Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
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Blues goalie Elliott ends vacation for All-Star shot

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 9:52 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

COLUMBUS -- St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott was snorkeling with his wife, Amanda, off the coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday. Twenty-four hours later they were on their way to Columbus, by way of St. Louis so they could pick up some clothes and Elliott his gear.

Elliott's all-star vacation was supposed to last until Saturday; he cut it a day short because being part of the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend was too important to him and too big of an opportunity to pass up.

"From a young age being a goalie, whenever I got a chance to go on the ice, I always said, 'Yes,'" Elliott told during a phone interview Friday night before he boarded his flight from St. Louis to Columbus. "That's usually what happened in the summertime. I'd play a game and the next team would say they were missing a goalie and (ask) would I play. I always said, 'Yes.'

"With an honor like this, you can't turn it down. That honor doesn't get taken lightly and that's why I wanted to say yes and come as quickly as I could. It's just awesome to be able to do it."


2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft commentary

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 9:36 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

COLUMBUS -- The 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings was held Friday, and captains Nick Foligno of the hometown Columbus Blue Jackets and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks shaped their teams for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBSN, CBC, TVA Sports) by picking the players they feel can lead them to victory, or just pick their buddies.'s live Fantasy Draft blog followed where your favorite player was chosen, and be sure to check out the official rosters page.

Team Foligno got the first pick after winning the puck toss, and Foligno made the hometown crowd happy by picking Blue Jackets teammate and linemate Ryan Johansen.

"We really enjoy playing together," Foligno said.

Team Toews, instead of following Foligno's lead and taking one of his three available Blackhawks teammates who are in Columbus, decided to right a previous wrong.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, who was the last pick at the first All-Star Fantasy Draft in Carolina in 2011, was a first-round pick this time.


All-stars find it 'fun to hang out with' competition

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 8:59 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

COLUMBUS -- Patrik Elias was surveying the room Friday, watching players mingle and talk with each other behind the stage at the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings. He recognized almost all of them, but admitted there were a few faces he couldn't place with the name, in particular Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons.

Forgive Elias. At 38, the New Jersey Devils forward is the oldest player participating in the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. Florida Panthers rookie Aaron Ekblad wasn't born when Elias made his NHL debut for the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 7, 1995. Ekblad was 4 years old when Elias won the Stanley Cup for the first time.

"There are so many young players here," Elias said. "Good for them."


NHL Fan Fair attracts all kinds of allegiances

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 6:31 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Where else but the 2015 NHL Fan Fair could fans of so many teams wearing so many hockey sweaters co-exist?

Thousands of (peaceful) fans flocked to the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Friday, the first of three days for the festival in conjunction with the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), creating a rainbow of colors.

In an unscientific survey of the crowd over a 45-minute period, at least 20 NHL teams were represented in a variety of old and new styles. The host Columbus Blue Jackets led the way but there was a large presence of Pittsburgh Penguins fans.


Nash, Voracek return to city where NHL careers began

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 4:36 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- There are two players who were drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets and have more than 300 career NHL points, and each is in the city this weekend for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

Rick Nash is widely acknowledged as the best player in team history. Selected No. 1 in the 2002 NHL Draft, he became the first franchise player for the precocious organization, and the team's best player for nearly a decade before being traded to the New York Rangers.

Jakub Voracek was the first pick by the Blue Jackets in 2007, the year the NHL Draft was held in Columbus. After being selected seventh overall, Voracek began to develop into a solid player, but he didn't become a star until after the Blue Jackets traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers as part of a package for Jeff Carter in 2011.

Both have returned to the city where their NHL careers began.

"I love coming back to the city," Nash said. "It is always strange to come back for hockey because I suited up in this rink for nine, 10 years, but it is fun to see the capital of the hockey universe be Columbus."


Columbus' Foligno, Johansen proud to show off city

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 4:24 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- NHL All-Star Weekend is an opportunity for the two hometown players to showcase their city but also a respite from a hard season for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Forwards Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen will be the Blue Jackets' representatives for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky withdrew from the game after he sustained a lower-body injury Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Blue Jackets (20-22-3) were expected to compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but are 14 points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot, partly because numerous injuries have cost the Blue Jackets nearly 300 man-games.


Stars sign forward Morin to two-year extension

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 4:10 PM / News

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has signed center Travis Morin to a two-year contract extension. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Morin, 31, has registered 10 shots and a plus-1 rating in five games for Dallas this season. He has recorded a team-leading 31 points (14-17=31) in 30 games for Texas, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). Last season, Morin led the AHL in scoring with 88 points (32-56=88) in 66 games for Texas and was awarded the AHL's Les Cunningham Award as the League's top player.


Tree house to serve as All-Star legacy in Columbus

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 3:42 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio is the largest in the world, with the ability to accommodate more than 130 families while their children are spending time in area hospitals.

It also now is the only one with a hockey-themed tree house.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, along with NHL All-Stars Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning, were at the Ronald McDonald House on Friday to unveil the 2015 NHL All-Star Legacy Treehouse as part of the festivities for All-Star Weekend.

"I think this is what you enjoy the most," Foligno said. "Obviously you play and you get to be in the spotlight, but these are the reasons that you want to give back and use that spotlight back for good," Foligno said. "To see those kids' faces when they walked into the tree house … it was so gratifying. What they're going through, to be able to help them … for even 10 minutes is so gratifying. It is outstanding to see what they've done here."


All-Star captains not stressed by NHL Fantasy Draft

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 3:23 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

COLUMBUS -- The NHL Draft often is called a crapshoot because of how difficult it is to project the future of 18-year-old hockey players.

The 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports) is the exact opposite of that.

There are no projections to be made for captains Nick Foligno of the host Columbus Blue Jackets and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, just a list of the best players in the world to choose from.

"I’m happy that I can't really [mess] this draft up; I can't really draft a bad player," Foligno said. "I'll be nervous I'm sure, but I'm going to have a great time."

Foligno will be helped at the draft table by alternate captains Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Toews will receive advice from Rick Nash of the New York Rangers and Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks.


Stamkos, Ovechkin took tough road to All-Star Game

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 3:05 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

COLUMBUS -- The adversity they faced last season has given Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos a different perspective on what it means to be NHL All-Stars this season.

"It's tough to say I knew I would be sitting here at this time last year," Stamkos said Friday during NHL Media Day presented by DraftKings at Nationwide Arena.

At this time last season Stamkos, the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was rehabbing his surgically repaired broken right leg and clinging to a faint hope of playing in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday