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Confidence growing as Islanders win consistently

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 11:41 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Twelve months ago, the New York Islanders were entering December with an 8-15-4 record and no realistic chance at a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their confidence was as low as their last-place standing in the Metropolitan Division.

Fast forward a year and the Islanders are bursting with confidence as they prepare for the final month of 2014. The gloom and doom of the previous season has been replaced by the confident air of a team that expects to win every night.

That confidence was on display Saturday when the Islanders survived a third-period barrage by the New Jersey Devils and left a sold-out Nassau Coliseum with a 3-1 victory that capped off a month in which the Islanders went 11-3-0, the best November for the Islanders in 34 years. Instead of beginning December looking up at the rest of the division, they'll start the new month with a 17-7-0 record and 34 points, giving them the same amount of points as the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins, who have a game in hand. The 17 wins are half of last season's total.

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Nash, Forsberg among those putting up big numbers

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

We're past the quarter mark of the 2014-15 season, and although there's still plenty of hockey remaining on the NHL schedule, we've learned a good deal about all 30 teams. From some of the League's biggest surprises, to those who continue to produce season after season, there are plenty of numbers to dissect from the season's first quarter.

Here are some of the most interesting numbers and trends:

Rick Nash's even-strength scoring

Since being traded to the New York Rangers before the 2012-13 season, Rick Nash has been the most prolific even-strength goal-scorer in the NHL. He averaged 1.37 goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 he played in 2012-13 and 2014-15, most among players with 100 or more games, according to HockeyAnalysis.com.

It's been no different this season for Nash, who led the League entering Saturday with 2.76 goals for every 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
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Trailblazer Bye Dietz to enter U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

Early in her athletic career, Karyn Bye Dietz arrived at a crossroads.

She entered the ninth grade at River Falls High School in Wisconsin excelling in hockey and basketball. Her hockey ambitions, though, were met with resistance because for the female athlete, the sport wasn't thought to offer a career path. Her father told her so, as did River Falls' varsity basketball coach. Each tried to convince her to stick with basketball.

But there was something about hockey that touched Bye Dietz’s heart, the speed and grace of being on the ice along with a test of her will and perseverance; to survive and thrive playing with boys under exacting circumstances.

"There were teams that I played against that they did not like having a girl out there," she said. "They would actually try to take extra hits at me or go after me.

"It was a daily habit of mine, but I felt that I had to prove that not only to myself but to my teammates on a daily basis that I was good enough to be there, because I obviously took the spot of another boy that didn't make the team. As I got older the challenge became tougher. When I was 12 years old, I was the tallest one out there and, quite honestly, I think I was one of the fastest ones. But as the boys matured they caught up to me and actually went ahead of me, so that's when the challenge really took place when I felt like I had to work that much harder just to prove I deserve to be there.

"I think, looking back, that's what made me the player that I became."


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Former captain Potvin excited by Islanders' revival

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 6:38 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Denis Potvin's No. 5 hangs from the rafters of the Nassau Coliseum in tribute to a career that included serving as a cornerstone of the New York Islanders' four consecutive Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1980-83.

But before being honored by the Islanders on Saturday as part of their final season at the Coliseum before moving to Brooklyn next fall, the Hall of Fame defenseman, now 61, said this edition of the Islanders has to grab the chance to write its own history.

"The one thing that coincides with moving to a new building is that now it's like the torch is really being passed to them," he said. "They have a chance to do something. It's all about them.


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Canadiens' Emelin fined for illegal check to head

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 1:45 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK – Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin has been fined $11,021.51, the maximum permitted under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for an illegal check to the head of Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Gionta during NHL Game No. 337 in Buffalo on Friday, November 28, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

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Predators' Rinne stating case for Vezina Trophy

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Nashville Predators didn't qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. A main reason why was because their No. 1 goaltender, Pekka Rinne, was limited to 24 games because of a hip injury.

These days, Rinne is healthy. And it's no coincidence the Predators are rolling.

Rinne's performance to date (14-3-1, 1.97 goals-against average, .927 save percentage) has the Predators vying for first place in the Central Division. The problems he experienced when he first tried to come back from hip surgery are behind him.

"Like I said, I had a good summer," Rinne told reporters last week. "I fixed a few things that I usually do in the summer. I increased my training a lot. I wanted to be in the best shape that I could possibly be. That has helped a lot.

"Obviously being back on the ice and working on the ice, you can translate that on to the ice what you did off the ice. I was never scared [coming back], but obviously it's something that it's a little bit different struggling with something like that for the first time in your life or career. It was a little bit different, but I never once thought that, 'this is it.' Obviously this year I wanted to get off to a good start, but other than that I wasn't really scared about it."

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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Giving thanks to backups

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every week during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

Americans celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, so we felt Friday was a perfect time to give our own thanks to a legion of talented backup goaltenders that have provided strong fantasy value so far this season.

For quick reference, we've included a handy table of all the backups that have accumulated between 200 and 550 minutes of playing time.

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Blackhawks pick Hartman honing game in Rockford

Friday, 11.28.2014 / 12:32 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Ryan Hartman's name floated in the world of hockey long before he laced up for his first professional game eight months ago.

He was ranked 16th among North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings in his draft year, going on to fulfill expectations when the Chicago Blackhawks chose him No. 30 in the 2013 NHL Draft. Though the wing was born in South Carolina, he grew up in Chicago, making an already memorable day that much more surreal.

"It probably took until a couple weeks after [to sink in]," Hartman said. "After the draft, I went down to South Carolina for two weeks with my family to relax and get away from hockey and celebrate a little bit. When I got back to Chicago, it definitely sank in that I was drafted."

It's something every athlete dreams of: Spending their formative years idolizing the local team and molding their game after the greats, only to one day be able to have the chance to wear that same jersey. Hartman, 20, is hoping to join players like Chris Chelios and Ed Olczyk as Illinois natives given the chance to eventually skate for the Blackhawks rather than just cheering from the stands.

But before Hartman can officially introduce himself to the Madhouse on Madison, he is practicing the right steps that will lead him to the next level with Chicago's American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.

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Devils wish Brodeur well as he attempts NHL return

Friday, 11.28.2014 / 12:02 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- As the New Jersey Devils made preparations for their game against the Detroit Red Wings at Prudential Center on Friday, former teammate Martin Brodeur was taking the initial steps in a possible return to the NHL in his tryout with the St. Louis Blues.

Receiving an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup-contending team and having a shot at obtaining 700 career regular-season wins is something the 42-year-old goalie has been waiting for since becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer said he was glad Brodeur may be given a chance to return to the game, particularly in the Western Conference.

"I'm real excited for him," DeBoer said. "What a great opportunity. I think if you're hand picking a spot that would be right at the top of the list, it would have to be St. Louis. I'm glad it's in the other conference, but I'm happy for him."

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Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Fan Code of Conduct

NHL.com

The National Hockey League and its Member Clubs are committed to creating a safe and comfortable environment and enjoyable entertainment experience. NHL fans have a right to expect an environment in which they will be treated in a consistent, professional and courteous manner by all Venue, Team and League personnel. The Players and Officials have the same rights. Accordingly, fans are responsible for their own conduct.

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