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Eichel, Bennett continue to adjust to pro game

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

One of the toughest challenges for any NHL rookie is maintaining a high level of consistency against bigger and stronger players on a nightly basis and over an entire season.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel and Calgary Flames left wing Sam Bennett are discovering it's tough to duplicate the success they each had at the collegiate and junior hockey level, respectively, in the best League in the world. It hasn't discouraged them, but each knows patience and a little persistence will pay off in the end.

It isn't as though Eichel or Bennett are struggling this season. Rather, it's more of an adjustment period.

AHL Notebook: Intriguing storylines for stretch run

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / AHL Update

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

The American Hockey League schedule traditionally takes a long holiday break that allows its teams to reset before the games pile up in the second half of the season.

Here is a look at some of the AHL's more intriguing storylines heading into 2016 that could continue to shape the playoff picture:

The Texas Stars endured a tumultuous post-holiday return to play. Rookie forward Devin Shore had shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season, according to Shore ranks second in the AHL with 15 goals and has 26 points in 26 games. The Stars also have a change in net. Prospect Jack Campbell, the 11th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was assigned to Idaho of the ECHL. Maxime Lagace was recalled from Idaho to replace him. Campbell, 23, has played parts of five AHL seasons, but he has a 4.27 goals-against average and .868 save percentage in 12 AHL games this season. He went 3-6-3 with Texas and allowed five or more goals in each of his past five starts. The Stars' 3.53 goals-against per game ranks them 29th in the AHL, though they place second in goals per game at 3.78.

Lightning's heroes program hits $10M in donations

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 8:45 PM / News

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Lightning Community Heroes Program, launched by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, reached $10 million Monday with the announcement of 197th community hero Sister Claire LeBouef for her work with New Life Village, New Life Dwelling Place and Everyday Blessings.

The program, which is backed by the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation, has celebrated a local hero and donated $50,000 to the nonprofit charity (or charities) of his or her choice. During the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning Foundation increased the donation amount to $100,000 for each hero. To date, 315 nonprofits have received money through the program.

This milestone comes five years after the Viniks pledged $10 million to Tampa Bay area nonprofits over five seasons.

"Where we are at 197 [people] and the quality of Sister Leboeuf at [No.] 197 is every bit as strong as the quality of No. 1," Vinik said. "We keep asking for recommendations and applications for the hero program, and we keep getting in hundreds of incredible stories and amazing people."

Wild's Kuemper misses game with upper-body injury

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 7:40 PM / News

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper was a late scratch against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday because of an upper-body injury.

Kuemper was named the Wild's starting goalie following the morning skate Monday. He is 3-0-0 with a .963 save percentage over his past three games. The Wild have earned at least a point in all eight of his starts this season (4-0-4).

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