Lee Stempniak

Stempniak on Rangers: ‘I think this is a really good opportunity for me’

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Seeing Lee Stempniak sign with the New York Rangers made a lot of sense for both sides.

The Rangers needed a player to replace Benoit Pouliot, who signed with Edmonton this summer, on their third line. Stempniak needed to find a team to give him an opportunity to prove himself after a disappointing finish with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As Jim Cerny of Blueshirts United shared, Stempniak feels the Rangers give him a great chance to succeed.

“The style of play they play is well-suited to my game, and I think I can contribute, come in and help the team win games,” stated Stempniak. “I think this is a really good opportunity for me. I feel like this is a good fit for me. For me I try and skate and use my speed, get in on the forecheck, attack off the rush–speed is key to my game. But I also play hard, have a strong work ethic, and look to play a 200-foot game. That should fit in with this team’s style, I hope.”

Stempniak had 12 goals and 34 points with the Penguins and Calgary Flames last season. Throughout his career he’s been a steady 14-goal per year guy doing it three times.

For the record, Pouliot had 15 goals and 36 points for the Rangers last season. Seems like Stempniak might just be the perfect fit.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

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.)