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Analysis: Lightning hold all the cards with Drouin

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 10:45 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Seventeen days after Jonathan Drouin's trade request went public, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward played the last card in his hand Wednesday by choosing not to report to play in his American Hockey League game with the Syracuse Crunch.

It was a bold, power-play move by Drouin and his agent, Allan Walsh, clearly aimed at backing Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman into a corner so he meets the trade request made by the 20-year-old forward who was the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

It was their nuclear option. It might blow up in their faces.

The Lightning's first move in response was to suspend Drouin indefinitely and without pay for failing to report. What Yzerman does next is to be determined, but it's likely his mind hasn't changed, that there is no guarantee he will grant Drouin's trade request.

Yzerman still has all of his cards in his hand, and he still has all the power too.

Lightning ready for 'measuring stick' vs. Blackhawks

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 9:23 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have won six in a row but are about to find out how good they really are.

The Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena on Thursday for the first time since Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, trying to extend their winning streak to seven while ending a Blackhawks-record winning streak at 12 (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SUN, CSN-CH).

"It's going to be a good measuring stick for us," Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. "I think we are starting to find what's successful and what's not. We still have some work to do, but it's another opportunity to take advantage of playing in front of our fans."

UFC fighters work out with New Jersey Devils

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 5:00 PM / NHL Insider

A group of mixed-martial arts fighters representing the Ultimate Fighting Championship, headlined by former professional wrestler CM Punk, worked out with the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at the Prudential Center as part of the UFC's cross-training program.

Blackhawks face Lightning seeking 13th straight win

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 3:32 PM / NHL Insider

The Chicago Blackhawks, winners of 12 straight games, have a chance to accomplish what the Florida Panthers recently took a run at themselves: tying the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins' NHL record of 17 consecutive regular-season victories.

The Blackhawks' next challenge comes Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, CSN-CH, SUN), who they defeated in a six-game Stanley Cup Final last June.

The Blackhawks have been dominant in tying the record for the longest winning streak this season and becoming one of 14 teams in League history to have at least 12 straight wins.

They are the fifth Stanley Cup champion to win at least 12 straight games in the League's modern era, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The 1970-71 Boston Bruins (13-0-0), 1981-82 New York Islanders (15-0-0), 1992-93 Penguins (17-0-0) and the 2000-01 New Jersey Devils (13-0-0) are the others.

Fantasy defensemen: Sharks' Vlasic underrated

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

If you were asked to identify the top six scorers among defensemen during the past month, who would be on the list? It's certain there will be least one name that would be omitted and that is why that player is the topic of this week's column.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang leads defensemen with 16 points in 10 games between Dec. 20 and Jan. 20. The Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith is second with 14 points, and the San Jose Sharks' Brent Burns, the Arizona Coyotes' Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano are tied for third with 13 points apiece.

That list shouldn't be shocking as all of them were highly coveted assets in fantasy drafts. What might surprise is that the player who is sixth with 12 points was selected in three percent of Yahoo standard drafts, and when he was selected it didn't happen until on average the 14th round with the 165th pick.

That player is the Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Oilers' Hall reaches personal goal with All-Star invite

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 10:00 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Nashville on Jan. 31 is less than two weeks away. In the lead-up to All-Star Weekend at Bridgestone Arena, sat down with a host of this season's participants to talk about playing in the game. In this edition, Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers discusses playing in his first All-Star Game.

1. What does being an All-Star mean to you personally?

I'm very proud of it. It's my first one going there. You set goals before the beginning of the season and being there was definitely one of them. I'm proud to be going to it.

Sharks celebrate rich history at 25th anniversary gala

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 9:42 AM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Doug Wilson was nearing the end of his playing career as an NHL defenseman when he joined the expansion San Jose Sharks for the 1991-92 season after 14 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks.

San Jose, which was awarded an NHL franchise on May 9, 1990, played its first two seasons near San Francisco at the aging Cow Palace while its new arena was under construction.

"We didn't have great teams, but we had great people, we had great character," Wilson, San Jose's general manager since 2003, said at the Sharks 25th Anniversary Celebration at SAP Center on Tuesday. "A lot of one-goal games that for us was like going into a gun fight with a water pistol. But we knew we were going to battle. But the fans were there for us through thick and thin, and the guys that played on that team made sure of giving everything they had. I still can't believe it's 25 years."

In that quarter of a century, the Sharks have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 17 times, won the Pacific Division six times and reached the Western Conference Final three times.

Blues visit Red Wings on Wednesday Night Rivalry

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 3:00 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

The St. Louis Blues make their only trip to Joe Louis Arena this season when they visit the Detroit Red Wings in this week’s Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

Expect a close game; each of the past three between the teams has gone to overtime, with the Red Wings winning all three.

Each team is toward the All-Star break with injury problems. The Blues are still without starting goaltender Jake Allen, and won't have defensemen Carl Gunnarsson and Robert Bortuzzo, as well as forward Magnus Paajarvi. Despite the personnel problems, St. Louis is 4-1-0 in its past five games.

Blues' Tarasenko excited to face Datsyuk, Red Wings

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Growing up in Russia, St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko didn't have much of an opportunity to watch highlights from the NHL.

But on the rare occasions he was able to get a glimpse of the League, there was always one player he wanted to see: Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk.

"We don't really have a lot of NHL videos right now and there was no YouTube. It's tough to follow, but me and my father always watched like five minutes of NHL," said Tarasenko, whose father Andrey played for Russia at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. "I think it was 11:55 p.m., five minutes to midnight, to watch NHL highlights. We were always watching [Datsyuk], even in Olympic games and world championships. I think a lot of kids follow him and still follow him."

Tarasenko will be doing more than following Datsyuk on Wednesday, when the Blues and Red Wings play at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN); he'll be trying to beat him.

Lack of scoring continues to haunt Canadiens

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 1:23 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Michel Therrien came out with a purpose.

Following his team's 17th loss in its past 21 games Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens coach made an impassioned plea on behalf of his players and, ultimately, himself.

The Canadiens fell to 4-16-1 since Dec. 2 with a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, almost the exact opposite of the 5-1 victory at the Bridgestone 2016 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 between these teams that looked to re-energize the Canadiens' season.

Therrien spoke highly of the effort his players have given, of how they have no more to give, of how well the structure he has put in place has worked, and how the only thing missing is some execution to provide the results that have been lacking.

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