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Latest Headlines

Panthers forced to move on without Barkov, Kopecky

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 6:23 PM / News

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will be without their two injured Olympians when they return to action Thursday against the Washington Capitals.

Rookie center Aleksander Barkov and veteran forward Tomas Kopecky were examined by team doctors after returning from Russia on Friday, and Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said Monday that each player would be out at least a few weeks. Horachek did not have a specific timetable.

Barkov, the youngest player on Finland's Olympic roster, sustained a knee injury in a preliminary-round game against Norway. Kopecky, making his second appearance in the Olympics for Slovakia, sustained an upper-body injury against Slovenia after a high hit that landed Sabahudin Kovacevic a one-game suspension.


Lightning's Stamkos eyeing early March return

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 5:12 PM / News


Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos told reporters Monday that he is targeting a March 6 game against the Buffalo Sabres for his return to the lineup.

Stamkos said an X-ray taken of his surgically repaired right tibia Monday "looks really good," but "we're playing it smart." He said his next medical evaluation is scheduled for March 5.

Stamkos broke his leg when he fell into a goal post Nov. 11 during a game against the Boston Bruins and he had surgery the next day. He had been hoping to recover in time to play for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but had to withdraw when a CT scan performed Feb. 5 showed his leg had not fully healed.


Predators' Rinne cleared to increase activity

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 4:43 PM / News


Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne took another step in his return to the lineup when informed by doctors Monday that he may increase his physical activity in practice.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said a meeting was planned for later Monday to set a weekly plan Rinne going forward. Last Thursday Rinne joined his teammates for practice for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery for a hip infection Oct. 24. In nine games before leaving the lineup Rinne had a 2.31 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

"Our destination is to get Pekka back in the net at some point," Trotz said. "Whenever that happens, that happens. It feels a lot better than it was a month ago or six weeks ago."


Wrigley memories remain strong for Blackhawks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg is an experienced veteran now, but he'll never forget the game he played as a rookie Jan. 1, 2009 at Wrigley Field.

Versteeg took the ice that day with the Blackhawks to face the rival Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. He wound up scoring the game's first goal 3:24 into the first period in what turned out to be a back-and-forth game won by Detroit 6-4 in cold, overcast conditions.

As the Blackhawks prepare to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at Soldier Field (8 p.m. ET, NBC) in the final game of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series, Versteeg and others who played at Wrigley are reminded of that game five years ago.

"I remember a lot," Versteeg said Monday. "I remember getting ready in the locker room and coming out side-by-side with Detroit. It was kind of like soccer ... how they come out holding hands [with youth players] and then all of a sudden they're enemies."


Wild's Koivu continuing to work his way back

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 3:56 PM / News


When the Minnesota Wild return to play Thursday, captain Mikko Koivu could be in the lineup.

Koivu has been out since Jan. 4 recovering from a broken ankle but was on the ice Monday, and for the first time since his injury was a full participant in 5-on-5 drills.

However, neither Koivu nor coach Mike Yeo would say if Koivu would be available for the Wild's game Thursday at the Edmonton Oilers.

"Progress has been good since we came back," Koivu told the team's website. "Each and every day it's getting stronger and stronger so that's a good sign."


Blackhawks to appear on NBC's 'Chicago Fire'


NEW YORK -- Chicago Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will make a guest appearance in the Tuesday, Feb. 25 episode of the hit NBC drama, "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m. ET).

In the episode titled "Virgin Skin," Shay (played by Lauren German) gets an unusual tip from Seabrook and Keith, friends of Clarke (guest star Jeff Hephner) who stop by Molly's, the local bar that is co-owned by several members from firehouse 51. The much-anticipated 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series outdoor matchup between the Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field generates excitement at Molly's and the firehouse.

NBC will broadcast the Blackhawks-Penguins outdoor game on Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m. ET.


Islanders place Tavares on injured reserve

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 1:44 PM / News


The New York Islanders on Monday placed top-line center John Tavares on injured reserve.

Tavares will miss the remainder of the season with a torn medial collateral ligament and meniscus tear in his left knee sustained during Canada's quarterfinal game against Latvia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"You feel bad for him, especially how much he was looking forward to it before the Olympics and coming back to help us make our playoff push," Tavares' teammate and roommate Colin McDonald said told the Islanders' website. "At this point it's set in and you just want him to get healthy and be ready for next year."


Canadiens' Price still relishing Olympic experience

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 1:30 PM / NHL Insider


Carey Price, named the best goalie of the men's ice hockey tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, again was in the spotlight Monday when he met with Montreal-area media at Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Quebec to talk about his gold medal-winning performance for Canada.

Price, who did not practice Monday and will remain off the ice Tuesday, had his gold medal in the pocket of his sweat jacket and posed for pictures for photographers.

"The last 24 hours has been a bit of a whirlwind," Price said. "I just got off the plane a couple of hours ago."


Fantasy All-Access: Break for Olympics is over

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The NHL is back after the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It was a great tournament, which that saw the St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie become a United States hero, the Russians come short of their goal of winning the gold on home soil and Canada win the gold medal.

Phil Kessel and Erik Karlsson led the tournament with eight points; they weren't the only players to make an impression and become fantasy-worthy for the rest of the season.

Finland won the bronze medal with help from two Anaheim Ducks players, one old (43-year-old Teemu Selanne) and one young (22-year-old defenseman Sami Vatanen). Vatanen had a team-leading five assists while averaging a team-high 18:34 of ice time per game. Although he has spent time in the American Hockey League this season and has been a healthy scratch by the Ducks, his six goals are tied for the Ducks lead among defensemen and he should see a bump in playing time from his great Olympic tournament.


Heritage Classic bringing Schroeder to hockey roots

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For Vancouver Canucks center Jordan Schroeder, playing in the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will bring his young career full circle. The Minnesota native credits pond hockey for sparking his passion for the game and helping him get to the NHL.

Schroeder said he was "4 or 5" years old when he began playing on a pond in his neighbor's backyard in Lakeville, a suburb south of Minneapolis. Eighteen years later Schroeder is looking forward to playing outside again, but Sunday (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS) it will be in front of 55,000 fans against the Ottawa Senators at BC Place.

The stage may be a lot bigger now, but Schroder doesn't think he would have reached it if not for that small pond that ignited his passion for the sport, and the countless hours spent refining his skating and skills on it and other outdoor rinks around Minnesota.

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season