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Canada women's team honored at Heritage Classic

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER — For Hayley Wickenheiser, the chance to celebrate her gold medal from the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a packed house at the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver felt like coming home.

Wickenheiser was one of nine members of the gold-medal winning Canadian women's team saluted before the game here between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

After winning a gold medal across the street at Rogers Arena at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Wickenheiser said she was looking forward to the sharing another win with the huge crowd.

"I really wanted to come here because we had so much support four years ago and to come back with another gold and share it with this many people, it's kind of a full-circle moment," Wickenheiser said.


McLachlan excited to perform at Heritage Classic

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver resident for the past 26 years, Grammy Award-winning singer Sarah McLachlan has seen and done it all in her adopted hometown.

Since moving west from Nova Scotia to begin her music career, McLachlan has toured the world and sold millions of records. But she'll add a new distinction to her resume Sunday when she sings the Canadian national anthem at BC Place to kick off the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators (4 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"I don't usually play in places this big. [I'm] usually in theaters. This will be fun. It will be exciting," McLachlan said. "It looks epic. It looks amazing out there. One thing I noticed is the rink looks small because it's such a massive space. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."


BC Place roof to remain closed for Heritage Classic


VANCOUVER — The roof at BC Place will remain closed Sunday during the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS) between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators.

The decision was made based on the accumulation of precipitation already on the retractable roof and the forecast of more rain.


Lack to start for Canucks in Heritage Classic

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Loungo circled the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place on his calendar as soon as the schedule was released.

"I've always wanted to play in an outdoor game," Luongo said after practicing in the retractable roof stadium Saturday. "So I was excited when I saw we got one this year and I was looking forward to it."

Luongo's outdoor experience will be limited to the bench.

The Canucks announced Sunday morning that rookie backup Eddie Lack will make a third straight start ahead of Luongo when the Canucks play the Ottawa Senators on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

"Lack has played really well the last two games and deserves the start [Sunday]," Canucks coach John Tortorella told the team's website.

Another start for Lack puts the Canucks right back where they were before surprising everyone by keeping Luongo and trading Cory Schneider at the 2014 NHL Draft.


14 storylines to watch during NHL's stretch run

Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

With three-quarters of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at 14 of the top storylines for the final weeks of the season

Six weeks remain in the NHL regular season, and with the Sochi Olympics in the rearview mirror, it's time to gear up for the stretch run.

Canada was the big winner in Sochi, earning its second straight gold medal by beating Sweden in the championship game. Finland beat the United States for the bronze; the host Russians lost in the quarterfinals.

But there were five key injuries that came out of Sochi. The most significant was to New York Islanders captain John Tavares (Canada), who sustained a torn MCL and torn meniscus in his left knee. He was placed on injured reserve and is gone for the season.

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden) had back surgery on Feb. 21 and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello (Norway) will be sidelined another could of weeks while recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his left hand sustained Feb. 16.


Lightning's Cooper deserving of Jack Adams Award

Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With three-quarters of the 2013-14 season behind us, NHL.com attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Jack Adams Award, an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success.

Nearly four months have passed since superstar forward Steven Stamkos broke his tibia in a game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11, yet the Tampa Bay Lightning remain very much in the mix for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Led by Jon Cooper, who is in the midst of his first full season as Tampa Bay's coach, the Lightning entered the Olympic break with 33 victories, good for second place in the Atlantic Division.


Sunday Long Read: '94 deadline completed Rangers

Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Neil Smith was sure of two things when he began his day on March 21, 1994: His New York Rangers were atop the NHL standings, and they weren't good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

There was a third thing: With the NHL Trade Deadline hours away, he had work to do.

The fifth-year general manager arrived in the summer of 1989, a couple of months after New York was swept out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending the Rangers' drought to 49 years.

Smith cut his hockey teeth about 30 miles away from Madison Square Garden with the New York Islanders during their run of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83. The last three of those, as well as the trip to the 1984 Stanley Cup Final, included playoff victories against the Rangers, with the fans on Long Island chanting "19-40!," reminding their big-city rivals of the last time they had won the Cup.


Riley coaching legacy still strong at West Point

Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hockey Weekend Across America

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The history of college hockey is replete with lengthy tenures by some of the game's great coaches. But for more than 60 years, one family has led the hockey program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. It's a lineage that has outlasted almost every other in the world of sports.

"We feel we have a great deal to offer a young man both on and off the ice. It's more about the opportunities than the challenges. That's what we try to focus on, the opportunities," Army coach Brian Riley said. "They're set up for success once they make that decision to come to West Point."

After serving 14 years in two stints as an associate and assistant coach, Brian Riley took over the Army program in 2004 from his older brother Rob, who led the Black Knights to 257 victories in 19 seasons at West Point. That's an impressive total for any coach at one program, but for Rob Riley, it's not even the most wins by a member of his own family.

That's because when the eldest Riley sibling took over the Army program in 1986, he succeeded his legendary father, Jack, whose 542 victories at West Point still rank 15th in college hockey history. Jack and Rob Riley are the winningest father/son pair in college hockey.

"Now that I can sit back and reflect, you do kind of say wow," Rob Riley said. "When you're in the middle of it, you don't even have time to realize it. There aren't that many guys who are at one place for 20 years. Then Brian comes in and adds more to that. It's something we're all very proud of."


Sled hockey rejuvenates U.S. coach Sauer

Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hockey Weekend Across America

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jeff Sauer served as a college coach for over three decades, won two national championships and ended his career near the top of college hockey's all-time wins list.

He thought he'd seen it all as a mentor behind the bench until he received a call from USA Hockey three years ago asking him to consider coming out of retirement to coach the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.

"I kind of hesitated a little bit because I didn't know the players, didn't know what it was all about," Sauer told NHL.com. "But I'll tell you what. I was on the ice for 10 minutes and was hooked. The skill level is incredible and I'm in awe of what some of these guys can do.

"It just rejuvenated me as a coach."


Blackhawks overcome snow to beat Penguins

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The snow never relented, swirling at times and blowing sideways at others.

It accumulated on the rink inside Soldier Field during the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, creating quite a challenge for both teams -- as well for as the hard-working snow-removal crews.

The conditions begged for a simpler style of hockey and the Blackhawks played that way to near perfection. They even credited their back-to-basics strategy for some of the prettiest goals you'll ever see.

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley