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Unmasked: Fleury has improved tactically, mentally

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 9:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Ask Pittsburgh Penguins goaltending coach Mike Bales why Marc-Andre Fleury was one of the NHL's best goalies through the first month of this season and perhaps it's fitting his answer involves baseball, a sport where legends are made in October.

When it comes to Fleury's improvements since Bales arrived in 2013, one the biggest was getting the athletic goaltender to stop swinging for the fences when he struggled.

"He was almost like a home run hitter who struck out three times, so he wants to hit a home run to prove to his teammates that 'I can still hit a home run,'" Bales told "Sometimes those guys get back up there and swing even harder and it just compounds the situation."

Bure built experience in Russia before starring in NHL

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Vassili Ossipov - Staff Writer

It didn't take long after Pavel Bure's NHL debut for it to become clear he was a special talent, not only because of his extremely high hockey IQ, explosiveness and speed, but because of the experience he already had.

Bure debuted with the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 5, 1991, coming to North America after winning two World Junior Championship gold medals and one World Championship with the Soviet national team. Bure also played three seasons with the juggernaut Red Army, which dominated Soviet club hockey by recruiting all the best talent in the country. In his last season with the Red Army, at age 19, Bure scored 35 goals in 44 games.

"I was named the best forward at the WJC tournament in 1989," Bure said. "I thought to myself that if I could be successful against NHL players at this level, I would do well playing in the NHL."

Sharks forward Marleau on verge of 1,000 points

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Patrick Marleau has spent much of his 18-season career with the San Jose Sharks rewriting their record book.

Marleau has played more games (1,341), scored more goals (459), scored more game-winning goals (88) and amassed more points (996) for the Sharks than any player.

Now Marleau is closing in on another milestone: He needs four points to become the first player with 1,000 for the Sharks.

"As a kid, you grow up, you want to be one of those players," Marleau said. "You dream about doing things like that. So it's nice to be able to say that you're one of those guys."

By the Numbers: OT switch delivers scoring boost

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - Correspondent

One of the most exciting rule changes this season has been the transition from 4-on-4 overtime to 3-on-3. Not only have there been some dazzling displays of skill, but the majority of games have been decided before reaching the shootout portion of the tiebreaking process.

Though few knew exactly what to expect with the change, there was a general belief that scoring would rise and more games would be decided in the overtime period. The rate at which each has occurred is likely shocking to even the most ardent supporters of the switch.

Graham McPhee looking to follow father's footsteps

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Every Thursday, will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Graham McPhee is hoping legendary collegiate coach Jerry York can do for him what he did for his father more than three decades ago.

George McPhee, who played seven seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils before beginning a successful managerial career, won the 1982 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player at Bowling Green State University under York.

"It was a great life experience to be able to play for Jerry York because he had his priorities in the right order for a young person in that family was first, education was second and then hockey," McPhee told

Housley sharing Hall of Fame know-how with Preds

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Phil Housley will be one of seven individuals be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9.

Since joining the Nashville Predators as an assistant coach in May 2013, Phil Housley has been able to share with others those things that benefited him over 21 NHL seasons.

"I like helping in all aspects of the game, whether it's having input with 5-on-5, or working with the defense," Housley said. "Everyone is eager to learn and the players are willing to listen, and that's rewarding. Even veteran players like Shea Weber and Roman Josi are eager to learn.

Position switch propelled Housley into Hall of Fame

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer takes a look at each of the seven individuals who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9.

Phil Housley always was one of the more-skilled forwards on the ice growing up before his high school coach switched him to defense in a move that led Housley to the NHL and, ultimately, the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Housley garnered instant acclaim in his new position under coach Doug Woog. The teenager was one of the more dynamic offensive defensemen in the Minnesota scholastic hockey ranks in the early 1980s, was named all-state, and started getting attention from NHL scouts as a sophomore.

USA Hockey's Try Hockey For Free Day set for Nov. 7

Wednesday, 11.04.2015 / 1:36 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

For the sixth straight year USA Hockey will host its annual Try Hockey For Free Day, an initiative encouraging children ages 4 through 9 to participate in the sport for the first time.

The first of their two events will be Nov. 7, with the second taking place Feb. 20, 2016, as part of Hockey Weekend Across America.

Try Hockey For Free Day is part of USA Hockey's Come Play Hockey Month in November.

According to USA Hockey, Try Hockey For Free Day has opened the doors to hockey for nearly 100,000 children, including a record 28,446 in 2013-14, and optimism is high it will come close to or even exceed that mark this year.

"The good news is it’s become kind of a staple on the hockey calendar," said Pat Kelleher, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of development. "The one this weekend comes at a time when everybody is excited and enthused about the start of the season. The NHL is in full swing as is the American Hockey League. College hockey and junior hockey are both in full swing. It’s a great time for everyone across the country to join forces to give families that haven’t been exposed to hockey an opportunity to try the sport."

Blues forward Ryan Reaves fined for roughing

Wednesday, 11.04.2015 / 12:17 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORKSt. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves has been fined $3,024.19, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for roughing Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar during NHL Game No. 177 in St. Louis on Tuesday, Nov. 3, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 11:56 of the first period.

The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Fantasy top 60 defensemen: Buy low on Muzzin

Wednesday, 11.04.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, fantasy hockey contributor Brian Metzer provides in-depth defenseman analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer is your go-to guy for fantasy D-men advice all season long.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin took a hit from Colorado Avalanche forward Blake Comeau during a preseason game Sept. 27 that left him with what the team called an upper-body injury.

That injury lingered as the regular season began. While Muzzin has played all 12 of the Kings' games, he wasn't doing so at 100 percent.

He was a minus-6 in his first three games and went seven games without a point. Some of that was due to the Kings losing their first three games. But health also played a role.

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