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Wheat Kings' Provorov proving self in North America

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Defenseman Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League has been described by teammates as a breakout machine.

The 6-foot, 191-pound native of Yaroslavl, Russia, has lived up to that billing in his first WHL season.

"He's good in all aspects of the game," defense partner Ryan Pilon said. "He can take the body and score some highlight-reel goals."

Provorov isn't your typical one-year wonder from Russia having success in North America.

Around the League notebook: Wednesday, March 11

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 1:30 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


J.T. Miller scored the eventual game-winning goal at 16:34 of the first period and Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots, including a goal-line glove save on Nicklas Backstrom, to guide the New York Rangers past the Washington Capitals and to a 12-1-3 record in their past 16 outings, including three straight wins.

* With the victory, the Rangers (42-17-7, 91 points) leapfrogged the idle New York Islanders (43-22-4, 90 points) into first place in the Metropolitan Division and past the idle Montreal Canadiens (42-18-7, 91 points) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and entire NHL, where the top seven teams remain separated by two points.

* The Rangers have won their past three meetings with the Capitals – including two contests this season, and are 11-4-1 in their past 16 regular-season games dating to Dec. 12, 2010. They will play twice more this season on March 29 at NYR and April 11 at WSH.

Roberts to work with new sports performance center

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 5:00 PM / News

Former NHL player Gary Roberts announced plans Wednesday for a familiar role of off-ice instruction in his return to Pennsylvania.

He will be the coordinator of the Sports Performance Center at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pa.

Since his NHL retirement in 2009, Roberts, 48, has been on a mission to make sure hockey players maintain a structured workout regimen away from the rink. He aided many of the NHL elite at his personal training center in Toronto the past seven years and will try to offer a similar philosophy at the 185,000 square foot center scheduled to open in August.

Roberts, who seven years ago played in the Stanley Cup Final with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will coordinate, lead and work at the Sports Performance Center. He'll work with youth hockey players and other athletes, and consult with the full-time UPMC staff.

"I love the city and the fans of Pittsburgh," Roberts said in a statement. "These are philosophies I honed during my career and afterward. I'm thrilled to team up with UPMC to bring philosophies and programs that we've put in place to train, develop and mentor athletes from the youth levels all the way to the professional ranks."

Blues' Shattenkirk on track in recovery from surgery

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:34 PM / News

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Shattenkirk admitted the play was rather innocent.

But on that Feb. 1 day against the Washington Capitals, once the St. Louis Blues defenseman received MRI results, the diagnosis was cut and dry.

Shattenkirk, who has missed the Blues' past 17 games after having abdominal surgery, spoke to reporters for the first time since the injury Tuesday. He resumed skating with defenseman Zbynek Michalek (concussion), and though Shattenkirk's status remains week-to-week, the recovery seems to be progressing.

The Blues have gone 10-6-1 in Shattenkirk's absence.

"They've felt good," Shattenkirk said of the recent skates. "I guess about a week ago now, the scar tissue released and that kind of spooked me a little bit. They say if that happens, just take some time, take a day off, let it rest and it's going to feel better, and it has. The groin is still something that I need to work on and strengthen, and then once that gets back, hopefully I can jump into real team practices and then get my conditioning back and ready for games."

Panthers' Luongo won't return Thursday: report

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo will miss a third straight game Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets, according to the Miami Herald.

Luongo sustained a shoulder injury March 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He left the game but later returned after backup Al Montoya sustained a groin injury that has him out for several weeks.

Fantasy top 60 'D': Flames' Russell in high-profile role

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

The Calgary Flames are in the middle of a rebuild, but that didn't stop them from becoming one of the best stories of the season. Their situation dimmed a bit when the face of that success, Mark Giordano, was lost for the remainder of the season after surgery to have a biceps injury repaired, but they aren't done yet, managing a 3-1-1 record without their captain.

Maple Leafs to hold Kadri out two more games

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 11:30 AM / News

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri will not play in their next two games, team president Brendan Shanahan announced Wednesday.

Kadri, 24, was late for a team meeting Sunday and was made a healthy scratch for the Maple Leafs game Monday against the New York Islanders. In announcing Kadri will also miss the game Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres and Friday against the Calgary Flames, Shanahan made clear there were other factors in the discipline.

"We have told him if things go well he'll be available for Saturday's game against Vancouver," Shanahan said. "There's more to this obviously than if this was just a case of Nazem being 15 minutes late for a meeting one time. The easiest thing for us to do at this point would be to sweep this under the rug and put this off until the offseason to deal with it, but Nazem is an important part of our future.

Inside the matchup: Rangers vs. Capitals

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 10:40 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

The New York Rangers can take over first place in the Metropolitan Division by defeating the Washington Capitals in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVA Sports).

The Rangers will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after edging the first-place New York Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday, a victory that moved them within one point of the division lead with four games in hand. The Capitals are well-rested; they've been off since defeating the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Saturday.

Though the season is past the three-quarters mark, this is New York's first visit to Washington and the second game between the Rangers and Capitals. They'll play at Madison Square Garden on March 29 and end the season against each other at Verizon Center on April 11.

Around the League notebook for Tuesday, March 10

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


Ben Bishop made 19 saves and Tyler Johnson broke a scoreless tie 63 seconds into overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 1-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens, their fourth straight win and fifth consecutive regular-season victory against the Canadiens.

* The Lightning (42-20-6, 90 points) improved to 3-0-0 against the Canadiens (42-18-7, 91 points) this season to move within one point of their division rival for top spot in the Eastern Conference and entire NHL. The top seven teams in the League are separated by two points and 10 points divide the top 12 teams.

* Tampa Bay is 6-0-1 in its past six regular-season games against Montreal, including four straight wins at the Bell Centre. The teams play twice more this season: March 16 at TBL and March 30 at MTL.

* Johnson scored his fifth game-winner and 25th goal of 2014-15, establishing career highs in each category. His first career overtime goal stretched his point streak to seven games (3-6—9), equaling a personal best set earlier this season.

Capitals stopping opponents by playing heavy game

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Since joining the Minnesota Wild prior to the 2012-13 season, forward Zach Parise has faced the Washington Capitals far less than he did as a member of the New Jersey Devils.

After the Wild's 2-1 victory against the Capitals on Thursday, Parise marveled at the distinct differences in Washington's style of play.

"It's not the Washington Capitals high-flying team that I was used to playing against all those years in the East," he said. "They play a really structured game, they know where to be defensively, they don't give you a lot of room in the neutral zone. They made us fight for all our chances and made us fight for zone time. They're a big team, they're physical."

Such postgame analysis from Washington's opponents has been common this season as the Capitals' transformation into a more versatile team under coach Barry Trotz has taken hold.

At an average weight of 209.9 pounds, the Capitals have the heaviest roster in the NHL, among the advantages they utilize.

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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process