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Around the League notebook: Thursday, Nov. 19

Friday, 11.20.2015 / 9:34 AM / News

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Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scored his 484th career goal in a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars and passed Sergei Fedorov, who was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, for the most goals by a Russian-born player in NHL history. Ovechkin reached the milestone in his 777th career game, 471 fewer than Fedorov played in his NHL career (1,248 GP).

* Earlier this season, Ovechkin (484-428—912) became the fourth Russian-born player to reach 900 NHL points, following Fedorov (483-696—1,179), Alexander Mogilny (473-559—1,032) and Alex Kovalev (430-599—1,029).

* Fedorov was wearing a Capitals uniform when he overtook Mogilny for the most goals by a Russian-born player, scoring goals No. 474 and 475 in Washington's 6-5 overtime win at Dallas on Oct. 25, 2008, the same opponent Ovechkin faced Thursday.

Super 16: Stars making goaltending tandem work

Friday, 11.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff has no intention of putting a No. 1 goalie label on either Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen any time soon, if ever.

"I told them at the start of the year if they're playing well they're both going to play," Ruff said.

Lehtonen and Niemi have equally split the starts through 20 games this season, which wasn't intentional but is a byproduct of how they're playing, Ruff said.

Dallas entered its game Thursday against the Washington Capitals with 30 points, first in the Central Division, arguably the deepest and toughest division in the NHL this season.

Alex Ovechkin becomes top Russian goal-scorer

Friday, 11.20.2015 / 12:08 AM / News

Katie Brown - Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- When Alex Ovechkin scored his 484th NHL goal Thursday against the Dallas Stars at Verizon Center, breaking a tie with Sergei Fedorov for most goals by a Russian-born player, the pass came from Nicklas Backstrom.

Seven years ago, Backstrom did the same for Fedorov.

Ovechkin's record-setting goal came against the Stars, just as Fedorov's did on Oct. 25, 2008. Fedorov played 70 games with the Capitals at the end of his NHL career and is a mentor and friend to Ovechkin.

"Without my teammates I would never accomplish that," Ovechkin said. "Good moment, but unfortunately we lost the game."

Eric Staal prefers to re-sign with Hurricanes: report

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 5:26 PM / News

Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, who can become a free agent after this season, said Thursday he would like to stay but admitted not making the Stanley Cup Playoffs lately has been difficult.

"I would like to [re-sign]. I haven't talked a lot about anything, to be honest," Staal told "Hockey Central." "Obviously there's decisions that need to be made moving forward."

Staal is in the last year of his contract, worth $8.25 million, according to, and has a no-trade clause. He said general manager Ron Francis has not approached him with a contract offer or trade request.

Islanders' Hamonic cites family matter for trade ask

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 1:20 PM / News

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- It seemed like a routine practice day for New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic on Thursday. He was smiling and joking with his teammates, the same way he always does.

The difference, though, was this was about an hour after he addressed the news with them reported Wednesday by Sportsnet that he requested a trade to Islanders general manager Garth Snow prior to the start of the season. Hamonic wants to be traded somewhere closer to his Winnipeg home for personal reasons.

"I would have liked to have the chance to talk to them and not have them seen it online first, but it is what it is and those things can't be changed, unfortunately," Hamonic said Thursday. "It was difficult. I guess you can ask them, but they were certainly very understanding of a personal situation, as I hope anyone would be in this situation.

"Those are guys you go to war with. Some of those guys I've been playing with for six years and really know really well. [Capuano] always talks about a brotherhood in there and everything else, but it certainly is. (I was) just explaining what was going on. It was probably one of the more difficult conversations I think I've had in life. It certainly wasn't easy, but they've been there for me for many years now in different situations in my life and my career and they've certainly been there this morning."

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Markstrom can steal time

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, fantasy hockey staff writer David Satriano provides in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Satriano is your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

When the Vancouver Canucks traded Cory Schneider and then Roberto Luongo in recent seasons, there were questions about who their current goalie, let alone goalie of the future, would be. Eddie Lack appeared to have the job lined up but then he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2015 NHL Draft.

That left the job to Ryan Miller, in his second season with the Canucks. Miller missed time last season with a knee injury and was 29-15-1 with six shutouts, a 2.53 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 45 games. This season, he's started 17 of 20 games, but only has five wins (5-7-5). His save percentage is identical to a season ago, and his goals-against average is very close (2.51).

Miller is owned in 89 percent of Yahoo leagues, mainly because he's a No. 1 goalie, but for how long will that last? Vancouver opted to keep backup Jacob Markstrom over Lack. Markstrom was injured in preseason and has allowed seven goals (three at even strength) in two games this season (1-0-1) but will definitely see more action.

Panthers defenseman Kulikov out 2-4 weeks: report

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 11:45 AM / News

Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov won't need surgery for his knee injury but is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, according to The Miami Herald.

Kulikov sustained the injury Saturday in a 5-4 shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed the Panthers' 1-0 win against the Lightning in the back end of a home-and-home on Monday.

Kulikov, 25, has three assists in 17 games this season.

Unmasked: More shots the better for NHL goalies

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Ask Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby about the hardest part of his job and he doesn't talk about staring down breakaways or being on the other end of Alex Ovechkin one-timers in practice.

Holtby doesn't talk about seeing 50-plus shots either. That's because the fewer shots he faces, the more difficult his job is.

"It's probably the hardest thing to do as a goalie," Holtby said.

At a time when NHL teams and players are increasingly measured by how many shots they put toward the net, it's interesting to consider that less can actually be more for those charged with stopping them.

Youth, improved metrics suggest Sabres are better

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - Correspondent

When the Dallas Stars played the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, it was a game between the NHL's two most improved teams.

It ended with a 3-1 Dallas victory, denying Buffalo a chance to go over .500 for the first time since Jan. 24, 2013.

Buffalo's 8-9-1 record is a big improvement from the three previous seasons, when it stood at 6-11-1, 3-14-1, and 3-13-2. More importantly, it is good enough to be squarely in the mix in the tight Atlantic Division.

In terms of goal differential, the Stars' two-goal victory earned them the distinction of being the only team to improve by a wider margin than the Sabres this season, relative to where teams were on Nov. 18, 2014.

Erie's DeBrincat following in McDavid's footsteps

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Every Thursday, will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

It may surprise some to learn Erie Otters forward Alex DeBrincat has something in common with Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.

When DeBrincat was awarded the Ontario Hockey League's rookie of the year in 2014-15, he joined McDavid as the only other player in Otters history to win the trophy.

It's a pretty remarkable feat when you consider DeBrincat, of Farmington Hills, Mich., wasn't even considered among 299 picks in the 2013 OHL draft but later signed with the Otters as a free agent by way of Lake Forest Academy in Chicago in April 2014.

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Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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