Meet the new boss: Flyers name Chris Pronger team captain

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It was perhaps the least surprising team announcement for a new captain you’ll find all year. The Philadelphia Flyers announced that Chris Pronger will be the team’s 18th captain in franchise history.

After trading former captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings this summer and vacating the team leadership position in the process, the door was opened up for any one of Pronger, Daniel Briere, or Kimmo Timonen to step into the role. If you’re left underwhelmed by seeing Briere and Timonen’s name next to Pronger’s that’s understandable. Pronger comes off as the player who demands attention and respect in the locker room immediately, or else.

While Briere and Timonen each have earned their share of respect as well, Pronger’s leadership through being a gruff character and one eager to stand up for teammates no matter what is what makes him ideal captain material, especially in a tough place like Philadelphia. Pronger has done this before in his career as he was captain of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007-2008.

Joining Pronger as alternate captains will be none other than Briere and Timonen as the Flyers allow their veteran players take charge in the room. Briere is a former captain of the Buffalo Sabres while Timonen has been a team captain before in Nashville.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren had this to say in a press release about the three guys they named to their new roles on the team.

“With Chris’s experience and presence, we felt that he was the perfect player to take over as captain of the Philadelphia Flyers,” Holmgren said.  “Having Kimmo and Danny, both former captains in the NHL, serving as alternates, really gives us a strong, dedicated leadership group.

“All three of these players know what it takes to win and are excellent role models both on and off the ice.”

Pronger being named the team captain is perhaps the least surprising development all summer for the Flyers whose tumultuous summer leads them into a season where there’s a lot at stake. Adding Ilya Bryzgalov to be the team’s starting goalie as well as trading away Richards and Carter to open the door for newcomers like Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier to potentially steal big jobs in training camp as well as making Claude Giroux the new top center.

With the host of new and young blood on the Flyers roster, having a surly veteran like Pronger to lead the way will help give the Flyers the look they’ve always dreamed of. Should the Flyers follow Pronger’s example they’ll be a tough team that doesn’t back down from anyone and will stick up for each other at all costs. In other words, they’re going to be just as tough to deal with as any Flyers team we’ve ever grown up with, just they’ll have a nasty competitor as their leader and Philadelphia wouldn’t want it to be any different.

The Buzzer: Kempe, Schwartz record hat tricks; Leafs honor Gord Downie

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Players of the night: Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues / Adrian Kempe, Los Angeles Kings

The Blues forward tallied his third career hat trick during a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Schwartz scored the game’s first two goals before completing his hat trick with a late empty-net goal to stave off a Chicago comeback.

Wednesday’s feat for Schwartz came three years to the day of his first career three-goal game.

Kempe, meanwhile, tallied his first NHL hat trick and finished with four points during LA’s 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens. Two of his three goals were assisted by Mike Cammalleri, who also finished the night with four points.

Highlight of the night:

Eddie Olczyk returned to the NBC broadcast booth as he continues his battle against colon cancer. Olczyk, along with Doc Emrick, called the Blues-Blackhawks game from Scottrade Center Wednesday night.

MISC:

Auston Matthews recorded the 20th multi-point game of his career. He now has six goals and 10 points on the season.

Patrick Marleau became the 18th NHL player to reach the 1,500-game mark.

Jake Allen kept his shutout bid alive with this great stick save on Patrick Kane late:

-The Kings are off their best start in franchise history at 5-0-1. They’ve allowed only 10 goals against through six games.

Jeff Carter left the game in the first period and did not return after tangling with Jeff Petry. Afterward, Kings head coach John Stevens said the forward will miss some time.

-Finally, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie passed away from cancer at age 53 on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs paid tribute before their game against the Red Wings.

Factoid of the night:

Scores:

Maple Leafs 6, Red Wings 3

Blues 5, Blackhawks 2

Kings 5, Canadiens 1

Cammalleri, Kempe power Kings over Canadiens

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Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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