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Panthers' Bjugstad has back surgery, out for season

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 9:17 PM / News

Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad had successful surgery on his lower back Friday.

Bjugstad is out for the season and a full recovery is expected, the Panthers said.

"After consulting with Nick and thoroughly evaluating the extent of his injury, we mutually felt it was important to have this procedure done as soon as possible," Florida general manager Dale Tallon said.


Capitals star Ovechkin meets soccer icon Messi

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 7:14 PM / News

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is used to meeting fans who are in awe of him, but Friday it was his turn.

Ovechkin and teammate Evgeny Kuznetzov, along with Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, met soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md., to prepare for its friendly against El Salvador on Saturday.

"It was a big dream," Ovechkin told Monumental Network. "[Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well."


Hurricanes, goalie Nedeljkovic agree to terms

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 4:46 PM / News

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (neh-DEL-koh-vitch) on a three-year, entry-level contract. At the NHL level, the deal will pay Nedeljkovic $700,000 in 2015-16, $750,000 in 2016-17 and $800,000 in 2017-18. In the minor leagues, he will make $70,000 in each season, and he will receive a signing bonus of $277,500. Nedeljkovic will join the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

“Alex had another strong year with Plymouth, and we are pleased with his development thus far,” said Francis. “We anticipate that he will play an important role in our organization’s future.”

Nedeljkovic, 19, recently completed his third season of major-junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He finished the season ranked first among OHL goaltenders saves (1,827) and shots faced (1,994), tied for third in shutouts (5), fourth in games (55) and minutes played (3,206), fifth in save percentage (.916) and 12th in goals-against average (3.13). The Parma, OH, native posted a 20-28-7 record with Plymouth, finishing 14th among OHL goalies in wins despite the Whalers finishing ninth in the Western Conference with a 23-38-7 record.

To read more from the Carolina Hurricanes website, CLICK HERE.


Bruins sign forward Hargrove to entry-level contract

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 4:41 PM / News

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced March 27, that the club has signed forward Colton Hargrove to an entry-level contract.

In 34 games for Western Michigan University (NCHC) this season, the 22-year-old forward recorded 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points along with 80 penalty minutes. Hargrove finished the season tied for first on the team in goals, ranked second on the team in points and tied for third on the team in both assists and penalty minutes.

Hargrove played three seasons (2012-15) with Western Michigan University amassing 34 goals and 28 assists for 62 points in 105 career collegiate games with a combined plus-26 rating. Before his college career, Hargrove played two seasons with the Fargo Force of the USHL where he competed in 110 total games with 29 goals, 36 assists and 249 penalty minutes.

Hargrove has participated in the last three Boston Bruins Development Camps. The 6’1’’, 211-pound Dallas, TX native was drafted by Boston in the seventh round (205th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

To read more from the Boston Bruins website, CLICK HERE.


Senators unsure which goalie will play Saturday

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 3:28 PM / News

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond is injured, and coach Dave Cameron said he doesn't know who will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports 2).

Hammond, the 27-year-old "Hamburglar" who captured the imagination of the hockey world with a record-equaling start to his NHL career, limped out of Canadian Tire Centre on Friday.

He lost for the first time in regulation as a starter (14-1-1) Thursday and was pulled in a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers, giving up five goals on 22 shots.

Hammond was injured Monday when San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture slid into him and Hammond's right leg got tangled up with the post.


Blues defenseman Shattenkirk to return Saturday

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- After an arduous practice Friday when the St. Louis Blues wanted to put Kevin Shattenkirk through one final test, the defenseman made it unanimous along with doctors, training staff and coaches.

"I'm ready to go," Shattenkirk said regarding his return to the lineup.

Shattenkirk will return when the Blues host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-MW).

Shattenkirk, who has 40 points in 49 games, has been out of the lineup since sustaining an abdominal injury Feb. 1 at the Washington Capitals that required surgery. Shattenkirk has missed 25 games, and the Blues (46-21-7) are 14-8-3 without him.

After using the past three days to ramp up the intensity of his off-ice and on-ice workouts, getting knocked around in a full-scale practice by teammates was the final hurdle.

"It's kind of that time now that really the only way to get back into game shape is to start playing games," Shattenkirk said. "I felt good out there. It was nice to just be back with the team and get the speed of the game back a little bit. … I'm excited about it.

"I've done what I've had to do rehab-wise. It's time to just get back into it. It may not be pretty to start, but you really have to get those experiences back in and get that mindset of playing games to really get back up to speed."


Hurricanes, defenseman Pesce agree to terms

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 2:23 PM / News

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Brett Pesce (PEH-shee) on a three-year, entry-level contract. On the NHL level, the deal will pay Pesce $650,000 in 2015-16, $700,000 in 2016-17 and $800,000 in 2017-18. His American Hockey League (AHL) salary would be $70,000 per year, and he receives a signing bonus of $277,500.

“Brett is a big, puck-moving defenseman, and we felt it was time for him to begin his professional career,” said Francis. “He will report to Charlotte next week so that he can play some AHL games this season.”

Pesce, 20, completed his junior season at the University of New Hampshire in 2014-15, ranking second among Wildcats defenseman with 16 points (3g, 13a) and a plus-12 rating in 30 games. The Tarrytown, NY, native led New Hampshire defensemen in assists (13) and ranked tied for third among all Wildcats skaters in plus/minus (+12).

To read more from the Carolina Hurricanes website, CLICK HERE.


Kane skating, Blackhawks encouraged by progress

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 2:06 PM / News

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane is skating on his own and pleased with his recovery from surgery to repair a fractured left collarbone.

Whether the right wing will be able to return before the surgeon's estimated 12-week timetable remains to be seen, but he and the Chicago Blackhawks are encouraged by what's transpired.

"I think it's the same timetable, but I think how well he's skating and how well he's doing, I think he feels really good about where he's at," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate at United Center on Friday. "It's just a matter of when he can get that green light is probably going to be the hurdle. We like his approach. He's doing a lot of things out there he wants to do or is able to do. That's a good sign."


Penguins' Malkin, Hornqvist could return Saturday

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 1:42 PM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and wing Patric Hornqvist practiced Friday and could return to the lineup Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Malkin said Friday he feels good and there's a great chance he could play, according to the Penguins Twitter feed. Malkin is waiting to see if he experiences any pain or soreness later Friday before he makes a final decision.

Malkin has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury. Pittsburgh is 1-4-1 during that stretch, scoring nine goals.


Former NHL assistant Hunter to coach Canada U-18's

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 12:13 PM / News

Hockey Canada on Friday named Tim Hunter coach for the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, which will be held April 16-26 in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland.

Hunter, who has been an assistant coach in the NHL with the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, and San Jose Sharks, is in his first season as coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League.

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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday