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2014 NHL Draft
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Bettman: Olympic decision possible within 6 months

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 5:33 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- The NHL and NHL Players' Association are hoping to make a decision on future player participation in the Olympics as quickly as possible, perhaps within the next six months, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman indicated in a press conference at Bolshoy Ice Dome on Tuesday.

The negotiations, which will involve the NHL, the Olympic organizing committee in South Korea, the NHLPA, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee, will determine whether the NHL sends its players to a sixth straight Olympics. NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr and IIHF President Rene Fasel also took part in the press conference.

"It's nothing that's been discussed; it's nothing that will be discussed while we're here in Sochi," Commissioner Bettman said. "All of us are here to enjoy this competition, and while I've seen lots of commentary over the last couple of weeks, both written and oral, the fact of the matter is there isn't anything that has been said in the last two weeks that hasn't been said for the last eight years.

"There are lots of people who have lots of opinions. Any of us could give you all the pros and cons involved. You can get quotes from any owner or any executive in the NHL on either side of the decision, and as I've said it isn't anything we're focused on and dealing with right now. We're all focused on what should be a terrific tournament, period, on that subject."


Small in stature, Jets prospect Petan playing big game

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / In the Pipeline

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- As an undersized center, Winnipeg Jets prospect Nicolas Petan could have picked an easier path to pro hockey.

Petan could have played college hockey instead of the Western Hockey League, giving him more time to fill out a slender 5-foot-9 frame. But he wanted to prove his game already was big enough for a pro-style game, so he went to the Portland Winterhawks instead.

"As a small guy he could have looked in another direction, taken his time in college, but he wanted to prove he could play in a physical, demanding league," Portland coach and general manager Mike Johnston said. "Everybody asks if a small guy can play with the big guys. He wanted to prove to everybody he could play major junior."

Petan has done just that. He tied linemate Brendan Leipsic for the WHL scoring lead with 120 points in 71 games last season and was picked in the second round (No. 43) by the Jets in the 2013 NHL Draft. And after a strong showing at a preseason camp and tournament for NHL prospects, Petan has continued to dominate in the WHL this season.


Five Questions: USA's Kane keeps eyes set on gold

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Chicago Blackhawks and U.S. right wing Patrick Kane:

SOCHI -- Patrick Kane spent Monday, an off day for the United States players, tooling around Olympic Park on a bicycle and spending some time with his family at the NHL Players Association's headquarters here.

The free time gave him a chance to reflect on what had transpired in the first week at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and contemplate what lies ahead for the Americans, who play Wednesday in the quarterfinals against either Slovakia or the Czech Republic.

The U.S. won Group A and finished second in the preliminary round with three wins and eight of a possible nine points. Kane has three assists but no goals, and only nine shots on goal.

He sat down with NHL.com to discuss his thoughts about his play in the Olympics, how the U.S. team is feeling and what his experience in Sochi has been like.

Here are Five Questions with … Patrick Kane:


Wild sign goalie John Curry to two-way contract

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 1:09 AM / News


The Minnesota Wild on Monday signed goalie John Curry to a two-way contract.

The 29-year-old has a 6-3-2 record, 1.95 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 12 games with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League this season, his seventh in professional hockey. He has also posted a 10-2-0 record, 2.66 GAA and .917 save percentage in 13 games with the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL. He spent most of last season with Orlando after playing in Germany in 2011-12.


Kopecky out for rest of Sochi Olympics: report

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 8:25 PM / 2014 Olympics


Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky, representing Slovakia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will miss the remainder of the tournament with an upper-body injury, team spokesman Tomas Stulajter confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday.

A two-time Olympian, Kopecky was hit in the head with an elbow in the first period of Slovakia's game Saturday against Slovenia, which led to the suspension of Slovene forward Sabahudin Kovacevic for the following game.


Canada women hold off Switzerland, will face U.S.

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 4:03 PM / 2014 Olympics


Canada is set for another gold-medal grudge match against the United States.

Florence Schelling and Switzerland wouldn't let victory come easy for the Canadians, however.

Natalie Spooner scored twice in a three-goal opening period for Canada, which generated plenty of offensive chances after that but were repeatedly denied by the goaltending of Schelling in what ended up as a 3-1 victory at Shayba Arena.

Canada and the U.S. will play for gold at 12 p.m. ET Thursday while Switzerland faces Sweden for bronze at 7 a.m.

The Americans punched their ticket to the final with a dominant effort earlier in the day, defeating Sweden 6-1 while holding a 70-9 advantage in shots.

Canada lost to the U.S. in the inaugural women's gold-medal game at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, but beat the Americans in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010.


U.S. women top Sweden, advance to gold-medal game

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 2:20 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- There was no replay of the miracle at Turin in the 2014 Sochi Olympics women's hockey tournament Monday afternoon at Shayba Arena.

The United States started fast and never looked back, scoring three goals in a dominant first period before cruising to a 6-1 victory against Sweden.

The Americans will play Canada, a 3-1 winner against Switzerland in the other semifinal Monday, for the gold medal on Thursday.

Eight years ago, the Americans faced Sweden at this stage and were considered heavy favorites as well. Instead, the Swedes shocked the world with a 4-3 victory to advance to the gold-medal game for the first time.

On Monday, the Americans made it clear from the opening faceoff they had little interest in playing a nail-biting game or letting a dangerous Swedish side hang around, especially after the Swedes upset Finland in the quarterfinals.


With Vlasic-Doughty pairing, Canada's defense set

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 11:23 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Canada coach Mike Babcock will not announce his lineup for the quarterfinals until the morning of the game on Wednesday.

But he settled one aspect of the lineup question rather definitively on Monday.

With two goals allowed in three games, both on shots deflected in front, one area of Canada's game Babcock has no trouble with has been his defense.

The pairings of Duncan Keith and Shea Weber, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Drew Doughty and Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo have remained consistent from the moment Canada stepped off the plane here.


Kessel assuming role as United States' game-breaker

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 10:47 AM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- Phil Kessel had little to say after a night to remember at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Often reticent, Kessel didn't break character after a stunning performance, including a natural hat trick, helped propel the United States to a 5-1 victory against Slovenia in the final game of Group A play Saturday at Shayba Arena. The win gave the Americans a 2-1-0-0 record in pool play and moved them directly into the quarterfinals as group champion, avoiding the always dangerous play-in game.

The Americans play again Wednesday, against the winner of the play-in game Tuesday between Slovakia and the Czech Republic (noon ET, NBCSN).

The United States took Monday off and regrouped a bit while beginning the process of moving forward to the quarterfinal game Wednesday (noon ET). It gives others time to marvel a bit longer at the brilliance Kessel, a star with the Toronto Maple Leafs, put on display Sunday afternoon.


Russia says Kovalchuk OK; focuses on power play

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 10:20 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Ilya Kovalchuk missed Russia's practice Monday, but coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov defused any fears that his star forward would miss the qualification round game against Norway on Tuesday.

"He's OK," Bilyaletdinov said after practice. "Just a rest."

Kovalchuk left his team's Group A game against Slovakia on Sunday with an apparent ankle injury midway through the second period, but returned for the start of the third and scored the clinching goal in the shootout in Russia's 1-0 win.

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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie