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(Page 10 of 280)
NHL Insider

Five things to watch when Blackhawks host Blues

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The fact the Chicago Blackhawks are still chasing the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues in the Central Division doesn't seem as alarming as it did three weeks ago because they've found their stride and are playing their best hockey of the still-young season.

The Blackhawks return home Wednesday for NBCSN's Rivalry Night game against the Blues (8 p.m. ET) for the first time since beating the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Nov. 16. They have won three straight, six of seven, and eight of 10 since losing six of nine games from Oct. 23-Nov. 7.

The Blackhawks, propelled by the win against Dallas, won five of six games during their annual "Circus Trip." They closed the trip with back-to-back 4-1 wins against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings this past weekend.

"We're much better," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said during a phone interview Tuesday. "We've got something to build off. We're heading in the right direction. The past road trip or seven games I'd say they were strong games discounting one game in Vancouver. There's a lot of good things going on right now, but I don't think it's anything we should be too excited about. We feel we still have to get better."

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Richards gets boost from Blackhawks' new line

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards stood next to his wife and newborn son on the ice at United Center while a video montage of his highlights played overhead.

The reason for the pregame ceremony was the 999 games he played prior to the one that was about to start, fittingly against one of his former teams, the Dallas Stars. Seventeen of those games were in a Chicago Blackhawks uniform, but Richards got the royal treatment from his new team.

It was a reminder of Richards' elite talent. He didn't score in Chicago's 6-2 win, but he was all over the ice. He set up third-period goals by left wing Kris Versteeg and right wing Patrick Kane in the first game coach Joel Quenneville used them as his second line, and Richards seemed like a different player.

"It might be a coincidence, I don't know," Richards told NHL.com after practice Tuesday, a day before the Blackhawks play the St. Louis Blues in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m.; NBCSN). "I felt like for two weeks leading up to that, I was starting to figure things out here and getting more confident. The role was not big yet, but all I could do was go out and try to get my game going. I felt like things were coming along."

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Numbers show part of Beliveau's greatness

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 12:05 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

Jean Beliveau's career numbers may not look as impressive because he played most of it during an era in which goals often were hard to come by, but Jean, who died Tuesday at age 83, is one of the handful of hockey immortals who transcended the sport. The Montreal Canadiens purchased a whole league just to get his NHL rights, and it was money well spent.

Beliveau was the backbone of one of the greatest dynasties in sports, the Canadiens of the late 1950s, and went on to a hallowed place in hockey history during his playing career and in the 40-plus years after he hung up his skates.

Here's a look at some of the numbers that illustrate a measure of Beliveau's greatness.

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Beliveau's grace, dignity endured after playing days

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 12:01 AM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

Rejean Houle was a fine hockey player in his own right, playing parts of 11 seasons and winning the Stanley Cup five times with the Montreal Canadiens, but he admits being daunted by his first meeting with Jean Beliveau.

"When I came on the team in 1970-71, I came in the room and I said, 'Hi, Mr. Beliveau,'" Houle said while attending the 2011 Heritage Classic in Calgary. "He said, 'Look, don't call me Mr. Beliveau. We're going to play together. You can call me Jean.' I always had a problem getting his name to be Jean. For me it was always Mr. Beliveau."

Houle's experience was not unusual.

Those lucky enough to meet Beliveau recall those meetings in similar ways. They point to his skill and legendary stature in the game, but also to the grace, dignity and, above all, class with which he carried himself. As a result, it was nearly impossible for players who grew up watching Beliveau not to treat him with a deep respect when they faced him.

Beliveau died Tuesday at age 83.

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Beliveau's clutch scoring evident in NHL record book

Tuesday, 12.02.2014 / 11:59 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

Jean Beliveau's name isn't scattered across the NHL record book the way Wayne Gretzky's is.

Beliveau's offensive numbers (507 goals, 712 assists and 1,219 points) were eclipsed by the offensive explosion of the 1970s and '80s. But the Montreal Canadiens legend's name is still prominent when it comes to the most important aspect of the game: winning the Stanley Cup.

Beliveau, who died Monday at 83, is one of four players who have taken part in Stanley Cup Final a record 12 times. Two of the other three are longtime Montreal teammates Maurice Richard and Henri Richard; the third is Hall of Famer Red Kelly, who spent a lot of his career trying to neutralize Beliveau and his teammates. Beliveau won 10 of those 12 Final appearances.

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Beliveau's timeline a testament to greatness

Tuesday, 12.02.2014 / 11:53 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

The Montreal Canadiens wanted Jean Beliveau so badly they bought an entire league. It was one of the smartest moves in franchise history.

Beliveau, who died Tuesday at age 83, made brief appearances with Montreal during the 1950-51 season and again in '52-53 as an amateur, but didn't have much interest in turning pro. The Canadiens ultimately bought the amateur Quebec Senior Hockey League and turned it into a professional minor league; Beliveau, who had signed a contract to play with Montreal if he turned pro, had no choice but to join the Canadiens, and he did in 1953-54.

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Stint with Rangers gave Lightning's Stralman a career

Tuesday, 12.02.2014 / 9:22 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper thinks of Anton Stralman in the same way he thinks of elite defenseman in the NHL.

"This guy is a stud," Cooper said Monday. "He's a quiet stud. I had no idea how good he was."

Stralman almost wasn't any of that. He almost wasn't anything in the NHL but a castoff whose body betrayed him at too young of an age.

The asthma Stralman discovered he had as a kid in Sweden began to deteriorate his lungs through infections he once thought would be impossible to diagnose and cure.

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Brodeur could sign Tuesday with Blues, play on trip

Monday, 12.01.2014 / 4:26 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Martin Brodeur took part in his first full-scale practice with the St. Louis Blues on Monday at their training facility at St. Louis Outlet Mall's Ice Zone.

Brodeur said he felt good after skating every day since Friday. He was on the ice Sunday by himself and if all goes well Tuesday, he could sign a contract in the afternoon and be in goal for one of the upcoming three games the Blues will play on the road.

"It felt different, more hockey-like," Brodeur said. "It went really well for me anyway. … I think I'm fine now. If they ask me, I think I would be OK to go out and play. For my first game, that's when I'll really know. Hopefully, we'll make a decision by [Tuesday].

"… I'm happy to get this opportunity and maybe stay on the team. I'm working hard, I'm enjoying it. For me, it's to gauge about how I feel coming back into the NHL. So far, so good. I'm happy about what's going on the last few days."

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Gallagher contract suggests change in philosophy

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 12:04 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREALBrendan Gallagher is breaking new ground with the Montreal Canadiens.

By signing a six-year contract extension Saturday, worth an average of $3.75 million a season, Gallagher became the only significant player on the team who went straight from his entry-level contract to a long-term extension.

Goaltender Carey Price, defenseman P.K. Subban, and forwards Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec, just to name a few, each signed for two years on their second contract, and there was a widely held belief this was the Canadiens policy.

That appears to no longer be the case.

"There's always a risk when you go long term with any player," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said. "But we felt that this time the risk was worth it."

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Confidence growing as Islanders win consistently

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 11:41 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Twelve months ago, the New York Islanders were entering December with an 8-15-4 record and no realistic chance at a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their confidence was as low as their last-place standing in the Metropolitan Division.

Fast forward a year and the Islanders are bursting with confidence as they prepare for the final month of 2014. The gloom and doom of the previous season has been replaced by the confident air of a team that expects to win every night.

That confidence was on display Saturday when the Islanders survived a third-period barrage by the New Jersey Devils and left a sold-out Nassau Coliseum with a 3-1 victory that capped off a month in which the Islanders went 11-3-0, the best November for the Islanders in 34 years. Instead of beginning December looking up at the rest of the division, they'll start the new month with a 17-7-0 record and 34 points, giving them the same amount of points as the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins, who have a game in hand. The 17 wins are half of last season's total.

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Quote of the Day

I mean, hockey had to change the rules because of Marty, and that's impressive. I got two Stanley Cup rings because of the guy. Look at the banners of [Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko] and Marty is right up there when you think about the New Jersey Devils; he was part of the core group and he'll go down as one of the greatest goalies ever.

— New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez on former teammate Martin Brodeur, who will announce his retirement Thursday