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Sekera looking forward to new challenges with Kings

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 11:55 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Andrej Sekera already knows new Los Angeles Kings teammates Robyn Regehr and Marian Gaborik, having played with them on other NHL teams and in international competition, respectively. So he was able to get a good idea of what it's like coming to the two-time Stanley Cup champions by talking with them.

The message?

"Losing isn't an option here," Sekera said when he met the media Thursday at Staples Center. "It's great to be in an environment like that. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun, and it's going to be a challenge."

Sekera arrived Thursday morning and passed his physical but was held out of the game against the Ottawa Senators. The veteran defenseman will make his Kings debut Friday at the Anaheim Ducks in an important Pacific Division rivalry game.

The Kings acquired Sekera, 28, from the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday for defenseman prospect Ronald McKeown and a first-round pick in the either the 2015 or 2016 NHL Draft. To make room on the roster, defenseman Alec Martinez was placed on injured reserve with concussion symptoms, retroactive to Feb. 9.


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Panthers add veteran Jagr to power playoff push

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 11:21 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Dale Tallon has preached long-term thinking since taking over as general manager of the Florida Panthers, but on Thursday he acquired 43-year-old forward Jaromir Jagr to speed up the building process.

With the Panthers two points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, Tallon added Jagr in a trade with the New Jersey Devils.

“We're right in the mix. I think they're kind of telling us, 'Let’s make a push,'" Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad said. "We're not banking on these next few years. We want to make a push and make the playoffs and prove to people that we can a good team."

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Clarkson 'over the moon' to join Blue Jackets

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 9:04 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets traded injured forward Nathan Horton to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday for David Clarkson, a power forward they hope can bounce back from a disappointing season-plus in Toronto.

Clarkson had 15 goals in 115 games with the Maple Leafs after signing a seven-year, $36.75 million contract in July 2013. He scored 30 goals in 2011-12 and 15 in 48 games during the shortened 2012-13 season with the New Jersey Devils.

"If you look at his years in Toronto, he wasn't at his best. That's no secret," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "Things didn't work out for him in Toronto. We think he can get back to his game.

"Now we're going to get him in a different situation with a different group of guys with him. We hope and believe he'll get his game back to where it was before."

Clarkson is eager to attempt to rejuvenate his career, but said he does not question his decision to sign with his hometown team.

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Jaromir Jagr traded to Panthers by Devils

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 7:31 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

Jaromir Jagr was acquired by the Florida Panthers on Thursday in a trade from the New Jersey Devils.

The 43-year-old forward had 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games for the Devils this season. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

New Jersey will receive Florida's second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in 2016.

The Panthers are two points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Florida, which has made the playoffs once since 2000 (in 2012), hosts the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday; Jagr will not play.

"Hopefully [he'll bring] some offense, stability and leadership," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "It's a good opportunity for him to mentor some of our young guys and show them how hard they have to work to get to his level. It brings stability to our young team and gives us an opportunity in the next 20 games to make a good run to make the playoffs."

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Blackhawks acquire forward Abbott from Maple Leafs

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 4:43 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

ChicagoBlackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have acquired forward Spencer Abbott from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman T.J. Brennan. Abbott will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

Abbott, 26, has recorded 127 points (37G, 90A) in 168 career AHL games over portions of four seasons with the Toronto Marlies. The Hamilton, Ont., native was tied for third on the Marlies with 24 points (7G, 17A) this season. Abbott made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 5, 2013.

Previously, Abbott tallied 146 points (54G, 92A) in 151 games over four seasons at the University of Maine. Abbott was named Hockey East Player of the Year and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award after contributing 62 points (21G, 41a) during his senior campaign in 2011-12.

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Blues acquire forward Cracknell from Blue Jackets

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 4:00 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

The St. Louis Blues acquired forward Adam Cracknell from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday for future considerations.

The Blues assigned Cracknell to Peoria of the American Hockey League.

Cracknell had one assist and a minus-8 rating in 17 games with the Blue Jackets this season; he has three goals and seven points in 18 games with Springfield of the AHL.

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Fleury saves day for Penguins with breakaway stop

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 12:20 PM / Top Performer

NHL.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins successfully averted a season sweep by the Washington Capitals with a 4-3 win Wednesday at Verizon Center. The victory was sweet given the fact the Capitals had outscored the Penguins 10-1 in the previous three games. It also earned Pittsburgh its third straight win and a three-point lead over the Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves, including a huge stop on Joel Ward on a 2-on-0 shorthanded breakaway in the second period to preserve a 3-1 lead.

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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Canucks' Lack gets job done

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com's Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

Whatever problems the Vancouver Canucks have encountered the past few seasons, they've always had a very strong backup plan when it comes to their goaltending situation.

In fact, in some cases "Plan B" was, even in smaller sample sizes, outperforming the starter.

So while the Canucks stand to lose a veteran goalie in Ryan Miller for the next 4-6 weeks, their crease will be just fine with Eddie Lack and the recently recalled Jacob Markstrom.

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Unmasked: For Bruins' Rask, the defense can't rest

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

For the Boston Bruins to hold on to the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, goaltender Tuukka Rask is probably going to need to play like the Vezina Trophy winner he was last season.

For that to happen, Rask will probably need the Bruins defense to revert, and stick, to its signature stingy ways.

Well into his worst season statistically since becoming Boston's No. 1 goaltender, Rask is honest about how his game suffered early this season. The frank Finn talks openly about the link between his poor start and a defense that lost Johnny Boychuk to trade on the eve of the season, captain Zdeno Chara to a knee injury for 19 games three weeks after the season started, and Adam McQuaid to a finger injury from mid-November to the New Year.

Rask didn't excuse his own role in the early stumbles, saying he felt good but the Bruins needed more and he "just wasn't able to be great out there." Like most things surrounding goaltending, Rask's performance through January did not exist in a vacuum.

"I've always played my best when I am aggressive and challenging," Rask told NHL.com. "But when you have new guys on the back end trying to find their game and comfort zone, it makes the goalie's job different too. You can't be as aggressive as you normally are because you have to be ready for passes to the backdoor and loose pucks that normally get cleared. There's been a lot of that."

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Wild's Scandella credits playoff series for growth

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

The turning point of Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella's NHL career isn't hard to find.

After spending all but six games of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season in the American Hockey League, Scandella was recalled by the Wild in time to play against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

An injury forced coach Mike Yeo to put Scandella in the lineup for Game 1 despite him not having played a game with the Wild in nearly three months. He responded with a goal in Game 2 and an assist in Game 5.

After spending three seasons shuttling back and forth between the Houston Aeros of the AHL and the Wild, Scandella finally had arrived. He hasn't left since, developing into a key part of the Wild defense heading into their game Thursday at the Nashville Predators (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

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Quote of the Day

I loved being in the jerseys again and they worked some magic for us. It was weird in warm-ups, seeing No. 22 in that jersey and thinking he’s [Mike Gartner], and No. 8 reminds you of Danny Briere … every number had me thinking back to the guys who wore them and smiling.

— Coyotes captain Shane Doan on wearing Kachina-style throwback jerseys in a 3-2 victory against the Canucks on Thursday