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2014 NHL Draft
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(Page 216 of 254)
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Capitals need top stars to shake Sochi disappointment

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 4:04 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- When Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom returned to the Washington Capitals' practice facility on Tuesday, there was a general sense things were finally back to normal.

Their respective quests for gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics having come to turbulent ends, Ovechkin and Backstrom rejoined their teammates for an upbeat, hour-long practice as if the past two weeks were nothing more than a distant memory.

As the Capitals resume their schedule on Thursday against the Florida Panthers, that is the mindset Washington's two star forwards must foster in order to lead their team, currently sitting 11th in the Eastern Conference, to its seventh consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance.

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Despite injuries, Penguins could stay quiet at deadline

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 4:00 PM / 2014 Trade Deadline

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins could be quiet at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline despite facing needs at multiple positions.

Injuries to three key players -- top-line right wing Pascal Dupuis, 2013 Norris Trophy finalist Kris Letang, and defenseman Paul Martin -- leave Pittsburgh with a lineup consisting of several American Hockey League call-ups. With Letang (stroke) and Martin (broken hand) each sidelined for at least the next month, the defense is in a state of flux.

Martin is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, and Letang's return is uncertain. Despite those holes, Penguins general manager Ray Shero said he will take a more subtle approach at the March 5 trade deadline than he has in the past.

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Broken hand to sideline Penguins' Martin 4-6 weeks

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 1:15 PM / News

NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken hand sustained playing for the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The news was reported via the Penguins' Twitter account on Tuesday.

The hope is Martin, who missed the last two games for the United States against Canada and Finland at the Olympics, will be ready to resume play when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. Martin has two goals and 12 points in 33 games for the Penguins.

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Blues set sights on top seed, home-ice advantage

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 1:14 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- When the St. Louis Blues restart their season Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks, their remaining 25 games will be so compressed into a tight window of days that there will be no time to think of anything other than the task at hand.

Some teams will be jockeying for Stanley Cup Playoff position, but the Blues (39-12-6) are a virtual lock and can achieve quite a few goals before going after the biggest prize of them all, the Stanley Cup.

The Blues are even with the Chicago Blackhawks for the Central Division lead with 84 points and three games in hand, and they're only three points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the Western Conference lead and best record in the NHL, also with three games in hand.

All are reasonable goals at this point and they're goals the Blues definitely have set their sights on.

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The Front Line: Oshie headlines Olympic beneficiaries

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

NHL action officially resumes Tuesday (Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, SPSO, MSG-B, BELL TV) and fantasy owners should be prepared for their stretch run after a two-week hiatus due to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

It was a fantastic tournament, but now it's time to get back to work. I've provided updated top-100 forward rankings for the remainder of this season. Unfortunately, we've lost another elite forward in New York Islanders captain John Tavares, but hopefully fantasy owners will see Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos returning to their rosters in the very near future. This week should also see some other top fantasy forwards back in action as Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks, Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets, Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings are all expected to play.

But before we officially hop back on the saddle, let's find out which forwards have seen their value increase thanks to their performances in Sochi.

Jeff Carter
Center - LAK
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 37
PIMs: 22 | SOG: 189 | +/-: 6
Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings -- Available in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues

While owned in nearly all Yahoo leagues, Carter makes for a great player to try and acquire via trade. He's coming off an impressive Olympic performance with three goals, two assists, 24 shots on goal and a plus-6 rating in six games. He bounced around the lineup all tournament, but looked dominant at times. Carter struggled before the Olympic break with no goals in eight games for the Kings, but expect him to finish the season strong.

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Fourteen players to watch down the stretch

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

With three-quarters of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

The quest for gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics is over, but the race for the Stanley Cup is just starting to heat up. Less than seven weeks remain from the resumption of play to the end of the regular season, and 25 of 30 teams either hold one of the 16 Stanley Cup Playoff berths or are within four points of the top eight in their conference.

Here are 14 players (listed alphabetically) to keep an eye on during the final weeks of the regular season:

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Pacific: Dominant Ducks eye Presidents' Trophy

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

One year after the Anaheim Ducks surprised everyone by winning the Pacific Division, they're on the verge of doing it again.

Not only have the Ducks dominated the division, they've spent the past couple of months on top of the NHL standings. Anaheim went 22 games without a regulation loss at home, survived a brutal early road schedule and resume play with the inside track on the Presidents' Trophy.

The Ducks have had to be good to fend off the San Jose Sharks, who've been able to stay within hailing distance and are all but assured of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth. The Sharks hold a 12-point lead on the third-place Los Angeles Kings, whose offensive struggles have left them much closer to fourth place than to first. They're trying to hold off the Phoenix Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the division.

The two Alberta teams, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, will have to be content to play spoiler down the stretch while trying to develop their young talent.

Here's a look at the seven Pacific teams as they prepare for the stretch run:

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Central: Blues, Blackhawks battling for first

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The St. Louis Blues spent most of the first four months of the season trying to catch the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. The Blues did it by winning three of their final four games before the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Now their task is to stay on top.

St. Louis returns to action with the best goal differential in the NHL at plus-61. Its forward lines are talented and deep and the defense is strong in its zone and moves the puck well. Goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott have been solid if not spectacular.

Though St. Louis and Chicago each have 84 points, perhaps the biggest advantage the Blues hold in their quest to finish ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champions is that they've played three fewer games.

The Blues and Blackhawks are five points ahead of the surprising Colorado Avalanche, who look like a lock to earn the third of the Central's automatic playoff berths. The holders of the two Western Conference wild-card spots are well behind. The fourth-place Minnesota Wild trail Colorado by 10 points and the Dallas Stars are another five points behind Minnesota.

The Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators have a chance to catch Dallas for the second wild-card berth in a race that could see five teams chasing one spot.

Here's a look at the seven Central teams as they prepare for the stretch run:

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Poirier has future in mind during QMJHL playoffs

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / In the Pipeline

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs have the attention of Gatineau Olympiques standout Emile Poirier, but that doesn't mean the Calgary Flames aren't in his crosshairs too.

In the midst of a career season, Poirier has his sights set on making an impression on the Flames in the postseason because that's where the true stars shine.

"I think so far I'm satisfied [with my season], but the playoffs are coming so I need to get ready," said Poirier, who has skated primarily with Montreal Canadiens prospect Martin Reway and Ottawa Senators fifth-round pick Vincent Dunn this season. "It's the most important time of the year. I think the playoffs are where the good players show up the most.

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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.
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Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp