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Stanley Cup Final
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Ducks sign Montour to entry-level contract

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 5:59 PM / News

AnaheimDucks.com

The Anaheim Ducks have signed defenseman Brandon Montour to a three-year entry-level contract beginning in the 2015-16 season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Montour, 20 (4/11/94), scored 3-17=20 points with 30 penalty minutes (PIM) in 21 games with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Hockey East) this season. Among team leaders, Montour ranked first in points-per-game (0.95), second in assists and first in scoring among defensemen. He was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Month for January after ranking tied for second in the nation for scoring by a defenseman with 2-8=10 points in eight games. The 6-0, 180-pound defenseman began 2014-15 with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League (USHL), collecting 6-15=21 points with 30 PIM in 17 games.

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Rutherford confident Penguins are ready for playoffs

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 5:45 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Penguins may have lost a pair of home games in the span of 24 hours last weekend, but general manager Jim Rutherford believes they are ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

A shutout loss to the Boston Bruins in a Saturday matinee, and a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in a nationally televised afternoon game on Sunday, sounded some alarm bells around a team which has struggled for consistency all season.

Rutherford, however, was not concerned when he arrived for the start of the spring installment of the NHL's general managers meetings. The Penguins are 39-20-10 and in third place in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the New York Islanders with two games in hand. The Washington Capitals, which holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, is four points behind the Penguins.

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Panthers goaltender contest down to final two

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 5:43 PM / News

FloridaPanthers.com

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers announced today that Bill Ruggiero and Dustin Smith have been chosen as the two finalists selected for the team's Goal of a Lifetime competition to become the Panthers' back-up practice goaltender for a day.

Ruggiero, 34, is a former professional/semi-pro goaltender who spent time playing for the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League (2004-05, 2006-07), Johnstown Chiefs of the East Coast Hockey League (2001-02) and the Flint Generals of the International Hockey League (2007-08). Ruggiero resides in Melbourne, Florida.

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Goalie interference among Day 1 GM Meetings topics

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 4:45 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Issues related to goaltender interference and crease presence, as well as more defined emergency goaltender protocols, were the main topics of conversation Monday as the League's general managers gathered for the first of three days of meetings.

Other topics, including the much-hyped discussion about potential format changes for the overtime period of regular-season games, are expected to take center stage Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first day, though, was spent analyzing other items on the agenda, including the goaltending-related issues and possibly changing the protocols around the diving and embellishment issue.

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Trophy, playoff races among questions remaining

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 3:18 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

There are fewer than 200 games remaining in the 2014-15 NHL regular season and the only race remotely close to being decided is the one for first place in the Pacific Division. The Anaheim Ducks have a 13-point lead.

The rest of the playoff chases and scoring races are still up for grabs. Home-ice advantage is on the line. Players are trying secure their candidacy for postseason awards. Ten teams are within eight points of the lead for the Presidents' Trophy.

So much still has to be decided and yet the days are quickly ticking off the calendar. So many questions still have to be answered, but why wait until April 11, the final day of the regular season, when all 30 teams are in action? Why can't we just answer the hot questions now?

Here are 15 important questions heading into the homestretch of the season, with some educated guesswork for the answers:

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Senators GM Murray saving lives through cancer fight

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- St. Louis Blues assistant coach Brad Shaw is proof of how Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is saving lives by spreading awareness through the public battle he is waging against stage 4 colon cancer.

If not for Murray's honesty and forthrightness since being diagnosed in June, particularly in a video piece for TSN reported by Michael Farber, himself a cancer survivor, members of the Blues coaching and management staffs would not have scheduled themselves for colonoscopies during the NHL All-Star break in late January. That's where Shaw found out he had a golf-ball sized polyp on the wall of his colon that if undetected could have been life threatening.

Doctors told Shaw he should have the polyp removed immediately. He had surgery on Jan. 28 and was behind the Blues bench the next night coaching against the Nashville Predators.

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Penguins' Malkin, Hornqvist out about one week

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 2:42 PM / News

NHL.com

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin likely will miss a week, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday.

Rutherford, speaking at the meeting of the League's general managers here, said that Malkin and forward Patric Hornqvist each could miss at least three games.

"Malkin's probably … he's a hard read because he heals so quick. But I'll say seven to 14 days," Rutherford said. "For Hornqvist, I'll say probably a week. He's not travelling with us this week."

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Canucks goaltender Markstrom recalled from AHL

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 2:37 PM / News

VancouverCanucks.com

Vancouver, B.C.Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have recalled goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Utica Comets. The club has also reassigned goaltender Joacim Eriksson to Utica.

Markstrom, 25, has compiled a record of 19-7-2 including five shutouts with the Utica Comets this season. In 48 NHL games, the 6'6", 199 pound goaltender has a record of 12-28-5 with a 3.25 goals against average. The Gavle, Sweden native was originally selected by Florida 31st overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Eriksson, 24, has a record of 17-10-5, a .907 save percentage, and a 2.61 goals against average with the Utica Comets this season. The 6'2", 196 pound goaltender made his NHL debut on January 15, 2014 at Anaheim. The Gavle, Sweden native signed with Vancouver as a free agent on June 17, 2013.

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Panthers giving fans 'Goal of a Lifetime' with tryout

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 2:20 PM / News

NHL.com

The Florida Panthers held a unique tryout Monday at BB&T Center, with 48 hopefuls auditioning to be a backup practice goaltender as part of the Panthers' "Goal of a Lifetime" contest.

The candidates came from across North America, including from as far as Canada, Vermont and New Jersey.

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Sabres' Larsson, Varone shining in expanded roles

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 1:44 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Following the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2, the Buffalo Sabres' lineup took on a drastically different look. It also provided a big opportunity to a pair of young centers.

Johan Larsson and Philip Varone have seen playing time in Buffalo before this season, but after two trades at the deadline that saw forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell sent to the Montreal Canadiens, as well as a lower-body injury sustained by All-Star center Zemgus Girgensons, Larsson and Varone were recalled from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League to fill those holes. Now they’re the Sabres' top two centers heading into their game Monday against the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN1).

Larsson hasn't been a stranger to the Sabres lineup this season. He's been in Buffalo since he was recalled Feb. 15, but he was playing on the third and fourth lines. Now he's between Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis on the first line.

"It's a great opportunity. I can't ask for anything more," Larsson said. "I've just got to show it every day and work hard. If you play with those guys you have to work your [butt] off and show them you want to play with them."

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Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday