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Denmark gets first-ever WJC victory; Slovakia wins

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 11:58 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Denmark defeated Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout for its first win at the top level of the World Junior Championship after 15 losses over three appearances.

Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (Columbus Blue Jackets) scored in the shootout for Denmark. Goalie Georg Sorensen made 42 saves and stopped two of three shootout participants.

Kris Schmidli and Kevin Fiala (Nashville Predators) scored in the first period to give Switzerland a 2-0 lead. Bjorkstrand scored with 2:02 left in the period to make it 2-1.


EPIX captures Capitals, Blackhawks at Christmas

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

There are stops along the road to the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic that show the true identity and personality of the players and coaches involved. These are stops that go beyond hockey, off the ice, into their homes, their private lives.

Hockey players for the most part like to be seen as ordinary people who can do extraordinary things. Around Christmas their extraordinary gifts melt away as family life takes over and they become ordinary people doing ordinary things with holiday traditions that are no grander than those of the average working family.

The third episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" brings the viewer in touch with the people many of these athletes and coaches are away from the game.

The viewer got to spend Christmas with Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and his family in Vail, Col., with Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz and his family at their home in Clarendon, Va., with Joel Ward and his girlfriend in New York City, and with Troy Brouwer and his wife and 2-year-old daughter in their home. Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson served as the viewer's host at his Swedish Christmas celebration.


Blue Jackets place Atkinson on injured reserve

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 5:22 PM / News

The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed right wing Cam Atkinson on Injured Reserve retroactive to December 27 and recalled center Sean Collins from the American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons, Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Atkinson, 25, suffered an upper body injury on December 27 against Boston and is expected to miss one to two weeks from the time of the injury. The Riverside, Connecticut native has registered eight goals and six assists for 14 points and eight penalty minutes in 33 games with the Blue Jackets this season. Columbus eighth pick, 157th overall, in the 2008 NHL Draft, Atkinson has collected 45-41-86 and 44 penalty minutes in 174 career NHL games. He registered career highs in goals, points and games played with 21-19-40 and 18 penalty minutes in 79 games last season.


Ovechkin arrival key to hockey growth in D.C. region

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- On a balmy Sunday afternoon in Reston, Va., a couple dozen young hockey players are trying to wait patiently for the ice resurfacing machine to complete its duty. They're fidgety, anxious to get out on the ice.

This region's sporting culture long has been dominated by the professional football team, but at the same time these kids were bumping into each other and swaying in anticipation, that football team was slogging to the end of another disappointing season on the other side of the District of Columbia and these young athletes (and their parents) don't seem the least bit concerned.

Youth hockey has exploded in the D.C. region. The level of participation has increased because of several factors. The biggest was the arrival in America's capitol city of a Russian dynamo on skates who has altered the Washington Capitals' position in the marketplace and helped the growth of the sport in ways few probably could have imagined.


Ducks assign forward Heatley to Norfolk of AHL

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 2:55 PM / News

The Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday assigned forward Dany Heatley to their American Hockey League affiliate in Norfolk.

Signed to a one-year, $1 million contract by the Ducks on July 9, Heatley, 33, was sidelined by a groin injury for much of the season. He didn't score a point in six games and was minus-3.


Blackhawks continue to dominate 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM

More than 31 million total votes garnered to date; voting closes on Thursday, Jan. 1

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 2:00 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NEW YORK – The Chicago Blackhawks continue to close in on top vote-getter, Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons (1,466,077), after six weeks of voting in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM. Forwards Patrick Kane (1,075,304) and Jonathan Toews (1,061,691) as well as defenseman Duncan Keith (1,044,124) have all crossed the 1 million vote mark, narrowing Girgensons' overall lead as Chicago prepares to take part in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day, the last day of voting.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (955,385) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (875,686) round out the top six vote-getters. Through six weeks of balloting, more than 31 million votes have been collected.


Capitals' Orpik game-time decision for Winter Classic

Adam Vingan - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik will be a game-time decision for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday at Nationals Park.

Orpik left Washington's 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday with a right knee injury after a third-period collision with Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck. The 34-year-old had to be assisted to the locker room by defenseman John Carlson and forward Jason Chimera.

"I've hurt the knee before, so this one felt a little bit different," Orpik said. "A lot more painful than previous injuries, but the other injuries were a lot worse, so hopefully that's a good sign.

"It would be kind of disappointing to miss this one, but that's kind of up in the air right now."


Beagle: Winter Classic excitement starting to set in

Jay Beagle - Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle is about to play in his second Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Beagle suited up for the Capitals at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011, and he's expected to be in the lineup Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park.

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

We had an optional practice today, which was good for us because it gave guys who needed a breather a chance to take one, and guys who wanted the opportunity to skate a chance to get on the ice for a loose practice.

Now that practice is over I am going to head out to lunch with my family. We've been on the road quite a bit of late so it'll be good to get some downtime with them. I've got my mom and dad in town as well as my mother-in-law. They're not here for long, so I have to make the most of it.


Huberdeau's sister to sing Canada anthem in Florida

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 1:06 PM / News

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau always gets excited for games against his hometown team, but there will be something even more special about the Montreal Canadiens' visit to BB&T Center on Tuesday.

Huberdeau's 14-year-old sister, Josiane, will sing "O Canada" before the game.

She will then be among the approximately 85 friends and family members cheering on Huberdeau when the game begins.

"I think it's going to be real exciting," Jonathan Huberdeau said. "It's like the perfect day. Hopefully I'm going to pull a good game out of me, but it should be a good night. To play against Montreal at Christmastime and my sister singing, that's the kind of night that's going to be memorable. I'm excited to play that game."


Matthews, Puljujarvi will be big stars of 2016 WJC

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 12:53 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Much of the focus at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship has been the showdown between the top two prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor McDavid of Canada and Jack Eichel of the United States.

The two will go head to head on New Year's Eve when Canada and the U.S. complete preliminary-round play in a showdown between the two top teams of Group A at Bell Centre (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US,

However, flying well below that radar is the arrival on the big stage of two of the top prospects for the 2016 draft.

Forwards Auston Matthews of the United States and Jesse Puljujarvi of Finland have not looked the least bit out of place in a tournament that is generally unkind to players who are so far from their draft year.

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Quote of the Day

I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there.

— Likely No. 1 pick Connor McDavid after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday