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2014 NHL Draft
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Canucks' Kesler to meet with doctors

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 8:12 PM / News

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler is undergoing medical tests after blocking a shot while playing for the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to coach John Tortorella.

Kesler, who leads the Canucks with 20 goals, was at Rogers Arena late Monday morning but did not speak with reporters.

Asked if Kesler needed an MRI, Tortorella said head athletic trainer Mike Burnstein "is going to put him through the whole nine yards. He's getting everything checked and we'll see what it looks like."

Tortorella said he hadn't talked to Kesler yet.

Islanders recall Strome, Lee, Halmo from AHL

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 7:38 PM / News


The New York Islanders announced Monday that forwards Mike Halmo, Anders Lee and Ryan Strome have been recalled on an emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.

Halmo, 22, ranks third on the Sound Tigers in scoring with 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists) in 53 games this season. His plus-13 rating is second on the team, while his nine power-play goals are tied for first. The Islanders signed Halmo as a free agent on March 10, 2012, after the undrafted wing completed a four-year junior career with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League.


Flames recall Markus Granlund from AHL

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 7:04 PM / News


The Calgary Flames announced Monday they've recalled center Markus Granlund from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.

Granlund, originally a second-round pick (No. 45) by the Flames at the 2011 NHL Draft, leads Abbotsford with 23 goals and 21 assists in 50 games this season. He is currently third in AHL rookie scoring behind Curtis McKenzie of the Texas Stars (51) and Ryan Strome of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (49).


Panthers forced to move on without Barkov, Kopecky

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 6:23 PM / News

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will be without their two injured Olympians when they return to action Thursday against the Washington Capitals.

Rookie center Aleksander Barkov and veteran forward Tomas Kopecky were examined by team doctors after returning from Russia on Friday, and Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said Monday that each player would be out at least a few weeks. Horachek did not have a specific timetable.

Barkov, the youngest player on Finland's Olympic roster, sustained a knee injury in a preliminary-round game against Norway. Kopecky, making his second appearance in the Olympics for Slovakia, sustained an upper-body injury against Slovenia after a high hit that landed Sabahudin Kovacevic a one-game suspension.


Lightning's Stamkos eyeing early March return

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 5:12 PM / News


Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos told reporters Monday that he is targeting a March 6 game against the Buffalo Sabres for his return to the lineup.

Stamkos said an X-ray taken of his surgically repaired right tibia Monday "looks really good," but "we're playing it smart." He said his next medical evaluation is scheduled for March 5.

Stamkos broke his leg when he fell into a goal post Nov. 11 during a game against the Boston Bruins and he had surgery the next day. He had been hoping to recover in time to play for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but had to withdraw when a CT scan performed Feb. 5 showed his leg had not fully healed.


Predators' Rinne cleared to increase activity

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 4:43 PM / News


Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne took another step in his return to the lineup when informed by doctors Monday that he may increase his physical activity in practice.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said a meeting was planned for later Monday to set a weekly plan Rinne going forward. Last Thursday Rinne joined his teammates for practice for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery for a hip infection Oct. 24. In nine games before leaving the lineup Rinne had a 2.31 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

"Our destination is to get Pekka back in the net at some point," Trotz said. "Whenever that happens, that happens. It feels a lot better than it was a month ago or six weeks ago."


Wrigley memories remain strong for Blackhawks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg is an experienced veteran now, but he'll never forget the game he played as a rookie Jan. 1, 2009 at Wrigley Field.

Versteeg took the ice that day with the Blackhawks to face the rival Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. He wound up scoring the game's first goal 3:24 into the first period in what turned out to be a back-and-forth game won by Detroit 6-4 in cold, overcast conditions.

As the Blackhawks prepare to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at Soldier Field (8 p.m. ET, NBC) in the final game of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series, Versteeg and others who played at Wrigley are reminded of that game five years ago.

"I remember a lot," Versteeg said Monday. "I remember getting ready in the locker room and coming out side-by-side with Detroit. It was kind of like soccer ... how they come out holding hands [with youth players] and then all of a sudden they're enemies."


Wild's Koivu continuing to work his way back

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 3:56 PM / News


When the Minnesota Wild return to play Thursday, captain Mikko Koivu could be in the lineup.

Koivu has been out since Jan. 4 recovering from a broken ankle but was on the ice Monday, and for the first time since his injury was a full participant in 5-on-5 drills.

However, neither Koivu nor coach Mike Yeo would say if Koivu would be available for the Wild's game Thursday at the Edmonton Oilers.

"Progress has been good since we came back," Koivu told the team's website. "Each and every day it's getting stronger and stronger so that's a good sign."


Blackhawks to appear on NBC's 'Chicago Fire'


NEW YORK -- Chicago Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will make a guest appearance in the Tuesday, Feb. 25 episode of the hit NBC drama, "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m. ET).

In the episode titled "Virgin Skin," Shay (played by Lauren German) gets an unusual tip from Seabrook and Keith, friends of Clarke (guest star Jeff Hephner) who stop by Molly's, the local bar that is co-owned by several members from firehouse 51. The much-anticipated 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series outdoor matchup between the Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field generates excitement at Molly's and the firehouse.

NBC will broadcast the Blackhawks-Penguins outdoor game on Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m. ET.


Islanders place Tavares on injured reserve

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 1:44 PM / News


The New York Islanders on Monday placed top-line center John Tavares on injured reserve.

Tavares will miss the remainder of the season with a torn medial collateral ligament and meniscus tear in his left knee sustained during Canada's quarterfinal game against Latvia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"You feel bad for him, especially how much he was looking forward to it before the Olympics and coming back to help us make our playoff push," Tavares' teammate and roommate Colin McDonald said told the Islanders' website. "At this point it's set in and you just want him to get healthy and be ready for next year."

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Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas