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Rangers to scratch Hayes against Lightning: report

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 5:29 PM / News

NHL.com

New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes will be a healthy scratch when the Rangers play the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

Hayes has six goals and 17 points in 37 games this season, after scoring 17 goals and 45 points in his first full NHL season.

"I think we all have our tipping points, and I think Kevin has had an extra-long leash, especially considering [Derek Stepan] was out for quite some time," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Post on Tuesday after practice in Nashville, where New York lost 5-3 to the Nashville Predators on Monday. "But there's just nothing going on. At the end of the day, we're at the point now where we have to make some decisions in the best interests of the team."

Five things learned from Day 4 of World Juniors

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 4:48 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Tim Wharnsby - NHL.com Correspondent

The Canadian junior team escaped a monumental upset Tuesday with a 3-2 shootout win against Switzerland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

In 20 previous games, the Swiss had never defeated Canada at the WJC and the point that accompanied this gutsy effort kept alive their slim hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals. They need a three-point regulation victory against the United States on Wednesday and Denmark to lose its final two games against Sweden and the U.S.

The two-point victory hurts the Canadians (five points) in the Group A standings, but they avoided disaster when captain Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Matthew Barzal (New York Islanders) scored in the shootout.

Canadian goalie Mackenzie Blackwood (New Jersey Devils) stopped Pius Suter and Timo Meier (San Jose Sharks) in the two attempts Blackwood faced.

Winter Classic rink crew perseveres through elements

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The weather didn't do the ice-making crew at Gillette Stadium any favors Tuesday morning.

The area was blanketed by about an inch of snow, followed by rain that lasted well into the early afternoon.

Those are not ideal conditions, especially at this critical point in the rink-building process, for Dan Craig, the NHL's senior director of facility operations and hockey operations. Craig is the point person for making the ice ready for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic here on Jan. 1 between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"Like I was telling one of the guys today, I thought we were going to get a bit of snow and scrape it off," Craig said Tuesday during a break. "All our lines and logos were done last night and I though we just need to go another half-inch of ice and we're ready to skate [Tuesday night] and do the other stuff [Wednesday], and here we are putting in a 16-hour day just to catch up."

WJC roundup: Canada tops Switzerland in shootout

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:56 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Canadian Press

HELSINKI -- Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Matt Barzal (New York Islanders) scored in the shootout as Canada defeated Switzerland 3-2 on Tuesday at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

It was a nail-biter for Canada fans after the team fell behind 2-0 in the first period.

Canada moves to 1-1-0-1 (1 win, 1 overtime win, 1 loss) in Group A preliminary play.

Penguins goalie Fleury, defenseman Letang practice

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 12:50 PM / News

NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice Tuesday.

Fleury, who hasn't played since Dec. 14 because of a concussion, took shots. Coach Mike Sullivan said it was progress but there's no timetable yet for his return.

"I felt pretty good out there today," Fleury said in comments tweeted by the Penguins. "I'm not sure when I'm going to be back. It's going to be gradual."

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Tavares on an Island

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top-100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen is your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.


The New York Islanders are 19-12-5 and currently in Stanley Cup Playoff position with the third-most points in the Metropolitan Division. Their goalies, Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss, are each among the League leaders in goals-against average and save percentage. Their point percentage (0.5972) is tied for eighth in the NHL. Their penalty kill (87.3 percent) ranks second in the League.

But they have a growing problem: Their best player has his hands full and isn't producing anywhere near his capability.

As we approach the midway point of the 2015-16 season, John Tavares has been a huge fantasy disappointment considering what was expected of him. John Tavares, drafted fifth on average in Yahoo leagues, had 86 points in 82 games last season, one behind Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars (87) for the NHL scoring title. Since 2011-12, he's tied with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fifth-most points League-wide.

Tavares has 25 points in 33 games, exactly one half of Patrick Kane's NHL-best total of 50 in 37 games. Forwards like Mikkel Boedker, Lee Stempniak and Kyle Palmieri are currently higher than Tavares on the NHL leaderboard. If it wasn't for Crosby struggling to a similar degree with the Penguins sitting outside of the postseason picture, there would be much more attention paid to Tavares' struggles.

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