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Five Questions: Canadiens' Pacioretty on skid, Classic

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest is a Winter Classic edition featuring Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty:

Max Pacioretty never expected his first season as captain of the Montreal Canadiens to be a smooth ride.

It's fair to assume he never expected it to be this turbulent, either.

In his first season as captain, Pacioretty has had to serve as a team spokesman on a variety of unpleasant issues, starting right in training camp when Zack Kassian was in a car accident, continuing when goaltender Carey Price was injured and then re-injured, to going through the worst stretch of losses in Pacioretty's career with the Canadiens.

Five Questions: Bruins' Vatrano on Winter Classic

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest is a Winter Classic edition featuring Boston Bruins forward Frank Vatrano:

Rookie forward Frank Vatrano has already had two self-described "did that just really happen" moments since getting called up to the Boston Bruins in early November. A third might be coming Friday if everything stays status quo.

Vatrano, who grew up a Bruins fan living outside Springfield, Mass., in East Longmeadow, is expected to get the opportunity to live an experience he never could have dreamed of by playing for his favorite hockey team at Gillette Stadium, home of his favorite football team, in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Montreal Canadiens (1 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN).

"I'm really excited about it," Vatrano told "It's everyone's dream to play in the NHL, but to play in the Winter Classic is like a cherry on top."

Eichel, Bennett continue to adjust to pro game

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

One of the toughest challenges for any NHL rookie is maintaining a high level of consistency against bigger and stronger players on a nightly basis and over an entire season.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel and Calgary Flames left wing Sam Bennett are discovering it's tough to duplicate the success they each had at the collegiate and junior hockey level, respectively, in the best League in the world. It hasn't discouraged them, but each knows patience and a little persistence will pay off in the end.

It isn't as though Eichel or Bennett are struggling this season. Rather, it's more of an adjustment period.

AHL Notebook: Intriguing storylines for stretch run

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / AHL Update

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

The American Hockey League schedule traditionally takes a long holiday break that allows its teams to reset before the games pile up in the second half of the season.

Here is a look at some of the AHL's more intriguing storylines heading into 2016 that could continue to shape the playoff picture:

The Texas Stars endured a tumultuous post-holiday return to play. Rookie forward Devin Shore had shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season, according to Shore ranks second in the AHL with 15 goals and has 26 points in 26 games. The Stars also have a change in net. Prospect Jack Campbell, the 11th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was assigned to Idaho of the ECHL. Maxime Lagace was recalled from Idaho to replace him. Campbell, 23, has played parts of five AHL seasons, but he has a 4.27 goals-against average and .868 save percentage in 12 AHL games this season. He went 3-6-3 with Texas and allowed five or more goals in each of his past five starts. The Stars' 3.53 goals-against per game ranks them 29th in the AHL, though they place second in goals per game at 3.78.

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