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2014 NHL Draft
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Blackhawks, Bruins set for Stanley Cup rematch

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 7:30 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The word "respect" was used liberally at Johnny's IceHouse West on Saturday after back-to-back practices for the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.

There were times it felt like Aretha Franklin might walk through the door wagging her finger and singing the famed song of the same name. That song, though, wouldn't have really fit the mood of the Blackhawks and Bruins, who will face each other Sunday at United Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) for the first time since Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

The song "Respect" is about not getting enough of it. These former Stanley Cup Final foes have plenty of it for each other after engaging in a hard-fought, entertaining series last June.

"I think there's always going to be intensity the first time teams play each other [after a Cup Final], but intensity ... it depends what you mean by that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "If you're talking about a lot of cheap shots and all that, I don't think that's the case here."


Versteeg good to go for Blackhawks vs. Bruins

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 6:51 PM / News

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

Kris Versteeg
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 24
SOG: 99 | +/-: -4
CHICAGO -- Forward Kris Versteeg practiced with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday and will likely play Sunday when they host the Boston Bruins at United Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NHLN-CA).

Versteeg didn't play in the third period of a 4-2 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night at United Center after an accidental collision with teammate Bryan Bickell as the second period expired.

Prior to practicing with the Blackhawks on Saturday, Versteeg had to pass protocols in place to guard against playing with a concussion. He said the biggest issue was having his wind momentarily knocked out of him.


Daily Primer Jan. 18: Tough turnaround for Ducks

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 10:00 AM / Features

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

As if playing on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champions wasn't hard enough, the Anaheim Ducks face a team that might be even better just 24 hours later.

The Ducks saw their eight-game winning streak end Friday when they lost 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. But they didn't have much time to lick their wounds; instead, the Ducks jumped on a plane and headed for a Saturday night meeting against the St. Louis Blues.

St. Louis is four points behind the Blackhawks for the Central Division lead and eight back of the Ducks for first place in the overall NHL standings. However, the Blues have four games in hand on Chicago and Anaheim.

Here's a look at all the action on a busy Saturday.


Coyotes' Smith trying to live up to Olympic honor

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

Mike Smith
Goalie - PHX
RECORD: 16-13-8
GAA: 2.85 | SVP: 0.911
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was an incredible honor, the fulfillment of a boyhood dream and the continuation of a family tradition.

But for Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, being selected to represent Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics was an additional reason to be concerned with his inconsistent play. Instead of enjoying the moment, it served as another impetus to iron out his problems between the pipes as soon as possible.

Smith got off to an 11-3-3 start and the Coyotes challenged for the best record in the conference. But since a 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 21, the Coyotes' most important player for the past three seasons had three wins in 18 decisions. Three wins in two months. His goals-against average was approaching 3.00 and his save percentage plummeted toward .900, not exactly the credentials any goaltender wants to take into the Olympics.

"You're already trying so hard to win games and putting that added pressure on yourself," Smith said. "Then you get added to the Olympic team and there is even more pressure to perform and do well.

"I'm already one to put enough pressure on myself," he said with a smile. "I don't need other things to add to it."


Tapped In: Coyle embraces role-model status

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / Tapped In

Kathryn Tappen - NHL.com Contributor

Charlie Coyle quickly is making a name for himself in the NHL. Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (No. 28) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Coyle, 21, has managed the pressures and expectations of being a first-round pick by providing depth at center in Minnesota. And as talented as he is on the ice, Coyle takes time to pay it forward by embracing his persona as a role model to young children.

Kathryn Tappen: You became an instant heartthrob when cameras caught you waving to 5-year old Wild fan Henry during pregame warmups. The clip has more than 2.6 million views on YouTube as the video went viral. Were you surprised at this response?

Charlie Coyle: I didn't expect it to go past just me waving to Henry. I didn't think anyone even saw it. Different guys in the League do that every night, waving to young fans, throwing pucks at the kids. A lot of guys do things like that, which is a nice gesture. I remember being a young kid wanting to wave to an NHL player. So I just tried to do a little something for him and apparently the cameras were rolling. It was such a simple thing and now everyone's talking about it. It was pretty crazy to see.

KT: There’s no question you made Henry's day. His facial expression after you waved was priceless.

CC: A week or two later he came to one of our practices and I got to do a meet-and-greet with Henry and his sister Madeline. It was awesome to meet him. He's a pretty talkative kid. At first he was a little star-struck, but after I sat down with him he talked non-stop and it was a really good time.


Hockey Day in Canada comes to Lloydminster

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

For its annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada celebration on Jan. 18, the CBC is holding events in two provinces and one city.

Yes, you read that right.

Welcome to Lloydminster, which has the Alberta/Saskatchewan border running through the middle of the city.

"The meridian for it ... 50th Street goes right through town," said Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell, who grew up in Lloydminster. "It's weird how it's set up. If there's a bar or restaurant on the Saskatchewan side you have to be 19 to drink; if there's a bar or restaurant on the Alberta side you have to be 18 to drink. All the schooling, even if there's a school on the Alberta side, it's Saskatchewan schooling, their curriculum. The hockey rink is on the Saskatchewan side but you play Alberta teams. There's a lot of tricky things to it."


Versteeg leaves with upper-body injury

Friday, 01.17.2014 / 11:42 PM / News

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

Kris Versteeg
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 24
SOG: 99 | +/-: -4
CHICAGO -- Kris Versteeg missed the third period of the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-2 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night with an upper-body injury.

Versteeg appeared to injure his right arm when teammate Bryan Bickell collided with him behind the Ducks net as the second period concluded. He didn't return for the third period.  The team said he is considered day-to-day and will be evaluated on Saturday.

Versteeg scored Chicago's second goal, 17:06 into the first period. It was his ninth of the season and first since Dec. 27.


O'Handley ties USHL record for coaching victories

Friday, 01.17.2014 / 9:53 PM / News

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

P.K. O'Handley of the Waterloo Black Hawks tied the United States Hockey League record for coaching victories when his team beat the Youngstown Phantoms 4-3 on Friday at Covelli Centre in Ohio.

O'Handley has a 529-441-74 record in his 19 seasons in the USHL, the past 12 with Waterloo. He's tied with Mike Hastings, who went 529-210-56 with the Omaha/River City Lancers from 1994-2008. Hastings is now head coach at Minnesota State University.

O'Handley's 1,044 games behind the bench are the most in USHL history.

O'Handley can surpass Hastings on Saturday when the Blackhawks (26-5-1) visit the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Michigan to face the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program. Waterloo has outscored its opponents 130-84 this season and is 12-3-1 on the road.


Ducks' Souray has season-ending surgery

Friday, 01.17.2014 / 4:20 PM / News


Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sheldon Souray underwent season-ending wrist surgery Friday.

The 37-year-old defenseman had surgery on his right wrist. He tore ligaments in the wrist during the summer.

"This is a difficult situation for Sheldon and a tough loss for the team," general manager Bob Murray said in a statement released by the team. "Sheldon has been in pain for quite some time. This surgery was his best course of action in order to alleviate pain and discomfort, and regain full mobility in his wrist. Sheldon's long-term health is the most important issue right now, and we support his difficult decision to have this surgery."


Family support made Olympic call sweeter for Sharp

Friday, 01.17.2014 / 3:49 PM / 2014 Olympics

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp cracked a smile Friday morning when asked about the first of his two hat tricks this season, which occurred on his 32nd birthday.

It happened Dec. 27 during a 7-2 victory for Sharp's Chicago Blackhawks, but the reason for his smile was more about who watched it live. Along with his wife, Abby, and two young daughters, Sharp's parents were at United Center to see it.

After an 11-hour ordeal at Calgary International Airport, they eventually made it to Chicago just in time to watch their son score three goals, make a great defensive play that led to another and garner the game's first star recognition.

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Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas