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NHL Insider

Girls' Hockey Weekend growing showcase for sport

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 8:31 PM / NHL Insider

Deborah Francisco - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Tanya Foley, the women's program manager for the International Ice Hockey Federation, first contacted a group of 14 world hockey leaders in 2011 to gauge interest in a girls' event, she had no idea how popular it would become in just two years.

"It was really funny because we started looking at doing it late-summer last year," Foley told NHL.com, "I decided to just throw this out there and see what kind of response we got. I expected nothing, and we had 20 nations sign up right away."

Foley's idea was to take what Hockey Canada and USA Hockey were already doing with Esso Fun Days in Canada and Hockey Weekend Across America, as well as similar programs in Finland, and turn them into an international endeavor to recruit girls to the game.

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Years later, former Knicks and Rangers maintain bond

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 1:40 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Any office environment can benefit from a cooperative workplace in which everyone gets along. If that workplace happens to be an arena housing both an NHL and NBA franchise, then winning sure doesn't hurt.

NHL INSIDER

NYR moments part of MSG retrospective

By Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer
When Madison Square Garden opens its doors following its final round of renovations in November, the redone concourse will include a visual retrospective including great moments in Rangers history. READ MORE ›

During Madison Square Garden's historic spring in 1994, a winning spirit helped to establish a strong bond between Knicks and Rangers players. With both teams enjoying recent success following prolonged playoff droughts, those relationships have been rekindled.

"It's a close-knit family. We have our training center up in Westchester and because both teams live under the same roof there as well as down in the city at the Garden, it's one big family," said Adam Graves, who played 10 seasons with the Rangers and now works in the team's Prospect Development and Community Relations departments. "It's great they're friends. That's where it's special."

The keystone of that relationship was the epic spring of 1994, which saw the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years and the Knicks come within one victory of the NBA title. In their respective playoff runs, the two teams crossed paths countless times at the Garden and developed a respect for one another that remains strong almost 20 years later.

"[Knicks] coach [Pat] Riley made sure we were a family. That's the way he was brought up. He came from a big family and he brought that with him. He made sure we all appreciated one another and respected one another and fought hard for one another," said John Starks, a longtime Knicks guard who now serves as the team's adviser for alumni relations and fan development. "With the Rangers, it was the same exact thing. Playing six, seven months together, you develop a close bond. The Rangers were no different than the Knicks. Those guys fought hard for one another and they protected one another."

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Great Rangers moments part of Garden retrospective

Thursday, 10.11.2012 / 4:01 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Since 1879, Madison Square Garden has moved three times and undergone countless renovations, including the final stage of its current facelift, which is scheduled to be completed next month. Through all those changes, the hallowed arena has hosted every conceivable event and some of the most enduring moments in sports and entertainment, earning a reputation as the world's most famous arena.

On Thursday in Manhattan's Madison Square Park, the site of the original Madison Square Garden, some of the people involved in those historic moments came together to mark the opening of a new exhibit commemorating the venue's incredible legacy. They included New York Rangers greats Mark Messier and Brian Leetch, Knicks legends Walt Frazier and John Starks, trailblazing rappers DMC of Run DMC and Mike D of Beastie Boys, boxer Bernard Hopkins, and even former New York governor Mario Cuomo.

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Davidson looking for challenge from next job

Saturday, 10.06.2012 / 3:59 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

John Davidson has one plan for his future.

"If the phone rings, I'll answer it," Davidson told the Bellevue News-Democrat on Friday, after his parting ways with the St. Louis Blues was officially announced.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster turned successful front-office executive is back on the market after agreeing to a buyout of his contract as Blues president.

The 59-year-old, who reportedly interviewed with the Columbus Blue Jackets after Tom Stillman's purchase of the Blues became official in May, said he has no intention to retire.

"I want a challenge," Davidson told the Columbus Dispatch. "I'm interested in hearing what might be out there. There's lot of energy in this old broken-down body."

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Shining a light on some lesser-known NHL records

Wednesday, 10.03.2012 / 12:37 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

You don't have to be a hockey whiz to know that Wayne Gretzky holds a bushel of NHL records, including most goals (92) and points (215) in a season and in a career (894 goals, 2,857 points), or that the Montreal Canadiens have the most Stanley Cups (23 since the NHL was formed in 1917).

But there are a number of marks and standards that aren't nearly as well known -- and some of those, like the marks held by Gretzky and the Habs, figure to be around for a while.

Here are a few of the NHL's lesser-known records:

Best single-season power-play percentage: 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens

The 1970s and '80s were the golden days of power plays. It was not unusual to have multiple teams clicking at rates that would be unheard of today -- Nashville was tops in power-play percentage last season at 21.9, and no team in the last two decades has exceeded 26 percent.

The New York Islanders became the first team to convert on more than 30 percent of its power plays when they led the League with a 31.7-percent success rate in 1975-76. But that mark was topped two seasons later when the Montreal Canadiens turned 31.9 percent of their power-play chances into goals -- edging the Islanders, who converted at a 31.3-percent rate.

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Hitchcock to 'give back' with free coaching seminars

Monday, 10.01.2012 / 10:32 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is planning to "give back" to a community of coaches who want to sign up for guidance from a Jack Adams Award winner.

Hitchcock is arranging three days of free seminars in St. Louis from Oct. 9-11 for area coaches at various levels ranging from travel to high school to house leagues. He said Thursday there were already 80 coaches signed up for the clinics that will take place at the St. Louis Mills Ice Zone, the Blues' practice facility.

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Nicklas Lidstrom prepares for next phase of his life

Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 12:48 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Nicklas Lidstrom's life for most of June, all of July and at least half of August was, for all intents and purposes, normal. He spent the summer in Sweden and returned to Detroit in late August -- typically the appropriate time to meet up with his Red Wings teammates for some informal practices to prepare for training camp.

However, Lidstrom's return to Hockeytown this year was short and somewhat bittersweet.

The now former Red Wings defenseman, who announced his retirement in a gala press conference at Joe Louis Arena on May 31, sold his sprawling suburban home in July and simply returned to the area late this summer to hand over the keys and take care of some minor final details.

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Ratelle, Lemaire among most underrated players

Wednesday, 09.26.2012 / 1:09 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

No successful NHL team gets far without great talent. But not all of that talent gets a lot of attention. There are great players -- even Hall of Fame members -- who don't receive enough attention. Only afterwards do we realize just how good they were, and just how much they meant to their teams' success.

Here are seven of the most underrated players in NHL history:

Jean Ratelle

It's hard to imagine a Hall of Fame member who starred in the NHL for a long time with less fanfare than Ratelle, a quiet center who was more than content to let his play speak for him.

Ratelle and boyhood friend Rod Gilbert came up together with the Rangers, played together as linemates for years -- and both made the Hall of Fame. But while Gilbert was a flashy wing with a big shot, Ratelle was more like Jean Beliveau -- a slick center who defined elegance on the ice and class and dignity off it.

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Name game: Rating the top combos in NHL history

Tuesday, 09.25.2012 / 2:14 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The thousands of players who've suited up for NHL games run the gamut of first names -- everything from Aaron (Broten, among others) to Zarley (Zalapski -- the only player whose first and last names both begin with the letter "Z"). But if you want your son to have a career in the NHL, it might be best to name him Mike or Bob.

Michael and Robert (and their various derivatives) are by far the most plentiful on the NHL's all-time player list. There have been more than 200 NHL players named Mike/Michael/Michel (a recent count puts the number at 208), the most of any first name. Robert/Bob/Bobby is next at 194, with Dave/David/Davey a distant third at 135.

But which name would give you the best chance at winning the Stanley Cup? Compiling from a list of strictly non-active players, here's a look at some potential winning combinations.

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For Yaroslavl, emotional week ends with home win

Saturday, 09.22.2012 / 5:50 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

For years, a season-opening visit to the local church has been a cherished tradition for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. It held even greater meaning this season after the plane crash that took the lives of many of the team's players, coaches and support staff on Sept. 7, 2011.

The visit was just part of a week's worth of tributes for the team and its coach, who following an emotional return to Yaroslavl now has a winning KHL squad fresh off its first home victory.

"It's a real good group. They're willing to do things to win games. Probably one of the more enjoyable group of guys I've coached, to be honest with you," coach Tom Rowe told NHL.com the day after his first Lokomotiv home win. "We had a really good road trip at the beginning of the season. We went to the Siberian region, which isn't an easy place to go, from what they told me."

Rowe heard right.

His club started its regular season with a 5-2 win in Novosibirsk, an Eastern Russian city located about 600 miles from the Mongolian border and 2,115 miles from Moscow. That was followed by a 2-1 victory in Khabarovsk, less than 20 miles from the Chinese border. Through the extreme road trip, Rowe had his team keep its watches on Moscow time, a tough task considering the eight-hour time difference.

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Quote of the Day

I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there.

— Likely No. 1 pick Connor McDavid after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday