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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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Around the League notebook for Thursday, Feb. 26

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

TRADES CONTINUE AHEAD OF DEADLINE

Four more trades were completed Thursday, bringing the total to nine over the past three days in advance of the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, which is Monday at 3 p.m. ET:

* The Florida Panthers acquired forward Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

* The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired forward David Clarkson from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Nathan Horton.

* The Maple Leafs acquired defenseman TJ Brennan from the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Spencer Abbott.

* The St. Louis Blues acquired forward Adam Cracknell from the Blue Jackets for future considerations.

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Super 16: Kings' resurgence deeper than recent streak

Friday, 02.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

No team in the analytics era has reminded people that process is a better indicator of future success than recent results like the Los Angeles Kings have.

In two of the past three seasons, the Kings appeared to be stumbling along near the middle of the NHL pack, before a late surge in the standings led into a championship run. Analysts pointed to the underlying numbers, and how Los Angeles was a great possession team dealing with some bad luck, especially last season.

In 2012, the Kings added Jeff Carter (and subtracted Jack Johnson) right about the time the shots started going in. Last season, Carter moved to center and the Kings added Marian Gaborik just as, after a season of carrying a near League-worst shooting percentage, the shots starting going in.

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Sekera looking forward to new challenges with Kings

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 11:55 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Andrej Sekera already knows new Los Angeles Kings teammates Robyn Regehr and Marian Gaborik, having played with them on other NHL teams and in international competition, respectively. So he was able to get a good idea of what it's like coming to the two-time Stanley Cup champions by talking with them.

The message?

"Losing isn't an option here," Sekera said when he met the media Thursday at Staples Center. "It's great to be in an environment like that. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun, and it's going to be a challenge."

Sekera arrived Thursday morning and passed his physical but was held out of the game against the Ottawa Senators. The veteran defenseman will make his Kings debut Friday at the Anaheim Ducks in an important Pacific Division rivalry game.

The Kings acquired Sekera, 28, from the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday for defenseman prospect Ronald McKeown and a first-round pick in the either the 2015 or 2016 NHL Draft. To make room on the roster, defenseman Alec Martinez was placed on injured reserve with concussion symptoms, retroactive to Feb. 9.


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Panthers add veteran Jagr to power playoff push

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 11:21 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Dale Tallon has preached long-term thinking since taking over as general manager of the Florida Panthers, but on Thursday he acquired 43-year-old forward Jaromir Jagr to speed up the building process.

With the Panthers two points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, Tallon added Jagr in a trade with the New Jersey Devils.

“We're right in the mix. I think they're kind of telling us, 'Let’s make a push,'" Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad said. "We're not banking on these next few years. We want to make a push and make the playoffs and prove to people that we can a good team."

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Kings place defenseman Martinez on injured reserve

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 10:48 PM / News

LAKings.com

The Los Angeles Kings have placed defenseman Alec Martinez on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 9, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.

The 27-year-old Martinez (born on July 26, 1987) is a 6-1, 205-pound native of Rochester Hills, Michigan who has appeared in 248 career NHL regular season games, all with the Kings, totaling 72 points (28-44=72), a plus-34 rating and 60 penalty minutes.

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Clarkson 'over the moon' to join Blue Jackets

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 9:04 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets traded injured forward Nathan Horton to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday for David Clarkson, a power forward they hope can bounce back from a disappointing season-plus in Toronto.

Clarkson had 15 goals in 115 games with the Maple Leafs after signing a seven-year, $36.75 million contract in July 2013. He scored 30 goals in 2011-12 and 15 in 48 games during the shortened 2012-13 season with the New Jersey Devils.

"If you look at his years in Toronto, he wasn't at his best. That's no secret," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "Things didn't work out for him in Toronto. We think he can get back to his game.

"Now we're going to get him in a different situation with a different group of guys with him. We hope and believe he'll get his game back to where it was before."

Clarkson is eager to attempt to rejuvenate his career, but said he does not question his decision to sign with his hometown team.

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Maple Leafs trade David Clarkson to Blue Jackets

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 7:31 PM / News

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs traded veteran forward David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets for injured forward Nathan Horton on Thursday.

Clarkson, a Toronto native, is in the second year of a seven-year, $36.75 million contract he signed in July 2013 after six-plus seasons with the New Jersey Devils. His time with the Maple Leafs started with a 10-game suspension to begin the 2013-14 season for leaving the bench in an altercation during a preseason game, and he has been a healthy scratch at times.

By trading Clarkson, the Maple Leafs opened up some space under the NHL salary cap. Clarkson's $5.25 million salary-cap charge comes off Toronto's books, and although the Maple Leafs will have to pay Horton, his salary does not count against the salary cap because he is on long-term injured reserve with a back injury.

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Jaromir Jagr traded to Panthers by Devils

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 7:31 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

Jaromir Jagr was acquired by the Florida Panthers on Thursday in a trade from the New Jersey Devils.

The 43-year-old forward had 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games for the Devils this season. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

New Jersey will receive Florida's second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in 2016.

The Panthers are two points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Florida, which has made the playoffs once since 2000 (in 2012), hosts the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday; Jagr will not play.

"Hopefully [he'll bring] some offense, stability and leadership," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "It's a good opportunity for him to mentor some of our young guys and show them how hard they have to work to get to his level. It brings stability to our young team and gives us an opportunity in the next 20 games to make a good run to make the playoffs."

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Sharks forward Torres won't be back this season

Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 5:32 PM / News

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres had season-ending surgery on his right knee Wednesday.

Torres, who hasn't played since April 30, 2014, is expected to make a complete recovery and be ready for training camp next season, general manager Doug Wilson said.

Torres played 12 games last season, including seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, after injuring his knee during a preseason game and having surgery to replace his ACL.

Torres, 33, was hampered by post-surgery infections that now have cost him the entire 2014-15 season and forced him to have the same surgery again.

"I was expecting it all along," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I don't think it's a surprise to a lot of us. That's from a general perspective."

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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 the double-overtime winner in Game 4