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(Page 98 of 159)
Features

'Pure joy' for Ducks' Fowler with Olympic roster spot

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 10:11 AM / 2014 Olympics

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

It seemed appropriate that Cam Fowler learned of his selection to the United States Olympic team while he watched the broadcast of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

As has become tradition, kids wearing jerseys of the chosen players for the team skated onto the ice one-by-one following the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-2 shootout victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium.

"I found out on TV," Fowler said. "When I saw the little kid with my jersey on TV."

Fowler always has had a kid's enthusiasm for the game, and he sounded like one when he spoke of his nerves leading up to Wednesday, when the American team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics was named.

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Daily Primer Jan. 2: Blues, Kings renew rivalry

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 9:24 AM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

The St. Louis Blues welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Scottrade Center on Thursday in a matchup of two of the top Western Conference teams.

The Blues are third in the West with 59 points while the Kings are fifth with 54. The teams have been heading in opposite directions since the Christmas break, however; the Blues have won all three of their games while the Kings have lost all three, running their losing streak to four games.

The Kings eliminated St. Louis from the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons in physical series. They won the first game this season 3-2 at Staples Center on Dec. 2.

Here’s a look at all of the action Thursday night:

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Draft prospects using WJC to showcase skills

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Now that preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship has concluded, there's no better time to check in on those top players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft making the most of their opportunity to impress NHL scouts entering medal-round play Thursday in Malmo, Sweden.

The 2013 WJC in Russia featured 11 players among the 10 participating teams who went on to be picked in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft -- Seth Jones (No. 4, Nashville Predators) and Ryan Hartman (No. 30, Chicago Blackhawks) of the United States; Nathan MacKinnon (No. 1, Colorado Avalanche) and Jonathan Drouin (No. 3, Tampa Bay Lightning) of Canada; Elias Lindholm (No. 5, Carolina Hurricanes) and Alexander Wennberg (No. 14, Columbus Blue Jackets) of Sweden; Aleksander Barkov (No. 2, Florida Panthers) and Rasmus Ristolainen (No. 8, Buffalo Sabres) of Finland; Valeri Nichushkin (No. 10, Dallas Stars) of Russia; Mirco Mueller (No. 18, San Jose Sharks) of Switzerland and Marko Dano (No. 27, Columbus Blue Jackets) of Slovakia.

"When a 17- or 18-year-old is able to play in the World Juniors it is a considered a positive factor which does carry weight in the player's overall evaluation even if he doesn't get a lot of ice time," NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr said. "If the player contributes while playing at this level then it lends favorably toward his NHL projection. In the final rankings it sometimes aids in determining the ranking order."

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Confident Thomas thriving with hometown Hitmen

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Ben Thomas can remember a time when the only way he was allowed to step foot in Scotiabank Saddledome was to buy a ticket.

Now he calls it home.

The 2014 NHL Draft-eligible defenseman has blossomed with the Calgary Hitmen this season in the rink he grew up cheering in, no less.

"It's pretty amazing," Thomas said. "I used to go to Flames games and Hitmen games all the time as a kid. I remember the first time I went out for practice with the Hitmen. It was just a really weird feeling being out there after all those years of watching other teams on the ice. To be able to have this as my home rink is pretty special."

Navigating through his draft year, the 17-year-old Thomas doesn't have to look far to find motivation.

Just down the hall, in fact.

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Mix of veterans, youth highlight U.S. Olympic team

Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 8:46 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Four years ago the United States team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was young and inexperienced at the highest international level.

The team named Wednesday by USA Hockey for the 2014 Sochi Olympics will not carry the same stigma heading into the tournament next month. Thirteen members of the silver-medal winning squad from Vancouver was named to the 25-man roster, which was announced on the Michigan Stadium ice surface after the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic.

"This is second time I've done this because I did this with Brian Burke [as general manager] in 2010 and all I can say is we did not have these decisions, anywhere close to these decisions to make this year [four years ago]," United States general manager David Poile said after the Winter Classic. "If I can say this the right way, this is the first time we're having to make similar decisions that Canada has made for years. We're leaving off top, top, top players."

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Frigid temps, snow, crowd deliver Classic atmopshere

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The NHL Winter Classic has become a marquee event for the sport of hockey, but the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was always going to be different.

There was going to be a different venue, both in sheer size and design. The visiting team ensured there would be a different dynamic in the crowd. And when people woke up Wednesday morning, it was clear the weather was going to be a little different than recent Winter Classics spent in places like Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Simply, Michigan Stadium delivered on its uniqueness in a demonstrative way.

"It was the best experience I've probably ever had playing hockey," said Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, who grew up this state and went to Michigan State, a blood rival of the Wolverines from the University of Michigan. "It was awesome. It brings you back to your childhood days when you were out in the back yard or playing on a pond. It was a lot of fun. I was just thankful to have the opportunity."

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout, with the announced attendance of 105,491 making it the largest crowd for a game in NHL history.

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Maple Leafs' Bozak returns to form quickly after injury

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Halfway through his first season after signing a five-year, $21 million contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, center Tyler Bozak was already encountering adversity.

Entering the final game of 2013, Bozak had already missed 24 games with injuries, including four weeks in December with an oblique strain. He returned to Toronto's lineup Sunday and registered three assists to lead the Maple Leafs to a 5-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. He also brought his signature versatility, winning faceoffs, killing penalties and playing on the power play.

But Wednesday afternoon at Michigan Stadium in front of the biggest crowd in NHL history, Bozak assumed a new role: Winter Classic hero.

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Goal caps unforgettable day for Wings' Abdelkader

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Justin Abdelkader knows a thing or two about scoring big goals.

As a 20-year-old at Michigan State University, Abdelkader helped his school win a national championship when he scored the game-winning goal with 18.9 seconds remaining in the title game against Boston College.

Abdelkader's goal Wednesday at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic didn't win his Detroit Red Wings a championship, or even the game. But it did erase a 2-1 deficit with 5:32 remaining in regulation and helped Detroit earn a point in standings in its 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of more than 100,000 fans at Michigan Stadium.

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USA Hockey announces women's Olympic team

Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 4:08 PM / 2014 Olympics

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- USA Hockey announced the roster for the women's Olympic team that will compete for gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The team's players were introduced following the second period of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

The United States has not won gold in the Olympic women's tournament since the Nagano Games in 1998. The team's effort to reclaim gold is led by 22-year-old forward Amanda Kessel. The younger sister of Toronto Maple Leafs wing Phil Kessel, Amanda Kessel enjoyed a standout sophomore season at the University of Minnesota last year. She led to the Gophers to a perfect season and NCAA championship before being named the winner of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I women's hockey.

Three weeks after being named the top player in women's college hockey, Kessel scored the winning goal against Canada to help the United States capture the 2013 IIHF Women's World Championship.

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Players tweet excitement for Winter Classic

It seems the entire hockey world is talking about the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday afternoon at Michigan Stadium (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) and that includes the players from the teams involved.

Here are some tweets from players from the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1