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2015 NHL Draft
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Features

Canadiens' Pacioretty not expected to play in Game 1

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 3:50 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has not been cleared to play by team medical staff, coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday, leaving his status for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs uncertain.

Therrien did not expect Pacioretty to be available for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, CBC, TVA Sports), though he did not completely rule him out.

Pacioretty, who led the team with 37 goals and 67 points and had a plus-38 rating that tied for the NHL lead, missed the last two games of the regular season because of an upper-body injury. He wore a contact jersey and practiced with his teammates Tuesday, though he did not take part in line rushes or any contact drills.

"I'll be surprised," Therrien said. "I believe that if they think that Max is going to be there they would let us know [Tuesday] morning."

Rangers' Lundqvist feeling good entering playoffs

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 3:38 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist isn't ready to say it yet, but the vascular injury to his neck and subsequent seven-week absence from early February to late March could turn into one of the best things to happen to him and the New York Rangers this season.

"We'll see; ask me in two months," Lundqvist said Tuesday. "Hopefully we can play for a long time and then I'm positive that it will help me."

Lundqvist said he feels fresh physically and mentally entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which open for the Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG).

Predators' Josi had season worthy of Norris talk

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 3:03 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Defenseman Roman Josi embodies the makeup of the Nashville Predators heading into 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He's young, talented and has relatively limited experience in the postseason.

Josi was a big part of the Predators returning to the playoffs after missing out the previous two seasons. He was third on the Predators with 55 points and his play put him in the Norris Trophy conversation for the first time in his career, and will be a big part of the Predators' playoff push, which starts with Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN360, CSN-CH, FS-TN).

He played in 10 games in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Predators advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals. He was a rookie at the time, and the speed and emotional grind of the playoff run left an impact on him.

"Playoffs are just a different thing," Josi said. "I don't have a lot of playoff games. I played just one [playoff run], and it's just an up and down in feelings, like a new high and a new low. You've just got to find kind of that middle balance. It's a grind but it's definitely a lot of fun. I had a great time playing playoffs so I'm definitely excited."

Bet on himself paid off for Lightning coach Cooper

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 1:42 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper bet on himself 12 years ago. He had the winning ticket.

"Was I nervous in the sense that I was giving up a law practice that I worked really hard to try [to] develop to go and become a hockey coach? Yes, that part made me nervous," Cooper said. "But did I ever feel like I couldn't do it? No, I never felt like I couldn't do it."

Cooper will be behind the bench Thursday at Amalie Arena for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TVA Sports, SN, FS-D, FS-F). The Lightning hope to start what could be a long, successful journey in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Cooper knows about long journeys and how they can lead to unexpected success.

Beard-a-thon returns for 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 10:57 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The Beard-A-Thon®, presented by Just For Men® is back and hockey fans across North America are invited to join in a great hockey tradition and grow their own playoff beards for the 2015 Stanley Cup® Playoffs. While supporting their team, beard growers will also raise money for hockey charities across North America.

In the past six seasons, more than 50,000 fans have participated in the Beard-A-Thon program raising over $3 million for hockey related charities. This season, the goal is to raise an additional $1 million through the participation of hockey fans across North America.

Lightning goalie Bishop ready to make playoff debut

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- The future of the Tampa Bay Lightning's goaltending situation after this season is unknown, but one thing is clear as they head into the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: This is Ben Bishop's team, so it's his postseason to succeed or fail.

Although the 6-foot-7 Bishop has never played in an NHL playoff game, he's been among the best in the League over the past two regular seasons, winning 77 games with nine shutouts. And although his goals-against average and save percentage numbers slipped slightly, Bishop faced fewer shots on goal this season because of an improved Lightning defense.

"I think that's one thing people don't consider when they look at my numbers and see the save percentage numbers are a little lower," Bishop, 28, said. "But last year I was facing 35 shots a game, and this year I've had many games were I faced 20 shots or less. Give up two goals on 19 shots and the save percentage won't look as good, but all that matters to me is the win."

Ralph Macchio hopes Islanders prove him wrong

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 9:05 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- On Ralph Macchio's Twitter timeline is a shot of the parking lot at Nassau Coliseum, the venerable building in the background with a close-up of a box of New York Islanders tissues.

A lifelong, die-hard fan, the actor most famous for his starring role in "The Karate Kid" was unable to attend the Islanders' regular-season finale at the Coliseum against the Columbus Blue Jackets, so he shared the photo to express his fandom, along with a hashtag drawn from a famous poem: #NothingGoldCanStay

Robert Frost's poem is featured in the 1967 novel "The Outsiders" and the 1983 film adaptation that starred Macchio and C. Thomas Howell. It was Howell's Ponyboy Curtis character who recited the poem aloud to his friend Johnny Cade (Macchio) while hiding out in an abandoned church.

Macchio saw an opportunity to link the hockey and cinematic worlds together to create his own poignant farewell to the 43-year-old Coliseum.

"'Nothing Gold Can Stay' is about youth," Macchio said. "It's about how times do change and situations do change. You just embrace those great moments. The 43 years at Nassau Coliseum will no longer be. There's the 'Nothing Gold Can Stay,' but you carry that legacy on. I thought that was a quasi-smart way of tying the movie I was in together with the team that I had rooted for."


Rangers' Hayes playing with poise since All-Star break

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 8:13 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers were reconfigured after losing the 2014 Stanley Cup Final in five games to the Los Angeles Kings. Depth at certain positions, center in particular, was a big question following the departures of Brad Richards and Brian Boyle.

One of the replacements was Kevin Hayes, who won a national championship in 2012 and was a 2014 Hobey Baker Award finalist during his four seasons at Boston College. The No. 24 pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL Draft, Hayes signed with the Rangers as a free agent after he could not agree to a contract with the Blackhawks.

Hayes excelled in college as a wing, but he broke camp with the Rangers slotted in as third-line center. The requisite adjustment period led to a slow start; he had 15 points in his first 40 games before blossoming into an integral part of the Rangers, who won the Presidents' Trophy.

Flyers must answer leadership, defense questions

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 7:32 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers believe a lack of consistency in a number of areas is what doomed them to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Playing harder didn't cure those ills. Instead of more hard play, what they might have needed was more hard talk.

During their final media availability Monday at their practice facility, a number of the players cited the season-long absence and eventual trade of defenseman Kimmo Timonen as a big reason for their inability to fix issues as they arose.

"Kimmo was such a big presence in the locker room," forward Jakub Voracek said. "Since I was here every time things didn't go well, we'd have a meeting about it and he always calmed things down. He was being hard on us as well sometimes. As a team we need to get better and I think that's what we were missing."


Confident Blackhawks excited to begin playoffs

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 7:02 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks lost four straight games to end the regular season, but they didn't look or sound like a team in a funk heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs at practice Monday.

Perhaps that was because it was right wing Patrick Kane's first full-contact practice since Feb. 24, when he fractured his left clavicle against the Florida Panthers.

The Blackhawks were a confident group, even several hours before they learned that Kane has been cleared to return for Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday.

"It was a good day today," said veteran center Brad Richards, who will play in Game 1 after missing the final three games with an upper-body injury. "Everybody was chatting, and it was loud out there, and the pace was probably the best pace we've had in a while.

"No matter how beat up you are or how sore you are, this time of year, players that play 82 games, you get through it and there's just a different level of energy for some reason that becomes available to the body. It's amazing what your mind can do with just excitement and a new beginning."


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Quote of the Day

He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.

— Coyotes GM Don Maloney on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson