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Features

Unmasked: Situation shows need for third goalie

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

It shouldn't have taken craziness in the Florida Panthers crease on Tuesday to remind teams of the importance of always having three NHL-capable goaltenders in their organization.

OK, it's rare to need three in the same game, which happened when Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya were injured against the Toronto Maple Leafs, setting off a wild scramble that saw each of them play while injured and 41-year-old goalie coach Robb Tallas gear up.

It's also becoming increasingly rare for a team to make it through an entire NHL season without using a third goaltender.

Six teams this season have played only two goalies, and that number will drop when Dan Ellis, who was called up by the Panthers on Wednesday, starts Thursday against the Dallas Stars. The Stars have used four goalies this season, one of six teams to do so. It will become seven teams when the New York Islanders use Michal Neuvirth.

So far this season, 87 goalies have appeared in at least one NHL game. Last season, 97 goalies got into a game, and three teams (the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks) got through the season playing two.

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Hitchcock changed Blues into Stanley Cup contender

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- From the moment Ken Hitchcock was named St. Louis Blues coach in 2011, the idea was for him to help drive them back to respectability.

With the Blues set to play the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, SN360), it was another day of preparation Wednesday for what they have been striving for: to be among, if not the best in the League with hopes of an extended run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Hitchcock, who is 697-423-95 with 88 ties in 18 seasons, hopes people don't judge the Blues and their body of work simply on playoff success.

The work has been arduous at times, and there certainly have been challenges, but the rewards of having them on the cusp of success has been rewarding.

"I don't think you can guarantee any success in the postseason; every team tries for six weeks," Hitchcock said. "I think your body of work, I'm like everybody else living in St. Louis; we want to have more success in the postseason than we've ever had, unlike everybody else. But your body of work tells you everything about the coaching staff."

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All-around play of Penguins' Letang calls for Norris

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

With three-quarters of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

Kris Letang has developed a reputation for being an offensive defenseman, a player who can contribute on the score sheet from his position on the blue line. And lately, when it comes to awarding the distinction of best defenseman in the NHL, offense has been a major component of the conversation.

The past five Norris Trophy winners have finished either first or second among defensemen in scoring, three times leading defensemen in points (Duncan Keith in 2013-14, P.K. Subban in 2012-13, and Erik Karlsson in 2011-12). It's created some conversation about what criteria is and is not factoring into the voting.

Letang leads defensemen in scoring this season, but it's what he's added to his game at the other end of the ice, and how well-rounded it has become that makes him the Norris favorite at this point.

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Crouse gained confidence with complete effort at WJC

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Prior to the start of selection camp for the Canadian National Junior Team in December, director of player personnel Ryan Jankowski informed forward Lawson Crouse that doing the three things he does best would better serve his chances of earning a roster spot for the World Junior Championship.

The checklist included being first on the forecheck, finishing his checks and putting "the odd puck in the net in the blue paint." Nothing new to Crouse, since he considers himself an energy guy capable of doing the little things necessary to succeed. He also has one heck of a shot.

While no one would mistake Crouse for fellow 2015 NHL Draft-eligible center Connor McDavid, he did exactly what he was told to do and as a result played a vital fourth-line role in a gold medal-winning performance.

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Coyotes to honor Roenick, don throwback jerseys

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Coming from the Chicago Blackhawks, an Original Six franchise with history and tradition, to the Arizona desert and a team in its inaugural season was a big change in itself for Jeremy Roenick 19 years ago.

But when he was introduced at a press conference as a new Phoenix Coyote in August 1996, Roenick had another surprise waiting: the color-splashed, kachina-inspired sweater he slipped into in front of the cameras.

But there was one more surprise: He loved the "RoboCoyote" right away.

"I know that jersey gets a lot of grief, but I liked it. I liked it from the first time I saw it," Roenick said. "Not everyone liked them and it was about 50-50 in the dressing room. There was a lot of, 'I can't believe we have to wear this thing.' I don't think (Coyotes captain) Keith Tkachuk liked them very much, but he doesn't like anything, so what's new?

"But to me, they were creative and unique and they were colorful. They stood out."

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Islanders' Martin suspended one game for kneeing

Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 8:06 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- New York Islanders forward Matt Martin has been suspended for one game, without pay, for kneeing Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley during NHL Game No. 948 in Dallas on Tuesday, March 3, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 1:48 of the first period. Martin was assessed a major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct.

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ESPN, Rogers, TVA to broadcast 2016 World Cup

Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 2:04 PM / 2016 World Cup of Hockey

NHL.com

The World Cup of Hockey is returning in 2016 and so is ESPN as a broadcast partner with the NHL.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association President Don Fehr jointly announced Wednesday that ESPN has been awarded exclusive media rights in the United States to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will take place Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Bettman and Fehr also announced Rogers and TVA have been awarded the exclusive English and French media rights, respectively, in Canada.

"We are confident that all three of these broadcasters will provide the type of coverage our fans expect and deserve for an event of this magnitude," Commissioner Bettman said. "We are excited and looking forward to a spectacular World Cup."

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Values spike on deadline day

Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 12:44 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

The NHL Trade Deadline is in the books, and again defensemen were the currency of the land. That seems to be the case more times than not as general managers look to strengthen their blue lines for the stretch run and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The final day of trading, which wrapped Monday afternoon, saw 14 defensemen change zip codes. That number doesn't factor in the likes of Keith Yandle, Andrej Sekera, and Kimmo Timonen, who moved in the days prior to the deadline.

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Islanders forward Martin faces Player Safety hearing

Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 12:00 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

New York Islanders forward Matt Martin will have a hearing Wednesday for kneeing Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley during a game at American Airlines Center on Tuesday.

Daley was hit by Martin at 1:48 of the first period in Dallas' 3-2 overtime win. Martin received a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct.

Daley sustained a lower-body injury on the play and did not return to the game.

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U.S. women's star Knight proud to shoot 'Like A Girl'

Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 11:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Hilary Knight was one of an estimated 114 million-plus people in America watching Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1. And like many of those people, Knight was tuned in when Always aired its #LikeAGirl ad, part of its campaign to help instill confidence in young girls and tear down stereotypes.

For Knight, joining in was a logical next step.

"It was sort of a no-brainer to get involved with the campaign," Knight told NHL.com. "When I was growing up, 'play like a girl' or 'you shoot like a girl,' whatever it is, sort of had a negative connotation to it.

"After seeing the Super Bowl for the first Always 'Like A Girl' campaign, it really changed my view on the 'like a girl' phrase, and the tagline that they're using now."

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Quote of the Day

It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted. You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level.

— Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who defeated the Jets on Wednesday to improve to 6-0-1 since making his first NHL start on Feb. 18