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Panthers' Jovanovski fined $5,000 for elbowing

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 5:16 PM / NHL Department of Player Safety

NHL.com

NEW YORK - Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski has been fined $5,000 for elbowing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Corey Tropp in NHL Game No. 1216 in Sunrise, Fla., on Saturday, April 12, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 16:26 of the first period. Jovanovski was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for elbowing.

The fine money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Resch marvels at Brodeur's success with Devils

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:16 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Glenn "Chico" Resch has watched with great enthusiasm from the broadcast booth most of the two decades that New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has played with the organization.

Resch, 65, announced Friday that he would be retiring as Devils television analyst on MSG Network after 18 seasons. His final telecast is Sunday afternoon when the Devils play host to the Boston Bruins.

It might also mark Brodeur's last game as a member of the Devils. Brodeur, who made his NHL debut against the Bruins on March 26, 1992, has made public his desire to continue playing beyond this season and if that means with another organization, so be it. He will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

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Why the Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:00 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup this season for the same reasons they won the Stanley Cup last season. They're simply better than every team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There's no mystery with Chicago, no element of surprise. Their opponents know exactly what the Blackhawks want to do, and more often than not they can't defend it. Nobody will be able to defend the Blackhawks successfully enough to beat them four times in a seven-game series this spring.

Chicago is virtually the same team it was last season with 19 returning players. The differences between the 2012-13 version and this season are subtle and offsetting.

The Blackhawks had a dominant penalty kill and a weak power play last season; this season their PK was average, but their power play was in the top-third of the NHL. Chicago allowed more goals per game this season, but because of the bump in power play they scored more and had the puck more often, which is impressive considering they were a dominant possession team last season too.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs clinching scenarios: April 13

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 9:48 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Stanley Cup Playoffs picture became clearer Saturday, but there are still a few things to be decided on the final day of the regular season. The Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to wrap up home-ice advantage for their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, while either the Colorado Avalanche or the St. Louis Blues will win the Central Division and a Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild.

Here are the remaining scenarios:

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

The Lightning would clinch the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage in a first-round matchup against Montreal if they beat the Washington Capitals in any fashion.

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Sunday Long Read: Hershey's a great hockey town

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

HERSHEY, Pa. -- The best way to start a story about the best minor-league hockey town in America is to tell the one about how a modern dynasty began.

At first glance, the phrases "minor league" and "dynasty" aren't supposed to go together. The minor leagues in hockey and baseball are, by design, in a constant state of flux. Roster turnover is required as these teams provide parent organizations with future big leaguers.

Hershey, Pa., didn't become the best minor-league hockey town in America by being like the rest, though. The Hershey Bears win, and they win consistently.

As a result, the Bears, now aligned with the Washington Capitals, built a modern dynasty in the American Hockey League.

So, about the beginning of that ... it almost never happened.

In 2006, the Bears led the Portland Pirates three games to one in the Eastern Conference Final of the Calder Cup Playoffs, but Hershey lost two straight games.

If this was going to be remembered as one of the great playoff series in recent AHL history, it was going to need some quirks, and it had plenty. Because of scheduling conflicts, the best-of-7 did not follow a traditional format, and Hershey had Games 3, 4 and 7 at home, instead of a 2-3-2 or 2-2-1-1-1.

The Pirates won Games 5 and 6 in Portland, but then there was a six-day layoff before Game 7 at Giant Center in Hershey.

Even worse for the Bears, Portland's parent club, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, were eliminated from the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs between Games 6 and 7, and that's where the mythical part of the tale arrives.

This story works better if some of the principal characters tell it:

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X-Factor: Versatile Bonino could hold key for Ducks

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:43 AM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

One of the reasons the Anaheim Ducks have great depth at forward is not just the talent and skill on the roster, but also the versatility of several players who have become interchangeable parts for coach Bruce Boudreau.

This was evident during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Boudreau mixed and matched players on three of his four lines during a seven-game series loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem moved up and down the lineup, but continued to perform well even when the team's stars were not.

Nick Bonino is also part of that versatile group, and he could play a large role in the 2014 postseason fortunes for the Ducks. Bonino was a relative unknown before the team's series with the Red Wings. At the time, he had 112 games of NHL regular-season experience, but he also had 11 goals and 33 points on his resume.

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Ducks win first Western Conference title

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 1:59 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks wrapped up the first Western Conference regular-season title in franchise history when they went into overtime Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings, a game they ultimately won 4-3 in a shootout at Staples Center.

They entered the night needing one point to close out the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues, each of which entered the night one point behind Anaheim.

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Playoff Countdown: Lightning battle for home ice

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 1:54 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Sunday marks the conclusion to 2013-14 NHL regular season. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

The matchups in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were finalized Saturday night.

The Columbus Blue Jackets secured the first wild card with a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers and move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs. That meant the Detroit Red Wings landed the second wild card and will battle the Boston Bruins.

In the other Eastern Conference series, the New York Rangers, who finished second in the Metropolitan Division, will play the Philadelphia Flyers, who finished third. The second- and third-place finishers in the Atlantic Division -- the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens -- will also go head-to-head.

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Union beats Minnesota 7-4 to win NCAA hockey title

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:27 AM / On Campus

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The best defensemen in Philadelphia Flyers history -- Joe Watson, Mark Howe, Eric Desjardins, Chris Pronger -- have one thing in common: All were drafted and developed by other teams prior to coming to the Flyers.

Could Shayne Gostisbehere be the player that changes all that?

A 2012 third-round pick (No. 78), Gostisbehere had a brilliant goal and two assists to lead Union College to a 7-4 win against the University of Minnesota on Saturday in the NCAA championship game.

Gostisbehere was a plus-7 with five shots on goal, was part of a penalty-killing unit that stopped the Gophers on three of its four power plays and was on the ice in the final seconds to help protect the lead.

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Rangers looking forward to facing Flyers in playoffs

Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 11:29 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers learned shortly before their game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night that they would face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The matchup was cemented with Philadelphia's 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the afternoon.

Moments after losing 1-0 to Montreal in overtime, the Rangers were finally letting themselves get excited about facing a big division rival in the playoffs.

"We know each other very well. It's always tight, it's always intense with those guys," defenseman Marc Staal said. "Best time of year and we're playing the Flyers. It's pretty exciting."

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Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis