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Kings' Robitaille honored to have statue unveiled

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 4:18 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Luc Robitaille heard it through good authority that the 19-foot, 2,500-pound bronze statue of him was sculpted well. He knew because he had one condition when he was approached about it a while back.

"I said, 'I don’t want to see it,'" Robitaille said. "I don't want to know. You guys do it and I'll see when it comes out. Just do me one favor: Show it to my wife [Stacia]. If my wife agrees with it I know it's all good."

The verdict?

"They showed it to her a couple of times, and at one point she told me, 'Yeah, it's pretty cool,'" he said. "She's happy. I figured it's all good."

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Blackhawks' Timonen relishing last chance at Cup

Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 11:25 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- If Kimmo Timonen's career had ended last summer because of blood clots discovered in his legs and lung, he would have accepted it.

The 39-year old Finnish defenseman could have found solace in his impressive career even without having his name on the Stanley Cup or with an Olympic gold medal stashed in a safe somewhere. He wouldn't have had a choice.

Doctors in Finland, however, kept the door slightly ajar. That's all he needed.

"There was always a small chance," said Timonen, who was traded Feb. 27 by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Chicago Blackhawks to pursue a dream ending to his career. "[The doctors] said, 'Well, you have to eat this medicine for six months and then you have a small chance to get back on the ice.'"

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Senators' Hammond stealing spotlight, victories

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 4:46 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- When Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond was preparing for his first NHL start Feb. 18 against the Montreal Canadiens, a couple of reporters waited by his dressing-room stall after the morning skate.

"Do you talk on game days?" asked one.

"I guess so. I've never really had anybody want to talk me on a game day," said the 27-year-old undrafted free agent who was thrust into the starting job after injuries to top Senators goaltenders Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.

Things were a little different Friday.

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Sabres prospect McCabe blossoming in Rochester

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 1:04 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

When Chadd Cassidy first met Jake McCabe, the defenseman was 16 years old.

Holding down the blue line for the U.S. National Development Team, McCabe instantly stuck out as a physical player, ready and willing not only to defend the puck, but to go one step further and create offense for his fellow teammates.

As his coach that first season, Cassidy helped start molding the tools McCabe would eventually use to make his way to the highest level of hockey.

Now together again with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, McCabe's development continues to thrive under Cassidy's watch.

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Hot fantasy topics: Underrated players by position

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Having Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) or Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) on your roster will always help in your pursuit of a fantasy hockey championship. But having unlikely players emerge as fantasy superstars during the season is what will likely make or break your roster.

Being able to draft a guy in the seventh round or later that ends up providing first- or second-round value is what I'm referring to. Finding a diamond in the rough. And often times they aren't your household names, so despite their hidden success they still go un-talked about or aren't given the credit they deserve. But make no mistake, these are the players that prove to be the difference makers in fantasy leagues.

Here are five players that have turned out to be elite fantasy commodities this season that way too many people have never heard of or don't know enough about (one for each position).

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Senators goalie Hammond making hometown proud

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 10:40 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Goaltender Andrew Hammond has fans cheering as he leads the Ottawa Senators into an unlikely Stanley Cup Playoff race, but back in his hometown that same 6-0-1 run to start his NHL career has been especially emotional for his former goalie coach.

"It's brought me to tears just because I know how close he was to quitting," said Sean Murray, who has worked with Hammond for 17 years as an owner and coach of Pro-Formance Goalie School and Development Center in Vancouver and its suburbs. "Now seeing him have this success and just knowing how good of a kid he is, it's gotten me twice."

Maybe that's because Hammond came close to quitting on two separate occasions.

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Super 16: Jagr continues to cement place in history

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jaromir Jagr is the third best forward in hockey history.

Repeat that statement in parts of Canada or Michigan or Connecticut (or Western Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., for that matter) and expect a pretty negative response. As Jagr, who was traded to the Florida Panthers before the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, continues to amass goals and points and play at a high level despite being 43 years old, his place in hockey history is starting to come more into focus.

Jagr is by no means the third most iconic forward. He's certainly not the third most popular. Critics of the statement above will immediately turn to words like leadership and toughness to try and prove it wrong.

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Panthers' Ekblad turning heads with rookie season

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell can remember the day he concluded that rookie Aaron Ekblad was going to be something very special.

It occurred last October during the Panthers' trip to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., for three days of training and team bonding prior to the season.

"He wouldn't remember it, but I remember it," Campbell said. "We were at practice and I gave him a pass where it didn't give him a lot of time and he just made a pass through one of our guys' skates to one of our forwards. I just kind of nodded my head thinking, 'All right, that's a play I feel like I like to make out there.'

"I've played in the League a while now and I feel like I can make those plays, but to see an 18-year-old have confidence and do that, I'm like, 'OK, yeah, this guy is the real deal.'"

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Forsberg's continued success paces Calder race

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

With three-quarters of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg could never have predicted this type of success on and off the ice in his first full NHL season.

In addition to leading the Predators and NHL rookies in scoring, Forsberg played in the NHL All-Star Game and won a new Honda Accord as the last pick for Team Toews in the 2015 All-Star Fantasy Draft.

He has proven to be a versatile performer for Predators coach Peter Laviolette, who for most of the season played the 20-year-old Swede on the top line.

"I'm sure he's more confident now playing first-line minutes and the first power-play," Laviolette said. "I think when you have success and knowing where our team is in the standings, he's having a strong year and that builds confidence in him. He might not have had that same confidence when the season started, but watching him in development camp, rookie camp and training camp, he was always a consistent player, a top player."

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Coyotes' Smith to honor Alice Cooper with new mask

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 8:42 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Arizona Coyotes will go retro on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks, donning throwback jerseys on a night they will honor former forward Jeremy Roenick.

Another figure from the Coyotes hockey scene will also be honored, just a bit more subtly. Goalie Mike Smith will wear a special mask for the game with rock icon Alice Cooper painted on its back plate.

"The coolest thing about the helmet is the back plate," Smith said in a video on the Coyotes website. "It's a tribute to Alice Cooper, who's been a lifer as a Coyote fan and a big supporter of the team."

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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday