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Fantasy top 60 'D': Replacing Pens' Letang from within

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 12:30 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.

The Pittsburgh Penguins boast some of the most dangerous offensive players in the NHL, and that makes them very popular with fantasy owners. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are among the first players drafted in Yahoo Standard leagues and when defensemen start going, it doesn't take long for Kris Letang to fall into the drafted queue.

The problem with these Penguins stars is they all come with their share of injury risk, and Letang might be the riskiest.

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Flames forward Knight sent to AHL

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 12:26 PM / News

CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have assigned forward Corban Knight to the Adirondack Flames of the American Hockey League.

Knight, a native of High River, AB, played in two games with Calgary after starting the season with the Adirondack Flames where he recorded five goals and three assists for eight points in 16 AHL games.

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Stars recall McKenzie, Rynnas from AHL

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 12:11 PM / News

DallasStars.com

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled left wing Curtis McKenzie and goaltender Jussi Rynnas from the Texas Stars, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

McKenzie, 23, has appeared in nine games for Dallas in 2014-15, scoring his first-career NHL goal on Nov. 16, 2014 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He also played in his first-career NHL game on Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia Flyers. McKenzie has skated in seven games with Texas, registering six points (3-3=6) and one game-winning goal. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Golden, British Columbia was selected by Dallas in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.

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Hockey world reacts to passing of Beliveau

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 11:40 AM / News

NHL.com

The passing of Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau on Tuesday at the age of 83 was met with reaction from throughout the sport.

Here is a sampling of sentiments expressed on Twitter:

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Islanders recall Reinhart; Boychuk, Visnovsky to IR

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 10:46 AM / News

NewYorkIslanders.com

The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Griffin Reinhart has been recalled under emergency conditions from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. The club has also placed defenseman Johnny Boychuk on injured reserve, retroactive to November 27, and Lubomir Visnovsky on injured reserve, retroactive to November 28.

Reinhart, 20, appeared in his first three National Hockey League games earlier this season with the Islanders. The North Vancouver, BC, native has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 15 games with the Sound Tigers this season.

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Around the League notebook for Tuesday, Dec. 2

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 8:58 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

CANADIENS ANNOUNCE JEAN BELIVEAU DIES AT AGE 83

The Montreal Canadiens announced that Hockey Hall-of-Famer Jean Beliveau died Tuesday at age 83. Béliveau played 20 seasons with Montreal from 1950 to 1971, serving as the longest-tenured captain in team history over his final 10 seasons. He won the Stanley Cup 10 times with the club, including five consecutive championships from 1956 to 1960. He ranks second on the Canadiens all-time regular-season scoring list (1,219 points), third in goals (507) and second in assists (712). In addition, he owns the Canadiens record with 176 career playoff points (79 goals, 97 assists), in 162 contests.

CLOSE GAMES HIGHLIGHT ACTION TUESDAY

Of the 10 games contested Tuesday:

* Nine were tied or within one goal entering the third period (OTT-NYI, NJD-PIT, VAN-WSH, NSH-CAR, TBL-BUF, FLA-DET, ARI-CGY, PHI-SJS, BOS-LAK).

* Seven featured one-goal margins (OTT-NYI, NJD-PIT, VAN-WSH, NSH-CAR, TBL-BUF, FLA-DET, PHI-SJS) and one other contest ended with a two-goal margin following an empty-net goal in the final minute (BOS-LAK).

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Penguins' Bortuzzo faces Player Safety hearing

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 8:53 AM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will have a Wednesday afternoon hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a late hit on New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr during a game Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.

Bortuzzo hit Jagr into the boards with 2:03 remaining in the second period. Jagr did not return to the game. No penalty was called on the play.

The Penguins won the game 1-0.

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Richards gets boost from Blackhawks' new line

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards stood next to his wife and newborn son on the ice at United Center while a video montage of his highlights played overhead.

The reason for the pregame ceremony was the 999 games he played prior to the one that was about to start, fittingly against one of his former teams, the Dallas Stars. Seventeen of those games were in a Chicago Blackhawks uniform, but Richards got the royal treatment from his new team.

It was a reminder of Richards' elite talent. He didn't score in Chicago's 6-2 win, but he was all over the ice. He set up third-period goals by left wing Kris Versteeg and right wing Patrick Kane in the first game coach Joel Quenneville used them as his second line, and Richards seemed like a different player.

"It might be a coincidence, I don't know," Richards told NHL.com after practice Tuesday, a day before the Blackhawks play the St. Louis Blues in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m.; NBCSN). "I felt like for two weeks leading up to that, I was starting to figure things out here and getting more confident. The role was not big yet, but all I could do was go out and try to get my game going. I felt like things were coming along."

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Five things to watch when Blackhawks host Blues

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The fact the Chicago Blackhawks are still chasing the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues in the Central Division doesn't seem as alarming as it did three weeks ago because they've found their stride and are playing their best hockey of the still-young season.

The Blackhawks return home Wednesday for NBCSN's Rivalry Night game against the Blues (8 p.m. ET) for the first time since beating the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Nov. 16. They have won three straight, six of seven, and eight of 10 since losing six of nine games from Oct. 23-Nov. 7.

The Blackhawks, propelled by the win against Dallas, won five of six games during their annual "Circus Trip." They closed the trip with back-to-back 4-1 wins against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings this past weekend.

"We're much better," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said during a phone interview Tuesday. "We've got something to build off. We're heading in the right direction. The past road trip or seven games I'd say they were strong games discounting one game in Vancouver. There's a lot of good things going on right now, but I don't think it's anything we should be too excited about. We feel we still have to get better."

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Blues' American line bringing out their best

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- They never got the opportunity to play together as a trio at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but when center Paul Stastny signed as an unrestricted free agent this past summer with the St. Louis Blues, the opportunity presented itself for an all-American line with United States teammates David Backes and T.J. Oshie.

Uniting the three wasn't immediately in the cards for coach Ken Hitchcock, who wanted to take a look at them in different fashions and with different linemates. Injuries also derailed any potential connection. Stastny sustained a shoulder injury the fourth game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes and missed eight games; Backes and Oshie each sustained concussions Oct. 28 against the Dallas Stars, with Backes missing one game and Oshie seven.

But in recent games, Hitchcock implemented the unit in order to get a boost for all three. The move seemed to spark each player's respective game.

The Blues (16-6-2) will need their American line and everyone else when they go up against the Chicago Blackhawks (15-8-1) in the Wednesday Night Rivalry Game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

"I wanted to look at it at practice first," Hitchcock said. "I put a Swedish line out there; I had four guys from Sweden in one line. That's an American line, I got a Euro line because [Jaden Schwartz] plays like a Euro. I'm not sure … then I got a hound dog line [the fourth line]. I'm not sure what I got going, but I wanted to look at it. It was a good day."

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Quote of the Day

I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans