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NHL Insider

Flames' Bennett tops list of strong rookie showings

Thursday, 01.14.2016 / 11:50 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett stole the spotlight Wednesday with a dominant performance in a 6-0 victory against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Saddledome, scoring a hat trick in the first period and finishing with four goals.

He is the fifth rookie with a hat trick this season and the third in the past four days. Max Domi of the Arizona Coyotes scored three goals against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 12 and Sam Reinhart of the Buffalo Sabres scored three against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 10. Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair (Oct. 14 against the Anaheim Ducks) and Boston Bruins forward Frank Vatrano (Dec. 18 against the Pittsburgh Penguins) are the other rookies with hat tricks.

But Bennett’s performance was impressive not only for its skill but the unusual nature of the feat.

Consider some of the history associated with Bennett's accomplishment, according to Elias Sports Bureau:

Williams' experience, Oshie's energy driving Capitals

Thursday, 01.14.2016 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- There are times during a game Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz will hear right wing Justin Williams talking to his linemates on the bench, urging them on after good shifts or telling them they need to pick it up after bad shifts.

As Trotz is listening to Williams, he might also find himself watching right wing T.J. Oshie attack the game with boundless energy on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, burrowing into corners, digging pucks out, playing the perfect complementary role.

This combination has a way of tickling Trotz's senses to the point where it's almost laughable because of the influence Oshie and Williams have had on the Capitals this season.

Williams' leadership and Oshie's energy combined with the skill and production each of them have brought to Washington's top-six forward group has been the coup Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan were hoping it would be.

Bure: Ovechkin enters new territory as 500-goal scorer

Thursday, 01.14.2016 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Pavel Bure, one of the greatest Russian goal scorers of all time, is quite impressed with the latest accomplishment of countryman Alex Ovechkin, who became the first Russian to reach 500 goals in the NHL.

"Five hundred goals in the NHL is a very serious achievement," Bure said in his bi-weekly contribution to NHL.com/ru. "Only few players could say that they did it. Things like that are great in terms of promoting popularity of hockey."

Kharlamov remembered following Ovechkin feats

Thursday, 01.14.2016 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Vassili Ossipov - NHL.com Staff Writer

Marker No. 74 on the highway between St. Petersburg and Moscow doesn't look any different from any other in Russia; the same abyss of vegetable fields, the same birch groves and the same line of dandelions on the side of the road.

The only thing that makes it stand out is a small monument in the shape of an oversized granite puck and a metal stick. It reads: "Valeri Kharlamov. Here fell the Star of the Russian hockey." It was at this spot on Aug. 27, 1981, that an automobile crash killed one of the best to ever play the game. Kharlamov was 33 years old.

Kharlamov would have turned 68 today, Jan. 14, and although he's been gone 34 years, his memory lives on in the minds of the bevy of Russian-born players who have gone on to do what was unthinkable in Kharlamov's time: play in the NHL.

On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin, the captain of the Washington Capitals, became the first Russian to score 500 goals in the League. He passed Sergei Fedorov for most NHL goals by a Russian-born player when he scored No. 484 on Nov. 19.

O'Ree, Bettman attend premiere of 'Soul on Ice'

Thursday, 01.14.2016 / 12:58 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Willie O'Ree wasn't allowed an early screening of the film "Soul on Ice: Past, Present & Future."

His co-worker at the NHL, Ken Martin, the League's senior vice president of community and diversity programming, wanted him to have a visceral reaction to a movie that is as much about him and his legacy as a groundbreaker in hockey as anyone else.

O'Ree broke the color barrier in the NHL when he debuted for the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958. He is now a pioneer for diversity in hockey through the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone program as the League's director of cause marketing.

He found out Wednesday night that Martin was right, it was worth the wait.

New and improved Domingue a blessing for Coyotes

Wednesday, 01.13.2016 / 12:42 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Ask Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney which of his young players has the biggest surprise of what has been a surprising first half of the 2015-16 season and one name leapfrogs to the head of a deserving list of candidates.

"Hands down, no question, Louis Domingue," Maloney said. "And he's done it at position and at a time when we really needed it."

Domingue has emerged as an unexpected stabilizing force in goal and has allowed the Coyotes to surprise much of the hockey world by being in the race for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the rugged Western Conference more than halfway through the season.

Brodeur expects nerves when Devils retire his jersey

Wednesday, 01.13.2016 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Martin Brodeur said emotions will certainly be high when he steps on the ice to have his jersey No. 30 retired by the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Feb. 9.

"It'll probably be the first time I'll be on that ice and be that nervous," Brodeur told Matt Loughlin of WFAN Sports Radio on Tuesday. "I've never gotten nervous when I played, but this is a little out of my comfort zone so it'll be a different nervousness. It'll be emotional, there's no doubt about that."

Brodeur led the Devils to three Stanley Cup championships while setting a multitude of NHL records for a goaltender including wins and shutouts. There's no question Brodeur, now assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues, wants to make sure he thanks and pays tribute to all who helped him during his 21 seasons with the Devils.

"The main thing for me [during my speech] will be to try and reminisce about what we did as a franchise while I was there," Brodeur said. "What I've accomplished, but also about the teams we had and the great teammates and coaches who were there for me. I want to take that time and think back, go through it, and hopefully it'll come out the right way."

Flyers' Voracek, Couturier excelling after line changes

Wednesday, 01.13.2016 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said he wasn't sure what it would be like on the left side of the ice.

Voracek had been a right wing for as long as he had played hockey, and it worked pretty well for him. Last season, he played in his first NHL All-Star Game and finished fourth in the League in scoring.

But after Voracek scored one goal in his first 30 games this season, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol made a change prior to the Dec. 15 game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Voracek was going to play left wing.

Hakstol believed Voracek was skilled and smart enough to make whatever adjustments would be needed. Voracek, though, wasn't sure how, or if, the position switch would work.

"I thought it was going to be way harder," he said. "Because I never played it. ... It's a big change."

Change has been good. Voracek had a goal and two assists against the Hurricanes in his first game at his new position. And in 10 games as a left wing entering the Flyers' Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports), he has three goals and seven assists.

Blackhawks coach Quenneville gets milestone win

Wednesday, 01.13.2016 / 1:21 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- There were some tense moments before it became official, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville finally capped a memorable day by achieving a career milestone at United Center on Tuesday.

The Blackhawks' 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators pushed Quenneville's career record as an NHL coach to 782-451-110 with 77 ties, tying him with Al Arbour for second all-time in career wins. Earlier in the day, Quenneville signed a three-year contract extension that extends through the 2019-20 season.

The only NHL coach with more career victories is Scotty Bowman (1,244), now a Blackhawks special adviser. In his eighth season in Chicago, Quenneville got his 344th win as Blackhawks coach. He also had 307 wins with the St. Louis Blues (1996-2004) and 131 with the Colorado Avalanche (2005-08).

Blackhawks' Quenneville ties for 2nd in all-time wins

Tuesday, 01.12.2016 / 12:29 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- In a city that adores championship coaches, Joel Quenneville, who has led the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles in the past six seasons, has become synonymous with the first letter of his last name.

Quenneville is better known as "Q" or "Coach Q," in Chicago because the Blackhawks have won a lot in his eight seasons as their coach, including those Cup triumphs in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

He has earned a spot on Chicago's coaching Mount Rushmore along with George Halas and Mike Ditka of the Bears and former Bulls coach Phil Jackson.

"Joel Quenneville is the guy that got the Blackhawks over the 49-year [Cup drought]," said Grant DePorter, CEO of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group and founder of the Chicago Sports Museum. "Once you do that, you can be immortalized in Chicago history."

Quenneville, 57, tied Al Arbour for second all-time in NHL regular-season coaching wins with 782 on Tuesday when the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 at United Center. The only coach with more is Scotty Bowman (1,244), currently a Blackhawks senior adviser. 

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