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Sabres' Neuvirth fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 3:30 PM / News

NHL.com

NEW YORKBuffalo Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.

Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties.

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Maple Leafs' Phaneuf expects to play Thursday

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 2:51 PM / News

NHL.com

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf will be ready to play Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Maple Leafs said Wednesday.

"I feel good. I'm as ready as I'm going to be," Phaneuf said in a video posted on the Maple Leafs website. "I feel that I'm at a point where I'm comfortable and strong enough to come back, and I'm just looking forward to getting back out and playing games."

He last played Jan. 21 because of a hand injury. The injury was believed to have occurred during a game that day against the Ottawa Senators. The Maple Leafs went 2-8-2 in the 12 games he's missed.

"It's been a little bit of a longer process than I originally thought," Phaneuf said. "With being off for the amount of time that I was, I have that excitement to get back into real game action."

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Kings' Clifford signs five-year contract extension

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 2:41 PM / News

LAKings.com

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Kyle Clifford to a five-year contract extension, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.

The 24-year-old Clifford (born on Jan. 13, 1991) is a 6-2, 208-pound native of Ayr, Ontario, has appeared in 333 career NHL regular season games, all with the Kings, totaling 58 points (25-33=58) and 462 penalty minutes.

This season, Clifford has tallied 10 points (3-7=10) a plus-1 rating and a team-leading 66 penalty minutes. Clifford appeared in his 300th NHL game, Dec. 2 vs. BOS.

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Perfect timing for Flyers' Timonen

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

It has been a tough season for the Philadelphia Flyers.

They have experienced a multitude of ups and downs, and one of the biggest downs hit them in August when defenseman Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lungs.

Losing Timonen hurt, but it did provide an opportunity for Michael Del Zotto, who was signed the day Timonen's diagnosis became public. Del Zotto took a while to get going but he's become one of the Flyers' best defensemen. And now he could get a chance to skate with the player he was brought in to replace.
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Too soon to judge unique Canadiens, Ducks trade

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 11:18 AM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

It's hard not to rush to judgment.

When two teams make a trade, a winner and a loser must be determined before the players involved have even arrived with their new teams.

By the time they actually take the ice, opinions have been cast and the groundwork for prejudice has been laid. The trade always will be viewed through the lens of that original analysis, no matter how much circumstances change.

Except trades like the one the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks completed Monday are so rare in the NHL today that judgment on it must be reserved, even though that rarity also is the reason why it is so tempting to attempt to determine a winner immediately.

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Inside the matchup: Penguins vs. Capitals

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 10:30 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Washington Capitals when they face off in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVA Sports).

They are separated by one point in the tight Metropolitan Division race, but the Capitals have dominated the Penguins so far this season, winning all three games and outscoring Pittsburgh 10-1. That includes Washington's 3-1 victory in Pittsburgh eight days ago.

The game features two of the NHL's top stars, each of whom has enjoyed success against the other's team during his career. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby has 17 goals and 50 points in 32 career games against Washington; Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals has 26 goals and 45 points in 38 career games against the Penguins.

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Gaudreau homecoming king on Flames road trip

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The "Johnny Hockey" show has come east for what is essentially an extended roots tour for the Calgary Flames rookie.

Typically a homecoming for an NHL player is a quick visit, one night and two days, two nights if he's lucky, just enough time to see some friends, catch up with his family and go on his way.

Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau gets 11 days and nights.

"I've been waiting for it all season," Gaudreau said Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, where the Flames lost 1-0 to the New York Rangers in the first of a seven-game road trip.

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Five things to watch when Capitals host Penguins

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Six points separate the top four spots in the Metropolitan Division. Two of them are occupied by teams involved in this week's edition of Wednesday Night Rivalry.

The Washington Capitals, who have won seven of their past 10 games, will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, SN1). The Penguins (34-17-9) currently reside in third place in the Metropolitan, one point ahead of Washington (33-18-10).

Pittsburgh has managed to stay in the division race despite a 7-11-4 record against division opponents; Washington is 13-5-4.

"They're a really good team," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "They are solid defensively. You have to find a way to overcome that and score goals and get big wins. We haven't done a good enough job in our division."

The Capitals had won four in a row before a 3-2 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Washington hasn't gone consecutive games without a point in over a month.

"I think there's a little bit of a rivalry starting to develop again between the Penguins and the Caps," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Both teams will be amped up. It should be a good game."

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Capitals' Ovechkin, Backstrom again thriving together

Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- During the 2008-09 season, the Washington Capitals' in-game introduction video at Verizon Center featured several players in the roles of rock stars.

Alex Ovechkin was front and center as the band's lead vocalist, a natural outlet for his contagious charisma. Behind him, Nicklas Backstrom strummed the bass guitar, a less glamorous but unequivocally essential responsibility.

Six seasons later, their foray into faux rock stardom provides an apt metaphor. Ovechkin still commands enormous attention as the NHL's ultimate showman. Meanwhile, Backstrom has continued to quietly provide the underlying rhythm, keeping the Capitals on beat.

"It's sort of like a real relationship between two lovers, essentially," Washington defenseman Mike Green said. "They're completely different players, but they balance each other out and they work well together."

This season, the longtime linemates are among the League's most productive players.


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Islanders' Leddy has grown into cornerstone player

Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 11:14 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Nick Leddy has been everything the New York Islanders could have hoped for when they acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks before the start of the season. On Tuesday they made sure he'll be around for a while.

The Islanders announced Leddy has agreed to a seven-year contract that will keep the soon-to-be 24-year-old defenseman with them throughout the prime of his career. No financial terms were disclosed, but Leddy's agent, Neil Sheehy, said the deal is worth $38.5 million for an average annual value of $5.5 million.

Leddy could have become a restricted free agent this summer. Instead he'll be with the Islanders through the 2021-22 season.

He said that while thoughts about whether he wanted to commit to the Islanders began almost as soon as he arrived, he's tried to keep his focus on the ice.

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract