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NHL Insider

Flyers' Giroux launching more shots than ever

Thursday, 11.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux knows he's the centerpiece of opposition game plans. He sees the best checking forwards and toughest defensemen on the other team 82 games a season.

Despite that he's developed into one of the game's best playmakers during his six full NHL seasons. He's scored 20 goals three times, finished in the top three in the League in points twice and was a Hart Trophy finalist last season.

Most of Giroux's success has come because of his elite-level vision and passing skills.

"I love passing," Giroux said. "I love passing way too much to shoot."

But in order to remain among the game's best, and to continue to confound opponents, Giroux has found a different weapon for his arsenal. As much as he might not like it, Giroux is shooting. A lot.

Giroux is tied with Alex Ovechkin for the League lead with 97 shots on goal.

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Predators' Forsberg blossoming into dynamic star

Thursday, 11.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Rookie forward Filip Forsberg is off to a great start this season for the Nashville Predators and has solidified himself as an early favorite for the Calder Trophy.

Forsberg spent some time with the Predators in each of the past two seasons, playing five games in the 2012-13 season after being traded from the Washington Capitals and playing 13 games in 2013-14. He wasn't able to consistently find a way to produce at the NHL level.

Nashville made the decision to send Forsberg to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League to give him more playing time and the opportunity to develop his two-way game. Forsberg credits his time in Milwaukee as a big factor in the success he's had this season.

"I got to play a lot of games," said Forsberg, who leads all NHL rookies with 22 points and is tied for the lead with nine goals. "We played a lot of [three games in three nights] and you really get a feeling of what it takes to be successful every night. I think that's the most important part of the success I've had so far."

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Rangers' St. Louis could hit milestone in Tampa return

Wednesday, 11.26.2014 / 12:36 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA – New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis has a knack for big games on special nights.

On Nov. 25, 2013, the Tampa Bay Lightning honored their former captain upon his return home after playing in his 1000th game earlier in the week. He scored two goals and had an assist against the New York Rangers for the Lightning that night.

On Wednesday the team will honor St. Louis with a pre-game video ceremony in his first game at Amalie Arena since he was traded to the Rangers in March. St. Louis needs two points to reach 1,000 for his career. He scored 953 points (365 goals, 588 assists) with the Lightning over 13 seasons.

"I'd love to do it here," St. Louis said. "I'm hoping for it. With the game in Buffalo being canceled [last week] it seems to have worked out."

The fact that the game falls on the 26th, his number, wasn't lost on St. Louis either.

"I thought that was great," St. Louis said. "Everything seems to be lining up."

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Blues' Shattenkirk 'in tip-top shape' and seeing results

Sunday, 11.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- When the horn went off signaling the end of another disappointing finish in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the St. Louis Blues last season, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk took it as hard as any of his teammates.

For a third straight postseason, the Blues were denied their ultimate goal of competing for a Stanley Cup. In the aftermath, it became evidently clear that change was in order.

General manager Doug Armstrong voiced his disappointment, coach Ken Hitchcock voiced his disappointment and players made the consensus unanimous.

And when push came to shove, Shattenkirk made sure he could do what was necessary to make personal changes for the 2014-15 season.

So far, the results are very much what the Blues felt was possible all along.

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Billy Smith speaks to Islanders before being honored

Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 1:13 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Billy Smith still remembers his introduction to Long Island.

"My wife and I were in Connecticut; we were going to play in New Haven. When I got to the rink, my equipment wasn't there. They told me I had to be up here for practice the next morning. I left early, but I had no idea about Long Island," he said Saturday, prior to being honored as part of the Islanders' celebration of their final season at Nassau Coliseum. "I ended up driving all the way to the end of the Island, turned around and drove all the way back and got to the rink. And I still made practice."

That was in 1972, when Smith played 37 games for an expansion team that set NHL records for most losses and fewest points. Eight years later, Smith was in goal at the Coliseum on May 24, 1980, when Bobby Nystrom's overtime goal gave the Islanders their first of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

"We had a good group of guys," he said. "We had 16 guys that probably played seven years together, eight years together. You do get to know each other really well."

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Bruins' Hamilton emerging as star in Chara's absence

Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- There was a time, if you can believe it, that 6-foot-5, 212-pound Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton wasn't a towering presence.

Hamilton was in his mid-teens and a blossoming defenseman in the Mississauga Reps minor hockey system. Reps coach George Stavro estimated Hamilton was about 5-foot-10 and "maybe 160 pounds soaking wet."

Like any teenager, Hamilton was a little unsure about his future and a little bored. The Reps were loaded and dominating with Hamilton, future Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Phillip Di Giuseppe, future Minnesota Wild draft pick Tyler Graovac and Harvard recruit Mark Luzar leading the way.

Hamilton also had an itching to try something new, so Stavro allowed Hamilton to spend a season as a forward.

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Devils goalie Schneider emerging as a workhorse

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 3:19 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Cory Schneider knew the questions would come quickly when it appeared that he would be supplanting the most decorated goaltender in the history of the position for the New Jersey Devils this season.

Schneider acknowledged all along, however, that he would not be replacing Martin Brodeur. He instead had his mind set on continuing the tradition of excellence at that position for the organization.

The 28-year-old was signed to a seven-year contract extension worth a reported $42 million in July to do just that.

Still, no one really expected him to surpass Brodeur for consecutive starts to begin a season either, but that's what will happen when Schneider plays against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Friday.

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Canadiens silence some whispers with loud statement

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 12:55 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty said he didn't hear the chatter, but he knew it was out there.

He knew because his Montreal Canadiens were feeling it.

The Canadiens entered this week atop the NHL standings with a rough stretch of four games staring them directly in the face: The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues at home, the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers in a back-to-back on the road.

It was as stiff a test as they had faced and an opportunity to silence critics saying their hot start was not sustainable, that they didn't belong among the elite teams of the NHL.

In the first leg of that test, the Canadiens did not silence their critics. They empowered them.

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Ducks' Kesler looks forward to return to Vancouver

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Ryan Kesler admitted Wednesday it was awkward to walk into Rogers Arena and past the Vancouver Canucks locker room he called home for 10 seasons, continuing down the hall to the visitors' room with his new Anaheim Ducks teammates.

It could get even more uncomfortable Thursday, when the 30-year-old Ducks center skates out in front of Vancouver fans for the first time as the enemy.

"Hopefully they appreciated the 11 years I played here and remember all the good times," said Kesler, who spent one of those years in the minors. "Hopefully a warm reception, but if not it's part of the game."

Kesler isn't sure if it will be cheers or jeers, but he's used to both by now.

"I guess that's my personality," he said. "You love me or you hate me."


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Five things to watch when Rangers host Flyers

Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube said he doesn't try to reflect on what happened the last time the Flyers played the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

It was Game 7 of their 2014 Eastern Conference First Round series and the Flyers lost 2-1.

"I don't think about it anymore," Berube said. "I think once it was over it's really over with me. I think the way I look at it is we played good hockey at times but we didn't play very good hockey a lot of times during that series and it cost us. If we had been more consistent we could have beaten them. They're a very good team, not taking anything away from them. We gave them a good battle. In my mind we could play better."

He'll have a chance to see if he's right when the Flyers visit the Rangers in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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Quote of the Day

(The tribute) was great, brought back a lot of memories. I felt I wanted to give them the thank you they deserved. I understand the booing and it was expected. They are great fans.

— Martin St. Louis after playing his first game in Tampa Bay since being traded to the Rangers last season
2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series