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Gordie Howe's family releases statement on his status

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 2:49 PM / News

DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT – Red Wings legend Gordie Howe remained in guarded condition Wednesday afternoon after he suffered a major stroke sometime Sunday morning while living with his daughter in northwestern Texas.

Howe, the all-time franchise leader in goals, points and games played, and the greatest player of his generation, is facing the toughest battle of his life.

Howe, 86, led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships while winning six league scoring titles and taking home the Hart Trophy six times as the league's MVP.

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Tallon thinks Ekblad has goods to stick with Panthers

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 2:16 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It appears Florida Panthers rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the first pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, has done more than enough to prove he belongs in the NHL.

"Unless he really collapses, I don't see him going anywhere," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told NHL.com. "I've been very impressed with his composure and maturity. Once the regular season started, he was a different guy; it was like game on and almost as if he's been around for a long time."

Tallon has until the 10th game to determine if Ekblad has what it takes to remain with the team over an 82-game schedule. He could be returned to the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League without his three-year entry-level contract kicking in at any point before his 10th game, which will likely occur Nov. 4 at TD Garden in Boston.

"He's improving and playing well, playing lots of minutes, and has some good mentors here in Willie Mitchell and Brian Campbell," Tallon said.

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Blue Jackets' Letestu out 2-4 weeks with groin injury

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 12:36 PM / News

NHL.com

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Mark Letestu will miss 2-4 weeks with a groin injury, the team announced Wednesday.

Letestu has three goals and five points in nine games this season. He played in all 82 regular-season games for the Blue Jackets last season and scored a career-high 34 points.

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Devils' Severson serves up points

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

Each new season brings with it a few standout rookies capable of significant fantasy contributions; sadly they don't often emerge on the blue line. In fact, over the past four seasons no first-year defenseman has finished higher than fourth in the rookie scoring race.

That could be changing this season with Damon Severson of the New Jersey Devils.

Severson wasn't able to add to his totals on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, but he has played at a level that is far beyond his 20 years. Devils coach Peter DeBoer and teammates such as Jaromir Jagr have been blown away by Severson's poise and have spoken in glowing terms about his maturity, pucks skills and willingness to take chances to finish a play.

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Flyers recall defenseman Manning from AHL

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 10:44 AM / News

NHL.com

Defenseman Brandon Manning was recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, on Wednesday, the team announced.

Manning appeared in six games for the Phantoms this season and had a goal, five points and a plus-2 rating. Manning will join the team for a two-game road trip against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and Florida Panthers on Saturday. The Flyers are without injured defensemen Andrew MacDonald (lower body) and Braydon Coburn (lower body).

Manning, who could make his season debut on the trip, has two assists and a plus-5 rating in 10 NHL games, all with the Flyers.

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Islanders early success to be tested by road stretch

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 9:34 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- At 6-3-0, the New York Islanders are off to their best start in 13 years. Their challenge during the next few weeks is to show this fast start is not a mirage.

The arrival of November, a month that usually includes at least one tough stretch of road games, has been a harbinger of bad things to come for the Islanders in recent years. All too often, any optimism generated in October has blown away like autumn leaves, sending the Islanders on their way to another early summer vacation. For example, a 6-5-3 start through Nov. 2 of last season collapsed under the weight of a 2-11-0 showing through the rest of the month, part of a 3-18-0 stretch that all but ended their playoff hopes.

But 2014-15 is a new season, and the Islanders are confident that this time, it's going to be different.

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Around the League notebook for Tuesday, Oct. 28

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 9:05 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

TUESDAY RESULTS

Home Team in Caps

Minnesota 4, BOSTON 3

Winnipeg 4, NY ISLANDERS 3

PHILADELPHIA 3, Los Angeles 2 (OT)

PITTSBURGH 8, New Jersey 3

Ottawa 5, COLUMBUS 2

TORONTO 4, Buffalo 0

TAMPA BAY 7, Arizona 3

Anaheim 1, CHICAGO 0

St. Louis 4, DALLAS 3 (OT)

San Jose 3, COLORADO 2 (SO)

Montreal 2, CALGARY 1 (SO)

VANCOUVER 4, Carolina 1

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Capitals' Backstrom quietly puts up big-time numbers

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Midway through a first-period power play against the Edmonton Oilers last Wednesday, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom contemplated his options.

Near the right half-wall where he orchestrates the Capitals power play, Backstrom's stick blade danced around the puck before he settled on defenseman John Carlson, who was lurking in the high slot with his stick cocked.

Backstrom slid an effortless pass in Carlson's direction, and the defenseman fired the puck past Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens to tie the game 1-1.

The assist, his 500th NHL point, was quintessential Backstrom: understated but effective. The 26-year-old's career has been characterized by such subtlety, an extension of his reserved personality.

"He is sneaky good. I knew he was, but you appreciate it more when you see it every day," said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who signed with Washington on July 1.

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Five things to watch as Capitals host Red Wings

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Odds are there won't be any surprises Wednesday at Verizon Center, where Barry Trotz and Mike Babcock square off against one another in their latest battle of coaching wits as the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings play in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game (7:30 p.m. ET).

Trotz, in his first season coaching the Capitals, and Babcock, in his 10th season in Detroit, are so familiar with each other they could probably switch sides and nothing would change.

Trotz's and Babcock's teams have played against each other 62 times in the past 11 regular seasons, including 60 times in the same conference and 52 times in the same division, all with Trotz as the coach of the Nashville Predators.

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Blues captain Backes leaves game with injury

Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 1:50 AM / News

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- St. Louis Blues captain David Backes sustained an upper-body injury in the first period Tuesday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. He did not return to the game.

Backes left the game with the score tied 1-1 after he hit his head on the ice following a hit away from the puck by Stars defenseman Trevor Daley.

"He's going to be re-evaluated tomorrow," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It was precautionary. We're just going to have to see what the doctors say tomorrow."

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Quote of the Day

I think everyone left it out there. Every game this season, regular season and playoffs, we played as hard as we could. We're not out of the playoffs right now because of lack of effort, and that's all that we can ask of each other.

— Predators defenseman Seth Jones after Nashville was eliminated by Chicago in Game 6 on Saturday