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(Page 12 of 280)
NHL Insider

Billy Smith speaks to Islanders before being honored

Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 1:13 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Billy Smith still remembers his introduction to Long Island.

"My wife and I were in Connecticut; we were going to play in New Haven. When I got to the rink, my equipment wasn't there. They told me I had to be up here for practice the next morning. I left early, but I had no idea about Long Island," he said Saturday, prior to being honored as part of the Islanders' celebration of their final season at Nassau Coliseum. "I ended up driving all the way to the end of the Island, turned around and drove all the way back and got to the rink. And I still made practice."

That was in 1972, when Smith played 37 games for an expansion team that set NHL records for most losses and fewest points. Eight years later, Smith was in goal at the Coliseum on May 24, 1980, when Bobby Nystrom's overtime goal gave the Islanders their first of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

"We had a good group of guys," he said. "We had 16 guys that probably played seven years together, eight years together. You do get to know each other really well."

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Bruins' Hamilton emerging as star in Chara's absence

Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- There was a time, if you can believe it, that 6-foot-5, 212-pound Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton wasn't a towering presence.

Hamilton was in his mid-teens and a blossoming defenseman in the Mississauga Reps minor hockey system. Reps coach George Stavro estimated Hamilton was about 5-foot-10 and "maybe 160 pounds soaking wet."

Like any teenager, Hamilton was a little unsure about his future and a little bored. The Reps were loaded and dominating with Hamilton, future Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Phillip Di Giuseppe, future Minnesota Wild draft pick Tyler Graovac and Harvard recruit Mark Luzar leading the way.

Hamilton also had an itching to try something new, so Stavro allowed Hamilton to spend a season as a forward.

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Devils goalie Schneider emerging as a workhorse

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 3:19 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Cory Schneider knew the questions would come quickly when it appeared that he would be supplanting the most decorated goaltender in the history of the position for the New Jersey Devils this season.

Schneider acknowledged all along, however, that he would not be replacing Martin Brodeur. He instead had his mind set on continuing the tradition of excellence at that position for the organization.

The 28-year-old was signed to a seven-year contract extension worth a reported $42 million in July to do just that.

Still, no one really expected him to surpass Brodeur for consecutive starts to begin a season either, but that's what will happen when Schneider plays against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Friday.

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Canadiens silence some whispers with loud statement

Friday, 11.21.2014 / 12:55 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty said he didn't hear the chatter, but he knew it was out there.

He knew because his Montreal Canadiens were feeling it.

The Canadiens entered this week atop the NHL standings with a rough stretch of four games staring them directly in the face: The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues at home, the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers in a back-to-back on the road.

It was as stiff a test as they had faced and an opportunity to silence critics saying their hot start was not sustainable, that they didn't belong among the elite teams of the NHL.

In the first leg of that test, the Canadiens did not silence their critics. They empowered them.

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Ducks' Kesler looks forward to return to Vancouver

Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Ryan Kesler admitted Wednesday it was awkward to walk into Rogers Arena and past the Vancouver Canucks locker room he called home for 10 seasons, continuing down the hall to the visitors' room with his new Anaheim Ducks teammates.

It could get even more uncomfortable Thursday, when the 30-year-old Ducks center skates out in front of Vancouver fans for the first time as the enemy.

"Hopefully they appreciated the 11 years I played here and remember all the good times," said Kesler, who spent one of those years in the minors. "Hopefully a warm reception, but if not it's part of the game."

Kesler isn't sure if it will be cheers or jeers, but he's used to both by now.

"I guess that's my personality," he said. "You love me or you hate me."


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Five things to watch when Rangers host Flyers

Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube said he doesn't try to reflect on what happened the last time the Flyers played the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

It was Game 7 of their 2014 Eastern Conference First Round series and the Flyers lost 2-1.

"I don't think about it anymore," Berube said. "I think once it was over it's really over with me. I think the way I look at it is we played good hockey at times but we didn't play very good hockey a lot of times during that series and it cost us. If we had been more consistent we could have beaten them. They're a very good team, not taking anything away from them. We gave them a good battle. In my mind we could play better."

He'll have a chance to see if he's right when the Flyers visit the Rangers in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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Flyers' Del Zotto focused on two points vs. Rangers

Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto walks into Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, he says his focus will be on two things: the two points at stake when his team plays the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN1, TVA SPORTS).

But in the back of his mind the 24-year-old will be looking to show the Rangers what they gave up when he was traded to the Nashville Predators on Jan. 22.

"I think anytime you get too emotional, too caught up in a certain game or a moment, it seems to get the best of you," Del Zotto said. "I'm sure [Wednesday] when I get there it'll hit me a little bit, bring back some memories."

Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Del Zotto's most recent hockey memories weren't very good.

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Penguins' Fleury continues to clear mental hurdles

Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Marc-Andre Fleury is not judged the same as any other goalie in the NHL.

Marc-Andre Fleury
Goalie - PIT
RECORD: 11-3-0
GAA: 1.98 | SVP: .930
The Pittsburgh Penguins' franchise goaltender's history of meltdowns in the Stanley Cup Playoffs will probably stick to him until Fleury personally removes it with an outstanding spring performance, and it will unfortunately taint everything else he does until that happens.

When Fleury was signed to a four-year, $23 million contract extension on Nov. 6, removing his lame-duck status, it was his history in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that became the source of a raging online debate on the wisdom of the move by Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.

The knee-jerk reaction when it comes to Fleury has been, and will likely remain, "Yeah, but can he do it in the playoffs?"

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Canadiens, Penguins view game as measuring stick

Tuesday, 11.18.2014 / 2:20 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens enter games Tuesday as the top team in the NHL, but doubts have swirled all season about their legitimacy in holding that spot.

Just about the only statistic that would suggest the Canadiens are an upper-echelon team is their 14-4-1 record, which is the most important one, but can sometimes be the most misleading as well.

The Canadiens, and the rest of the NHL, should have a better idea of where they stand by the end of this week, starting Tuesday when they put their six-game winning streak on the line at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET) in a battle between the two Eastern Conference division leaders.

Montreal then welcomes the St. Louis Blues, the hottest team in the Western Conference, to Bell Centre on Thursday before visiting the rival Boston Bruins on Saturday and the New York Rangers on Sunday.

The Canadiens can erase or confirm the doubts surrounding their strong start to the season by the end of this brutal stretch.

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Lindros, LeClair enter Flyers Hall as package deal

Monday, 11.17.2014 / 2:26 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Eric Lindros and John LeClair always were together on the ice during their time with the Philadelphia Flyers, so it makes sense that when they are inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on Thursday they will be honored together.

The pair combined, along with Mikael Renberg, to create the "Legion of Doom" line that helped the Flyers reach the Eastern Conference Final in 1995 and the Stanley Cup Final in 1997.

"[Flyers president] Paul Holmgren gave me a shout, gave Johnny a shout, in September," Lindros said. "Right away we were both deeply honored to get the call and then we started talking a little bit further and we decided to do it together, which was appropriate. Here we are and we're looking forward to Thursday night."

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Quote of the Day

It's a date that's been circled on my calendar, so it's kind of nice to have it here and get it over with (Thursday). This is a little bit of the closing of the book on the move. That's kind of how I'm looking at it.

— Stars forward Jason Spezza on returning to Ottawa for the first time to face the Senators