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Capitals' Ovechkin focused solely on team success

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Alex Ovechkin's level of introspection grew with each answer he gave during a nine-minute impromptu press conference in the Washington Capitals dressing room at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday.

The questions started out broad, almost as a way to gauge Ovechkin's interest in discussing his role in the growth of the Capitals over the past decade and how they've come so far, yet still have so far to go:

Is hosting the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday a signature moment for you as the face of the Washington Capitals?

"It's not about one person who makes it," Ovechkin said. "Every guy who has been here does a certain job and I'm one of them. When you look back where we started and where we are now, it's a great feeling and a great time."


NHL issues fan reminders for Thursday's 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

WASHINGTON -- The National Hockey League would like to remind fans attending Thursday's 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® (1 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC, TVA) about some traffic, parking and security matters:

* Gates at Nationals Park will open at 11 a.m. We encourage all fans to arrive early as to allow enough time to proceed through security checks.

* NO bags larger than 16” X 16” X 8” will be allowed into the stadium. All bags are subject to search.

* All guests require a ticket for entry regardless of age.

* No third-party Will Call will be accepted.

* Spectator Plaza presented by GEICO, a free fan festival, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 1 at the Fairgrounds (directly outside the Center Field Gate of Nationals Park) with additional activities on Half Street.

* Be sure to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.


Around the League notebook for Tuesday, Dec. 30

Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 8:44 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


In his first start since Nov. 29, Dustin Tokarski made 36 saves through 65 minutes and stopped all three attempts in the shootout to power the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers. Montreal improved to 24-11-2 (50 points) to tie the Tampa Bay Lightning in standings points for first place in the Eastern Conference. With the win, the Canadiens also improved to 7-1-0 over their last eight games.

* Tokarski is 4-2-1 with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. Tokarski improved his shootout record to 3-1 this season with a .750 shootout save percentage.

* After a scoreless first period, Brendan Gallagher (1-0—1) opened the scoring late in the second period with his 11th goal of the season. Gallagher has netted five goals over his past 10 games and ranks second on the club in goals.

* Lars Eller (0-1—1) had his sixth assist of the season to extend his point streak to three games (1-2—3). The streak ties a season-high for Eller, who also posted a three-game point streak (3-2—5) from Nov. 8-13.

* PA Parenteau netted the shootout winner for the Canadiens.


Year in review: 14 most memorable people of 2014

Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

There were unforgettable events and memorable moments across the hockey world in 2014, from "The Big House" to Bolshoy Ice Dome, New York to Los Angeles, Montreal to Boston, Toronto, Chicago, and so many other places.

Here are the 14 people who were front and center in those events, seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things, making them the most memorable people in the hockey world in 2014:

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins/Canada

Crosby had the best year for a player who didn't win the Stanley Cup, or even get past the second round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He captained Canada to a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, waiting until the most important moment of the tournament, the gold-medal game, to make his biggest imprint. Crosby scored the goal that gave Canada a 2-0 lead against Sweden, all but clinching their second straight Olympic gold.

He cleaned up at the 2014 NHL Awards show by taking home the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and the Art Ross Trophy for leading the League with 104 points, 17 more than anybody else. He received 128 of a possible 137 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy.


Denmark gets first-ever WJC victory; Slovakia wins

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 11:58 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Denmark defeated Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout for its first win at the top level of the World Junior Championship after 15 losses over three appearances.

Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (Columbus Blue Jackets) scored in the shootout for Denmark. Goalie Georg Sorensen made 42 saves and stopped two of three shootout participants.

Kris Schmidli and Kevin Fiala (Nashville Predators) scored in the first period to give Switzerland a 2-0 lead. Bjorkstrand scored with 2:02 left in the period to make it 2-1.


EPIX captures Capitals, Blackhawks at Christmas

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

There are stops along the road to the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic that show the true identity and personality of the players and coaches involved. These are stops that go beyond hockey, off the ice, into their homes, their private lives.

Hockey players for the most part like to be seen as ordinary people who can do extraordinary things. Around Christmas their extraordinary gifts melt away as family life takes over and they become ordinary people doing ordinary things with holiday traditions that are no grander than those of the average working family.

The third episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" brings the viewer in touch with the people many of these athletes and coaches are away from the game.

The viewer got to spend Christmas with Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and his family in Vail, Col., with Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz and his family at their home in Clarendon, Va., with Joel Ward and his girlfriend in New York City, and with Troy Brouwer and his wife and 2-year-old daughter in their home. Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson served as the viewer's host at his Swedish Christmas celebration.


Blue Jackets place Atkinson on injured reserve

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 5:22 PM / News

The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed right wing Cam Atkinson on Injured Reserve retroactive to December 27 and recalled center Sean Collins from the American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons, Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Atkinson, 25, suffered an upper body injury on December 27 against Boston and is expected to miss one to two weeks from the time of the injury. The Riverside, Connecticut native has registered eight goals and six assists for 14 points and eight penalty minutes in 33 games with the Blue Jackets this season. Columbus eighth pick, 157th overall, in the 2008 NHL Draft, Atkinson has collected 45-41-86 and 44 penalty minutes in 174 career NHL games. He registered career highs in goals, points and games played with 21-19-40 and 18 penalty minutes in 79 games last season.


Ovechkin arrival key to hockey growth in D.C. region

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- On a balmy Sunday afternoon in Reston, Va., a couple dozen young hockey players are trying to wait patiently for the ice resurfacing machine to complete its duty. They're fidgety, anxious to get out on the ice.

This region's sporting culture long has been dominated by the professional football team, but at the same time these kids were bumping into each other and swaying in anticipation, that football team was slogging to the end of another disappointing season on the other side of the District of Columbia and these young athletes (and their parents) don't seem the least bit concerned.

Youth hockey has exploded in the D.C. region. The level of participation has increased because of several factors. The biggest was the arrival in America's capitol city of a Russian dynamo on skates who has altered the Washington Capitals' position in the marketplace and helped the growth of the sport in ways few probably could have imagined.


Ducks assign forward Heatley to Norfolk of AHL

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 2:55 PM / News

The Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday assigned forward Dany Heatley to their American Hockey League affiliate in Norfolk.

Signed to a one-year, $1 million contract by the Ducks on July 9, Heatley, 33, was sidelined by a groin injury for much of the season. He didn't score a point in six games and was minus-3.


Blackhawks continue to dominate 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM

More than 31 million total votes garnered to date; voting closes on Thursday, Jan. 1

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 2:00 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NEW YORK – The Chicago Blackhawks continue to close in on top vote-getter, Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons (1,466,077), after six weeks of voting in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM. Forwards Patrick Kane (1,075,304) and Jonathan Toews (1,061,691) as well as defenseman Duncan Keith (1,044,124) have all crossed the 1 million vote mark, narrowing Girgensons' overall lead as Chicago prepares to take part in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day, the last day of voting.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (955,385) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (875,686) round out the top six vote-getters. Through six weeks of balloting, more than 31 million votes have been collected.

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Quote of the Day

That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.

— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3