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(Page 5 of 269)
NHL Insider

Capitals' Backstrom quietly puts up big-time numbers

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Midway through a first-period power play against the Edmonton Oilers last Wednesday, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom contemplated his options.

Near the right half-wall where he orchestrates the Capitals power play, Backstrom's stick blade danced around the puck before he settled on defenseman John Carlson, who was lurking in the high slot with his stick cocked.

Backstrom slid an effortless pass in Carlson's direction, and the defenseman fired the puck past Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens to tie the game 1-1.

The assist, his 500th NHL point, was quintessential Backstrom: understated but effective. The 26-year-old's career has been characterized by such subtlety, an extension of his reserved personality.

"He is sneaky good. I knew he was, but you appreciate it more when you see it every day," said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who signed with Washington on July 1.

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Clock ticks for junior-aged prospects on NHL rosters

Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 5:05 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The clock could strike midnight for several top junior-aged prospects this week when general managers around the NHL are forced to make franchise-defining decisions on the immediate future of those young stars.

Will Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, chosen No. 1 in the 2014 NHL Draft, take the next step in his career? Can Jonathan Drouin, selected No. 3 by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2013 NHL Draft, stick with the team that returned him to the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the end of training camp in the 2013-14 preseason?

Those questions will be answered as early as Wednesday.

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Happy birthday: Draisaitl staying put with Oilers

Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 4:20 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers rookie center Leon Draisaitl had a memorable 19th birthday Monday.

The Oilers extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens and Draisaitl was informed he would not be returned to his junior team.

Draisaitl will play his 10th game with the Oilers on Wednesday against the Nashville Predators, which activates the first year of his entry-level contract.

"He's part of our hockey team, he's earned his right to be here at practice [Tuesday] and be in the lineup [Wednesday]," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "It shouldn't be a distraction for our team. It's part of the process of us getting better. It's not a big topic at all in our room. All we are concerned with is practice [Tuesday] and the Nashville Predators [on Wednesday]."

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Flyers' Hextall following Kings blueprint for success

Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 3:06 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- It was the familiar and the strange all in one setting at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday morning.

There skating up and down the ice were Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, just like they did in their first six NHL seasons as members of the Philadelphia Flyers.

But Tuesday they were there as the opposition, in their fourth season together as teammates with the Los Angeles Kings.

A lot has happened for the Flyers, and Carter and Richards, since June 23, 2011. That was the day Philadelphia gave its franchise a facelift by trading its two cornerstone stars. Carter was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek and a 2011 first-round draft pick that was used on center Sean Couturier, and Richards was traded to the Kings for forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Later in the 2011-12 season Carter was traded to the Kings, where he and Richards helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2012. They repeated the feat in 2014.

"It's crazy how things happen," Carter said. "It's all worked out for us."

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Wild hope goalie Kuemper has short memory

Monday, 10.27.2014 / 11:57 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- It was early in the afternoon Monday, approximately nine hours before the shine faded from Darcy Kuemper's remarkable start to the season, when Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo was talking about the goalie's maturity.

"It's all about preparation," Yeo said. "If he's had success, and he has, he hasn't carried that into the next game. He has to push that aside and make sure he's prepared the right way for the game. I think so far he's shown a lot of maturity as far as a young goalie making sure he's prepared the right way."

Kuemper's next start will determine the shelf-life of Yeo's comment. Now he has to overcome a bad loss.

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Ducks brace for tough stretch against top West teams

Monday, 10.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler doesn't like to use the cliché phrase "measuring stick." Coach Bruce Boudreau would rather not look past any game other than the next one. So leave it up to young defenseman Cam Fowler to say out loud what is probably on the minds of the Ducks regarding their next five games.

"It's certainly going to be challenging," Fowler said.

Starting Sunday against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center, the Ducks will be tested by some of the best in the Western Conference. They will also play at the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. All five teams were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

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Senators, Devils honor fallen Canadian soldiers

Sunday, 10.26.2014 / 1:09 AM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- On a memorable night at the end of tragic week, Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan said he knows what he will remember most.

"I think we knew the atmosphere was going to be like that right when we came out. It gives you the chills with the glow sticks going and the fans being loud. 'O Canada' was something that I'll always remember. I think a lot of people can echo that," Ryan said Saturday after an emotional night at Canadian Tire Centre.

In a coordinated effort, the Senators, Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs honored two Canadian soldiers, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrick Vincent, who were killed in separate incidents during the week. The ceremony also honored the first responders to those incidents.

The Senators and the New Jersey Devils stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the center ice circle for the ceremony. In the middle, at center ice, were representatives of the Canadian military.

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Predators' Neal feeling right at home in Nashville

Saturday, 10.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators forward James Neal is quickly becoming the new face of hockey in town after being traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins at the NHL Draft in June.

Neal adjusted well after getting over the unexpected trade, coming to Nashville to start working with his new team.

"When you get traded, it's a shock," said Neal, who will face his former team for the first time Saturday when the Predators and Penguins face off at Bridgestone Arena. "As the summer went on and things are starting to get more and more in place, you just get more and more excited. I love the way our training camp was up-tempo. Guys came in here with a mindset, and everyone wanted to be a better team than last year. We've worked hard for that, and we're going to continue to work at that."

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Price, Canadiens won't look back as they face Rangers

Friday, 10.24.2014 / 5:12 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens went home for the summer after being eliminated in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a major "what if?" hanging over their heads.

What if star goaltender Carey Price wasn't injured in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers? What if Price were able to avoid Rangers forward Chris Kreider sliding at full speed toward the Canadiens crease instead of having Kreider collide into him, straining his knee when his leg slammed into the goal post behind him?

The Canadiens lost the series in six games, and even though Dustin Tokarski came in and performed extremely well under the circumstances, it was not the same as having one of the best goaltenders in the world behind them.

What if?

The answer to that question will never be known, and it won't become any clearer Saturday when Price will be in goal for the Canadiens game against the Rangers at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET; CITY, TVA).

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Analysis: Chara loss hurts, doesn't destroy Bruins

Friday, 10.24.2014 / 5:03 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Before anyone starts planning the Boston Bruins' funeral because Zdeno Chara's knee injury will keep him out of the lineup for four to six weeks, if not more, how about a little perspective.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season despite not having Steven Stamkos in the lineup for 45 games. The Detroit Red Wings made the playoffs last season even though Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each missed 37 games.

The Lightning and Red Wings overcame those significant losses because they're deep, talented, well-coached teams. They overcame because players who formerly were considered prospects stepped up to become full-time contributors.


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Quote of the Day

I think everybody wanted the puck tonight. Everybody wanted to be part of the solution and it reflected on the way we played. It's tiring when you have to chase the puck but tonight was one of those nights where everyone really wanted to make a play and wanted to have an impact on the game.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis after a 2-0 win against the Flyers
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