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NHL Insider

Rangers, in tight playoff race, treasure extra point

Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 11:59 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers entered their game against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square on Tuesday with 15 wins in 18 games. Considering such a run, one would think they would have created some separation in the Metropolitan Division.

Not a chance.

Not when their rival on the other side of the East River, the New York Islanders, has won seven of 10 and reeled off at least three wins in a row seven times this season. The Washington Capitals have earned at least one point in eight of their past 10. As long as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in the fold, the Rangers know it's difficult to envision the Pittsburgh Penguins going away anytime soon.

That's why it was crucial for the Rangers to overcome a sluggish start and earn a 3-2 overtime win against the Senators, capped by Carl Hagelin's goal at 2:55 of the extra period. It allowed the Rangers to move into a tie with the Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan, one point ahead of the Capitals.

The Rangers enter the All-Star break five points behind the Islanders, although they do have two games in hand. The bitter rivals will face each other at Nassau Coliseum when play resumes next Tuesday.

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After trade from Bruins, Seguin loves role with Stars

Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The cowboy hat fit, so Tyler Seguin put it on and embraced the look.

"A hundred percent," Seguin told NHL.com.

This was Oct. 11, 2013, after Seguin, the Dallas Stars center, put the finishing touches on a four-point night at the Winnipeg Jets. He was talking to the media about his new start, his fresh start with a new team, when someone off-camera handed him a cowboy hat with a Stars logo on it.

The hat is the pseudo-trophy the Stars give out to their player of the game after wins. Vernon Fiddler started the tradition last season. Seguin was an easy choice that night in Winnipeg after Dallas' third game of the season, but it was his reaction that left an indelible mark that Stars general manager Jim Nill vividly recalls.

Seguin grabbed the hat and plucked it right down on his head. He smiled. He chuckled. He continued answering questions, but he could hardly get through the three-minute session with reporters without cracking up.

This was one of the first public signs of Seguin, Toronto-born and NHL Boston-bred, wrapping his arms around playing for the Stars.


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Rangers rookie Hayes making impact in the middle

Sunday, 01.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The question for New York Rangers forward Rick Nash was about the club's center depth in general. Nash's answer turned into a plug for the continued improvement of rookie center Kevin Hayes.

"Hayes has impressed me," Nash said. "You think about how mature his game is; he's been playing at a high-level of college for a while and what is he, 22? It's impressive the maturity in his game, especially to go up against a guy like [Joe] Thornton and hold his own."

Hayes has impressed a lot of people around the Rangers this season. He has become as important to the Rangers' success as any other role player.

Hayes was plugged in as the third-line center in his second NHL game. He has been stable in that position since, giving the Rangers the center depth a team needs to have sustained success in an NHL season.

His next test comes Sunday at Consol Energy Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN), who roll out a 1-2-3 center rotation that is the envy of the League: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Sutter.

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Penguins' Bennett healthy at last, showing potential

Sunday, 01.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

After numerous stops and starts in two-and-a-half seasons as a pro, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett is finally starting to show signs he might have been worth that No. 20 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

"He's had some [bad] luck, but it's going good now," Penguins center Brandon Sutter said.

The biggest question for Bennett is, will he stay healthy long enough to fulfill his promise and prove without a shadow of a doubt that he was worth being a first-round pick?

Bennett is a long way from that considering he's played 61 NHL games, including 35 in the past two seasons. But if he can stay out of the trainer's room and off the operating table, he should be an important part of the Penguins' push for another Stanley Cup.

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Unheralded Canadiens still among NHL's elite teams

Sunday, 01.18.2015 / 12:22 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens can be a difficult team to understand. They have been hovering around the top of the Eastern Conference for most of the season, yet the Canadiens are rarely mentioned among the elite teams in the NHL.

But here they are with a 28-13-3 record following a 6-4 win at home Saturday against the New York Islanders, who entered the game having won four in a row, including a big 6-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home a night earlier.

The Islanders were 6-1-0 this season playing the second of back-to-back games and had won their past four under those circumstances before losing to the Canadiens.

Prior to the game, Montreal talked about the opportunity to prove a point against a team that was getting the accolades around the League that the Canadiens felt they deserved but weren't getting.

"You want to earn respect across the League," forward David Desharnais said. "It's by beating those teams that you're going to do that."

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Blake's Kings legacy hits apex with jersey retirement

Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles was another world to Rob Blake where he grew up about 2,400 miles away. He was a Toronto-area raised farm boy, and his life revolved around machinery and watching Wayne Gretzky.

That changed profoundly within three months in the summer of 1988. Blake was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, and three months later he was a sophomore at Bowling Green when he and then teammate Nelson Emerson were sitting in their dorm room watching television. Gretzky had been traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Kings.

To look back at it seems just as jarring to Blake.

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Ribeiro leads Predators' revival with own resurgence

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- When forward Mike Ribeiro signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators last summer, many thought the best days of his career were behind him.

His four-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes was bought out after one season because of behavioral issues, according to Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, and his point production had slipped in each of the past two seasons.

Through the first half of this season, Ribeiro has silenced his critics, finding success on and off the ice. He focused on getting his personal life back in order in the offseason, and that was a big reason he decided to sign with the Predators in the first place. The media scrutiny isn't high here, and it's a good place to raise a family.

"It's been great," Ribeiro said. "It's pretty quiet, but it's more about work than anything else. It's a good fit for me, and the boys in the room have been great with me. I'm just happy to be here."

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Trotz returns to Nashville, where he instilled culture

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Hockey players, coaches and front-office staffs often speak of instilling cultures. David Poile and Barry Trotz literally built one from scratch.

The Nashville Predators were in their infancy in the late 1990s, and as the franchise's first general manager and coach, Poile and Trotz set out to entrench an identity in a nontraditional market.

"When you have someone that's working alongside you for so many years, you certainly have to be on the same page in terms of your overall strategies and game plans," Poile said. "Our thought process in a nutshell was to make Nashville a hockey city."

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Blues hope Brodeur hasn't closed chapter in St. Louis

Thursday, 01.15.2015 / 1:46 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- While goalie Martin Brodeur takes a week to ponder his future, the St. Louis Blues hope the veteran comes back.

Brodeur, 42, was granted a leave of absence by the Blues on Wednesday and went back to his hometown of Saint-Leonard, Quebec to spend time with his family.

But the Blues, who host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, hope Brodeur, who has been relegated to being the No. 3 goalie, will remain with them moving forward.

"Yeah, selfishly, yeah," coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked about wanting Brodeur back.

"Kind of caught everybody off guard. We didn't know what was going on and still don't know what's going on. I've gotta tell you, him being here, man it was really helpful. It was helpful to every piece of this organization between trainers, coaches, players, management … he was a real helpful guy. He shared information that you just can't buy, you can't pay for. I'm hoping that whatever he decides with him and his family, that he comes back to us and we can help him a little bit maybe in something that he wants to do, but he can help us a bunch. Selfishly, we're hopeful that he does come back."

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'Fragile' Wild believe mindset needs to change

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 6:58 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO – The Minnesota Wild looked like they were on the rise in 2013-14. This season, things have been anything but hopeful.

The Wild have lost six consecutive games and 12 of the past 14. They're in last place in the Central Division and 12th in the Western Conference.

"I think we should stop referencing last year," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "We've been doing that way too much. We give up one, two goals and mentally right now, we quit. We've been fragile and we change the way we play. That's what's killing us right now."


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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday