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Features

Penguins' Malkin earns Hart vote at halfway point

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored a goal Wednesday against the Boston Bruins that offered a window into how he feels about himself and his game this season.

He had awareness. Malkin quickly broke out from below the dots in the defensive zone as soon as he instinctively felt Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff had the puck and could get it to him.

He generated speed. Malkin blew past Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton in the neutral zone to create room for himself in the attacking zone, above the left circle.

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Six biggest surprises from season's first half

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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

At the beginning of each season NHL fans will make predictions on what the ensuing season will look like, from where their favorite team will finish in the standings to who will lead the League in scoring to which team will win the Stanley Cup.

Some predictions are easy to make; saying the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks would be among the NHL's top teams really isn't much of a stretch.

But some things have happened during the first half of the 2014-15 season that no one could have seen coming.

Here are six of the biggest surprises of the first half:

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Three Blue Jackets highlight 2015 All-Star selections

Saturday, 01.10.2015 / 6:00 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NHL.com

Forwards Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will represent the host Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

The three Blue Jackets were among 36 players named by the League on Saturday. Six rookies also were chosen to participate in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

The All-Star Game will be played Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Teams will be selected at the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Jan. 23 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). The two captains who will pick the teams will be announced next week.

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Bold jersey designs on tap for 2015 NHL All-Star Game

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

A bold, fresh jersey design is the perfect complement to the speed and agility of those selected to play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Reebok believes it has accomplished just that with its state-of-the-art look and modern appeal in the uniforms for the participants at this year's event.

"Fans get to see their favorite players in their typical uniforms every game during the season," said Reebok uniform designer Dave Conetta. "But we wanted to do something with this uniform that made the idea of a hero coming alive."

Fans immediately will notice the green trim on each of the lightweight jerseys, regardless of whether they are the "home" blacks or "away" whites. The "elite green" color, while new to fans as a primary color, actually is in the necklines of all authentic NHL jerseys.

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Islanders' Okposo, Capuano reflect on J.P. Parise

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 2:04 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Former New York Islanders forward J.P. Parise, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday, is certainly on the minds and hearts of current players and coaches of the team.

Coach Jack Capuano and a few players discussed Parise's legacy following the Islanders optional skate Friday at Prudential Center, where they will play the New Jersey Devils.

Forward Kyle Okposo, who played for J.P. Parise at Shattuck-St. Mary's school in Minnesota in 2004-05, will always remember his smile and guidance.

"J.P. was a good man; I first met him when I went to Shattuck and I was 14," Okposo said. "He was a coach of mine and I developed a relationship with him over time in those years. He was someone I turned to when I needed some help, guidance or advice, and he's going to be missed."

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Predators' Laviolette, Kings' Sutter named head coaches for 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 1:23 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators and Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings will serve as head coaches for the 2015 Honda NHL® All-Star Game in Columbus, the National Hockey League announced today.

Under the All-Star selection process, the head coach of the team with the highest points percentage (points earned divided by total possible points) in the NHL through games of Saturday, Jan. 10 -- the halfway point of the regular season -- earns the right to lead one of the All-Star teams.

Laviolette's Predators have recorded a League-leading points percentage of .725 (27-9-4) and are assured of retaining the top spot through Saturday's games. Joining Laviolette will be members of his Nashville coaching staff.

As head coach of the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, Sutter will direct the other All-Star Team and be accompanied by members of his Los Angeles coaching staff.

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Flames prospect Poirier having all-star season in AHL

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 12:16 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

As far as forward Emile Poirier was concerned, the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center in New Jersey was just a day where he may or may not have had a chance to become a draft pick of a NHL team.

Though he'd had a successful major junior career, and NHL Central Scouting had him consistently rising in their top-40 projections that year, Poirier simply didn't expect it.

"I was just thinking I was going there with all my family and my friends and it was just going to be a good weekend to enjoy," he said. "And then I end up going that high and so I was really happy; it ended up a good weekend."

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NHL.com's Midseason Fantasy Hockey Awards

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

With the first half of the 2014-15 season now in our rearview mirror, it's time for our team of NHL.com Fantasy Hockey insiders to reflect on the performers and storylines that have defined the fantasy landscape.

Our regular fantasy contributors -- Matt Cubeta (@NHLQubes), Pete Jensen (@NHLJensen), Matt Sitkoff (@MSitkoffNHL), Brian Metzer (@Brian_Metzer), Evan Sporer (@ev_sporer), Sebastien Deschambault, David Satriano (@davidsatriano), Eric Goodman (@ericgoodman4) and Mike Battaglino -- have cast their votes, outlining the best fantasy players at each position based on eligibility and standard-league categories in Yahoo leagues.

These picks have been made based on the players' performances during the first half of the 2014-15 NHL season and not with further production in mind.

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Byfuglien as D-man helps Jets overcome injuries

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 10:00 AM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The injuries that threatened to spoil the Winnipeg Jets' 2014-15 season have instead brought a few revelations, lessons and wins along the way.

"You always get better in your most adverse times," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said.

The Jets have prospered in the six-week span when defensemen Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome, Toby Enstrom, Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba each sustained a long-term injury.

Enstrom, the first Winnipeg defenseman to miss significant time, is not expected to return until late January. Since he missed his first game because of a lower-body injury Nov. 25, the Jets are 10-5-4, a mark that was even more impressive before the recent 1-4-0 slide the Jets are on after a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

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Super 16: Panthers' Ekblad having season for the ages

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Florida Panthers have been amassing young talent for several years, with a rather random Southeast Division title mixed in among four forgettable seasons.

Their misfortune in 2013-14 led to the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, and it might finally be time to say the Panthers are done picking high in the draft because of Aaron Ekblad. Not only has Ekblad held his own as an 18-year-old defenseman in the NHL, he's thrived and been a key reason why Florida has shrugged aside some early-season offensive woes and looks primed for a run at a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

Ekblad could be in the midst of a historic season for a defenseman of his age. Very few defensemen stick in the NHL at 18, and even fewer play most of their rookie season before celebrating a 19th birthday.

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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday