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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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Love of game led Daly to Lester Patrick Award

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Bill Daly has done a lot, seen a lot, heard a lot and changed a lot since arriving at the NHL on Dec. 13, 1996, as chief legal officer. He has carved out a career which has made him one of the leaders in the sports world as the NHL's Deputy Commissioner for the past nine years.

But take away the impressive resume and job responsibilities and, at his core, Daly is still a 50-year-old fan who relishes the opportunity to meet the players he admired as a boy attending games at Madison Square Garden with his dad.

"Getting to talk to Stephane Matteau and Jeff Beukeboom recently, that was really cool for me," Daly told NHL.com. "Rod Gilbert, the fact that he recognizes who I am and wants to talk to me, I think that's really cool. Vic Hadfield, we talked one night at a Ranger game and he went out of his way, on his own initiative, to sign a picture and have the Rangers frame it. He gave it to me the next time he saw me. I mean, how cool is that?"

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Survival instincts helped Rafalski to U.S. Hall of Fame

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Former University of Wisconsin men's hockey coach Jeff Sauer vividly recalls the day he reached out to New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello with a little insight on a player he felt destined to make it big.

That player was 5-foot-10 Brian Rafalski, who at the time was considered by scouts an undersized defenseman incapable of handling the rigors of an NHL season.

"Lou told me he was too small and wouldn't be able to stand the physical game," Sauer said. "But four years later he was playing in the NHL and playing for Lou."

Lamoriello confirmed how Rafalski was back on his radar four years after Sauer's recommendation.

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Quote of the Day

For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday