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Daily Primer March 9: Blues look for room at top

Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:05 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The St. Louis Blues spent most of the season chasing the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. After passing Chicago, they turned their sights on the Anaheim Ducks, who have led the overall NHL standings for the past few weeks.

A win Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild will leave the Blues at the top of the heap.

The Blues come into the game with a 4-0-0 record since acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller on Feb. 28. That includes a 26-save performance by the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner in a 2-1 road win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Here's a look at all of the action Sunday:


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Sunday Long Read: Modano remains face of Stars

Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Dallas Stars president Jim Lites tells the story as if it happened yesterday. That's how well he remembers it. That's how much the conversation Lites had with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones nearly 20 years ago resonates with him.

"I remember Jerry Jones saying to me about two years into our stay here, 'Jim, I can't believe how much success you guys have had, I never would have thought hockey would be successful in Dallas,'" Lites told NHL.com. "And then he said, 'That Mike Modano is as important to this community as Troy Aikman. I can't believe how dynamic he is.'

"I mean, the Cowboys are the Cowboys and Troy Aikman is Troy Aikman, but Mo was that good, that big," Lites continued. "He's the guy every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with."

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Stars goalie Lehtonen exits game with injury

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 10:58 PM / News

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen left the game in the third period following a collision with Minnesota Wild center Erik Haula.

Haula skated hard into the Dallas crease and collided with Lehtonen, knocking the veteran goalie's mask off and drawing blood.

Lehtonen left the ice after he was tended to by the Stars medical staff.

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Stars retire Mike Modano's No. 9

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 10:05 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars franchise icon Mike Modano saw his No. 9 raised to the rafters in an emotional ceremony at American Airlines Center prior to the game Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.

Modano, the No. 1 pick of the Minnesota North Stars at the 1988 NHL Draft, finished his NHL career as the all-time leader in goals and points among American-born players. He played his final season in 2010-11 with the Detroit Red Wings after playing his first 20 seasons in the Stars organization, the first four in Minnesota and the final 16 in Dallas.

Modano was a key member of the Stars' 1999 NHL Stanley Cup championship team and was instrumental in helping to grow hockey in the Dallas area. He was flanked onstage Saturday night by members of the '99 Cup team, a group that included Hall of Fame goaltender Eddie Belfour.

"I can't tell you what a big honor it is to be here tonight," said Modano, who now serves as the Stars' executive advisor and alternate governor.

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2010 Wisconsin defensemen making impact in NHL

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 8:48 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The University of Wisconsin Badgers came up short of their ultimate goal when they lost 5-0 to Boston College in the NCAA championship game at the 2010 Frozen Four, but they were a strong team featuring an enviable collection of talent.

That team's impact is now being felt across the NHL.

Brendan Smith of the Detroit Red Wings and Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers, who will meet Sunday at Madison Square Garden (12:30 ET; NBC, TSN2, RDS2) were a major part of that Wisconsin team's blue line. All six regulars on that defensive corps now play in the NHL or are on their way there.

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Klesla won't join Sabres after trade: report

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 8:00 PM / News

NHL.com

Defenseman Rostislav Klesla said Saturday he will not join the Buffalo Sabres, who acquired him in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The trade, which also sent goaltender Michal Neuvirth to Buffalo and goaltender Jaroslav Halak and a draft pick to Washington, came one day after the Capitals had acquired Klesla from the Phoenix Coyotes. Klesla had been scheduled report to the Rochester Americans, the Sabres' American Hockey League affiliate.

"With all due respect to the Sabres organization, I decided this week not to continue playing hockey this season. It has been a tough year for injury and moving several times to new teams," the 31-year-old defenseman said in a statement reported by TSN.


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Capitals sign top prospect Kuznetsov

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 7:17 PM / News

NHL.com

Evgeny Kuznetsov is finally going to play for the Washington Capitals.

One of the top prospects in the world for the past few years, Kuznetsov agreed to an entry-level contract Saturday with the Capitals. General manager George McPhee said the plan is to put him in the lineup Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Elliotte Friedman of CBC reported it is a two-year contract. Kuznetsov will be at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for a media availability Sunday.

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Avalanche's Stastny leaves game against Blues

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 7:15 PM / News

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny sustained a back injury on his first shift in the opening minute of the first period Saturday against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center and did not return to the 2-1 loss.

Stastny missed two games earlier this season because of back spasms.

Stastny centered a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and rookie Nathan MacKinnon at right wing. He ranks fifth on the Avalanche with 47 points in 57 games.

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Canadiens prospect Bozon in critical condition

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 5:51 PM / News

NHL.com

Montreal Canadiens forward prospect Tim Bozon, 19, was placed in an induced coma Thursday with a form of acute bacterial meningitis, the Toronto Sun reported Saturday.

Bozon, who plays in the Western Hockey League with the Kootenay Ice, was admitted to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last Saturday, a day after he scored a goal in 4-2 victory against the Saskatoon Blades.

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Blue Jackets' Murray out 4-6 weeks: report

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 1:53 PM / News

NHL.com

Columbus Blue Jackets rookie defenseman Ryan Murray will miss 4-6 weeks after knee surgery, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday.

Murray has three goals and 17 points in 61 games and is one of the top rookie defensemen in the NHL. He is averaging 19:47 of ice time, which is fourth on the Blue Jackets.

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Quote of the Day

With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano