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Wild finding ways to survive loss of key defensemen

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 11:58 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- NHL players are conditioned to play through adversity. Injuries or illness are expected to be brushed aside as best as possible.

The Minnesota Wild have a strong hockey team, maybe one of the best in the NHL this season. They've also been dealing with a lot of key players missing from the lineup at various points because of adversity. What makes their situation a little out of the ordinary is the nature of why players are not available.

Five members of the Wild defense corps have contracted the mumps. No. 1 defenseman Ryan Suter is the most recent of the group, missing the past two games.

"It is bizarre," Wild captain Zach Parise said last week. "It is 2014, and who knew the mumps were still around, right? It's weird, and hopefully we don't see it around anymore."

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Non-playoff teams in West have turned things around

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The current Western Conference standings provide a study for how fleeting success is in the NHL and how quickly teams on the bottom can rise toward the top.

There are pros, like the Winnipeg Jets' defense and puck possession, which can be looked at as one in the same. There are cons, like the Dallas Stars' defense and puck possession, to the point where they have allowed the most goals in the NHL.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has played like a Vezina Trophy candidate, so that's a pro. Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov has not, so that's a con.

The Vancouver Canucks have reestablished their offensive game and overall consistency, a big pro. The San Jose Sharks appear to have lost a bit of each, definitely a con.

The Calgary Flames have found ways to win, particularly with six third-period comeback victories. That's a pro. The Minnesota Wild have been weighed down by their struggling power play, a con all season long.

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Five Questions: Hartley on Giordano, Flames' success

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley has fun joking around about his team giving him heart palpitations and gray hairs this season because of their slow starts and strong finishes in games. He doesn't joke about his expectations.

"We're on a mission here," Hartley told NHL.com.

The Flames' mission is to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They're carving out their path.

Calgary, picked by many to jostle with the Edmonton Oilers between sixth and seventh place in the Pacific Division, is third in the division with 36 points through 28 games entering their game Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

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MacLean not consistent enough with young Senators

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 10:48 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Paul MacLean lost faith in the Ottawa Senators.

Not the organization, but the players wearing the uniform.

He admitted as much, even if he was joking, when he said that he was scared to death of who he was putting in his own lineup during a session with reporters in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

But even before MacLean uttered those ultimately fateful words, his lack of faith was clear.

No Senators player this season, with the exceptions of captain Erik Karlsson and top forwards Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur, had a clearly defined role. As was suggested by general manager Bryan Murray in explaining his decision to fire MacLean on Monday, this lack of consistency in usage was most striking among the Senators' young players.

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Canadiens' Therrien splits up Pacioretty, Desharnais

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 6:48 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens are going through their worst stretch of the season, with one win in their past seven games, and coach Michel Therrien is attempting something drastic to help get them out of it.

Since taking over as Canadiens coach prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, Therrien has relied on Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais to form two-thirds of his top forward line.

Over the past three seasons Pacioretty has been one of the best goal-scorers in the NHL, and there was a belief that his chemistry with Desharnais dating to their time together in the American Hockey League was one of the reasons why he has had so much success.

Under Therrien, Pacioretty has played 84 percent of his even-strength minutes with Desharnais, according to HockeyAnalysis.com.

That, however, is about to change, with Therrien intending to split up his go-to offensive pairing when the Canadiens host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

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Jets' Kane suspended two games for boarding

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 5:20 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane has been suspended for two games, without pay, for boarding Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner during NHL Game No. 402 in Winnipeg on Sunday, December 7, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 19:49 of the second period. Kane was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct.

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Senators' Cameron built strong resume in juniors

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 3:50 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Long before Dave Cameron was hired as assistant coach of the Ottawa Senators three years ago, he was already building a reputable coaching resume in the Canadian Hockey League and internationally.

Cameron was promoted to coach of the Senators on Monday when general manager Bryan Murray fired Paul MacLean. In making the change, Murray cited an "obligation for a lot of people to perform better."

He's hoping Cameron can ignite the spark his team needs.

"He'll be a good teacher," Murray said. "We don't have a lot of older players, so the [younger ones] will certainly like Dave."

Cameron, 56, spent four seasons as the coach and general manager of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in the Ontario Hockey League before being hired by the Senators on June 23, 2011. In four seasons with the Majors, Cameron went 165-91-16 in 272 regular-season games. In 2010-11, he led the Majors to the OHL championship series and the championship game of the Memorial Cup.

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Islanders forward Lee faces Player Safety hearing

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 2:59 PM / NHL Department of Player Safety

NHL.com

New York Islanders forward Anders Lee will have a hearing Monday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for an illegal check to the head on St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson during a game Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.

Lee hit Gunnarsson along the boards at 7:15 of the second period. No penalty was assessed on the play. Gunnarsson left the game and did not return.

St. Louis won the game 6-4.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head/elbowing. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

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EPIX crew begins filming with Capitals

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A usual scene unfolded prior to the Washington Capitals practice Monday morning when goaltending coach Mitch Korn huddled together Braden Holtby and Justin Peters, preparing them for a 30-minute workout.

As defensemen Jack Hillen and Nate Schmidt made D-to-D passes while the goaltenders cradled medicine balls and cut side-to-side, a cameraman kneeled behind at each point, filming the entire drill and turning an ordinary occurrence into a potential television segment.

That is the Capitals lives for the next several weeks as a 15-person crew from EPIX has arrived to chronicle their preparation for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 1.

"They're doing a pretty good job of being sneaky," forward Eric Fehr said. "They've caught us a few times where we don't even know they're there and they've got you mic'd."

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Fantasy All-Access: Wingels, Ramo deserve an add

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

The Edmonton Oilers won a game Sunday for the first time since they beat the New York Rangers on Nov. 9. Their record since that day is 1-7-4, but that does not mean there aren't players with fantasy value in Edmonton. Taylor Hall has continued to produce with seven points in the 10 games he played during the winless streak. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have seven points in the past 12 games, while David Perron has three goals and four assists. Their fantasy owners could be clouded by the Oilers' slump and ready to deal these talented players, making them perfect buy-low candidates.

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It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

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