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WHL Roundup: Steenberger scores OT winner as Broncos edge Raiders

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. - Tyler Steenbergen scored 2:09 into overtime as the Swift Current Broncos edged the Prince Albert Raiders 3-2 on Sunday in Western Hockey League action. Jon Martin and Tyler Adams also scored for Swift Current (17-27-5).... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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John Scott voted MVP of Pacific’s All-Star Game win

NASHVILLE -- The smile that flashed across John Scott's face again and again throughout the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game was the perfect symbol of his adventure at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. "I just see him as this little kid," Scott's wife, ... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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OHL Roundup: Hicks makes 47 saves, Bulldogs snap three-game skid

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Connor Hicks turned away 47-of-49 shots and Trent Fox had two goals and an assist as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Niagara IceDogs 5-2 on Sunday in Ontario Hockey League action. Niki Petti scored once and set up two mo... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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QMJHL Roundup: Foreurs cruising, beat Olympiques for seventh straight win

GATINEAU, Que. - Etienne Monpetit made 30 saves and Val-d'Or did all its damage with the power play as the league-leading Foreurs downed the Gatineau Olympiques 3-1 on Sunday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Julien Gauthier, Carl ... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Laing 'blown away' by support following injury

NASHVILLE--Denna Laing, in a message shown on the video screen during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, said she has been "absolutely blown away by the support I've gotten from the hockey community." Laing, a member of the Boston Prid... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Enforcer John Scott scores 1st All-Star goal for Pacific

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - John Scott, the enforcer fans voted into the NHL All-Star Game, has scored the first goal for the Pacific Division during the 3-on-3 All-Star tournament. Scott scored on a tip-in just 47 seconds into the second mini-game Su... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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WHL Roundup: Braylon Shmyr has hat trick and assist to lead Blades past Pats

SASKATOON - Braylon Shmyr had a hat trick and an assist to lead the Saskatoon Blades past the Regina Pats 7-3 on Saturday night in Western Hockey League action. Wyatt Sloboshan, Nick Zajac, Connor Gay and Colton Waltz supplied the rest of the... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Peter Budaj perfect in Ontario Reign's 4-0 win over Manitoba Moose

ONTARIO, Calif. - Peter Budaj made 19 saves as the Ontario Reign shut out the Manitoba Moose 4-0 on Saturday in American Hockey League action. Michael Mersch scored twice — once into an empty net — to lead Ontario's (26-10-4) offence, while S... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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OHL Roundup: Nick Suzuki scores hat trick to lead Attack past 67's

OTTAWA - Nick Suzuki scored a hat trick as the Owen Sound Attack beat the Ottawa 67's 5-2 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. Jonah Gadjovich added a goal and two assists with Bryson Cianfrone also chipping in for the Attack (21-17-9... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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QMJHL Roundup: McDonald, Coughler lead Islanders past Screaming Eagles

CHARLOTTETOWN - Mason McDonald stopped all 39 shots he faced and Jake Coughler scored a hat trick as the Charlottetown Islanders shut out the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3-0 on Saturday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Samuel Bla... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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East dominates shootout, wins Skills Competition

NASHVILLE -- The Eastern Conference dominated the Western Conference in the Discover Shootout, the final event of the Honda All-Star Skills Competition at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The Eastern Conference won the Skills Competition 29-12, w... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Holtby, East lose to West in Skills Challenge Relay

NASHVILLE -- Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby grew up watching a generation of NHL goaltenders who were phenomenal stick-handlers. The list includes: Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and Marty Turco. "Those guys, that was part of the game... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Predators' Weber wins hardest shot contest again

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber won the AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot for the second consecutive season with a shot of 108.1 mph. Weber fell short of the 108.5 mph shot he had in 2015 in Columbus, but his 108.1 mph shot was... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Chad Nehring's two goals lead Hartford Wolf Pack past St. John's IceCaps

HARTFORD, Conn. - Chad Nehring had back-to-back goals in the second period as the Hartford Wolf Pack topped the St. John's IceCaps 4-1 on Saturday in American Hockey League play. Ryan Graves and Nick Tarnasky also scored for Hartford (23-20-2... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Tobias Lindberg lifts Binghamton Senators over Toronto Marlies in overtime

TORONTO - Tobias Lindberg scored the overtime winner as the Binghamton Senators edged the Toronto Marlies 6-5 on Saturday in American Hockey League action. David Dziurzynski scored in regulation and added two assists for Binghamton (17-23-3),... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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2016 NHL All-Star Game Rosters

NEW YORK, United States of America - The players named to the National Hockey League all-star weekend rosters for the league's new 3-on-3 tournament, Friday-Sunday in Nashville, Tenn. (i—injured, will not play; r—replacement; c—captain; x—John S... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Islanders' Tavares wins accuracy shooting contest

NASHVILLE -- No one was perfect in the Draft Kings Accuracy Shooting Contest at the 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, but New York Islanders captain John Tavares came closest to perfection to give the Eastern Conference a 3-2 win... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Subban channels Jagr to win breakaway challenge

NASHVILLE -- P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens -- with an assist to Jaromir Jagr -- won the Honda Breakaway Challenge at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The winner was decided by fans voting on Twitter. Subban got 31 percent of the vote; nar... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Red Wings' Larkin sets fastest skater record

NASHVILLE -- Detroit Red Wings rookie forward Dylan Larkin is the fastest skater in the history of the NHL All-Star Skills competition. Larkin, 19, took advantage of the opportunity he earned Saturday night to best the record held by Mike Gartn... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Bettman says NHL would not take an application from Seattle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman insisted Seattle is not in the running to land an expansion team. "If someone wanted to give us an application right now, we wouldn't take it," Bettman said Saturday at his state-of-the-league ... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Stars Of The Week

4/19/2021

NEW YORK (April 19, 2021) – Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center RN Michaela Pastorius have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending April 18. Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.” Pastorius works as a nurse at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, where just a few years ago she was walking the same halls as a patient battling a cancer diagnosis. Pastorius put nursing school on hold while going through treatment, but vowed to finish her degree and now works alongside the nurses who once cared for her as a patient. The inpatient unit at Roswell Park where Pastorius works – known as 6West – is typically for cancer patients with solid tumors, but has become a designated COVID-19 space over the past year. Pastorius understands what these patients are going through and brings a positive attitude to the floor despite the incredibly challenging and emotional experience of the pandemic on both patients and staff.  "When I was going through inpatient chemotherapy at Roswell Park, the Buffalo Sabres gave me motivation to continue fighting,” Pastorius says. “The amount of support the Sabres show for Roswell and its patients felt personal to me since I am such a big fan . . . The appreciation I had and still have for their support is bottomless.” Rounding out the “Three Stars” of the week are New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin and Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone. More on each NHL player’s performance can be found below:

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Draft Rankings

4/19/2021

from Bob McKenzie of TSN, The TSN Mid-Season 2021 NHL Draft Rankings have become a Power Ranking. As in, Owen Power. It’s unanimous - 10 out of 10 NHL scouts surveyed by TSN have the 6-foot-5 1/2 University of Michigan freshman defenceman at No. 1. The Mississauga, Ont., native has solidified and enhanced his No. 1 standing from last fall’s preseason rankings, when only four of those same 10 scouts had him ranked first overall. That said, it should be noted that Power’s No. 1 status on draft day is not an absolute lock. His mantle is not unassailable. Most of the scouts who ranked him first do allow for the possibility he could still be challenged for top spot and a name other than Power could be called out on July 23. He is, however, the consensus favourite. “I don’t know what percentage number you would want to put on it,” said one scout, “60, 70 per cent? I’m not sure. It’s certainly more than 50 per cent, but this is not a draft where there’s one dominant prospect who is the unquestioned No. 1 choice. I mean, it’s close enough between Power and the other top guys that you couldn’t rule out someone else. There are some defencemen who could still challenge him and if the team picking first overall this year really wants or needs a forward, well, there are a couple of forwards who could still be [viable options at] No. 1.” It’s a draft year like no other. continued, with 100 names on the list...

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Up Or Down Time

4/19/2021

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Stock up Michael Rasmussen Rasmussen had a goal and two assists last week, tallying his second multipoint game of the season when he contributed two assists April 12 at the Hurricanes. (His first was Jan. 28 against the Stars). Rasmussen, a first-round pick in 2017, is noticeable every game for how he uses his big body to protect the puck, or drive to the net for a scoring opportunity. He led his team with six shots on net Saturday and nearly scored. He’s playing with so much confidence, and the improvement from even the start of the season is remarkable. Jakub Vrana What a debut for the trade-deadline acquisition: Out of the penalty box and straight up the ice for the winning goal. Vrana looks like he can be a good fit — he has won puck battles, and gone to hard areas. As his comfort level with new teammates grows, and as he finds chemistry on a new line, Vrana could be a bright spot over the final 10 games. Stock down Dennis Cholowski The first time the 2016 first-round pick was called up this season, he appeared in two games before being sent back down. He has been up again since April 10, with steadily growing minutes — and no points. Saturday, he played 21:19, and 5:14 of that was power-play time. That’s the area where Cholowski, 23, needs to make an impact if he’s to gain traction. He’s an NHL-caliber skater, but needs to be more assertive with the puck. more ($$$), no other players in the down section, also in the up are Stecher and DeKeyser.

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Hockey Notes On A Great Spring Sunday Morning In Motown

4/18/2021

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, - On Saturday night, Patrick Marleau tied Howe by playing in his 1,767th game. (Marcel) Dionne is more impressed with Ovechkin than he is with Marleau, who on Monday, barring an injury, will pass Howe. “What is he scoring now, a goal or two a year? I’m not that impressed with that. I give him credit for playing that long. Just not how he’s doing it.” Marleau, for the record, has four goals this season. - So if J.T. Miller doesn’t say anything, would the Vancouver Canucks have been playing on Saturday night? Would the NHL have turned its back on its players’ health and safety? Would the NHL Players’ Association have protected its membership? Would Canucks management and ownership have stepped in? Odds are the games would have gone on as scheduled without the Miller interview and to hell with the health of those putting their lives on the line. - The top four goaltenders in all-time wins are Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Roberto Luongo, and now Marc-Andre Fleury. All of them Quebecois. And there’s not a single Quebec goalie of consequence (apologies to Jonathan Bernier) playing in today’s NHL. - Didn’t understand all the praise for GM Steve Yzerman for getting a first-round pick and more for Anthony Mantha. Mantha has a big shot to go along with big shooters like Ovechkin, John Carlson, Nikita Kuznetsov in Washington. The Capitals get a player now. The Red Wings get a player and a draft pick, who might be a player by 2024. Mantha can be a playoff series difference-maker now for Washington. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Vancouver Canucks Prepare To Play Again

4/18/2021

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet, Given two more days to prepare for the worst month of their hockey careers, the Vancouver Canucks will have a full lineup when they end an unprecedented 24-day layoff Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They don’t know who will be coaching (bench boss Travis Green was among the hardest hit by the organization’s COVID-19 outbreak) or who will be playing (except injured star Elias Pettersson won’t), but at least the Canucks will have a team. They wouldn’t have had one Friday had the NHL not revised Vancouver’s schedule a second time and pushed back its re-entry into the stretch drive for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With 19 games in 32 days, the Canucks may well finish a regular season that has been officially declared a disaster while the top four teams in the Canadian division are playing playoff games. After a year in which the NHL thought it had seen everything, it turned out nobody had seen anything like the Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak, which was made exceptional – and especially dangerous – because it was driven by the aggressive P.1 variant. None of the league’s earlier outbreaks, including those similar in scope and duration to the Canucks’ crisis, were caused by any of the coronavirus variants that have built a gigantic third wave in Canada. A Canucks’ official described it this week like this: 10 days into the NHL’s earlier major outbreaks, nearly all the players involved had recovered enough to resume training; 10 days into the P.1 variant outbreak in Vancouver, not only were a lot of players still sick but a few were actually getting worse. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

19 Detroit Thoughts

4/18/2021

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, With a nod to his number he wore, now raised to the rafters in Little Caesars Arena, here are 19 thoughts on what Yzerman has accomplished since April 19, 2019. - Trading Anthony Mantha was not an indictment on the state of the rebuild, it was an indictment on Mantha. Yzerman said early on he wanted to observe the team he took over from his predecessor, Ken Holland. Yzerman saw in Mantha what others in the organization had seen for longer: That the nights he was unnoticeable outnumbered the ones where Mantha dominated. Anyone who remembers Yzerman knows how competitive he was as a player — he played on one knee, basically, at the end of his career, and still gave it his all. Yzerman had had enough, and that’s what led to the trade. - Since Yzerman took over, 14 NHL regulars are no longer part of the roster. In addition to shedding Mantha, Athanasiou and Abdelkader, Yzerman opted not to re-sign Jimmy Howard, Thomas Vanek, Luke Witkowski, Trevor Daley and Jonathan Ericsson. He did not issue a qualifying offer to Martin Frk, Madison Bowey and Christoffer Ehn, and also traded Mike Green and Jacob de la Rose. Niklas Kronwall retired. - Even with holding on to Bernier, Staal, and Luke Glendening, all pending unrestricted free agents, Yzerman carries 12 picks into the 2021 draft, including five in the first two rounds. That potentially could speed up the rebuild. - One of the most important prospects is Moritz Seider, the defenseman Yzerman drafted sixth overall in 2019. Loaning Seider to Rögle in the Swedish Hockey League meant a season-long commitment — other European leagues allowed players to be recalled once hockey started up in North America — and it has worked wonderfully. The 20-year-old has flourished, tallying seven goals and 21 assists in 41 games, and is in position to win a championship. He’s poised to join the Wings’ lineup next season. more (paid subscription)

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

It’s All About The Playoffs For The Core Of The Toronto Maple Leafs

4/18/2021

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star, So the Leafs are really pretty much the same team they were before the deadline, perhaps slightly improved, with the same strengths and same weaknesses. No. 1 on the list of those weaknesses is the uncertain situation in net, and while four different masked men have now earned points for Toronto this season, we all are pretty familiar with the NHL’s rule that you can only play one at a time. Currently, that looms as a prickly problem for Keefe. He’s got lots of goalies hailing from lots of different places, and he just needs one of them to play well enough to get the club past the first round of the playoffs. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? The fate of this team in this bizarro season rests on Keefe identifying a goalie, and on whether Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin, Zach Hyman and perhaps one or two others have the ability to play much better in the playoffs this spring than they did in last summer’s bubble playoffs. Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza are nice stories and occasional contributors, as is Wayne Simmonds. But the big money boys have got to come through. For 44 games, this team has performed very well. If it can hang on to first place, sometime next month it will likely face Montreal in the playoffs. That could be loads of fun and the stars will need to come out. Dubas has so far declined to touch the core of this team, believing it will mature and eventually perform at a level that might get the Leafs to within striking distance of the Cup. Soon, we will see if he was right. Or, more accurately, whether he was right within the context of a season like no other. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Mantha-Vrana Deal

4/18/2021

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, Up until the Red Wings and Capitals stunned the trading floor on Monday, the best deadline deal belonged to the Islanders, who jumped out ahead by five days and added dependable ex-Devils Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to a strong group of forwards. But then, just as the dealin’ was nearly done, the Capitals filched the single-best talent that few knew to be available, acquiring 6-foot-5-inch right winger Anthony Mantha from the Red Wings. “Wow!” said one front office executive, praising Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman for the deal.... The Capitals, always enamored by size and skill (why not?), surrendered slick Czech forward Jakub Vrana and Slovak right winger Richard Panik, whom Yzerman drafted for the Lightning in his Tampa GM days. They sweetened the package even further with first-round (2021) and second-round (2022) picks. Sweet haul, no doubt. But the best player in the deal is Mantha, who pitched in with 1-1—2 in his Capitals debut Tuesday night. Few in the league have the new age Big M’s size and skill, which the Red Wings no doubt viewed to be true in November when they extended his deal for four years at a $5.7 million cap hit. Five months later, what, he’s trade bait? The asterisk on Mantha, age 26, is his erratic consistency and motivation. He can appear maddeningly disengaged, even now seven years into his pro career. In part, that label was why, even with his size, he lasted until No. 20 in the 2013 draft (three picks after the Senators grabbed Curtis Lazar, don’t ya know?). Vrana, 25, will be a restricted free agent in the summer, and the Capitals were concerned he might earn Mantha kind of money via salary arbitration. Now that’s Yzerman’s worry. Stevie Y is hoping Vrana (career-high 25 goals, 52 points) might find Detroit a comfortable fit with fellow Czechs Filip Hronek (D) and Filip ZadinaRW). If he’s right, that might bring some added value to the deal. Detroit is a hard sell these days. The deal is somewhat reminiscent of the Bruins abruptly dishing Joe Thornton to the Sharks 23 games into the 2005-06 season, when no one knew the former No. 1 pick (1997) was being shopped... more and other topics too...

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