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Blues defenseman Shattenkirk to return Saturday

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- After an arduous practice Friday when the St. Louis Blues wanted to put Kevin Shattenkirk through one final test, the defenseman made it unanimous along with doctors, training staff and coaches.

"I'm ready to go," Shattenkirk said regarding his return to the lineup.

Shattenkirk will return when the Blues host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-MW).

Shattenkirk, who has 40 points in 49 games, has been out of the lineup since sustaining an abdominal injury Feb. 1 at the Washington Capitals that required surgery. Shattenkirk has missed 25 games, and the Blues (46-21-7) are 14-8-3 without him.

After using the past three days to ramp up the intensity of his off-ice and on-ice workouts, getting knocked around in a full-scale practice by teammates was the final hurdle.

"It's kind of that time now that really the only way to get back into game shape is to start playing games," Shattenkirk said. "I felt good out there. It was nice to just be back with the team and get the speed of the game back a little bit. … I'm excited about it.

"I've done what I've had to do rehab-wise. It's time to just get back into it. It may not be pretty to start, but you really have to get those experiences back in and get that mindset of playing games to really get back up to speed."

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Hurricanes, defenseman Pesce agree to terms

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 2:23 PM / News

CarolinaHurricanes.com

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Brett Pesce (PEH-shee) on a three-year, entry-level contract. On the NHL level, the deal will pay Pesce $650,000 in 2015-16, $700,000 in 2016-17 and $800,000 in 2017-18. His American Hockey League (AHL) salary would be $70,000 per year, and he receives a signing bonus of $277,500.

“Brett is a big, puck-moving defenseman, and we felt it was time for him to begin his professional career,” said Francis. “He will report to Charlotte next week so that he can play some AHL games this season.”

Pesce, 20, completed his junior season at the University of New Hampshire in 2014-15, ranking second among Wildcats defenseman with 16 points (3g, 13a) and a plus-12 rating in 30 games. The Tarrytown, NY, native led New Hampshire defensemen in assists (13) and ranked tied for third among all Wildcats skaters in plus/minus (+12).

To read more from the Carolina Hurricanes website, CLICK HERE.

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Kane skating, Blackhawks encouraged by progress

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 2:06 PM / News

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane is skating on his own and pleased with his recovery from surgery to repair a fractured left collarbone.

Whether the right wing will be able to return before the surgeon's estimated 12-week timetable remains to be seen, but he and the Chicago Blackhawks are encouraged by what's transpired.

"I think it's the same timetable, but I think how well he's skating and how well he's doing, I think he feels really good about where he's at," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate at United Center on Friday. "It's just a matter of when he can get that green light is probably going to be the hurdle. We like his approach. He's doing a lot of things out there he wants to do or is able to do. That's a good sign."

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Penguins' Malkin, Hornqvist could return Saturday

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 1:42 PM / News

NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and wing Patric Hornqvist practiced Friday and could return to the lineup Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Malkin said Friday he feels good and there's a great chance he could play, according to the Penguins Twitter feed. Malkin is waiting to see if he experiences any pain or soreness later Friday before he makes a final decision.

Malkin has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury. Pittsburgh is 1-4-1 during that stretch, scoring nine goals.

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Former NHL assistant Hunter to coach Canada U-18's

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 12:13 PM / News

NHL.com

Hockey Canada on Friday named Tim Hunter coach for the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, which will be held April 16-26 in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland.

Hunter, who has been an assistant coach in the NHL with the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, and San Jose Sharks, is in his first season as coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League.

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Predators recall Fiala under emergency conditions

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 11:32 AM / News

NashvillePredators.com

Nashville, TennesseeNashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Friday that the club has recalled 2014 first-round selection (11th overall) Kevin Fiala from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions.

Fiala, 18 (7/22/96), became the fourth 18-year-old in franchise history when he made his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Thursday, logging 11:25 and putting three shots on goal. He has also amassed 17 points (9g-8a) in 26 American Hockey League games since making his North American professional debut with the Admirals on Jan. 21. The native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, started the 2014-15 season with HV-71 of the Swedish Hockey League, posting 14 points (5g-9a) in 20 games – tied for the fourth-most goals and assists, and sixth-most points among SHL junior players – before being assigned to Nashville's AHL affiliate on Jan. 15. Fiala also represented Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, being named one of the nation's three best players for the tournament while tying for fifth among all skaters in goals (4g-1a-5pts, 6gp).

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Lightning prospect Koekkoek handling rigors of AHL

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 11:20 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Slater Koekkoek might have one of the best names in hockey, and it's one Tampa Bay Lightning fans should be hearing for a long time.

About to finish up his first professional season as a rookie with the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Koekkoek is settling in nicely after four junior seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.

"I expected [the AHL] to be a rough and tough league, and that's what it is. The guys are bigger, stronger, faster," he said. "There was a bit of a learning process, but everything has been going well. I'm happy so far."

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Flames 'all in' starting critical five-game trip

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 11:00 AM / Expert Picks

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- With eight games remaining in the regular season, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley isn't concerned about his poker face.

A critical five-game road trip facing the Flames, one that could have serious implications on their bid to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs, instead has Hartley insisting Calgary's crew is all in.

"It seems that we always find a way to elevate our games in situations that we need to and right now we're all in," Hartley said. "The chips are all on the table right now. There's no bluffs. We have to come up with our best performances and it's fun. I'm enjoying the games. The players are on the job. This city is right behind us."

The Flames, who completed a five-game homestand 2-1-2 with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, begin their final extended road trip of the season Friday against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-WI, FS-N+). It continues against the Nashville Predators, Stars, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers.

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Capitals assign Orlov to AHL for conditioning

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 10:04 AM / News

NHL.com

The Washington Capitals on Friday assigned defenseman Dmitry Orlov to Hershey of the American Hockey League for conditioning purposes.

Orlov, 23, has not played this season because of a wrist injury. He was on the ice with Hershey and expected to dress Friday for the Bears game against the Manchester Monarchs, according to Hershey public relations manager Scott Stuccio.

The second-round pick (No. 55) in the 2009 NHL Draft has six goals and 31 points in 119 games with the Capitals over parts of three seasons. He set career highs in his rookie season with 60 games and 19 points, which included three goals.

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Maple Leafs recall Brennan, assign two to AHL

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 9:52 AM / News

TorontoMapleLeafs.com

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Friday that the club has recalled defenseman TJ Brennan on an emergency basis and reassigned defenseman Andrew MacWilliam and forward Greg McKegg to the Toronto Marlies.

Brennan, 25, has been held pointless in three regular season games with the Maple Leafs this season. The Willingboro, New Jersey native has also skated in 63 American Hockey League games this year (54 with Rockford and nine with Toronto), collecting 37 points (nine goals, 28 assists) and 65 penalty minutes.

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