Round 3
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Shift to goalie paying off for USNTDP's Opilka

Thursday, 12.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Luke Opilka came very close to quitting hockey before realizing his true calling as a goaltender during an open skate at a friend's birthday party.

"I was never too good a player; the only goal I ever scored was on my own net," Opilka said. "I really thought I actually scored a goal so I began celebrating. I was probably a mite [8 years old] then and I probably should have known better, but I didn't."

What he did learn was that playing defense was not a good idea for him.

"I tried goaltender at my friend's birthday party and just loved it, so I stuck with it from there," he said.


Around the League notebook for Wednesday, Dec. 3

Thursday, 12.04.2014 / 2:35 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


* Many NHL players shared memories and stories of Jean Beliveau via social media, including Pointe-Claire, Quebec, native Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers) and Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

* In accordance with the wishes of the Beliveau family, the Canadiens announced the details of events in the days leading up to Mr. Beliveau's funeral.

Click here to leave a personal message on the online tribute page.

* Players and fans observed a moment of silence in honor of Beliveau before puck drop in the Canadiens/Wild and Oilers/Jets games. In addition, the Canadiens wore special No. 4 decals on their helmets to honor their legendary captain.


Canadiens owner saddened by Beliveau's passing

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 7:12 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Geoff Molson walked up to address the gathered media Wednesday, having had hours to emotionally absorb the horrible news that was delivered late the previous night.

The Montreal Canadiens president and principal owner began with a general comment on the passing of Jean Beliveau.

And the emotions came flowing back.

Following a comment in French, Molson said, "Before I get started I just wanted to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the Beliveau family today …"

Molson paused. He needed to compose himself.

He was speaking about the death of a man he said he considered to be a giant as a child, a man who had a relationship with his family that runs three generations deep.

As emotionally prepared as Molson might have been to face the public to speak of this sad event, it would have been impossible for him to be totally prepared.

This was hard.


Flyers' Lecavalier discusses Jean Beliveau's impact

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 6:32 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The picture has a timeless quality to it, even if Jean Beliveau's brown suit and green-and-red tie harken back to another era. There is Beliveau sitting on the boards, holding a young Vincent Lecavalier against a dark background of a hockey rink. Both are smiling.

The photo was taken at a hockey tournament Lecavalier's older brother was playing in, and it was the first time Lecavalier met Beliveau.

"I was very young, so I don't remember the moment exactly, but that picture's in my house back in Montreal signed by him," Lecavalier said. "It was a great honor to meet him. Obviously when I made it to the NHL, I met him a few times after that. [He's] just a nice person. He has a lot of respect for everybody, the way he treats people."

Lecavalier had a unique bond with Beliveau, the beloved Montreal Canadiens legend who died Tuesday at 83. He wore Beliveau's No. 4 since he was about 3 years old until he joined the Philadelphia Flyers -- the Flyers retired the number in honor of Barry Ashbee -- because Beliveau was his grandfather's favorite player. Lecavalier also played Beliveau in 2005 film "The Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story," which is about Beliveau's former Canadiens teammate.


Kings sign Martinez to six-year extension

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 6:20 PM / News

Alec Martinez
Defense - LAK
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 7
SOG: 43 | +/-: 9
The Los Angeles Kings re-signed defenseman Alec Martinez to a six-year contract, the team announced Wednesday. The Kings did not disclose financial terms, but Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that the deal is worth $24 million.

Martinez would have been eligible to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Martinez was selected by the Kings in the fourth round (No. 95) of the 2007 NHL Draft. He has 62 points in 221 games, including seven points in 18 games this season. He had a career-best 22 points in a career-high 61 games last season.


Penguins' Bortuzzo suspended two games

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 5:15 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NEW YORK - Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has been suspended for two games, without pay, for interference against New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr during NHL Game No. 364 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, December 2, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 17:57 of the second period.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Bortuzzo will forfeit $6,451.62. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.


Gordie Howe expected to leave hospital Wednesday

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 4:58 PM / News

Gordie Howe did not have a stroke Monday and is expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday, the Howe family said in a statement released by the Detroit Red Wings.

"During the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 1, our father appeared to have suffered another severe stroke as he displayed diminished consciousness to his attending caregivers and physical therapy personnel for more than 30 minutes," the statement read. "EMS was called and he was immediately transported to UMC Hospital. An MRI was performed Tuesday afternoon which revealed the great news that he did not in fact have a second severe stoke. It was determined that he was suffering from dehydration and is currently being treated accordingly. He is having difficulty eating solid foods at this time, has slurred speech and has been unable to walk for more than three weeks now. All of these factors are contributing to his overall decline in health. His mental awareness has improved enough in the past 24 hours to where we expect him to be out of the hospital and in his own bed at home before the night is over."


Jean Beliveau: A glimpse into history

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:47 PM / News Staff

To celebrate the career of Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau, dug through the League's archives to present the original game sheets from eight of the noteworthy games during his career:

Dec. 16, 1950: Beliveau skates in his first career NHL game for the Montreal Canadiens, a 1-1 tie against an Original Six foe, the New York Rangers. Three of his teammates from that night, Doug Harvey, Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach, would go on to have their numbers retired by the Canadiens. Beliveau would go on to play in over 1,000 career games, all for Montreal, and is fourth all-time in games played for the franchise behind Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson and Henri Richard.

Jan. 27, 1951: Montreal defeats the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2, and Beliveau scores his first NHL goal. At 8:32 of the first period, Beliveau scored the opening goal of the game at even strength. He went on to add an assist in the second period on Montreal's final goal of the game, giving him a multipoint night. Beliveau's 507 career goals are third-most in Canadiens history, trailing Richard and Guy Lafleur.


Canadiens great Beliveau to lie in state at Bell Centre

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:14 PM / News

MONTREAL -- In accordance with the wishes of the Beliveau family, the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club announced Wednesday the details of events in the days leading up to Mr. Beliveau's funeral.

The team's management stresses that, in keeping with the family's wishes, all activities will reflect the image of the late hockey legend: they will be simple and accessible to the public. Out of respect for the public, which has supported Jean Beliveau over the years, the Beliveau family announced that they had agreed to share their grief with the community. They hope, however, that the media and the public will continue to respect their privacy during this painful time.

In order to provide the public with an opportunity to pay their respects to Mr. Beliveau, a bronze statue of the legendary team captain will be on display across from the Bell Centre's main entrance, on avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal today until Saturday. Mr. Beliveau will lie in state at the Bell Centre on Sunday, December 7 and Monday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fans who wish to pay a final tribute to Mr. Beliveau can do so by entering the Bell Centre using the main entrance at 1909 avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal.


Sharks' Couture questionable vs. Bruins: report

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:07 PM / News

San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture is questionable for the game Thursday against the Boston Bruins because of an apparent head injury sustained in a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, according to

Couture was injured 26 seconds into the third period when he collided with Flyers forward Michael Raffl. It appeared that Raffl's shoulder hit Couture in the chin. Couture left the ice under his own power but did not return to the game.

He did not practice Wednesday.

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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday