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Kings to honor Robitaille with statue outside arena

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 1:43 PM / News

Luc Robitaille will be honored this season by the Los Angeles Kings with a statue in Star Plaza at Staples Center as part of their Legends Night Series.

Robitaille, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who scored 668 goals in a career that saw him spend 14 of his 19 NHL seasons with the Kings, is scheduled to be honored prior to the March 7 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The statue, to be created by renowned artists Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany, will join other iconic sculptures of celebrated Los Angeles sports superstars including Wayne Gretzky and Earvin "Magic" Johnson.


Canada could be missing top players this winter

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 10:50 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec  -- Come Christmas, Canada national junior team coach Benoit Groulx knows what he would like to find under the tree.

The presence of some blue-chip prospects to help boost Canada's chances of ending a five-year gold medal drought (and two years without a medal) would be at the top of his list, but whether he gets them has nothing to do with naughty or nice.

It's going to depend on how top picks like forwards Sam Reinhart, Curtis Lazar, Max Domi and Bo Horvat and defensemen like Aaron Ekblad, the top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers, and Darnell Nurse fare with their NHL teams and where their general managers think it is best for them to play.

If they're good enough to contribute at the NHL level and benefit from playing and practicing there on a daily basis, Groulx and Canada will be out of luck.

Such is the lot of the coaches for the big hockey nations.


Rangers lineup features fair share of fresh faces

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

For the first time in 20 years, the Stanley Cup Final returned to Madison Square Garden.

The New York Rangers put up a solid fight, but the Los Angeles Kings secured their second championship in three seasons and showed the Eastern Conference champs what flaws needed to be corrected. Before there was a salary cap, general manager Glen Sather's offseason would have involved spending to correct them.

Instead it was an interesting summer for the Rangers. New York became one of the best puck possession teams in the East in coach Alain Vigneault’s first season, but two key players on that front signed large contracts elsewhere.

The Rangers still have a formidable group of forwards, one of the best young defensemen in the League and maybe the best goaltender in the world.

Here's a look at the 2014-15 projected lineup for the Rangers:


Rangers hope top 10 prospects can fill roster holes

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Despite not having the luxury of a first-round pick in each of the past two NHL Drafts, the 2014 Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers feel they've made all the right moves to solidify the organization's prospect pool.

The Rangers hope they can take it one step further and bring the Stanley Cup back to Madison Square Garden in 2014-15 after losing a five-game Final to the Los Angeles Kings, but it won't happen without some major retooling to the lineup. The Rangers lost forwards Benoit Pouliot and Brian Boyle and defenseman Anton Stralman to free agency and used a buyout on center Brad Richards, so there are spots for the taking.

Director of player personnel Gordie Clark believes that there may be a few good NHL players in the pipeline ready to take those spots.


Rangers must adapt to changes after loss in Final

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

The New York Rangers' 2013-14 season began with a number of major changes and ended with an unexpected run to the Stanley Cup Final. But the roster that takes ice on opening night against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 9 will have some major changes from the one that lost in L.A. four months earlier, and the success of those changes figures to dictate whether they will make a return trip to the Final.

Free-agent departures, trades and a compliance buyout used on forward Brad Richards cost the Rangers five regular players from the team that won the Eastern Conference. The departures include top-four defenseman Anton Stralman, key checking center Brian Boyle and scoring wing Benoit Pouliot, all of whom left as unrestricted free agents. Replacing the skill sets of each player will be challenging, but the Rangers did their best to fill the holes on their roster.

"I think we look good. We're trying to fill in some depth positions, we lost some guys. Anytime you have success like we had, guys tend to get better opportunities somewhere else, more money, which in the cap world we couldn't handle," Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton said. "So you go out and you work with your staff and try to identify guys that you think can fill those holes. One of the things we tried to do was do it fairly cheaply, considering the cap didn't go up maybe as much as we thought it might."


Roster moves spotlight Rangers' five questions

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

After struggling through a marathon nine-game road trip to start the 2013-14 season, the New York Rangers found their footing by the holidays before enjoying a memorable march to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 20 years.

With many key players leaving in the offseason and more potential roster changes coming next summer, here are five questions the Rangers face entering this season:


Rangers' Miller must cash in on latest opportunity

Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller became very familiar with the stretch of highway connecting New York and Hartford last season. In 2013-14, the 21-year-old was sent down to the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford six different times.

He performed well with the Wolf Pack, scoring 15 goals and 42 points in 41 games. But with a number of key forwards no longer on the Rangers roster, the first-round pick (No. 15) in the 2011 NHL Draft must show he can consistently provide offense in the NHL.

"I think we made it pretty clear to him when he left where he stands and the opportunity in front of him. You only get so many chances," Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton said of Miller. "I think J.T. is a pretty proud guy and a confident kid. I think he's encouraged there's a chance for him in the lineup. We're all looking forward to how he comes back, but it's all up to him."


2015 top prospect Jack Eichel consumed by hockey

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 5:21 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel, the 17-year-old center expected to be one of the top two picks at the 2015 NHL Draft, says his life is consumed by hockey.

That statement has been true for a long time, actually.

"I started playing when I was around 3," Eichel said. "I was pushing a crate around the Janas Rink in Lowell, Mass. My dad used to get me out of school when I was in elementary school, kindergarten, and I would skate with him. He would come pick me up and we'd play pickup and stuff. Since then he's given me as much hockey as I wanted."

Eichel has taken advantage of all that ice time, developing into a prospect ready for the NHL as soon as the 2015-16 season.


Sharks eye 'halo effect' from hosting outdoor game

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Playing in front of approximately 68,500 fans in a state-of-the-art outdoor venue is intriguing to the San Jose Sharks for reasons that go beyond ticket sales and setting attendance records for hockey games played in California.

"There is a halo effect that happens when you host these games," Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora said.

Tortora was talking about the aftershocks teams can experience because of their participation as the host club in one of the marquee events on the NHL's regular-season calendar. The Sharks are hoping to reap those rewards now that the NHL has officially announced San Jose will host the Los Angeles Kings in a 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Levi's Stadium on Feb. 21, 2015.

Levi's Stadium, located in Santa Clara, Calif., is the new home for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. It is located approximately 8.5 miles from SAP Center, the Sharks' home arena.


Rafalski headlines U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:12 PM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Four Olympic medalists, including two players and two coaches who played an integral role in establishing the sport of hockey in the United States on several fronts, will headline this year's inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

The honorees, announced Wednesday by USA Hockey, include Brian Rafalski, a two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time Stanley Cup champion. He is joined by Karyn Bye Dietz, who served as alternate captain for the gold medal-winning U.S. women's team at the 1998 Nagano Games; Jeff Sauer, college coaching legend and coach of the gold medal-winning 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team; and Lou Vairo, who was an assistant coach for the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

"The class of 2014 is an extraordinary collection of individuals that have had an immensely positive impact on hockey in our country," president of USA Hockey Ron DeGregorio said. "Cumulatively, they have been involved at every level of hockey and this group is a big reason why our sport has advanced to the point it has in the United States."

The 42nd U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner and ceremony will be held in Minnesota on Dec. 4 at a site to be announced.

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Quote of the Day

You get the right whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals