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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.

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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.

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Rangers deal Del Zotto to Predators for Klein

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 2:30 PM / News

NHL.com

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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Historic storm produced history for Devils in '87

Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 9:00 AM / History

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The game between the Calgary Flames and the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 22, 1987 wasn't expected to be a historic affair. But close to two feet of snow descending on the tri-state area turned it into one of the most unusual evenings in the history of the National Hockey League.

The Devils expected 11,247 fans -- the number of tickets sold -- for the game. But with horrible weather causing severe traffic congestion, only 334 fans made it to the arena, which is believed to be the lowest-attended game in modern NHL history.

For players and fans in attendance at that 7-5 Devils win, it inspired a unique club -- the Devils formed the 334 Club to honor those diehards -- as well as a bond that remains 27 years later.

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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