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Jets' Maurice: Olympic ice won't make big difference

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 4:11 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- There is a widely held assumption that a big factor at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be the ability of each team to adjust to the international ice surface.

Montreal Canadiens center and Czech Olympic team captain Tomas Plekanec went so far as to say that hockey on international ice, which is 15 feet wider than NHL rinks, is "a completely different sport."

You can count Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice among those that may disagree with Plekanec's description.

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Hurricanes recall Ward from Charlotte

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 3:12 PM / News

The Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday recalled goalie Cam Ward from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

Ward, 6-7-5 with a 3.15 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage in 19 games with Carolina this season, missed 14 games with a lower-body injury. He was removed from injured reserve this past Thursday and played in two games for the Checkers on a conditioning stint, when he went 1-1 with a 2.02 GAA and a .937 save percentage.

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Daily Primer Feb. 2: Rematch in Washington

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Two teams in desperate need of points will face each other in front of a national-TV audience Sunday afternoon.

The Washington Capitals, who have fallen into seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, return home to face the Detroit Red Wings at Verizon Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NHLN-CA). The Capitals (24-22-9) are two points behind the Red Wings (24-19-11) after Detroit beat Washington 4-3 in a shootout at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.

Here's a closer look at the action Sunday:

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Analysis: February could define Ovechkin's career

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Russian forward Alex Ovechkin is a week away from arriving at a cauldron already bubbling on his native soil, where the opportunity for a career-defining moment is waiting near a resort city on the coast of the Black Sea.

Canada's Sidney Crosby vividly remembers what that felt like four years ago when the sports world turned its collective eye to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and a hockey-mad nation looked to No. 87 and his teammates for validation.

"In some ways you have to embrace it," Crosby told NHL.com. "You want to win so bad and you know the expectation is exactly that. You have to remind yourself that that's why you're a hockey player, you want to be in those situations because everyone does care that much and they are so passionate about it.

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Sunday Long Read: Career never a job for Hitchcock

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- When it comes to hockey, Ken Hitchcock is a creature of habit.

During the season, the routine of the St. Louis Blues coach rarely changes, no matter the day's agenda.

First, Hitchcock heads to a nearby Starbucks, or any of his favorite coffee shops in the area. Then it's off to the rink, where he preps his players with video sessions while preparing for a practice or a morning skate with his assistant coaches. In the afternoon, he spends the majority of his time scouting an opponent. Then, as evening arrives, Hitchcock sends his players out on the ice or watches other NHL games.

The scenery has changed greatly since Hitchcock began the life of a full-time coach in the Western Hockey League in 1984, but the routine has rarely wavered. Why should it? Despite the fact he had no top-level experience as a player or coach, Hitchcock's routine has served him well in a long and winding career in the NHL.

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Kronwall evolves into Sweden's leader on blue line

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronwall was working out with the Motor City Mechanics of the United Hockey League during the early part of the NHL's Olympic break eight years ago.

Lavish it wasn't, but Kronwall, then 25, only recently had returned from knee surgery and didn't think taking a vacation while more than 100 players went to play in the 2006 Turin Olympics.

He was right.

"I kept skating with them and out of the blue I get a phone call that says, 'Hey, they might need a body out there,'" Kronwall, now 33 and an alternate captain with the Detroit Red Wings, told NHL.com. "The next day I was on a flight [to Turin]. One day I was watching it on TV and the next day I was right in there. Everything just happened so quickly. [Mattias] Ohlund went down and all of a sudden I was playing in the gold-medal game."

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Flames goaltender Ramo out with lower-body injury

Saturday, 02.01.2014 / 11:12 PM / News

NHL.com

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo left the game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night with a lower-body injury late in the first period and will not return.

Ramo left at 17:58 of the opening period after stopping all six shots faced. Reto Berra, who came on in relief, finished the period and did not face a shot.

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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie