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Features

Syracuse poised to set American attendance mark

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 12:17 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

The number 28,138 is an important one in the world of professional hockey.

On April 23, 1996, the fans who filled the building now known as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., to watch the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals set a record for the largest indoor crowd ever to see a professional hockey game in the United States.

On Saturday that record likely will be eclipsed by the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, when they play their in-state rival, the Utica Comets, inside Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

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Callahan, hits and keepers among hot fantasy topics

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Let's jump right into the five hottest topics in fantasy hockey right now.

1. Callahan coming through in Tampa Bay

For some strange reason, several fantasy hockey owners have been reaching out to me on Twitter asking about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan. Whether it's adding him for someone else, or trading him, or whether he can keep his hot streak going, Callahan has been a topic of discussion of late.

I'll say this: I'm a fan of Ryan Callahan. The only issue with him is that he's had difficulty avoiding injuries throughout his career. If he can stay on the ice for the Lightning, I expect an extremely productive fantasy season. He won't reach his current on-pace for stats of 38 goals, 71 points and a plus-28 rating, but he has the ability to score 30-plus with 60 points.

There are three main reasons I'm a believer in Callahan: 1) He skates on a line with Steven Stamkos; 2) He averages 3:30 of power-play ice time per game (six power-play points this season); and 3) He has a solid track record of all-around per-game production over his career.

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Super 16: No panic in Blackhawks despite slow start

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

There are not many franchises in the NHL where a 10-7-1 start to the season would elicit varying degrees of panic amongst the fan base, but the Chicago Blackhawks live in that space in 2014.

The Blackhawks have been one of the best teams in the NHL for seven seasons now, winning the Stanley Cup twice and reaching the Western Conference Final twice in the past six campaigns. There is an expectation to be playing in June 2015, or this season will be considered a failure.

So 21 points in 18 games, which as of Thursday morning was only good enough for ninth place in the West, has set off warning alarms in some homes in the greater Chicagoland area. One person who is not concerned? That would be Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

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Canadiens silence some whispers with loud statement

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 12:55 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty said he didn't hear the chatter, but he knew it was out there.

He knew because his Montreal Canadiens were feeling it.

The Canadiens entered this week atop the NHL standings with a rough stretch of four games staring them directly in the face: The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues at home, the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers in a back-to-back on the road.

It was as stiff a test as they had faced and an opportunity to silence critics saying their hot start was not sustainable, that they didn't belong among the elite teams of the NHL.

In the first leg of that test, the Canadiens did not silence their critics. They empowered them.

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2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote opens today

Enhanced interactive ballot features all 700-plus active players

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 12:20 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NHL.com

Top six vote-getters by position earn spot in 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game

NEW YORK – When the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote™ presented by SiriusXM opens worldwide Thursday, Nov. 20, online at NHL.com/vote and via mobile phones, the interactive ballot will feature all 700-plus active players in the NHL. Past All-Stars Sidney Crosby, Ryan Miller, Steven Stamkos and Duncan Keith will compete with this season's standouts and potential All-Stars Ryan Johansen, Vladimir Tarasenko, PK Subban and Mark Giordano for spots in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game® on Sunday, Jan. 25 in Columbus (5pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Fans around the world will be able to vote via interactive online ballots at NHL.com/vote in English, French, German, Czech, Finnish, Russian, Slovak and Swedish and via select languages in the official NHL app for mobile phones. Voting concludes Thursday, Jan. 1, with the top six vote-getters by position – three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender – set to take part in the 2015 Honda NHL® All-Star Game. The full roster of players will be determined by the National Hockey League.

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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Avoid starts in tail-end games

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 12:05 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Through action Wednesday, 279 games of the 1,230-game regular season schedule have been played. Of those 279 games, 90 of them have come on the tail end of a back-to-back situation.

That number is pretty significant when it comes to fantasy goaltending, because it means nearly one-third of the total games played (32.2 percent) have resulted in a goalie playing behind a tired team.

For that reason alone, back-to-back situations are never easy to manage. As one NHL goalie coach in the Western Conference told us, the emphasis is almost always placed on earning a win in the first game, as it "sets the tone" for the tail-end game. That makes sense from a team perspective, but from a fantasy standpoint, goalies playing behind tired teams are struggling as a whole.

Overall, teams are just 37-45-8 in the tail-end game of a back-to-back. That includes a 12-17-0 record at home and a 25-28-8 record on the road. Of those 90 tail-end games, 51 of them have seen the tired team allow more shots compared to the previous night. That means 56.7 percent of tail-end games will see the goalie face more shots and likely more scoring chances behind a tired team.

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Projecting the 42 participants in the '15 All-Star Game

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 12:00 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

2015 ASG ROSTER PROJECTIONS

In about two months, the NHL's top stars will convene at Nationwide Arena for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game.

It is never too early to debate who will earn a trip to All-Star Weekend, so NHL.com and NHL Network assembled a panel of five writers and analysts to project which 42 players are most deserving of a spot in Columbus. The panel includes E.J. Hradek and Kevin Weekes of NHL Network and Arpon Basu, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen of NHL.com.

The exercise was pretty simple. All five guys chose the 42 players (12 forwards, six defensemen and three goalies in each conference) they felt most deserved to be named to the All-Star Game.

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Tri-City defenseman Carlo building up offensive game

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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It was his strong defensive game that earned defenseman Brandon Carlo of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its latest players to watch list.

But for Carlo to cement his status as one of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft, he needs to advance the offensive side of his game. The numbers might not show it yet, but Carlo is putting the work in.

In 23 games this season Carlo has one goal and 10 points, putting him ahead of his pace from last season, when he had three goals and 13 points in 71 games.

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College freshmen dot November players to watch list

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 9:00 AM / NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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The previous time as many as three college players were selected in the first round of the NHL Draft was almost nine years ago, when freshmen Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel and Mark Mitera went off the board in short order.

There's a strong chance that will be duplicated at the 2015 NHL Draft at BT&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26.

NHL Central Scouting on Thursday released its players to watch list for November and identified Boston University center Jack Eichel, Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin and University of Michigan defenseman Zach Werenski as A-rated skaters considered first-round candidates for the 2015 draft.

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Ducks' Kesler looks forward to return to Vancouver

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Ryan Kesler admitted Wednesday it was awkward to walk into Rogers Arena and past the Vancouver Canucks locker room he called home for 10 seasons, continuing down the hall to the visitors' room with his new Anaheim Ducks teammates.

It could get even more uncomfortable Thursday, when the 30-year-old Ducks center skates out in front of Vancouver fans for the first time as the enemy.

"Hopefully they appreciated the 11 years I played here and remember all the good times," said Kesler, who spent one of those years in the minors. "Hopefully a warm reception, but if not it's part of the game."

Kesler isn't sure if it will be cheers or jeers, but he's used to both by now.

"I guess that's my personality," he said. "You love me or you hate me."


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When somebody goes out and is there to score goals, but is also there to make some big hits, fight, do all of those things, and he has a great mustache, it was great to see him get that hit and get everybody going.

— Colin Wilson on teammate Eric Nystrom, who scored a goal in Predators' win vs. Kings
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