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Chicago's Nordstrom banned two games for boarding

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 5:30 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK Chicago Blackhawks forward Joakim Nordstrom has been suspended for two games, without pay, for boarding Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during NHL Game No. 1011 in Glendale, Ariz., on Thursday, March 12, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 19:22 of the third period. Nordstrom was assessed a minor penalty for boarding.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Nordstrom will forfeit $6,630.82. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Vancouver to host '16 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 4:44 PM / News

NHL.com

The top prospects from the Canadian Hockey League eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft will get an opportunity to showcase their ability before hundreds of NHL scouts at the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on Jan. 28, 2016.

The CHL, in association with the Western Hockey League and the Vancouver Giants, made the announcement Friday.

The 21st annual event will include 40 of the top 2016 draft prospects playing in the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"This is an event that all NHL scouts look forward to attending," NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said. "The game is a unique opportunity to evaluate 40 of the top draft-eligible prospects on a single stage in what has annually become an intense competition."

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Kadri: 'Lesson learned' from Maple Leafs discipline

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 3:26 PM / News

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Nazem Kadri is ready to turn the page.

The Toronto Maple Leafs forward, who will sit out his third straight game Friday for disciplinary reasons after being sent home Sunday by coach Peter Horachek for missing a team meeting, has chalked it up as a learning experience.

"I'm a little humiliated, but it's a lesson learned, something you need to look to to make yourself a better person," Kadri said prior to the game Friday against the Calgary Flames, his first time addressing the media since the disciplinary action. "It's a lesson that couldn't be more clear as of this point in time. I have no ill feelings for anybody else. I put the blame on myself and I understand that I have to bring a better level of expectation in terms of professionalism. Other than that, all I can worry about is the future and moving forward."

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Jets defenseman Ellerby recalled from AHL

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 1:52 PM / News

WinnipegJets.com

The Winnipeg Jets announced they have recalled defenseman Keaton Ellerby from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League.

Ellerby, 26, has played in 41 games this season with the IceCaps collecting 16 points and 32 penalty minutes. The Strathmore, AB native has played 211 NHL games in his career with the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and Jets, accumulating 26 points and 88 penalty minutes.

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Bruins sign forward Vatrano to entry-level contract

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 1:20 PM / News

BostonBruins.com

BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, March 13, that the club has signed UMass-Amherst forward Frank Vatrano to an entry-level contract. Vatrano will report to the Providence Bruins.

Vatrano finished up his the 2014-15 season at UMass-Amherst with 18 goals (six power play goals) and 10 assists for 28 points in 36 appearances. The 20-year-old's 18 goals led the squad, while his 28 points ranked second on the team. Vatrano appeared in one game for the Minutemen in 2013-14.

Prior to joining UMass, Vatrano played with the Boston Jr. Bruins of the EJHL (Eastern Junior Hockey League) in 2012-13, where he notched 13 goals (tied for second on the team) and nine assists for 22 points in 19 games. Vatrano also played eight games for the Boston Jr. Bruins in 2009-10, where he tallied two assists.

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Graovac rewarding Wild with breakout AHL season

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 12:20 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Tyler Graovac is hard to miss.

But all 30 NHL teams did just that, bypassing Graovac 190 times until the Minnesota Wild finally selected him at No. 191 with their last pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

"I knew when it came down to [draft weekend], I wasn't really expected to go high," Graovac said. "Getting picked seventh round by Minnesota was a little bit of a shock because I had had a lot of interviews with teams that year and Minnesota was the only one who didn't interview me. But it's been going great. They've been very patient with me."

That patience has paid dividends, as the 21-year-old center has excelled in his second season with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild. Fifty-eight games into the 2014-15 season, Graovac has nearly doubled his offensive output from last season, leading Iowa in goals (19), points (40), power-play goals (eight), and shots on goal (163). He's had 10 multipoint games.

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Lee, Lehtera can help down stretch in fantasy

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With a little more than four weeks remaining in the regular season and fantasy hockey leagues, it's time to take a look at some players that need to be owned in far more leagues for the stretch run. These players could be the difference in winning or losing your league, so add them now before you regret it during the offseason.

Anders Lee, C/LW, New York Islanders – available in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues

In the past 30 days in Yahoo leagues, only Lee's teammate John Tavares, and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals have been more valuable fantasy forwards. During that time Lee has seven goals, nine assists, a plus-11 rating, 12 penalty minutes, three power-play points and 53 shots on goal. Lee spent a lot of that productive ice time on a line with Tavares, but was reunited on the "Kid line" with Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson on Tuesday, where he found success earlier in the season. Lee is playing the best hockey of his young career and his 23 goals rank second among NHL rookies (behind Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman, who has 24).

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Presidents' Trophy race six-way tie hitting stretch run

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 10:46 AM / News

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

How close is the race for the Presidents' Trophy this season? Historically it's never been closer.

With about one month left in the regular season, the New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks are tied atop the standings with 91 points.

Since expansion in 1967, it's the first time this many teams have been tied for first place in the League on March 13. The previous mark was two teams, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings with 97 points in 2008-09 and the Canadiens and Calgary Flames with 90 points in 1987-88.

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Around the League notebook for Thursday, March 12

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

ELLIOTT, HITCHCOCK REACH MILESTONES AS BLUES CLIMB STANDINGS

Brian Elliott made 28 shots through overtime and remained perfect in the shootout as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0. T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the shootout to lift the Blues to their third straight win and into first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

* The Blues (43-19-5, 91 points) also pulled into a tie in terms of points with five other teams for first place in the entire NHL, where the top eight teams are separated by three points.

* Elliott posted his 29th career shutout (fourth this season). He has 20 of those shutouts since joining the Blues in 2011-12, tying Jaroslav Halak for first place in franchise history. Only Jonathan Quick (22) has more shutouts among NHL goaltenders in that span.

* Blues coach Ken Hitchcock (700-446-161, .606%) became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach 700 wins, joining Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour and Joel Quenneville. He did so while facing the Flyers, the team he coached from 2002-03 to 2006-07.

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Flames credit comeback success to fitness level

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- From an office overlooking the fitness facility in the bowels of Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary Flames strength and conditioning coach Ryan van Asten took a moment and paused.

Then, peering out from his desk in the direction of his other, bigger office of gym equipment, van Asten suggested he knew at least part of the reason the Flames have found success in the second season of what is supposed to be a rebuilding process.

Fitness.

"You kind of have to look at it as so many different variables," he said atop an exercise ball. "I like to think that piece of the puzzle is paying off, what we do in the gym. We train every day. There are so many different factors. One of them is, we've done it so many different times, is confidence. At the end of the day, if you don't have the physiological resources, it's all for naught.

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Quote of the Day

That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score in double overtime in Game 4.