The Los Angeles Kings gained more than $4 million in salary-cap breathing room with Friday’s agreement between the NHL and NHL Players' Association regarding Slava Voynov.

[+] EnlargeSlava Voynov
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsThe Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury against Voynov.
The league and the players' union -- who were going back and forth Friday, a source told ESPN.com -- finally agreed that Voynov's $4.16 million cap hit would be treated just like that of any player under the long-term injured exception.

Voynov will still get paid by the Kings, but the club can replace his cap hit.

It’s been a tough go for the Kings under the salary cap ever since Voynov was suspended by the league on Oct. 20 following his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury against Voynov on Thursday.

The Kings even dressed a lineup that was one player short earlier this month because they didn’t have the cap room to call up a player.

Now with Voynov’s cap hit gone, the Kings will breathe easier.

And for those wondering how other NHL teams feel about this: Every single team executive we spoke with over the past few weeks felt the Kings should get some form of salary-cap relief. Let's not kid ourselves here, other teams realize that they could have a player in a similar position down the road. Nobody feels the Kings as a whole should be paying the price in terms of the salary cap and competitive balance because of an alleged off-ice transgression by one player.
Daniel Alfredsson #11 of the Detroit Red WingsJoel Auerbach/Getty ImagesDaniel Alfredsson might have played his last game in the NHL.
Daniel Alfredsson's career appears likely over.

Colleague Darren Dreger from TSN broke the story Friday that the former Ottawa Senators captain and current Detroit Red Wing has decided not to play this season.

Alfredsson's agent, J.P. Barry, declined comment when reached by ESPN.com. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland also declined comment when reached by ESPN.com.

If Alfdredsson, who turns 42 on Dec. 11, isn't playing this season, one has to assume he has played his last NHL game.

A recurring back injury was a major issue for him last season, and it continued to be one this fall, as he attempted to skate in the hopes of re-signing with the Red Wings.
The San Jose Sharks began a potentially make-or-break stretch of their season -- with 11 of 13 games at home -- with a shootout loss against the visiting Florida Panthers on Thursday night, continuing a mediocre start to the season.

Changes could be coming if wins don’t.

The Sharks began their rebuild last summer -- and in fact have been piling up draft picks for two years -- and the plan is to continue to get younger ahead of next season.

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Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesCoach Todd McLellan could find himself looking for a new job if the Sharks don't improve soon.
The question is whether that plan has been accelerated by the team’s play.

Because you can be sure that losing twice this season to both the 29th-place Columbus Blue Jackets and the 30th-place Buffalo Sabres, and now twice to Florida (7-5-5) sure can’t sit well with management. Neither can losing eight straight games to the Sabres (0-7-1), dating to 2010.

If the inconsistencies continue during this stretch of home games, I would bet on Sharks general manager Doug Wilson speeding up the youth process, which means veterans such as Tyler Kennedy, Andrew Desjardins, Adam Burish, Scott Hannan and even goalie Antti Niemi (an unrestricted free agent on July 1) all could be in play, although the Sharks really like Niemi. Most of those guys, and maybe more, likely won’t be back next fall.

There are young players who have developed and are ready for bigger roles in the organization. While it’s almost certain they’ll have NHL jobs next fall, they might even get spots by January if the team’s topsy-turvy play continues.

What’s also in question, I would surmise, is the future of the coaching staff if the team’s play doesn’t improve in this stretch.

Coach Todd McLellan is tremendously respected around the league and he wouldn’t be out of a job long if he was dismissed. But if the inconsistent play continues -- keeping in mind the losses to bad teams they've already had this season -- it wouldn’t be completely out of the question for Sharks management to consider a coaching change.

I think given the direction of a Sharks team that’s rebuilding, there are lots of possibilities to ponder if the team’s play doesn’t improve.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, as we reported earlier this season, already had planned to target a top-six winger by the March 2 trade deadline. With the unfortunate news that winger Pascal Dupuis is going to be out six months after doctors discovered a blood clot in his lungs, that plan is more important than ever.

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AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarThe loss of Pascal Dupuis opened up $3.75 million in cap space for the Penguins.
But for now, rallying around Dupuis takes precedence.

"My priority right now is to make sure Pascal is all right," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told ESPN.com Thursday. "I can’t do anything about his health, but I want to keep him involved with the team. We don’t want to treat him like an injured player, where injured players don’t feel part of it. I want him to be part of it, he’s very important to our team on and off the ice. We can’t put him on the ice but he can be part of it off the ice."

But yes, given the cap space that has opened up with the loss of Dupuis ($3.75 million cap hit), Rutherford will eventually see what’s out there.

"We’ll start the search . . . we’ll do what we’ve always done, gather names and scout players, and if and when a deal comes along, then we’ll make it," Rutherford said.

"The key, though, is that Pascal is the priority right now."

What the Penguins have to offer in any possible trade for a top-six winger lies in the number of young defensemen they have in the AHL. Some of them should be on NHL rosters already. That’s the carrot for other teams.

Kings plan to visit Parliament Hill

November, 21, 2014
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The White House visit for defending champions is a long-standing tradition for teams in different sports, including the NHL, but the Los Angeles Kings are adding a new twist this season.

[+] EnlargeDrew Doughty
Courtesy of Drew Doughty Canadian-born Drew Doughty and the Kings are continuing the Stanley Cup celebration.
They’ll still visit the White House, but there are also tentative plans to take the Stanley Cup to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where there’s an avid hockey fan in Prime Minister Stephen Harper to welcome them.

It’s believed the Kings are planning a Dec. 10 visit; they play the Senators in Ottawa the following night.

A U.S. team visiting Parliament Hill? Why not, when you consider just how Canadian that Kings roster is? In many ways, the Kings are more Canadian than some of the Canadian NHL teams.

Their Game 5 Cup-winning roster in June featured 12 Canadian-born players, including Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, Jarret Stoll, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams.

While general manager Dean Lombardi is American, his affinity for Canadian-born players is well documented. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he was behind this idea -- which is a great one, by the way.
The Montreal Canadiens made another trade Thursday that mirrored one from earlier this month.

[+] EnlargeRene Bourque
Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty ImagesRene Bourque will make $2.5 million this season, but carries a cap hit of $3.33 million.
In acquiring veteran blueliner Bryan Allen from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Rene Bourque, Habs general manager Marc Bergevin shed himself of a contract that had term past this season.

Allen is an unrestricted free agent after the season -- just like Sergei Gonchar, who was acquired earlier this month from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Travis Moen. Moen had another year left on his deal next season -- just like Bourque.

Between Bourque and Moen, the Habs have shed $5.18 million off their salary cap for next season. Pretty shrewd moves here by Bergevin. Not to mention that, if Gonchar and Allen have anything left in the tank, they also bring experience to a roster that’s hoping for a deep playoff run.

Remember that teams around the league are nervous that the salary cap won’t go up that much next year.

From Anaheim’s perspective, the Ducks are a budget team, not a cap team. And it’s important to note that Bourque’s salary is actually $2.5 million this year and next even though his cap hit is $3.33 million. While Bourque has struggled a lot in Montreal, a change of scenery at $2.5 million is probably worth the risk for Anaheim.
Jimmy Fallon describes the pros and cons of having an NHL team in Las Vegas. Suitable for work, believe it or not!

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TORONTO -- They’re scrapping the scrape.

The league’s 30 GMs voted to get rid of the dry scrape that delays the start of overtime, a move that had just come in for this season, because of the delay it caused between the third period and overtime.

"That was my bad idea, yeah," Red Wings GM Ken Holland said after the six-hour meeting wrapped up Tuesday.

Well, Holland has had plenty of great ideas, but this one just didn’t work out. Just too long of a delay before overtime.

"The feeling in there was the dry scrape is a buzzkill," Holland said. "It is just taking too long to get from the end of the game back to playing, so we're going to use people to shovel the ice, try within 90 seconds to two minutes to get back up and playing."

NHL executive Colin Campbell said the dry scrape would be gone by Saturday’s NHL games.

"It's not good for the fans, it hasn't been good for the players," Campbell said of the dry scrape before OT. "We were trying to come up with good ice, and we were trying to have more completions in overtime. Results aren't great at more completions in overtime, and more than anything it was a killer for everybody at the end of the game.

"The shovels will be out and we'll move on Saturday."

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Len Redkoles/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe GMs decided to stop the dry scrape before overtime because it was delaying the end of the game too long.
Added Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: "I think the issue is for the betterment of the game, the flow of the game. We felt there’s just a little too much of a break leading into the overtime period. The goal is to get the momentum back into the game and to shorten the break."

Predators GM David Poile said some fans were leaving the game because of the delay.

"We thought we were giving the players the best possible ice surface for overtime, it was a good reasoning, but it certainly was a momentum killer, too," Poile said. "Not only the players but equally, if not more importantly, the fans. I know in our market in Nashville, when they put up that five minutes [for the dry scrape] it was kind of a 'uh oh' situation and we lost a lot of fans for the overtime. So I think we’ve made the right decision to make the change back. No harm, no foul."

THREE-ON-THREE OT
The 30 GMs agreed to further examine at the March three-day GMs meeting the impact of the AHL’s three-on-three overtime, which has so far dramatically reduced shootouts.

"We should wait and see exactly how it goes in the American League," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said. "And also what the end result is, because it can change. It's very early in the season. It's certainly been a discussion, three-on-three. It's been a topic the last couple of years, and I'm sure will continue to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday we see it. We won't see it this year. We have a sampling going on in the American League and we should use it."

Holland was the GM who originally proposed adding three-on-three to OT a few years ago and, judging from the comments of many of his GM colleagues Tuesday, he’s got more and more support for it now that they’ve seen it work in the AHL.

Holland himself saw it in an AHL game recently.

"I saw on Saturday night in Grand Rapids," said the veteran Wings GM. "I thought it was fabulous."

Holland tried it out over the years in the Traverse City prospects tournament, as well. The idea, of course, is to minimize the number of games decided by shootouts.

"I don't want to beat it up because you've heard this all before. We were one of two teams that didn't vote for the shootout in 2005," Holland said. "I understand that we need to bring the game to a conclusion. I brought some ideas to the table. I've been watching the numbers. Last year 60 percent of the games that ended tied in regulation went to the shootout. We're trying to bring those numbers down a little bit, maybe 60-40 [the other way]. I think right now we're about 50-50, so let's see what goes on between now and March."

Said one GM who wanted his name kept out: "We’re getting three-on-three next year, I’m 90 percent sure of it."

EXPANDED VIDEO REVIEW
Just as if it’s Groundhog Day, the GMs yet again beat up the topic of expanded video review. That’s been the case for years now. It’ll be the case again in March when the GMs meet for their longer gathering.

"We talked about the goalie interference [and video review], it's a popular topic at every meeting and just the goal of getting it right, basically," Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. "It's so hard for the referees and the speed of the game and how it happens at ice level. I guess we want to further talk about and have a discussion about how we can review to get them right more than wrong and still not have too many reviews and slow the process of the game too much."

Veteran GM David Poile said despite the seemingly endless discussion over the years on video review, there has been progress.

"The first thing I'd want to say on that is I think we've made so many steps in the right direction to get the call right," Poile said. "Again, it is never going to be perfect in the game of hockey with the amount of physical contact that we have. I think, like the tortoise and the hare, I think we are working at it at a good pace. We aren't doing anything that totally disrupts or reinvents the wheel, so to speak. A lot of what we do in November is to set up the bigger meeting in March when we break into committees and what have you. We're all for helping the war room here to help them make the best decisions possible and for them to help the referees make the best decisions possible."

Three ideas were once again brought up Tuesday:

-- A coach's challenge, like in football when a coach can ask for a video review
-- Simply giving the Toronto war room an expanded list of plays it can review
-- Putting a TV monitor in the penalty box for referees to review plays they want to give a second look

The monitor in the penalty box has sizable support among many GMs, but not as much with the league head office. It’s Poile’s idea.

"Specifically, I brought up the monitor and whether that would be a situation that could be helpful," Poile said. "It was just me bringing that up. I think a lot of people had their points and nothing was decided today. We are all happy with where we are but we're not satisfied until we get all of the goals right. We're striving for perfection, you could say."

Said another GM, who didn't want his name used: "I like David’s idea of the monitor in the box because it takes away some of the embarrassment factor for the refs; they get to correct their own calls and control the process. Makes sense."

Regardless, look for more of this video review talk in March.

QUINTAL'S FIRST CRACK AT GMs
Stephane Quintal addressed a GMs meeting for the first time since taking over officially as chief of NHL discipline.

His focus Tuesday was on knee-on-knee hits.

"We spoke about the knee-on-knee incidents; we’re seeing an increase of lower-body injuries, more knee incidents," Quintal said. "In the past, we only suspended players when there was an injury. I’m very sensitive to that, so I was asking them if I could raise the standard on that."

Quintal said over the past two seasons, it was one kneeing incidents every 24 games and so far this season, it's one incident every 14 games. So why the trend up?

"We’re paying attention to it," Quintal said.

NHL WILL STOP PLAY ON MISSED GOAL
The GMs and the league also agreed Tuesday that starting immediately, the Toronto situation room will buzz down to an NHL rink and stop play if a clear goal was missed by on-ice officials.

"We will stop play if we see that a puck went in the net and we determine that a goal was scored," said Campbell. "We'll stop play now. If it's 20 seconds, we'll call and say that goal was in. We're not going to let play go for a minute and a half. We'll buzz. We'll say blow the horn."

MURRAY AT GMs MEETING
Veteran GM Bryan Murray was at the meeting Tuesday and was asked afterward about his decision to come out regarding the severity of his cancer in an interview with TSN last week.

"I didn't want to do any public announcement or anything like that, but when I talked to TSN and Michael Farber and I had the opportunity to sell the idea, if that's the right word, that colonoscopies to all of us are important and I didn't do that," Murray said. "I thought the message could be and should be loud enough that it might affect some people and save some people. I'm getting the impression that that was the case and that's why I did it."

His TSN interview has already had an impact in that regard.

"I've had quite a number of people ... I've had some former players call me that played for me years ago that hadn't had any kind of medical attention to that area," Murray said. "A nurse told me last night that four or five people at one of the clinics in Ottawa sent in and said because of the interview, they're kind of smart enough now to step up and get themselves examined. I hope and feel that it's the right message and a good message and it's worthwhile."

A great message indeed.
The path to the Hockey Hall of Fame got clearer for Chris Pronger on Tuesday.

The board of directors of the Hockey Hall of Fame clarified the three-year, waiting period eligibility bylaw. While it still needs ratification from the full membership at the annual general meeting in March, that is largely expected.

[+] EnlargeChris Pronger
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesFlyers defenseman Chris Pronger last played an NHL game on Nov. 19, 2011.
"The new by-law imposes a more objective test for the three-year eligibility rule applicable to player candidates, in particular, resolving possible ambiguity as to the nomination of a player who has not played for more than three years due to injury, but who is still under contract and continues to receive compensation that counts for salary cap purposes or otherwise," Jeff Denomme, president and CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame, told ESPN.com via email Tuesday following the conclusion of the board of directors meeting.

This means Pronger will be eligible for Hall of Fame induction should the selection committee choose to nominate him next April ahead of the June vote.

Denomme also stressed the fact that this isn’t just about Pronger, but that there could be other players moving forward who are in a similar circumstance and the HHOF board doesn’t feel it should be concerned with medical or contractual issues when it comes to determining induction eligibility, which is why the board chose to clear up the bylaw Tuesday.

Part of the current bylaw states that "a candidate for election in the player category must have concluded his or her career as an active player for a minimum of three playing seasons before his or her election."

The new bylaw, again subject to ratification, states that "a candidate is not eligible for election in the player category if he or she has played in a professional or international hockey game (which terms shall not be considered to include games played only or primarily for charitable or recreational purposes) during any of the three playing seasons immediately prior to his or her election."

Pronger, who remains under contract with the Flyers, hasn’t played since November 2011, as his career was ended by injury. He remains on injured reserve instead of retiring so that his salary doesn't count against the Flyers' salary cap.

The new bylaw will ensure that he is eligible for Hall consideration next year. Whether or not the members of the selection committee choose to nominate him by the April 15 deadline remains to be seen. His résumé certainly screams no-brainer.
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Outside of expansion -- and regardless of what commissioner Gary Bettman says, it's coming, it's just a matter of where and when -- the World Cup of Hockey might be the single most important enterprise the league will undertake in coming years.

Most know the story of the tournament. How it evolved from the wildly entertaining, profitable (at least for organizers such as the disgraced Alan Eagleson) Canada Cups in the late 1970s and through the 1980s to 1996, when it changed names and gave the world one of the greatest tournaments ever won by the U.S. over a star-studded Canadian team. The tournament was last seen in 2004, for the most part a lackluster affair that was followed immediately by the season-long lockout that scuttled the entire 2004-05 season.

Since that time the tournament has been pushed aside like an old bike in the garage, mice nibbling at the tires, birds building a nest in the handlebars.

But after years of disregard, indications are that the NHL is going to revive the tournament amid great fanfare in the fall of 2016.

There are all kinds of moving parts, especially regarding its place on the NHL's international calendar. Does the World Cup of Hockey replace participation in the Olympics?

Many owners hope that is the case.

Most players do not.

We believe, ultimately, that the World Cup will join the Olympics and provide best-on-best tournaments on a rotating two-year cycle, with the World Cup revived in ’16 and the Olympics to follow in ’18, and so on.

If you're a hockey fan, what could be better?

[+] Enlarge1987 Canada Cup
Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty ImagesThe NHL must make the return of the World Cup as exciting as it was to watch Wayne Gretzky in the Canada Cup in 1987.
But regardless of whether the Olympic experiment ends or not, it behooves the NHL and the NHLPA -- who are full partners in the World Cup of Hockey endeavor (unlike the Olympics, where both the league and the players sit at a crowded organizational table) -- to get it right.

Sorry, not just right, but perfect.

You can't just tell people the return of the World Cup is important and demand that they show up or tune in. You have to show them.

In 2004, perhaps because the tournament was played against the backdrop of impending labor doom, it was a blasé affair in terms of fan interest. Games held in the United States were poorly received. The U.S. team was ordinary. The Canada-Finland final was anticlimactic after a sensational semifinal between the Czech Republic and Canada.

And then the hockey world (OK, the NHL world) went dark for a season.

You can't just dust off the old World Cup of Hockey logo and expect people will give a darn, especially when they were halfway out the door on the mistreated property a dozen years ago.

This new event must have pizzazz, it must have panache and it must resonate not just in Toronto, where the tournament will reportedly be held, but around the hockey world.

It has to be embraced by players and fans everywhere.

It has to mean something. It has to get the juices flowing and the imagination turning with thoughts of Wayne Gretzky to Mario Lemieux and the 1987 Canada Cup.

It has to promise hockey magic and then it has to deliver it.

Or else this will blow up like a dime-store gag cigar.

Which is why the idea that the roster of teams might include a couple of made-up squads is more than a little befuddling.

Multiple sources have confirmed that one of the ideas for the tournament would be to have the top six nations -- Canada, the United States, Russia, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic -- joined by an all-star squad representing Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Norway and Switzerland. And then have either a young stars team or some other patchwork squad assembled from guys not on their national teams. Blech.

We understand the idea.

To our earlier point, the league wants as many of the world's best players -- i.e., as many of the NHL's best players -- to be playing in this tournament as possible. That doesn't happen with the Olympics.

But part of the allure of the Olympics is that each nation brings its best and we see what happens. Was there a better story than the Slovenians winning their first Olympic game and then moving on to the elimination round in Sochi?

Now, the downside is that at the Olympics the hockey isn't always great.

In the four years that separated what was the mightiest of Olympic competitions in Vancouver in 2010 to last winter in Sochi, Slovakia went into a period of decline. So, too, did the Czech Republic.

The games -- outside of the Americans' defeat of host Russia in a shootout in the preliminary round -- for the most part lacked edge-of-your-seat drama. That's partly a function of playing on the bigger Olympic ice surface and it's partly the function of having 12 teams in your tournament, many of whom simply weren't that good.

The NHL is hoping to replicate the drama that dominated almost every game at the Vancouver Games and maybe the way to do that is to ensure almost all the players in the tournament are NHL players.

But in artificially creating this kind of grid, what do you lose in terms of history and national pride?

Why don't the Slovaks deserve their own team? What about the Swiss, who have over the past 15 years proved their worth as a true hockey nation?

Agreed that it would be nice if players such as Anze Kopitar, the pride of Slovenia, could play in the World Cup of Hockey. Likewise Christian Ehrhoff, Thomas Vanek, Mark Streit and Mats Zuccarello would drive up the recognition factor if there was a mechanism that allowed them to take part, even though their respective nations might be outside the bubble.

But what the NHL and NHLPA risk in trying to accommodate these kinds of players and to ensure that there is maximum NHL participation is drifting too far into gimmickry.

If this tournament is going to take hold, to become part of the public's hockey consciousness, there has to be continuity, consistency.

How often have we drawn lines from previous Olympic tournaments to current ones? The history of those tournaments builds a foundation for the future.

Canada's loss to the Czech Republic in 1998, followed by a surprise gold medal for the Czechs.

The clash of longtime international rivals Sweden and Finland in the 2006 gold-medal game.

The classic U.S.-Canada meeting in the 2010 final that was preceded by dramatic tilts between Canada and Slovakia in the semifinal.

If you've got a made-up team or two made-up teams, that can only impair the process of building such a history for a tournament that is desperate to start to build or rebuild some sort of history.

And are players going to want to give up the end of their summers to play for teams that have no real meaning other than to fill in a schedule?
What will the water-cooler talk be like?

"Hey, remember when Leon Draisaitl of Team Whippersnapper upset Canada in the quarterfinals?"

Or "Hey, that overtime game between Team Leftover Nations and the Russians was a real barnburner, no?"

Doesn't just roll off your tongue does it? Worse, it seems a bit too fake to us.

The NHL and NHLPA have time to get this right. But the issue for them is that they are going to get only one chance to do so.

If they concoct a lineup of teams that destroys the credibility that this tournament so desperately needs moving forward, then a huge part of the NHL's long-term international calendar will be in jeopardy.

Tough choices, no doubt, but choices that need to be made correctly and right now there's not a lot of optimism the right choice is in the offing.
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TORONTO -- Nicklas Lidstrom will obviously be an automatic selection next year among the first-year players eligible for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he could be joined by another all-world defenseman depending on the outcome of a meeting Tuesday.

A source told ESPN.com that when the Hockey Hall of Fame’s board of directors meets Tuesday, among the matters at hand will be clearing up the ambiguity in the current three-year, post-playing waiting period bylaw for players to gain Hall of Fame induction.

Chris Pronger hasn’t played since the 2011-12 season but still gets paid by the Philadelphia Flyers, which leaves his eligibility in a gray area. Since he hasn’t officially retired, should he be eligible or not? After all, he hasn’t played in three years and has no plans to do so.

If the HHOF's board of directors votes in favor of the new language for the bylaw, the source told ESPN.com that Pronger would be eligible for induction next year.

Whether or not the selection committee would vote him into the Hall in his first year of eligibility is another matter, but I can’t imagine Pronger wouldn’t be seen as first-ballot material.

Burns finally inducted
New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello walked into the Hockey Hall of Fame before the induction ceremony on Monday evening and said he got "chills" just thinking about what Pat Burns would be feeling if he were still alive to see his place finally among the Hockey Hall of Fame inductees.

The wife of the late coach, Line Gignac Burns, as well as Pat’s son, Jason, delivered the induction acceptance speech Monday night.

Jason brought up the fact that while many people were angry his dad wasn’t elected four years ago when first nominated, the former coach was not.

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Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesRob Blake, Pat Burns, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.
"A lot of people were outraged, but not him," Jason said during his speech.

Burns knew the day would come when he’d get elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame, even if it would happen after he passed. He was at peace with that.

Hoping for Gordie
With hockey icon Gordie Howe battling for his life, the great No. 9 was at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts Monday at the Hall of Fame.

"I’m like everybody else, I’m sad by it," Jim Devellano, senior vice president of the Detroit Red Wings, told ESPN.com. "I remember him as a player, later I got him to know as a person when I joined the Red Wings front office. It’s just a tough time for everybody. The Red Wings organization has its fingers crossed, he’s in our prayers."

AHL three-on-three OT
The NHL’s 30 GMs meet Tuesday here in Toronto and it’s expected among the many agenda items will be an update on how three-on-three overtime in the AHL is working so far this season. The NHL is keeping a close eye on it.

"I’ve only been to a couple of AHL games this year and none of them went to overtime, but I would vote for anything that reduces the number of shootouts," Brian Burke, the president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames, said Monday night at the Hockey Hall.

"They could go to two-on-two, they could go to one-on-one as far as I’m concerned," added Burke. "I know [Flames GM] Brad [Treliving] feels the same way. So Calgary’s vote I think would be in favor of a change like this."

Expanded video review, the dry scrape before overtime, as well as Stephane Quintal’s first presentation to GMs since officially taking over the chief discipline job, will also be among the many agenda items Tuesday.

Poile's eye injury
David Poile’s long road back from the awful eye injury he suffered last season when he took an errant puck to the face doesn’t have a great ending.

The Nashville Predators GM said Monday that after a number of operations over the past year, it’s been determined that he won’t ever get any vision back in that right eye.

"Yes it’s done," Poile said. "I’m not down on it, it was a freaky accident and it was nobody’s fault. It just happened. I was certainly hoping that I wouldn’t lose sight in the eye and there was some hope originally ... and I got a second opinion and did everything I could and so did doctors.

"But it’s not like there’s nothing I’m not doing. I’m fine."

Babcock's future
One storyline that won’t go away is the future of head coach Mike Babcock. Will he re-sign with the Red Wings or not?

Jim Devellano, senior vice president of the Red Wings, says GM Ken Holland will do his best to bring Babcock back.

"We respect Mike as a coach, we respect the job that he has done over the past decade, he took over a Stanley Cup-type team, we’re not that team anymore," said Devellano. "We’re a team that has to work hard with a lot of young players to try to make the playoffs. He’s done a superb job the last few years with no [Nick] Lidstrom, no Tomas Holmstrom, a ton of injuries, and he’s guided us in the playoffs. We’re appreciative of that. We also understand his stature in the game. All I can tell you [is] Kenny is working hard between now and the end of the year to keep him on board."

Forsberg's fan club
Former Avs teammate Joe Sakic said he marveled at what Peter Forsberg could do on the ice, pointing to the combination of his physical prowess and offensive genius.

"Honestly I was a fan just watching him play," Sakic said. "He was such a special player."

McCreary and Forsberg
Bill McCreary, inducted into the Hall Monday night in the referee/linesman category, was asked by ESPN.com which of the four inducted players from this year’s class was the hardest to officiate during his time.

"The one that was probably the most difficult to officiate, not because he was a bad person, was Peter Forsberg," said McCreary. "He was just so strong, so intense, as an offensive person going into the corners first all the time and throwing that reverse bodycheck, and getting the puck, it was always a real tough judgment. Peter made it hard on you to officiate but he was always a great guy."

That reverse bodycheck by Forsberg, when he was holding the puck and opposing players came at him only to get decked upon their arrival, was certainly the Swede’s trademark physical play.

McCreary now works with the NHL’s head office as an officiating manager, helping the current referees around the league.

"I’m really enjoying it," he said. "I try to leave the guys with some positive reinforcement. We all make mistakes, we’re humans. I always tell them, 'You’ll never officiate a perfect game, that just doesn’t happen in our career. However you strive to be as consistent as you can be.' I always feel that if we can keep them on a positive frame going from one game to another, it helps them in their own mind to be consistent. I enjoy my role and I hope I can do it for a long time."

Media inductions
Kevin Allen of USA Today and Pat Foley, the voice of the Chicago Blackhawks, were this year’s Hall inductees in the media wing.

Both got their HHOF jackets at a luncheon earlier Monday. Foley -- winner of the Foster Hewitt Award -- began his speech in surprising fashion by using the opportunity to implore the HHOF’s selection committee to consider former Blackhawks Steve Larmer and Doug Wilson for induction. Both former stars have long been passed over by the selection committee, and Foley is right, both former players had Hall of Fame playing careers.

Allen was a terrific choice for the Elmer Ferguson Award, which annually goes to the hockey writer honored by the HHOF. His work over 29 years covering hockey has helped the sport gain a stronger foothold in the U.S.video
From the official NHL release:

LEHTERA, PRICE AND FORSBERG NAMED NHL THREE STARS OF THE WEEK


NEW YORK (Nov. 17, 2014) -- St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 16.

FIRST STAR – JORI LEHTERA, C, ST. LOUIS BLUES

Lehtera tied for the League lead in goals (four) and points (six) and posted a +5 rating as the Blues (12-4-1, 25 points) won all three games for the week to move into first place in the Central Division. Lehtera began the week by recording his first career hat trick, including the game-winner, in a 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Nov. 11. He recorded two assists in a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators Nov. 13 and closed the week by notching one goal in a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals Nov. 15, the Blues' 10 win in 11 starts. Lehtera extended his point streak to seven games (5-6--11) and the "STL Line" of Lehtera, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko has combined for 33 points in its past eight contests.

SECOND STAR – CAREY PRICE, G, MONTREAL CANADIENS

Price posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.33 goals-against average, .950 save percentage and one shutout as the Canadiens (14-4-1, 29 points) won all four games for the week to move into first place in the overall NHL standings. Price began the week by making 29 stops for his 26th career shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Nov. 11. He followed up with a 21-save performance in a 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins Nov. 13 and finished the week by stopping 26 shots in a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Nov.15. Price improved his season record to 11-3-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and one shutout.

THIRD STAR – FILIP FORSBERG, C, NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Forsberg tied for second among all scorers last week with five points
(2-3--5) as the Predators (11-4-2, 24 points) climbed to second place in the Central Division by gaining four of a possible six standings points.
Forsberg recorded consecutive multi-point games, tallying the game-winning goal and one assist in a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Nov. 11 and a goal and two assists in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues Nov. 13. The 20-year-old native of Ostervala, Sweden, leads all rookies in goals (eight), power-play goals (five), assists (12) and points (20), and leads all players in plus-minus (+19).
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Montreal Canadiens: Of course I'm tempted to just single out Brendan Gallagher here, due to his jaw-dropping behind-the-net, from-his-knees goal against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, but that wouldn't be fair to the Habs as a whole. That's because the Canadiens continue to roll through the East, extending their winning streak to six games following their 4-1 victory over the Wings this weekend. There were plenty of reasons the Habs could've stumbled, with four games in six nights, but they continue to pace the Atlantic Division, the rest of the Eastern Conference and the entire league.

Panthers' offense: Not to make too much of one game, but it was an impressive showing against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. The Florida Panthers beat up on the Western Conference leaders to start a three-game swing out in California (they end the four-game road trip against the Nashville Predators this weekend) on a high note, with the line of Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes combining for nine points. Bjugstad and Boyes both tallied twice, with the former recording a four-point night in the Panthers' first win in Anaheim since 2008. The Cats' offense is coming around, with 17 goals in the past four games.

[+] EnlargeDucks/Panthers
Robert Binder/Getty ImagesThe Panthers had the Ducks surrounded on Sunday.
Sergei Bobrovsky: Among the Columbus Blue Jackets’ laundry list of injuries, that to their starting goaltender probably proved most costly during the club's early struggles. Good news for Columbus as the Jackets got Bobrovsky back from a hand injury Saturday night, and then he made 36 saves in his return to propel his team to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Deserving of this dubious honor following a dispiriting 6-2 loss to the worst team in the league -- the Buffalo Sabres -- the Leafs dropped their second straight game. James Reimer had a rough night, giving up six goals to one of the most anemic squads in the league, but team defense is again a concern as the Leafs gave up 35 shots.

Flyers penalty kill: The Philadelphia Flyers have been brutal when down a man, and their penalty-killing unit did not show any signs of improvement in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs scored on all three power-play attempts, leaving the Flyers' struggling special-teams unit 29th with a 71.2 percent success rate. What's worse? On the road, Philly is dead last on the PK with a dreadful 52.2 percent success rate.

Injury report:

Boyle is back: Veteran defenseman Dan Boyle returned to the New York Rangers' lineup last week after missing extended time with a broken hand but he still seems to be dogged by tough luck. What was believed to be a game-winning shootout goal in the Rangers' game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night was ultimately disallowed after further review.

Injury woes continue: In just the latest in a litany of costly losses this season, the Blue Jackets were forced to put veteran defenseman Fedor Tyutin on injured reserve. Tyutin, who suffered a sprained knee in Friday's match against the Flyers, is expected to miss four to six weeks.

What to watch for:

New addition: With his entire team absolutely decimated by injury, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen acquired veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold from the St. Louis Blues over the weekend. What choice did he have, really, besides look elsewhere for additional help? With Leopold now in Columbus, Bobrovsky back between the pipes and center Artem Anisimov returning to the lineup, maybe the Blue Jackets can right the ship.

Bounce-back for Bolts' prospect: Watch carefully to see how Tampa Bay Lightning top prospect Jonathan Drouin reacts to sitting out Saturday's game against the New York Islanders. Lightning coach Jon Cooper made Drouin a healthy scratch, opting instead to get Cedric Paquette in the lineup, though he expressed faith in the 19-year-old's progress. This is all part of the process for the former first-round pick, but how he responds will be a good glimpse into how the youngster handles adversity.
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Minnesota Wild: The Wild have rattled off three straight wins to make up ground in the Central Division standings. Most recently, Mike Yeo's squad edged the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-3 overtime win on Sunday. Look for the Wild to continue their climb with Zach Parise back in the lineup. The star forward returned this past weekend after missing five games with a concussion and scored twice in his first game back.

Blues' offense: The St. Louis Blues also are riding a three-game win streak, but perhaps more impressive is that they have won 10 of their past 11 games. Wow. Look at their recent skein and it's easy to see why they are atop the Central Division, scoring 14 goals during that span. The Blues, who embark on a four-game road trip beginning on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins, lead the Western Conference with a plus-25 goal differential.

Troy Grosenick: Pretty tough to beat Grosenick's first NHL game, as the 25-year-old goaltender was dazzling in his debut on Sunday, blanking the Carolina Hurricanes while making 45 saves. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Grosenick is the first Sharks goaltender to post a shutout in his debut; his 45 saves in his first game also sets a franchise record. Pretty neat to see his family share in the special moment, too.

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Anaheim Ducks: Hard to blame this one on the mumps. One night after losing in overtime against the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, the Ducks suffered an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the lowly Florida Panthers -- at home, no less. Even with Corey Perry back in action -- he missed the past five games with the mumps -- the Ducks could not muster a competitive effort against the Cats. The Ducks still lead the Western Conference, so perhaps we're being a bit harsh, but that sort of a letdown is the sort of thing that draws out the critics when you're considered the best of the best.

[+] EnlargeKari Lehtonen
AP Photo/Andrew A. NellesKari Lehtonen didn't have the best third period Sunday night against the Blackhawks.
Dallas Stars: One step forward, one step back. And so it goes for the Stars, who continue to toil at the bottom of the Central Division. After snapping a seven-game skid last week with wins against the Arizona Coyotes and Kings, the Stars dropped a back-to-back set this pat weekend that finished with four unanswered goals in a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The Stars are giving up 3.33 goals per game, 28th in the NHL.

Injury report:

Trevor van Riemsdyk: According to ESPN Chicago colleague Scott Powers, the Blackhawks might be without the rookie defenseman for significant time after he took a puck to the leg in a 6-2 win over Dallas on Sunday. Van Riemsdyk has been a pleasant surprise for Chicago and was averaging 14:11 in ice time before the injury.

Valeri Nichushkin: Limited to just four games this season because of a lingering hip injury, the 19-year-old Stars forward is expected to miss at least the next four months of his sophomore season. General manager Jim Nill announced that Nichushkin will undergo surgery this week.

What to watch for:

Home sweet home: Over a month into the season, the Jets are still in the thick of it, just four points back on the division-leading Blues. They'll have the chance to gain even more traction against the Blues on Sunday, when they wrap up a three-game homestand that could give them another boost in the standings.

Tough test: Another pivotal homestand is coming for one of the sleeper teams in the West, the Calgary Flames. The Flames, two points behind the Ducks in the Pacific, host their division foes on Tuesday, marking the third game of a five-game homestand that also features games against the Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils.

Tough test II: The Kings' mettle will again be tested, as the defending champs lost defenseman Alec Martinez to a hand injury last week. Although veteran Robyn Regehr returned on Saturday against Anaheim, expect the Kings' defense, also without the suspended Slava Voynov, to rely on Drew Doughty even more heavily than usual.
Hall of Fame Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesThe Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2014 could build a strong résumé out of international play.

TORONTO -- It is yet another reminder why it’s the Hockey Hall of Fame and not the NHL Hall of Fame when you examine the international accomplishments of the four players in this year’s induction class.

Some of the great hockey moments of the modern era have featured Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano representing their respective countries, beginning with a 20-year-old Forsberg scoring perhaps the most famous shootout goal ever in the 1994 Olympic gold-medal game in Lillehammer, Norway.

Forsberg’s breathtaking deke against netminder Corey Hirsch handed Sweden gold over Canada and made Forsberg a national hero back home -- a status that he keeps to this day.

"It was kind of a lucky shot, he was so close to saving it," Forsberg said Friday after collecting his Hockey Hall of Fame induction ring. "I was fortunate to be on the better part of that shootout. Fantastic moment. First time Sweden ever won the Olympic gold. It was a great kick-start for me to come over to the NHL right after. For me, it was a fantastic moment."

Hirsch has forever been linked to that moment, which is unfortunate in the sense that he was outstanding in those Olympics for Canada, but people only remember the way it ended on Forsberg’s daring attempt.

"As he went to his left I remember thinking, 'I’ve got him,'" Hirsch told ESPN.com on Friday. "But then that’s when he made his move. That’s what great players do. They do remarkable things at opportune times."

Forsberg also helped Sweden win Olympic gold in 2006, not to mention winning two Stanley Cups in Colorado. But that 1994 shootout gold in Lillehammer is what people in Sweden always go back to.

"It was huge," fellow Swede Patric Hornqvist of the Pittsburgh Penguins said Friday after the morning skate at Air Canada Centre. "After that, he became famous all over our country. It jump-started his career. He was such a great player and great person. He really deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."

Maybe there’s a reason Canadians weren’t too fond of shootouts for a while, since four years later when the NHL sent its star players to the Olympics for the first time in history, Hasek did a number on a star-studded Canadian squad. Hasek put on a goaltending clinic in the Olympic semifinals at Nagano, shutting the door in the shootout by stopping Theo Fleury, Ray Bourque, Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros and Brendan Shanahan.

"I remember knowing that you had Dominik Hasek in the other net," said Blake, a member of that 1998 Canadian Olympic team. "There's no gimmes, we knew that going into the game, and then finally when you come down to kind of a one-on-one showdown and you got one of the greatest goalies to play at the other end, it makes it tough.

"I probably saw him play the best that he could."

Across the world in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, a 10-year-old Sidney Crosby was watching Hasek stone Canada.

"He just had that ability to make those saves pretty often," Crosby said Friday after his team’s morning skate. "You see one of those a year. He seemed like he was always the guy making them. He just had that desperation, he never gave up on pucks. That moment there [in Nagano] was another one where you knew going into a shootout against him wasn't going to be easy."

Former official Bill McCreary, who is also part of this year’s HHOF induction class, worked that game in Nagano and vividly remembers Hasek coming up to him before the shootout began.

"Dominik skated out of the crease and asked me if Wayne Gretzky was shooting," McCreary said Friday, proudly holding his HHOF induction ring. "That kind of surprised me. But once I told him I didn’t know who was shooting, he went back into his net and, as he always did, he stopped everybody."

Blake was sitting on the bench watching it all and, like many other Canadians back home, was surprised Gretzky wasn’t in the shootout.

"You’ve got the greatest player in the world, he goes," Blake said matter-of-factly Friday.

The Czechs too were stunned that No. 99 wasn’t used.

"Some of the guys were talking about it in the dressing room after the game," Hasek said Friday. "Usually you use the best player. ..."

Then Hasek grinned widely and added, "But it was a good decision in the end for us."

The Czechs beat Russia in the gold-medal game, igniting the party to end all parties back home in Prague. Hasek called it the No. 1 moment in his career, while also making note of winning the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002.

"In 1998, we came to Nagano as an underdog, but there was some special feeling in the locker room with a coach like Ivan Hlinka and players like Jaromir Jagr and some other maybe at that time underrated players," said Hasek. "This is something I will never forget. We won the gold medal, we flew with a charter our president sent for us, and we came back to Prague and we spend one night in Prague and this night I will never, ever forget. The cheering and big ovation at the airport and the old-time square. This is something you will appreciate for the rest of your life."

For Blake, redemption would come four years later. A 50-year Olympic gold-medal drought in hockey would end for Canada in Salt Lake City, but not before some nervy moments, including being crushed 5-2 by Sweden to open the tournament and midway through needing a famous rant from Gretzky -- now the team’s executive director -- to shield his players from what was incredible pressure to deliver in the second NHL Olympic tournament.

"First, I mean, the letdown in Nagano," said Blake. "You have four years to build on that. Now you’re in North America four years later and you play your first game and you lose like 7-1 to the Swedes. When you look back now, I’m not sure if the players in the room understood how important Wayne’s speech was and how much he was deflecting any of that pressure. But to be able to finish off that tournament on a high note, that was obviously quite nice."

It’s not Olympic gold, but Modano was at the heart of one Team USA's most important international wins. Nothing will ever beat the Miracle on Ice of 1980, no one’s arguing that. But Modano and his teammates defeated Team Canada in Montreal in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, which still resonates today as a watershed moment for U.S. hockey.

It was the monkey off their back. Finally, in a best-on-best format, the U.S. had beaten Canada when it mattered. After losing the opening game of the best-of-three series in Philadelphia, Team USA won both games at the Molson Centre (now Bell Centre) to stun Canada.

"You look at Canada's roster and it was the best guys Canada has ever put together in 20 years from top to bottom," Modano said Friday. "Every guy's probably in the Hall of Fame. Our backs were against the wall, it was two [games] in Montreal. Everything there was perfect."

Modano remembers a special group of players.

"Everybody got along so well off the ice as we did on the ice," he said. "We had a fun group of guys. We knew we were going into some hostile territory after losing the first game in Philly. We knew it was going to be tough. Once we got Game 2, we knew Game 3 would be pretty special."

A memory of a lifetime for Modano, just as Forsberg, Blake and Hasek have theirs while representing their respective countries.

Their NHL careers provided the meat of their Hall of Fame résumés. Their international exploits polished off their unquestionable hockey pedigrees.

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