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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2016 08:00 pm
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lobo316



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The Toronto Maple Leafs are finally giving back.
The club is planning the pregame ceremony to end all pregame ceremonies ahead of Saturday's home opener against the Boston Bruins, as the curtain rises in Toronto on the Maple Leafs' centennial season.
Fans are being urged to be in their seats no later than 5:30 p.m. ET, and in order to make that happen, the Maple Leafs will gift those with a ticket a free beer courtesy of Molson Canadian.
The #leafs have grand plans for tomorrow's pre-game ceremony. Details are being kept under lock and key. Expect it to be momentous, though.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 14, 2016
For those puckheads heading to the game who are also Toronto Blue Jays fans, the club will be showing Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians, which gets going at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
The ceremony will be broadcast on "Hockey Night in Canada."

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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2016 08:01 pm
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lobo316



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The Anaheim Ducks locked up Rickard Rakell on Friday, signing the restricted free agent forward to a six-year contract extension, as first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie.

The club didn't disclose financial details of the deal, but it's worth $22.8 million, according to McKenzie.

Rakell scored 20 goals and 43 points in 72 games last year, establishing career highs across the board. He also led Anaheim in even-strength points rate, contributing 1.90 points per 60 minutes.

With the six-year investment, the Ducks get another accurately valued and very reasonable number on their payroll. Rakell will earn just a shade more than Jakob Silfverberg, another young top-six forward locked up long term who contributed just slightly less offensively.

But the deal almost certainly means another shoe will drop. Anaheim, which works on a budget, still has No. 1 defender Hampus Lindholm as an outstanding restricted free agent, and is currently listed just under the $74-million salary cap, according to General Fanager. Cam Fowler, another member of that talented blue line, is among names linked to a potential deal involving a big-money contract.

Rakell, meanwhile, is still in Sweden and is not expected to be in the lineup for another two weeks as he sorts out visa issues.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2016 08:02 pm
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lobo316



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Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane is expected to miss weeks with three cracked ribs after taking a nasty spill into the boards during the team's season opener Thursday, head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed.


Kane took the spill late in the second period of Thursday's contest in a race for the puck with Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin.

He had to be helped off the ice, and was taken to a nearby hospital.

The news gets worse for the Sabres, who earlier in the day announced that forward Jack Eichel would miss weeks after sustaining a high-ankle sprain in practice on Wednesday.

On the bright side after missing the opener with an ailing knee injury, forward Kyle Okposo will likely dress Sunday when the Sabres tangle with the Edmonton Oilers.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2016 08:58 pm
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lobo316



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Auston Matthews made history in his NHL debut on Wednesday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs rookie set a League record with four goals in his first game, including a natural hat-trick on his first three shots.

But now, he’s done something even more extraordinary: He forced NBCSN to add a game to its schedule involving a Canadian franchise!

The U.S. NHL rights-holder announced that the Maple Leafs’ home opener against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night has been added to the schedule, replacing the “Sprint Cup Series: Hollywood Casino 400, Final Practice,” which is apparently what is scheduled on a Saturday night on NBCSN.

The Leafs/Bruins game was originally scheduled to air on NHL Network.

This is … unexpected? Awesome?

Both?

Due to the futility of Canadian teams, some of the best (and most fascinating) young players in the NHL currently reside north of the border: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Johnny Gaudreau. Two of the three are American – NBC made mention in its press release that Matthews is “a native of Scottsdale, Arizona – and the other is inarguably the most hyped young player in hockey since Sidney Crosby.

And yet the combined number of games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames on the NBC/NBCSN preseason schedule: One. That’s the Leafs’ outdoor game against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 1.

Now, thanks to Auston Matthews, make it two.

This concept seems so maddening simple, doesn’t it? Step 1: Take great young player on Canadian team. Step 2: Add ratings-driving U.S. team. Step 3: Offer great product to your audience while exposing them to players and teams beyond the same 8-10 ones that are always on.

But the ratings margins are so minuscule for NBCSN, they don’t book Canadian teams out of necessity. Case in point: The St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks game on Wednesday night had a 0.74 overnight rating, the fourth-best for an NHL game on NBCSN, but slightly down from last season. And less than a million viewers.

So, again, what Matthews as done here is extraordinary: With one performance – that made him a 24-hour trending topic and got him noticed on the “Today” show on NBC – he willed NBCSN to add a Saturday night game featuring a Canadian team.

Now that’s Calder Trophy material …

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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2016 01:48 am
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lobo316



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Leafs beat the Bruins 4-1. No goals or assists for Auston. Get rid of da bum.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2016 07:52 pm
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Chalk up another accolade for Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid. The superstar center was named the NHL's first star of the week Monday, after scoring six points in three games to open the season. McDavid notched two goals, including the game-winner, in the team's season opener against the rival Calgary Flames.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, was named the league's second star of the week. The 19-year-old had a record-breaking debut, scoring four goals in his first NHL game. Matthews notched the fourth tally with three seconds remaining in just the second period.

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo has been named the NHL's third star of the week. The 37-year-old grabbed a pair of wins to start the season, posting a .957 save percentage through two games. His second win marked the 438th victory of his career, pushing him past Jacques Plante for sixth place on the NHL's all-time wins list.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2016 07:54 pm
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It's the end of an era for the Detroit Red Wings.

As the team plays its home opener Monday, it marks the beginning of the final chapter at the iconic Joe Louis Arena - home to the Red Wings since 1979.

The team is set to move into its new home next season, the Little Caesars Arena, but will first bask in the final year at The Joe, the old barn that oversaw the Red Wings become the NHL's model of success.

Under the tutelage of general manager Ken Holland, at the helm since 1997, the Red Wings have established a winning culture, as evidenced by the club's 25 straight postseason berths, including four Stanley Cup wins over that time.

The Joe has also been the only home to team owner Mike Ilitch, who bought the Red Wings in 1982. Under his watch, the Red Wings have missed the postseason on just three occasions.

“It just had a special feeling, that the crowd was going to help you as much as they could,” Scotty Bowman told Gregg Krupa of The Detroit News.

Bowman, of course, is the legendary bench boss who coached the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup championships.

The first Cup, in 1997, ended a 42-year drought for the Red Wings. The next, in 1998, stands as the NHL's most recent back-to-back championship. He won his third with the Red Wings in 2002, and captured a fourth in 2008 as part of Detroit's front office.

In addition to Stanley Cups, Red Wings fans have witnessed many a star grace The Joe over the years, from former captain Steve Yzerman to elite blue-liner Niklas Lidstrom, as well as star forwards Sergei Fedorov and the recently departed Pavel Datsyuk.

On Monday, the Red Wings host the Ottawa Senators in what will be their final home opener at The Joe. No doubt the franchise that defined excellence will look to begin its "Farewell Season" on the right note.

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2016 12:01 am
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lobo316



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The Great One sees greatness in Connor McDavid.

Speaking with The Globe and Mail, the NHL's all-time leading score didn't hold back on his adulation.

"I don't think there's any question that Connor's the best 19-year-old hockey player I've ever seen and I saw (Mark) Messier, I saw (Mario) Lemieux, I saw (Guy) Lafleur," Gretzky said. "This kid is special."

Gretzky - who earlier this month was named vice-chair of Oilers Entertainment Group - will now have the opportunity to observe McDavid up close.

"Now, it's going to take time. He's still only 19," Gretzky continued. "But he has everything in place to become the best player in the National Hockey League and go on to win some championships for the Edmonton Oilers."

By scoring six points in the first two games of the season, McDavid became the first Oilers player to do so since 1987. That feat was last accomplished by, of course, Gretzky. And on Monday, McDavid was named the NHL's first star of the week as a result.

It's one of many accolades that Gretzky sees on McDavid's horizon, noting that championships are what separates the greats from the truly elite. Gretzky captained the Oilers to four Stanley Cups and believes McDavid has an exceptional opportunity to return hockey's Holy Grail to Edmonton for the first time since 1990.

"But what I'm saying is if you want to get that elite status where they say you're Bobby Orr or you're Jean Beliveau to me you've got to win a Stanley Cup," Gretzky said. "Winning a Stanley Cup is important and you should never lose sight of that fact."

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2016 12:45 pm
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500th career NHL goal for Marian Hossa #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/AHt71RNg5v

— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) October 19, 2016
Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa made NHL history Tuesday night, scoring his 500th career goal with a second-period tally versus the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hossa, well on his way to the Hockey Hall of Fame, is the 44th player in league history to accomplish the feat.

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2016 11:24 pm
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The Los Angeles Kings are preparing to be without Jonathan Quick for the long haul.

General manager Dean Lombardi said Wednesday he expects the goaltender to be out for "about three months," according to Lisa Dillman of The Los Angeles Times.

A Kings' hockey operations staffer told Dillman Quick didn't have surgery, instead opting for a minor procedure Tuesday.

The goalie's timetable is now indefinite - which differs from his original week-to-week timetable - and there are no immediate plans to place him on long-term injured reserve.

Related: 3 goalies the Kings should target in Quick's absence

On Friday, Lombardi said Quick's injury is in the same area as the groin strain he dealt with in 2013.

The 30-year-old was forced to depart in the second period of the season opener last Wednesday.

Jeff Zatkoff has allowed nine goals in two starts since Quick's injury.

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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 02:50 pm
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The Pittsburgh Penguins locked up goaltender Matt Murray on a three-year, $11.25-million contract extension Thursday, the team announced.

The 22-year-old inked the deal, which will pay him an annual average of $3.75 million, after proving his worth in his first real taste of the NHL last season.

The club's third-round pick in 2012 made his debut playing in 13 regular season games, posting a 9-2-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

However, it's in the postseason where Murray proved he could be the Penguins' goalie of the future. The Thunder Bay, Ontario, native carried Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup win thanks to a 15-6 record with a 2.08 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

Murray, who's recovering from a broken hand suffered while backstopping Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey, had his first practice with the team since going down with the injury on Wednesday, and, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, should be in game shape within the next couple of weeks.

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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 02:53 pm
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"Laine's better!"

The chants reverberated true at MTS Centre on Wednesday night.

Patrik Laine outshone Auston Matthews in the first meeting between the top two selections from last summer's draft, completing a hat trick in overtime with a bullet shot over the shoulder of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen.

You're going to want to hear this. pic.twitter.com/3CKO0xeRMf

— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) October 20, 2016
Factoring in Matthews' miss on a breakaway literally seconds prior, this highlight will live on reels throughout the season. But there was much more in Laine's performance on the big stage, on a night when Winnipeg erased a four-goal deficit for the first time in franchise history.

The No. 2 pick, suddenly tight-lipped after telling everyone he was the better prospect throughout the draft process, had fans taunting Matthews after his first goal on a tremendous turnaround snipe one minute into the third period. Then after Mark Scheifele brought the Jets to within one in a final frame dominated by the Jets, Laine clapped in the game-tying goal on the power play with 55 seconds left.

With his hat trick, Laine has tied Matthews, who has one assist since scoring four times in his NHL debut, in both goals and points in the rookie scoring race, making certain his name is included when raving about the immense talent taking over the NHL.

"Both of those players are special," Scheifele told Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. "I guess it was Laine's turn today."

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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 04:36 pm
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The wait is over.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will make his season debut Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes as he returns after a lengthy battle with the flu, head coach Michel Therrien announced.

Price missed the club's first three games of the season after a flu bug left him quarantined in his own home and caused him to lose between seven and eight pounds.

The former Vezina Trophy winner returned to practice on Wednesday where Therrien admitted he couldn't wait to have Price back in the net.

Al Montoya took on the starting roll in Price's absence and fared admirably posting a 2-0-1 record with a 1.3 goals-against average, a .962 save percentage, and one shutout.

Price's start will mark his first with the Canadiens since Nov. 25 of last year after he suffered a devastating MCL sprain that caused him to miss the rest of the season.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 23rd, 2016 03:47 am
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After exiting Friday's contest following a hard collision with the goal post, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will miss "about a month," head coach Joel Quenneville announced.

The 25-year-old was reportedly seen wearing a sling on his arm, and the Blackhawks are calling it an upper-body injury.

TvR right arm injury pic.twitter.com/ng8R8gCpiH

— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 22, 2016
Van Riemsdyk has suited up in only two of Chicago's five games so far this season, yet to find the scoresheet.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 23rd, 2016 03:49 am
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CHICAGO - Jonathan Toews and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night after Chicago came back with two late goals to force overtime.

Artem Anisimov scored his second goal of the game on a rebound with 2:28 left to cut it to 4-3, then Richard Panik knocked in a loose puck in front of the goal 60 seconds later.

Anisimov connected as Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling was heading to the bench for an extra attacker. Darling was on the bench when Panik tied it.

Toronto rookie William Nylander scored twice for his first multi-goal game, with his second goal putting the Maple Leafs ahead 4-2 early in the third. But Toronto blew a lead in the final period for the third straight game and failed again to win at Chicago for the first time since February 2003.

James van Riemsdyk scored a tie-breaking goal late in the second period and Tyler Bozak also connected for Toronto. Rookie Auston Matthews, the NHL's top 2016 draft pick, set up both of Nylander's goals and had the lone Toronto goal in the shootout.

Rookie Tyler Motte also scored for Chicago. Motte connected for the second straight game after getting his first NHL goal in a 3-2 loss at Columbus on Friday.

Chicago's Brian Campbell had three assists.

Toronto's Frederik Andersen made 31 saves through overtime. Darling blocked 30 shots.

Chicago forward Marian Hossa returned to the lineup after missing Friday's game. He scored his 500th NHL goal in a 7-4 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday, but left in the third period after blocking a shot.

Anisimov opened the scoring 3:36 in, completing a 2-on-1 break created when Panarin beat Nazem Kadri with a nifty move after entering the Toronto zone. Panarin drew several Leafs defenders to him, then dished to Anisimov who one-timed a shot from the right circle.

Bozak tied it 1-1 with 14 seconds left in the first on a deflection from the slot despite being covered. Jake Gardiner's low shot ticked off Bozak's stick.

Nylander's power-play goal at 9:28 second put Toronto ahead 2-1.

Motte tied it 2-all 1:40 later. Andersen stopped Motte's initial deflection of Campbell's shot, but Motte batted in the rebound.

Van Riemsdyk made it 3-2 with 1:44 left in the second when he swept in a loose rebound from the edge of the crease.

Nylander connected again 4:46 into the third period, firing into a half-open net from the slot after taking Matthews' slick feed to make it 4-2.

NOTES: Blackhawks D Trevor van Riemsdyk, James' brother, will miss about a month with an upper-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said before the game. The defenseman left Friday's game in Columbus in the second period, holding his right arm after crashing into the net. He appeared in 82 games last season, but van Riemsdyk was a healthy scratch for three games following Chicago's season opener and returned to the lineup against the Blue Jackets. ... Quenneville said there's no change in F Andrew Desjardins' (lower-body) status and doesn't know when he'll resume skating. ... Toronto D Martin Marincin (lower body) missed his second game.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Return home to face Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Blackhawks: Face Calgary at home on Monday.

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