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Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 7:38 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Team Foligno sweeps Fastest Skater competition

COLUMBUS -- The trade made at the 2015 All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings had an impact on All-Star Weekend right from the start.

The first event of the 2015 Honda All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday was the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, and the first heat pitted Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs against Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars.

A night earlier, team captains Nick Foligno and Jonathan Toews orchestrated a trade that sent Kessel to Team Foligno in exchange for Seguin.

The trade was put to the test right off the bat, and Kessel made his captain look good.

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Posted On Friday, 01.23.2015 / 5:12 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Canucks' Vrbata credits Sedins for first All-Star Game

COLUMBUS -- When Radim Vrbata signed with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent last summer, the hope was that he would be the perfect fit to play with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

It's safe to say Vrbata has been exactly that, so much so that he is attending the first All-Star weekend of his NHL career.

And the Sedins aren't.

"That's what I said when I was selected, that I just feel I'm the beneficiary of how that line works and how everything went for us as a line," Vrbata said during NHL Media Day presented by DraftKings on Friday. "They could as easily be here instead of me, and nobody would say a word. I don't think it's just my game, it's the whole thing. They deserve lots of credit."

That may be true, but Vrbata's addition in Vancouver has put an end to what was a bit of a revolving door on the right side of the Sedin twins during the previous two seasons.

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Posted On Friday, 01.23.2015 / 1:59 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Columbus' Johansen voted into Breakaway Challenge

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen was the winner in fan balloting for one of the spots in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge, which will take place Saturday during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

And he's nervous about it.

"It's actually really hard," Johansen said Friday. "Everybody's watching you trying moves you've never really tried before. To execute them is pretty tough. So when you see guys doing these moves and they pull them off, it's impressive."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.04.2014 / 5:55 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Senators

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will be getting more than Daniel Alfredsson back in uniform Thursday.

Defenseman Marc Methot will make his season debut against the New York Islanders at Canadian Tire Centre. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch (muscle strain) was placed on injured reserve.

Methot has missed the entire season with a leg injury.

Senators coach Paul MacLean said forward Bobby Ryan, who has missed the past two games with a broken finger, could return to the lineup, but the onus will be on Ryan to give an honest assessment of his ability to be effective.

"If he can't be the player Bobby Ryan is then he shouldn't be out there," MacLean said. "If he says he's ready to play he has to be able to shoot the puck to the back of the net."

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Posted On Monday, 12.01.2014 / 6:38 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Power forward Crouse brings rough edge for Canada

MONTREAL – Hockey Canada wants older players at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

They obviously made an exception for center Connor McDavid, but they also made one for forward Lawson Crouse, who plays for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Crouse and McDavid are the only two players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft who were invited Monday to take part in the Canada National Junior Team selection camp, slated to start Dec. 11 in Toronto.

McDavid is a returning player and expected to be a top-two pick in the next draft, so his invitation was a formality. But the inclusion of Crouse on the list stood out, because his name was the only other one besides McDavid’s without an NHL affiliated team next to it.

Hockey Canada director of player personnel Ryan Jankowski said a big reason Crouse is on the list is because he is built like a player considerably older than 17. That’s what set Crouse apart from some of the other draft-eligible players vying for a spot at the camp.

“Mitch Marner, Nick Merkley, Dylan Strome are all great players, they’re all very talented,” Jankowski said. “Lawson Crouse is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. We just think he has the ability to take the wear and tear of a tournament such as this. That’s not to discount the other guys, it’s just that Lawson is big, strong, plays a very straight forward game, he’s exceptional on the penalty kill and he’s got 12 goals now in the Ontario Hockey League, which for a big man at 17 is really good as well.

“Other guys are great players and I hope they don’t feel slighted, they’re going to get their opportunity, but in this case because of his size and his strength, and it being a big man tournament, we felt Lawson was a real credible guy for us.”

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Posted On Friday, 09.26.2014 / 2:02 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - NHL Training Camps blog

Preseason debut extra special for Canadiens' Bozon

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Playing your first NHL preseason game is a special milestone for any hockey player. It will be extra special for Tim Bozon.

Bozon will be in the Montreal Canadiens lineup Friday when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, five months after a bout with a rare form of meningitis put his life at risk.

"With what happened five months ago, I'm really excited," Bozon said. "It's an honor, I'm proud. I'm thinking of all my family right now that helped me to realize my dream to play one game in a Habs jersey. So I'm really excited for tonight's game."

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Posted On Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:43 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - NHL Training Camps blog

Parenteau gets chance to shine with Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- When Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau looked at his linemates during the first on-ice day of his first training camp with his hometown Montreal Canadiens, he had a slight case of déjà vu.

Parenteau was lined up alongside Montreal's top offensive pairing, with David Desharnais at center and Max Pacioretty on left wing, during the Canadiens' scrimmage Friday.

Desharnais and Pacioretty have been linemates essentially their entire professional careers; they played together with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League in 2010-11 and have stayed together off and on ever since.

It's not the first time in Parenteau's career that he's been asked to try and complement a well-established pairing.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 5:31 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - NHL Training Camps blog

Canadiens' Galchenyuk happy to get trial at center

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Alex Galchenyuk admits he is happy to hear his general manager say he will start Montreal Canadiens training camp playing his natural center position, something he is looking forward to trying at the NHL level.

But Galchenyuk is just as eager, if not more so, to justify Marc Bergevin's decision to take him with the No. 3 pick at the 2012 NHL Draft, and he hopes to do that no matter what position he plays this season.

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Posted On Friday, 08.08.2014 / 6:51 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

McDavid accomplishes goals at Canada's junior camp

MONTREAL -- Connor McDavid had humble goals for the Canadian national junior team's summer development camp that wrapped up Friday.

"Right now," McDavid said Sunday after the first practice of camp, "I'm just worried about making this team and leaving a good impression on these coaches."

Mission accomplished.

And then some.

McDavid scored a highlight-reel goal and was a threat just about every time he stepped on the ice in a 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday. McDavid, a center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, was the youngest player at Canada's camp and the only one who has not been drafted by an NHL team. That will change next June, when McDavid is likely to be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to be held in Sunrise, Fla.

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Posted On Friday, 08.08.2014 / 5:57 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Lack of discipline hurts Canada in loss to Czechs

MONTREAL -- Canada's biggest weakness at the IIHF World Junior Championship has generally been a lack of discipline, or at least an inability to adjust to the standards of international officials.

Coach Benoit Groulx has been clear throughout Canada's summer development camp this week that no one will make the team or get cut in August, but the final scrimmage of the camp against the Czech Republic on Friday might have hurt the chances of some players because of their inability to maintain discipline.

With the Czechs leading 5-2 in the third period, Canada took 11 minor penalties, one major penalty and four misconducts during the final 13:40 of the game in its only loss of the four-game exhibition tournament that also included Russia.

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Quote of the Day

I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there.

— Likely No. 1 pick Connor McDavid after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday