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Connor, ready for Michigan, awaiting Draft moment

Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 10:03 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

As a Michigan native, Kyle Connor long has dreamed of playing hockey at the University of Michigan.

But before that happens he'll get to live another dream, hearing his name called at the 2015 NHL Draft.

Connor, a 6-foot-1, 182-pound left wing/center with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League, earned an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's player to watch list.

"He's a solid two-way player and plays hard in both zones," Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen said. "Nice stride and quickness and good in tight with the puck. Saw him against the [United States National Team Development Program] U-18 team and elevated his game against them and wants the puck. And when he gets it he makes things happen."

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Unmasked: Can playing guitar make goalies better?

Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Whether it's New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist ripping through "Sweet Child O' Mine" on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," or Arizona Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke jamming on stage with Garth Brooks, the links between goaltenders and guitars appears strong.

The list of guitar-playing NHL goalies includes Ryan Miller, Cory Schneider, Mike Smith and alumni Jose Theodore and Robert Esche -- and those are just the ones we know about.

For most, music makes a nice break from the game.

"It's more of an escape mentally to relax and think about something else," Lundqvist told NHL.com. "Music to me is a release; you are just relaxing and enjoy it and don't think about the game, and that kind of helps me save energy and come back to the rink."

Whether these wanna-be shredders know it or not, there are links between their ability to catch pucks and pluck guitar strings. Being able to do one can enhance the ability to do the other. Specifically, playing guitar can give a goaltender a better glove hand, according to some experts.

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Around the League notebook for Wednesday, Jan. 7

Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 2:26 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

ROAD TEAMS ROLL

All four road teams were victorious on Wednesday night, outscoring the home teams by a combined 16-7 margin. The Washington Capitals improved to 12-6-3 on the road this season, the third-best mark in the League. The Detroit Red Wings (9-6-3), New York Rangers (9-6-1) and Boston bruins (8-9-2) also improved their record away from home.

RED-HOT RANGERS DEFEAT LEAGUE'S TOP TEAM

Rick Nash's 25th goal of the season stood as the game-winner and Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win against the League-leading Anaheim Ducks. The Rangers have won three in a row and 11 of their last 12 (11-1-0) for the first time since going 11-0-1 from Oct. 30, 1993 to Nov. 24, 1993. The Rangers have earned at least one point in 18 of their last 23 games (16-5-2).

*Nash's goal was his 25th of the season, one behind League-leader Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars. Nash leads the Rangers in goals, points (39) and plus/minus (plus-19). Nash extended his personal point streak against Anaheim to six games (5-2—7) and has 35 points (19-16—35) in 35 career games against the Ducks.

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Flames goalie Ramo leaves game after collision

Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 12:32 AM / News

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo left the game against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday midway through the second period following a collision with a teammate. He did not return.

Ramo left the crease to play a loose puck and collided with Flames defenseman Raphael Diaz in the slot. He left the ice with 9:49 remaining in the second and the score tied 1-1.

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Flyers' Mason leaves practice, will skate Thursday

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 7:49 PM / News

NHL.com

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason is expected to take part in the morning skate Thursday, general manager Ron Hextall said.

Mason left practice early Wednesday and was to have an MRI. Results were not revealed.

Mason and the Flyers did not disclose the injury, but Hextall said it wasn't related to the back injury that sidelined Mason last month, CSNPhilly.com reported.

"Any time you need an MRI it's cause for concern," Mason said in video posted on the Flyers website. "Cross my fingers that it's nothing too serious."

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'Triplets' line adds scoring dimension for Lightning

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

They have been dubbed "The Triplets," and when you see them on the ice, it's easy to understand why.

Tyler Johnson, 5-foot-10, 182 pounds.

Nikita Kucherov, 5-11, 171.

Ondrej Palat, 6-0, 180.

Not only do the three members of one of the top lines in the NHL look alike when skating for the Tampa Bay Lightning, they all share the trait of being dismissed at one time or another in their hockey careers because of their similarly slight frames.

But since Oct. 24, when coach Jon Cooper was practically forced to put them together after losing forwards Brett Connolly and J.T. Brown in the first period of a road game against the Winnipeg Jets, "The Triplets" have been terrorizing the NHL.

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Trocheck fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 4:30 PM / News

NHL.com

NEW YORKFlorida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.

Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties.

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Wings' Nyquist fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 4:30 PM / News

NHL.com

NEW YORKDetroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.

Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties.

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Wild coach Yeo laces into players for practice effort

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 3:42 PM / News

NHL.com

One day after the Minnesota Wild lost for the 13th time in their past 20 games, coach Mike Yeo reached his boiling point.

Yeo laced into his team Wednesday with a tirade that, according to the Minneapolis-Star Tribune, demanded more effort and execution, detailed how poorly the Wild have been playing and lambasted the players for having the "audacity to show up and practice like this!" After screaming for about a minute, Yeo skated toward the visiting bench, slammed his stick into the glass, skated toward the Wild bench and left the ice.

"We weren't good enough," Yeo told the Wild website. "And we're not in a position where we can come in and be let alone decent in practice, bad at practice. I'm not going to accept that. I think I made my point at that time and that was enough.

"We lost [Tuesday to the San Jose Sharks]. We come to the rink today and what are we going to have a practice like that? That's not good enough. I know one thing, we can hang our heads, we can feel sorry for ourselves, we can point fingers, we can do whatever we want. But those types of things are not the types of things that winners do and those types of things do not help you get out of something like this. I know what I'm going to control and I'm going to make sure that I bring it."

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Maple Leafs' Kessel aware critics 'expect more'

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 1:26 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- With the Toronto Maple Leafs having made a coaching change, forward Phil Kessel, already their top scorer, is feeling additional heat to improve his play.

Kessel, who ranks 10th in NHL scoring with 18 goals and 41 points in 40 games, has one goal in his past nine games and three in his past 12.

"Obviously we haven't been winning and that's what happens; they're going to come after you," Kessel said. "It's never fun, but it's part of the business."

Former Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson suggested Tuesday during a radio interview that the core group of players on the Maple Leafs, which includes Kessel, may be uncoachable. Kessel was asked about his former coach’s statement and said, "I don't really care, to be honest with you. I didn't see it, so it doesn't really faze me."

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Quote of the Day

I'm here to develop a winning culture and a winning team. There is a bright future ahead of this team.  A lot of young, great hockey players here and on the way … a fan base that's passionate about the game of hockey.

— Dan Bylsma after being introduced as new coach of the Buffalo Sabres