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2014 NHL Draft
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Kopitar proud of Slovenia's run at Olympics

Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 7:08 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- Anze Kopitar was crushed with disappointment yet swelled with pride, contrasting feelings he had never really had before Wednesday.

On one hand, the Los Angeles Kings center, the only current NHL player representing Slovenia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, had just bowed out of the tournament via a 5-0 loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals. Regardless if Slovenia was not expected to be among the final eight teams standing here, nobody wants to lose, least of all a guy who has been to the top of the mountain in the NHL as a Stanley Cup champion.

"At the end of the day, it always stinks losing," Kopitar said.


Sabres terminate Omark's contract

Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 12:10 AM / News


The Buffalo Sabres terminated the contract of forward Linus Omark, the team announced Tuesday.

Omark, acquired by Buffalo from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick on Dec. 19, had two assists in 13 games with the Sabres.


Kessel MVP as NHL.com picks mid-tourney awards

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 5:27 PM / 2014 Olympics


SOCHI -- Phil Kessel has carried his red-hot play from the NHL season into the 2014 Sochi Olympics to help the United States prove its status as a gold-medal contender. With seven points in three games, the Toronto Maple Leafs right wing not only leads the Olympics in scoring, he is the front-runner for tournament MVP, according to votes cast by the four members of NHL.com's Olympic coverage team.

Kessel received 11 out of a possible 12 points, including three first-place votes, in the very unofficial ballots submitted by Arpon Basu, Corey Masisak, Shawn Roarke and Dan Rosen.


Stadium Series crew ready for Chicago's climate

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Legendary Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Tony Esposito stole the show Tuesday afternoon at Soldier Field.

After hopping out of a refrigeration truck along with Dan Craig, the NHL's senior director of facility operations, Esposito delivered a memorable punch line when asked if he would've enjoyed playing a game in the historic home of the Chicago Bears.

"That would've been great," Esposito said, smiling. "That's [60,000] people, so that's 40,000 more people that would've booed me."

Thus began the next installment of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, which will take place March 1 on a rink at Soldier Field that Craig and his ice crew will soon construct. The game will feature the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins, but Tuesday was all about Esposito and Craig, who joked that his biggest challenge in Chicago might be the fact he wore a T-shirt for his previous rink build at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.


Czech Republic excited for chance to knock off U.S.

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 4:56 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Czech Republic captain Tomas Plekanec was asked after his team's 5-3 qualifying round win against rival Slovakia on Tuesday how it matched up with the United States, its next opponent in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Plekanec started to laugh.

"Well, they're the favorites, no doubt about that," he said. "They're rested; they should win [Wednesday]. But we're definitely going out there as a team to play the best game of the tournament for us."

On paper, there should be no way the Czechs will be able to compete with the high-octane Americans, who tied for the tournament lead in scoring through the preliminary round and practiced Tuesday while their opponents played a hard-fought game that they almost let slip away in the third period.

That reality doesn't appear lost on the Czechs. But neither does the reality that if they win one game they are in the semifinals at the Olympics and are guaranteed a shot to play for a medal.

Just one game.


Loss 'crushing' for Swiss team expecting more

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 3:42 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- Stunned. Disappointed. Angry.

Pick your synonym to any of the above words and it fits the description for how Switzerland's national team players felt late Tuesday night as they dejectedly walked off the ice and right out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the tournament they thought would put them on the map with the rest of the big boys in international hockey.

"It's crushing," Swiss defenseman Mark Streit said, summing up the feeling his teammates had following their 3-1 loss to Latvia in the qualification round.

This wasn't supposed to happen; not to the Swiss, not against Latvia, not with Canada looming in the quarterfinals and a chance to cement their status as a legitimate international contender.


Break about over, NHL teams set for furious finish

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 2:15 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

It's almost time for the NHL to reopen for business.

Starting at 2 p.m. local time Wednesday, teams can start holding practices for players who didn't go to the 2014 Sochi Olympics or whose teams have been eliminated. They'll have a few days together to get ready for when the season restarts with a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 25.

With 53 days left before the regular season ends April 13, there's a lot of work left to be done for many teams.


Russia offense still unbalanced heading into quarters

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 12:45 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Offense wasn't expected to be an issue for the Russians at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but in the past three games it has been.

Now the host team will face its toughest defensive test yet.

Russia has scored six goals in the past three games, and two of those came late in a 4-0 win against Norway that already was decided. After losing 3-2 in a shootout to the United States and defeating Slovakia 1-0 in a shootout, the Russians continued to dictate the play as they have for long stretches of every game, but the goals are not coming as expected.


U.S. focused on pushing the pace even faster

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 12:11 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- While their neighbors to the north are focused on figuring out line combinations and how and where they should attack heading into the quarterfinals, the United States simply is focused on playing faster than it has been in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Speed kills, even on the big ice, but U.S. coach Dan Bylsma doesn't think his team has been killing it with enough speed in the tournament despite winning all three preliminary-round games and scoring 14 goals in regulation.

"I would say there are opportunities that we have missed that we can play quickly, play north, push the pace up the ice," Bylsma said. "That's something we did well at times; I just think we can be better at realizing that."

Bylsma spent Tuesday emphasizing the speed game he'd like to see his team play Wednesday in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic (Noon ET, USA, TSN2).


Stars prospect Desrosiers sets QMJHL record

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 11:39 AM / News


Rimouski Oceanic goalie and Dallas Stars prospect Philippe Desrosiers established a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record when he extended his shutout streak to 231:15 while recording his fifth shutout of the season on Monday, a 5-0 victory against the Victoriaville Tigres in Rimouski.

Desrosiers, who was selected in the second round (No. 54) by the Stars at the 2013 NHL Draft, made 31 saves Monday to notch his second straight shutout and third in four games.

The previous mark was set earlier this season by Francois Brassard of the Quebec Remparts, a 2012 Ottawa Senators draft pick, who had a 212-minute streak.

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Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets