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Posted On Saturday, 11.15.2014 / 5:09 PM

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

At the Rink: Avalanche at Devils

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

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

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

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

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Posted On Friday, 11.14.2014 / 12:29 PM

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

Local fixture Pagni to be remembered in Connecticut

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

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

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

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Posted On Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 5:40 PM

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

Otters general manager copes with losing McDavid

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

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

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

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

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Posted On Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 1:38 PM

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

At the Rink: Avalanche at Rangers

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

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

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

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

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 6:42 PM

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

Injury to McDavid won't affect high draft ranking

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

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

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

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

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.11.2014 / 10:56 PM

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

Erie's McDavid out indefinitely with hand injury

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, a potential top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, sustained hand injury midway through the second period of a game against the Mississauga Steelheads on Tuesday at Erie Insurance Arena, the Otters said.

"He will visit a hand specialist Wednesday for further examination. McDavid is ruled out indefinitely," the Otters said in a statement.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.11.2014 / 5:15 PM

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

At the Rink: Wild at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Corey Schneider will start his 16th straight game and coach Peter DeBoer had several lineup changes to report prior to the opening faceoff against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday at Prudential Center.

Forward Martin Havlat, who was removed from injured reserve earlier in the day, will resume his normal role alongside center Patrik Elias and right wing Michael Ryder.

Defenseman Bryce Salvador is out after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Monday. He will be replaced in the lineup by Seth Helgeson, who makes his NHL debut and will wear No. 25.

Schneider, who signed a seven-year contract extension worth a reported $42 million in July, has been pulled on four occasions this season, including twice in the past three games. He is 6-6-2 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .901 save percentage this season. He made 19 saves in the loss to the Bruins.

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Posted On Monday, 11.10.2014 / 9:00 AM

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

Terriers' Eichel passes first test against Eagles

The Battle For Commonwealth Avenue was everything Boston University freshman Jack Eichel expected.

An announced sellout of 7,884 fans packed Conte Forum on the campus on Boston College on Friday for the nationally televised game between two of the biggest hockey rivals in the nation. In the end, Boston University overcame three one-goal deficits to rally to a 5-3 victory.

Eichel, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, scored once, generated five of BU's 26 shots and finished with a plus-3 rating. His goal 12:15 into the third period pulled Boston University into a 3-3 tie. On the game-tying goal, Eichel won a draw in the offensive zone back to fellow freshman Brandon Fortunato at the point and skated towards the slot. Fortunato fed across to freshman Brandon Hickey, who took a shot that Eichel deftly deflected past Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks). It was Eichel's fifth goal in six games.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 9:49 AM

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

Prospects Eichel, Hanifin set for 'Green Line Rivalry'

Long before freshman center Jack Eichel entered Boston University, he was actually a big fan of Boston College.

Jack Eichel (Noah Buchanan/BU Athletics)

"I wanted to go to BC when I was younger," the native of Chelmsford, Mass., said. "If you were to go into my room, you would've seen BC posters everywhere. But as I got older, it ended up that Boston University was a better fit.

"At the end of the day, I just saw myself more as a Terrier than an Eagle."

Eichel, 18, will look to defend that choice when Boston University pays a visit to Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) in the first game of the season between the Hockey East rivals.

What will make this year's matchup that much more intense, however, is the potential battle the sellout crowd will be in for when Eichel goes head-to-head with Boston College freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin. Eichel and Hanifin, both A-rated skaters on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, are potential top-three picks in the draft.

Eichel was named Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Month for October; he leads the conference with seven points (three goals, four points) in league play.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 1:05 PM

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

CSS reveals top prospects in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic could be well-represented at the 2015 NHL Draft.

Pavel Zacha, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-shot center from Brno, is having a successful first season in North America with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. Some feel Zacha could be the first top-10 pick from the Czech Republic since Jakub Voracek went No. 7 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007; Voracek currently stars for the Philadelphia Flyers.

NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb has identified three exceptional Czech forwards playing at home who could play for their country at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto in January and start gaining popularity in the scouting community.

"There's a good representation of the new talent wave from the Czech Republic," Stubb said.

Here's a look at each player:

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Quote of the Day

The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 NHL All-Star Game on Sunday