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NHL Insider

Mario Lemieux turns 50, NHL players share memories

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 10:41 AM / NHL Insider


Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner and chairman Mario Lemieux, one of the greatest NHL players of all time, turned 50 on Monday.

To commemorate Lemieux's special day, NHL.com asked players across the League for their memories of the man known as "The Magnificent One."

Lemieux, who battled health issues throughout his 17-season NHL career, had 1,723 points in 915 games, all with the Penguins. He won the Stanley Cup twice as a player (1991, 1992) and as Penguins owner in 2009.

Internationally, Lemieux won an Olympic gold medal, a Canada Cup championship, and a World Cup title. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1997 but returned to the NHL in 2000 and played parts of five additional seasons before retiring in the middle of the 2005-06 season at the age of 40.

The memories shared by current NHL players were almost as varied as the types of highlight-reel goals Lemieux scored during his unrivaled career.

Here they are:

Rangers' Zuccarello to play first game since injury

Thursday, 09.24.2015 / 2:16 PM / NHL Insider


New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello is set to make his preseason debut Thursday against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Last season came to a scary end for Zuccarello when he was hit in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zuccarello missed the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after sustaining a fractured skull and brain contusion that initially left him unable to speak for several days.

"I am happy to be here today and it's an exciting day for me to come back," Zuccarello told reporters according to Blueshirts United.

Yogi Berra provided inspiration for Devils title teams

Wednesday, 09.23.2015 / 1:47 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

The impact Yogi Berra had on the sport of baseball, and specifically the New York Yankees, is well-known. The impact he had on the New Jersey Devils is not as well-known, but is just as compelling in its own way.

Lawrence Peter Berra, 90, died Tuesday night. He was the catcher and the heart and soul of the dynastic Yankees, winning 10 World Series titles during a career that put him in baseball's Hall of Fame.

He was also a major supporter of the Devils upon their arrival in New Jersey, a relationship that began through his friendship with Dr. John McMullen, the Devils' former owner, and continued for more than 30 years.

In fact, some past Devils believe Berra played no small part in helping the team become mentally strong enough to win the Stanley Cup three times from 1995 to 2003.

Alfredsson ready to learn ropes as Senators executive

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Daniel Alfredsson looked down from the stands at the Ottawa Senators players skating furiously during fitness testing at their practice rink early Friday morning.

It was one of the first things he did on his first day as the Senators' senior adviser to hockey operations as he embarked on his new career as an NHL executive under general manager Bryan Murray.

"I watched the skating test this morning and there's a lot less anxiety when you're upstairs than when you're on the ice," Alfredsson said Friday afternoon.

"We just came from a meeting downstairs, Bryan addressed all the players before camp really starts, and you're looking at the room and you see all the players here with big eyes, excited and nervous.

"I've got that feeling again in my body. I can really relate to that."

Trump offered chance to learn how to run AHL team

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 2:19 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

If coaching isn't good enough for Donald Trump, maybe learning how to run a hockey team is.

The Syracuse Crunch, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, issued a challenge to Trump to coach their team in a video posted on their YouTube page Wednesday (watch here).

"You running for president is like me, a Brooklyn boy, being a professional hockey coach," Crunch chief financial officer Vance Lederman said in the video. "So Donald, here is what I'm going to do: I got an invite for you. You're a big man, you want to be for all the people. I invite you to come to Syracuse to learn how to be a professional hockey coach."

Trump, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2016, might be too busy. So when he didn't respond to the coaching offer, Lederman altered his offer and now would like to show Trump how running a hockey team is different than running most businesses.

Coach stays behind as Canucks open camp

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For the newest members of the Vancouver Canucks, the first days of training camp should be their first chance to make a strong first impression on their new coach. The problem is that coach Willie Desjardins won't actually be at camp.

While the rest of the team packed for the 75-minute flight north to Prince George, British Columbia, after physical testing and meeting the media Thursday, the second-year coach was forced to stay behind in Vancouver after having hip replacement surgery on Sept. 8.

Desjardins felt good enough to talk to the media, using a cane with an arm support for his right side to make his way in and out of a makeshift media room at Rogers Arena. However, he wasn't able to convince the medical staff he was ready to fly to the three-day training camp.

"I wanted to go," the 58-year-old said. "The doctors wouldn't let me go."

DeBrusk, Bruins rookies look forward to tournament

Thursday, 09.10.2015 / 7:59 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Most NHL development camps are highlighted by power skating, practice drills and the occasional frantic scrimmage. However, Boston Bruins development camp this July produced a viral video when 2015 first-round pick Jake DeBrusk scored a between-the-legs goal during a shootout.

DeBrusk managed to create a moment that was talked about for weeks after camp ended.

"It took me a while, because, honestly, it was a week there and then I went to the (Canada) World Junior camp and I was still hearing about that after that," DeBrusk said Thursday. "So that was about three weeks. And there were people I hadn't seen in a while and people I went to school with. And it's such a hockey-crazed town. ... It's pretty much all hockey in Edmonton, right, so just lots of people would be showing me things. And even some of my teammates with Swift Current [of the Western Hockey League] were doing it in shootouts and things. It was just one of those plays where I thought I'd try it and see how it goes, and I'm really happy it worked."

Oilers prospects excited to play with McDavid

Thursday, 09.10.2015 / 6:07 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers prospect Kyle Platzer is looking at the Young Stars Classic tournament as an opportunity of a lifetime.

There is a possibility Platzer, a center, could play on a line with Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"That would be awesome; who doesn't want to play with the kid? He's awesome," Platzer said following physicals Thursday. "I've never met a more humble kid in my life, it's insane. If I met him on the street, I wouldn't even know he played hockey. It's a real treat and he's fun to hang around."

Oshie fitting in fine with Capitals after first skate

Wednesday, 09.09.2015 / 1:38 PM / NHL Insider


T.J. Oshie skated with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday for the first time since he was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on July 2.

Though the forward and his family have yet to settle into their house in Arlington, Va., he told the Washington Post the Capitals already are a great fit and one that feels like home.

"You're nervous enough just having to meet new people," Oshie said. "You don't need any awkwardness. I sensed that from the guys here. I think every single guy has come up and said 'Hi' to me and introduced himself and the coaches and staff. Everything's great."

Laraque to play role in live read of 'The Princess Bride'

Tuesday, 09.08.2015 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Georges Laraque played on hockey's biggest stage during his NHL career, making it to the Stanley Cup Final twice. Now he'll literally be onstage.

Laraque will play the role of Fezzik from the 1987 film "The Princess Bride" in a live read at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, director Jason Reitman announced Tuesday on Twitter.

"Finding Fezzik, originated by Andre the Giant, is one of the trickiest pieces of casting I can imagine," said Reitman, who has directed other live reads including "The Big Lebowski," "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" and "Boogie Nights." "A French-speaking mountain of a man with fists for the brute squad and a kind heart. … Turns out I didn't need to look beyond the borders. I'm thrilled that Georges will be joining us."

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