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Super 16: Blues' Tarasenko among elite Russians

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The St. Louis Blues have won six games in a row despite injuries to forwards Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie (and a temporary absence for captain David Backes). One of the biggest reasons the Blues have stormed back near the top of the League standings after an uneven start is the play of forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

While Stastny was the headliner among the offseason additions, with forward Jori Lehtera and a full-time roster spot for goaltender Jake Allen probably next in line, one of the best reasons to think St. Louis could improve in 2014-15 was the maturation of Tarasenko and forward Jaden Schwartz. Tarasenko is off to a great start with eight goals and 14 points in 12 games, including the best goal of the season to date Monday at Madison Square Garden and then the lone goal of the game one day later across the Hudson River at Prudential Center.

Tarasenko is already one of the top Russian players in the NHL (in the NHL is an important distinction, because he was not happy with his role on the national team in February). Where does he stack up among the top Russians in the League? Here's a look at the most productive players from his homeland since Tarasenko joined the Blues at the start of the 2012-13 season:


Better defense not equaling wins for Capitals yet

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz hasn't sacrificed his offensive talent for stouter defense through 12 games, as he promised when hired in May.

Washington is averaging 3.08 goals per game and allowing 25.2 shots. Seven times this season, the Capitals have held an opponent to 25 or fewer shots, something they did 12 times in two seasons under former coach Adam Oates. The Capitals are also surrendering about 10 fewer 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes than they did last season, according to

That vast defensive improvement, though, hasn't led to early-season success.

The Capitals enter a preview of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) embroiled in a five-game losing streak.


Fantasy top 30 goalies: Flames' Hiller early surprise

Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

The Calgary Flames were tied 3-3 late in the third period Tuesday with the Washington Capitals. With only a few seconds remaining in regulation, Flames goalie Jonas Hiller pulled off a beautiful right-toe reaction save on Capitals forward Tom Wilson to earn a point in the standings and plenty of public praise from his coach.

Thanks to Sean Monahan's overtime game-winner, that save also helped Calgary earn a second point.


Unmasked: Active glove helps Predators' Rinne

Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian circled at the edge of the right faceoff circle and, spotting a crowd forming in front of the Nashville Predators goal, shot the puck along the ice into a thicket of skates.

After a short delay, as everyone, including the referees, waited for the intended scramble, Pekka Rinne finally held up his glove, offering proof it was time to blow the whistle and line up for a faceoff.

The puck, as it so often does, rested safely inside Rinne's glove.

Though there may be debate about the best glove hand in the NHL, there is little argument about who has the most active.

Rinne does a lot more than flash the leather on shots destined for the top left corner. The 32-year-old uses his glove to catch pucks everywhere, reaching across his body to snag them out of the air, down to trap them against his pads, or, as he did against Kassian, scoop them off the ice like a shortstop.


USNTDP's Greenway using size to his advantage

Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Jordan Greenway pulls no punches when it comes to discussing the presence he provides whenever he steps on the ice.

Big, physical, and at times ornery.

"I'm 6-foot-5 so I guess I'm a power forward, right," Greenway said. "I've got some pretty good skill and I like to drive the net a lot, can usually come out of the corners with the puck and can create more space for the skilled guys on the team."

He's a big fan of New York Rangers forward Rick Nash. The 222-pound left wing appreciates players who fight for pucks along the wall and go to the net hard; it's what has given him the attention he deserves as a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Greenway, an A-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the draft, has one goal, nine points and 20 penalty minutes in 13 games for the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team.


Blues survive wild scramble to escape with win

Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Defenders of the Ice

Vladimir Tarasenko's highlight-reel goal grabbed all the attention in the St. Louis Blues' 4-3 shootout win Monday against the New York Rangers, but the hard work and extra effort of Tarasenko's teammates bailed out goalie Brian Elliott early in the third period to eventually help St. Louis escape Madison Square Garden with its fifth straight victory.

Shortly after Rangers center Kevin Hayes missed an open net, Elliott was out of position when all five Blues on the ice crashed the net, blocking shots and scrambling to get the puck out of harm's way. Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson made the initial save of Hayes' backhand attempt. Lee Stempniak tried to tap the puck into the open net, but David Backes pushed it away with his skate just before it crossed the goal line. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk then positioned himself in front of the goal to stop Chris Kreider's shot before Elliott covered the puck to end the wild sequence.


Back on wing, Rangers' St. Louis finds scoring touch

Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 12:36 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Given Martin St. Louis' track record, it seemed inevitable that he would eventually start to score in bunches.

The New York Rangers right wing scored for the second straight game Wednesday and assisted on Derick Brassard's overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.

St. Louis, 39, had a tough start to the season, scoring one goal through New York's first 10 games. Some of that could be attributed to the leg injury No. 1 center Derek Stepan sustained in training camp. The Stepan injury forced Rangers coach Alain Vigneault to ask St. Louis to spend some time at center.

St. Louis went the first five games of the season without a goal before he finally broke through against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 19. He then went another four games without a goal.


Blackhawks unveil NHL Winter Classic jersey

The Chicago Blackhawks unveiled their 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic jersey Wednesday.

Inspired by their 1957 jersey, the white jersey features a lace-up collar and secondary logos on each sleeve; the secondary logos overlap the top two stripes on the sleeve rather than the traditional shoulder placement.


Blue Jackets' Johnson suspended three games

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 3:59 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NEW YORK Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has been suspended for three games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty during NHL Game No. 176 in Columbus on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 7:31 of the third period. Johnson was assessed a minor penalty for illegal check to the head.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Johnson will forfeit $70,276.50. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.


Blackhawks not worried by lack of consistent scoring

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 2:08 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards has been around the NHL long enough to recognize a hockey illusion when he sees one.

That's why he didn't flinch a couple weeks ago when asked about the Chicago Blackhawks having difficulty scoring goals. They were shutout Oct. 28 at United Center by the Anaheim Ducks, a 1-0 game highlighted by Anaheim rookie goaltender John Gibson.

It was the first time the Blackhawks were shut out this season, but not the first time they'd struggled to score despite controlling most facets of the game. Despite posting great puck-possession statistics, their 2.33 goals-per-game average was down almost a full goal per game from the previous two seasons, when Chicago ranked near the top of the League in that category.

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens