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Features

Blues forwards, Pastrnak among hot fantasy topics

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Here's a look at five of the hottest topics in fantasy hockey right now.

1. Is the buy-low window gone for some Blues forwards?

The St. Louis Blues players this question refers to are T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny. And yes, that window of opportunity is long gone. If you're trying to acquire any of them via trade, you'll have to pay a premium for them. It still might be worth it, but they won't be on the cheap any longer.

Coming into the season fantasy owners had to spend a pretty decent draft pick to land any of these players. Backes (drafted on average with the 50th pick), Steen (75th) and Oshie (82nd) each were drafted before the end of the eighth round. Stastny was selected on average with the 129th pick, late in the 11th round. They all got off to slow starts this season, leaving many fantasy owners in doubt about how best to utilize them. Should they drop them? Trade them? Bench them? Hopefully you stuck with each of them, because as of now all four are ranked as top-30 forwards in Yahoo fantasy leagues during the past 30 days (No. 5 Steen, No. 6 Backes, No. 14 Oshie, No. 27 Stastny).

They likely won't all remain top-30 players for the rest of the season, but it's safe to say they've returned to their expected, high-producing ways.

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Bruins forward Marchand faces Player Safety hearing

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 10:51 AM / Department of Player Safety News

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand will have a hearing Friday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a slew-footing incident against New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during a game Thursday at TD Garden.

Marchand and Brassard were chasing a puck in the Boston zone with 5:29 left in the second period when Brassard fell hard into the boards after being tangled with Marchand. No penalty was assessed on the play. Brassard remained in the game.

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Fall Out Boy, O.A.R. headline All-Star entertainment

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 10:00 AM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NEW YORK – The 2015 Honda NHL® All-Star Game will feature performances from Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum selling recording artist Fall Out Boy, rock band O.A.R. and power-pop band Locksley, the National Hockey League announced today. Fans can watch the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game live on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN in the U.S. and on CBC and TVA Sports in Canada. Fans outside of North America will be able to watch the game via NHL GameCenter LIVE and international broadcast partners in more than 160 countries and territories around the world.

Fall Out Boy will perform during the first intermission of the 2015 Honda NHL® All-Star Game followed by a performance from Ohio State alumni O.A.R. during the second intermission.

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Flyers' Voracek excited for All-Star homecoming

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Jakub Voracek started his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and now the Philadelphia Flyers forward will be going back to Columbus for the biggest moment of his professional career.

Voracek was picked for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

He'll also take part in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Jan. 23 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), and the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 24 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"When I was a kid, every kid dreams [of the All-Star Game]," Voracek said. "I'm very excited about that. It's been a lot of people through my career, especially this season, that helped me to get there. My teammates, the organization. Couldn't do it without them."

Here's more from Voracek on returning to Columbus and some other things you might not know about the 25-year-old first-time All-Star:

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Trotz returns to Nashville, where he instilled culture

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Hockey players, coaches and front-office staffs often speak of instilling cultures. David Poile and Barry Trotz literally built one from scratch.

The Nashville Predators were in their infancy in the late 1990s, and as the franchise's first general manager and coach, Poile and Trotz set out to entrench an identity in a nontraditional market.

"When you have someone that's working alongside you for so many years, you certainly have to be on the same page in terms of your overall strategies and game plans," Poile said. "Our thought process in a nutshell was to make Nashville a hockey city."

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Super 16: East gaining ground in balance of power

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For several seasons, the NHL's balance of power has tilted to the left.

The Western Conference has won more games against their brethren in the Eastern Conference for years. The West has been home to six of the past eight Stanley Cup champions, and the two that lost had a Game 7 on home ice in the Final.

That has not changed at this point in the 2014-15 season, but the two conferences might be a little closer to equal than they were a season ago, at least at the top. The East is 112-94-22 against the West through games on Wednesday.

Basically, the Eastern teams are collecting points at an 89-point pace in games against the West. That's a slight uptick from last season, when the East teams were essentially an 86-point team against the West and Western teams were a 102-point team against the East.

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Ribeiro leads Predators' revival with own resurgence

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- When forward Mike Ribeiro signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators last summer, many thought the best days of his career were behind him.

His four-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes was bought out after one season because of behavioral issues, according to Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, and his point production had slipped in each of the past two seasons.

Through the first half of this season, Ribeiro has silenced his critics, finding success on and off the ice. He focused on getting his personal life back in order in the offseason, and that was a big reason he decided to sign with the Predators in the first place. The media scrutiny isn't high here, and it's a good place to raise a family.

"It's been great," Ribeiro said. "It's pretty quiet, but it's more about work than anything else. It's a good fit for me, and the boys in the room have been great with me. I'm just happy to be here."

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Predators' Rinne favorite to win Vezina Trophy

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was NHL.com's choice to win the Vezina Trophy at the quarter pole. He had 14 wins in 18 decisions, a 1.97 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Rinne continues to be the top goalie in the League midway through the 2014-15 season, though he is expected to miss the next 3-5 weeks with a sprained knee sustained Tuesday in a win against the Vancouver Canucks.

The 32-year-old leads the NHL with 29 victories, five more than Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen. Rinne is second in GAA (1.96) behind Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues, who has played 17 fewer games. Rinne is tied for second in save percentage (.931) with Michael Hutchinson (Winnipeg Jets) trailing Calvin Pickard (Colorado Avalanche). Pickard and Hutchinson have a combined 29 starts between them; Rinne has started 37 games.

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Blues hope Brodeur hasn't closed chapter in St. Louis

Thursday, 01.15.2015 / 1:46 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- While goalie Martin Brodeur takes a week to ponder his future, the St. Louis Blues hope the veteran comes back.

Brodeur, 42, was granted a leave of absence by the Blues on Wednesday and went back to his hometown of Saint-Leonard, Quebec to spend time with his family.

But the Blues, who host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, hope Brodeur, who has been relegated to being the No. 3 goalie, will remain with them moving forward.

"Yeah, selfishly, yeah," coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked about wanting Brodeur back.

"Kind of caught everybody off guard. We didn't know what was going on and still don't know what's going on. I've gotta tell you, him being here, man it was really helpful. It was helpful to every piece of this organization between trainers, coaches, players, management … he was a real helpful guy. He shared information that you just can't buy, you can't pay for. I'm hoping that whatever he decides with him and his family, that he comes back to us and we can help him a little bit maybe in something that he wants to do, but he can help us a bunch. Selfishly, we're hopeful that he does come back."

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Ducks' Vatanen fined for elbowing Leafs' Booth

Thursday, 01.15.2015 / 1:45 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen has been fined $3,393.82, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for elbowing Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Booth during NHL Game No. 642 in Anaheim on Wednesday, January 14, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 9:35 of the third period.

The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Quote of the Day

This is a great day for me. This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. This is a great opportunity that the St. Louis Blues organization, (owner) Tom Stillman and Doug Armstrong are giving me and trusting me in doing...This is going to be a great challenge for me.

— Martin Brodeur, after announcing his retirement as an NHL player and becoming a senior adviser with the Blues on Thursday