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2014 NHL Draft
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(Page 170 of 173)
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Daily Primer Feb. 5: Presidents' Trophy chase heats up

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The pursuit of home-ice advantage throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be in high gear Wednesday night.

The Anaheim Ducks, who have a three point lead atop the NHL standings, will host the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET, WGN, FS-W). Despite their recent struggles, the Ducks are 22-4-2 on home ice this season. The teams split two games in Chicago earlier this season; the next time they see each other could be in the Western Conference Final.

Here's a closer look at the action Wednesday:

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Karlsson confident in Swedes' hopes for gold at Sochi

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson was 15 years old when he watched Sweden win the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics. Eight years later, he still remembers the goal that set off celebrations throughout his homeland.

"I remember the drop pass from [Mats] Sundin to [Peter] Forsberg to one-timer [Nicklas] Lidstrom," Karlsson recalled when asked about the deciding goal in the championship game against Finland. "[Cross]bar-in, pretty much. The save in the end by [goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist. That's probably what I remember the most."

Karlsson, now 23, will be making his first Olympic appearance for Sweden. He knows the competition will be stiff in Sochi when round-robin play starts on Feb. 12.

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Penguins visit Sabres in Wednesday Night Rivalry

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Roughly 180 miles separate the cities they represent, but there's a lot more distance between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres in the standings heading into this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).

The Penguins come to First Niagara Center riding high, with the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have the fewest points in the NHL and are looking to end a six-game losing streak in their own building.

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Over the Boards: Olympic break provides respite

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

While the world gets ready to turn its attention to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the majority of players and coaches in the NHL will soon have nothing to do.

The NHL's Olympic break begins after the final buzzer sounds Saturday night and continues until 2 p.m. on Feb. 19. That's when coaches can get their teams back together, or at least the players who aren't still in Sochi, and resume practicing to prep for the re-opening of the regular-season schedule, which for most teams won't be until Feb. 26 or 27.

For the players it's a chance to unwind away from the rink, get some fun in the sun, maybe take a golf trip or spend some time with family. Most coaches will be doing the same thing, but mentally getting away from the game won't be as simple.

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Rivalry Night Faceoff: Crosby vs. Miller

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

As the Buffalo Sabres prepare to host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last pre-Olympic Wednesday Night Rivalry game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET), it's hard not to turn the focus ahead to the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics because of two specific players who will be playing at First Niagara Center.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby orchestrated the signature play and moment for Canada in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but he wasn't the most impactful player on the gold-medal winning team (that was the Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews).

Conversely, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was the most important player for the United States four years ago but he was on the wrong end of the single most memorable moment of the tournament (Crosby's golden goal).

Crosby and Miller will get another chance to make an impact and be in the signature moment this month in Sochi; Crosby as Canada's captain and Miller as the United States' potential No. 1 goalie, a title he has not yet been given by coach Dan Bylsma.
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Vanek rejects Islanders' offer, may be traded

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 3:40 PM / 2014 Trade Deadline

NHL.com

New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek confirmed to Newsday on Tuesday that he has turned down a contract extension from the team.

Newsday reported Monday that Vanek rejected a seven-year, $50 million extension from the club, a decision that means the Islanders now will look to trade Vanek prior to the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline rather than risk losing him to unrestricted free agency in July.

"I'm sure people will look at it and say, 'Wow, that's crazy by him,' or whatever," Vanek told Newsday on Tuesday. "As I've told Garth [Snow, general manager] before … it's like a breakup: It's not you, it's me. And it really is me wanting to explore this."

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Thomas considering return to Panthers next season

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 2:55 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran goalie Tim Thomas had just finished a practice with the Florida Panthers this week when he was asked whether his return to the NHL this season had been everything he had anticipated.

"A lot of it has been," Thomas said. "It's a tough one to answer. I was hoping by this time to be seeing more team success than what we've seen. That's been a little bit difficult. Having said that, it's a process. I knew coming into it where the team was last year. I bought into this process. That's what we're trying to do, is turn it around."

The big question with the NHL Trade Deadline one month away is whether Thomas will be around to try to turn the Panthers into a Stanley Cup Playoff team.

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Unlikely Olympic opportunity fuels Jokinen's revival

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 12:03 PM / 2014 Olympics

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

After the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Olli Jokinen believed his long and successful international career had come to an end with a well-deserved bronze medal won on the strength of an unforgettable comeback against Slovakia on the penultimate day of the tournament.

Yet, four years later, Jokinen, now with the Winnipeg Jets, is preparing for an unexpected trip to Sochi, which will mark the fourth time he will represent his country in Olympic competition.

"I think it was more of a challenge," Jokinen told NHL.com about his return to the Finnish team from which he thought he had retired after Vancouver. "Four years ago, I never even thought that I would still be playing at this level.

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The Front Line: MacKinnon leads valuable rookie crop

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Last season, Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) and Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers) led all rookie forwards with 31 points in 48 games, or .65 points per game. Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) averaged .64 and Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay Lightning/Ottawa Senators) averaged .62. Four rookies exceeded the .60 points-per-game mark.

At this point in 2013-14, just like last season, four rookies currently average at least .60 points per game.

Nathan MacKinnon
Center - COL
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 41
SOG: 160 | +/-: 12
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) leads the group at .75 points per game with 41 points in 55 games. Tomas Hertl (San Jose Sharks) averages .71, but he has appeared in just 35 games and his future for this season is in jeopardy due to knee surgery. Tyler Johnson (Lightning) has 35 points while appearing in all 55 games, good for .64 points per game. Lastly is Chris Kreider (New York Rangers), who has 30 points in 49 games, or .61 points per game.

All four rookies have been valuable fantasy assets this season and a couple could continue to have success for the remainder of the season.

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Daily Primer Feb. 4: Bruins set to host Canucks

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Vancouver Canucks admittedly need some type of spark. Perhaps a game against the Boston Bruins will do the trick.

The combatants from the 2011 Stanley Cup Final meet for the third time since then, the second time this season, at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, SNET-P, NESN).

"There's still guys that were big parts of that Final that are still on the same team," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said, according to the Milford (Mass.) Daily News. "I think that's what makes this rivalry continue."

The return Monday of coach John Tortorella and captain Henrik Sedin from suspension and injury, respectively, did little to change the Canucks' recent fortunes. They lost their fourth in a row, 2-0, at the Detroit Red Wings, managing three shots in the third period of what was a one-goal game until an empty-netter.

Vancouver defeated Boston 6-2 on Dec. 14. Since then, the Canucks, at the time 20-10-5, have gone 7-11-4.

Here is a look at all the games Tuesday:

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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie