All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

Panthers to officially host 2021 NHL All-Star Game

The NHL All-Star Game is returning to Sunrise, as the Florida Panthers will host the 2021 event, the league announced Friday.

It will take place Jan. 29 and 30, the team announced.

Bettman said the NHL and NHLPA are in discussions about giving it international flavor, according to NHL.com's Tom Gulitti.

The Panthers are hosting for the second time in their history, and for the first time since 2003.

Atlanta Thrashers forward Dany Heatley was named MVP that year after tying an All-Star record with four goals. He also became the first player to score four consecutive markers in the game.

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Tkachuk billboard goes up in Edmonton

A giant Matthew Tkachuk sign has been installed in the home of his team's provincial rival.

The large electronic billboard was spotted by CTV News Edmonton on Wednesday.

CTV News Edmonton

It came to fruition after Flames fan Mohammad Elsaghir started a fundraising campaign to get a Tkachuk billboard erected in Edmonton with proceeds going toward the fight against ALS.

The campaign quickly reached its initial goal of $2,500 and ultimately raised over $25,000 to battle the disease, according to CTV. Hosts at CJAY 92, a local radio station in Calgary, then arranged for its parent company to have the billboards made.

Elsaghir's efforts began one day after Oilers agitator Zack Kassian took exception to being hit multiple times by the Flames winger on Jan. 11. Kassian was ultimately suspended two games for his retaliation, and a war of words ensued.

Not to be outdone, Oilers fans answered with a campaign of their own in honor of Kassian. Edmonton supporter Samantha Costa encouraged like-minded individuals to donate to "Brown Bagging It," a Calgary charity that provides meals for children. She raised nearly $40,000 in just three days.

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Matthews won’t play in All-Star Game due to wrist injury

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will be replaced by Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk on the Atlantic Division roster in the All-Star Game, the NHL announced Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs superstar won't take part in the event due to injury but will attend the weekend's festivities in St. Louis. He's day-to-day as he receives treatment for an ongoing wrist condition.

Matthews' agent, Judd Moldaver, told TSN's Darren Dreger that his client has been dealing with the wrist issue for at least three weeks.

He's expected to be ready to play for Toronto when it resumes its regular-season schedule with a road date against the Nashville Predators on Monday, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, who adds that the 22-year-old sniper spent the bye week training in his home state of Arizona.

Matthews leads the Maple Leafs in both goals (34) and points (57) through 49 games this campaign, entering Wednesday's action tied for second and ranked 11th among NHL skaters in those two categories, respectively.

Tkachuk, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has collected 15 goals and 27 points in 48 contests during his second season in Ottawa. The 20-year-old posted 22 markers and 45 points as a rookie in 2018-19.

Tkachuk's brother, Matthew - a Calgary Flames forward - will also be taking part in the All-Star Game, representing the Pacific Division.

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Boko Imama: ‘No excuse’ for Brandon Manning’s racial slur

Bokondji Imama is speaking out after Bakersfield Condors defenseman Brandon Manning directed a racial slur toward him during Monday's game.

Imama, who plays for the Los Angeles Kings' AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, issued a statement Wednesday after the AHL suspended Manning for five games on Tuesday.

"I have taken some time to reflect on what transpired on the ice against Bakersfield on Monday night," Imama said. "What happened is unfortunate for everyone. No matter how intense or heated a game gets, there is no room for this in our game and no excuse. I am very proud to be an African-Canadian hockey player and to stand for all other players that are in the same situation as me.

"I would like to thank the Los Angeles Kings and Ontario Reign, Edmonton Oilers, and Bakersfield Condors for their professionalism in helping me handle this situation," he continued. "Last but not least, I cannot thank my family and friends for their continued love and support."

Imama closed by saying he won't be commenting further on the matter.

The 23-year-old is in his third season in the Kings system. The Tampa Bay Lightning selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

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Rangers’ Kreider to replace Panarin at All-Star Game

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider will take teammate Artemi Panarin's place at the upcoming All-Star festivities in St. Louis, the NHL announced.

Panarin missed Tuesday's loss to the New York Islanders with an upper-body injury.

The Rangers superstar ranks among the league leaders in goals and points this season with 26 and 68, respectively, through 47 contests.

Panarin's in his first campaign with New York after inking a seven-year deal worth a reported $81.5 million as an unrestricted free agent back on July 1.

Kreider, a pending UFA himself, has collected 17 goals and 32 points in 48 games in 2019-20.

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Rittich jokes about best save in win over Maple Leafs: ‘Ask my groin’

David Rittich might be the first player in NHL history to redirect a question to his nether regions.

When asked if there was a save that stood out as his best one in a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, the Calgary Flames goaltender went below the belt.

Rittich stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in a 2-1 shootout win, including several saves of the highlight-reel variety.

The 27-year-old netminder, who's earned the nickname "Big Save Dave," will replace injured Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper in the upcoming All-Star Game.

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Hurricanes’ Hamilton leaves game with apparent leg injury

The Carolina Hurricanes are holding their collective breath after their best defenseman suffered a potentially gruesome injury.

Dougie Hamilton, one of the NHL's most talented blue-liners, fell awkwardly on his left leg after getting tangled up with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kevin Stenlund in the final minute of the second period Thursday night.

Hamilton couldn't get off the ice without the aid of his teammates and had difficulty putting weight on his leg.

The Hurricanes later ruled Hamilton out for the rest of the game.

Hamilton has been in the mix for the Norris Trophy all season, racking up 40 points in 46-plus games while leading all Carolina skaters in ice time and shots on goal entering Thursday's contest.

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Report: NHL warns Flames, Oilers; Parros expected to attend rematch

Warning: Story contains coarse language

The NHL is talking to both the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers in an effort to ensure the Battle of Alberta doesn't get further out of hand.

"(Senior vice president of player safety) George Parros and (executive vice president and director of hockey operations) Colin Campbell were on the phone on Wednesday in separate calls with the (general managers) from the Battle of Alberta trying to calm those waters down ahead of the Jan. 29 rematch between these two rivals," TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported on Thursday's edition of "Insider Trading."

Parros is expected to be at Rogers Place in Edmonton for the game, LeBrun added.

Parros assessed Oilers forward Zack Kassian a two-game suspension Monday after Kassian repeatedly punched Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk following Tkachuk's hit on Kassian during Saturday's matchup between the two clubs.

Kassian later said he'd "do it again" and called Tkachuk a "pussy" for not wanting to fight him. Tkachuk said if Kassian doesn't want to get hit, he should "stay off the tracks."

After the Jan. 29 meeting in Edmonton, the provincial rivals will meet again three days later in Calgary and then once more in their final regular-season contest April 4 at the Saddledome.

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Julien defends benching Domi: ‘Not the first time he’s taken a bad penalty’

Claude Julien doesn't regret benching Max Domi after the talented forward took an ill-advised penalty during a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

The Montreal Canadiens head coach defended the move postgame, implying he wasn't just considering the one play in question when he decided to sit Domi for the final eight-plus minutes of the second period.

"I did what I had to do, simple as that," Julien said, according to Sportsnet's Eric Engels. "I don't have to explain it more than I did. It's not the first time he's taken a bad penalty. There's consequences, and sometimes those messages (date back a lot further) than the situation right there."

Domi took a roughing minor for this play involving Blackhawks forward Matthew Highmore.

Alex DeBrincat capitalized on the power play, putting Chicago up 3-1 in the eventual 4-1 victory.

Julien then pinned Domi to the bench for the remaining 8:33 of the middle stanza, as the 24-year-old didn't take the ice again until the opening minute of the third period.

The Montreal bench boss had an opportunity to put Domi back on the ice to atone for his lapse when the Canadiens drew a man advantage of their own with 4:36 left in the second, but Julien elected to continue sitting him.

"It doesn't matter who we put on (for the power play) instead of Max," Julien said. "Max is not the guy that's going to score goals all the time here, so a power play is a five-man unit."

Meanwhile, Domi took responsibility for his infraction.

"During the play, I certainly wasn't trying to take a penalty," he said. "But I watched the replay and it's a penalty. So that's how it goes. Unfortunately, they scored on that."

The forward added, "You can't do that - especially in the situation we're in right now. It is what it is. Coach's decision, and obviously I can't afford to do that."

Montreal's defeat Wednesday night was its ninth in the last 11 games. The Canadiens fell to 20-21-7 and are now nine points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

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Julien defends benching Domi: ‘Not the first time he’s taken a bad penalty’

Claude Julien doesn't regret benching Max Domi after the talented forward took an ill-advised penalty during a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

The Montreal Canadiens head coach defended the move postgame, implying he wasn't just considering the one play in question when he decided to sit Domi for the final eight-plus minutes of the second period.

"I did what I had to do, simple as that," Julien said, according to Sportsnet's Eric Engels. "I don't have to explain it more than I did. It's not the first time he's taken a bad penalty. There's consequences, and sometimes those messages (date back a lot further) than the situation right there."

Domi took a roughing minor for this play involving Blackhawks forward Matthew Highmore.

Alex DeBrincat capitalized on the power play, putting Chicago up 3-1 in the eventual 4-1 victory.

Julien then pinned Domi to the bench for the remaining 8:33 of the middle stanza, as the 24-year-old didn't take the ice again until the opening minute of the third period.

The Montreal bench boss had an opportunity to put Domi back on the ice to atone for his lapse when the Canadiens drew a man advantage of their own with 4:36 left in the second, but Julien elected to continue sitting him.

"It doesn't matter who we put on (for the power play) instead of Max," Julien said. "Max is not the guy that's going to score goals all the time here, so a power play is a five-man unit."

Meanwhile, Domi took responsibility for his infraction.

"During the play, I certainly wasn't trying to take a penalty," he said. "But I watched the replay and it's a penalty. So that's how it goes. Unfortunately, they scored on that."

The forward added, "You can't do that - especially in the situation we're in right now. It is what it is. Coach's decision, and obviously I can't afford to do that."

Montreal's defeat Wednesday night was its ninth in the last 11 games. The Canadiens fell to 20-21-7 and are now nine points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

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