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NHL Insider

Joannette to referee 1,000th game close to home

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 8:54 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Referee Marc Joannette has come a long way and will be honored for that journey about three miles from where it began.

Joannette will work the 1,000th game of his NHL career at Bell Centre on Saturday when the Montreal Canadiens host the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, FS-D).

Joannette grew up in the Montreal borough of Verdun, a block away from his friend and current NHL linesman Pierre Racicot and near Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

Joannette would go to Racicot's house to play hockey on his backyard rink, and when they were teenagers they would often ride the city bus together to the local arena to officiate minor hockey games in the mid-1980s.

In May 2008, Joannette and Racicot boarded a plane together to fly to Detroit. Joannette was on his way to officiate his first game in the Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 of the series between the Red Wings and Penguins.

Maple Leafs have plan to slow down Penguins' Kessel

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Goalie James Reimer said Phil Kessel has the best shot in the NHL. Joffrey Lupul said he has a plan to try to stop Kessel.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will face their former teammate for the first time when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, ROOT).

"It'll be interesting," Reimer said. "He's dangerous … so dangerous. He's probably got the best shot in the League. Honestly, I don't think there's anybody better. Just the speed of his release and his accuracy and how heavy his shot is, he's the best. It'll be fun to face him. I faced him lots in practices, but even when you think you knew where he was shooting, he could usually still score."

Penguins' Kessel focused on winning, not revenge

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel said there's no animosity from him toward the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, Kessel did say he wouldn't mind defeating the team that traded him to Pittsburgh on July 1 when the Penguins play the Maple Leafs on Saturday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; CITY).

Kessel's desire for a win doesn't stem from a need to get one over on Toronto, but from a desire for his new team to win its second consecutive game following its worst start in a decade.

"I've played a bunch of games so it's not a big deal," Kessel said. "Obviously I loved my time in Toronto. I had a great time there. I have a lot of friends there. I love the city. But it's time to move on.

"I don't care [about the media attention he'll receive]. I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team win [Saturday] and try to play my best. And whatever happens, happens."

Sharks' DeBoer thankful for time spent with Devils

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 1:54 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer has no regrets over the three-plus seasons he spent as coach of the New Jersey Devils.

DeBoer returns to Prudential Center on Friday for the first time since being fired by the Devils on Dec. 26, 2014. At that time, the Devils were 12-17-7 and nine points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I loved every minute of my time with the Devils," DeBoer said. "I loved working for (then-general manager) Lou Lamoriello and my family loved living in the area and still does. When I look back on the experience here I have nothing but great memories and great friends."

Changes have Canadiens on verge of early history

Thursday, 10.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- It's not easy to make history when you play for the Montreal Canadiens.

But that's exactly what the 2015-16 Canadiens have an opportunity to do Thursday when they host the New York Rangers in their home opener at Bell Centre (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, MSG, RDS).

The Canadiens are 4-0-0, the fourth time they have opened a season with four wins. The three previous times (1955-56, 1970-71 and 1977-78), the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.

They have never won five in a row to start any of their previous 97 NHL seasons.

Coach Michel Therrien learned of the history being made Tuesday evening after the Canadiens ruined the Pittsburgh Penguins' home opener with a 3-2 victory, and he's trying as best he can to maintain some composure amid the hot start.

"You've got to be really humble about success and understand it's a battle every night," Therrien said after an optional practice Wednesday. "It's good for the confidence, but we have to stay really humble."

Coyotes' marketing campaign attempts to reel in fans

Thursday, 10.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Arizona Coyotes want you to know about who they are now, not who they used to be. They want you to know why jumping on their bandwagon will be worth the ride.

The Coyotes began sending those messages this month through a rebranding marketing campaign that attempts to prove they're reinventing themselves as a young and exciting team that isn't relocating and requests your attention.

Arizona has rolled out a 30-second television spot, a 96-second short film to run in Phoenix-area movie theaters, new digital experiences on its website and social media platforms, and an extensive community outreach program tying it in with the youth and amateur hockey programs in the Valley.

The campaign's focus is that the Coyotes and their fans are different, different is cool, and if you're not willing to jump on board, then it's your loss.

Timonen to be honored by Flyers, 'my No. 1 team'

Wednesday, 10.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Kimmo Timonen was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, developed into an all-star with the Nashville Predators and won the Stanley Cup last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

But he still considers himself a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I was in Nashville for eight years and I was the captain there," Timonen said. "My kids were born in Nashville. So those memories are really nice. Here in Philly, I think my role was so good, and playing for the Flyers in front of these fans, it was something I'll remember for the rest of my life. … I think the Flyers are my No. 1 team."

Blackhawks' Teravainen looks to carve permanent role

Wednesday, 10.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks needed someone to break the ice.

Trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 late in Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, it was starting to look like goalie Ben Bishop would lead the Lightning to a shutout at Amalie Arena.

Instead, in a flash, a 20-year old Finnish rookie changed the script. Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago's baby-faced forward, scored the tying goal and then followed it with a defensive play that led directly to the eventual game-winner scored by Antoine Vermette, all in a 1:58 span.

Asked about the diminutive Teravainen (5-foot-11, 178 pounds) after the Blackhawks won 2-1, right wing Marian Hossa delivered a quote that went viral.

"He doesn't have a heartbeat," said Hossa, a veteran of 18 NHL seasons. "He's so calm. He's Finnish cold."

Sharks forward Ward adjusting after leaving Capitals

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 4:04 PM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward has experienced more than a few changes in his life over the past few months.

After four seasons with the Washington Capitals, Ward tested the free agent market and signed a three-year, $9.8 million contract with the San Jose Sharks on July 3.

With the Sharks set to play the Capitals at Verizon Center on Tuesday, Ward is adjusting not only to a new team, but a new way of life on the West Coast.

"[Washington] was definitely home for a while, so you're used to it, the simple drive to Kettler [Iceplex] every morning from where I was, so now it's about learning new things," Ward said. "I've got to find a new drycleaner, a new barber shop, all the little things I've got to go through now."

Red Wings' Abdelkader building off breakout season

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 10:25 AM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Justin Abdelkader had a breakout season in 2014-15 and is off to an even better start in 2015-16.

After a career-high 23 goals and 44 points last season, the Detroit Red Wings left wing has four goals, five points and a plus-4 rating to lead them to a 2-0-0 start.

That performance, highlighted by the second hat trick of his NHL career in the season opener Friday, a 4-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena, earned Abdelkader, 28, the NHL's First Star of the Week.

"I'll take a star here," Abdelkader said after practice Monday. "It's two games, still a long ways to go. Our line did a lot of good things out there, created a lot of scoring chances and we had fun doing it."

The Red Wings play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports) at Joe Louis Arena. Tampa Bay eliminated Detroit from the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs in seven games in an Eastern Conference First Round series.

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