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Consistent game propels Patrick Kane to points lead

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 12:05 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith blocked a shot Friday and sent the puck toward the side wall at United Center.

Time was running out on the New Jersey Devils, who frantically pushed for a game-tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Devils net was empty at the other end, and the situation called for a two-way player like Marian Hossa or Jonathan Toews to make a stand defensively.

Instead, it was Patrick Kane who made the big play near the corner in the Blackhawks zone. The high-scoring right wing swiped the puck just before Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas could send it behind the net with 52 seconds left and started a play that led to an empty-net goal.

The assist was Kane's 63rd point, which pushed his lead in the NHL scoring race to three after the games Friday, but it was also an example of his growth as a player. It wasn't too long ago when Kane would routinely hang out in the neutral zone, circling and waiting for stretch passes instead of backchecking to retrieve pucks in the defensive zone. It's not that way anymore.

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Penguins' Crosby already ranks among game's greats

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still has more than half of his career in front of him, and there's a growing consensus he's already a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I'd have put him in the Hall of Fame last night," NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said.

Mike Rupp, Crosby's former teammate, also said he'd vote Crosby into the Hockey Hall of Fame if Crosby never played another game. Former NHL goalie and longtime television analyst Darren Pang said the same thing. So did NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was Crosby's first NHL coach.

"No doubt," Pang said. "There isn't even any hesitation on my behalf."

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Canadiens' Plekanec flies under radar as two-way star

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- When Tomas Plekanec arrived in North America, he knew exactly what kind of player he was.

The Montreal Canadiens didn't agree.

A third-round selection (No. 71) in the 2001 NHL Draft, Plekanec joined the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League in 2002 with an identity that was clear in his mind.

"When I got there I was a very offensive guy," Plekanec said this week. "Actually, I didn't know anything about defense. I played from the red line to the opposition's goal line."

Now here he is nearly 13 years later, one of the NHL's best two-way forwards and a pillar of the Canadiens, who enter their game Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US; CBC; TVA) trying to finish with the top record in the Eastern Conference.

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Around the League notebook for Friday, Feb. 13

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 1:46 AM / News
HAT TRICKS HELP SHARKS, CANUCKS KEEP PACE IN PACIFIC

Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Shawn Matthias of the Vancouver Canucks each had hat tricks to help their clubs keep pace in the Pacific Division. The Sharks (29-20-8, 66 points) and Canucks (31-20-3, 65 points) maintained their rank in the division and increased their leads over the idle Calgary Flames (30-22-3, 63 points) and Los Angeles Kings (24-18-12, 60 points).

* Pavelski had his fourth career hat trick to help the Sharks erase an early 2-0 deficit against the Arizona Coyotes and snap their three-game skid in Arizona.

* Pavelski leads the Sharks with 31-21—52 in 57 GP and trails only Rick Nash (34) and Alex Ovechkin (33) for the NHL goals lead. Pavelski had his other three career hat tricks last season, finishing with a career-high 41 goals (82 GP); he also reached the 30-goal plateau in 2011-12 (31; 82 GP).

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Stars' Seguin leaves game with injury after hit

Friday, 02.13.2015 / 11:55 PM / News

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, the NHL's third-leading scorer, had to be helped off the ice with 6:55 remaining in the third period of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday.

Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov upended Seguin just inside the Panthers' blue line, sending him sprawling to the ice. Seguin had to be helped off the ice and was taken to the Dallas dressing room, He did not return to the game.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after the 2-0 victory that Seguin had a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated Saturday but that "it looked like he's going to miss some time."

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Stadium Series site 'very unique,' ready for ice

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- An NHL-caliber rink continued to take shape Friday afternoon at Levi's Stadium, which will host the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21 (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2).

The platform for the rink has been built, the boards are going up, and the aluminum pans are in place, ready to be filled with glycol coolant from the NHL's giant refrigeration unit outside the stadium.

By Saturday afternoon, Dan Craig, NHL senior director of hockey operations, expects to start making ice.

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Hurricanes recall defenseman Jordan from AHL

Friday, 02.13.2015 / 5:12 PM / News

CarolinaHurricanes.com

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, announced that the Hurricanes have recalled defenseman Michal Jordan from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

Jordan, 24, skated in 16 games with the Hurricanes from Nov. 26-Dec. 31, before he was reassigned to Charlotte on Jan. 8. The Zlin, Czech Republic, native has played in 29 games with the Checkers this season, scoring two goals and earning eight assists.

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2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series fan experience extended through Levi's Stadium app

Hockey fans encouraged to download app before heading to Levi's Stadium on Feb. 21

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – To enhance the fan experience at the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ outdoor game between the host San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Levi's® Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., the National Hockey League, in conjunction with Levi's® Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers, and VenueNext, has taken over the world-class, high-tech stadium's Official App.

The Levi® Stadium App - now available for download for iPhones via the App Store and for Android smartphones via Google Play – is designed to be the ultimate game day concierge for the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™. This Official App will give NHL fans an instant VIP experience and offer convenient, single-source access to everything they need for the much-anticipated outdoor hockey game. The special version of the Levi's® Stadium App includes functionality for mobile parking passes, food and beverage ordering for in-seat delivery or express pick-up, in-seat merchandise ordering, live event and multiple angle instant replay feeds, turn by turn directions in venue, and much more. One standard function of the Levi's® Stadium App that won't be functional for the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series is mobile ticketing.

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Tortorella felt firing by Canucks was justified: report

Friday, 02.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

John Tortorella believes he deserved to be fired as coach after one season with the Vancouver Canucks.

During an interview Friday with WDAE 620 AM in Tampa, Tortorella said poor play in the second half of the season is what led to the end of his time with the Canucks.

"We had a great first half, but I don't think I did the job for the team the second half, with our consistency," he told the radio station. "And I think that's what cost me my job. We just … we couldn't stop the losing streaks. We needed to win a couple of games within those areas.

"And quite honestly, I deserved to get fired after that second half of the year."

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Seguin, Voracek join 'Saul' as popular spin-offs

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

According to Wikipedia, a television spin-off is defined as, "a new series which contains either characters, a different character or theme elements from a previous series."

AMC's "Breaking Bad" was considered one of the better television shows of this generation. It won countless awards during its five seasons from 2008 to 2013. This past Sunday, AMC released a spin-off from the critically acclaimed "Breaking Bad" called "Better Call Saul." Not every television spin-off is successful and clearly, the verdict is still out on "Better Call Saul" (only two episodes have aired).

But throughout television history, we've seen tons of spin-offs. Some turned out to be effective, like the hit show "Frasier," which was a spin-off from "Cheers," and "The Jeffersons," which was a spin-off from "All in the Family." And then there were also some misses, like "Joey," which was a spin-off from "Friends," and "Joanie Loves Chachi," which of course was a spin-off from "Happy Days."

I'm not here to ramble on about TV, though. I'm here to discuss the best and worst fantasy hockey spin-offs in recent years. I'm talking about players that once had a small role on one team, and then joined another team for a larger, more prominent, leading-type role, if you will.

And just like with the television industry, we've seen some hits and some misses. Here are five of the most and least successful fantasy hockey spin-offs in the past five years (feel free to add some of your favorite fantasy hockey spin-offs in the comments section below):

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Quote of the Day

I love you. I think we [climbed] as high as we possibly can.

— Sergei Fedorov to former Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom after each was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 on Monday
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