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Analysis: Methot, Hammond keys to Senators' surge

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Bobby Ryan could sense the Ottawa Senators were turning and starting to move in the right direction shortly before the All-Star break in late January.

Ottawa wasn't winning yet, but Ryan felt the Senators were playing strong through the neutral zone, with better layers of support, and using quick, crisp puck movement to suppress shots against.

Turnovers were starting to go down. Grade A scoring chances against were starting to go down. Shots against overall were starting to go down.


Rangers-Islanders rivalry made memories at Coliseum

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

With the New York Rangers and New York Islanders trending toward the top of the Eastern Conference, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said prior to a game between the teams in January, "It's going to be a New York classic."

That game took place at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers and Islanders have played twice this season. But their game Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA Sports, SN1) holds special meaning outside of its ramifications on the Metropolitan Division standings. With the Islanders moving to Brooklyn next season, it will be the last regular-season game against the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum.

The Coliseum, which opened in 1972, has been the site of many spectacular moments in the Rangers-Islanders rivalry.

Russian-born referee Romasko well-suited for NHL

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 11:50 PM / NHL Insider

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

Stephen Walkom calls it game presence, an it factor required for an NHL official, one who works in a composed, assured way skating among players moving at 25-30 miles per hour and pucks blasted up to speeds of 100 MPH. The ideal on-ice official is assured of himself and the way he goes about his business enforcing the rules of a game played at a breakneck pace.

"That's someone that has that great inner confidence," said Walkom, NHL senior vice president and director of officiating. "That's something that he has. He has that presence. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he's a phenomenal skater as well."


Islanders' Okposo might return Tuesday: report

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 10:05 PM / News

New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo, who hasn't played since Jan. 19, could be in the lineup against the New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, according to Newsday.

Okposo, who had emergency surgery to repair a detached retina, has been skating for more than a week and rejoined the Islanders before their game at the Florida Panthers on Saturday. He still needs to be cleared by the Islanders medical staff.

"I felt great. Ever since I stepped on the ice, I haven't had any hesitations,'' Okposo told Newsday on Monday. "I wasn't really surprised, because your eye should theoretically be stronger than the other one after the surgery. I've been feeling really good on the ice.''


Canadiens out to prove a point against Lightning

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 7:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- After being swept by them in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have had their way with the Montreal Canadiens lately.

The Lightning have won both games against the Canadiens this season rather handily and will have an opportunity to continue that dominance when the top two teams in the Atlantic Division play at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

It will be the first of three games between them in a span of three weeks, and the Canadiens are eager to turn things around.

The residue of last season's playoffs remains in this matchup, especially since the Lightning did not have goaltender Ben Bishop for the entire series. Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher feels the Lightning are still trying to prove a point because of that, and that his team now has a point of its own to prove as well.


Canada-United States game to open 2016 WJC

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 4:12 PM / News

Canada and the United States will play on the first day of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The schedule for the 2016 tournament, which will be held in Helsinki, Finland, will see the two North American teams playing Dec. 26 in a Group A preliminary-round game at 8,200-seat Helsinki Ice Hall.

In recent years a U.S.-Canada preliminary-round game had been saved for a showcase game Dec. 31, the final day of the group play.

After the U.S., Canada will play Denmark on Dec. 28, Switzerland on Dec. 29 and Sweden on Dec. 31.


Panthers' Luongo skates, aiming for Thursday return

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 3:08 PM / News

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo was on the ice Monday for the first time since he injured his shoulder during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 3, according to the Miami Herald.

Luongo worked with goalie coach Robb Tallas and left before the Panthers came out to practice, leaving the nets to Dan Ellis and Sam Brittain. But the hope is Luongo can return Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

"It's no more than day-to-day," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said, according to the Herald."[Thursday] is the goal and the hope but we'll see how he gets along."


Maple Leafs' Polak to miss remainder of season

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 3:02 PM / News

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that defenceman Roman Polak will undergo season-ending hernia surgery. Polak had registered nine points in 56 games with Toronto this season. As a result, the club has recalled defenceman Petter Granberg from the Toronto Marlies (AHL) on an emergency basis.

Granberg, 22, has been held pointless in six games with the Maple Leafs this season. The Gallivare, Sweden native has also played 35 regular season games with the Toronto Marlies, collecting 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) and 20 penalty minutes.


Fantasy All-Access: Playoffs just around the corner

Every Monday contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

There is about a month left in the NHL season, meaning the fantasy playoffs are coming up fast in head-to-head leagues.

The Nashville Predators have hit a rough patch, so fantasy owners should be aware of potential buy-low candidates. They have lost six straight games; during that streak captain Shea Weber has one goal and a minus-9 rating. Rookie Filip Forsberg has one assist in his past six games and James Neal and Seth Jones (24 percent owned in Yahoo) each have been held without a point during the losing streak. Colin Wilson (38 percent) is also mired in a deep slump.


Hudler, Varlamov and Talbot named stars of week

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORKCalgary Flames center Jiri Hudler, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov and New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 8.


Hudler paced the NHL with eight points and shared the League lead with four goals to help the Flames (36-25-5, 77 points) earn seven out of a possible eight standings points. He opened the week with 1-1—2, including the winning goal at 1:23 of overtime, in a 3-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers March 3. Hudler followed that performance with 1-1—2 in a 4-3 shootout win over the Boston Bruins March 5. He then recorded 2-0—2, including the game-winning goal, in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 6. Hudler closed the week with a pair of assists in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators March 8. The 31-year-old Olomouc, Czech Republic, native has posted multiple points in four consecutive games for the first time in his career. He leads the Flames with 23-33—56 in 63 outings this season, including four game-winning goals (tied for second on the team).

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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week