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 Posted: Sun Dec 25th, 2016 06:32 am
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lobo316
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The Arizona faithful love their Auston Matthews and he loves them back.

Following the Toronto Maple Leafs forward's first game at his hometown arena, the 19-year-old - along with Coyotes forward Max Domi - stuck around to sign autographs for local youth hockey players on the ice.

Auston Matthews on the ice with Max Domi for a post-game picture with local youth hockey players. pic.twitter.com/zWzXzGzXFx

— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) December 24, 2016
In all upwards of 500 thrilled fans stuck around to meet two of the city's biggest stars, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.

The present and the future. #AllAZ pic.twitter.com/roVLIr2BsJ

— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 24, 2016
Matthews finished the game with an assist and three shots as his club skated away with a 4-1 victory.

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 Posted: Tue Dec 27th, 2016 06:13 am
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lobo316
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Mike Sullivan got some security for Christmas.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed their head coach to a three-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season, vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford announced Monday.

Sullivan took over the Penguins' job last season with the club outside the playoff picture, and guided Pittsburgh to a 33-16-5 finish, topped with a Stanley Cup victory after a dominant playoff run.

"Mike did the best coaching job in the NHL last season," Rutherford said. "He continues to be a terrific coach and we are happy to give him a well-deserved extension."

Since Sullivan arrived, he's gotten the most out of his best player, Sidney Crosby, who's erased any prior doubts of his production, scoring 104 points in 81 games under Sullivan.

This season, Sullivan's Penguins sit second in the NHL with 49 points, with a 22-8-5 record through 35 games.

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 Posted: Tue Dec 27th, 2016 06:15 am
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lobo316
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The NHL's No. 1 star of the week is exactly who you thought it would be.

Florida Panthers forward and all-time NHL legend Jaromir Jagr took home this week's honors, after recording five assists in three games, propelling him past Mark Messier and into second place on the league's all-time scoring list with 1,889 points. The 44-year-old is second on the Panthers with 21 points in 31 games.

Jeff Carter's scoring tear earned him the second star, as the Los Angeles Kings center scored five goals in three games, resulting in two wins. Carter leads the Kings in points (29) and is tied for second in the NHL with 19 goals this season. His prominence in Los Angeles' attack is a major reason they're holding on to a wild-card position in the west.

Lastly, Edmonton Oilers netminder Cam Talbot is the third star this week after achieving a 2-0-1 record with a 2.26 goals against average and .926 save percentage. Talbot leads all goalies with 32 starts this season.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2016 07:27 am
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lobo316
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Things are not looking up for the Vancouver Canucks.

Head coach Willie Desjardins announced forward Jannik Hansen is out with a knee injury and will be sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks.

Hansen has recorded five goals and four assists in 18 games, and will be missed on a roster that's already struggling to create offense.

The injury is believed to have been suffered during a game against Winnipeg on Dec. 22.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2016 07:28 am
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lobo316
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Winning is good for business.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are evidence of this lately, especially in terms of television rights holders.


According to Fox Sports Ohio, Columbus' 7-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday was viewed in about 38,000 homes in the region. In the final 30 minutes of the broadcast, the number of viewing households jumped to 55,000.

The game's 4.1 household rating, or the percent of total households that tuned in to the game, was the highest regular-season rating the club has drawn in seven years, per Evan Weese of Columbus Business First.

The Blue Jackets have not generated those kind of viewing numbers since clinching their first playoff berth in a game against Chicago back in 2009.

Columbus vaulted into a tie with the Blackhawks for first in the overall standings with the win in front of a sellout crowd of 19,113, and will host the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.

For the time being, many eyes are on this suddenly successful team.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2016 07:30 am
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lobo316
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Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly is out indefinitely after undergoing an appendectomy over the holiday break, the team announced.

The procedure reportedly took place Dec. 25, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.

The injury isn't without precedent, as a few players suffered the same malady in recent memory. Max Pacioretty missed four games in 2013 following an appendectomy, while Jamie Benn was forced to sit five games in 2012.

More recently, Corey Crawford was sidelined for over three weeks.

O'Reilly's absence, therefore, may not be long term.

Bylsma said 10-14 days for ROR to get past the procedure and then start a return to play schedule. So probably a 3-week issue. #Sabres

— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) December 27, 2016
In 25 games, he recorded seven goals and 11 assists as arguably one of Buffalo's most important players.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2016 07:36 am
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lobo316
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Columbus BJ's beat the Bruins 4-3 tonight.
13 in a row. Torts & the players can do no wrong.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2016 05:57 pm
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lobo316
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Another day, another goal for Sidney Crosby.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain reached the quarter-century mark on Tuesday, collecting the game-winner as the Penguins swept past the New Jersey Devils, 5-2.

For Crosby, the goal extended his current goal-scoring streak to four games and his point streak to five - nothing new there.

But what would be new is if Crosby were able to keep up such a streak for the remainder of the regular season. Crosby is currently on pace to hit 63 goals this season which would be far and away the highest total of his career.

Crosby's highest goal total is 51 which he collected during the 2009-10 season, meaning the 29-year-old is on pace to eclipse his previous career best by 12 goals.

Should Crosby hit that figure, it would be the highest total since Alex Ovechkin netted 65 goals in 2008. It would also mark the best single-season tally for the Penguins since Mario Lemieux put up 69 during the 1995-96 campaign.

Crosby is playing out of his mind this season, and if he keeps it up he'll even outdo himself.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2016 11:19 pm
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lobo316
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The Nashville Predators will be without defenseman P.K. Subban for at least the next two games.

Subban was unable to skate Wednesday due to an upper-body injury that's sidelined him for the past five games, and he'll therefore miss Thursday's home game against Chicago and Friday's date in St. Louis.

Nashville's next game after that is Jan. 3 at home to Montreal, one that has been circled on the calendar since this past summer's Shea Weber trade.

Speaking to 102.5 FM in Nashville on Tuesday, general manager David Poile neither confirmed nor denied a report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman that Subban is dealing with a herniated disc.

"We do everything we can to protect the player," Poile said, per NHL.com. "I say almost every team just announces their injuries as either an upper- or lower-body injury. That's because when a player comes back, he's not always 100 percent, and if you knew exactly what was wrong with the player, a player on another team might go after that body part to see if they could re-injure it."

Poile added Subban was scheduled to meet with doctors Tuesday to evaluate the situation.

Subban has not played since Dec. 15 after recording seven goals and 10 assists in his first 29 games with the Predators.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 04:38 am
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lobo316
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The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to a contract extension with forward Artemi Panarin, according to multiple reports and as first reported by Scott Powers of The Athletic.

According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the deal is for two years and will pay Panarin an annual average of $6 million.

The 25-year-old is in the final year of his two-year deal and was set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. He currently holds a $3.5-million cap hit.

Since joining the league last season, Panarin has quickly become a core piece on the Blackhawks' roster. He captured the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie last season after putting up 30 goals and 77 points in 80 games and has the fourth-most points league-wide since his inception last season.

Early this campaign he is on pace to eclipse last year's totals, having amassed 15 goals and 37 points in 37 games.

The contract could impose some more cap juggling by management, but in the meantime, Stan Bowman and company have secured an important part of their team going forward.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 04:39 am
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lobo316
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The Pittsburgh Penguins' defensive depth will be tested yet again.

Brian Dumoulin will miss four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery for a broken jaw, the club announced Wednesday.

Dumoulin was hit by an errant shot during Tuesday's win over New Jersey.

He joins Kris Letang (lower body), Trevor Daley (upper body), and Olli Maatta (illness) on the Penguins' injured list, with Justin Schultz and Ian Cole left to lead the charge.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 04:41 am
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lobo316
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The Los Angeles Kings will continue to trek on without forward Tyler Toffoli in the lineup.

The 24-year-old - who has missed the team's last two games with a lower-body injury - was placed on the injured reserve on Wednesday, the team announced.

The news is not good for the Kings who are already deprived of goals, having averaged the 20th most in the league at just 2.53 per game. In fact, besides Jeff Carter's 19 goals, no other Kings player has more than Toffoli's eight.

The Kings cling to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, and Nashville Predators - all within two points.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 09:55 pm
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lobo316
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At last, a level playing field.

After a concussion sidelined Sidney Crosby for the first six games of the season, his assumed successor for the "greatest player in the world" title, Connor McDavid, begun his ascension to the top of the NHL's points race.

Now, just before the calendar turns to 2017, the two are deadlocked at the top.

Before Crosby had played a game, McDavid had jumped out to a nine-point cushion. That's quickly evaporated, largely in part to No. 87's scorching goal production.

Crosby is on pace for 64 goals, easily a career high, and the highest total in the NHL since Alex Ovechkin netted 65 in 2007-08.

McDavid, meanwhile, has been the catalyst for most of Edmonton's offense, but has slowed down a touch. After scoring 19 points in November, McDavid has just 11 points in 12 December games.

So, that said, who do you pick?

If both Crosby and McDavid play every remaining game on their respective schedules, at their current paces, the totals favor No. 87.

Crosby's league-leading points-per-game rate (1.35) projects him to score 102 points over 76 games, while McDavid's (1.17) puts him on pace for just under 96 in 82 contests.

Keep in mind, the 90-point threshold has been surpassed only twice in the past three seasons. This season's stretch run is shaping up to be an entertaining one.

With more than half the season still to play, streaks and projections will trend toward both ends of the spectrum. But as long as both Crosby and McDavid - the sport's two biggest names - are healthy and competing, NHL fans are in for a treat.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 09:57 pm
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lobo316
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Believe it or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs may have found a goalie. Finally.

After failing to employ a consistent No. 1 since the days of Ed Belfour, the Maple Leafs orchestrated a trade over the summer to acquire Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks, and quickly tabbed him as their go-to with a five-year, $25-million extension.

But, like the Andrew Raycrofts and Vesa Toskalas before him, Andersen's start in Toronto was a nightmare. Through his first five games, the 27-year-old owned an ugly .848 save percentage, allowing 22 goals along the way.

However, unlike those before him, Andersen bounced back in grand fashion.

In 24 games since a seven-goal shellacking versus Tampa Bay, Andersen boasts a .939 save percentage, a 2.07 goals-against average, and a 14-7-3 record. Pretty good.

The more you shrink it down, the better it gets.

Frederik Andersen has a .946 save percentage in his last 16 games. Only Dubnyk is better: .947.

— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 29, 2016
Andersen has been busy, as the Leafs allow 32.8 shots per game, third highest in the NHL. For the season, though, he ranks seventh among all goalies in save percentage (.927).

For a young, high-scoring team like the Maple Leafs, improved goaltending was a necessity. Lately, Andersen has given Toronto a chance every night, and it's resulted in three straight wins and a move up the Eastern Conference standings.

The spotlight in Toronto has mostly been directed toward Auston Matthews and the Leafs' array of rookie talents, but without the play of Andersen, none of it would matter.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 09:57 pm
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The St. Louis Blues have signed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to a two-year contract extension, the club announced Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the contract secures the 27-year-old through the 2018-19 season.

In 11 games with the Blues this year, Bortuzzo has two points, whileaveraging over 13 minutes per contest.

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