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NHL Insider

Hurricanes' Hanifin confident he can play at NHL level

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:03 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Carolina Hurricanes rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin understands why he was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, and although no player enjoys being told that he won't suit up for a game, the 18-year-old feels the break was beneficial.

After playing Carolina's first eight games, Hanifin was scratched for a 3-1 victory at the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

"The coaching staff kind of wanted me to refresh a little bit and go up top and watch the game and see it from a different perspective just because I've been playing at a high level the past eight games," Hanifin told Wednesday during a tour of the League offices. "It was nice to take a breather, watch and see how it's supposed to be played. If I'm in against the Islanders, I just hope to keep it going."

Ovechkin set to pass Fedorov as top Russian in goals

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin has broken more than a few records during his NHL career, but the next one he reaches will have some added meaning.

The Washington Capitals captain is on the verge of becoming the highest goal scorer among Russian-born players, closing in on former NHL player Sergei Fedorov's record of 483 goals.

Ovechkin has 480 goals in 766 NHL games, the most of any player since he entered the League in 2005.

"I'm very excited," Ovechkin said. "It's going to be a huge honor for me to beat his record, especially [since] I know him and he was a top player I played with. It'll be something."

Ovechkin could tie or surpass Fedorov's mark by the end of the week. The Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN); the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Decision day closes in for 10 on entry-level contracts

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Decision day is coming for some of the top rookies in the NHL.

Ten players remain on NHL rosters who are approaching the 10-game threshold that could determine if their entry-level contracts start or slide to next season.

Players can be sent to junior hockey, or in some situations the American Hockey League, prior to playing a 10th game and delay the start of their contract. Players still can be sent down after playing their 10th game but it would waste the first season of their three-year contract. And in the case of players sent to junior hockey, they can't be recalled until their team's season ends.

It was an easy decision for the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres when it came to centers Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the first two picks of the 2015 NHL Draft, respectively.

Briere makes transition to business side with Flyers

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

After 17 seasons as an NHL player, Daniel Briere is starting to learn the other side of hockey.

Briere, 38, announced his retirement Aug. 17, and since then he's been working with Philadelphia Flyers president Paul Holmgren, learning the business side of the sport.

"It's for now mostly on the business side," Briere said. "Learning how an organization works as far as season tickets, food, parking and all of that. Basically the way it all comes together behind the scenes. For so many years my meetings were about power play, the system and the teams we were facing. Now I have the chance to see behind the door what it's like to selling tickets and season tickets and services and all that. So it's pretty cool. It gets me out of my comfort zone and it's something that I didn't know anything about."

'Russian Five' changed hockey's fabric forever

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Vassili Ossipov - Staff Writer

Twenty years ago, hockey took a major step in its evolution when the Detroit Red Wings put five Russian players together as one unit of three forwards and two defensemen for the first time.

The "Russian Five," as the deployment of forwards Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov, and defensemen Vladimir Konstantinov and Viacheslav Fetisov became known, debuted Oct. 27, 1995, against the Calgary Flames and helped the Red Wings score two of its three goals.

Kozlov and Larionov scored in Detroit's 3-0 victory against Calgary, but hockey ended up being the biggest winner. The game changed for the better in response to the transcendental nature of the Russian Five, the brainchild of Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman.

Together, the Russians helped Detroit to a historic 1995-96 season, when it set the NHL record with 62 wins and finished one point short of tying the record for most points in a season (132), set by the Montreal Canadiens in 1976-77. More importantly, the Russian Five was a big part of the Red Wings' first Stanley Cup championship in 42 years.

Canadiens unimpressed by win streak to open season

Tuesday, 10.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Rogers Arena fell eerily silent Monday when a trainer rushed to the side of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price while he lie facedown on the ice after a rising slap shot hit him in the throat.

A few moments later, after a brief, expletive-laced warning from coach Michel Therrien to keep the shots down, Price was back on his skates and in the net.

All was right again for the streaking Canadiens. Perfect, even.

Montreal is the first team in NHL history to start a season with nine straight wins in regulation, and with a victory against the slumping Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, the Canadiens would become one of three teams to start a season with 10 consecutive victories.

If the Canadiens are feeling the pressure of chasing history, you couldn't tell inside the locker room, where all dismissed their franchise-record start with the same disdain that Price swatted aside questions about the high shot that felled him in practice.

"It was a shot up high, I'm all right," Price said curtly.

Blackhawks' Panarin quickly adapting to NHL life

Monday, 10.26.2015 / 9:36 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Tikhonov sat in front of his locker stall and smiled.

He was being asked about Artemi Panarin, his friend and teammate. Questions about Panarin have been frequent for Tikhonov since he and Panarin decided to leave SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League and join the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Is Tikhonov surprised by how smoothly Panarin, a 5-foot-11, 170 pound left wing, has transitioned to the NHL?

"No," said Tikhonov, the grandson of the legendary former Russia national team coach of the same name. "You know, I hate saying, 'I told you so,' but I've been telling a lot of people the last two months that this kid's going to be really good and I guess you can kind of see the results. He's only going to get better and I think everyone should be really excited that he's here."

Flames look to build confidence on road trip

Sunday, 10.25.2015 / 12:53 PM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

The tone is decidedly different heading into their first extended road trip of the season, but the Calgary Flames aren't out of trouble yet.

The Flames (2-5-0), who ended a four-game losing streak and won for the first time in five games at home in a 3-2 win in overtime on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings, start a three-game road trip against the New York Rangers (5-2-2) on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, SN, SN1, MSG).

"Obviously, we're frustrated that we started the season off not playing too well," forward Sean Monahan said. "I think we came together as a group and we knew we had to be better. So I think when frustration kicks in, you find a way to use that as momentum.

Undefeated Canadiens can make history on trip

Sunday, 10.25.2015 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

The Montreal Canadiens are heading west with a chance to make history.

The Canadiens play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Center on Tuesday seeking their 10th consecutive victory from the start of the season. That would match the record set by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and equaled by the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres.

If the Canadiens defeat the Canucks, they can break the record with a victory at the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.

Coyotes rookie Domi becoming must-watch player

Friday, 10.23.2015 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson's phone was buzzing with text messages from friends and family members in his hometown of Karlskrona, Sweden. They all wanted to know about No. 16 for the Arizona Coyotes and what's up with that ridiculous backhanded shot?

That's Max Domi, Arizona's 20-year-old rookie forward, Ekman-Larsson told them, and that backhand is only one of the weapons in his arsenal.

"Everybody is talking about him back home," Ekman-Larsson said. "He's got a lot of speed, some sick hands and that shot. His backhanded shot is probably one of the best in this League. Unbelievable. So hard. He's got a lot of good things going on."

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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