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Positive outlook driving defenseman Hunt's career

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 11:05 AM / AHL Update

Alyssa Dombrowski - Special to NHL.com

Throughout the course of this season, Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Brad Hunt has gone from an occasional healthy scratch to one of the most offensively productive defensemen in the American Hockey League.

Despite being out of the Barons lineup for a handful of games in October and November, the 25-year-old Hunt has 47 points (11 goals, 36 assists) in 60 games, ranking second on Oklahoma City's roster and fourth among all AHL defensemen.

Hunt's progression is due in large part to his infectious positive attitude, for which he has become well-known in the Barons locker room, according to coach Todd Nelson.

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No clinching scenarios in Friday games

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 10:50 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens are the Eastern Conference teams that have clinched a postseason spot. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings are in from the Western Conference.

There are no clinching scenarios for games on Friday.

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Hockey Canada CEO Nicholson stepping down

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 10:08 AM / News

NHL.com

Bob Nicholson is stepping down as president and CEO of Hockey Canada effective June 1, he announced Friday.

"I have mixed emotions in making this announcement, as it marks an end to an extraordinary part of my life, but I think the time is right for me personally to step down," Nicholson said.

Nicholson has held the dual positions since 1998. During that time, the Canada men have won three gold medals in the span of four Winter Olympics, starting at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and continuing with back-to-back wins in Vancouver (2010) and Sochi (2014). Canada's women have won four consecutive gold medals.
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Daily Primer April 4: Jackets continue playoff push

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

One night after winning in Philadelphia for the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets will try to end another unwanted streak.

The Blue Jackets have dropped 12 in a row to the Chicago Blackhawks, who make their only appearance of the season at Nationwide Arena on Friday night. Each team won Thursday, with the Blue Jackets beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 and the Blackhawks beating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout.

It won't be easy for Columbus; Chicago has also won eight in a row at Nationwide Arena and hasn't lost there since March 25, 2010. But the Blue Jackets desperately need a victory as they try to hold on to the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Blue Jackets are one point behind the Detroit Red Wings, who host the Buffalo Sabres, but only one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have played two more games. Columbus is four points up on the Washington Capitals and five in front of the New Jersey Devils, who face off at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) in a game that will all but mathematically end the loser's playoff hopes.

In the Western Conference, the Phoenix Coyotes can move back into the second wild-card position by getting at least one point in their home game against the Edmonton Oilers. The Coyotes and Dallas Stars each have 85 points, but the Stars have a game in hand.

Here's a look at all of the action on Friday:


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NHL.com draft experts predict 2014 first round

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

NHL.com

The top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft have had a full season to state their case for why they should be considered among the game's next stars.

However, all a highly talented bunch has done is muddy the field NHL teams have to wade through to make their choices.

There's size, skill and talent at every position, and no clear-cut choice for who the best player available is.

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Kings' Doughty leaves with upper-body injury

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 2:55 AM / News

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

Drew Doughty
Defense - LAK
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 27 | PTS: 37
SOG: 177 | +/-: 18

SAN JOSE -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty left midway through the first period of the game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night with an upper-body injury and did not return.

Doughty appeared to hurt his left shoulder while delivering a check to Sharks forward Tyler Kennedy. He played 5:21 in five shifts but did not see the ice after 8;42 of the period. The Kings announced midway through the second period that Doughty would not return.

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Super 16: Kings could follow familiar path to glory

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 2:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

While the Chicago Blackhawks are idling into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and dealing with injuries to cornerstone players, the team they beat in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final has been steamrolling toward the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins are going to be a popular pick to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons, but another recent winner might be the best bet for someone who doesn't want to trust the banged-up defending champs. The Los Angeles Kings aren't going to finish with as many points as the other titans in a brutal Western Conference, but there will be seven other playoff teams that wouldn't mind seeing someone else have to deal with Darryl Sutter's club.

Los Angeles has been a strong team all season, but the goals just weren't coming. Nearly every other indicator of quality play pointed to contender status. In recent weeks, the Kings' offense is progressing to the mean and they now look like a team primed for a deep playoff run.

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Playoff Countdown: 10 rookies with impact potential

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 2:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The conclusion to 2013-14 NHL regular season is fast approaching. After game play Thursday, the League will be down to 79 games remaining on the schedule, with seven to be played Friday. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff qualification, playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the 10-day countdown to the end of the season April 13 and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

Those teams already having clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and those still whittling down their magic number to qualify can not only thank the savvy veterans on their rosters but the wily rookies paying big dividends down the stretch.

There's no question the San Jose Sharks would probably be thriving even more if center Tomas Hertl hadn't gone down before Christmas with a season-ending knee injury. There's an outside shot Hertl (15 goals, 25 points in 35 games) could return at some point during the postseason, but there are no guarantees.

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Leafs' Bernier leaves game, will have MRI on Friday

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 11:34 PM / News

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier left the game Thursday against the Boston Bruins midway through the third period with a lower-body injury.

He will have an MRI on Friday, coach Randy Carlyle said.

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Bobby Ryan says he's open to staying with Senators

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 6:48 PM / News

NHL.com

Bobby Ryan
Right Wing - OTT
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 48
SOG: 190 | +/-: 7
Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan said Thursday he's feeling better following season-ending surgery to repair a sports hernia and is open to staying in Ottawa after his contract runs out at the end of next season.

"I'm doing good," Ryan said in his first meeting with the media since the operation March 27. "Everything went well and I'm moving a little bit better each day. Obviously the first couple of days I didn't do much at all, but I'm starting to walk well and take stairs well and all that kind of stuff. It has been positive."

Ryan, the second player taken in the 2005 NHL Draft, had 23 goals and 48 points in his first season with the Senators after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks last July. He'll be headed into the final year of his contract next season and said he could foresee a future in Ottawa. The two sides can begin discussing an extension this summer.
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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals