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Blues’ Hitchcock calls Karlsson an ‘offenseman’

Fans aren't the only ones that awe at Erik Karlsson. Upon visiting the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, opposing head coach Ken Hitchcock marveled at the swift blue-liner's skill set. "He's a great skater but it's his anticipation that puts him ahead of everybody," Hitchcock told Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Citizen. "It's his reads, when to jump, when to go, when to attack. He just seems to be a step ahead mentally (of) most players playing that position." The Ottawa Senators captain lived up to the praise, delivering what's become a standard one-assist, two-hit, five-block performance in 24:16 of ice time, a key cog in the 6-4 win. Hitchcock went on to coin Karlsson's unique style of play with a special term. "We consider him to be an offenseman and we consider him to be a guy that's dangerous when you have the puck," Hitchcock said. "If you have the puck, and you make a puck error and he's on the ice, he will make you pay for it every..

Nolan Patrick tops NHL’s midseason draft rankings

Brandon Wheat Kings forward Nolan Patrick remains in the No. 1 spot on NHL Central Scouting's rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft. The NHL released its midterm draft rankings Wednesday, and the 6-foot-3, 198-pound pivot leads the pack of North American skaters. Patrick missed 35 games and the world juniors with an upper-body injury, but has scored six goals and 13 points in eight games since returning. Here's a look at how the rest of the field plays out: North American skaters Player Position Team Height Weight Nolan Patrick C Brandon (WHL) 6'3 198 Nico Hischier C Halifax (QMJHL) 6' 176 Gabriel Vilardi C Windsor (OHL) 6'3 201 Owen Tippet RW Mississauga (OHL) 6'1 202 Casey Middlestadt C Eden Prairie High 6' 201 Michael Rasmussen C Tri-City (WHL) 6'5 215 Eeli Tolvanen RW Sioux City (USHL) 5'10 170 Cody Glass C Portland (WHL) 6'1 180 Juuso Valimaki D Tri-City (WHL) 6'1 204 Cale Makar D Brooks (AJHL) 5'11 179 European skaters Player..

Laine skates, no timetable for return

Baby steps. Winnipeg Jets' star rookie Patrik Laine returned to the ice Wednesday, but there is still "no time frame" for his return to game action, head coach Paul Maurice said. Laine was concussed Jan. 7 following a devastating open-ice hit from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe. The 18-year-old goal-scoring aficionado has recorded 21 goals and 16 assists in 42 games this season, and his production has been sorely missed as the Jets have stumbled to a 1-3-1 record in his absence. Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Kreider fined for hitting Eakin with helmet during fight

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider has been fined $5,000 for hitting Dallas Stars forward Cody Eakin in the head with his own helmet during a fight Tuesday night, the Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday. The penalty is the maximum allowable under the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. Kreider landed one blow before smartly discarding the makeshift weapon, though it wasn't enough to avoid sanctioning. Eakin drew the ire of the Rangers earlier this season when he leveled goalie Henrik Lundqvist while chasing a puck behind the net. He was suspended four games for the incident, and some criticized the Rangers for not responding in the moment. Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Projecting Jonathan Drouin’s next contract

The next stage in Jonathan Drouin's saga with the Tampa Bay Lightning will involve putting pen to paper. The 21-year-old is in the midst of his best season yet, making his upcoming contract negotiations all the more intriguing, as he's due for restricted free agency. Here are some factors to consider: His resumeAfter Drouin put up an unfathomable 242 points in 128 games for the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads, Tampa Bay selected the shifty playmaker third overall in the 2013 draft. However, his transition to the NHL has been rocky, at best. Drouin amassed just 32 points in 70 games as a rookie, before demanding a trade during the 2015-16 season following an AHL demotion. Things got messy, as Drouin walked away from Tampa's farm team, causing a stalemate between him and general manager Steve Yzerman. That seems like a long time ago, though, as Drouin began to prove his worth last postseason, looking rejuvenated in recording 14 points across 17 playoff contests with Tam..

Rielly listed day to day with lower-body injury

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly will miss at least one game, but is considered day to day after suffering a suspected ankle injury versus the Buffalo Sabres, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. As a result, Frank Corrado will draw into the lineup Thursday versus the New York Rangers, coach Mike Babcock announced. Rielly exited after a few shifts Tuesday when William Carrier landed on his leg. It was announced that he would not return during the second intermission. Reporters noted that Rielly - walking around the Leafs room without a brace, wrap, or discernible pain - was in good spirits after the game. Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

The Mid-Week Take: Oilers have to make another run at Shattenkirk

The St. Louis Blues need to quit bleeding assets. The Edmonton Oilers need a puck-moving defender with excellent offensive instincts to facilitate their top-tier attack. But before we set up the trade call, there are a few obstacles to clear should the Oilers re-set sights on Kevin Shattenkirk, the high-skilled defender playing out what remains of his cost-effective contract. St. Louis is penciled into the postseason bracket as a top three team in the Central Division, an uncommon position for a would-be seller. Further, with Ken Hitchcock on his final turn as coach, the Blues were assumed to have every intention of taking one last run at a ring in their current, albeit underachieving, configuration. To that point, though Shattenkirk lacks no-move protection and can be dealt to the highest bidder before March 1, it's in both the Blues' and the buyer's best interest to work out a situation that sees the defenseman relinquish the control he'll gain when he becomes an ..

NHL to introduce ‘Four Line Challenge’ at skills competition

This year's NHL All-Star Skills Competition will look a little different. Introducing the "Four Line Challenge." With no breakaway challenge this year, the NHL will implement the new competition as a replacement, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. The "Four Line Challenge" will entail players attempting to hit targets in the net from the near blue line, red line, far blue line and far goal line. Here's the exciting part: goalies will be allowed to participate from the farthest distance if they so please, and will be awarded extra points if they're capable of getting it done. Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Predators embrace new ‘teammate,’ good-luck charm, Super Mario

When we look back on the Nashville Predators' season a few months down the line, we may reflect on a serendipitous turn: when the team found Super Mario. On a delay due to mechanical issues with their charter last week, the Predators headed over to Dave & Busters to kill time. And when James Neal caught fire in the arcade, the team redeemed their winnings, using thousands of tokens to purchase a novelty-sized Super Mario plush toy. It's been with them since. From Adam Vingan of The Tennessean: The Predators finally left at 7 a.m. Saturday, and Mario had his own seat on the early-morning flight. When the team left the doll behind at the Denver airport, it called an Uber to chauffeur Mario to Pepsi Center, where he waited in the locker room as Nashville overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat Colorado 3-2. When you fall asleep on the plane and have to Uber to the Arena. Never fear, #mario is here! #NSHvsCOL #Preds #roadtripmascot #loveyouGNASH pic.twitter.com/ka6MxELa2c — Nashville P..

5 pairs of players with identical stat lines but unequal fantasy value

Follow theScore's fantasy feed on Twitter (@theScoreFantasy) for the latest news, features and more. And download Squad Up, theScore's free-to-win-money sports game. The basic judge of a player's value in fantasy hockey tends to be his goal and point totals. If a player is scoring, he has fantasy value and warrants a regular spot in any lineup. This can be a mistake, as it neglects to delve deeper into what other contributions a player is bringing to a fantasy team. Here are five pairs of players with identical goal, assist and point totals and a look at which of the two is actually the more valuable player in standard fantasy leagues (stats as of Tuesday, Jan. 17; all advanced stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey): Toronto Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews vs. Winnipeg Jets RW Patrik Laine G A +/- PIM PPP Matthews 21 16 4 10 11 Laine 21 16 8 14 11 While Laine is out for an undetermined length of time due to a concussion, he had been the superior fantasy option to the No. 1 over..
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