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Blues' Lehtera adjusting to North America, NHL life

Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 2:50 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- It's been a year since St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera made a name for himself in front of what would turn out to be his future employers in the NHL.

For Lehtera, 27, the competition of representing Finland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics now seems like a distant memory.

It was a good first impression for the Helsinki, Finland native, who holds a key top-six role for the Blues, for what he hopes parlays into a prolonged NHL career.

The Blues (38-16-4), who hold one of the NHL's best records, were impressed after Lehtera scored a goal and had three assists in six games to help Finland win bronze in Sochi, and he went on to score three goals and 12 points in 10 games at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

The Blues were impressed enough to sign Lehtera to a two-year, $5.5 million contract even though he had no NHL experience.

Around the League notebook for Friday, Feb. 20

Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 1:55 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

DUBNYK BACKSTOPS WILD TO SHUTOUT VICTORY OVER OILERS

Devan Dubnyk stopped all 15 shots he faced to backstop the Minnesota Wild to a 4-0 shutout victory against the Edmonton Oilers. The Wild, who have earned points in 14 of their last 16 games (12-2-2), improved to 30-21-7 (67 points) and moved within one point of the idle San Jose Sharks, who occupy the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a record of 30-22-8 (68 points).

* Dubnyk recorded his sixth shutout and his career-high 21st win of the season. Dubnyk is 21-7-3 overall with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. Since being acquired by Minnesota from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 15, Dubnyk has a record of 12-2-1, which includes five shutouts. Dubnyk also improved to 5-0-0 this season against the Oilers, his former club.

Kings on a roll entering Stadium Series game

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- It was only two weeks ago that the Los Angeles Kings were stuck in a rut so deep that for the first time in what has been an inconsistent season, people were wondering out loud if last season's Stanley Cup champions would give themselves a chance to defend their title.

The Kings had lost three in a row and 12 of their previous 15 games (3-7-5). They were behind the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars in the Western Conference standings -- and none of those teams was in a Stanley Cup Playoff position.

Sharks and Kings take playoff battle outdoors

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Since arriving in the NHL in 2009, San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture has watched 16 other teams play in outdoor games, some twice, all the while wishing and hoping he would one day get a chance to do what they were doing.

He gets that chance Saturday night at Levi's Stadium, and he couldn't ask for a bigger moment in the season to have it happen.

"It's more than just a hockey game," Couture said, "It's a massive hockey game."

He's spot on.

Like Sharks, Hertl having up-and-down season

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- For San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan and forward Tomas Hertl, it's a simple formula when it comes to usage.

When Hertl skates the way he's capable of skating, he gets to play center, where he's most comfortable. When Hertl doesn't move the way McLellan knows he can, he's pushed to the wing and the Sharks lose the depth they need in the middle to compete in the Western Conference.

The problem is Hertl has been pushed to the wing, or even the fourth line, too often this season because he hasn't delivered the way McLellan knows he can.


Sharks enjoy Stadium Series practice, ready for Kings

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels came out of the south tunnel Friday afternoon at massive Levi's Stadium and walked toward the rink for practice, he was hit by a wave of emotion.

"Just kind of some shock and awe of how cool this experience is going to be," Wingels said. "We've all watched and hoped to play in one of these games, and I think from the moment we were announced to host a game, we've had a lot of thoughts and countdowns to tomorrow. So to go out there today and get all the jitters out, to really enjoy the experience with our friends and family, it's really cool. It's something I'll remember for my whole life."

The Sharks soaked up the atmosphere at Levi's Stadium on the eve of their game Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2).

Seguin: Too early to gauge recovery from knee injury

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 9:20 PM / News

NHL.com

Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin said Friday it is too early to measure his recovery from a knee injury in the first stages of treatment.

"It's only been a week, so there hasn't been too much progress or setback," Seguin told the Stars website. "It's just been how it is. Every night I go to sleep and in the morning I'll wake up and see if it hurts at all, to see if I was cured overnight. Maybe I will get over that soon."

Seguin was injured by a hit from Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on Feb. 13. The Stars said Seguin would be sidelined 3-6 weeks.


New stats on NHL.com provide wealth of insight

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 6:47 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Hockey debates have been about feel as much as fact for much of their history. But that is changing.

Is Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith more valuable to his team? Is Wayne Gretzky or Gordie Howe the best player in hockey history? Where do Mario Lemieux or Sidney Crosby fit into that discussion? How do the career statistics of Steven Stamkos compare to other Canadian centers who are 6-foot-1 or taller and born in the 1990s?

Help is on the way. The new NHL.com statistics page (NHL.com/stats) debuted a wealth of information and tools Friday on an enhanced stats page. But even more data is coming, which will aid in any debate or answer any question regardless of era.

Primer: Get to know new enhanced stats on NHL.com

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 3:08 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

With many new statistics now on NHL.com after the League announced a partnership with enterprise software company SAP, the following is a primer on how some of them came into existence, what they mean, how they're applied, and why they're important.

SHOT ATTEMPTS (Corsi)

Puck possession has always been important in hockey, but analysts have proven how valuable it can be. Shot attempts are the best proxy for understanding and quantifying puck possession.

The idea for quantifying puck possession through shot attempts originally came from Tim Barnes, who posted his work online under the pseudonym Vic Ferrari. Barnes, who now works for the Washington Capitals, coined the term "Corsi," naming the stat after Buffalo Sabres goaltending coach Jim Corsi.

A shot attempt is counted any time a player tries to shoot the puck. They are counted as a shot on goal, blocked shot or missed shot. By adding those three types of a shot together, you have the number of shot attempts.

NHL, SAP partnership to lead statistical revolution

Friday, 02.20.2015 / 2:47 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The NHL announced a partnership Friday with enterprise software company SAP, which will transform the way hockey fans consume data across multiple platforms, including the League's numerous outlets.

This partnership begins with a redesigned statistics page on NHL.com and the introduction of advanced stats on the website, but it will expand to improve the fan experience on television broadcasts and in NHL arenas as future phases of the project are introduced.

"Hockey is extremely fast-paced with very little stoppage in play, which results in many aspects of the game failing to show up in the box score," NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said. "In partnering with SAP and using its best-in-class SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service, we are now able to capture data points like never before and present existing and new statistics in a visually appealing way.

"The new NHL stats platform goes beyond data to offer insights that will help avid fans go deeper and help casual fans understand the game better. There are also unlimited storytelling opportunities as we provide our fans with a personalized and interactive experience."

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Quote of the Day

He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.

— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft