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Analysis: Quick injury not concern yet for USA Hockey

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 1:21 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The groin injury suffered by Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is expected to keep him out of the lineup at least until the final week of December, according to Kings general manager Dean Lombardi.

It should not, however, affect his status with the United States Olympic team.

Even if Quick doesn't play a game between now and the time the United States reveals its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on New Year's Day, he should be one of the three goalies for the Americans listed by general manager David Poile and coach Dan Bylsma. It would be a mistake to leave Quick out solely because he'll miss several weeks recovering from a Grade-2 groin strain.

Binding rosters are due Feb. 11, the day before the Olympic hockey tournament starts. The United States doesn't play its first game in the Olympic tournament until two days after that meeting, which means Quick should have ample time to scour the rust off before departing for Sochi.


Youth won't hold Jones back in Olympic bid

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 12:29 PM / 2014 Olympics

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- In discussing the recent play of his highly touted rookie defenseman Seth Jones last Saturday, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile used the adage "momentum is a wonderful thing."

At the time the Predators had lost four straight games by a score of 17-2 and Jones was a collective minus-4 in that span.

Poile then flipped that adage on its head.

"It's a terrible thing when you've got it going in the other direction," he said, "and everybody's caught up in that. Seth has had a strong year to this point. His last few games, have they been his best? No."

Momentum has begun to swing in a more positive direction since. That night Nashville defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 7-2 and followed it with a 2-0 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Jones had an even rating in both games and played a combined total of more than 42 minutes.

The subject at hand is one of great interest and speculation: Will the 19-year-old Jones land a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, of which Poile also serves as general manager?


In the Cage: Injury replacements thriving in fantasy

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

After a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens has now compiled a 4-0-0 record, 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage, and two shutouts since Jonathan Quick suffered his Grade 2 groin strain.

Scrivens' shutout streak finally ended at 191:19 minutes, nearly eclipsing Quick's franchise-record 202:11 streak. With some simple, yet effective style refinements that include a narrower stance and a more traditional glove hand positioning, Scrivens' impressive play has also revealed a key fantasy trend through the first quarter of the season: The injury replacements are thriving.


Pair of American goalies top Central Scouting's list

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Goalies Thatcher Demko and Alex Nedeljkovic are the top-rated players at their position on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Demko, a San Diego native, and Nedeljkovic, born in Ohio, each have a chance to become the first American-born goalie drafted in the first round since the Dallas Stars selected Jack Campbell with the 11th pick of the 2010 draft. They are the only goalies to receive an A rating on Central Scouting's most recent players to watch release.

That's where the similarities end.


Daily Primer Nov. 21: Blues build success in Boston

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

For the first 34 years of the St. Louis Blues' existence, a trip to Boston was something to be dreaded. The Blues went 13-35-9 in Boston during the regular season and lost all four visits during the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- including the deciding game of the 1970 Final in which Bobby Orr scored the Cup-winner in overtime.

That's all changed in the past 12 years. The Blues haven't lost in Boston since Jan. 30, 2001, and they've won their past five visits while outscoring the Bruins 21-9. They'll try to extend that streak when they come to TD Garden on Thursday night.

Here's a complete look at the NHL's busy Thursday schedule:


Steen, Harding, Avalanche among top 10 surprises

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

Some of the NHL's biggest surprises this season can be found atop the leaderboards for goals, assists, points, wins, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts.

A who's who of NHL superstars it is not, but with a quarter of the season now complete, the players and teams at or near the top of the stat sheets and standings deserve to be taken seriously.

Here are the top 10 surprises so far in the 2013-14 NHL season (listed in no particular order):


Milano combines talent with hard-nosed play

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Forward Sonny Milano is a big fan of 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Kane.

It makes perfect sense, as Kane is an American and former standout for the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Milano, born in Massapequa, N.Y., is currently starring for the U.S. Under-18 NTDP in the United States Hockey League.

"The reason I'm a big Patrick Kane fan is because I not only like the way he plays, but how he makes players around him better; how he can see the ice and make plays," Milano said. "That's how I want to be."

Milano will often display the offensive pop Kane showcases daily for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, but don't think for a second he doesn't enjoy getting his hands dirty in the corners to help his teammates. Milano does bring an edge to his game.


Rask gets slight nod in Vezina Trophy race

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

There is no question the goaltending position has evolved in the past couple of decades, and the statistics back up the idea that the standards in net have risen to never-before-seen levels.

Hockey-reference.com tracks the NHL's average save percentage back to 1983-84, and the collective best in a full season was .914 in 2011-12. That mark topped the previous high of .913, established the prior season.

Through games Wednesday, the League average save percentage was .915. The collective goals-against average has been stagnant the past couple of seasons, but teams are getting slightly more shots on goal and the goalies are stopping them.

As recently as 2002-03, the Vezina Trophy winner, Martin Brodeur, had a save percentage of .914. That would place a goaltender 23rd on the qualified leaders list in 2013-14.

There are some new names, not to mention a couple of surprising ones, among the top contenders for the Vezina through the first quarter of the 2013-14 season.


Sbisa's odyssey took him from juniors to Olympics

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Luca Sbisa entered the 2009-10 season not really knowing where he might end up playing.

There was a shot at making the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks. If that didn't work he would end up back in junior hockey with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League. In that case there would be a chance he would be able to play for his native Switzerland at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. And then there was the faraway goal of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

So where did Sbisa play that season? The answer is all of the above.

Since NHL players started going to the Olympics, only Sbisa and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin in 2006 have represented their countries in the World Junior Championship and the Olympics in the same season. Malkin, though, didn’t add a stop in the NHL that season.


Ducks' Beauchemin leaves with upper-body injury

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 1:21 AM / News

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin left the game against the New Jersey Devils at Honda Center on Wednesday night with an upper-body injury.

Beauchemin appeared to crash into the boards in the second period. He played three shifts in the period and did not return.

"Right now it's day to day," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Devils. "It just was an upper-body injury, but to lose him for any time is a big thing."

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Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1