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Rangers' Boyle finally adjusting to new role

Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- A broken hand opening night, multiple illnesses that he never before had to deal with, inconsistent play that hadn't existed previously, and a reduced role that hurt his confidence. Dan Boyle didn't expect his first season with the New York Rangers to be as frustrating on a personal level as it has been.

At 38 years old, Boyle knew his days as a No. 1 defenseman were done, particularly because he signed with a team that already featured Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. But Boyle didn't think he'd have to deal with as much change and adversity as he's had to this season.

"That's been the most frustrating thing about this year for me, just trying to stay steady with that confidence level," Boyle said. "It's hard when you're not used to this."

It looks like it's finally getting easier for Boyle; he at least feels it is. So does McDonagh. So does Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who said Boyle had one of his best games of the season Thursday in a 4-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes.

Though it might have taken until late February, it appears the Rangers finally are seeing the skilled, slick-skating, puck-rushing defenseman they thought they were getting when they signed Boyle to a two-year, $9 million contract July 1.

New York carries a 10-game point streak (8-0-2) into its game Saturday at the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET; NBC, City). Boyle has been in the lineup and contributing in various ways every game.

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Around the League notebook for Friday, Feb. 27

Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 1:33 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

WARD HONORED IN RALEIGH

The Carolina Hurricanes honored goaltender Cam Ward in a pregame ceremony for playing in the 500th game of his NHL career, on Feb. 24 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Ward’s family, NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Jim Gregory and Hurricanes General Manager Ron Francis participated in the ceremony honoring Ward, who became the 64th goaltender in NHL history to play at least 500 games and just the fourth active netminder to appear in 500 with one team. Ward is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (500), wins (240), shutouts (22) and saves (13,156) among Carolina and Hartford goaltenders.

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Kimmo Timonen traded to Blackhawks by Flyers

Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 12:12 AM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who has not played this season, was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks by the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

Timonen, who will turn 40 on March 18, was diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lungs in August. He's been skating on his own Feb. 6 and had been practicing with the Flyers since Feb. 17.

"My only goal is to win the [Stanley] Cup," Timonen said after the trade. "This isn't about money or anything else. I had a good seven years with the Flyers; I always thought I would retire here but this is the right move."

Philadelphia receives a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft. If the Blackhawks win two playoff rounds and Timonen plays in at least 50 percent of the games, the fourth-round pick becomes a third-round pick in 2016.

"We've been working on this one for a while," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He was the defenseman we really wanted. He's been a high-level defenseman for a long time."

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Clarkson looking forward to fresh start in Columbus

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets think they see in forward David Clarkson many of the traits present in some of the their top players.

"He's gritty. He plays the 200 feet and he's scored a lot of goals in this League," left wing Nick Foligno said. "He's going to help us on the offensive side but also defensively and being a hard person to play against. That's what we pride ourselves on.

"He's going to be another person to solidify that identity."

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Tlusty reunited with old friends upon trade to Jets

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 3:48 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Approximately 6,000 miles separate the Czech city of Kladno and MTS Centre, the home of the Winnipeg Jets.

However, three childhood friends find themselves in the same landing spot after the Jets acquired left wing Jiri Tlusty from the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.

The trade uprooted Tlusty, 26, from a team he played for since he was 21 years old and where he grew into a full-time NHL player.

Tlusty joins two fellow Czechs, goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and right wing Michael Frolik, but the ties between the three players go far beyond that.

"[Tlusty] texted me right away when he knew," Frolik said. "It was a little bit of a shocker."

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Devils believe spot in playoffs remains possible

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 2:28 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils remain a confident group despite the trade of forward Jaromir Jagr on Thursday and the precarious situation they find themselves in during their pursuit of a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with six weeks remaining in the regular season.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello traded Jagr to the Florida Panthers, one of three teams that are between New Jersey and the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot held by the Boston Bruins.

The Devils received a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2016 for Jagr.

"You knew there was a possibility that it could happen," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said of the Jagr trade. "You just never know if it might happen now, Monday [at the NHL Trade Deadline] or if they would do it at all. I think the return they got is great. It's a move [Lamoriello] felt comfortable doing, and by no means does it mean he's giving up on us.

"It's a hockey move and he had to make a trade, make a decision."

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Sharks' Couture fined for slew-footing

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 2:12 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for slew-footing Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith during NHL Game No. 916 in San Jose on Thursday, February 26, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 16:03 of the third period. Couture was assessed a minor penalty for tripping and Smith was assessed a minor penalty for hooking on the play.

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Lightning's Johnson continues to prove critics wrong

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 1:20 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tyler Johnson has heard it all before. He's not big enough, he's not tough enough, he needs to do more of this, he needs to do more of that.

The Tampa Bay Lightning forward has heard it and he's managed to succeed. Johnson, a four-year pro out of Spokane, Wash., has proven his rookie season in the NHL was no fluke.

Although he's no longer on the top line with center Steven Stamkos, Johnson is on the Lightning's most productive line with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. After being named to the NHL All-Rookie team and a Calder Trophy finalist in 2013-14, Johnson was selected to play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, although he did not participate because he was injured.

"That was pretty unfortunate," Johnson said. "I was hoping I could play in the game but I didn't. It was still a good experience to be there and be acknowledged by the fans."

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Lindberg earns first call-up amid strong AHL season

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 12:32 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

On Feb. 24, at just around 7 p.m., Hartford Wolf Pack center Oscar Lindberg had a date at Madison Square Garden with a dream he'd been chasing since childhood.

In 8:18 of ice time spread over 16 shifts, the Skelleftea, Sweden, native was on the ice for his first career NHL game with the New York Rangers, one that will linger in his memory forever, regardless of how many more come after it.

"I was kind of nervous the first couple of shifts, but I think as the game went on, I felt more comfortable," Lindberg said. "I'll remember that day for the rest of my life, that's for sure."

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Brent Sopel announces retirement from hockey: report

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 12:15 PM / News

NHL.com

Defenseman Brent Sopel, who spent 12 seasons playing in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks, announced his retirement Friday, according to ESPN.com.

"I have been so lucky to play the sport I love for the last 18 years," Sopel said in a statement. "I fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning a Stanley Cup championship with the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks.

"Today's decision is not made lightly. This is the right time for my next chapter. I look forward to staying involved with hockey while maintaining family roots in Chicago. I am excited to spend more time with my children in the city we call home."

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Quote of the Day

I always feel the pressure to produce offensively. It's disappointing and frustrating when you can't help out your team the way you're supposed to.

— Rangers forward Rick Nash on scoring twice in a 5-1 Game 4 victory against the Lightning on Friday