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Daily Primer Feb. 7: Last call for the Penguins

Friday, 02.07.2014 / 1:53 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Dan Bylsma will be working together for one more night before heading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Next week, Crosby will be playing for Canada, Malkin will be doing the same for Russia, and Bylsma will be behind the bench for the United States as their countries chase Olympic gold. But on Friday, they'll be trying to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to one last pre-Olympic victory when the New York Rangers come to Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

It's the final game before the break for each team. The Rangers and Penguins each will have seven players in Sochi.

Here's a look at all of the action Friday:


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Blackhawks acquire Regin, Bouchard from Islanders

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 10:35 PM / News

The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forwards Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the New York Islanders in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Regin will join the Blackhawks, while Bouchard will report directly to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. In addition, the Blackhawks have reassigned forward Brandon Pirri to Rockford.

Regin, 27, has appeared in 44 games this season with New York, posting seven points (2g, 5a) in those contests. He tallied a season-high two points (1g, 1a) on Oct. 8 vs. Phoenix and appeared in his 200th career NHL game on Nov. 19 at Toronto.

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Lightning goalie Bishop leaves game with injury

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 10:06 PM / News

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop did not take the net for the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday because of an upper-body injury.

Bishop allowed one goal and made 21 saves during the first 40 minutes. He was replaced by Cedrick Desjardins.

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Islanders duo hopes to help Austria pull off an upset

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 4:40 PM / 2014 Olympics

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders forwards Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner know the task of helping Austria bring home a medal from the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be as close to impossible as it gets. But that doesn't mean they're not prepared to give it their best shot.

"It's exciting," Vanek said Thursday before the Islanders hosted the Calgary Flames at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. "Anytime you can play and represent your country, especially at this level, it'll be fun. Obviously, we're a big underdog, but that's OK. Hopefully we can surprise a few people."

This will be Austria's first appearance in the Olympics since 2002. They will compete in Group B with Norway, along with projected powerhouses Canada and Finland. Austria will face Finland next Thursday.

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Kings, Canadiens exchange AHL forwards

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 3:00 PM / News

The Los Angeles Kings on Thursday traded forward Robert Czarnik to the Montreal Canadiens for forward Steve Quailer in an exchange of 2008 third-round NHL Draft picks.

Each player is currently in the American Hockey League.

Czarnik, 24, was the 63rd pick by the Kings in 2008. He has one goal and five points in 29 games this season for the Manchester Monarchs.

Quailer, 24, was the 86th pick by the Canadiens. He has one goal and five points in 12 games this season for the Hamilton Bulldogs.

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Disappointed Stamkos focused on Lightning return

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:37 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The ache in his heart appeared to exceed any discomfort he might be feeling from his leg.

Steven Stamkos isn't going to the Olympics and the Tampa Bay Lightning center officially threw in the towel, reluctantly, after the morning skate Thursday. The news he was not medically cleared to play came following a CT scan Wednesday, and came out of the blue, taking Stamkos by surprise, especially because he thought he could play Thursday, even earlier than had been expected.

"It was disappointing. I was surprised," Stamkos said. "Going into the meeting I was expecting to play on Thursday, based on how I was feeling and how the previous X-rays had went. It was shocking, to be honest."

There is consolation, of course. Stamkos is 24 years old with lots of hockey ahead. But that wasn't making him feel much better Thursday.

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In the Cage: Finland's trifecta has best fantasy value

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 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.


A total of 19 NHL goalies are heading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including all three goalies for the United States, Canada, Finland, and Sweden. Two NHL goalies are found on Slovakia's, Russia's and Switzerland's rosters, and one more is found on the Czech Republic. As a result, there will be plenty of pristine puck-stopping talent on display over the next few weeks.

Many countries already have a clear-cut projected starter, but interestingly enough, up to four "powerhouses" may have to wait a few games before their starter is revealed.

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As Sochi beckons, Price keeping focus on Canadiens

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Coach Mike Babcock told the hosts of "Hockey Central" on Sportsnet radio Tuesday he planned to use a different goalie in Canada's first two games at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Feb. 13 against Norway and Feb. 14 against Austria. It's expected those two goalies will be the Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo and the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price.

It just so happens Price and Luongo will face each other Thursday when the Canadiens host the Canucks in each team's penultimate game before the Olympic break. It's a juicy storyline, but you wouldn't have known that talking to Price after Canadiens practice Wednesday.

"Like I've been saying this whole time, until I leave here my focus doesn't change," Price said. "It doesn't matter who I'm playing [Thursday], my approach is still the same. That (who plays when at the Olympics) will be decided once we get there. I don't know who those two goalies will be yet. I'm sure they have a pretty good idea of how things are going to go, but that's obviously not our decision to make."

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Prospector Files: MacKinnon advises 2014 draft class

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has taken the path many promising prospects hope to follow once all the fun begins after the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28.

MacKinnon, who was ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters for the 2013 draft, was taken No. 1 by by the Avalanche. Colorado now is reaping the rewards and MacKinnon is living the dream. 

He leads all rookies in goals (20), points (42), power-play goals (eight) and shots on goal (164) and is tied for the League lead with Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings with five game-winning goals.

Is he the top contender for the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year?

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Predators' Weber entering Olympics at top of game

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

There are those professional athletes who seek to turn the spotlight on themselves and there are those who find the spotlight painful and seek to deflect attention to their teammates.

Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 38
SOG: 133 | +/-: -8
Put Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber firmly in the second category.

With the 2014 Sochi Olympics looming, Weber leads NHL defensemen in goals with 15, and as a right-handed shot could find a natural spot on Canada's first defense pair with left-handed shooting Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Owner of as powerful a slap shot as exists in the world today -- his goal against Germany in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that went through the twine no doubt will receive its share of replays once the Sochi tournament commences -- Weber might have as good a chance as any player to score the kind of memorable goal that would earn a measure of international fame.

If that happened, would Weber, an avid follower of the NFL, indulge in a Richard Sherman moment on camera?

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Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis