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    No. 1 Star: Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

     

    The Hurricanes forward completed a hat trick with an overtime game-winner, leading Carolina to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Skinner opened the scoring with a power-play goal and tied the game in the second, less than a minute after the Caps took the lead.

    No. 2 Star: Curtis, Columbus Blue Jackets

    The Columbus goalie’s 34-save effort propelled them to a 2-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

    No. 3 Star: Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders

    The Olympic snub responded with the OT game-winner and an assist in the Islanders’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, and the fans responded by chanting “USA” in his honor.

    Honorable mention: Brad Marchand scored an impressive OT game-winner as the Boston Bruins topped the Nashville Predators, 3-2. … Alex Ovechkin scored his 31st, snapping a 4-game goal-less streak. … Zack Smith and Clarke MacArthur scored third period goals, and the Ottawa Senators hung on for a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. … T.J.

    Read More »from NHL Three Stars: Skinner tricks the Capitals in OT
  • Screen-Shot-2014-01-02-at-9.45.34-PMLater this month, the NHL's outdoor hockey idea moves into overdrive with the start of the Stadium Series. The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings will kick things off on Jan. 25. The next day will be the first of two games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with the New York Rangers hosting the New Jersey Devils, then three days later facing off with the New York Islanders.

    As is tradition with these outdoor games, the goalies will likely be wearing special equipment. For Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist, he will honor the Bronx Bombers with a mask featuring Yankee pinstripes and team legends Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig.

    From mask artist Dave Gunnarsson:

    Henrik wanted to pay tribute to the fantastic Yankees of New York and have a clear baseball connection on the mask with portraits of legendary Yankees players. I loved the idea!

    Henrik and me started to brainstorm and setup a plan how to create it.

    The crestion is a mix of Henrik's crisp designs, and a #NewYork #Rangers theme

    Read More »from Henrik Lundqvist’s Stadium Series mask features Yankees legends (Photo)
  • Getty ImagesAmong the list of those players not named to Team USA's Olympic roster for Sochi who some thought might have a chance was New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo. The belief among the staff selecting the team felt he would have issues playing on the big ice; this despite the fact he played two years at University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena which, you guessed it, is an Olympic sheet.

    Via Arthur Staple of Newsday, Okposo took the high road Thursday saying, "Obviously, it's disappointing that I didn't get selected but they put together the best team they felt was going to go over there and win a gold medal. I'm disappointed I'm not going to be part of that."

    So as you can imagine, Okposo took the Olympic snub and used it to his and the Islanders' advantage Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. After setting up a Thomas Vanek goal in the second period, Okposo netted the overtime winner for a 3-2 win.

    Via Islanders Point Blank, the goal caused the Nassau Coliseum crowd to break

    Read More »from Kyle Okposo reacts to Olympic snub with OT winner vs. Blackhawks (Video)
  • Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

    Getty Images

    Create-a-Caption: A Detroit Red Wings fan attends the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on January 1, 2014 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    • • • • •

    Preview: Nashville Predators at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET

    Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at New York Islanders, 7 p.m. ET

    Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET

    Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. ET

    Preview: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET

    Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET

    Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET

    Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Phoenix Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET

    Preview: Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks. 10:30 p.m.

    • • • • •

    Five things to know about

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: None of these games are outdoors
  • Getty ImagesDobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

    In a year that began with no NHL hockey at all, and then nearly had it in July, there's no shortage of big stories that impacted the world of fantasy hockey. The fact that the lockout ended was the biggest story in all of hockey, let alone fantasy, goes without saying. Without the handshake between Donald Fehr (remember him?) and Gary Bettman, we'd have had to resort to spending more time with the family in lieu of tweaking our fantasy team. Crazy, I know.

    But there were some big stories on the ice too. Stories that changed the face of fantasy hockey. Events that unfolded that sent ripples throughout keeper, head-to-head and rotisserie leagues around the world. Here are my picks for the biggest ones

    20. Vincent Lecavalier - same ol' same ol'

    Lecavalier, a former 108-point player, has fallen well short of a point-per-game pace over the last several seasons. And he's also been hit with an abundance of injuries that limited him to 65 games, give or take, during that span. But when he was bought out this past summer and immediately signed with Philadelphia, the fantasy world was abuzz with speculation.

    Would he play on the wing with Claude Giroux?

    Now that he's out from behind Steven Stamkos he'll flourish!

    It turns out that, as is the case with most players, Lecavalier is indeed the same guy in one city as he was in the other. He'll still be well short of a point per game and he'll still be held to just 65 games or so.

    19. Claude Giroux's bounce-back

    It took Giroux six games to get his first point of the season and 16 games to pop in his first goal. So his 93-point campaign was a fluke? Add in the team making Craig Berube head coach - and all the scary stories about clamping down defensively - and owners were trading Giroux to the first bidder, forget about the highest bidder. Poolies aren't known for their patience. But Giroux has 30 points in 25 games since.

    18. Alexander Semin's contract

    Fantasy owners are well aware of what Semin "can" do. We're also pretty clear on what he actually does. Last year he signed a one-year contract with Carolina and proceeded to post 30 points in 30 games to go with a plus-18 rating. The Hurricanes signed him to a five-year deal on March 25 and after that Semin has managed 29 points in 42 games and a minus-8.

    Read More »from Fantasy Hockey: The 20 biggest shocks, stars and trends of 2013
  • Getty ImagesDetroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves dropped to the ice during the Winter Classic on Wednesday, and many of the 105,000 fans in The Big House probably weren’t sure why.

    Then came the video replay, and ample evidence that Joffrey Lupul did a bad, bad thing.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs winger connected with Eaves’ head as the two battled along the boards, earning him a hearing with the NHL on Friday. From the League:

    Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday afternoon for a hit delivered to Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on Wednesday.

    At 11:04 of the first period, Lupul was assessed a minor penalty for cross-checking after the hit against Eaves. Eaves did not return to the game.

    The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: cross-checking. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments

    Read More »from Guess the suspension: Joffrey Lupul for Winter Classic cross-check to Patrick Eaves’ head
  • The Winter Classic gave us moments of beauty, and for that, we are grateful. But we would also like to give thanks to the Classic for yielding this moment of buffoonery.

    Why yes, that is a Detroit Red Wings fan, wearing a Gordie Howe jersey, attempting to video bomb a live newscast, only to slip on the ice and fall faster than Tomas Jurco's icetime.

    How dare you try to make a mockery of this holy event, said karma. GET ON THE GROUND. This may be my favourite 15 seconds of the entire event, save for that time they had good ice. I think it was somewhere in the second period.

    The best part is that the fan just gives up immediately. Rather than popping to his feet and attempting to salvage his moment, he just gets up and walks away, embarrassed. Considering how often I've wanted a reporter to turn around and just sock one of these guys, it's very cathartic to watch Mother Nature do it for us.

    s/t to FanSided.

    Read More »from Dumb Red Wings fan attempts Winter Classic video bomb, fails spectacularly (Video)
  • Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

    • A Winter Classic message from your ol' bud, Gary Bruce Bettman.

    • Nathan Horton finally debuts for the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. [Blue Jackets]

    • Daniel Alfredsson marvels at the Winter Classic experience: "After a while you don't think about it as much. Of course, you look up and dream away a little bit but it was fun. You know, when you've been out there (playing outdoors) before it's been on a pond or something like that with zero people in the crowd. Now it's over 100,000 so it's new for everybody. During timeouts, when they're shoveling the snow, you just try to take it all in." [MLive]

    • Bruce Arthur on the Winter Classic. [National Post]

    • Katie Baker on the Winter Classic. [Grantland]

    • Dave Lozo on the Winter Classic. [Bleacher Report]

    • Brian Burke questioned Bobby Ryan's intensity, saying he probably couldn't even spell intense. (Which is silly, since, in my experience, the most intense guys are the worst spellers). But how does Ryan actually stack up against his Sochi-bound peers? [Hockey Buzz]

    • How bad are the Florida Panthers' attendance issues? "The Panthers have reduced official capacity by putting up tarps in the upper deck for select games." [Miami Herald]

    • Meanwhile, the team is starting to turn it around. "Guys are starting to believe in each other, believe in the system and starting to trust each other. It takes time, a new coach, new system. If we could get healthy, get guys back … It's going to take an army, but we're not out of it.'' [Sun-Sentinel]

    • How do analytics-based personnel assessments stack up against an NHL franchise's managerial expertise and scouting staff? [SB Nation]

    • The Tyler Seguin trade has worked out for both sides. [Bruins Daily]

    Read More »from Nathan Horton makes debut; Panthers turnaround; hey, remember the Winter Classic? (Puck Headlines)
  • Getty Images/Puck DaddyWhat, exactly, did Bobby Ryan do to deserve this?

    The Ottawa Senators forward is, without question, one of the top three goal-scorers among American born players, along with Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane, scoring 165 in 420 NHL games. He’s worn the colors for the U.S. three times, including in the 2010 Vancouver Games. He’s the type of player whose name you pre-print on the roster, filling in other names around it.

    And yet he was cut from Team USA.

    And cut deeply.

    The U.S. Olympic team player personnel group, to their credit, allowed incredible access to Scott Burnside of ESPN and Kevin Allen of USA Today to chronicle the selection process. Their reporting reveals the intense and thorough debates these general managers, coaches and executives have over building a potential medal-winner for the Sochi 2014 games.

    But it also reveals how ridiculous this process can be, with grown men entering into evidence dreams they’ve had about players thriving or failing at the Olympics, as if supernatural precognitive visions belong in the same conversation as shooting percentage.

    (An aside: Were advanced stats ever introduced into this conversation? Outside of, perhaps Dean Lombardi’s book report on Keith Yandle?)

    It was honesty, but in the case of Ryan, it was brutal.

    Read More »from Team USA’s Bobby Ryan embarrassment
  • Getty ImagesWhen NHL COO John Collins told me about the Dodger Stadium ticket sales for the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks – or lack thereof – he said this was going to be a big week in terms of marketing the game. Not only would the Winter Classic put the spotlight on outdoor NHL games, but “the musical act” for the game would be revealed as well.

    So, Los Angeles fence-sitters: HOW WILL YOU DARE DENY THE PYROTECNIC ALLURE OF KISS?

    Yes, the face-painted senior citizens have been revealed as the musical act for the Jan. 25 game, and it’s awesome. You know it’s awesome. You’re going to watch 20 minutes of the Ducks and Kings trying to puck-handle on soft ice, and then you’re going to watch the soft belly of Gene Simmons behind a giant bass as Paul Stanley screeches “Rock and Roll All Night” for the 100,000th time and flames shoot off and everybody parties ev-uh-ree-day.

    From the NHL:

    "Los Angeles is the premier hub for sports and entertainment in this country and we are honored to be part of an

    Read More »from KISS is playing Dodger Stadium NHL game because Gene Simmons invented ice

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