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Howard's strong play has Red Wings in contention

Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- If you ask Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard what he is doing differently this season than in 2013-14, his response is "Nothing."

But, he adds, there is one difference.

Jimmy Howard
Goalie - DET
RECORD: 13-5-4
GAA: 2.21 | SVP: .917
"Just feel healthy, that's the biggest thing. I put in the work in the summertime," Howard said. "It [health] gives you the confidence to go out there and do your job."

Howard is 13-5-4 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .917 save percentage for Detroit, which has won seven of its past eight games. The Red Wings are 17-6-5 and on top of the Atlantic Division with 39 points heading into the Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA SPORTS).

Last season, Howard, 30, slumped with a 2.66 GAA after 2.12 and 2.13 the previous two seasons. He was hampered throughout 2013-14 with groin and shoulder injuries.

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Groulx focused on Canada selection-camp process

Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Canadian National Junior Team coach Benoit Groulx has made it clear the type of player he feels will fit his profile to serve on the final roster for the country at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

He'll begin the arduous process of forming that 22-man unit Thursday when Hockey Canada's selection camp begins in earnest with a practice at MasterCard Centre in Toronto. Groulx will hold practices Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The team will hold a morning skate Saturday before traveling to Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto for an exhibition match against CIS at 7 p.m. ET.

What type of player is Groulx seeking in attempt to end a five-year gold medal drought at the tournament?

"Recent history has shown us that being a hundred-point guy on a first line is no longer enough at the Juniors," Groulx said. "Our players have to raise their game. These are players who will one day be in the National Hockey League. They have the talent, but can they elevate their play? That's the message we're sending. The level we've competed at these last few years simply wasn't enough."

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Wild's Ballard injured; Islanders' Halak misses start

Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 12:24 AM / News

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard left the game Tuesday against the New York Islanders midway through the second period after hit from left wing Matt Martin.

Ballard left with 11:56 left in the second after being driven hard into the boards by Martin. A stretcher was sent on to the ice, but Ballard was able to get up and headed to the dressing room with the help of the Wild training staff.

Ballard is conscious and was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for further evaluation and observation, according to the Wild.

Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak was forced to miss his scheduled start because of an upper-body injury.

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Canadiens shine spotlight on Beliveau's seat

Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 12:18 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens have sold out Bell Centre for 422 consecutive games.

All 383 regular-season games and 39 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs dating to Jan. 8, 2004 were officially listed as a sellout, a streak that is one month short of 11 years.

The streak was snapped Tuesday.

The official attendance for the Canadiens' 3-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks was listed as 21,286, one short of capacity, to account for the empty aisle seat in Row EE in Section 102, three rows behind the Montreal bench.

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Lightning forward Stamkos scores 250th goal in loss

Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 12:08 AM / News

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos scored his 250th NHL goal 47 seconds into the second period against the Washington Capitals at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

Stamkos took a centering pass from Ryan Callahan and sent a wrist shot around the defense of Brooks Orpik and past goalie Braden Holtby on the stick side to tie the game 2-2.

The Capitals won 5-3.

"People may not believe me, but all that stuff, whether it's 200 or 250 … it doesn't register to me," Stamkos said. "If you get to the big one of 500, maybe that's something different, but there's a lot of hockey to play and my focus right now is producing and scoring goals and helping our team win, and it wasn't good enough [Tuesday]."

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Lightning's Stamkos humble scoring 250th goal

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 10:33 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos didn't want to make a big deal about closing in on his 250th NHL goal.

Truth be told, he doesn't think it's much of a milestone.

"It's kind of cool to think about when you are getting close to something like that, but I never really thought something-and-50 was a milestone," Stamkos said before scoring that goal against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. "I think when you get to 200, 300, 400 … I mean it's halfway to 500, but if we're at 499 one day you can ask me if I'm thinking about the next goal. Not that I am taking it for granted, it's always fun to score goals, but I want to help this team."

Stamkos scored 47 seconds into the second period at Amalie Arena. It tied the game 2-2, but the Lightning lost 5-3.

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Canadiens legend Beliveau honored at Bell Centre

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 8:28 PM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- They wouldn't have stopped of their own accord. No, they only stopped because she asked them to.

The capacity crowd at Bell Centre on Tuesday wanted more than anything to show their appreciation, especially after a moving video tribute to the late Jean Beliveau got them even more eager to do so.

From afar, the fans in this city watched Elise Beliveau show her strength this week in greeting every single person who visited Bell Centre on Sunday and Monday as her husband lay in state. She shook hands and accepted condolences from a public that was almost as much a part of her family as her own daughter and grandchildren.

Finally, given the opportunity to do so in the same venue, but one now meant for such an outpouring of gratitude, the fans at Bell Centre stood and cheered.

And cheered some more.

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Beliveau funeral details provided by Canadiens

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 7:34 PM / News

NHL.com

MONTREAL -- With regards to the state funeral for Jean Beliveau, the Montreal Canadiens announced the following sequence of events that will be in place Wednesday:

-- The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Queen Mary of the World Basilica Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal starting at 2 p.m.


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Former Senators coach MacLean has no regrets

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 5:20 PM / News

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA – Former Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean said Tuesday he hasn't second-guessed himself about any of his decisions behind the bench.

MacLean, who was 114-90-35 in four seasons with the Senators, was fired Monday and replaced by Dave Cameron, who was an assistant on MacLean's staff.

"I have no regrets over the way I did anything. I have no regrets. I can't change anything. It's all done," MacLean said. "All I can change is maybe what I would do going forward. But I'm not changing nothing that I did behind me and I don't regret anything I did, the way I did it, how I did it. I did it the best way I thought it would be to get the team to play in June. That's all it was about."

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Blue Jackets unveil events leading up to All-Star Game

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:52 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets want everyone to know that the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend is more than just the game at Nationwide Arena on Jan. 25.

In fact, there will be plenty of events not in the arena or held exclusively on the final weekend of the month, Blue Jackets officials announced Tuesday:

* The Columbus Blue Jackets All-Star Winter Park across the street from Nationwide Arena will have an NHL-sized rink with 500 bleacher seats, skate rental and four heated locker rooms. The park will be open Jan. 16-25.

There will be more than 50 hours of public skating plus private events and youth hockey games, said Larry Hoepfner, Blue Jackets executive vice president of business operations.

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Quote of the Day

I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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