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NHL Insider

Canadiens get chance to show they're more than Price

Monday, 11.02.2015 / 12:45 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens set out this season to prove to the hockey world that they are more than an adequate team playing in front of an outstanding goaltender.

They're now getting a golden opportunity to do that, though not one the Canadiens necessarily welcomed.

The news Sunday that goaltender Carey Price would be out for at least one week with a lower-body injury could not possibly be spun in a positive way. But for the Canadiens who have felt slighted by the idea that they would be lost without Price, this is a chance to put that narrative to rest.

The Canadiens began making that point in an emphatic way Sunday, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-1 behind 18 saves from backup goaltender Mike Condon to kick off a four-game homestand that also includes games against the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.

"We know what we're capable of," center David Desharnais said. "Every team has good players. We have Carey, the Penguins have Sidney [Crosby], the Blackhawks have [Jonathan] Toews. Everyone has their kingpin. So there's no doubt he helps us, but we're able to play without him. He's an important element of the team, but he's a part of the team."

Stars satisfied with strong start to season

Friday, 10.30.2015 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- It has been an interesting week for the Dallas Stars.

They returned home from a four-game sweep of their Eastern Conference road trip. Then their five-game winning streak ended in their first home game, a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 24.

Dallas responded with consecutive 4-3 comeback wins, on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks in overtime. The Stars end a four-game homestand Saturday against the San Jose Sharks (3 p.m. ET; FS-SW, CSN-CA).

The Stars are 8-2-0, and their 16 points were second in the NHL behind the Montreal Canadiens' 18 heading into play Friday.

"I'll use the word comfortable. I'm comfortable with our start," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Friday. "I want us to continue to get better. We've found ways to win several games and we've put a real nice road trip together, which really helped us in the start. So for me, I think the word comfortable [is fitting]."

Penguins downplay Bylsma's return as Sabres coach

Thursday, 10.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins admit it will be strange to face former coach Dan Bylsma for the first time when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, ROOT). But for the most part it will be business as usual.

"I think the first time is always a little bit different," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "But I think at this point we've all kind of dealt with those kind of things before. And once you get in the game, really get into it, everything kind of becomes normal. But I think the initial start is always kind of [strange]."

Bylsma coached the Penguins for parts of six seasons, starting when he replaced Michel Therrien 57 games into the 2008-09 season. That season ended with Bylsma coaching the Penguins to the Stanley Cup.

Blues bring in veterans to cope with injuries up front

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:43 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Doug Armstrong could have turned to the bevy of prospects thriving with Chicago of the American Hockey League. Instead, the St. Louis Blues' general manager is playing it safe and bringing in NHL veterans to bolster an injury-depleted corps of forwards.

Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus came into their first Blues' practice Wednesday seeking to make a strong first impression. Each has 10 days to parlay a professional tryout into an NHL contract. Each feels he still has something left in the tank, so when Armstrong reached out to the 34-year-old Havlat and assistant GM Martin Brodeur extended an invitation to Zubrus, 37, it was an easy decision for them to come and give it perhaps one last opportunity to stay in the NHL.

Long-term injuries to forwards Jaden Schwartz (broken ankle), Paul Stastny (broken foot) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery) forced Armstrong to look for help. But instead of promoting prospects from the Blues' AHL team who might not be NHL-ready or exploring trade possibilities, Armstrong opted to see what Havlat and Zubrus, who have a combined 2,031 games of NHL experience, could offer.

Sabres' Bylsma looks forward to return to Pittsburgh

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:11 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- It's been more than 16 months since Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's set to make his return to Pittsburgh on Thursday when the Penguins host the Sabres at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, ROOT).

Bylsma established himself as a winning coach during his 5 ½ seasons in Pittsburgh. He led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup four months after he was hired in 2009. But despite six consecutive trips to the playoffs, he was fired on June 6, 2014.

Returning to Pittsburgh has been on Bylsma's mind since the Sabres hired him on May 28.

Hurricanes' Hanifin confident he can play at NHL level

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:03 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Carolina Hurricanes rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin understands why he was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, and although no player enjoys being told that he won't suit up for a game, the 18-year-old feels the break was beneficial.

After playing Carolina's first eight games, Hanifin was scratched for a 3-1 victory at the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

"The coaching staff kind of wanted me to refresh a little bit and go up top and watch the game and see it from a different perspective just because I've been playing at a high level the past eight games," Hanifin told NHL.com Wednesday during a tour of the League offices. "It was nice to take a breather, watch and see how it's supposed to be played. If I'm in against the Islanders, I just hope to keep it going."

Ovechkin set to pass Fedorov as top Russian in goals

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin has broken more than a few records during his NHL career, but the next one he reaches will have some added meaning.

The Washington Capitals captain is on the verge of becoming the highest goal scorer among Russian-born players, closing in on former NHL player Sergei Fedorov's record of 483 goals.

Ovechkin has 480 goals in 766 NHL games, the most of any player since he entered the League in 2005.

"I'm very excited," Ovechkin said. "It's going to be a huge honor for me to beat his record, especially [since] I know him and he was a top player I played with. It'll be something."

Ovechkin could tie or surpass Fedorov's mark by the end of the week. The Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN); the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Decision day closes in for 10 on entry-level contracts

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Decision day is coming for some of the top rookies in the NHL.

Ten players remain on NHL rosters who are approaching the 10-game threshold that could determine if their entry-level contracts start or slide to next season.

Players can be sent to junior hockey, or in some situations the American Hockey League, prior to playing a 10th game and delay the start of their contract. Players still can be sent down after playing their 10th game but it would waste the first season of their three-year contract. And in the case of players sent to junior hockey, they can't be recalled until their team's season ends.

It was an easy decision for the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres when it came to centers Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the first two picks of the 2015 NHL Draft, respectively.

Briere makes transition to business side with Flyers

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

After 17 seasons as an NHL player, Daniel Briere is starting to learn the other side of hockey.

Briere, 38, announced his retirement Aug. 17, and since then he's been working with Philadelphia Flyers president Paul Holmgren, learning the business side of the sport.

"It's for now mostly on the business side," Briere said. "Learning how an organization works as far as season tickets, food, parking and all of that. Basically the way it all comes together behind the scenes. For so many years my meetings were about power play, the system and the teams we were facing. Now I have the chance to see behind the door what it's like to selling tickets and season tickets and services and all that. So it's pretty cool. It gets me out of my comfort zone and it's something that I didn't know anything about."

'Russian Five' changed hockey's fabric forever

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Vassili Ossipov - NHL.com Staff Writer

Twenty years ago, hockey took a major step in its evolution when the Detroit Red Wings put five Russian players together as one unit of three forwards and two defensemen for the first time.

The "Russian Five," as the deployment of forwards Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov, and defensemen Vladimir Konstantinov and Viacheslav Fetisov became known, debuted Oct. 27, 1995, against the Calgary Flames and helped the Red Wings score two of its three goals.

Kozlov and Larionov scored in Detroit's 3-0 victory against Calgary, but hockey ended up being the biggest winner. The game changed for the better in response to the transcendental nature of the Russian Five, the brainchild of Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman.

Together, the Russians helped Detroit to a historic 1995-96 season, when it set the NHL record with 62 wins and finished one point short of tying the record for most points in a season (132), set by the Montreal Canadiens in 1976-77. More importantly, the Russian Five was a big part of the Red Wings' first Stanley Cup championship in 42 years.

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