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NHL Insider

Penguins' Crosby already ranks among game's greats

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still has more than half of his career in front of him, and there's a growing consensus he's already a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I'd have put him in the Hall of Fame last night," NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said.

Mike Rupp, Crosby's former teammate, also said he'd vote Crosby into the Hockey Hall of Fame if Crosby never played another game. Former NHL goalie and longtime television analyst Darren Pang said the same thing. So did NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was Crosby's first NHL coach.

"No doubt," Pang said. "There isn't even any hesitation on my behalf."

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Tortorella felt firing by Canucks was justified: report

Friday, 02.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

John Tortorella believes he deserved to be fired as coach after one season with the Vancouver Canucks.

During an interview Friday with WDAE 620 AM in Tampa, Tortorella said poor play in the second half of the season is what led to the end of his time with the Canucks.

"We had a great first half, but I don't think I did the job for the team the second half, with our consistency," he told the radio station. "And I think that's what cost me my job. We just … we couldn't stop the losing streaks. We needed to win a couple of games within those areas.

"And quite honestly, I deserved to get fired after that second half of the year."

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Panthers' Bjugstad set for Minnesota homecoming

Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 3:06 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In Nick Bjugstad's second season as an NHL player, the Florida Panthers forward isn't afraid to admit he still leans heavily on his mom for help.

Case in point: His return to his home state Thursday, when the Panthers play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Bjugstad's mother Janeen was in charge of soliciting friends and family for ticket requests. The response was overwhelming, with 160 people part of the Bjugstad cheering section.

"Hopefully they'll all be wearing red," Bjugstad said, quickly adding, "Panthers red," because the Wild use red as part of their color scheme. "My mom got a package deal. Thankfully, she took care of it all, seeing who is going to get the tickets, and I didn't have to worry too much about that. Mom came up big there."

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Penguins' Crosby in elite company through 600 games

Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 12:18 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is in Hall of Fame company 600 games into his NHL career. Though that isn't necessarily surprising considering what he's done and what he's won, there is statistical data to back it up for anybody who might for some reason disagree.

Crosby has the ninth-highest point total (825) through a player's first 600 games in NHL history. The eight players ahead of Crosby on the list are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Crosby is five points away from being tied for seventh.

The players ahead of him are: Wayne Gretzky (1,451 points through 600 games), Mario Lemieux (1,215), Mike Bossy (921), Peter Stastny (901), Bobby Orr (864), Jari Kurri (848), Bryan Trottier (830), and Denis Savard (827).

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T. Fleury rocks Halifax for Hockey Day in Canada

Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Six years ago, former NHL star Theo Fleury phoned a friend in Winnipeg who he thought could help him cross an item off his bucket list. What he thought at the time might have been a reach has turned into a new chapter and career for one of the most interesting people in hockey.

Fleury, an Olympic gold medal winner, Stanley Cup champion and best-selling author, is now a budding country music star who is planning to release his first still untitled album with his band, The Death Valley Rebels, in May.

Theo Fleury and The Death Valley Rebels were part of the show in the Scotiabank Stolen From a Hockey Card concert at Spatz Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Thursday. The event was part of the Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada festivities ongoing in Halifax.

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For Nabokov, career almost abandoned ends at start

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:28 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov retired from a 14-year NHL career Wednesday, one that almost ended before it started.

Twice, in fact, Nabokov almost bailed on the San Jose Sharks franchise he leads in most goaltending categories.

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Flyers facing uphill climb in quest to make playoffs

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 9:46 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Philadelphia Flyers are making a habit of testing the limits of how difficult it is to gain ground in the NHL standings.

The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the League, picking up points in seven straight games after a 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday gave them a 5-0-2 record since Jan. 20, when they beat the rival Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 at home.

The morning of that game, the Flyers were 11 points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

On Wednesday morning, not having lost in regulation time since then, the Flyers are eight points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

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Vasilevskiy adjusts to NHL, role as Lightning backup

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 9:34 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- In many ways Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is a victim of his own success.

The 20-year-old, a prospect from Tyumen, Russia, was expected to spend this season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League and hopefully lead the team to Calder Cup.

When he was called up in December to play for an injured Ben Bishop, he went 3-1-0 with a 45-save effort against the New York Islanders in the lone loss.

If members of the Lightning organization expected Vasilevskiy, the 19th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, to have a bit of a setback when he returned to Syracuse, they were pleasantly surprised to see his numbers improve over the next month.

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Red Wings' Tatar an emerging talent in second season

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Mike Babcock is tougher on forward Tomas Tatar than he is on any other player.

That's because the Detroit Red Wings coach thinks Tatar, who's 24 and in his second full NHL season, has so much potential.

"As long as he keeps working on his details and is committed to doing it all the time, he's going to get there," Babcock said. "That's the biggest challenge for a young player. What allowed you to be good last year isn't good enough this year and the years to come. You got to keep getting better if you want to be the best. That's what guys like [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg have done. So for our young players, they have great examples."

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Five things to watch for Wednesday Night Rivalry

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Detroit Red Wings have won three in a row and are two points shy of being atop the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins' past four games have featured shutouts, although they've won two of them.

Detroit (31-12-9) has won nine of its past 10 games, including a 3-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. The Red Wings have allowed two goals over their three-game win streak. Pittsburgh (30-15-8), which is coming off a 5-0 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, are three points behind the New York Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead.

The Red Wings will try to extend their win streak when they visit the Penguins in the first game of a Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader at Consol Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1).

On the West Coast, the Washington Capitals will face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Washington (28-16-10) had a three-game win streak end with a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. The Capitals trail the Penguins by two points for second place in the Metropolitan. The Sharks (28-20-7) will try to avoid a three-game skid after a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. San Jose has allowed nine goals in its back-to-back defeats.

Here are five things to watch in the two Wednesday Night Rivalry games:

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens