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Joannette to referee 1,000th game close to home

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 8:54 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Referee Marc Joannette has come a long way and will be honored for that journey about three miles from where it began.

Joannette will work the 1,000th game of his NHL career at Bell Centre on Saturday when the Montreal Canadiens host the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, FS-D).

Joannette grew up in the Montreal borough of Verdun, a block away from his friend and current NHL linesman Pierre Racicot and near Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

Joannette would go to Racicot's house to play hockey on his backyard rink, and when they were teenagers they would often ride the city bus together to the local arena to officiate minor hockey games in the mid-1980s.

In May 2008, Joannette and Racicot boarded a plane together to fly to Detroit. Joannette was on his way to officiate his first game in the Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 of the series between the Red Wings and Penguins.

Stars' McKenzie out of hospital, on injured reserve

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 7:13 PM / News

Dallas Stars forward Curtis McKenzie has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

McKenzie was injured on a check from behind by Nikita Nesterov of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period Thursday. McKenzie remained in a Tampa hospital following the game and was expected to return to Dallas on Friday, general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News, which reported McKenzie was on crutches.

Lightning's Nesterov banned two games for boarding

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 6:34 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov has been suspended for two games, without pay, for boarding Dallas Stars forward Curtis McKenzie during NHL Game No. 54 in Tampa on Thursday, Oct. 15, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 15:56 of the second period. Nesterov was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Nesterov will forfeit $7,983.88. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click here.

McLellan to coach Team North America at World Cup

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:50 PM / World Cup of Hockey 2016

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan enjoyed his time with Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Championship this past spring, which made accepting the position as coach of Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey an easy decision.

General managers Peter Chiarelli of the Oilers and Stan Bowman of the Chicago Blackhawks, named McLellan coach of Team North America on Friday.

The team will consist of players 23 years old or younger. The tournament will be held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016.

Plekanec, Canadiens agree on two-year extension

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:36 PM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Tomas Plekanec couldn't imagine playing anywhere else, and the Montreal Canadiens felt the same way.

Plekanec signed a two-year contract extension with the Canadiens on Friday worth a reported $12 million that will keep him with his only NHL team through the 2017-18 season.

"The first thing you obviously ask yourself and talk about is, 'Do you want to stay in Montreal?'" Plekanec said. "There was no question about that, so then they could start talking and make a deal."

Penguins' Kessel focused on winning, not revenge

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel said there's no animosity from him toward the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, Kessel did say he wouldn't mind defeating the team that traded him to Pittsburgh on July 1 when the Penguins play the Maple Leafs on Saturday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; CITY).

Kessel's desire for a win doesn't stem from a need to get one over on Toronto, but from a desire for his new team to win its second consecutive game following its worst start in a decade.

"I've played a bunch of games so it's not a big deal," Kessel said. "Obviously I loved my time in Toronto. I had a great time there. I have a lot of friends there. I love the city. But it's time to move on.

"I don't care [about the media attention he'll receive]. I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team win [Saturday] and try to play my best. And whatever happens, happens."

Maple Leafs have plan to slow down Penguins' Kessel

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Goalie James Reimer said Phil Kessel has the best shot in the NHL. Joffrey Lupul said he has a plan to try to stop Kessel.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will face their former teammate for the first time when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, ROOT).

"It'll be interesting," Reimer said. "He's dangerous … so dangerous. He's probably got the best shot in the League. Honestly, I don't think there's anybody better. Just the speed of his release and his accuracy and how heavy his shot is, he's the best. It'll be fun to face him. I faced him lots in practices, but even when you think you knew where he was shooting, he could usually still score."

Lightning's Hedman doubtful Saturday vs. Sabres

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 3:24 PM / News

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was not at Amalie Arena for practice Friday and is doubtful to play Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, SUN).

Hedman sustained an undisclosed injury in the second period of a 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Friday he doesn't believe Hedman's absence will be long-term.

"He's feeling much better," Cooper said. "It was positive news when he came in. You don't want to lose any of your guys, especially him. We're confident he’ll be back soon [but] not tomorrow."

Flyers' Mason back at practice, focusing on hockey

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 2:10 PM / News

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason returned to practice Friday after missing the past two games because of a personal family issue. Mason did not reveal what the issue was.

"Definitely nice to be back among the team setting and focusing on hockey again," Mason said in video posted on the Flyers website.

The Flyers had announced during their morning skate Monday that Mason was dealing with a personal issue. In his place Michal Neuvirth made 31 saves in a 1-0 defeat of the Florida Panthers. Jason LaBarbera was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League to serve as the backup.

Sharks' DeBoer thankful for time spent with Devils

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 1:54 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer has no regrets over the three-plus seasons he spent as coach of the New Jersey Devils.

DeBoer returns to Prudential Center on Friday for the first time since being fired by the Devils on Dec. 26, 2014. At that time, the Devils were 12-17-7 and nine points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I loved every minute of my time with the Devils," DeBoer said. "I loved working for (then-general manager) Lou Lamoriello and my family loved living in the area and still does. When I look back on the experience here I have nothing but great memories and great friends."

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