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Sunday Long Read: Ducks back H.S. champion

Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Dusseldorf, Germany is a long way from the NHL, figuratively and literally.

Yet, after playing 10 seasons in the NHL, the majority of which spent with the Los Angeles Kings, Dusseldorf is exactly where Craig Johnson found himself in 2005. He went to Germany a year previously to play for the Hamburg Freezers during the NHL work stoppage. He expected it to be a one-off adventure, but an abdominal injury and complications from the surgery to correct it left Johnson out of hockey for close to a year and without a NHL contract offer.

By the time he was healthy, NHL teams had settled their rosters, so Johnson stayed in Dusseldorf for a two-year run with the DEG MetroStars of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional circuit.

After 30 goals and 51 points in 75 games, Johnson was again at a crossroads and opted to return to Southern California, where he had set up roots after playing parts of eight seasons with the Kings and a portion of the 2003-04 season with the Anaheim Ducks. While considering his next move, Johnson took some time to coach his son, Eric, who was playing with the Anaheim Junior Ducks, a youth program established in 1994, not long after the NHL came to Orange County.

There was no way for Johnson to know it at the time, but the decision paved the road for a high school hockey program in California to make history a few years later.

As the varsity hockey coach at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Johnson has spearheaded a program that, like the interscholastic league in which it competes, has seen an unlikely and meteoric rise, one which has gained praise across the hockey world.


Rangers' Staal out with upper-body injury

Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 2:29 AM / News


New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal sustained an upper-body injury in the third period of a game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden and did not return.

Staal was injured 6:41 into the third after taking a shoulder to his upper body from Devils rookie Reid Boucher. Staal immediately got up and stormed off the ice in disgust.

The Rangers host the Washington Capitals on Sunday night. It is unknown if Staal will be able to play.


Penguins' Neal to have hearing Monday

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 11:00 PM / Department of Player Safety News


Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal will have a phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Monday for a hit on Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand on Saturday night at TD Garden.

At 11:06 of the first period, Neal struck Marchand with his knee when Marchand was down on the ice. Marchand remained in the game. Neal was assessed a two-minute minor for kneeing on the play.


Penguins defenseman Orpik taken off ice on stretcher

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 10:50 PM / News

BOSTON -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher in the first period against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

With play stopped at 11:06, Orpik and Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton were in a confrontation. Orpik remained injured on the ice.

Penguins players immediately called for medical assistance.

"Listen I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention for that outcome," Thornton said. "I know Brooksie. I’ve gotten to know him over the last several years here. I skated with him in the summer through the lockout. I texted him a couple times. I feel awful. It definitely was not I wanted to see or anybody wanted to see."


Blue Jackets' Wisniewski to miss two games: report

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 6:54 PM / News

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski will miss at least the next two games with an upper-body injury, the Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday.

Wisniewski will not play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday or the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. David Savard will take his place in the lineup, the newspaper said.

Wisniewski leads Columbus defensemen with 18 points (16 assists).


Avalanche defenseman Hejda out 10-14 days

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 6:51 PM / News

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda has a sprained knee and will be sidelined 10-14 days, the team said Saturday.

Hejda was injured Thursday in a game against the Edmonton Oilers.

He lost his balance and crashed into the corner boards in Colorado's zone after he got tangled up with Edmonton's Mark Arcobello in a puck pursuit. Hejda was helped off the ice.


Bruins defenseman Boychuk out with back strain

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 3:15 PM / News

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -– The Boston Bruins will be without defenseman Johnny Boychuk for three to seven days, including their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at TD Garden, general manager Peter Chiarelli said.


Daily Primer Dec. 7: Homecoming for Henrik

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Henrik Lundqvist can expect a lot of cheers when he leads the New York Rangers onto the ice Saturday night to face the New Jersey Devils. Not only has he dominated the Devils during his career, but he'll be playing at home for the first time since signing a seven-year contract extension earlier this week, a deal that figures to keep him with the Rangers for life.

What New York (15-14-0) needs now is to take advantage of the schedule. This is the opener of a franchise-record nine-game homestand, the longest stretch at home for any team this season.


Tapped In: Hagelin on playing outside, financial world

Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / Tapped In

Kathryn Tappen - NHL.com Contributor

After missing the first 10 games of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, Carl Hagelin has re-emerged as one of the top two-way forwards on the New York Rangers and has bolstered the team's top-six forward group since his return. What's more impressive is his college degree, his interest in the finance world and his proactive approach to securing a career post-hockey. Hagelin is wise beyond his years, especially when it comes to playing in outdoor games. He took time this week to discuss outdoor ice, venture capitalism and a pretty amazing celebration in Sweden that we're all missing out on.

Kathryn Tappen: You were born in Sweden. Tell me about growing up there and playing hockey as a young kid.

Carl Hagelin: I come from a family where my dad was a huge hockey fan. I have a brother who is four years older than me. He played hockey for a long time and now he's a scout for the Calgary Flames. Being surrounded by hockey, I got forced into it as a kid. I started skating when I was 4 and had a rink only 10 minutes from my home. In my town we had one outdoor rink and one indoor rink, so you could skate all year long. I lived by a lake too, so we did a lot of skating on the lake. In my country soccer was always the No. 1 sport, but I liked hockey a lot more.


Lightning prospect Drouin injured in junior game

Friday, 12.06.2013 / 10:47 PM / News


Jonathan Drouin, the third player taken in the 2013 NHL Draft, left the Halifax Mooseheads' game against the Quebec Remparts on Friday after being driven face-first into the glass by a potential future Tampa Bay Lightning teammate.

Drouin was hit by Quebec's Adam Erne during the first period of their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game, returned briefly to the bench then left for good with what the Mooseheads said were concussion-like symptoms.

He will be re-evaluated by team doctors Saturday.

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I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round