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NHL Insider

Panthers' top pick Ekblad welcomes father's guidance

Monday, 09.01.2014 / 1:49 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

In the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, several young players added to their respective families' considerable hockey legacies. But there was no bigger name than Aaron Ekblad, the top pick by the Florida Panthers who credits his father, David, with helping him get to the NHL.

So in a draft filled with sons, brothers and nephews of NHL players, how did an accountant from Southwestern Ontario raise one of the world's top defensive prospects?

"He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes," David Ekblad said. "I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride."

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Two Russian prospects adjust to North American life

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 4:47 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Russia won its second IIHF World Championship in three years last May, the gold-medal squad featured some of the NHL's biggest names, including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Bobrovsky.

But for the two youngest players on that roster, Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Worlds were the final victory before their careers, and effectively their lives, changed.

Two of the world's top hockey prospects, representing the future of Russian hockey, are now entering their first full seasons in North America, a crucial step in their respective careers.

"It's a totally different culture. It's obviously a big adjustment," Kuznetsov said. "The language barrier is the biggest thing."

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Wild starting job in goal wide open, coach says

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 4:25 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Minnesota Wild will enter training camp next month with three goaltenders, Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper, competing for the starting job. Wild coach Mike Yeo said each will have a chance to win the No. 1 job.

"I have to say we're kind of open right now, to be honest with you," Yeo told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on Wednesday during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. "We're going to have some scrimmages … but we're going to have to pretty quickly determine who we want to give a greater workload to after that. That's going to be a good challenge."

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Senators' Lehner welcomes competing with Anderson

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner said Wednesday he's ready to continue competing with veteran Craig Anderson for the No. 1 job after each player signed a three-year contract in the past month.

"There are always two goalies and somebody pushing from down below (in the American Hockey League)," Lehner said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "It's just how it works. I don't think there should be a big deal about it."

Lehner, who was a restricted free agent, agreed to his $6.6 million contract on July 31. Anderson agreed to a $12.6 million extension that takes him through the 2017-18 season on Aug. 25.

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Boyle awed by role of friend in Ice Bucket Challenge

Tuesday, 08.26.2014 / 4:28 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's been an eventful, sometimes difficult summer for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle.

He got married one week after he and the New York Rangers were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. Three weeks after that, he signed a three-year contract with Tampa Bay.

But a summer that started with such promise ended tragically with Boyle burying his best friend. It was at the recent wake of former Boston College hockey player Corey Griffin that Boyle caught up with another friend, former BC baseball captain Pete Frates, the man who unwittingly touched millions of people as one of the driving forces behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

"Isn't it amazing? This thing was pretty organic by Pete and his family," Boyle told NHL.com. "Who hasn't done it yet? You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn't. That's got to be the coolest feeling for Pete."

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Paul Stastny eager to be a winner in his hometown

Monday, 08.25.2014 / 9:58 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Paul Stastny is not one for taking strolls down memory lane.

The St. Louis Blues' new center isn't one to make bold predictions either. Stastny certainly wasn't going to predict that he would one day suit up in the city where he spent much of his childhood.

But like many who consider it a dream to play in their hometown, Stastny is living out his dream now, and for at least the next four seasons.

"God has a plan for myself, and whatever it is I take it in stride and I'm happy with the situation I'm in right now," said Stastny, who was formally introduced Monday evening at Fox Sports Midwest Live! inside Ballpark Village, which is just north of Busch Stadium, home of baseball's St. Louis Cardinals.

Paul Stastny
Center - STL
GOALS: 25 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 60
SOG: 150 | +/-: 9
"I was just excited about playing juniors, then from juniors to playing college," said the 28-year-old Stastny, who was eight when his father, Hockey Hall of famer Peter Stastny, played for the Blues. "I didn't care where I got drafted. I got drafted, I was excited to keep developing as a player, then I got to Colorado and I was excited. I never looked that far down the road. That's the way I've always been. You can never really hope for stuff like that."

Stastny, who signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Blues after spending the first eight seasons of his NHL career with the Central Division rival Colorado Avalanche, grew up in St. Louis, where Peter Stastny concluded his career with the Blues in 1995.


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Tribute for Demitra makes emotional stop in Trencin

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 7:01 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The traveling tribute to Pavol Demitra made an emotional Friday night in Trencin, Slovakia, which is the birthplace of Demitra.

A group of St. Louis Blues alumni and a group of Slovakian hockey stars have been staging a series of games to honor Demitra, who died nearly three years ago after he and 43 other passengers died in a plane crash in Yaroslavl, Russia.

Demitra played for the Blues from 1996 to 2004. He also played for the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks during his NHL career.

Friday, the series settled in Trencin, the birthplace of Demitra and several other high-profile NHL stars. Demitra’s father, also named Pavol, was on hand for the game and visited the players before the game and also dropped the ceremonial first puck.

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Former NHL player Wilson coping with ALS

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It was late Oct. 2013 when former NHL player Mitch Wilson began experiencing something unusual in his right arm during a long journey home from Hawaii along the Pacific.

Since retiring from hockey in 1995, Wilson had been enjoying life on the high seas the past 20 years as a tugboat captain.

"For some reason, the ocean was always a calming influence for me; it was therapeutic," he said.

But during that trip, Wilson's arm began to twitch, and his right hand starting cramping and losing strength. He had blood drawn and went through a series of tests but not until he saw a neurologist some five months later did he receive the unsettling news.

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Rangers' Lundqvist ready to roll after Cup Final run

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 11:54 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The long lightning bolt that cracked behind him as he tossed the tennis ball up in the air Thursday night was symbolic of Henrik Lundqvist's return to New York City after a summer in Sweden.

It was electric. It was energetic. So was Lundqvist.

"Going back to Sweden, that's where I recharge," Lundqvist said. "You see family, friends. I had a great summer. It went by pretty fast, but coming back to New York is always a good feeling. You get a break for two months and you start missing the city, your friends here, the team and teammates. It's always a good feeling to come back."

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Jordan Subban scores alley-oop on brother Malcolm

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 9:29 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Jordan Subban was asked to do something unique in the practice-ending shootout Tuesday.

Did he ever.

The Vancouver Canucks defenseman prospect scored an alley-oop goal against his brother Malcolm Subban, a Boston Bruins goalie prospect, at a preseason conditioning camp in Toronto.

"That was the first time I tried it; we just made it up as we went along," Jordan told the Canucks website. "We were told to have fun and do something silly, like the NBA dunk contest, so I guess that was my inspiration."

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Quote of the Day

Philadelphia is where I started my NHL career and this is where I want to be so I am really happy. This definitely gives me a lot of confidence by the Flyers showing that they have confidence in me. I know they want to see me get better as a player and this is the place to do it.

— Zac Rinaldo to the Flyers website on signing a two-year contract extension with Philadelphia