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Oilers' Aulie suspended two games for illegal check

Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 8:13 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK Edmonton Oilers defenseman Keith Aulie has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan during NHL Game No. 555 in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 31, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 19:05 of the first period. Aulie was assessed a match penalty.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Aulie will forfeit $8,602.16. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Capitals' Ovechkin lives up to hype at Winter Classic

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- He already had one goal to his name in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin craved another.

Having pounced on a rebound to give the Capitals a two-goal lead in the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park on Thursday, he struck the post and crossbar on consecutive shot attempts in the opening 90 seconds of the second period.

Ovechkin and the Capitals provided a thrilling ending to the Winter Classic, when Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal on the power play with 12.9 seconds left in a 3-2 victory. As usual, Ovechkin celebrated with uncontained exuberance.

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Bettman praises Leonsis for Winter Classic

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday was a testament to the passion Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has for his team, his market, and the game of hockey, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said following the game Thursday at Nationals Park.

"What you saw here today from 43,000 people was a level of enthusiasm for hockey, for the Capitals that I'm not sure many people imagined could ever have been accomplished here in Washington," Commissioner Bettman said.

"[Leonsis] insisted, he was persistent, he was relentless in pursuit of this game and it was because he wanted it for Washington D.C. The atmosphere couldn't have been greater."

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Brouwer's late goal lifts Capitals past Blackhawks

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Seconds remained in the third period of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday, the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals deadlocked in a 2-2 tie.

With the Blackhawks' sixth power play of the game set to expire in two seconds, captain Jonathan Toews hooked Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, providing Washington with a late opportunity that they took advantage of.

Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad slashed Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin's stick out of his hands as he drove toward the net. With the loose puck near his feet, forward Troy Brouwer spun around and fired a shot from the slot that beat Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford with 12.9 seconds remaining in Washington’s 3-2 victory.

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Disappointment of loss trumps spectacle for Hawks

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- While members of the Chicago Blackhawks were appreciative of the opportunity to play in a signature game like the Bridgestone 2015 NHL Winter Classic and, as a whole, enjoyed the experience, it didn’t take away any of the sting of dropping two points in the 60th minute Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The Blackhawks fell behind early, rallied and carried the play in the middle of the game but ultimately left empty-handed with a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals.

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Beagle: Win makes Winter Classic even more fun

Jay Beagle - Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle played in his second Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday at Nationals Park as his team skated off with a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. Beagle also suited up for Washington at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011.

Beagle agreed to offer up his opinions in blog form leading up to and after the main event.

WASHINGTON -- After all the hype for the past several weeks, today was finally the big day.

And what a day it was.

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Raanta: Loss dampens Winter Classic experience

Antti Raanta - Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta dressed for his first Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday at Nationals Park, backing up starter Corey Crawford against the Washington Capitals.

The Blackhawks were defeated 3-2 on a goal by Troy Brouwer with 13 second remaining in the game. In his final blog from the Winter Classic, Raanta discusses the magic leading to the game as well as the disappointment of the last minute loss.

WASHINGTON -- It was a special day to be part of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. We woke up at 9 a.m. and had a good breakfast before we started to make the trip here to the stadium.

You could really feel that everyone was excited about the game on the way over here. When we came here and had time for some pre-game warmups, we decided to play soccer outside on the field. That was a great feeling. We could see the fans were showing up early and ready for the game.

When we started to put our gear on in the locker room it was a lot of excitement. Once we had everything ready, we went to the ice for the warmup.

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World Junior Championship medal round preview

Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 3:25 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

MONTREAL -- If the preliminary round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship proved anything it's that international competition brings out the best in the top junior-aged hockey players in the world.

How else could you explain Slovakia earning a 2-1 victory against defending champion Finland, Switzerland thumping tournament contender Czech Republic 5-2, and Denmark's fantastic locker room celebration after winning for the first time in the top division of the WJC, a 4-3 shootout victory against Switzerland.

While the occasional upset is par for the course at the WJC in recent years, the perennial favorites always seem to be vying for the grand prize in the end. This year is no exception as the United States, Canada, Sweden and Russia are four of the eight teams to advance into the playoff round of the tournament, which begins Friday.

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Oilers' Aulie faces Player Safety hearing Thursday

Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 3:10 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Keith Aulie will have a hearing Thursday for his hit on Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan during a game at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday night.

Aulie was assessed a match penalty and a game misconduct for the hit at 19:05 of the first period. Stajan left the game, but returned.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: hit to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

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Kraft, NHL, NHLPA, NBC Sports Group and USA Hockey search for America's most passionate hockey communities to find Kraft Hockeyville USA

Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 9:00 AM / 2015 Kraft Hockeyville

NHL.com

NORTHFIELD, Ill. -- January 1, 2015 -- Today, at the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® featuring the Chicago Blackhawks® and Washington Capitals® broadcast on NBC, the puck officially drops for Kraft Hockeyville™ USA -- the search for America’s most passionate hockey community. Uniting an all-star roster of partners including the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), National Hockey League (NHL®), NBC Sports Group, and USA Hockey, Kraft’s award-winning, Canadian-born Hockeyville™ program has expanded into the U.S. for the first time to help build better hockey communities across the country. Beginning today, hockey communities across the U.S. can vie for the esteemed title of "Kraft Hockeyville™ USA" and enter for a chance to win the grand prize of hosting an NHL® Pre-Season game televised live on NBCSN and $150,000 in arena upgrades.

"Seeing all these passionate hockey fans cheering on their team in the brisk winter air reminds me of the way so many of us fell in love with the sport," said Dino Bianco, Executive Vice President and President, Kraft Beverages. "Fans like this coming together for their shared love of hockey is what inspired us to launch Kraft Hockeyville in the U.S. and celebrate the unity that hockey brings to communities across the country."

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Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday