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Latest Headlines

Outdoor game evokes memories for Canucks' Higgins

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Chris Higgins didn't just grow up skating on frozen ponds along the north shore of Long Island, N.Y.

He survived it.


As Higgins joined his Vancouver Canucks teammates in reminiscing about their childhood memories of outdoor hockey in anticipation of the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), there was one that jumped out for him. And although Higgins was laughing as he shared the story, his fall through thin ice when he was 8 years old was a little more serious at the time.

Higgins said he could see it in his father's eyes, and Robert Higgins, a New York City firefighter, doesn't scare easy.


Rivalry Night Faceoff: Smith vs. Hodgson

Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

To help celebrate NBC Rivalry Night, NHL.com will look at a rivalry within the rivalry of the featured game on Wednesday nights. For this week we are wondering which emerging young forward, Reilly Smith of the Boston Bruins or Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres, would be the best option around which to build a team.

Reilly Smith was taken by the Dallas Stars with the 69th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft. He appeared in three games for the Stars near the end of the 2011-12 season after scoring 30 goals in 39 games for the Miami University.

Smith split his first full professional season between Dallas and the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. The right wing experienced more success in the AHL with 14 goals and 21 assists in 45 games; he also had three goals and nine points in 37 NHL games.


Penguins' Crosby remains Hart Trophy favorite

Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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

It hasn't seemed to matter who his linemates are, or what kind of teammates he's been on the ice with. All Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has done is produce and help his team win games.

And with a daily injury report that has at times read like an all-star game roster, and a Penguins roster that at times has featured as many American Hockey League players as NHL, Crosby has shown this season why he's the best -- and most valuable player -- in the League.


Gaborik eager to return to Blue Jackets' lineup

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 10:55 PM / News


The Columbus Blue Jackets won't confirm that forward Marian Gaborik will be back in the lineup Thursday night when they resume play against the New Jersey Devils, but he's preparing as if he will take the ice.

Gaborik has missed the past 22 games after breaking his collarbone on Dec. 21. But he was medically cleared for contact last week, has been practicing with the team since Feb. 19 and says he feels better with each passing day.

"Obviously games are totally different than practice, and it's hard to mimic a lot of things in practice," Gaborik told the Blue Jackets website. "But I feel good enough to jump back in and have a good practice tomorrow, then we'll go from there."


Islanders' Tavares won't need surgery, out 8 weeks

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 7:05 PM / News


The moment John Tavares was hit by Latvia defenseman Arturs Kulda at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the New York Islanders captain knew something was wrong.

"I just felt like there was some movement. Right away, I just didn't feel good," Tavares, who was representing Canada, told reporters at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday. "But then I got up and skated to the bench and I was like, 'OK, I was able to skate to the bench.' Our therapist then asked me to try just a couple of standing tests and that's when I realized I might be a little unstable and probably need to get checked out."

The initial thought was Tavares would need surgery, but after a visit with the Islanders' medical staff Monday, he learned it would not be required. However, New York's leading scorer (24 goals and 66 points in 59 games) is expected to miss 8-12 weeks with a torn MCL and torn meniscus in his left knee.

With the Islanders 14 points out of a wild-card Stanley Cup Playoff spot with 22 games to go, it's likely Tavares won't play again until October. But because he won't need surgery, he's expecting to be able to train throughout the summer and prepare normally for camp in September.


Past and present Canucks surprise students

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For a couple of fourth-grade classes, a Tuesday field trip to skate on the outdoor rink at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver was already a nice escape from the classroom. With the sun melting away the last remnants of two days of snow, it was hard to imagine a better way to spend the day.

But when members of the Vancouver Canucks 1994 Stanley Cup Final team arrived unannounced to skate with the kids, it got even better. When injured Canucks center Mike Santorelli joined them and mascot Finn arrived to hand out tickets to the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on Sunday, a perfect day was complete for the students from Strawberry Hill Elementary.


Canucks' Lack honors Swedish heritage with mask

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Eddie Lack pays tribute to the 1915 Stanley Cup-winning Vancouver Millionaires with his new goaltending equipment for the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic to be played Sunday (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But the Vancouver Canucks backup goaltender saved his new mask to honor other Swedish players who have played for the franchise.

Painted by David Gunnarsson of DaveArt Designs, Lack's new mask features pictures of former captain Markus Naslund and longtime defenseman Mattias Ohlund on one side, with Thomas Gradin, who works for the Canucks as a scout, and goalie Johan Hedberg on the other. Instead of a portrait, Hedberg is represented by his old mask, which also was painted by Gunnarsson.

Lack has some explaining to do, however, after he put current captain Henrik Sedin and twin brother Daniel on the back of the mask, which also features Lack's dad and the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.

"I explained to Henrik they are still active players and once they retire, they are in the front," Lack said with a smile.


NHL Trophies to be on display at BC Sports Hall of Fame in celebration of 2014 NHL Heritage Classic

Stanley Cup will join exhibition March 1-2


NEW YORK – The NHL Trophies are coming to Vancouver in conjunction with the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic game between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks. From Wednesday, Feb. 26, through Sunday, March 2, visitors to the BC Sports Hall of Fame will get a closer look at all of hockey's most prized trophies, including the Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player to his team), Vezina Trophy (top goaltender), Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie), James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenseman) and more.

On Saturday, March 1 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. PT, the most recognizable trophy in sports – the Stanley Cup – will join the NHL Trophy display at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and remain there through the conclusion of the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic.

On Sunday, March 2, ticketholders to the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will gain free entry into the BC Sports Hall of Fame to take in this inspiring display.


Blackhawks have high hopes for Regin at center

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 4:57 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It has the potential to be another of those under-the-radar trades that makes Stan Bowman look brilliant down the road.

The Chicago Blackhawks general manager traded a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to the New York Islanders on Feb. 6 to acquire a couple of forwards who have NHL experience playing center.

Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are now Blackhawks assets, with Regin starting out in Chicago and Bouchard playing for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Regin is likely to start by getting a shot to play with Patrick Kane on a highly talented second line.


Canucks' Henrik Sedin expected to play Wednesday

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 4:53 PM / News


Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday when the team plays the St. Louis Blues, according to coach John Tortorella.

Sedin missed the Canucks' final two games and eight of the past 10 before the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a rib injury. The ailment caused the Swedish forward to sit out the entire Olympic tournament.

The Vancouver captain missed practice this week for personal reasons but Tortorella confirmed Tuesday that Sedin would be back in the lineup against the Blues. The Canucks coach did not have any further information about center Ryan Kesler, who has undergone an MRI after sustaining a hand injury in Sochi and is considered day-to-day.

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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery