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Eichel, Bennett continue to adjust to pro game

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

One of the toughest challenges for any NHL rookie is maintaining a high level of consistency against bigger and stronger players on a nightly basis and over an entire season.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel and Calgary Flames left wing Sam Bennett are discovering it's tough to duplicate the success they each had at the collegiate and junior hockey level, respectively, in the best League in the world. It hasn't discouraged them, but each knows patience and a little persistence will pay off in the end.

It isn't as though Eichel or Bennett are struggling this season. Rather, it's more of an adjustment period.

AHL Notebook: Intriguing storylines for stretch run

Tuesday, 12.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / AHL Update

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

The American Hockey League schedule traditionally takes a long holiday break that allows its teams to reset before the games pile up in the second half of the season.

Here is a look at some of the AHL's more intriguing storylines heading into 2016 that could continue to shape the playoff picture:

The Texas Stars endured a tumultuous post-holiday return to play. Rookie forward Devin Shore had shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season, according to Shore ranks second in the AHL with 15 goals and has 26 points in 26 games. The Stars also have a change in net. Prospect Jack Campbell, the 11th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was assigned to Idaho of the ECHL. Maxime Lagace was recalled from Idaho to replace him. Campbell, 23, has played parts of five AHL seasons, but he has a 4.27 goals-against average and .868 save percentage in 12 AHL games this season. He went 3-6-3 with Texas and allowed five or more goals in each of his past five starts. The Stars' 3.53 goals-against per game ranks them 29th in the AHL, though they place second in goals per game at 3.78.

Lightning's heroes program hits $10M in donations

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 8:45 PM / News

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Lightning Community Heroes Program, launched by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, reached $10 million Monday with the announcement of 197th community hero Sister Claire LeBouef for her work with New Life Village, New Life Dwelling Place and Everyday Blessings.

The program, which is backed by the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation, has celebrated a local hero and donated $50,000 to the nonprofit charity (or charities) of his or her choice. During the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning Foundation increased the donation amount to $100,000 for each hero. To date, 315 nonprofits have received money through the program.

This milestone comes five years after the Viniks pledged $10 million to Tampa Bay area nonprofits over five seasons.

"Where we are at 197 [people] and the quality of Sister Leboeuf at [No.] 197 is every bit as strong as the quality of No. 1," Vinik said. "We keep asking for recommendations and applications for the hero program, and we keep getting in hundreds of incredible stories and amazing people."

Wild's Kuemper misses game with upper-body injury

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 7:40 PM / News

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper was a late scratch against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday because of an upper-body injury.

Kuemper was named the Wild's starting goalie following the morning skate Monday. He is 3-0-0 with a .963 save percentage over his past three games. The Wild have earned at least a point in all eight of his starts this season (4-0-4).

WJC roundup: Canada routs Denmark; U.S. blanked

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 4:56 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Canadian Press

HELSINKI -- Mitchell Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs), and Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes) had a goal and an assist apiece as Canada rolled past Denmark 6-1 on Monday at the world junior hockey championship.

Anthony Beauvillier (New York Islanders), John Quenneville (New Jersey Devils), Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders) and Lawson Crouse (Florida Panthers) also scored for Canada (1-1) at Helsinki Ice Hall. Mason McDonald (Calgary Flames) stopped 10 shots in what is likely his last start of the preliminary round.

It's expected McDonald will give way to Mackenzie Blackwood (New Jersey Devils) on Tuesday when the Canadians face Switzerland (0-2). Blackwood had to serve the final two games of an eight-game suspension before suiting up for Canada.

Alexander True scored for Denmark (1-1), while Mathias Seldrup made 52 saves in net.

Bruins' Krejci week-to-week with upper-body injury

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 4:14 PM / News

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center David Krejci is week-to-week with an upper-body injury, coach Claude Julien said Monday after practice at TD Garden.

Krejci was injured in a collision with Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan near the end of the second period of the Senators' 3-1 home win on Sunday. Krejci did not play in the third period. Shortly after his teammates left the ice here Monday, Krejci left the arena with his right arm in a sling.

He was placed on injured reserve, so he will not be available to the Bruins when they host the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Friday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Five things learned from Day 3 of World Juniors

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 4:02 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Tim Wharnsby - Correspondent

Sweden goalie Linus Soderstrom channeled his inner Henrik Lundqvist against the United States on Monday at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Soderstrom, a New York Islanders prospect, idolizes Lundqvist and certainly came up with a King Henrik-like performance with 46 saves in a 1-0 victory.

Soderstrom was particularly sharp on the penalty kill. The U.S. peppered the Swedish goalie with 20 shots in 14:48 of power-play time, but he kept the Americans at bay as they went 0-for-8 in man-advantage situations.

"We did everything but score," U.S. coach Ron Wilson said. "We created opportunities and had 46 shots on goal, but you have to give their goalie credit."

Canadiens acquire Scrivens from Oilers for Kassian

Monday, 12.28.2015 / 3:16 PM / News

The Montreal Canadiens acquired goaltender Ben Scrivens from the Edmonton Oilers on Monday for forward Zack Kassian.

Montreal has been in need of veteran goaltending depth in the absence of Carey Price, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Price has been out since Nov. 25 after he sustained his second lower-body injury of the season. The Canadiens have used rookie Mike Condon and backup Dustin Tokarski in his absence. There is no timeline on when Price will return.

Scrivens, 29, was with Bakersfield of the American Hockey League, but he was the No. 1 goalie for the Oilers in 2014-15, when he was 15-26-11 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. He also played for the Los Angeles Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scrivens is 42-56-17 with seven shutouts, a 2.90 GAA and a .905 save percentage in 129 NHL regular-season games.

"I'm definitely happy with how things played out," Scrivens said of the trade. "Definitely happy to get a new chance and a chance to play in the NHL again."

Winter Classic rink on schedule as snow, ice loom

FOXBORO -- The NHL remains on schedule in building out the rink for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1. The weather, however, could make things a bit interesting across the next 36 hours.

The Boston Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens in the annual New Year's Day affair (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We're in pretty good shape today," Don Renzulli, the NHL's executive vice president of events, said during a Monday update at the stadium. "Obviously just trying to beat the weather that's coming in [Monday night], but as you can see we got white paint down on the rink [Sunday] night. We're putting in the lines [Monday] and we're going to work on logos late [Monday] afternoon."

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