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All-Star Weekend to show Nashville's hockey passion

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 11:15 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators know they play in a nontraditional hockey market, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

The passion for hockey always has been there in Nashville, and it will be on display at the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) and at different events during All-Star Weekend.

Nashville has had a hockey fandom even if the popularity and a deep understanding of the history of the game wasn't always prevalent.

Fantasy hockey top 30 goalie rankings update

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

These rankings indicate fantasy expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by projected starts, peripheral category coverage, timeshare situations, team defenses, past performance and upside in standard Yahoo categories, which include wins, goals-against average (GAA), save percentage (SV%) and shutouts. These rankings reflect fantasy value, not necessarily the most talented goalies in order.

World Juniors players eager for Prospects Game stage

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 10:19 AM / 2016 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Olli Juolevi called winning a gold medal for Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in his home country the most memorable experience of his hockey career.

Juolevi, who plays for London of the Ontario Hockey League, is hoping for another standout performance when he's on the big stage Thursday at the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Pacific Coliseum (9 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports).

"I worked hard this season and I wanted to be great in those World Junior Championships. But there was really good guys on our team and it was fun to play with those guys," Juolevi said. "They helped me and I hope I helped them."

Juolevi is one of six players participating in the game who also played in the 2016 WJC.

Kuznetsov, Neal added to All-Star Game rosters

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 10:12 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nashville Predators forward James Neal were added Thursday to the rosters for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Kuznetsov replaces Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin on the Metropolitan Division team.

Neal replaces Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews on the Central Division roster.

New York Islanders center John Tavares has been named captain of the Metropolitan Division team in place of Ovechkin.

Youth hockey tournament key part of All-Star Weekend

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 10:00 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

Zach Jackson, the hockey coordinator at Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tenn., wanted to figure out a way to involve the growing local youth hockey movement into the celebrations surrounding the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game this weekend.

"Basically, the All-Star Game is a way to celebrate hockey in general and here in Nashville," Jackson said. "The All-Star Game is for the kids. They love seeing all of their guys in one place showing off their skills, and we wanted to tap into that."

There was no better way than to have a youth hockey tournament at the Ford Ice Center with the Nashville Junior Predators as the host team.

"It's a cool way to bring everybody together here during the weekend so they can enjoy the All-Star Game while giving some high-level teams some pretty good competition," Jackson said. "For us, it is a great opportunity to bring youth hockey teams into Nashville and build on that Smashville name that the city has built for itself."

Unmasked: Predators' Rinne reflects ahead of ASG

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, the chance to play in his first NHL All-Star Game, in his home arena no less, has led to a lot of reflection.

It's given the 33-year-old the opportunity to think back on a career he didn't think possible as a kid in Finland, one that seemed only slightly more likely after the Predators selected him with the 258th pick of the 2004 NHL Draft, in an eighth round that no longer exists.

"If you would have told me growing up in Finland I would be playing in an All-Star Game, or even playing in the NHL, I would have never believed you," Rinne said.

Not all of Rinne's memories are positive.

Statistical breakdown of four leading Cup contenders

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - Correspondent

As we round the corner into the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game and toward the homestretch of the season, who has the inside track for the Stanley Cup?

A look behind the numbers can identify the top teams, and what each needs to do in order to set itself apart from the pack.

Based on the average of three different statistical models, the Washington Capitals have a 29.9 percent chance of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history. Their primary weapons are strong goaltending and the NHL's best power play, but they could be vulnerable with regards to puck possession.

Puck possession is exactly where the Los Angeles Kings shine. Los Angeles doesn't have any obvious weaknesses, and it won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.

This season, the Chicago Blackhawks may not be as dominant as the versions that won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015, but they remain among the League leaders in most statistical categories.

The Dallas Stars are the wild card. They have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six of the past seven seasons, but they have become one of the League's most dangerous teams offensively and could win their first Stanley Cup since 1999 with improved defensive play, especially in net and when shorthanded.

Pekka Rinne's All-Star guide to Nashville

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 3:00 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Pekka Rinne - Special to

Nashville has grown so much, even since I came to the city in 2008. It's not just the amount of people but the buildings; there is something coming up all the time either downtown or new neighborhoods popping up in new spots.

Even from the time I was there in the Gulch District, there was really nothing going on. Now, that area is really blooming and booming with restaurants and other stuff. The 12 South area and East Nashville is a really trendy spot nowadays, so I just feel like it's been cool to see that the city has grown so much.

Whenever I have my family and friends in town, obviously Broadway is a must-see. It's close to Bridgestone Arena, so it's easy and convenient after the game. Everyone knows about Broadway. You can go there and see a bunch of different bars and all kinds of music. There's always good music playing and a lot of live bands. It's a really cool atmosphere, really laid back. People are super friendly.

Penguins leaning on consistent all-star Malkin

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 3:00 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH – Flashes of brilliance have defined Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin's career, but this season, consistency has been the key to his success.

Entering his 10th NHL season, Malkin was known for going on lengthy stretches of dominance that even Penguins captain Sidney Crosby could not reach. Those were counterbalanced by equally lengthy droughts, however, framing Malkin as one of the League's most dangerous, but streaky, players.

Things have changed in 2015-16. As a result, Malkin is Pittsburgh's lone forward heading to the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

"I think he's been one of our more consistent players," coach Mike Sullivan said. "He's a threat most nights. … He certainly generates a ton of offensive chances for his line and the people he's on the ice with. He's a big part of this team. I think all of our top guys understand the importance that they bring to the table to help us win, and when we have them all going, I think we're a dangerous team."

Crosby, Ovechkin head all-time 3-on-3 team of 2000s

Thursday, 01.28.2016 / 3:00 AM / 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The NHL game has undergone massive changes over the course of the past 15-plus years.

The removal of the red line in 2005 immediately made the game faster than ever before. The speed has seemingly increased with each passing season because the players are bigger and stronger. The sophistication in their offseason and in-season training is at a new level because of the advancements in technology.

The addition of the salary cap has ushered in an era of unrivaled parity.

Through it all, the NHL has grown in size and popularity, both at home and abroad, aided by the greatness of two players, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, who have become the faces of a new generation of hockey stars.

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