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Features

Unheralded Canadiens still among NHL's elite teams

Sunday, 01.18.2015 / 12:22 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens can be a difficult team to understand. They have been hovering around the top of the Eastern Conference for most of the season, yet the Canadiens are rarely mentioned among the elite teams in the NHL.

But here they are with a 28-13-3 record following a 6-4 win at home Saturday against the New York Islanders, who entered the game having won four in a row, including a big 6-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home a night earlier.

The Islanders were 6-1-0 this season playing the second of back-to-back games and had won their past four under those circumstances before losing to the Canadiens.

Prior to the game, Montreal talked about the opportunity to prove a point against a team that was getting the accolades around the League that the Canadiens felt they deserved but weren't getting.

"You want to earn respect across the League," forward David Desharnais said. "It's by beating those teams that you're going to do that."

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Blake's Kings legacy hits apex with jersey retirement

Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles was another world to Rob Blake where he grew up about 2,400 miles away. He was a Toronto-area raised farm boy, and his life revolved around machinery and watching Wayne Gretzky.

That changed profoundly within three months in the summer of 1988. Blake was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, and three months later he was a sophomore at Bowling Green when he and then teammate Nelson Emerson were sitting in their dorm room watching television. Gretzky had been traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Kings.

To look back at it seems just as jarring to Blake.

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Blue Jackets' Foligno ready to show off Columbus

Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno will captain Team Foligno at the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend, to be held Jan. 23-25 in Columbus.

In addition to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), Foligno will be responsible for selecting his team via the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Jan. 23 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

He'll also take part in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 24 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Foligno, 27, is having a career season and signed six-year, $33 million contract extension through the 2020-21 season Dec. 31.

The first-time All-Star discusses welcoming the League to Columbus, his family and those hugs with Columbus goaltender and fellow All-Star Sergei Bobrovsky:

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Bruins' Marchand banned two games for slew-footing

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 5:07 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK – Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games, without pay, for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during NHL Game No. 644 in Boston on Thursday, January 15, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 14:30 of the second period.

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Jets prospect Hellebuyck carrying load for St. John's

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 12:36 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Winnipeg Jets goaltending prospect Connor Hellebuyck has logged a lot of miles on his road to professional hockey.

A native of the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Mich., Hellebuyck played a year of junior hockey in Odessa, Texas, then set up camp on the goal line at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

"I always wanted to go to college," Hellebuyck said. "[UMass Lowell] were the first people to come down to Odessa and see me. After I talked to their goalie coach, Cam Ellsworth, he kind of sold the school really well to me. I thought it was a perfect fit. If there was anywhere I would choose, I would choose there."

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Blues forwards, Pastrnak among hot fantasy topics

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Here's a look at five of the hottest topics in fantasy hockey right now.

1. Is the buy-low window gone for some Blues forwards?

The St. Louis Blues players this question refers to are T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny. And yes, that window of opportunity is long gone. If you're trying to acquire any of them via trade, you'll have to pay a premium for them. It still might be worth it, but they won't be on the cheap any longer.

Coming into the season fantasy owners had to spend a pretty decent draft pick to land any of these players. Backes (drafted on average with the 50th pick), Steen (75th) and Oshie (82nd) each were drafted before the end of the eighth round. Stastny was selected on average with the 129th pick, late in the 11th round. They all got off to slow starts this season, leaving many fantasy owners in doubt about how best to utilize them. Should they drop them? Trade them? Bench them? Hopefully you stuck with each of them, because as of now all four are ranked as top-30 forwards in Yahoo fantasy leagues during the past 30 days (No. 5 Steen, No. 6 Backes, No. 14 Oshie, No. 27 Stastny).

They likely won't all remain top-30 players for the rest of the season, but it's safe to say they've returned to their expected, high-producing ways.

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Bruins forward Marchand faces Player Safety hearing

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 10:51 AM / Department of Player Safety News

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand will have a hearing Friday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a slew-footing incident against New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during a game Thursday at TD Garden.

Marchand and Brassard were chasing a puck in the Boston zone with 5:29 left in the second period when Brassard fell hard into the boards after being tangled with Marchand. No penalty was assessed on the play. Brassard remained in the game.

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Fall Out Boy, O.A.R. headline All-Star entertainment

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 10:00 AM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NEW YORK – The 2015 Honda NHL® All-Star Game will feature performances from Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum selling recording artist Fall Out Boy, rock band O.A.R. and power-pop band Locksley, the National Hockey League announced today. Fans can watch the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game live on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN in the U.S. and on CBC and TVA Sports in Canada. Fans outside of North America will be able to watch the game via NHL GameCenter LIVE and international broadcast partners in more than 160 countries and territories around the world.

Fall Out Boy will perform during the first intermission of the 2015 Honda NHL® All-Star Game followed by a performance from Ohio State alumni O.A.R. during the second intermission.

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Flyers' Voracek excited for All-Star homecoming

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Jakub Voracek started his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and now the Philadelphia Flyers forward will be going back to Columbus for the biggest moment of his professional career.

Voracek was picked for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

He'll also take part in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Jan. 23 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), and the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 24 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"When I was a kid, every kid dreams [of the All-Star Game]," Voracek said. "I'm very excited about that. It's been a lot of people through my career, especially this season, that helped me to get there. My teammates, the organization. Couldn't do it without them."

Here's more from Voracek on returning to Columbus and some other things you might not know about the 25-year-old first-time All-Star:

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Trotz returns to Nashville, where he instilled culture

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Hockey players, coaches and front-office staffs often speak of instilling cultures. David Poile and Barry Trotz literally built one from scratch.

The Nashville Predators were in their infancy in the late 1990s, and as the franchise's first general manager and coach, Poile and Trotz set out to entrench an identity in a nontraditional market.

"When you have someone that's working alongside you for so many years, you certainly have to be on the same page in terms of your overall strategies and game plans," Poile said. "Our thought process in a nutshell was to make Nashville a hockey city."

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals