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2014 NHL Draft
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Daily Primer Jan. 23: NHL's top two scorers face off

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 11:37 PM / NHL Insider


Sidney Crosby's closest pursuer in the NHL scoring race will have a chance to gain some ground Thursday.

Crosby and John Tavares will oppose each other when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to Nassau Coliseum for a game against the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2). Crosby leads the NHL with 69 points, including a goal in the Penguins' 5-1 home victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Tavares is second with 62 points and had three assists Tuesday in the Islanders' come-from-behind 5-3 victory against the New York Rangers. He has 18 points in 11 games since the start of the new year; Crosby has 10 points in eight 2014 games for the Penguins.

Here's a look at all of the action on a busy Thursday:


Flames to host online video segments in Punjabi

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 7:21 PM / News


The Calgary Flames announced Wednesday they will launch a weekly video on the team's website that will cater to the city's growing Punjabi community. With the launch, the Flames become the first Canadian NHL team with multilingual coverage in a language other than English and French.

The most recent Canadian census shows nearly 1 million Punjabi-speaking people in Canada, making Punjabi the third most-spoken language in the country. The Flames said the Punjabi content on their site is designed not only to serve a growing community within the city but also to expand interest in hockey. Videos will include team and player storylines as well as behind-the-scenes features.


Kings and Leafs swap minor-league forwards

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 7:09 PM / News


The Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday acquired forward Andrew Crescenzi from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brandon Kozun.

Crescenzi, 20, has one goal, two points and 33 penalty minutes in 32 games this season with the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate. Crescenzi has played parts of the past three seasons with the Marlies since turning pro in 2010-11. The native of Thornhill, Ontario, will report to the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings' AHL affiliate.


Kings recall Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Schultz

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 6:20 PM / News


The Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday recalled forward Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Jeff Schultz from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League and assigned forwards Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey to Manchester.

Toffoli, 21, has played in 33 games with the Kings this season, scoring nine goals and 17 points along with four penalty minutes, five game-winning goals and a plus-14 rating. He has 10 goals and 16 points in 13 games with Manchester.


Predators seek offensive boost by acquiring Del Zotto

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 6:05 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile thinks that the way the NHL is going, teams are going to need better-skating defensemen with more offensive upside.

It's how, as general manager of the U.S. Olympic Team, he sought to build the roster for the 2014 Sochi Games. And it's why he traded Kevin Klein, a defensive-minded defenseman, to the New York Rangers on Wednesday for Michael Del Zotto, a younger defenseman who has more offensive upside.

"It's a good comparison," Poile said. "Obviously, the less time you spend in your end, it's a good situation. So to have those defensemen who can either skate the puck out or who can make that first pass to forwards and transition from defense to offense, you're better than most if you're one of the best at that. We think that we have those types of players and that Del Zotto is one of those types of players."


Airplane replays one highlight of Stadium Series

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NBC is bringing the airplane replay back for the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games.

NBC executive producer Sam Flood said on a conference call Thursday that the production teams for the game Saturday at Dodger Stadium and at Yankee Stadium for games Sunday and Wednesday will have the ability to use replays captured from a camera placed in an airplane that will be flying over the venue.

The airplane replay is something NBC has done for most of the NHL's outdoor games.

"The production enhancement is being at a baseball stadium, in the elements with an open sky and an airplane overhead to show you the cool angles," Flood said. "One of our favorite things to do in an outdoor game is show a replay from an airplane. Can't do that indoors."


Avalanche ready to welcome back Tanguay

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 4:56 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

The 34-year-old right wing has missed 36 games with knee and hip injuries he sustained in a Nov. 2 game against the Montreal Canadiens, and he wondered as recently as two weeks ago if he'd be able to play again this season.

"It's such a roller coaster when you're hurt," Tanguay said Wednesday after passing a grueling skating test at the Avalanche's practice facility. "One day you feel good and you think you're going to be back soon, and a couple days later you feel like you're never going to get back. Not as long as two weeks ago I probably would have said the chances (weren't good).


Yankee Stadium crew combats snow, set to paint ice

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- NHL senior manager of facilities operations and ice guru Mike Craig had his crew spending most of Tuesday removing the foot of snow that fell on Yankee Stadium over the course of the evening.

The winter storm put a sizable halt to the work they were hoping to do in preparation for the two games the stadium will host as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, with the New York Rangers facing the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26 and the New York Islanders on Jan. 29.

In fact, there was still plenty of snow to clear when Craig's crew arrived Wednesday morning at 5:30 am. But with a large group volunteering their shoveling services, the snow was eventually cleared, paving the way for the next step in the Yankee Stadium transformation.


Red Wings, Blackhawks learned from epic series

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 3:35 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- It wasn't a Stanley Cup Final, but last season's Western Conference Semifinals series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings was nearly as memorable.

It was also educational for both teams, who will meet for the first of two scheduled games against each other this season Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Detroit's injury situation means the Red Wings won't look much like they did in that classic Stanley Cup Playoff series, but 12 of their healthy players and all of their coaches still have some painful memories left behind.

"We played really well [in that series]," Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith said after his team's morning skate. "I thought we could have wrapped it up, but they’re a great team and obviously they won. There’s a reason why they were able to beat us, because they were the best. We want to come out and prove something, just maybe get redemption. For sure, we want to come out and play our best."

Detroit learned losing a 3-1 series lead, especially to a longtime rival, stings the heart for a long time. Chicago learned winning a series like that, at home in overtime of Game 7, does wonders for a team's confidence.


Rangers deal Del Zotto to Predators for Klein

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 2:30 PM / News


The New York Rangers have traded defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Kevin Klein.

Del Zotto, 23, was taken in the first round (No. 20) by the Rangers in the 2008 NHL Draft. He debuted during the 2009-10 season with nine goals and 37 points in 80 games and set career highs two seasons later with 10 goals and 41 points. This season, Del Zotto had two goals and 11 points in 42 games.

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Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp