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Capitals working to bring Richards up to speed

Friday, 01.08.2016 / 3:48 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Mike Richards will have to wait a little while longer to make his season debut with the Washington Capitals.

Richards practiced with the Capitals for the first time on Friday, but he will not play against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, CSN-DC, MSG). Washington coach Barry Trotz said as of now there is no timetable for the center to get into the lineup, and there is still a chance he could go to Hershey of the American Hockey League before playing for the Capitals.

Richards agreed to terms Wednesday on a prorated one-year contract with the Capitals.

Capitals' Ovechkin takes aim at 500 against Rangers

Friday, 01.08.2016 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- If Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has a hat trick in his stick on Saturday, it'll be good enough for him to reach 500 goals in his 800th game.

Combining those milestones would make his 42nd regular-season appearance against the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, CSN-DC, MSG), including his 23rd at Madison Square Garden, far more special than the others. It would also be three more goals against Henrik Lundqvist, giving him 21 for his career.

Currently, the only goalie to allow more goals to Ovechkin than Lundqvist is Kari Lehtonen (19). Ovechkin has 24 goals in 41 games against the Rangers, including 14 in 22 games at the Garden.'s midseason fantasy awards for 2015-16 Fantasy Hockey Staff

We've just about reached the midway point of the 2015-16 NHL season (Jan. 9), so let's get to some midseason fantasy hockey awards.

Our fantasy hockey staff of Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Brian Metzer, Sean McCullen and David Satriano have voted on 10 different categories, from overall and positional MVPs to surprises, disappointments, top rookies and second-half sleepers.

Top picks and runner-ups for each award have been chosen by each writer based on performance and category coverage in standard Yahoo leagues. Other factors that can influence close calls include Yahoo average draft position and dual eligibility.

NOTE: Picks have been made based on player performance during the first half of the 2015-16 season and not with further production in mind. The only exception is each writer's second-half sleeper pick.

Nill's culture change transforms Stars into contender

Friday, 01.08.2016 / 11:32 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Jim Nill waited nearly two decades before taking over a team. But once he arrived as general manager of the Dallas Stars, he wasted little time building them into a Stanley Cup contender.

Nill was hired April 29, 2013, and the Stars made the Stanley Cup Playoffs his first season, ending a five-season postseason drought. They entered play Friday with the most points in the Western Conference. Nill signed a five-year contract extension Friday that keeps him with the Stars through the 2022-23 season.

The day he was hired, Nill said, "We want to win here. We're going to change the culture a little bit."

Capitals' Johansson to have Player Safety hearing

Friday, 01.08.2016 / 10:38 AM / Department of Player Safety News

Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday for a hit against defenseman Thomas Hickey of the New York Islanders during a game Thursday at Barclays Center.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: Illegal check to the head.

The incident occurred at 8:42 of the first period. Johansson received a minor penalty. Hickey remained in the game.

Daniel Sedin nearing Canucks' career record for goals

Friday, 01.08.2016 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Daniel Sedin's face was still a bit of a mess when he met media for the first time since a puck, batted off the hand of another player and into his face, sent several teeth flying Sunday.

It wasn't easy to smile through double-digit stitches in a swollen upper lip that made it hard to see Sedin's still-missing teeth, but that didn't stop the Vancouver Canucks' leading scorer from cracking a grin while discussing his chase of former teammate Markus Naslund for the franchise record with 346 goals.

Maybe it was a chance to finally beat twin brother Henrik Sedin to a team record that helped Daniel smile. More likely it was being linked again to Naslund, who was the captain when the Sedin twins broke into the NHL in 2000. He provided a friendly face, a familiar language and an example they have tried to follow on and off the ice ever since.

Super 16: Capitals stay on top; Maple Leafs on rise

Friday, 01.08.2016 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

If you judge strictly by the standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs under coach Mike Babcock look worse now than they did at the exact same point last season, when Randy Carlyle was fired and Peter Horachek took over behind the bench.

The Maple Leafs played their 39th game under Babcock on Thursday, one year to the date that they played their first under Horachek.

Using games played through Wednesday as the cutoff, the Maple Leafs had 39 points through 38 games (1.03 points per game) and were five points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff position.

By contrast, entering Horachek's first game, Toronto had 45 points through 40 games (1.13 ppg) and was in a playoff position as the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Here's a tip: Don't judge by the standings.

Roy puts on goalie pads, practices with Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy put on the goalie pads and practiced Thursday.

Sportsnet said he did it to prepare for the alumni game that will take place Feb. 26 in conjunction with the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 27.

Chychrun leads roster for Top Prospects Game

Thursday, 01.07.2016 / 2:05 PM / 2016 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Jakob Chychrun and Olli Juolevi, two of the top defense prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft were among the 40 players from the Canadian Hockey League picked Thursday to play in the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, to be played at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on Jan. 28 (9 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports).

The game will include 20 prospects from the Ontario Hockey League, 12 from the Western Hockey League, and eight from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The players competing in the game were chosen by the 30 NHL teams; the rosters were set by NHL Central Scouting.

"The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides a unique opportunity for NHL scouts and general managers to evaluate top CHL talent for the 2016 NHL Draft in a best-on-best competition," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "The game is also a unique opportunity for the players to take advantage of the spotlight in what is consistently an exciting and highly competitive showcase."

Stamkos leads seven to watch as trade deadline nears

Thursday, 01.07.2016 / 12:22 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Fans of NHL Trade Deadline Day got an early fix Wednesday after the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers managed to pull off player-for-player trades that could have long-standing impacts for each team.

The blockbuster of the day saw the Predators send defenseman Seth Jones, 21, to the Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen, 23.

The Flyers and Kings completed a big trade earlier in the day, with defenseman Luke Schenn and center Vincent Lecavalier going to the Kings for forward Jordan Weal and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The two trades provided an enticing and early start to the NHL trading season, which won't end until 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 29. So what else could happen between now and the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline? Who else could be on the move?

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