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Posted On Tuesday, 11.18.2014 / 12:39 PM

By John Kreiser - Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- One night after three of his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates had a homecoming, it’s goaltender Evgeni Nabokov’s turn Tuesday.

Defenseman Anton Stralman and forwards Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle got applause and a video tribute Monday in their first game back at Madison Square Garden. Callahan was the New York Rangers’ captain until being traded to the Lightning in March; Stralman and Boyle were part of the team that made the Stanley Cup Final last spring.

Nabokov figures to get a warm welcome Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum, where he was the New York Islanders’ starting goaltender for the past three seasons before signing with the Lightning during the summer. He’s expected to be in goal when the Lightning go for their third straight win and second against the Islanders in a four-day span.

“The old guard is coming in to protect his turf,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said with a laugh Tuesday morning when asked if Nabokov would play against his former team.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.18.2014 / 11:11 AM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

Blackhawks forward Richards a guest on NHL Live

NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will talk to veteran forward Brad Richards, who recently played in his 1,000th NHL game. The Chicago Blackhawks center will call into the show at 5:15 p.m.

It's an 11-game Tuesday including the Calgary Flames hosting the Anaheim Ducks. Sportsnet's Roger Millions will join us via the Arena Cam at Scotiabank Saddledome to preview this Western Conference matchup.

Over in the Eastern Conference, division leaders match up as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Montreal Canadiens. We'll welcome in Marc Denis of RDS via the Arena Cam at Bell Centre to get the scoop on these surging clubs.

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 9:49 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Stars great Modano grateful for Gainey's influence

TORONTO -- As the closing act of the Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony, Mike Modano had the benefit of experiencing the range of emotions encountered by the five inductees who went before him.

So, he knew he might be a bit emotional during his speech. Fortunately referee Bill McCreary, who gave his speech right before Modano, became a bit teary-eyed during his speech, allowing Modano to not be the first to have trouble with his emotions.

"Boy, wow," Modano said seconds after Brett Hull presented him with his Hall of Fame plaque. "Thanks Billy for choking up a little, so I don't look like the only one here crying."

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 9:31 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

McCreary honored, humbled to enter Hall of Fame

TORONTO -- During his almost three decades as a NHL official, Bill McCreary always maintained order and kept his cool in the most difficult situations.

On Monday, his ability to handle any scenario on the ice was honored when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was on that day that he had the most trouble dealing with the emotions of the day.

In thanking various members of his family, McCreary broke down, near tears several times, especially in thanking his mother for the contributions she made in shaping his career, which began with the local refereeing organization in his hometown of Guelph.

"When I was a young boy growing up, my dream was no different from that of anyone else, I wanted to play in the NHL," McCreary said.

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 9:24 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Hasek loved playing against the game's best

TORONTO -- Pat LaFontaine witnessed some of Dominik Hasek's most amazing saves as teammates with the Buffalo Sabres, and he helped welcome "The Dominator" to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

LaFontaine said that Hasek made saves he had never seen before that day and he will never see again. He said "The Dominator" is a perfect nickname for Hasek, because he could truly dominate a game like few individual players could. Everyone on the Sabres roster played with a higher level of confidence when they knew Hasek was behind them.

LaFontaine said the city of Buffalo is a great sports city and the people there adore their heroes. He said Hasek is an iconic figure there and for good reason.

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 8:44 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Forsberg credits brother for competitive spirit

TORONTO -- Peter Forsberg loves the game of hockey so much, it was hard to put an exclamation point to his career by accepting his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

During his speech, Forsberg talked about the wear and tear put on his body by the style of hockey he favored, a style that fellow Swede Mats Sundin described as having the heart of a warrior and the hands of Wayne Gretzky. He said he has undergone 21 surgeries since he started playing hockey.

"I'd take 21 more surgeries to keep on playing," Forsberg said. "I love the game so much."

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 8:38 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Lamoriello says Burns made players accountable

TORONTO -- New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello helped Pat Burns win the Stanley Cup, and he helped usher him posthumously into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Lamoriello said Burns fought cancer like no one he had ever met, and showed the character that made him a great policeman and later a great coach. The Devils GM said Burns had a knack for making players accountable, and to do so there had to be some fear but ultimately it would lead to respect.

When Lamoriello interviewed Burns for the Devils coaching job, he asked him what he still wanted to accomplish, and Burns said simply to win the Stanley Cup. Lamoriello said they talked about a couple things he felt Burns needed to change, and "he wanted to try to go down that road."

"That's how the relationship started and we never looked back," Lamoriello said.

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 8:32 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Former Red Wings goalie Osgood hopes to be inducted

TORONTO -- When it comes to debating who might be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the future, Chris Osgood's name usually comes up.

And the argument could be made Osgood had the numbers in his 17-year NHL career to be considered for induction.

The former goalie had his best years with the Detroit Red Wings; Osgood won two Stanley Cups, became the 10th goalie to win 400 games, is 10th all-time with 401 victories, has the seventh best goals-against average of all-time (2.49), led the NHL in GAA in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2007-08 and led the NHL in wins in 1995-96 (39).

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 8:26 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

LaFontaine happy to see ex-teammate Hasek inducted

TORONTO -- There's nothing like going up against a future Hall of Fame goaltender every day to sharpen the skills of a goal-scorer.

Pat LaFontaine knows all about that.

LaFontaine, who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003, was a teammate of Dominik Hasek with the Buffalo Sabres. Hasek was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday.

"I've never seen a goalie make the saves that he made," LaFontaine said. "The ways that he would turn his body into a pretzel and somehow twist and drop his stick to makes the saves; I don't know if we'll ever see them again. He is simply one of the greatest goalies to ever play."

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 8:13 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial / - 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Blake: 'Hard work has its rewards'

TORONTO -- Rob Blake couldn't thank enough the people that helped him along his journey to his Hockey Hall of Fame induction Monday.

His family took center stage in the tale.

He talked about the influence his parents had on him and the values he learned living on a farm in nearby Simcoe, Ontario.

He told a story about how on Sundays after church his family would sometimes take a ride by the crops on the farm and how he could see the pride in the eyes of his mom and dad. He did not understand it at the time, but as he got older it made much more sense to him. In fact, he says he realized that when he would sit on the bench before a game, looking over the empty ice and the silent arena, he was performing the same ritual as his father with the crops on the farm.

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It's tough to realize, maybe, but it's something I'm happy and proud [of]. I've been fortunate to play with good teams too.

— Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after notching his 300th career win
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