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Red Wings' Babcock refutes contract extension report

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 1:58 PM / News

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock refuted a report that he was close to signing a contract extension in video posted on Twitter by Fox Sports Detroit after practice Thursday.

The Windsor Star reported Wednesday that an announcement of a contract extension that would make Babcock the highest paid coach in the NHL could be imminent. TSN's Darren Dreger also reported a contract offer was expected to be made in the coming days.

Babcock is in the final year of his contract.

"[Detroit general manager] Ken Holland and I, we talked before the year, we agreed that we wouldn't do this during the year," Babcock said. "Our team is going good, our team is playing good. I like the way we're playing. We don't need any distractions. We've had tons of people in this dressing room go through contracts when I've been here and it's been no big deal. I'm happy here. I like the general manager. They treat me good. I don't know what else I can tell you. But as far as negotiation between Mike Babcock and Ken Holland, there is none, OK? There isn't."


Garbutt suspended three games for slew-footing

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 12:59 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NEW YORKDallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended for three games, without pay, for slew-footing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien during NHL Game No. 416 in Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 9, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 13:22 of the third period. Garbutt was assessed a minor penalty for tripping.

Garbutt is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $65,853.66. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.


Penguins' Crosby misses practice with sickness

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 12:51 PM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby did not participate in practice Thursday because he was sick, coach Mike Johnston said according to the Penguins' Twitter account. The Penguins play the Calgary Flames on Friday.

"He was sick today so he wasn't at practice," Johnston said. "We will see tomorrow."

Johnston also said defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist will be gametime decisions Friday after participating in all contact drills during practice Thursday.


All roads lead to EPIX this winter

Kevin Smith to provide weekly recaps of two-part, eight-episode series

NEW YORK -- Premium entertainment network EPIX and the National Hockey League announced today that film director, author, and avid hockey fan Kevin Smith (Tusk, Clerks) will host weekly recaps of the EPIX Original Series EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic™ and EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Stadium Series™, produced by 52-time Emmy® Award winner Ross Greenburg. The series is narrated by Bill Camp (12 Years a Slave, Lincoln).

Kevin Smith's Penalty Box, two-minute episodes that capture Smith's distinctive perspective on each week's highlights, will run on air and across EPIX and NHL digital platforms the Wednesday following the Tuesday night premiere. Encores of Kevin Smith's Penalty Box will air leading into the premiere of the following week's episode.

EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic™ will make its U.S. Television Premiere on EPIX December 16 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT, with four weekly episodes following the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals as they prepare to compete in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Stadium Series™ will make its U.S. Television Premiere on EPIX February 3, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT, with four weekly episodes focused on the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on the road to the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™.


Fantasy top 30 goalies: Don't give up on elite starters

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

We're in a new information era in hockey (at least new in a sense of public attention), with an increased emphasis on number crunching and statistics. There's a prevailing thought that, much like counting cards or playing the lottery, a finite equation can be used to predict future results. But some statistics and statistical concepts we use aren't as complicated as predicting what card will be drawn next from out of deck.

One thing to keep in mind when evaluating fantasy hockey goalies is regression.

Simply put, every player has an average stat line he produces. If a player is performing above or below that line, it's expected he eventually will produce more or less to achieve his average.

For example, during his career Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has scored on 12.3 percent of his shots. So if out of the first 100 shots Ovechkin takes in a season six (or six percent) go in, we would expect that number gradually to rise as he continues playing.

The same concept can be applied for goalies. The Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask carried a career save percentage above .928 into this season, well above the League average. But Rask, for a number of reasons, has seen his save percentage drop to .912 through 21 games this season. The last time Rask had a save percentage below .920 for an entire season was 2010-11 when he was backing up Tim Thomas.


Bruins goalie Rask managing greater expectations

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

There's an expectation of perfection that hovers around Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask unlike most others who play a team sport.

The wish that he should make every save, regardless of difficulty, and win every game comes mostly from outside the Bruins dressing room, from media and fans.

The pressure might not be as great on Rask as it can be for a goaltender in Montreal or Toronto, but among New England athletes probably Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has more of a spotlight on him. And when things go wrong, Rask, fair or not, garners the majority of the blame.

Rask is judged by more than wins, losses and save percentage. He's compared to other goaltenders around the NHL. And he's compared to a goaltender who three years ago ended the Bruins' 39-year Stanley Cup drought with a Conn Smythe-winning performance. Rask's three runs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Bruins' No. 1 goaltender have ended in the second round twice and in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rask and the Bruins play the Blackhawks at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, SN360).


Unmasked: Bobrovsky, Mason succeeding differently

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

It could not have been easy for Philadelphia Flyers fans to see goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky hoist the 2013 Vezina Trophy one year after being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. There was no need, however, to rekindle any angst when Bobrovsky was named NHL Second Star of the Week heading into a game against the Flyers on Tuesday.

Bobrovsky would be the first to remind fans still upset by his departure that the goalie Philadelphia traded is not the same one now stopping pucks and winning awards in Columbus. He has made significant technical and tactical adjustments since leaving.

"I would say it's two different goalies right now comparing me in Philly and right now in Columbus," Bobrovsky told "I changed my style a lot. Mentally, physically, technically, all those things have changed here."


Zacha making transition to North America look simple

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Pavel Zacha had a pretty good idea of the steps he needed to take to succeed in his first season in North America with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.

It wasn't easy. The smaller rinks and quick decisions he had to make on the fly were a bit of an adjustment, but the Czech Republic native seems to have found his groove.

"Pavel has made a seamless transition to the North American game," Sting general manager Nick Sinclair said. "He's a very intelligent young man both on and off the ice."

With 19 points in 21 games, Zacha is tied for third in scoring among OHL rookies, and his nine goals are tied for third on the Sting. He had an A rating from NHL Central Scouting on its November players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft.


Around the League notebook for Wednesday, Dec. 10

Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 1:35 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


A funeral mass was held for Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau at Queen Mary of the World Basilica Cathedral in Montreal on Wednesday. Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Phil Goyette, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Rousseau and Jean-Guy Talbot served as pallbearers for the ceremony while Cournoyer, Savard, Dickie Moore, Ken Dryden and Geoff Molson all stepped to the podium to eulogize their friend.


Ryan Kesler (1-0—1) netted the game-winning goal in the second period to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers. The Ducks have won five consecutive games and eight of their last 10. They lead the NHL with 43 points (19-6-5).


Current Canadiens vow to maintain Beliveau's legacy

Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 9:28 PM / News

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Jean Beliveau wanted to be remembered as a team player. On Wednesday, his beloved Montreal Canadiens celebrated his life as a good man, above all.

Max Pacioretty, Carey Price, P.K. Subban and the rest of the Canadiens were among the 1,500 people who attended Beliveau's funeral at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.

Beliveau was eulogized by Hall of Fame teammates Dickie Moore, Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard and Ken Dryden, and Canadiens owner, CEO and president Geoff Molson.

"It was an emotional experience," Price said. "I don't think you'll ever meet another guy that was loved and respected by so many people, and it was a real honor to be a part of his memory and the celebration of a really good life."

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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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