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Daily Primer Feb. 6: Bruins play without their captain

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:45 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The NHL's Olympic break officially starts after the completion of play on Saturday. But the 2014 Sochi Olympics are already having an effect on the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday in their next-to-last game before the break. However, they'll take the ice at Scottrade Center without captain Zdeno Chara, who left early for Sochi in order to carry the flag for Slovakia in the opening ceremony on Friday.

"This was made as a group and that was the only way I would accept it," Chara said of the decision to let him leave early, "so I really appreciate it again, and it means a lot to me."

Here's a look at all of the action on a busy Thursday:

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Stamkos won't participate in Sochi Olympics

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 11:12 PM / 2014 Olympics

NHL.com

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos will not participate for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics after a CT scan Wednesday showed the tibia in his right leg is not completely healed.

"After reviewing the CT scan this afternoon, Dr. Gutentag made it clear to me and to Steven that the tibia is not completely healed and therefore he should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future," general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement released by the team. "Although the doctor was very pleased to this point with the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens. It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all."

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Olympics take center stage on 'NHL Revealed'

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 11:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the men's hockey tournament in the 2014 Sochi Olympics set to begin in one week, the episode of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other" that aired on NBCSN Wednesday night featured Olympians from seven teams.

The episode will air in Canada on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on CBC.

Part of the storyline was that friends and teammates will soon become rivals in Sochi. It's one of the storylines that is at the heart of every international tournament.

"There will be no friends during that tournament," New York Rangers and U.S. defenseman Ryan McDonagh said early in the show.

For example, Canadian Olympians such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will have to put their friendship with fellow Anaheim Ducks teammate and Finnish forward Teemu Selanne on hold when they get to Sochi.

They had to do the same thing four years ago in Vancouver.

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Hockey world fondly remembers Brendan Burke

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 6:23 PM / Hockey is for Everyone

NHL.com

The hockey world was stunned and saddened four years ago by the passing of Brendan Burke, the son of current Calgary Flames president of hockey operations and acting general manager Brian Burke. Once a student manager for the Miami University hockey team, Brendan is remembered for his heart and courage as a pioneer who in a December 2009 article by ESPN's John Buccigross revealed he was gay, discussed the acceptance of his sexuality by his family and his team and spoke out against homophobia in professional sports.

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Oilers look to other teams as model for future success

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 5:22 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Heading into their game Thursday against the New York Rangers with a 19-33-6 record that is the worst in the Western Conference, the Edmonton Oilers obviously are disappointed about what was supposed to be a bounce-back season. With some veteran acquisitions during the summer and a new coach in Dallas Eakins, the hope was Edmonton could make it back to the postseason for the first time since their run to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

That hasn't happened, but with a crop of dynamic young talent and a 4-1-0 stretch heading into the Olympic break, the Oilers still believe the best is yet to come.

"I think we need more wins, just for everybody to get a monkey off their back," said Oilers captain Andrew Ference, who signed as a free agent in the summer. “In a short time frame, when you string together three wins, you just see how much different those young guys carry themselves and how they practice.

"Stringing together a good section of the season I think will go miles for the young guys. Finish strong so you're going into the summer saying, 'The year wasn't a waste. It was a frustrating year, we lost, we hate it, but it wasn't a waste because now we're going into next year with a foundation.' Even in the short winning streaks we've had we've seen flashes of that. That's what we need."

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On the 'D'-fence: Blue line value during Olympics

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Fantasy hockey may not yet be as popular as fantasy football, but it is growing by leaps and bounds every year. That growth has taken it to the international level, and many fantasy leagues started Olympic hockey pools during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

With that in mind, it seemed like a perfect time to take a look at some of the key blueliners you should target if your league is taking it international during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

There are a variety of players who could make a fantasy impact for your team, but there are only two participating that made an impact in terms of points in 2010.

Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, who will skate for Canada, put up two goals, four assists and registered a plus-2 in seven games en route to the gold medal. It is safe to assume he will log significant minutes and probably skate on the power play in Sochi; he'd be on our team.

Marek Zidlicky of the New Jersey Devils, who will dress for the Czech team, put up five assists in five games in 2010. He is having a bounce-back offensive season in New Jersey and will also benefit from playing with Devils teammates Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.

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Daily Primer Feb. 5: Presidents' Trophy chase heats up

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The pursuit of home-ice advantage throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be in high gear Wednesday night.

The Anaheim Ducks, who have a three point lead atop the NHL standings, will host the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET, WGN, FS-W). Despite their recent struggles, the Ducks are 22-4-2 on home ice this season. The teams split two games in Chicago earlier this season; the next time they see each other could be in the Western Conference Final.

Here's a closer look at the action Wednesday:

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Karlsson confident in Swedes' hopes for gold at Sochi

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson was 15 years old when he watched Sweden win the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics. Eight years later, he still remembers the goal that set off celebrations throughout his homeland.

"I remember the drop pass from [Mats] Sundin to [Peter] Forsberg to one-timer [Nicklas] Lidstrom," Karlsson recalled when asked about the deciding goal in the championship game against Finland. "[Cross]bar-in, pretty much. The save in the end by [goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist. That's probably what I remember the most."

Karlsson, now 23, will be making his first Olympic appearance for Sweden. He knows the competition will be stiff in Sochi when round-robin play starts on Feb. 12.

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Penguins visit Sabres in Wednesday Night Rivalry

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Roughly 180 miles separate the cities they represent, but there's a lot more distance between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres in the standings heading into this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).

The Penguins come to First Niagara Center riding high, with the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have the fewest points in the NHL and are looking to end a six-game losing streak in their own building.

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Over the Boards: Olympic break provides respite

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

While the world gets ready to turn its attention to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the majority of players and coaches in the NHL will soon have nothing to do.

The NHL's Olympic break begins after the final buzzer sounds Saturday night and continues until 2 p.m. on Feb. 19. That's when coaches can get their teams back together, or at least the players who aren't still in Sochi, and resume practicing to prep for the re-opening of the regular-season schedule, which for most teams won't be until Feb. 26 or 27.

For the players it's a chance to unwind away from the rink, get some fun in the sun, maybe take a golf trip or spend some time with family. Most coaches will be doing the same thing, but mentally getting away from the game won't be as simple.

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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory