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Stanley Cup Final
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Canadiens trade Sekac to Ducks for Smith-Pelly

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 4:32 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

The Montreal Canadiens beefed up their forward group Tuesday by trading some speed and skill to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Canadiens traded rookie forward Jiri Sekac to the Ducks for forward Devante Smith-Pelly.

Sekac and Smith-Pelly are each 22 and were born four days apart in June 1992.

"I see Jiri more as a player who is quick; a bit less speed, but more quick," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters in St. Louis on Tuesday, where the Canadiens were preparing to face the St. Louis Blues. "Those are the terms we use. From [point] A to [point] B he's really fast, but over a long distance he's not the fastest player. He's really good down low and in the corners. But in that sense I don't think we lose anything with Devante, who is not as fast. He's a big guy. He's not a speed demon, but he'll go into the tough areas and for us that was something we found attractive."

Sekac has seven goals and 16 points in 50 games. He took part in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition last month.

"[Sekac] has good upside offensively. He can skate, he can shoot. He's one of those late bloomers," Ducks GM Bob Murray said.

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Hurricanes' Ward reflective heading into 500th game

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 1:54 PM / NHL Insider

Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward will play his 500th NHL game Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. He doesn't want to make a big deal out of it, but it's clear this is a time for reflection.

"I think about all the people who helped me get to this point in my career, beginning with my parents who gave me the chance to play the game I love," Ward said. "I'm thankful for all the coaches and teammates I've been a part of until now."

Ward's career arc has been bittersweet. As a rookie, he was launched into stardom when he took over as the starting goaltender in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping Carolina win the Stanley Cup and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. He smiles when reminded he isn't the first professional athlete to enjoy success early only to be left searching for that pinnacle experience as the years roll on.

"You immediately think, 'Oh, I will probably get (to the playoffs) again.' You soon realize how difficult it is to get back there," Ward said. "I'm now in my 10th year in the League, and chances are it will be 2-for-10 (reaching the playoffs). I definitely would appreciate it a lot more, knowing how difficult it is to get back into that situation."

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Utilizing enhanced stats

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

NHL.com's new statistical database, powered by SAP, now includes enhanced stats that can help fantasy owners detect noteworthy trends.

These stats shed light on meaningful aspects of hockey. Similar metrics have been available on secondary sites in the past, but the NHL is now officially documenting them while adding exposure.

Enhanced skater stats likely won't emerge as fantasy categories themselves anytime soon, but usage/production trends are useful when mulling fantasy pickups, trades, and draft picks.

Here are some fantasy takeaways from NHL.com's stats update that apply to forwards:

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Five Questions: Wild GM Fletcher willing to deal

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher is heading into the final days before the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline on March 2 at 3 p.m. ET with an eye on adding to the depth of the hottest team in the League.

"If we can add a piece, whether it's up front or on the blue line, we'll do that," Fletcher told NHL.com.

The Wild are 13-2-2 in 17 games since Fletcher acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a third-round draft pick; they were 18-19-5 through 42 games.

Dubnyk has won each of those 13 games in 16 starts with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .946 save percentage and five shutouts. The Wild have climbed into the second wild-card position in the Western Conference after being eight points out and last in the Central Division after a 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 13. Their 6-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Sunday put them inside the top-eight for the first time since Nov. 24.

The Wild's hot stretch has changed Fletcher's mindset. If the deadline was a month ago Minnesota would have been a seller; now it hopes to be a buyer.

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Heavy workload, positive results for Hurricanes' Faulk

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk has made a habit of outpacing expectations. It started his freshman year at University of Minnesota-Duluth.

"He was very good as a freshman, pretty dominant for an 18-year-old kid," Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said. "He had the physical tools, he could skate, he had a good shot. By Christmas, I thought we might not keep him for more than a year just based on how he played."

Sandelin was right. Faulk helped Minnesota-Duluth win the 2011 NCAA Championship, then moved on to the NHL, where he was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2012. He was a U.S. Olympian in 2014 and NHL All-Star in January. It's a pretty solid hockey resume for a 22-year-old, but Faulk would prefer to take age out of the equation.
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Eichel helps Boston University win Beanpot

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 12:52 AM / NCAA Update

Connor Mellas - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Jack Eichel didn't score the game-winning goal, but the Boston University forward helped his school win its first Beanpot Tournament in six years on Monday.

Eichel helped draw the hooking penalty that put B.U. on an overtime power play, then fought to dig a puck out of the corner. His teammates took care of the rest.

Captain Matt Grzelcyk scored 51 seconds into the extra period to give the Terriers a 4-3 victory against Northeastern University and their first Beanpot Championship since 2009.

Grzelcyk, a junior defenseman, led B.U. with two goals and was named Beanpot MVP.

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Quenneville: Blackhawks not hitting panic button yet

Monday, 02.23.2015 / 4:18 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- They've lost three straight games and five of the first seven during an eight-game homestand, but the Chicago Blackhawks haven't hit the proverbial panic button.

Asked after practice on Monday if the Blackhawks had started to panic a little with 22 games left, coach Joel Quenneville quipped, "No, but the 'Get Attention' button is where I'm at."

His answer was met with a tongue-in-cheek follow up question, and it provided a good assessment of Quenneville's outlook at the moment.

"Do you have one of those?" a reporter said.

"Absolutely," Quenneville replied, jabbing his index finger in front of him. "I got it pushed."

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Senators' Cowen banned three games for interference

Monday, 02.23.2015 / 12:43 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen has been suspended for three games, without pay, for interference against Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen during NHL Game No. 877 in Ottawa on Saturday, February 21, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 4:38 of the second period. Cowen was assessed a minor penalty for interference.

Cowen is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $113,414.64. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Fantasy All-Access: Red Wings' Helm around to help

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.

We are one week away from the NHL Trade Deadline, March 2 at 3 p.m. ET. We've already seen big moves impact fantasy teams and there's more to come.

Some players rumored to be on the block should be scooped up in advance of a potential trade. Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jiri Tlusty, who scored 23 goals two seasons ago, is owned in three percent of Yahoo Leagues. He has four points in his past eight games and can fill in on a contending team's top six.
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Capitals' top line has had revolving cast at right wing

Monday, 02.23.2015 / 9:20 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

PHILADELPHIA -- During the Washington Capitals pre-game line rushes against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, Andre Burakovsky skated with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, completing the Capitals first line.

Coach Barry Trotz ultimately scratched Burakovsky after deciding Washington was in need of a jump-start, inserting Jay Beagle into the starting lineup instead. Beagle's stint on the line was short-lived; Marcus Johansson replaced him after two shifts and a holding penalty, remaining there for the rest of Washington’s 3-2 loss.

"I think we weren't sharp at all," said Backstrom, who was held without a point after having seven in his previous four games. "It doesn't matter who plays with us, to be honest with you."

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Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday