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Features

Pacioretty eager to help lead Canadiens

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- It may have been a sign of things to come when it was pointed out to Max Pacioretty that his likeness in EA Sports' new NHL 15 is wearing the captain's "C," and the Montreal Canadiens left wing smiled when he was asked if he knows something that has not yet been shared with the rest of the hockey world.

"No, I don't know anything," Pacioretty said Thursday after participating in EA Sports' Motion Capture Display. "But I believe somebody at EA Sports should be in line for a promotion."

The fact is the Canadiens are in the market for a captain since Brian Gionta, their captain the past four seasons, signed a three-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on July 1.

The Canadiens whipped their typically emotional fans into frenzy last season when they bounced the Tampa Bay Lightning from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four games and then eliminated the Boston Bruins in seven. Things turned sour in the Eastern Conference Final, however, when Montreal was beaten in six games by the New York Rangers.

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Oilers' Hall back atop fantasy left wing rankings

NHL.com's Matt Sitkoff ranks top 40 players at LW position

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo position eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers tops the preseason left wing rankings for the second consecutive season. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft had a career high 80 points last season and finished in the top 10 in scoring for the second straight season. Hall's 1.08 points per game has paced all left wings the past two seasons and his 0.91 career points per game ranks him fourth among players at the position.

The top 10 is a mix of consistent performers and players coming off career years. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars was named to the NHL's First All-Star team. Expect his chemistry with center Tyler Seguin to continue. Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens has the most goals from the left side in the past three seasons (87) and hitting the 40-goal mark is not out of the question.

Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin, 19, is the only player among the top five picks in the 2013 NHL Draft to not to see action last season in the League, but the extra development time will pay huge dividends for the talented left wing and leading candidate for the Calder Trophy. Youth is represented throughout the top 40 with Calder Trophy winners Gabriel Landeskog (21) and Jonathan Huberdeau (21), as well as precocious talents like Tomas Hertl (20) and Alex Galchenyuk (20).

Some good bounce-back candidates within the rankings include Joffrey Lupul, Alex Tanguay, Huberdeau and Jiri Tlusty. Each had injury issues last season, but owners can expect them to be back producing at their normal paces in a full, 82-game season.

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Ovechkin leads deep pool in Top 14 right wings

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's Top 14 in '14-15

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Who are the best 14 players in the NHL at each position as teams prepare for the start of the 2014-15 season? Arpon Basu, Brian Compton, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen have cast their votes and the result is NHL.com's "Top 14 for '14-15" project. Each first-place vote is worth 14 points, each second-place vote is worth 13, continuing in descending order to each 14th-place vote being worth one. There are two tiebreakers. First, which player appeared on more ballots? Second, which player had the highest individual ranking? If the voting was exactly the same for each player, it was declared a tie. Does NHL.com's list match your rankings for the best players in the League entering the 2014-15 campaign?

There certainly is no shortage of talent at right wing in the NHL.

Seven right wings scored at least 30 goals last season, and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reached the 50-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career. The position also boasts an impressive mix of young and veteran players, from Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers to Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils.

The abundance of talent at right wing made it extremely difficult to determine the top 14 players at the position. Three players received first-place votes, including Chicago Blackhawks sensation Patrick Kane, who was selected No. 1 by two of the voters.

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Red Wings' DeKeyser takes flight with Blue Angels

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 2:17 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser was never one to worry about the abuse his body would endure as a shot blocker in his rookie season with the Detroit Red Wings. After all, the 24-year-old Detroit native finished second on the Red Wings with 116 blocked shots in 2013-14.

But that potential bodily harm was nothing compared to the 40-minute flight he experienced inside an F/A-18 Hornet jet with Lt. Ryan Chamberlain of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels at Selfridge Air Force Base on Tuesday in Harrison, Mich.

Right from takeoff, DeKeyser knew this would be an experience unlike any other.

"I felt like it went straight up, which was kind of weird," DeKeyser told The Detroit News. "[The pilot] guns it and we're flying over Port Huron in two minutes."

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Crosby, Stamkos top deep fantasy center rankings

NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks top 50 players at C position

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo position eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Depth, depth and more depth. That's the story year after year when breaking down the center position for fantasy hockey. And as always, this year remains the same.

From the first round of your draft to the final round, there's always a good time to draft a center. But that first round is sure to see plenty fly off the board. Among my top-10 overall fantasy players, eight qualify as centers in Yahoo leagues. From Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at the No. 1 spot to Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews at 10th, there seem to be more elite players at the center position than ever, and this doesn't even include superstars Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) or Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings).

But the quality doesn't stop there. Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets star Ryan Johansen could end up moving into the top tier at the center position. Another No. 1 draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, could finally start to pay dividends for the Edmonton Oilers and fantasy owners. Jason Spezza (Stars) and Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) should both bounce back to have big seasons.

As you move through your draft, some potential breakout candidates can also be found. Players like Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia Flyers), Derick Brassard (New York Rangers) and Mark Scheifele (Arizona Coyotes) could all end up exceeding expectations in 2014-15. Then there are the sleepers; guys like Sam Gagner (Arizona Coyotes), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers) and Elias Lindholm (Hurricanes) are all worth selections with one of your final picks come draft day.

Regardless of what you need, whether it's goals, assists, penalty minutes, plus/minus help, power-play production or shots on goal, the center position has you covered, and you'll be able to find what you need at almost any point during your draft.

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NHL Fan Fair part of 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Greater Columbus Convention Center to host games, attractions from Jan. 23-25

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 9:00 AM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NHL.com

NEW YORK / COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 2015 NHL Fan Fair™, the official fan festival of the 2015 NHL All-Star festivities in Columbus, Ohio, will come to the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC), Jan. 23-25. Hockey fans can purchase tickets to the hockey festival online at Ticketmaster.com and BlueJackets.com and at the Big Lots Box Office at Nationwide Arena.

The 2015 NHL Fan Fair™ will feature family-friendly interactive games and attractions for fans of all ages; NHL memorabilia and trophy displays, including the iconic Stanley Cup; live TV and radio broadcasts; special appearances by current and former players as well as NHL Mascots; and music, food and dozens of other dynamic activities. All attractions will be included with the price of admission.

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Over the Boards: Red Wings add 'coach concierge'

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

One of the Detroit Red Wings' new assistant coaches found his niche in hockey by chance seven years ago when as a business student at the University of New Brunswick, he made a motivational video to celebrate the school's 2007 CIS University Cup championship.

Andrew Brewer was hired by Mike Babcock in late July. He's 28 years old.

"So, I've kind of given up on guessing what I'm going to be doing in five or 10 years," Brewer said during a recent phone interview.

Brewer never played at a high level. He was, as he said, usually the last guy cut from the team. His father, Perley, was a goalie coach in the American Hockey League, but Brewer said he would have had to become a fighter if he wanted to continue playing beyond the age of 16.

"I had no desire to do that, so I kind of gave it up," Brewer said.

But Brewer, who said he has always admired coaches more than players because of his father, made a video for a school project that has led him down a career path that was once just a pipe dream and into a relationship with Babcock that has to be one of the most unique in the NHL.

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Stars captain Benn leads Top 14 left wings

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's Top 14 in '14-15

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Who are the best 14 players in the NHL at each position as teams prepare for the start of the 2014-15 season? Arpon Basu, Brian Compton, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen have cast their votes and the result is NHL.com's "Top 14 for '14-15" project. Each first-place vote is worth 14 points, each second-place vote is worth 13, continuing in descending order to each 14th-place vote being worth one. There are two tiebreakers. First, which player appeared on more ballots? Second, which player had the highest individual ranking? If the voting was exactly the same for each player, it was declared a tie. Does NHL.com's list match your rankings for the best players in the League entering the 2014-15 campaign?

Left wing has become the hot spot for elite goal scorers in the National Hockey League.

There have been more left wings to score 30 goals in the past four seasons (34) than any other position, including nine of the 21 players who scored at least 30 goals last season. That group doesn't include Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who is technically a right wing but still scores the majority of his goals from the left side.

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Quote of the Day

I watched many times this year the series between the Russians and Canada in 1972, and he was a dominating player there. After I watched the tapes, I respect him a lot more because he turned the series around. He was the guy. In that time, he was the best in the world. It’s a big honor for me to tie him.

— Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr on scoring the 717th goal of his career to tie Phil Esposito for fifth on the NHL's all-time goals list after a 4-3 win vs. the Lightning on Sunday
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