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(Page 145 of 170)
Features

Avalanche's MacKinnon taking success in stride

Friday, 03.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche were convinced they were getting someone very special when they selected forward Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

"We wanted somebody who was not only a good hockey player but someone who would entertain our fans and give them a good reason to come and watch our games," said coach Patrick Roy, who also serves as the Avalanche vice president of hockey operations.

Fans haven't been disappointed. The Avalanche have been one of the surprise teams in the NHL. Entering action Thursday, they sat second in the Central Division and third in the Western Conference with a 43-18-5 record. After finishing 29th in the overall standings a year ago, they are in line for their first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance since 2010.

The play of MacKinnon, who turned 18 on Sept. 1, has been a major factor in Colorado's improvement. He leads NHL rookies in goals (22), assists (29) and points (51), had a 13-game scoring streak to break Wayne Gretzky's 1979-80 record for an 18-year-old, and is a leading candidate for the Calder Trophy.

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Super 16: MacKinnon's rookie year one for the ages

Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Shortly after Sidney Crosby joined the NHL, tales of the next "Next One" began to percolate.

John Tavares gained notoriety for becoming the first 15-year-old allowed into the Ontario Hockey League in 2005. He quickly became the most talked about prospect in North America, despite there being two more NHL drafts between then and the one he was eligible for. During that period, a few great hockey players (like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel) almost were overshadowed by what the youngster who NHL teams couldn't yet draft was doing in Oshawa.

Nathan MacKinnon was in a similar situation last season. Though he was lighting up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League en route to being the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, there were plenty of stories written about the new "best prospect since Crosby."

It wasn't MacKinnon, who hails from the same small town as Crosby, but Connor McDavid, who isn't eligible to be drafted until 2015 but produced great numbers with Erie in the OHL after gaining "exceptional-player status" to play in the OHL at 15 like Tavares did.

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Daily Primer March 14: Who's in first?

Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:08 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks have spent most of the season on top of the Pacific Division; they led the San Jose Sharks by nine points at the end of January and by seven when play resumed after the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But that lead is all gone, and the Ducks are facing the prospect of looking up at the Sharks after Friday night. Each team has 93 points, though the Ducks still hold first place because they've played one fewer game.

The Sharks continue a road trip with a visit to the New York Islanders, who are last in the Metropolitan Division. That game starts about two hours before the Ducks play the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Here's a look at all of the action on a busy Friday:

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Rangers' Talbot, actor Russell share Alabama bond

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:15 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The University of Alabama-Huntsville isn't necessarily known for developing high-end NHL talent. But the hockey program is gaining some attention this season with the recent success of New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot, who led the school to the College Hockey America tournament title and its second NCAA tournament berth in 2010.

A lanky, under-recruited goaltender from Ontario when he arrived at Huntsville in 2007, Talbot's gradual rise to the League was propelled in part by competition from another goaltender who is now paving his own way in a completely different field.

Battling Talbot for a spot in the Chargers' crease that season was Wyatt Russell, the son of actors Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, who would stay for just over a year at Huntsville before leaving to play professionally in Germany. Now establishing himself as an actor with a number of high-profile roles, Russell became fast friends with his UAH teammate.

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In the Cage: Tight schedule adds value to backups

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

With only a few days before standard Yahoo Fantasy league playoffs begin (March 17), it's time to pinpoint some hidden talent that can help you squeeze more points out of your goaltending categories.

Fortunately, the condensed NHL schedule has opened the door for plenty of backups to gain some crucial fantasy points that, if earned a few months ago, would have largely gone unnoticed.

To get an idea of how jam-packed the schedule will be over the next month, look at the remaining back-to-back games. The Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will play five sets over the next month. The Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders all have four sets remaining. The rest of the League has two or three.

Now is a great time to consider adding an Edmonton Oilers goaltender. Not only are the Oilers 8-3-2 in their past 13 games, but their schedule is not as grueling as the rest of the League. They only have two back-to-back sets remaining and they play 10 of their final 16 games at home.

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Daily Primer March 13: Kings go for nine in a row

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Los Angeles Kings haven't lost since Feb. 3, a span of eight games. And now they begin a five-game homestand.

Los Angeles will seek its ninth straight victory when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, TSN, FS-W). A portion of the Kings' recent success can be attributed to the play of center Anze Kopitar, who has four goals and eight assists over the past nine games.

Here's a closer look at all of the action Thursday:

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Prospector Files: QMJHL draft-eligible All-Star team

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was undoubtedly the big winner at the 2013 NHL Draft, when a modern draft-record 31 players from the league were chosen over seven rounds.

It marked the highest total since 2003, when 38 players were selected over nine rounds, including No. 1 pick Marc-Andre Fleury of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The prospect pool for the 2014 draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia might not be as deep as it was nine months ago, when two of the six QMJHL players picked in the first round were among the top three choices -- No. 1 Nathan MacKinnon and No. 3 Jonathan Drouin. Still, there are some game-breakers having very productive seasons.

This week, Prospector Files continues its First Team draft-eligible pick six series at each position from the four major junior hockey leagues and one All European Team. The Ontario Hockey League (www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=707810) was featured last week and the QMJHL gains the spotlight today.

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Draisaitl poised to become highest-drafted German

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Will forward Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League become the highest-selected German player ever at the 2014 NHL Draft?

The odds are pretty good. Not only was the 6-foot-1.75, 208-pound left-shot center No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 draft, he's gaining plenty of praise down the stretch.

"You want to talk about a miniature Jaromir Jagr with a Doug Gilmour-type intensity, you've got him right here," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com.

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Rask, Bruins answer questions by beating Canadiens

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:10 AM / NHL Insider

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask silenced the critics and answered any questions surrounding his play against the Montreal Canadiens with a 35-save performance in a 4-1 win at Bell Centre on Wednesday night.

Rask had put himself in a cocoon since he and his teammates arrived in Montreal on Tuesday morning. He was one of the first to board the team bus after practice that afternoon and didn't partake in the morning skate Wednesday.

Rask clearly didn't want to face any questions, not only the Bruins' recent struggles against the Canadiens -- they had lost five straight regular-season games entering Wednesday -- but also his own; Rask entered the game 2-10-1 in his career against Montreal. His most recent win against the Canadiens came on Feb. 6, 2013, when he made 20 saves in a 2-1 win. His only other victory against the Canadiens was on Feb. 7, 2010, when he made 36 saves in a 3-0 victory.

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Luongo trade center stage on 'NHL Revealed' finale

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 11:12 PM / NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

One week prior, Roberto Luongo was discussing how happy he was to be the No. 1 goaltender with the Vancouver Canucks after having to share the net with Cory Schneider last season. But after arguably the biggest deal prior to the NHL Trade Deadline last Wednesday, Luongo is back for a second stint with the Florida Panthers.

"You've handled yourself with a lot of class, though, the last couple of years," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says moments before Luongo meets reporters in South Florida. "That's really good. It happened so quick. We fought hard last year [to get you back] and it didn't work, so … but this time, it just happened. Maybe sitting out at the Heritage Classic was a bonus for us. It worked out great. We're excited."

"It's been a long road," Luongo says.

The Tallon-Luongo exchange is one of many memorable scenes from the season finale of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other," on NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.

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Quote of the Day

I think you always have to look internally before you look externally to see, 'Do we have these players within our organization?' And I think we do.

— Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Pierre Dorion on the Binghamton Senators (AHL affiliate)