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NHL Insider

NHL joins millions in 'going purple' for Spirit Day

Friday, 10.19.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

On Friday, Oct. 19, the National Hockey League will join millions of Americans in "going purple" for Spirit Day, to stand out against bullying and support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. In the observance of Spirit Day, the League is joining the social campaign to promote awareness of the challenges faced in the LGBT community.

The effort to "go purple" started in 2010 as a response to the young people who had committed suicide in response to extreme bullying. Last year, millions of Americans donned the color to show their support for the cause, including Ellen DeGeneres, Goldie Hawn, Conan O'Brien, and the casts of several TV shows, including "Good Morning America" and "Jersey Shore." This year's official Spirit Day ambassadors include basketball great Shaquille O'Neal, TV personality Maria Menounos, and actor George Takei.

Girls' Hockey Weekend proves success around globe

Tuesday, 10.16.2012 / 2:24 PM / NHL Insider

Deborah Francisco - Staff Writer

The International Ice Hockey Federation is still tallying the numbers from the second World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend, which took place Oct. 13-14 in countries all around the globe. But the single goal of raising awareness for female hockey was accomplished as hundreds of events in 30 countries took place.

"Not everybody buys into female hockey, but more people are, and this just brought up the awareness of female hockey in a lot of areas," Hockey Canada Director of Female Hockey Joanne Hughes told "It's increasing the profile of female hockey tremendously."

While women's hockey is one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide, it's still unrecognized in many countries and many cities struggle to put together just one female team or league.

Girls' Hockey Weekend growing showcase for sport

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 8:31 PM / NHL Insider

Deborah Francisco - Staff Writer

When Tanya Foley, the women's program manager for the International Ice Hockey Federation, first contacted a group of 14 world hockey leaders in 2011 to gauge interest in a girls' event, she had no idea how popular it would become in just two years.

"It was really funny because we started looking at doing it late-summer last year," Foley told, "I decided to just throw this out there and see what kind of response we got. I expected nothing, and we had 20 nations sign up right away."

Foley's idea was to take what Hockey Canada and USA Hockey were already doing with Esso Fun Days in Canada and Hockey Weekend Across America, as well as similar programs in Finland, and turn them into an international endeavor to recruit girls to the game.

Years later, former Knicks and Rangers maintain bond

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 1:40 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

Any office environment can benefit from a cooperative workplace in which everyone gets along. If that workplace happens to be an arena housing both an NHL and NBA franchise, then winning sure doesn't hurt.


NYR moments part of MSG retrospective

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer
When Madison Square Garden opens its doors following its final round of renovations in November, the redone concourse will include a visual retrospective including great moments in Rangers history. READ MORE ›

During Madison Square Garden's historic spring in 1994, a winning spirit helped to establish a strong bond between Knicks and Rangers players. With both teams enjoying recent success following prolonged playoff droughts, those relationships have been rekindled.

"It's a close-knit family. We have our training center up in Westchester and because both teams live under the same roof there as well as down in the city at the Garden, it's one big family," said Adam Graves, who played 10 seasons with the Rangers and now works in the team's Prospect Development and Community Relations departments. "It's great they're friends. That's where it's special."

The keystone of that relationship was the epic spring of 1994, which saw the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years and the Knicks come within one victory of the NBA title. In their respective playoff runs, the two teams crossed paths countless times at the Garden and developed a respect for one another that remains strong almost 20 years later.

"[Knicks] coach [Pat] Riley made sure we were a family. That's the way he was brought up. He came from a big family and he brought that with him. He made sure we all appreciated one another and respected one another and fought hard for one another," said John Starks, a longtime Knicks guard who now serves as the team's adviser for alumni relations and fan development. "With the Rangers, it was the same exact thing. Playing six, seven months together, you develop a close bond. The Rangers were no different than the Knicks. Those guys fought hard for one another and they protected one another."

Great Rangers moments part of Garden retrospective

Thursday, 10.11.2012 / 4:01 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

Since 1879, Madison Square Garden has moved three times and undergone countless renovations, including the final stage of its current facelift, which is scheduled to be completed next month. Through all those changes, the hallowed arena has hosted every conceivable event and some of the most enduring moments in sports and entertainment, earning a reputation as the world's most famous arena.

On Thursday in Manhattan's Madison Square Park, the site of the original Madison Square Garden, some of the people involved in those historic moments came together to mark the opening of a new exhibit commemorating the venue's incredible legacy. They included New York Rangers greats Mark Messier and Brian Leetch, Knicks legends Walt Frazier and John Starks, trailblazing rappers DMC of Run DMC and Mike D of Beastie Boys, boxer Bernard Hopkins, and even former New York governor Mario Cuomo.

Davidson looking for challenge from next job

Saturday, 10.06.2012 / 3:59 PM / NHL Insider

John Davidson has one plan for his future.

"If the phone rings, I'll answer it," Davidson told the Bellevue News-Democrat on Friday, after his parting ways with the St. Louis Blues was officially announced.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster turned successful front-office executive is back on the market after agreeing to a buyout of his contract as Blues president.

The 59-year-old, who reportedly interviewed with the Columbus Blue Jackets after Tom Stillman's purchase of the Blues became official in May, said he has no intention to retire.

"I want a challenge," Davidson told the Columbus Dispatch. "I'm interested in hearing what might be out there. There's lot of energy in this old broken-down body."

Shining a light on some lesser-known NHL records

Wednesday, 10.03.2012 / 12:37 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

You don't have to be a hockey whiz to know that Wayne Gretzky holds a bushel of NHL records, including most goals (92) and points (215) in a season and in a career (894 goals, 2,857 points), or that the Montreal Canadiens have the most Stanley Cups (23 since the NHL was formed in 1917).

But there are a number of marks and standards that aren't nearly as well known -- and some of those, like the marks held by Gretzky and the Habs, figure to be around for a while.

Here are a few of the NHL's lesser-known records:

Best single-season power-play percentage: 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens

The 1970s and '80s were the golden days of power plays. It was not unusual to have multiple teams clicking at rates that would be unheard of today -- Nashville was tops in power-play percentage last season at 21.9, and no team in the last two decades has exceeded 26 percent.

The New York Islanders became the first team to convert on more than 30 percent of its power plays when they led the League with a 31.7-percent success rate in 1975-76. But that mark was topped two seasons later when the Montreal Canadiens turned 31.9 percent of their power-play chances into goals -- edging the Islanders, who converted at a 31.3-percent rate.

Hitchcock to 'give back' with free coaching seminars

Monday, 10.01.2012 / 10:32 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is planning to "give back" to a community of coaches who want to sign up for guidance from a Jack Adams Award winner.

Hitchcock is arranging three days of free seminars in St. Louis from Oct. 9-11 for area coaches at various levels ranging from travel to high school to house leagues. He said Thursday there were already 80 coaches signed up for the clinics that will take place at the St. Louis Mills Ice Zone, the Blues' practice facility.

Nicklas Lidstrom prepares for next phase of his life

Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 12:48 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Nicklas Lidstrom's life for most of June, all of July and at least half of August was, for all intents and purposes, normal. He spent the summer in Sweden and returned to Detroit in late August -- typically the appropriate time to meet up with his Red Wings teammates for some informal practices to prepare for training camp.

However, Lidstrom's return to Hockeytown this year was short and somewhat bittersweet.

The now former Red Wings defenseman, who announced his retirement in a gala press conference at Joe Louis Arena on May 31, sold his sprawling suburban home in July and simply returned to the area late this summer to hand over the keys and take care of some minor final details.

Ratelle, Lemaire among most underrated players

Wednesday, 09.26.2012 / 1:09 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

No successful NHL team gets far without great talent. But not all of that talent gets a lot of attention. There are great players -- even Hall of Fame members -- who don't receive enough attention. Only afterwards do we realize just how good they were, and just how much they meant to their teams' success.

Here are seven of the most underrated players in NHL history:

Jean Ratelle

It's hard to imagine a Hall of Fame member who starred in the NHL for a long time with less fanfare than Ratelle, a quiet center who was more than content to let his play speak for him.

Ratelle and boyhood friend Rod Gilbert came up together with the Rangers, played together as linemates for years -- and both made the Hall of Fame. But while Gilbert was a flashy wing with a big shot, Ratelle was more like Jean Beliveau -- a slick center who defined elegance on the ice and class and dignity off it.

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Quote of the Day

It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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