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(Page 8 of 249)
NHL Insider

Blues' Miller happy to see Sabres, not play them

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- When the Buffalo Sabres traded goalie Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 28, it ended nearly 15 years of Miller playing for one NHL organization.

So when Miller's new team and old team play for the first time since the trade Thursday at Scottrade Center, he'll be on the bench; Brian Elliott will make the start instead.

"It's fine," Miller said after practice Wednesday. "There will be a lot of time to worry about that later. This year it's pretty fresh leaving that situation, so maybe it's just a full break, get [Elliott] in there.

"Hopefully I get to see some of the boys for dinner or see them around the rink, catch up and see how they're doing."

Watching the Sabres without being part of the group will be something different for Miller. He was drafted by Buffalo in the fifth round (No. 138) of the 1999 NHL Draft and made his NHL debut with the Sabres during the 2002-03 season. He ranks as the Sabres' all-time leader in games played (540) and wins (284).

"It's going to be a little strange," Miller said. "There were a group of guys I played with for a number of years. It's going to be a little bit different but all great guys, all guys I count as friends. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

"On the human side of it I'm glad the guys are going to be in town. A chance to see some friends."

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Trade to Flyers revived goalie Mason's career

Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 7:09 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Steve Mason
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 31-17-7
GAA: 2.53 | SVP: 0.916
Steve Mason says he was ready to walk away from hockey. The game he'd loved since childhood had become a chore.

As the conclusion of the 2012-13 season approached, Mason was at a crossroads. Tossing his goalie pads in the trash seemed like the best, perhaps only, course of action.

One year later, Mason's angst is a distant memory. His smile is omnipresent and the pads he was ready to trash have earned him his second 30-win season. He's virtually assured of making his second trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he has a three-year contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers that starts in July.

Thursday, Mason will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his arrival in Philadelphia. Coincidentally, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team that traded Mason to Philadelphia, will be the opposition.


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Red Wings' Babcock focused solely on the present

Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 3:21 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- It was one of the most enduring images from this year's installment of HBO's "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic," which previewed the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic played between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 1.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock stood in front of a white dry-erase board in the locker room putting a patchwork of unfamiliar numbers into his lineup. He added forward Gustav Nyquist's No. 14 to the top of an injury list eight players long that was written vertically down the right side.

"These people don't matter," Babcock said, circling his hand around the injury list.

Circling his hand around the lineup, he continued: "These people matter."

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Wednesday Night Rivalry: DeKeyser vs. Hamilton

Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 2:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

To help celebrate NBC Rivalry Night, NHL.com will look at a rivalry within the rivalry of the featured game on Wednesday nights. For this week, we are trying to determine which defenseman is on the best path to becoming a franchise player, Danny DeKeyser of the Detroit Red Wings or Dougie Hamilton of the Boston Bruins.

In their second NHL seasons, defensemen Danny DeKeyser of the Detroit Red Wings and Dougie Hamilton of the Boston Bruins have become key cogs for teams with Stanley Cup aspirations.

How they got to this point, however, is starkly different.

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Johnson plays key role in Lightning's drive to playoffs

Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 12:24 AM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

Tyler Johnson
Center - TBL
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 48
SOG: 161 | +/-: 20
TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are headed for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011. They wouldn't have gotten there without unheralded rookie forward Tyler Johnson.

That's why it was appropriate that Johnson's shorthanded goal with 7:19 remaining in regulation Tuesday night turned out to be the game-winner in a 3-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens that assured the Lightning of a return to the postseason.

"It's awesome, especially in my first year," Johnson said of making the playoffs. "As a kid growing up you want that chance to win the Stanley Cup and right now we have that chance. Once you're in there, anything can happen."

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Comparisons continue between Vigneault, Tortorella

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:09 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella understands his unlikely job swap with Alain Vigneault last summer makes for easy comparisons between the two.

With Vigneault and the New York Rangers back in Vancouver to play his former team at Rogers Arena on Tuesday, Tortorella is also very aware those assessments don't flatter him right now.

Hired to get more out of veteran group that had been knocked quickly out of the past two Stanley Cup Playoffs, Tortorella has the Canucks on the verge of missing the postseason altogether for the first time in six seasons with 79 points. Vigneault's Rangers are second in the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference with 88 points after winning six of their past seven games.


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Kings' Kopitar earning attention for Selke Trophy

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It would be easy to think that Anze Kopitar got his defensive mindset from his father and coach, Matjaz, growing up in Slovenia. It would seem natural for a son to emulate his father’s style of play.

But the Los Angeles Kings center can't really say that was the case because he remembers what type of player his father was toward the end of his playing career.

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Giroux, Berube at forefront of Flyers' resurgence

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 7:30 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was sitting on the bench during the second period of a Nov. 9 game against the Edmonton Oilers when something caught his eye.

As a frustrated Claude Giroux slammed his stick on the ice after missing another scoring chance, Simmonds noticed something he hadn't seen much during a trying start to the season for the Flyers and their on-ice leader.

The Flyers entered that day 4-10-1. Coach Peter Laviolette had been fired three games into the season. The offense was missing in action; nine times in 15 games it had been held to one goal or fewer. The power play was non-existent, and only strong play by goaltenders Steve Mason and Ray Emery kept their goal differential from being worse than the minus-20 it was.

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Bruins' Iginla proving he's still a top-flight talent

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 7:20 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Free agency, mega-contracts and wealth disparity among owners have made the one-organization superstar almost as rare as the 150-point season.

When Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the Detroit Red Wings in 2012 after 20 seasons in one uniform, the ranks of the one-team legends was diminished further. In 2013 another icon of one city, Jarome Iginla, was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Iginla remains the Flames' all-time leader in games played, goals and points; he was in the midst of his 16th season with an organization that traded for him when he was 18 years old and anointed him captain at 26.

Some legends, like Brett Hull and Paul Coffey, get traded around the NHL their entire careers with varying levels of success at each stop. A few like Lidstrom make it all the way through to the end with one team. Others are shipped off late in their careers and the results historically have been mixed.

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Daily Primer March 29: Coyotes can pass Wild

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Phoenix Coyotes have been trying to hold on to the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They return home after a three-game road trip looking ahead, not behind.

The Coyotes went 2-0-1 on their trip, and a victory against the visiting Minnesota Wild on Saturday (9 p.m. ET) will move them into the first wild-card spot, ahead of the slumping Wild. Phoenix won games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils with backup goaltender Thomas Greiss, who's likely to get the call against Minnesota in place of starter Mike Smith, who's out with a lower-body injury.

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Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions