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Features

Veteran Kostopoulos enjoying successful run in AHL

Monday, 01.26.2015 / 10:27 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

UTICA, N.Y. -- Tom Kostopoulos hasn't played in the NHL since the 2012-13 season with the New Jersey Devils, but his passion for the game is alive and well.

For the past two seasons, Kostopoulos kept his career going as a veteran in the American Hockey League with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Kostopoulos has played 630 games in the NHL with six different franchises and another 440 in the AHL during his 15-year playing career.

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Utica's Markstrom hopes for real chance with Canucks

Monday, 01.26.2015 / 8:22 PM / AHL Update

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

UTICA, N.Y. -- The past 12 months for Utica Comets goalie Jacob Markstrom have been, to put it politely, tumultuous.

Markstrom was once a top prospect for the Florida Panthers and started 38 games for them over parts of three-and-a-half seasons. But on March 4, 2014, he was sent to the Vancouver Canucks as part of the trade that brought Roberto Luongo back to Florida.

"It came up as a shock," Markstrom said. "I didn't know I was going to be traded, but I got traded and I didn't know what to expect. It was kind of weird, you know, leaving all your friends, leaving what you know to go to your new place, but Vancouver and the whole organization, all the guys were unbelievable."


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Flyers forward Rinaldo suspended eight games

Monday, 01.26.2015 / 7:15 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORKPhiladelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo has been suspended for eight games, without pay, for charging and boarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang during NHL Game No. 684 in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Jan. 20, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 15:36 of the first period. Rinaldo was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct.

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Fantasy All-Access: Islanders' Bailey warrants add

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen was named the MVP of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, but what does that mean for his fantasy value for the rest of the season?

The last MVP in his home arena was Alexei Kovalev with the Montreal Canadiens in 2009. The rest of the 2008-09 season the Canadiens winger had 14 goals and 18 assists in 32 games. In 2011 Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp was MVP and followed that performance with eight goals and 17 assists in 25 games. The last All-Star Game played in Ottawa in 2012, the MVP was the New York Rangers' Marian Gaborik, who 16 goals and 21 assists in 35 games.

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Kings, Penguins among 15 top stories in second half

Monday, 01.26.2015 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

COLUMBUS -- The 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus was fun, intriguing, exciting and entertaining, but it's over now. It's time to get back to work.

Teams are back at practice Monday and the games start up again Tuesday. Here are 15 storylines to follow as the 2014-15 NHL season hits its stretch drive:

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NHL.com draft experts predict 2015 first round

Monday, 01.26.2015 / 12:00 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

NHL.com

Almost every conversation about the 2015 NHL Draft involves Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman center Jack Eichel.

It's almost a certainty McDavid and Eichel will be the first two players selected when the draft is held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

Though NHL teams have to wait six more months to make their decisions, NHL.com has opted to make its picks today, based on League standings at the All-Star break.

The choice was unanimous for NHL.com writers Adam Kimelman and Mike Morreale, who predicted McDavid will be picked first, followed by Eichel.

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AHL's experiments with overtime get mixed reviews

Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 11:59 PM / AHL Update

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

UTICA, N.Y. -- The American Hockey League has been trying to find a way to have more games end in overtime rather than in the shootout. The reviews have been mixed from players.

Before the start of the 2014-15 season, the AHL changed how overtime periods would be handled by switching from a five-minute overtime played 4-on-4 to a seven-minute period with four of them played 4-on-4 and three minutes played 3-on-3.

Through Saturday, 74.8 percent of games that went to overtime were settled in the extra period. When compared to last season, it’s an increase of 39.5 percent when 64.7 percent of games that went to overtime ended in the shootout. For AHL players who have spent time in the NHL, that difference has been noticeable.

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Blue Jackets' Johansen named MVP of All-Star Game

Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 10:11 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Ryan Johansen benefited from the home crowd support when he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.

Although the Columbus Blue Jackets center was on the losing side when Team Toews beat Team Foligno 17-12, Johansen won the voting by fans after he had two goals and two assists in his first All-Star Game appearance.

"This weekend was definitely a confidence booster," he said. "I was very happy to be a part of the All-Star Game, but it's important not to get too high or get too low and keep that even keel.

"It hasn't hit me yet for sure. This is something that I'll remember for a long, long time."

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Ekblad, Gaudreau, Forsberg make an impact at ASG

Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 9:59 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- Twelve months ago, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad was in a hotel in Sudbury, Ontario with his Barrie Colts teammates awaiting an Ontario Hockey League game the following afternoon.

Sunday, Ekblad not only participated in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena, the 18-year-old rookie had four assists in Team Toews' 17-12 victory against Team Foligno.

"I did not know that," Ekblad said, when told he finished with four points. "I probably made a pass from the bottom of our zone and we scored. It is not a big deal.

"It is just a fun experience. I'm really happy to be here. I just came in as a replacement, and I didn't expect to be playing in this game. It was cool, and all the guys in here were professionals and welcomed me with open arms. It was nice."

Ekblad was joined on Team Toews by forwards Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames. They have been three of the top rookies in the NHL this season, and all were given a chance to play in the game because of injuries to other players.

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Flyers' Voracek ties All-Star record with six points

Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 9:53 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

COLUMBUS -- When Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek was told that he tied a record set by Mario Lemieux with six points in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, he wasn't impressed.

"I think it's a little different, Voracek and Lemieux, right?" Voracek said. "I had three secondary assists, so I wouldn't get too excited about that."

Voracek, the NHL's leading scorer, had three goals and three assists, even if they were secondary ones, to match the All-Star Game record set in 1988 by Lemieux. Team Toews teammate John Tavares matched a record with four goals for the winning team.

Neither Voracek nor Tavares were named MVP of the game; that honor went to Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen, who won a poll on Twitter.

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Quote of the Day

The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday