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Benn, Pavelec and Stone named stars of the week

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORKDallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn, Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending April 12.

FIRST STAR – JAMIE BENN, LW, DALLAS STARS

Benn led all players with five goals and 10 points to capture his first career Art Ross Trophy and power the Stars (41-31-10, 92 points) to three consecutive victories. He registered at least three points in all three of his appearances, including 2-1-3 in a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks April 6 and 0-3-3 in a 4-0 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks April 8. Benn closed the season by recording 3-1-4 in a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators April 11, including his second career hat trick and an assist with 8.5 seconds remaining in regulation to surpass New York Islanders center John Tavares (38-48-86) by one point for the scoring title. The 25-year-old Victoria, B.C., native established career highs in goals (35), assists (52) and points (87) while skating in all 82 games this season. That included 12-11-23 in the final 12 games of the campaign, highlighted by five three-point performances.

Oilers, Yakupov agree to terms on two-year contract

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 11:59 AM / News

EdmontonOilers.com

The Edmonton Oilers have announced that they have agreed to terms with forward Nail Yakupov on a two-year contract extension.

The 21-year-old established a new career high in points with 33 (14-19-33) in 81 games this season. The second half of the season is where Yakupov really put up numbers. Post All-Star break, Yakupov recorded 21 of those 33 points, including nine of his goals. From February 9-18, Yakupov had a point streak of six games. He had a five-game streak from March 9-18.

At the trade deadline, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said he was pleased with the improvements Yakupov was making and that they were eager to extend him following the completion of his entry level contract.

Senators' Karlsson deserves second Norris Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

It has been an unpredictable season for the top defensemen in the NHL.

Injuries have derailed the chase for the Norris Trophy for Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames, Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins finished second in the voting last season and while he too was injured, was probably not going to be part of the discussion anyway.

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber was considered a favorite for the award shortly after Giordano was injured, but his team faded at the end of the season and several advanced statistics don't agree with that sentiment.

Before the season, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings was pegged as the favorite by NHL.com. Doughty has never won the trophy, but the argument that he was the best defenseman in the sport became a popular one while the Kings marched to their second Stanley Cup title in three years last spring.

Doughty has had a phenomenal year, especially considering the amount of ice time he had to shoulder while the Kings dealt with injuries to Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez, and Slava Voynov being suspended for 76 games. He would be a fine choice for the 2015 Norris Trophy, but he is not the pick for NHL.com.

That would be Ottawa Senators talisman Erik Karlsson. Though Karlsson led all defensemen in points with 66 that is not the primary reason he deserves to win the Norris Trophy for the second time in his career.

Flames resurgence has Hartley leader for Jack Adams

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

Few if anyone outside of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, believed in the 2014-15 Calgary Flames.

The Flames were in their second full season without longtime franchise face Jarome Iginla, traded prior to the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, and finished 27th in the League last season. A rebuilding project was in its infancy stage with a ways to go before they were to even sniff a chance at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Or so it seemed.

Calgary responded to the skeptics by going 32-24-4 by Feb. 25, one point out of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. But they were declared finished after captain and Norris Trophy contender Mark Giordano sustained a torn biceps muscle in the final minute of a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

Bruins' Bergeron remains favorite for Selke Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

The phrase "hard to play against" takes on many different meanings in hockey, depending on who is defining it.

Some think it means playing a physical, bruising style of hockey. Others think it means playing at a higher tempo, one that is difficult to keep up with.

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is hard to play against because he executes every phase of the game so well. He is the best defensive forward in the NHL, makes life difficult for the top offensive forwards in the League on a nightly basis and is the favorite for the Selke Trophy.

Price's value to Canadiens makes him choice for Hart

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

There isn't a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that relied on its goaltending more than the Montreal Canadiens did in the regular season. There wasn't a goalie better in the regular season than Montreal's Carey Price.

Do the math and it should be easy to determine who the Hart Trophy winner will be for the 2014-15 season. Price should be the first goaltender to be named the League's most valuable player since Jose Theodore did it in 2001-02 with the Canadiens.

"When he came back from the Olympics, winning that gold medal gave him the confidence to be a winner," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said last week. "Certainly he's a true leader for us, and as far as we're concerned he's the best player in the world. He's got an impact on every game with his leadership and he's calm. Our team plays with a lot of confidence when he's out there."

Canadiens goalie Price top choice for Vezina Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

The Montreal Canadiens won their final three games of the regular season and finished in first place in the Atlantic Division. Without the play of their goaltender over the past six months, there's little chance they would have finished anywhere near the top.

Carey Price completed an outstanding season with a 4-3 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. After allowing four goals in back-to-back losses on March 30 and April 2, Price responded by winning his last three starts of the season.

Price finished with the most wins (44), the best goals-against average (1.96) and best save percentage (.933). He finished tied for second in the League with nine shutouts. 

That is why Price is NHL.com's pick to win the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender. If selected, it would be the first time Price has won the award.

Panthers rookie Ekblad deserving of Calder Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

What appeared to be a one-horse race early in the season turned into anything but down the stretch in the battle for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

In the end, it was hard to ignore the accomplishments of Aaron Ekblad, the youngest defenseman in the League. The native of Windsor, Ontario, had a one of the best rookie season by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history, beginning his career four months after being chosen No. 1 in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg was the early favorite. The 20-year-old looked to be the perfect fit for new coach Peter Laviolette, who stressed offense and puck possession. He was ultimately overtaken in the rookie scoring race by Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, 21, who defied the odds at 5-foot-9, 150 pounds.

Sabres fire coach Nolan after 23-win season

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 9:58 PM / News

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres have made a coaching change for the second consecutive season.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray fired coach Ted Nolan on Sunday, along with assistant coach Danny Flynn. Murray announced the contracts of assistant coaches Bryan Trottier and Tom Coolen would not be renewed.

Buffalo (23-51-8) finished last in the NHL with 54 points. It's the second consecutive season the Sabres finished with the worst record in the NHL, but they improved from last season when they went 21-51-10 with 52 points.

"I didn't foresee us being a 30th-place team," Murray said. "Certainly after the trade deadline, trading out guys I had a big part in that, there's no question and I own that. But up to the trade deadline I was open to keeping guys, I was open to maybe discussing contracts with guys that were coming due, but the place we were in was the place we were in.

"We had one pretty good run where the team played well and the goaltending was outstanding and I think we went on quite a losing streak after that, I think maybe 14 games or something like that. That's a hard question. If we finish 24th and showed great improvement, is it possible that wouldn't have happened? I guess that's possible."

Kings GM Lombardi prepares for eventful offseason

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 7:24 PM / News

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi could see the potential dynasty starting to crack at various times this season, and neither he nor his players could stop it.

Whether they will learn from that, and who will return to learn from that, remain up in the air.

Lombardi acknowledged Sunday this might have been the last go-around with the core that won the Stanley Cup twice in three years because center Jarret Stoll and right wing Justin Williams are due to become unrestricted free agents this summer.

"The reality is we didn't set out to accomplish what we set out to accomplish and, two, we've got (salary) cap issues," Lombardi said. "What we're going to do here is probably more difficult than in the past."


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I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82