Panthers prospect Gudbranson eager to impress in training camp

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While all the attention during this rookie camp is going to be focused on the top two picks from the 2010 NHL Draft in Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, the #3 pick Erik Gudbranson is going to be another player worth keeping an eye on. The Florida Sun Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov caught up with Gudbranson to find out how he’s handling his first camp with the Panthers and what his expectations are going into this season.

“The level of competition just went way up. It skyrocketed. I don’t feel like I’m in the OHL anymore. I was bigger and stronger than most of the guys there; now I’m one of the little guys again. It was fun; it was hard; it was competitive. Based on what I see out there, we can have a great team this year if I stay and everybody else comes together as a team.”

“My hopes are to stay here; that’s my goal. I came here packed to stay to be honest with you. I’m not going to sell myself short of that. That’s what I worked for this summer. I want to make this team. This is where I want to be this year.”

The way the Panthers are set up along the blue line right now, they don’t necessarily need to rush Gudbranson to the NHL. They can have him head back to junior hockey and develop a bit more and continue to grow into his game. While Gudbranson may ultimately be one of the more talented guys that the Panthers will work out and give the chance to make the team, it’s an odd luxury for them to not need to bring him in immediately.

Then again, the Panthers potential blue line doesn’t really inspire fear or much worry of being shut down by opponents with the likes of Dmitry Kulikov and Bryan McCabe being the biggest names there. Guys like Mike Weaver and Nathan Paetsch, despite some of their abilities, aren’t game breakers. Gudbranson will get his time, he’ll just have to really knock Dale Tallon and Pete DeBoer’s socks off to have it be this year.

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    Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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    The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

    Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

    (The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

    Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

    Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

    As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

    Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

    As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

    You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

    Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

    Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

    This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

    Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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    The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

    Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

    You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

    This GIF might just say it all, really:

    Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

    Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

    The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

    Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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    Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

    Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

    Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

    Want it in GIF form? OK then: