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Features

NHL names Constellation its official energy provider

Constellation will offset carbon footprint across all 30 team markets

Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 11:36 AM / NHL Green

NHL.com

NEW YORK – In keeping with its priorities to reduce its environmental impact and accelerate a greater movement toward a healthier planet, the National Hockey League (NHL®) today named Constellation, a leading competitive energy and services company, as its official preferred energy provider. Constellation will work with the NHL to conduct energy efficiency analyses and recommend energy management strategies for the League's facilities. At the NHL's request, Constellation will also provide Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Offsets to match the League's estimated total carbon footprint – 550,000 metric tons – for the 2014-15 season.

"Our partnership with Constellation advances our commitment to promoting responsible energy use by the NHL, including our teams, our venues and our fans," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Our sport was born on frozen ponds and relies on winter weather. Everyone who loves our game will benefit by taking an active role in preserving the environment and the roots of the game."

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Canadiens to honor Koivu for work on, off ice

Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The similarities are striking, albeit unmentionable.

A week after the Montreal Canadiens did a masterful job celebrating the life of the franchise's greatest ambassador and captain, they will attempt to do it again Thursday for another giant figure in Canadiens history prior to their game at Bell Centre against the Anaheim Ducks.

No, Saku Koivu cannot be compared to Jean Beliveau. Nobody can.

But if there is one Canadiens player who has come close since Beliveau's retirement as a player in 1971, or as close as can be reasonably expected of a human being, a strong argument could be made that it is Koivu.

Beliveau and Koivu captained the Canadiens for 10 years and was the best player on his respective team for a number of those years.

But the biggest legacy in the cases of each man is his spirit of generosity, involvement in the community, and genuine desire to make a difference in people’s lives.

"I think [Koivu] was a great captain," said Dr. David Mulder, the Canadiens' longtime chief surgeon who had unique relationships with Koivu and Beliveau. "I think there was only one Jean Beliveau."

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Pickard opens eyes as feel-good story for Avalanche

Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- There were no great expectations for Calvin Pickard when he reported to Colorado Avalanche training camp in September, not with Vezina Trophy finalist Semyon Varlamov and recent trade acquisition Reto Berra as the top two goalies.

"I wanted to make a good impression and make a statement that I'm close and ready to play at this level," Pickard said this week.

He probably didn't do either in his one preseason appearance, a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when he allowed four goals on 27 shots, but circumstances can change dramatically, and they certainly have for Pickard.

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Unmasked: Analytics provide new evaluation tools

Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Analytics and advanced statistics have boomed in popularity across the NHL during the past couple seasons, with more and more stories either dedicated to or including shot-based numbers such as Corsi and Fenwick as indicators of puck possession as well as predictors of success for teams and players.

So what about the goaltenders? Are there metrics suitable for evaluating them?

In a perfect world there would be some kind of goaltender rating which factors in everything, similar to the quarterback rating used in the NFL.

In reality, as Columbus Blue Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark once explained, the position may be too dynamic for one definitive statistical measure because there are so many outside variables which can affect each goalie's statistical performance.

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Harkins draws inspiration, drive from father, brother

Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

Forward Jansen Harkins of the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League has developed into a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, but he isn't above asking his father for advice during rides to the rink, just like he did as a kid.

It's a perk that comes when your father, former NHL player Todd Harkins, doubles not only as his ride to and from the rink most days, but also as his team's general manager.

"He knows what it takes and how hard you have to work," said Jansen, who earned an A rating on NHL Central Scouting’s November players to watch list. "He's really instilled that [work ethic] in me my whole life. He's always been around coaching me and teaching me. He's been a lot of help to me. And now I have him up in Prince George living with me.

"It's nice to have someone I can talk to and relate to what I'm going through. It's awesome."

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Predators' Neal fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment

Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 5:00 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORKNashville Predators forward James Neal has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.

Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties.

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Five things to watch in Bruins vs. Wild

Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

A lot was expected of the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild heading into the season, but injuries and lack of production from key players have plagued each team through the first 30 games.

Boston has been without top center David Krejci since Nov. 18 because of a groin injury, and captain Zdeno Chara recently returned to the lineup after missing roughly a month with a knee injury.

Inconsistency has plagued the Wild more than anything else, led by forward Thomas Vanek's four goals in 29 games, but there is still time to figure things out and qualify for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are five things to watch when the Wild host the Bruins at Xcel Energy Center in this week's edition of the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN):

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Ducks defensemen making impact

Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Most teams in the National Hockey League have at least one defenseman who can be a valuable contributor to a fantasy roster, but there are a few teams out there that boast two or more options that can help owners.

The Calgary Flames have Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie and Dennis Wideman. The Los Angeles Kings have Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff and Paul Martin.

Then there is the team that we are going to discuss today, the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks provide owners with a number of fantasy options on the back end, and they come in the form of Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm.

All three players are owned in at least 40 percent of Yahoo standard leagues, but it has been Vatanen and Fowler who have rewarded owners with the most production to this point on the season.

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Forsberg cherished time with Flyers despite injuries

Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 10:26 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Peter Forsberg played 100 games with the Philadelphia Flyers but certainly left an impression, remembered as much for on-ice success as persistent injuries.

"It started really good," Forsberg said Tuesday as the Flyers honored him for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame last month. "Me and [Simon] Gagne and that line started really well and we played so well. And it just got worse and worse."

The Flyers selected Forsberg with the sixth pick of the 1991 NHL Draft and attempted to bring him to North America for the 1992-93 season. But when Forsberg said he didn't feel NHL-ready, Philadelphia used him as the sweetener to complete a trade with the Quebec Nordiques in June 1992 for Eric Lindros.

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U.S. faces tough choice in selecting starting goalie

Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 9:38 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- What happens when three friends also happen to be in competition for the right to earn the primary role as starting goaltender for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship?

It comes down to survival of the fittest and the best, quite honestly, during USA Hockey's four-day selection camp at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University.

The three goalies, all 2014 NHL Draft picks, are Boston College sophomore Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks, No. 36), Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes, No. 37) of the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League and Brandon Halverson (New York Rangers, No. 59) of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL.

"The other two guys are fantastic goalies," Demko said. "I know that if I don't show up ready for a practice they'll be stopping the pucks. It just keeps you on your toes and pushes you."

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Quote of the Day

I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning