goalie

TORONTO -- Juuse Saros might be the only European goaltender invited to the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week, but he's determined to make the best of it.

"Of course, it's nice to see that NHL scouts have seen me play and have invited me and I'm proud of that," Saros told NHL.com. "But I'm just taking it day by day and not thinking too far ahead."

Saros, who has 15 interviews with NHL scouts and general managers scheduled through Thursday before taking part in the fitness portion of the Combine on Saturday, said he's been asked most about his size. That doesn't come as a shock to the 5-foot-10.25, 178-pound goaltender.

"I just have to keep good position, move well and read the plays," he said. "Everyone is asking me about my strengths and weaknesses, and almost every team asks about my size and how I compensate."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top Halifax players to arrive after celebration

TORONTO -- Those scouts and general managers at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine anticipating an interview with Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin and goalie Zachary Fucale will have to wait.

That's because Halifax will be holding a short procession and rally at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

According to Halifax general manager Cam Russell, the three standout prospects will be traveling to the Combine early Wednesday morning following festivities Tuesday.

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Defenseman Nurse recovering from finger surgery

TORONTO -- Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse said he was just as surprised as everyone else when informed he would need surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left ring finger at the end of the season.

Nurse said he was playing with his injured finger throughout most of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. Following his team's six-game series loss to the Owen Sound Attack in the opening round, during which Nurse had one goal, four points and six penalty minutes, he was advised to have surgery performed.

"I was playing in the playoffs with it and all of sudden the season was over and I couldn't play for Canada at the World Under-18 Championship because I needed surgery," Nurse told NHL.com. "It was disappointing because I wanted to keep playing hockey whether with the Greyhounds or the U-18's. But now I'm almost at the point where I'm at 100 percent, and I looked at it as better to get it done now before it gets any worse."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.26.2013 / 12:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top prospects set for NHL Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- After the Memorial Cup final is staged at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon on Sunday (May 26), it's off to Toronto for the start of the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.

Numerous interviews and those infamous bike tests await those future NHL stars of tomorrow.

The first day of the Combine should be a relatively slow one while players are interviewed by NHL teams within their stationed headquarters. NHL.com will be here all week, logging exclusive daily stories and video. This event is a great opening prelude to the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 30.

The NHL Scouting Combine will give NHL clubs a chance to evaluate 101 of the top North American and European hockey prospects in the world. The interviewing phase and new element being added to the Combine this year -- the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) -- will be Monday through Thursday. The fitness portion of the testing at the Toronto Convention Centre will be Friday and Saturday.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Bruins' Dougie Hamilton shares draft memories

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton may be two years removed from hearing his name called at the NHL Draft, but he still remembers it as if it were yesterday.

The Bruins selected the 6-foot-5, 199-pounder with the ninth choice in the first round of the 2011 Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Hamilton realizes that draft day will be a whirlwind for many of the top prospects, particularly those at the top end of everyone's draft board.

He took the time out of his busy Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule to discuss that memorable moment with NHL.com.

"I think most importantly, players just need to try and enjoy it as much as you can," Hamilton told NHL.com. "I think it's definitely a different process where you don't really know where you're going and, obviously, it means a lot where you're going to be living and things like that.

"But most of all, you have to soak it in and really enjoy it."


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Krug fast tracks from college to Stanley Cup Playoffs

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug is certainly living the good life.

It's amazing when you consider the undrafted 5-foot-9, 180-pound lefty was just finishing up his final season at Michigan State University a season ago before signing an entry-level contract with the Bruins on March 25, 2012.

Now he's playing a key role for the team in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers. Despite the fact he didn't experience the thrill of hearing his name announced at the NHL Draft, he told NHL.com it was probably a blessing in disguise.

"Yes, it's your childhood dream to hear your name called [at the draft], but it's not the end of the world," Krug said. "If you're going to make it to the NHL, you're going to make it, there's nothing that will stop you. You have to have that mindset, and maybe use it for motivation and work harder. But if you're out there, they're going to find you and you have to have faith in yourself."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 3:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins understand fourth win will be the hardest

NEW YORK -- There is no need to remind the players and coaching staff of the Boston Bruins that winning the fourth game of a best-of-7 series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is never easy.

The Bruins failed to secure that fourth win in 2010 after gaining a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, losing in seven games. This year's team almost blew a 3-1 series lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the conference quarterfinals but rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 7 on May 13 at TD Garden.

Boston now finds itself in familiar territory against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Bruins, who hold a 3-0 series lead over the Rangers, are hoping to seal the deal Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS).

"You learn from the past and live in the moment, but you don't live in the past," Bruins coach Claude Julien said following his team's optional practice Wednesday at MSG. "So right now, we're living in the moment and I like where our team is -- the attitude and approach.

"If we don't take the same attitude we did [Tuesday in a 2-1 victory], we shouldn't expect to win the hockey game."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 9:09 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Domi's incredible pass highlight of Memorial Cup

London Knights forward Max Domi may play the game another 20 years and never duplicate the incredible between-the-legs pass that resulted in a highlight-reel goal Monday against the Portland Winterhawks during round-robin play at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup Tournament in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

It occurred in the second period of an eventual 6-3 loss. With the Knights trailing 3-1, the 5-foot-9.25, 197-pound forward, No. 19 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, took a feed from Seth Griffith in the right circle before moving down the slot. Just as he gained the area between the circles near the right hash, Domi shifted the puck from his backhand to his forehand, pushing it between his skates and lifting a pass to teammate Bo Horvat at the bottom of the left circle.

Horvat batted the puck past Portland goalie Mac Carruth for his first goal of the Memorial Cup.

"It was just a break-in on the power play and that's all I really had left and it was lucky, for sure," Domi told the London Free Press.
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Posted On Monday, 05.20.2013 / 4:23 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Stevens, Quenneville know how family members feel

Forwards John Stevens and Peter Quenneville of the Dubuque Fighting Saints can take great pride in the fact they have something in common with their respective family members in the National Hockey League -- a Cup championship.

Dubuque earned its second Clark Cup as the champion of the United States Hockey League on May 17 when it scored a 3-2 overtime victory over the Fargo Force in Game 3 to complete a sweep in the best-of-5 series in Fargo.

"This feels unbelievable -- this is the closest group of guys I've ever been a part of," Stevens told the league's website. "Right from the first day, we really bonded and were a tight-knit group. All year our main goal was to win the Clark Cup, and it finally came true."


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Posted On Monday, 05.20.2013 / 12:25 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Jones, MacKinnon head list of Combine invitees

Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads head the list of 101 players that have been invited to take part in the NHL Scouting Combine.

Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, NHL Draft (Getty Images / Halifax Mooseheads)

The Combine will be held May 27 to June 1 in Toronto.

The list of prospects includes the top 79 players on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft.

"It's just a matter of showing the teams what you can do," Jones told NHL.com about the Combine. "I don't think anyone should go in nervous … I'm certainly not looking at it that way. It should be a fun experience."

Jones, MacKinnon and Drouin currently are starring for their respective teams in the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Memorial Cup will conclude with the championship game on May 26.

Central Scouting is anticipating 86 North American players total, including the top seven goalies from its final ranking of North American goaltenders. The top 15 European prospects, including top-ranked goalie Juuse Saros, also have been invited.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Cammarata receives multiple USHL accolades

Forward Taylor Cammarata of the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League on Wednesday was named USHL Forward of the Year and Player of the Year as determined by league coaches and general managers.

The 5-foot-7, 156-pound left-handed shot, who is No. 193 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American players, led the USHL with 93 points (38 goals, 55 assists) in 59 regular-season games.

"His smarts and creativity make him a good prospect," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com.

Cammarata's point total was the second-highest in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), following the 104 points (54 goals) produced by Kevin Roy of the Lincoln Stars in 2011-12.


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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 12:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Nurse, Barkov to sit out fitness portion of Combine

Barkov
Nurse

Injuries late in the season and subsequent surgery for prospects Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League will keep both players from participating in the fitness portion of the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine, scheduled May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre.

Both players currently are rehabilitating from postseason surgeries and will attend the Combine to interview with NHL scouts and general managers during the six-day event that begins May 27. While both players will undergo medical examinations, they will forego any physical fitness testing.

Barkov, a center, sustained an upper-body injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on March 27 and was sidelined the remainder of the postseason. He had 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 regular-season games for Tappara. NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked European skater had four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff games.


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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 10:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Elite 2013 draft prospects highlight Memorial Cup

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is anticipating one heck of a tournament this weekend when he heads an impressive group of top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible prospects at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, NHL Draft (Getty Images / Halifax Mooseheads)

The event, hosted by the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, will have the WHL champion Winterhawks, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads and Ontario Hockey League titlist London Knights joining the Blades for a chance at winning the Canadian Hockey League's ultimate crown. The quartet of teams will play May 17-26 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The tournament opens Friday when the Knights face the host Blades. Last year, the Knights lost the Memorial Cup final in overtime 2-1 to Shawinigan.

The Knights completed the four-team field Monday in dramatic fashion when center Bo Horvat, No. 15 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, scored with 0.1 seconds left in the third period to give his team a 3-2 victory against the Barrie Colts in Game 7 of the OHL championship series.

"You dream as a kid about scoring a goal like that in a Game 7," Horvat told Canadian Press. "I knew I had to get to the net and look for a rebound."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 10:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin OK to play Game 4 of QMJHL final

Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell confirmed to NHL.com on Wednesday that top prospect Jonathan Drouin will be in the lineup Wednesday night when his team faces the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in Game 4 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series at Henry Leonard Centre in Baie-Comeau, Quebec.

The Mooseheads received a bit of a scare Tuesday when Drouin was involved in a knee-on-knee collision with Drakkar forward Alexandre Ranger six minutes into the second period. According to Willy Palov of The (Halifax) Chronicle Herald, Drouin grabbed his right leg in pain and left for the Halifax dressing room after the collision. No penalty was called on the play.

While Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, did not return for the remainder of the second, he did play in the third of an eventual 3-1 loss, Halifax's first of the postseason. The Mooseheads lead the series 2-1.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Home ice has served Capitals, Rangers well so far

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr said he feels the first team that's able to break serve in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals might have the best chance at taking the series.

Fehr spoke to reporters Tuesday morning outside his hotel during a rare off day to discuss how important home ice has been for his club and the New York Rangers in the opening three games of what has become an intriguing showdown between two very evenly matched clubs.

"I don't think there was any difference in the way the Rangers played [on Monday], but they played with the crowd behind them which is what we did at Verizon Center and that's a big difference," Fehr said. "Momentum plays a big part in the games and when you have the fans cheering you on, it's a lot easier to play."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Oates puts premium on rest for Capitals

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is a firm believer that the best weapon this time of the year is rest.

So after a tough 4-3 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the New York Rangers on Monday, that's exactly what Oates gave his players in preparation for Game 4 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"At this time of the year I'm not worried about conditioning," Oates said. "It's more fatigue and getting better prepared mentally. So we'll take [Tuesday] off and recharge the battery."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 6:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Hamilton in for Bruins; Maple Leafs add Gardiner

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton is in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at TD Garden (7 p.m. CNBC, CBC).

Hamilton is replacing Andrew Ference, who received a one-game suspension by the NHL on Thursday for an illegal hit to the head on Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski during the Bruins' 4-1 win in Game 1.

Veteran forward Rich Peverley will replace Kaspars Daugavins and likely play on the Bruins' third line alongside Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr.

Hamilton, making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, had five goals and 16 points in 42 games as a 19-year-old but was scratched for six of the Bruins' last nine regular-season games, including the final three before the postseason, after the Bruins dealt for veteran Wade Redden at the NHL Trade Deadline. Hamilton and Redden will be paired together.

At the other end, Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner is making his first playoff appearance in place of injured Michael Kostka (broken finger), and veteran defender Ryan O'Byrne is replacing healthy scratch John Michael-Liles.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins know there's no reason to get overconfident

BOSTON -- Don't think the players and coaching staff of the Boston Bruins weren't paying attention to the events that transpired at Consol Energy Center on Friday when the New York Islanders rallied for a victory over the favored Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"You just have to look around the League and see what's going on, a lot of series are tied, 1-1," Julien said following his team's practice Saturday in preparation for Game 2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS). "There's nothing to get cocky about, or confident about. You just got to play every team the way you thought you would play that first one."

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the Maple Leafs, 1-0.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs' Gardiner ready to make playoff debut

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle promised some changes to his lineup for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins in an effort to even this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Saturday at TD Garden.

The most significant move might come on defense because Michael Kostka is out indefinitely after sustaining a broken finger in the second period of Game 1 on Wednesday. Carlyle told the media after his team's optional practice Saturday morning he is keeping all lineup changes internal and wouldn't reveal anything.

But there's a strong possibility 22-year-old Jake Gardiner could become the 11th player on the Maple Leafs roster to make his debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The more experienced Ryan O'Byrne could be called into duty.

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Practice day is homecoming of sorts for van Riemsdyk

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk was all smiles when asked about making a return to Beantown and having the opportunity to practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University the past two days.

After all, van Riemsdyk's first collegiate goal for the University of New Hampshire came against Boston University before 6,037 fans at nearby Agganis Arena on Oct. 19, 2007. It was the first of 11 goals that season for van Riemsdyk, who also notched an assist in the contest.

"I've always had good memories playing here since I had my first college goal at the rink next door, so it's definitely a special place to be back at," van Riemsdyk said with a grin.

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle needs Maple Leafs' best players to step up

BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs were back on the ice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University on Friday in an attempt to formulate a better game plan for heading into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

While game-planning and strategy is all well and good, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said he knows his best players need to earn their keep if his team has any shot at defeating the Bruins in the best-of-7 series.

That means Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri, Dion Phaneuf and James Reimer need to step up their games, or the organization's first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in nine years will be a short one.

"In the playoffs you're tested daily, maybe shift-to-shift or period-to-period, and that's what it is," Carlyle said. "It's going out there and earning their space and delivering in pressure situations. That's what it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be an easy game. This game is tough … it's played with big men out there moving at a quick pace. You're playing for keeps now."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 4:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle praises people of Boston

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday he has nothing but great respect for all Bostonians, especially after witnessing how the community came together following the Boston Marathon bombings last month.

It was another telling sign of how coaches and players react when there are certainly more pressing issues in life.

"We're in Boston, they have great hockey fans," Carlyle said. "Boston just went through a very traumatic situation. You can see the pride is in this town and the Bruins are a part of that."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 3:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Kostka suffered broken finger in series opener

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle announced Thursday that defenseman Michael Kostka sustained a broken finger in the second period of Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and is out for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at TD Garden.

Additionally, defenseman Cody Franson (foot bruise) is day-to-day. Forward Phil Kessel, who was missing from Thursday's practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University, was taking a maintenance day.

Though Kessel likely will be in the lineup Saturday, it remains to be seen what changes Carlyle will make on defense with Kostka out and Franson hurting. Carlyle said he will insert either Ryan O'Byrne or Jake Gardiner, or have both players in the lineup.

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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Lamoriello: Devils keeping 2013 first-round pick

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday the organization has decided to retain its first-round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, which the Devils are hosting at Prudential Center on June 30.

In September 2010, the NHL fined the Devils $3 million and took away two high draft picks over the next four years for signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract two months earlier that circumvented the League's salary cap.

The Devils forfeited a 2011 third-round pick and were told they needed to forfeit a first-rounder at some point over the next four years following the penalty.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 11:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hedberg starts, Gelinas makes NHL debut for Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg will make his first start in over a month Thursday when his team plays host to the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game of the season at Prudential Center.

Hedberg, who is making his first start since a March 19 loss to the New York Rangers, is 5-9-3 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in 17 games this season. In 10 career appearances against the Penguins, Hedberg is 3-5-1 with 2.84 GAA and .900 save percentage.

"It's been a while now since I last played, so it's nice to get one in and set up for next year," Hedberg told NHL.com. "We're playing for pride now. The fans have been great all year and coming to every game. That's really what we're playing for tonight … to show our appreciation for what they did for us."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 11:57 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils playing for pride, jobs in final three games

NEWARK, N.J. -- The disappointment of being on the outside looking in on the Stanley Cup Playoff chase is beginning to hit home for the New Jersey Devils.

Now it's all about playing for pride and, perhaps, job security. The Devils have three games remaining in the regular season, including the first of two straight home games beginning Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center.

The Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins visit Thursday before the Devils travel to Manhattan in their season finale on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's hard to understand what happened, and not to be able to play for something in the regular season is hard, but it is what it is for us right now and we'll have to make the best of the last three games and stay focused and finish on a good note," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Panthers, Devils

Here are the possible line combinations for Devils-Panthers on Saturday:

DEVILS

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - Matt D'Agostini

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Green-Adam Larsson

Henrik Tallinder-Marek Zidlicky

Peter Harrold-Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Andrei Loktionov, Krystofer Barch, Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Sullivan

Injured: Bryce Salvador (wrist)

Suspended: Anton Volchenkov

PANTHERS

Jonathan Huberdeau - Shawn Matthias - Greg Rallo

Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Jack Skille

Quinton Howden - Drew Shore - George Parros

Brian Campbell - Mike Weaver

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

T.J. Brennan - Alex Petrovic

Jacob Markstrom

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Tyson Strachan

Injured: Jose Theodore (groin), Ed Jovanovski (hip), Eric Selleck (concussion), Kris Versteeg (knee), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Sean Bergenheim (groin)

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Hartman hoping to return sooner than expected

The pictures shared by numerous Twitter account holders of the ugly laceration on the right forearm of Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman led one to believe he would be sidelined the remainder of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Hartman, the No. 25-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of the top draft-eligible North American prospects, has other intentions.

Hartman informed NHL.com on Wednesday that his doctor told him earlier in the day there was no sign of infection. That means with continued healing, he could return to the lineup as early as next week.

"It looks good … I got half the stitches out [Wednesday]," Hartman told NHL.com.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Invite numbers set for NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto from May 27 through June 1.

Central Scouting is anticipating 86 North American players, including the top seven ranked goalies, and the top 15 European prospects, including the No. 1-ranked goalie, to join in all the excitement and sweat that is associated with the Combine.

The fitness testing portion of the Combine will be held May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre and will be headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his staff at York University.

Central Scouting is expected to make public its final ranking of the top draft-eligible players during the last week in April.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 6:27 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Michalek returns for Senators against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean confirmed Friday prior to pregame warmups that left wing Milan Michalek will return to the lineup to face the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

MacLean said Michalek will be reunited with top-line center Kyle Turris and right wing Daniel Alfredsson to open the game. The 28-year-old has missed the past 24 games with a knee injury. He has two goals and 10 points in 15 matches in 2012-13.

"We're hoping he can bring speed, leadership and his ability to score," MacLean said during his pregame media scrum. "He's been a very consistent player throughout his career, and he's the type of player you can put on the ice in any situation; power play, penalty-kill or 4-on-4. He's a very valuable part of our team, and we look forward to having him back in the lineup."

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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

No Kovalchuk as Devils face Senators

NEWARK, N.J. -- In a season when the New Jersey Devils haven't fared well after allowing the first goal of the game, their inexplicable start in a loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, with a Stanley Cup Playoff berth on the line, left coach Peter DeBoer speechless.

The Devils will look to make amends Friday at Prudential Center against the Ottawa Senators, marking the fifth straight meeting against a Northeast Division opponent. Entering the game 1-5-6 against the Northeast this season, the Devils will be looking to snap an eight-game winless streak (0-4-4) against a team that just snapped its own five-game skid with a 3-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

The Devils will have defenseman Adam Larsson back in the lineup after he sat out Wednesday with a sore right foot. However, the team will be without defensemen Bryce Salvador (wrist) and Anton Volchenkov (suspended), as well as right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder).

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kovalchuk improving, doubtful on return this week

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk will miss his eighth straight game Wednesday when his team faces the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2), he did admit to feeling better during his second practice with the team in as many days.

Kovalchuk, however, hasn't put a timetable on his return to the lineup.

"I don't know [when I'll be back]," Kovalchuk said. "That's what we'll decide with doctors and coaches, but I don't think I'll be back [Friday against the Ottawa Senators]."

Kovalchuk said he felt a lot better at practice Wednesday and was able to shoot a little more.

"We definitely took more shots and there were some battles in the end, so it felt good," he said. "It's definitely a step in the right direction.

"I haven't been able to unload the big one-timers, but I just tried to shoot harder [Wednesday]. When skating and doing sprints, it didn't bother me at all and that's a positive thing."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 11:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Salvador back for Devils' battle with Bruins

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador was back on the ice Wednesday for his club's morning skate in preparation for a game Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Salvador sat out practice Tuesday in an attempt to rest for a team that has beaten the Devils six straight times (0-4-2) over the past two seasons, including a 1-0 Bruins win in Boston on April 4.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.07.2013 / 9:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Scouts remember EJ McGuire

TORONTO -- It's a bittersweet day here at the NHL office on the third day of meetings for NHL Central Scouting.

The group is into the fourth round of projections on its master list of the top draft eligible North American skaters, but are doing so with heavy hearts.

That's because two years ago to the day, a dedicated friend, father and the former director of NHL Central Scouting, EJ McGuire, died from an incurable, rare form of cancer, Leiomyoscarcoma.

McGuire waged a brave five-month battle with the disease before passing in the early morning of April 7, 2011. Every scout in the board room no doubt will reminisce about their friend at some point, or recall a moment in time when he made a profound impact on their lives in some fashion.


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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 9:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Kingston could be team to watch next season

TORONTO -- Is there any question the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had the team to watch if you were a fan of blue-chip prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft?
 
In addition to possessing forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, Halifax goalie Zachary Fucale was rated No. 1 at his position.
 
Now, inquiring minds would like to know if the 2014 draft will offer a similar scenario, with one team cornering the market on top-tier draft prospects. NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said he believes there might just be such a team.
 
"In 2013-14, Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League could be this year's Halifax," Edwards told NHL.com.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

NHL Scouting Combine slated in May

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will continue to make preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto from May 27 through June 1.

While there is no confirmation to the number of North American and European invites at the Combine just yet, the 2012 Combine had the top 104 players from North American and Europe. Head goalie scout Al Jensen has traditionally had the top eight goalies attend.

The fitness testing portion of the Combine will be held May 31 and June 1 at the Toronto International Centre.


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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 11:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Day 2 at NHL Central Scouting final meetings

11:35 a.m. -- So tough to update when you are completely entrenched in the dialogue taking place. Computer voting and hand votes are taking place with regularity right now as the scouts attempt to nail down the top six players in the final ranking. During those votes, a few scouts will make one last effort to push the player in their area.

High drama at its best!

While I cannot reveal the results of those votes, I can provide you with a peak into some of the round-table commentary:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Central Scouting league lists revealed

TORONTO -- It's early Saturday morning and the men of NHL Central Scouting have returned to the board room at the League office in Toronto to continue ranking the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.
 
The scouts will begin the process of ranking all the players after careful discussion and healthy debate Friday that established the six league lists in North America.
 
As promised, here are the top 10 skaters Central Scouting ranked in each league. In order to maintain some level of confidentiality, the players are listed in alphabetical order rather than numeric.
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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 4:41 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting final meetings- Day 1

3:30 pm -- The most robust debate of opening day of the Central Scouting final meetings was the discussion of the prospects in the Ontario Hockey League. The scouts had high praise for several players listed high on the midterm ranking, including Sean Monahan, Darnell Nurse, Bo Horvat, Kerby Rychel, Chris Bigras, Ryan Hartman and Nikita Zadorov.

The scouts have been going at it pretty good today. It's amazing how much each scout can remember on each player, even during their cross-over viewings.

Some comments:

On Monahan: "Never quits; gave it 110 percent and played as well as he could on a bad Ottawa team. Eric Staal-like."

On Nurse: "What a season he had. Can play strong at both ends and plays with a great edge. Is also a great guy off the ice."

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 9:10 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting ready to roll

So the scouts are in place and we're ready to roll here at the board offices in Toronto. The final meeting to determine the top 2013 draft-eligible prospects is under way.

Scouts in attendance are director Dan Marr, along with Chris Edwards (OHL), Greg Rajanen (U.S.), Al Jensen (U.S./Canada), B.J. MacDonald (WHL), Peter Sullivan (WHL), Chris Bordeleau (QMJHL) and David Gregory (U.S./Canada). Jensen is also responsible for ranking the top North American goaltenders.

Rajanen was hired this season by NHL Central Scouting to cover the mid-Western region of the United States, including the United States Hockey League, Minnesota high schools and colleges. To learn more about the "New Scout on the block," click here.

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Back to business

NHL Central Scouting goes back to the drawing board this weekend when the top draft-eligible North American skaters will be ranked one final time prior to the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Headed by Central Scouting director Dan Marr, the 10 full-time scouts in attendance at the Toronto board offices will don their thinking caps for one final time to establish their final list of the top 210 North American skaters and 30 goalies. The five-day selection process begins Friday. From a separate location, the Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, will also offer his recommendations to Marr on the top 120-plus European skaters and 10 goalies.

The final rankings release will be made official later this month.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.03.2013 / 11:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Top prospect Drouin dominates QMJHL awards

Halifax Mooseheads wing and top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin was named most valuable player, top pro prospect, personality of the year, and a first-team all-star Wednesday during the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Golden Puck Awards ceremony in Montreal.

Drouin had 41 goals, 105 points and a plus-48 rating in 49 contests for the Mooseheads in 2012-13.

In two seasons, he's produced 48 goals, 134 points and a plus-43 rating in 82 games. The 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound player had a 29-game point streak from Nov. 30, 2012, to March 15, 2013, collecting 26 goals and 65 points over that span.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Remembering 'Life as a Scout'

In November, 2011, NHL.com had an opportunity to join NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards on a trip through Western Canada not only to view a few of the top prospects eligible for the 2012 Draft but gain exclusive access to "Life as a Scout."

"We're getting paid to watch hockey. Does it get any better?" Edwards told NHL.com.

In a span of 72 hours, and beginning in Regina, Sask., NHL.com accompanied Edwards to gain an exclusive first-hand look at the process of scouting and what it entails.

Edwards will be one of several full-time scouts attending the final scouting meetings this weekend in Toronto, offering his assessment of those players he has witnessed over the course of the 2012-13 season.

The 42-year-old veteran scout started as a hockey official in the Canadian Tier 2 leagues before moving on to the Ontario Hockey League. His experience eventually landed him a job in the officiating department for the NHL 22 years ago. There, he began shooting videos of prospects and amateur referees before having a sit-down with veteran officials John D'Amico and Wally Harris, using the video as a training tool.


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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Islanders sign Lee to entry-level contract

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders center Anders Lee has experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs in a span of three days.

On Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior at the University of Notre Dame experienced the disappointment of elimination from the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals by fourth-seeded St. Cloud State. That ended any hope top-seeded Notre Dame had at reaching the Frozen Four.

Two days later, however, he signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the team that drafted him in sixth round (No. 152) of the 2009 Draft.

While Lee will not play for the Islanders against the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Prudential Center, he did join his teammates for their morning practice.


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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bailey back from Saturday injury, in Isles' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey, who suffered a neck injury on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be in the lineup on Monday when his team faces the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Bailey was forced to exit Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 16:23 mark of the second period after taking a hard hit behind his own net from left wing Chris Kunitz.

"I feel good," Bailey told NHL.com. "I was a little nervous at first, and had to kind of gather my thoughts. I felt it in the neck right away and anytime you feel it in the neck, you get a little nervous."


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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 11:08 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Zubrus to return to Devils' lineup Monday

NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Dainius Zubrus will make his anticipated return to the lineup on Monday when the New Jersey Devils play host to the New York Islanders at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG PLUS 2, MSG PLUS).

Zubrus, who underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist on Feb. 14, has missed the past 26 games. He's been skating on his own since mid-March and practiced with the team on Monday for the first time since he last played on Feb. 5 against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

"I feel good, it's been a while," Zubrus told reporters after practice. "I think I have [my stamina] back. After about 10 days after my surgery I was able to work out, so I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. I know getting back in a game situation is a little different since you battle guys and push guys, so that adds a lot more work, but it's not going to be the first time I've ever done this, so I think I'll be OK."


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Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 11:38 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Shoulder injury sidelines Barkov

The top draft-eligible prospect from Europe on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list, center Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, will be sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com that Barkov sustained a shoulder injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on Wednesday. Tappara earned a 3-1 victory to take the best-of-7 series, 4-1.

"He will probably miss rest of the season," Stubb told NHL.com. "The injury will not affect his [high] draft status."

Barkov finished the regular season with 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 games for Tappara. He produced four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff matches.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers search for season-long win streak

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Florida Panthers have an opportunity to win three consecutive games for the first time this season when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Prudential Center.

The only other time the Panthers entered a contest having won the two previous matches was Feb. 5 when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Winnipeg Jets. Florida has defeated the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers in the opening two games of this five-game road swing.

"We're looking at the first period and everything is short-term snapshots," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "It's been nice to have a couple days off where we can sit on a victory; it makes a tremendous difference. Rest comes easier when your mind is at ease."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 11:52 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

D'Agostini set for Devils debut

NEWARK, N.J. -- Right wing Matt D'Agostini is expected to make his season debut for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday when the team plays the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.

The Devils conducted an optional skate at Prudential Center on Saturday morning, and though D'Agostini participated, coach Peter DeBoer was mum on who his newest acquisition would replace in the lineup. However, it's possible forward Krystofer Barch, who remained late out on the ice after practice, will be a healthy scratch.

D'Agostini, acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Friday, is looking forward to a new opportunity.

"It's kind of like a fresh start for me, so I'm looking at this as game one and looking to establish my game early by working hard and hopefully get some chances," D'Agostini said. "I'm best when I'm using my speed and driving the D-men deep, and creating havoc on the forecheck."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 11:50 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Brodeur will back up Hedberg against Rangers

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goalie Martin Brodeur will be on the bench serving as the backup to Johan Hedberg on Tuesday when the New Jersey Devils host the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

After being sidelined the past 11 games with a pinched nerve in his neck/upper back that was causing numbness in his shoulder and arm, the 40-year-old Brodeur said Tuesday he feels strong enough to return to the active roster.

"That's the plan now … I've been given the OK and that's the way we're going now," Brodeur said Tuesday, after his second straight practice with the team. "It's been fun the last two days being in the room and knowing what's going on a little bit. When you're injured, you're always on the side doing your own thing, so it's nice to be back."

The Devils on Tuesday activated Brodeur from injured reserve and assigned goalie Jeff Frazee to the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Albany.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 10:05 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

No skate for Rangers ahead of matchup with Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Rangers didn't conduct a morning skate at Prudential Center on Tuesday, hours after beating the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

The Rangers face the Devils on Tuesday night.

Against the Hurricanes, the top line of Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik generated no points, 10 shots and a minus-2 rating. It will be interesting to see if coach John Tortorella keeps that trio intact while giving goalie Henrik Lundqvist his fifth start in eight days. He could also opt for backup Martin Biron, who last started March 10 in a 4-1 victory against the Washington Capitals.

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Posted On Friday, 03.15.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Besse wins Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award

 Grant Besse, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Senior right wing Grant Besse didn't conclude this year's state tournament in the same remarkable fashion he did in 2011-12, but he certainly did his share in the regular season to catch the eye of all those who watched him perform at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School in Minnesota.

The 5-foot-8.5, 177-pound Besse, No. 124 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American skaters, was awarded the Mr. Hockey Award on March 10 during the 29th ceremony in St. Paul.

The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League Scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.

"[Besse] isn't real big, but he's very strong on his skates and with how he moves," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com. "He just looks so comfortable getting around the ice. He does everything with such ease, like move puck to teammate, shoot on the fly or move laterally to get around somebody.

"He doesn't have to slow down, stop or look. He's always constantly moving and when you combine that with one of the best wrist shots and releases in the draft, you understand why he almost put up 50 goals this season."

Besse was No. 187 on Central Scouting's final ranking prior to the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, but wasn't chosen.


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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 9:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon stars in return

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon clearly wasn't interested in easing his way back into the lineup after missing over a month due to injury.

On Wednesday, in his first game since Feb. 8, when he tweaked his knee and spent the next 14 games out of action, MacKinnon had two goals and two assists to lead the Mooseheads to a 6-2 victory against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

MacKinnon wasted little time, scoring just 35 seconds into the first period.

"We wanted to wait until he was 100 percent before he came back so he was really ready to go," Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme told The Chronicle Herald. "He was excited to be coming back. He played with energy and it was great to see how he handled it."

MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, has a point in 11 straight games, dating to Jan. 12, and has totaled eight goals and 21 points in that span. In addition to his offensive output Wednesday, MacKinnon also generated a team-high six shots on goal, delivered one hit and won 10 of 18 faceoffs.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 7:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Defenseman Schenn out of Flyers lineup with flu

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn has the flu and is out of the lineup against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at Prudential Center.

Schenn, who skated with the team in the morning, had appeared in all 27 games for the Flyers this season. The 23-year-old has two goals, seven points and a plus-2 rating.

Schenn was replaced in the lineup by Kurtis Foster, who was listed as a healthy scratch the past 12 games.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 12:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flyers to put Briere, Gagne on line vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- In an effort to generate some spark into the lineup, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will reunite Danny Briere with Simon Gagne on a line with Sean Couturier when his team plays the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at Prudential Center.

The Flyers sit last in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Couturier was centering Briere and Gagne during practice Tuesday at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, N.J. Laviolette confirmed Wednesday after his team's morning skate that those three players would join forces in an attempt to "maybe try and find something offensively or try a different look."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Central Scouting upgrades four players

          Laurent Dauphin, Chicoutimi, QMJHL

NHL Central Scouting has advised all NHL personnel to keep an eye on four 2013 draft-eligible players shooting up the ranks for the month of March.

In addition to profiling many of the top prospects on the radar, it's always interesting to learn of those performers improving to the point of getting special attention, as is the case each month when Central Scouting provides team scouts and GMs a cheat sheet of such performers.

This month, Central Scouting has targeted right wing Zach Nastasiuk of the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League, center Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and center Nicolas Petan of the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Dillon Heatherington of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League.

Nastasiuk, Dauphin and Heatherington, who were regarded as 'B skaters' in February, were upgraded to 'A skaters' this month. Petan jumped from a 'C' rating to 'A'.


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Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 3:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin back for Halifax; MacKinnon close

The Halifax Mooseheads will have one of their top 2013 draft-eligible forwards returning to the lineup on Monday when they play host to Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Halifax Metro Centre (6 p.m. ET).

Halifax general manager Cam Russell informed NHL.com that Jonathan Drouin, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury sustained on March 2, will make his anticipated return. Nathan MacKinnon, who has missed the past 13 games after sustaining a lower-body injury on Feb. 8, remains out. According to Russell, "[MacKinnon] is close."

Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, still leads the team with 98 points on 39 goals and 59 assists in 45 games. Despite playing in 20 fewer games, the 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound Drouin is three points from the overall scoring lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Josh Currie and Ben Duffy of the P.E.I. Rocket have 101 points apiece.

It's possible MacKinnon, Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked skater on the midterm report, could return Wednesday on the road against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. MacKinnon has 28 goals, 69 points and a plus-37 rating in 41 games this season for the Mooseheads (54-6-4).

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Tambellini honored by BCHL

The coaches of the British Columbia Hockey League recently revealed their league all-star team selections for the 2012-13 season.

Among those listed were two skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- forward Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles was named a Second-Team All-Star, and defenseman Dane Birks of the Merritt Centennials was named to the league's All-Rookie Team.

Tambellini, son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, was listed as a 'B' prospect at the start of the season for the Vernon Vipers before his trade to Surrey on Jan. 10. Tambellini, who is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2013-14 season, had 36 goals and 65 points in 52 games for Vernon and Surrey. In 16 games with Surrey, he's totaled 14 goals and 26 points.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 5:39 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils captain Salvador back in lineup vs. Jets

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils will have their captain back in the lineup against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at Prudential Center.

Defenseman Bryce Salvador, who missed the team's game on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes with an upper body injury, will replace Mark Fayne.


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Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets' Pavelec valued time as Hedberg's teammate

NEWARK, N.J. -- Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec considers himself lucky to have been an understudy of one of the hardest-working goalies to strap on the pads in the National Hockey League -- Johan Hedberg.

Pavelec and Hedberg were partners for three seasons with the then-Atlanta Thrashers from 2007-08 through 2009-10 before Hedberg signed with the New Jersey Devils in July 2010.

The former teammates will be opposite each other on Sunday when the Devils play host to the Jets at Prudential Center.


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Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 10:28 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils go back to Hedberg on Sunday against Jets

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer confirmed on Saturday night that goalie Johan Hedberg would start between the pipes when his team faces the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at Prudential Center.

Hedberg was yanked from Saturday's match against the Carolina Hurricanes for the second time in three starts after yielding five goals on 18 shots. Rookie Jeff Frazee replaced Hedberg to open the third period and made three saves on three shots in a 6-3 loss.

"When you look at our schedule we've got back-to-back [games]. It made no sense to keep Heddy in there," DeBoer told reporters after the loss. "He's got to play again [Sunday]. It's our fifth game this week, so it was a decision more about energy than anything."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 7:01 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Tallinder late scratch for Devils against Sabres

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder was announced as a late scratch for Thursday's game against the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center.

The Devils said Tallinder has a lower-body injury. He will be replaced by Mark Fayne.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 1:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sabres' Enroth receives rare start against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston will go with backup goalie Jhonas Enroth between the pipes on Thursday when his team battles the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Enroth, who will be making his fourth appearance of the season and first start since Feb. 5 at the Ottawa Senators, will be seeking his first victory of the season. Ryan Miller started the previous 14 games (6-7-1) for Buffalo.

"We are playing things off of Ryan and how he was doing and felt this was a good opportunity to get Jhonas in there," Rolston said after his team's morning skate. "Jhonas has done a good job since I've been here working with Jim Corsi [goalie coach]. Really, for him, practices are his games, and we've had limited practice times, but in those situations he's certainly done a good job for us and merits an opportunity."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 11:47 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils looking to avoid longest skid in 27 years

NEWARK, N.J. -- One day after New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello did a little roster tinkering, his team was back on the ice making preparations for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday at Prudential Center.

The Devils play host to the Sabres (MSG-B, MSG PLUS) at 7 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, Lamoriello assigned goalie Keith Kinkaid and forward Cam Janssen to Albany of the American Hockey League and recalled goalie Jeff Frazee. The GM then claimed forward Tom Kostopoulos off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins and said the 6-foot, 197-pound right wing would be in the lineup against the Sabres.

Lamoriello then informed the media that goalie Martin Brodeur likely would miss the next three games with back soreness.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon, Drouin ruled out for Halifax

The Halifax Mooseheads will be without top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon on Wednesday when they face the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at K.C. Irving Regional Centre in Bathhurst, New Brunswick.

Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell confirmed to NHL.com via e-mail that both forwards have been ruled out for the game. The Mooseheads are riding a 10-game winning streak.

There was a slight chance MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, would return to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8. The 6-foot, 182-pound center has missed the past 10 games with a lower-body injury.
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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 10:21 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils recall Frazee, send Kinkaid, Janssen to AHL

The New Jersey Devils on Wednesday assigned goalie Keith Kinkaid and right wing Cam Janssen to the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League and recalled goalie Jeff Frazee.

Both Janssen and Kinkaid saw action in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Prudential Center.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 11:44 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning recall Desjardins, seek road win

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to get their first road victory outside the Southeast Division on Tuesday when they visit the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

The Lightning, losers of five straight and six of their past seven, lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday at Consol Energy Center. Tampa Bay's 3-8-0 mark away from Tampa Bay Times Forum includes a pair of victories against the Carolina Hurricanes and one against the Florida Panthers.

"At some point playing well is probably not enough. We need to get results and we need to get them quick," Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier told the Tampa Tribune following Monday's loss. "We are doing a lot of good things, we are just not getting points. It's disappointing, but we have to find a way to push harder."

The Lightning lost goalie Mathieu Garon on Monday to a lower-body injury. Garon left the game early in the second period after stopping 12 of 13 shots. Anders Lindback took the loss in relief, making 16 saves in his first appearance since Feb. 24.

With Garon hurting, the Lightning recalled goalie Cedrick Desjardins from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse on Tuesday morning. He'll likely serve as Lindback's backup against the Devils.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 3:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Euro goalie Saros gaining attention

Goalie Juuse Saros is quietly gaining momentum and opening plenty of eyes with HPK Jr. in the Finnish junior league this season.

At the start of the season, NHL Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, had the 5-10.25, 178-pound keeper listed as a "C Watch" player, indicating he could very well be drafted in the fourth round at the 2013 NHL Draft in June.

On Feb. 15, Stubb upgraded his ranking to an "A Watch," meaning Saros has suddenly become a potential first-round candidate.

"He is the main reason why his HPK team is in the clear lead in the Finnish junior league," Stubb told NHL.com. "He is playing a great, great season. He has extremely quick reactions, and reads the game very well.

"He's the No. 1 goalie prospect in Europe. He was good last year but has been sensational this season."

In 39 games this season, Saros has a 1.85 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. He's represented Finland at the Under-18 level nine times and could very well serve as backup on HPK's senior team next season as an 18-year-old.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 11:19 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bishop to start Monday afternoon for Senators

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ottawa Senators backup goalie Ben Bishop will make his third start of the season on Monday afternoon against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (1 p.m. ET, SNET-E, MSG).

Starting goalie Craig Anderson, who is 7-4-2 with a 1.61 goals-against average and .948 save percentage, will earn some rest after making three starts in five days but will likely return between the pipes on Tuesday at Scotiabank Place to face the New York Islanders.

Bishop (0-2-0, 3.03 GAA, .910 save percentage) is not only making his first start since a 36-save performance in a 1-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in Ottawa on Feb. 9, but seeking his first win since March 16, 2012.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.16.2013 / 3:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

In MacKinnon's absence, Drouin soars

Left wing Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads has taken his offensive game to new heights this season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The No. 3 player on NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American skaters, Drouin is on an 18-game point scoring streak for the Mooseheads. During that stretch, he's accounted for 18 goals and 37 points.

The 5-foot-10.75, 185-pounder leads Halifax with 33 goals, 44 assists and 77 points in 37 games -- a 2.08 points-per-game average. In 70 career games with the Mooseheads, he's struck for 40 goals and 106 points.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 6:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Couturier back in Flyers lineup vs. Devils

Sean Couturier
Center - PHI
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 5
SOG: 20 | +/-: -3
NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier, sidelined the past two games with a stomach virus, will be in the lineup on Friday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Couturier, who missed the opening two games of Philadelphia's current six-game road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, has two goals and five points in 12 games. He had 13 goals and 27 points in 77 games for the Flyers as a rookie last season.

Couturier will likely center Maxime Talbot and Zac Rinaldo on the fourth line to begin the game. In seven career games against New Jersey, Couturier has one goal, three points and a plus-5 rating.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 12:55 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Couturier skates, could return to Flyers' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier, sidelined the past two games with a stomach virus, skated with his team for a second straight day Friday at Prudential Center and is expected to return to the lineup against the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET).

Couturier, who missed the opening two games of Philadelphia's current six-game road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, has two goals and five points in 12 games. He had 13 goals and 27 points in 77 games for the Flyers as a rookie last season.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ponikarovsky happy to be back in familiar place

NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky returned to the ice for the New Jersey Devils during Friday's morning skate at Prudential Center and will be in the lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET).

Ponikarovsky, acquired by the Devils on Wednesday in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a pair of draft picks -- a 2013 seventh-round pick and a 2014 fourth-round selection -- arrived in New Jersey on Thursday. He'll wear No. 12 and begin the game skating on the top line, with center Travis Zajac and right wing