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Maple Leafs send Kadri home, shut down Robidas

Sunday, 03.08.2015 / 1:40 PM / News

It was a busy day Sunday when the Toronto Maple Leafs convened for practice a day after a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Air Canada Centre.

Forward Nazem Kadri missed practice after being sent home by interim coach Peter Horachek for being late, according to various reports. Kadri showed up at the Maple Leafs' training facility, but not on time. Horachek told him to leave for being late and not prepared for the practice.

"He missed a meeting, so I sent him home," Horachek said, according to the Toronto Sun. "He showed up, but not when I was doing it."

Around the League notebook for Saturday, March 7

Sunday, 03.08.2015 / 10:40 AM / News


Carey Price denied all 29 shots he faced for his 32nd career shutout to help the Montreal Canadiens end a three-game skid and close their road trip with a 1-2-1 record.

* The Canadiens (42-18-6, 90 points) leapfrogged the Nashville Predators (41-18-7, 89 points) – who lost in regulation – for second place in the NHL and moved within one point of the idle Anaheim Ducks (42-18-7, 91 points) for top spot. Only six points separate the League's top eight teams.

* Price earned his seventh shutout and 37th win of the season, one shy of his career-high in both categories (2010-11). He leads the NHL in wins, goals-against average (1.89) and save percentage (.936) and is tied for second in shutouts, two behind Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins).

* Lars Eller opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season. His six game-winners are a career high and two shy of his career total before this season (286 GP).

SLR: Forgotten Vipers once rocked Detroit

Sunday, 03.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

John Manasso - Correspondent

The 1990s marked a time of seismic change in hockey: The Iron Curtain fell, providing a massive influx of talent from Eastern Europe, NHL franchises migrated from Canada and traditional markets in the Northeast and Midwestern United States to new ones and the League embarked on a rapid and ambitious expansion plan to the Sunbelt and beyond.

That atmosphere proved ripe for exploitation by the right kind of visionary minds. Enter Bill Davidson and Rick Dudley, the former, a glass manufacturing mogul who presided over a pro sports empire, and the latter, a respected talent evaluator with progressive ideas about how to run a pro hockey enterprise.

Together in 1994, they gave birth to the Detroit Vipers, an independent International Hockey League franchise that cut a rollicking, phoenix-like path through the decade. Playing out of the Palace at Auburn Hills, the home of the Davidson-owned Detroit Pistons of the NBA, the Vipers used the Pistons' charter plane for travel. While other minor-league franchises rode buses for hour upon hour, the Vipers whimsically flew to road games as close as Kalamazoo, 140 miles away -- or about a 15-minute flight.

Their top-notch facilities included a hot tub and a sauna. Former player Stan Drulia recalled a game in Cincinnati the night of one of the famous Evander Holyfied-Mike Tyson boxing fights. The players asked the pilot to wait long enough after the Vipers' game before returning to Detroit so that they could visit a local establishment and watch the fight first.

"Those are the privileges you appreciate and we were able to take advantage of," Drulia said.

Rogers Hometown Hockey: Thompson, Manitoba

Sunday, 03.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / News

CITY in Canada will televise "Rogers Hometown Hockey" on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET, prior to the game between the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators. The show will also air on NHL Network in the U.S. The location this week is Thompson, Manitoba, and the half-hour program will celebrate the city's iconic hockey story.

Among the features airing on the pregame show:

*Born in Riverton, Manitoba, the odds of Reggie Leach making it to the NHL, let alone reaching the pinnacle of the sport, were long to say the least. Being the youngest of 13 kids growing up, Leach didn't have much, but his skill on the ice spoke for itself.

Penguins goalie prospect earns 4th straight shutout

Sunday, 03.08.2015 / 12:32 AM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie prospect Matthew Murray made 32 saves for his fourth consecutive shutout in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' 3-0 win against the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday.

Murray, 20, has not allowed a goal in 245 minutes and 22 seconds. The American Hockey League record for longest shutout streak is 268:17, set by Barry Brust of the Abbotsford Heat in 2012. The second-longest streak belongs to Hockey Hall of Famer Johnny Bower, who went 249:51 without allowing a goal with the Cleveland Barons in 1957.

Devils' first championship team reunites after 20 years

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 10:24 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur will eventually have his night at Prudential Center to speak to the fans, to thank everyone he wants and to watch his No. 30 go up to the rafters. The New Jersey Devils haven't announced plans to honor Brodeur and his 20 years of record-breaking, championship goaltending, but that's going to happen, perhaps as early as next season.

However, it was somewhat fitting that Brodeur's first trip back to the arena as a retired player was to celebrate a Stanley Cup championship team instead of his phenomenal career.

Through 28 years of leadership from general manager and president Lou Lamoriello, the Devils have been built on a team-first, star-less mentality even though two members of the 1995 championship team being honored this weekend, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer, are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Brodeur is expected to join them when he's eligible in 2018.

Brodeur fond of Devils, relishes new role with Blues

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 8:44 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur returned to Prudential Center on Saturday for his first event as an alumnus of the New Jersey Devils.

"It's always fun to come back home," Brodeur said after playing in an alumni game with his teammates from the 1994-95 season, the Devils' first of three Stanley Cup championship seasons.

There will be plenty more alumni events for Brodeur to attend, and perhaps soon he will be attending them as a Devils employee. But for the time being Brodeur is comfortable with his role in the St. Louis Blues front office, where he has been going through a crash course in how to become an executive in the NHL since announcing his retirement Jan. 29 and becoming an adviser to general manager Doug Armstrong.

"It's been a blast," said Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader for goalies in wins (691) and shutouts (125). "Definitely my home is New Jersey and eventually, and hopefully, I'll be back here in somewhat of a role, but right now I'm in St. Louis and I'm enjoying myself a lot."

Ovechkin returns for Capitals against Sabres

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 7:30 PM / News

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Ovechkin, who had a lower-body injury, made his decision after skating in the warm-up.

"Just feel like how can I handle the puck, how can I skate, how can [I] move, all the little things," Ovechkin said after the morning skate.

Bruins' Bergeron taking leadership to new heights

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 5:38 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Patrice Bergeron has been front and center for some of the Boston Bruins' most important moments the past several seasons.

He scored two goals against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to help end a 39-year championship drought.

He scored the late game-tying goal and overtime winner in Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to cap a remarkable comeback from three goals down against the Toronto Maple Leafs to salvage the Bruins' playoff run that ended with an Eastern Conference title.

Throughout his career, Bergeron has come through when the Bruins need him most. That hasn't changed during the 2014-15 season. The only difference has been they've needed the 29-year-old center to pull them through for almost all of their 64 games, rather than come through in clutch moments.

Kings' Robitaille honored to have statue unveiled

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 4:18 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Luc Robitaille heard it through good authority that the 19-foot, 2,500-pound bronze statue of him was sculpted well. He knew because he had one condition when he was approached about it a while back.

"I said, 'I don’t want to see it,'" Robitaille said. "I don't want to know. You guys do it and I'll see when it comes out. Just do me one favor: Show it to my wife [Stacia]. If my wife agrees with it I know it's all good."

The verdict?

"They showed it to her a couple of times, and at one point she told me, 'Yeah, it's pretty cool,'" he said. "She's happy. I figured it's all good."

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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