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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
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Penguins could have Maatta back within next month

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:14 PM / News

PittsburghPenguins.com

Defenseman Olli Maatta is continuing a rehab program on his upper body injury and is expected to return to the lineup within the next month, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford said today.

Maatta’s rehab program was set back briefly by his bout with the mumps.

Maatta, 20, has not played since December 6 vs. Ottawa. He has one goal and eight assists for nine points in 20 games this season.

Earlier this season he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his neck.

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Devils forwards Elias, Ryder diagnosed with mumps

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 11:11 AM / News

NHL.com Staff

New Jersey Devils forwards Patrik Elias and Michael Ryder tested positive for the mumps, the team announced Saturday.

Right wing Martin Havlat was also tested but results came back negative. Havlat, Elias and Ryder will miss the game Saturday against the New York Rangers.

Devils center Travis Zajac and defenseman Adam Larsson were each diagnosed with the mumps earlier this month. Zajac returned to the lineup Dec. 15 after missing eight games with the mumps and a lower-body injury. Larsson played Tuesday after missing 10 games.

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Devils fire Peter DeBoer as coach

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 10:36 AM / News

NHL.com

The New Jersey Devils have fired coach Peter DeBoer and assistant coach Dave Barr.

Adam Oates and Scott Stevens were named as co-coaches Saturday, with general manager Lou Lamoriello to step behind the bench on an interim basis before ceding control of the team to them.

The Devils (12-17-7) are seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 31 points, nine points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. DeBoer was in his fourth season as New Jersey's coach.

DeBoer took the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, but they have not made the playoffs since.

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Big events, venues made up 2014 hockey

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Outdoor games and the Olympic Games made 2014 the year of the big event in the NHL.

Before the hockey world turns its full attention toward Washington, D.C. for the next big event, the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day, a trip down memory lane of the year that is soon to be takes us to The Big House, Chavez Ravine, the Bronx, a resort city on the coast of the Black Sea, Vancity, and a venerable football stadium along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Beyond the big events, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured historic comebacks, emotional lifts, and overtime heroics. A modernized approach to evaluation became popular. Legends were lost, and others retired or moved on. Coaches and general managers were hired and fired.

Here is an overview of what 2014 was to the NHL:

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Canada dominates Slovakia in WJC opener

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 10:34 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL – A year earlier, Slovakia put a serious scare into Canada in the preliminary round of the same tournament, leading by two goals late in the second period before Canada stormed back to win.

Canada returned the favor Friday, making Slovakia look like the scared team in a dominant 8-0 victory to open the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on home soil in emphatic fashion.

Robby Fabbri (St. Louis Blues) had two goals and two assists to lead a Canadian attack that got at least a point from 11 different players, none of whom were named Connor McDavid.

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Russia, Sweden open WJC with wins

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 10:00 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

NHL.com Staff

Russia erased an early two-goal deficit and scored on each of its shootout attempts to defeat Denmark 3-2 on Friday in the opening game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

In the second game in Group B, Sweden got two goals from Adrian Kempe and defeated the Czech Republic 5-2. Sweden (1-0-0) leads the group with three points, Russia (1-0-0) has two, Denmark (0-0-1) has one and the Czech Republic (0-1-0) none.

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Analysis: Reasons for Devils' firing of Peter DeBoer

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 7:22 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

General manager Lou Lamoriello knew swift and definitive action was necessary as the New Jersey Devils struggled to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division and saw their hopes for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs recede each day.

Lamoriello’s response came Friday with the firing of coach Peter DeBoer, who was in his fourth season in New Jersey. No replacement was named and Lamoriello said he will not comment further until he addresses the players Saturday morning.

The Devils have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012, when DeBoer, in his first season in New Jersey, led them to the Final. New Jersey is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Prior to 2013-14, the Devils had not missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1985-87.

DeBoer's replacement will inherit a team that's seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 31 points, nine points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, despite playing the most games in the conference.

The new coach will also inherit a team that lacks a true No. 1 center and a No. 1 defenseman. He'll take over a team that is 28th in the NHL in offense and features a 42-year-old, Jaromir Jagr, tied for its lead in scoring.

How is it that a team two victories from winning the Stanley Cup less than three years ago could fall so far in such a short period of time with the same coach and general manager?

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U.S. tops Finland in shootout to win WJC opener

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 7:15 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Jack Eichel knew the spotlight would be glaring.

As a top-two prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, one wearing the captain's "C" on his United States jersey at the IIHF 2015 World Junior Championships, the eyes of the world are going to be picking apart everything Eichel does during this high-profile tournament.

On opening day, Eichel not only gave them no reason to look away, he justified all the attention with a masterful performance to help lead the U.S. to a tournament-opening 2-1 shootout win against defending champion Finland on Friday.

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Panthers prospect Grimaldi fine-tuning game in AHL

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 12:07 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Before Rocco Grimaldi arrived under his tutelage, San Antonio Rampage coach Tom Rowe already knew a fair amount about what exactly the 5-foot-6 wing could do on the ice.

"I watched him on video quite a bit, and I'd watch him on TV, which sometimes isn't the best way to do it, but it gives you a good idea," Rowe said. "I loved the fact that he's quick, and he moved the puck well and could beat guys one-on-one. Those were the things that stood out to me."

Finding Grimaldi wasn't hard. A product of the U.S. National Team Development Program and the University of North Dakota, the California-born 21-year-old had already won three gold medals in international play before the Florida Panthers selected him No. 33 at the 2011 NHL Draft. He added a fourth gold medal with the United States at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, scoring twice in a 3-1 win against Sweden in the final game.

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Penguins' Downie, Greiss test positive for mumps

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 11:20 AM / News

PittsburghPenguins.com

Steve Downie and Thomas Greiss have tested positive for the mumps and remain in isolation, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford announced.

Brandon Sutter tested negative and has been cleared to return to the team.

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Quote of the Day

I don’t know if it was more relief for me that [Stamkos] scored or the power play scored. It was a whole compilation of Alka Seltzer.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Steven Stamkos broke a long scoring drought and Tampa Bay's struggling power play scored four times in Game 2 at Montreal