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NHL Insider

Jamie Benn growing into role as captain of Stars

Sunday, 02.22.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Last season was a giant learning experience for Jamie Benn.

But considering it was the start of what likely will be a long run as captain of the Dallas Stars, Benn viewed it as very productive.

Benn, a fifth-round pick (No. 129) in the 2007 NHL Draft, is in his sixth season in the League. He is second on Dallas with 58 points (23 goals, 35 assists), tied for ninth in the NHL.

Last season, Benn was a big reason the Stars made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years; they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks in a six-game Western Conference First Round series.

The Stars, who lost in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at American Airlines Center, complete a back-to-back Sunday at the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).


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Kane sees Sabres as 'headed in the right direction'

Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 3:26 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Forward Evander Kane was formally introduced as a member of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and said he's ready to move on to this opportunity.

"It's definitely exciting to be here and meet the guys and see the city a little bit," Kane said at First Niagara Center. "The facility that they have here, it's pretty phenomenal. My excitement was definitely met since first coming here."

The Sabres acquired Kane on Feb. 11, with defenseman Zach Bogosian, from the Winnipeg Jets in a trade for defenseman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, forward prospects forwards Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux, and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

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'Red Army' film focused on legendary Russian team

Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

Gabe Polsky grew up in the United States a child of parents from the former Soviet Union. He said his family's history and his heritage never really interested him for the most part, but one thing that did catch his attention was his hockey coach at age 13, also from the Soviet Union.

"It was kind of eye-opening, the style of play that he taught and the school of hockey he taught," Polsky told NHL.com. "It was really encouraging of creativity, and all these unusual training methods.

"[Anatoli] Tarasov's sort of school of hockey."

Polsky went on to play college hockey at Yale before entering a career in filmmaking. And it's that upbringing, one that combined a passion for hockey with a developed curiosity in Russian and Soviet culture, which led him to direct the documentary "Red Army," which explores one of hockey's most dominant international teams.

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'Red Army' director delves into Soviet hockey legends

Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Marrazza - NHL.com Staff Writer

In North America, the hockey teams that once represented the former Soviet Union have long had a reputation: Robotic. Emotionless. Dominant.

Westerners have long respected the former Soviet Union's national teams as some of the most prolific in hockey history. Yet despite the esteem in which Soviet hockey is widely held, many Westerners still are not sure how to feel about those teams. In the end, the prevalent feeling in the West was that the Soviet teams were hyper-efficient, machine-like units, but that at the end of the day they could never equal the heart and desire shown by the U.S. Miracle on Ice team at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics or the grit displayed by Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.

Director Gabe Polsky's documentary "Red Army" places a magnifying glass over Soviet hockey's most-storied figures, using archival footage and thorough exclusive interviews to delve inside the psyche of the men and teams that made the Soviets legends.

A 35-year-old former Yale hockey player whose Ukrainian-immigrant parents raised him in Chicago, Polsky recently discussed "Red Army" with NHL.com.

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Blues' Lehtera adjusting to North America, NHL life

Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 2:50 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- It's been a year since St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera made a name for himself in front of what would turn out to be his future employers in the NHL.

For Lehtera, 27, the competition of representing Finland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics now seems like a distant memory.

It was a good first impression for the Helsinki, Finland native, who holds a key top-six role for the Blues, for what he hopes parlays into a prolonged NHL career.

The Blues (38-16-4), who hold one of the NHL's best records, were impressed after Lehtera scored a goal and had three assists in six games to help Finland win bronze in Sochi, and he went on to score three goals and 12 points in 10 games at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

The Blues were impressed enough to sign Lehtera to a two-year, $5.5 million contract even though he had no NHL experience.

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New stats on NHL.com provide wealth of insight

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 6:47 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Hockey debates have been about feel as much as fact for much of their history. But that is changing.

Is Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith more valuable to his team? Is Wayne Gretzky or Gordie Howe the best player in hockey history? Where do Mario Lemieux or Sidney Crosby fit into that discussion? How do the career statistics of Steven Stamkos compare to other Canadian centers who are 6-foot-1 or taller and born in the 1990s?

Help is on the way. The new NHL.com statistics page (NHL.com/stats) debuted a wealth of information and tools Friday on an enhanced stats page. But even more data is coming, which will aid in any debate or answer any question regardless of era.

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Primer: Get to know new enhanced stats on NHL.com

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 3:08 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

With many new statistics now on NHL.com after the League announced a partnership with enterprise software company SAP, the following is a primer on how some of them came into existence, what they mean, how they're applied, and why they're important.

SHOT ATTEMPTS (Corsi)

Puck possession has always been important in hockey, but analysts have proven how valuable it can be. Shot attempts are the best proxy for understanding and quantifying puck possession.

The idea for quantifying puck possession through shot attempts originally came from Tim Barnes, who posted his work online under the pseudonym Vic Ferrari. Barnes, who now works for the Washington Capitals, coined the term "Corsi," naming the stat after Buffalo Sabres goaltending coach Jim Corsi.

A shot attempt is counted any time a player tries to shoot the puck. They are counted as a shot on goal, blocked shot or missed shot. By adding those three types of a shot together, you have the number of shot attempts.

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NHL, SAP partnership to lead statistical revolution

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 2:47 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The NHL announced a partnership Friday with enterprise software company SAP, which will transform the way hockey fans consume data across multiple platforms, including the League's numerous outlets.

This partnership begins with a redesigned statistics page on NHL.com and the introduction of advanced stats on the website, but it will expand to improve the fan experience on television broadcasts and in NHL arenas as future phases of the project are introduced.

"Hockey is extremely fast-paced with very little stoppage in play, which results in many aspects of the game failing to show up in the box score," NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said. "In partnering with SAP and using its best-in-class SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service, we are now able to capture data points like never before and present existing and new statistics in a visually appealing way.

"The new NHL stats platform goes beyond data to offer insights that will help avid fans go deeper and help casual fans understand the game better. There are also unlimited storytelling opportunities as we provide our fans with a personalized and interactive experience."

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Schneider-Horvat trade worked for Devils, Canucks

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 1:47 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Bo Horvat had no idea the Vancouver Canucks had their sights set on him when the Canucks acquired the ninth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for goaltender Cory Schneider.

Even though Schneider was the more experienced player in the trade, he and Horvat will be linked as a result of that draft-day transaction.

"I would like to hope that they traded me for another good player," Schneider said. "The Canucks had an area of surplus with goaltending at the time and New Jersey had a need. I'm sure it will be linked but it was a hockey trade that works out for both teams.

"In the end I think both sides will say they were pretty happy with the deal."

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Lightning's Gudlevskis reflects on storybook night

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

A year ago this week, the 2014 Sochi Olympics entered the knockout round. To celebrate, NHL.com looks at three players who used one of hockey's biggest stages to grab the spotlight and parlay their celebrity into the 2014-15 NHL season.

Today, we look at Latvia goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, who went from unheralded backup to Olympic star with his performance against Canada in the quarterfinals.

Not long after upsetting Switzerland in the qualification round of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Latvia coach Ted Nolan made up his mind.

On tap in the quarterfinals was Canada, the favorite to win the gold medal for the second consecutive Olympic Games. Nolan turned to an unknown goalie named Kristers Gudlevskis, who in his Olympic debut allowed five goals to eventual silver-medal winner Sweden.

Latvia's top goalie was Edgars Masalskis, who made 32 saves in the win that eliminated Switzerland, but Nolan's instincts led him to Gudlevskis. Nolan's reasoning suggested not playing Masalskis in consecutive games of the grueling tournament. His gut told him plainly that it was Gudlevskis' time.

"I told him there would be a big moment for you coming up in the Olympics," said Nolan, coach of the Buffalo Sabres. "We knew we would play him in that game [against Canada] because of his size and athleticism, and youthful enthusiasm. Youthful enthusiasm sometimes overcomes that lack of experience sometimes."

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Quote of the Day

I had one really not-good game. I came back to the hotel and he [his father] was on Skype. My mother called first and said, 'Your father wants to talk to you.' So he moved my mother away, and he yelled at me for like 30 seconds. I understood him, and then he said, 'I'm done.' And he was gone. The next game I got my first shutout.

— Anton Khudobin recalls a fond memory, explains why he was so sharp in the Hurricanes' 3-0 win against the Capitals on Friday
2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series GigaPixel