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In the Cage: Ducks goalie depth is overflowing

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

From top to bottom, the Anaheim Ducks have an embarrassment of riches in goal.

Overflowing with size and long-term potential, the depth chart of Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, and Igor Bobkov is arguably the best in the National Hockey League.

To highlight their individual value, look no further than their international experience. Hiller will once again be the backbone of Switzerland's Olympic team, Fasth carried Sweden in the 2011 and 2012 World Championships, Andersen led Denmark to two gold medals during his junior career, Gibson dominated for Team USA in the 2013 World Juniors, and Bobkov won gold with Russia in the 2011 World Juniors.


Richards an unsung leader with Kings

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.Mike Richards almost laughed at the question.

No, he doesn't ever feel like the Los Angeles Kings are his team; not when he doesn't wear the 'C' on his sweater and not when there's an actual captain, Dustin Brown, and other longer-tenured Kings such as Matt Greene and Anze Kopitar in the room.

The question doesn't seem so far-reaching, though, considering how Richards and linemate Jeff Carter have done a lot of the heavy lifting for the Kings in the early stages of this season. Many observers might readily identify Brown and Kopitar as the leaders of Los Angeles, but it's really been Richards and Carter.

Kopitar leads L.A. in scoring, but it took him 10 games to get his first goal and he has three in 15 games. Brown has been quiet offensively since coach Darryl Sutter took him off the top line, though he might go back there Thursday night when the Kings play the Buffalo Sabres.


Juggling crowns has brought out best in Ovechkin

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 9:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin is wearing two crowns this season, one as king of the Beltway hockey scene and the other as king of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

He's doing his best to avoid a royalty clash.

"I try to focus everything I do in this day," Ovechkin told NHL.com prior to scoring two goals in a 6-2 win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. "I'm not looking forward to tomorrow or after tomorrow. Today we have a game and I'm focused on tonight's game."

In addition to his role as the Washington Capitals' captain, Ovechkin is an ambassador for the Sochi Games. He has to be Washington's leader and best player and at the same time remain involved in the promotion of the first Winter Olympics in his home country since the modern era of the Olympics started in 1924.


Goalie prospect Johansson could be big catch at draft

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

No player on the ice is under more pressure than the goalie. And every masked man has a different way of escaping that pressure.

Some read books. Others spend time sacked out in front of the television.

Top goaltending prospect Jonas Johansson picks up his fly rod and finds a nice stream.

"I like fishing a lot, fly fishing," Johansson told NHL.com. "Back where I'm from we go up into the Swedish mountains every summer and fish one week. I look forward to that week every year."


Prospector Files: Top Russians on the radar

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Whenever the conversation shifts to the top Russian-born players available in the upcoming NHL draft, words such as "gifted," "talented" and "Russian factor" frequently are heard.

Some Russians prefer to hone their craft in North America during their draft season with an eye toward gaining an edge over those opting to remain at home.

The Dallas Stars selected the first Russian-born player at the 2013 NHL draft, choosing Valeri Nichushkin of Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League at No. 10. The ultra-talented Nichushkin was the first of eight Russian-born players selected at the draft, the highest total in five years.


Shero's wisdom, innovation made Flyers into winners

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Fred Shero is best remembered for nine words he scrawled on a blackboard in a locker room of the Spectrum in Philadelphia on a May day in 1974.

"Win together today and we will walk together forever," was the message, and his Philadelphia Flyers went out that day and beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to become the first expansion team to claim hockey's greatest prize.

Those players did more than win a championship that day; they formed a bond that still holds strong nearly 40 years later. It was a lesson few recognized at the time, but now all realize was prescient.

"All of what Freddie did we recognized later," Bob Clarke, the captain of that Flyers team, told NHL.com.


Clarke: Shero was ahead of his time

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Bob Clarke - Special to NHL.com

Bob Clarke captained the Philadelphia Flyers for six seasons while playing for Fred Shero. In that span, he won the Stanley Cup twice and three Hart Trophies.

When Fred Shero got to the Flyers in 1971, I was 22 years old and going into my second NHL season. Back then players didn't just go talk to the coach; eventually the coach would tell you what he wanted or needed from you.

I think in today's world every new coach talks to every player and their wives and their kids and everybody else before the season starts. Freddie never said a word through training camp to me personally until probably 30 games into the season. But it didn't bother me at all, because I don't think he was talking to anybody else.


Devils' Elias, Jagr and Zidlicky could team up again

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's something about having the captain's "C" stitched on your jersey at the Winter Olympics that instills an added sense of pride and responsibility.

It's the feeling Patrik Elias had during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics while making his third straight appearance in the Games for the Czech Republic. And despite the fact his country finished a disappointing seventh, Elias said he enjoyed the experience and the competition.

"Wearing that 'C' was something special to me," Elias told NHL.com. "But I just enjoyed the whole atmosphere [in Vancouver] because it's beautiful and you're playing hockey. It doesn't get any better."

The 37-year-old veteran of 15 NHL seasons, all with the New Jersey Devils, is looking forward to another special tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Elias could be joined by three other Devils teammates on the Olympic roster: Jaromir Jagr, Marek Zidlicky and Rostislav Olesz.


Coyotes' Vrbata leaves with lower-body injury

Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 12:21 AM / News

ANAHEIM -- Phoenix Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata left the game against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes announced he will not return.

Vrbata took five shifts in the second period before heading to the dressing room.

The 32-year-old leads Phoenix with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 17 games.


Daily Primer Nov. 7: Reunion in Columbus

Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 11:35 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The warmups at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night will have each team looking at some familiar faces on the other end.

On one side, the New York Rangers will have former Columbus Blue Jackets Derick Brassard, John Moore and Derek Dorsett getting ready to face their former team for the first time. At the other end of the ice, Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov will be preparing to do the same. All six were involved in two major trades between the teams during the past 16 months; the Rangers and Blue Jackets didn't meet last season.

One key player missing among those traded will be Rick Nash, who holds most Blue Jackets scoring records. He was traded to the Rangers during the summer of 2012, but will miss his return to Columbus due to a concussion.

The Rangers started 2-6-0 but have won five of seven and come to Columbus after routing the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 in New York on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets have dropped four in a row.

Here's a complete look at all the action on a busy Thursday:

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery