Nuge

Nugent-Hopkins named Team Canada captain for World Juniors

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been named captain of the Canadian team set to compete for gold at the 2013 World Junior tournament in Ufa, Russia.

The announcement wasn’t surprising — Nugent-Hopkins is the most experienced NHLer on the squad — but his selection does make for a unique story.

RNH will captain Team Canada despite having never represented his country at the World Junior level before — he was cut from Canada’s junior team as a 17-year-old in 2011 and wasn’t made available by the Oilers for the 2012 team.

That’s a far cry from what’s transpired for Team Canada at previous tournaments. Last year’s captain, Jaden Schwartz, participated in the 2011 tourney. The 2011 captain, Ryan Ellis, was an alternate in 2010. The 2010 captain, Patrice Cormier, played on the 2009 squad.

You get the picture.

As for the remainder of Team Canada’s roster, Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau and Pittsburgh draftee Scott Harrington were named as alternate captains.

It’s very possible one of the two could ascend to take the “C” should Nugent-Hopkins not make it through the tournament — Canadian coach Steve Spott said there were no guarantees RNH would remain with the team if the NHL lockout is resolved between now and the tournament’s conclusion (Jan. 5).

That said, Spott did pass along word that Edmonton was “fully supportive” of the decision to name Nugent-Hopkins captain.

Related: MacKinnon, Nugent-Hopkins headline Canada’s 2013 World Junior roster

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.