Matt Beleskey

Beleskey, Stempniak highlight EA’s NHL 14 Cover Vote

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Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey and Calgary’s Lee Stempniak are two of the names topping this year’s list of players for EA Sports’ NHL ’14 cover vote.

The voting process became a huge success last year — the first time Electronic Arts held a balloting process — as over 25 million votes were cast, with Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux capturing the coveted honor.

“This is another tremendous opportunity for our fans to once again show their support for their team and selected players by voting in this second installment of the EA Sports NHL Cover Vote Campaign,” said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President Consumer Products Marketing. “We look forward to our fans’ creativity and incomparable passion in driving another record setting vote count and ultimately determining who will grace the cover of NHL 14 worldwide.”

The voting process will consist of two preliminary rounds, followed by a 16-player bracket as a field of 60 NHL players is narrowed down to one. The winning player will be revealed as the EA SPORTS NHL 14 Cover Athlete during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

Here’s the full list of 60 players:

Eastern Conference
Bruins Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara Lightning Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman
Canadiens PK Subban, David Desharnais Maple Leafs Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk
Capitals Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson Panthers Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell
Devils Martin Brodeur, Adam Henrique Penguins Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang
Flyers Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek Rangers Carl Hagelin, Ryan Callahan
Hurricanes Eric Staal, Jordan Staal Sabres Ryan Miller, Tomas Vanek
Islanders John Tavares, Michael Grabner Senators Craig Anderson, Milan Michalek
Jets Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd
Western Conference
Avalanche Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog Kings Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown
Blackhawks Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall
Blue Jackets Brandon Dubinsky, Sergei Bobrovsky Predators Brandon Yip, Mike Fisher
Blues Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron Red Wings Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk
Canucks Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows Sharks Joe Thornton, Logan Couture
Coyotes Keith Yandle, Shane Doan Stars Kari Lehtonen, Jamie Benn
Ducks Andrew Cogliano, Matt Beleskey Wild Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom
Flames Dennis Wideman, Lee Stempniak

If you’d like to cast your ballot, head to NHL.com/CoverVote.

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
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Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

 

Senators get Kyle Turris back on Saturday

Ottawa Senators' Kyle Turris celebrates his game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.

After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.

Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.