WASHINGTON -- A damp and frigid day in Washington did not delay the progress being made on the rink for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, to be played between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals at Nationals Park on New Year's Day (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA).
"Right now we're in good shape," NHL senior director of facilities operation Dan Craig said. "We're not quite at half an inch [of ice], very close to half an inch right now."
Over the weekend, installation of the boards and aluminum trays that regulate the temperature of the ice surface were completed. The crew began spraying water on the playing surface to create the ice, which will ultimately be about two inches thick.
Elsewhere around the ballpark, some décor elements had already been installed, such as detailing on both dugouts and a large banner featuring the NHL Winter Classic logo in left field.
Flyers' Zepp's hockey odyssey results in first NHL winMonday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
Rob Zepp was just looking for an opportunity.
After 13 seasons bouncing around hockey leagues in North America and Europe, the 33-year-old finally got his chance to play in an NHL game Sunday. Making his debut with the Philadelphia Flyers, he made 25 saves to backstop a 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.
"I said to [his teammates] that I appreciate this more than anyone knows," Zepp said after the game Sunday. "I've been playing hockey for 26 years trying to get here. To be able to be here and play, the game wasn't perfect, but then to get the win at the end like that was perfect."
It's been a long road for Zepp. He was born in Scarborough, Ontario, and grew up in nearby Newmarket. He starred for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, leading the OHL in goals-against average twice and winning the Canadian Hockey League scholar-athlete award. He was drafted twice by NHL teams; by the Atlanta Thrashers in the fourth round (No. 99) of the 1999 NHL Draft and by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round (No. 110) of the 2001 draft.
Devils forward Cammalleri returns to practiceMonday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri, who has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury, returned to practice Monday, the team announced via Twitter.
Cammalleri was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 13 and is eligible to return to the lineup when ready. He was skating with Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr during practice on Monday, according to Northjersey.com.
Forward Patrik Elias and Martin Havlat did not practice because of illness. They are being tested for mumps and their status for Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., is unknown.
Fantasy All-Access: Fisher stepping up for PredatorsMonday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
The holiday season is upon us, and that means a perfect time to pass out some fantasy hockey gifts to some players in much need for a holiday boost.
We are giving the present of good health to Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry. He has been a fantasy stud with 22 points in 23 games, but has missed 12 games this season due to the mumps and a knee sprain. A healthy Perry will go a long way to a fantasy championship.
A gift of a goal for Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell, who has played in 33 games this season and has the most assists (14) without scoring a goal. His fantasy status would be boosted if he started finding the net.
Kopitar, Voracek and Fleury named stars of the weekMonday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
NEW YORK – Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek and Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 21.
FIRST STAR – ANZE KOPITAR, C, LOS ANGELES KINGS
Kopitar led the NHL with nine points and eight assists in three games, helping the Kings (17-11-6, 40 points) win two of three starts to maintain a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. He opened the week by collecting one assist in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues Dec. 16. Kopitar then set a career high with five points and matched a career high with four assists in a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the Blues in the second half of their home-and-home set Dec. 18. He capped the week by posting three helpers, his sixth multi-point performance of the season, in a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Dec. 20. The 27-year-old Jesenice, Slovenia, native has recorded consecutive three-point games for the first time since October 2009, when he had two such stretches. The 11th overall selection by the Kings in the 2005 NHL Draft, Kopitar ranks third on the club with 7-15-22 in 31 outings this season.
Doubling back: Projecting 2015 All-Star participantsMonday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus is a little more than a month away, so it is time for another round of projections for who might end up in the midseason showcase.
Here is our first projection from November. This time, it will be Arpon Basu, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen of NHL.com making their picks.
The exercise was pretty simple. All three chose the 42 players (12 forwards, six defensemen and three goalies in each conference) they felt most deserved to be named to the All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on Jan. 25.
Players who were named on the most lists were part of the team, and because each player was voted in order of priority, a simple tiebreaker was used to determine the final spots if too many players were named to the same number of ballots. The individual ballots are displayed at the bottom of the story.
Drafted prospects expected to take star turns at WJCMonday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
NHL fans certainly are interested in the current fortune of their favorite team, but there's always a question of what the future could look like.
That's what makes the annual IIHF World Junior Championship such a popular, entertaining tournament.
The elite under-20 international event is stocked with top prospects and future pros at all positions.
A number of those players already have been drafted, with a few already having the chance to showcase their potential in the NHL. Here are 10 worth keeping an eye on when the 2015 WJC starts Dec. 26 in Montreal and Toronto.
Around the League notebook for Sunday, Dec. 21Monday, 12.22.2014 / NHL.com
RANGERS EXTEND WIN STREAK TO SEASON-HIGH SIX GAMES ...
Ryan McDonagh (1-0-1) scored the game's only goal to lead the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. New York's season-high sixth consecutive victory improved its record 17-10-4 (38 points) this season, tying the Rangers with the Washington Capitals for third place in Metropolitan Division standings points. The Rangers have earned at least one point in 10 consecutive games against Metropolitan Division opponents (9-0-1).
* The victory is the eighth shutout of the season for the Rangers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers have registered eight shutouts in their first 31 games of a season for the first time since 1928-29 (11 shutouts). New York leads the NHL in shutouts this season.
* The Rangers have won 14 of their past 15 games against the Hurricanes (14-1-0), dating to a 4-3 shootout victory on Feb. 22, 2011. The Rangers have won eight consecutive games against the Hurricanes at home, dating to a 2-1 overtime victory on Jan. 5, 2011.
Canada's McDavid gets assist in return from injurySunday, 12.21.2014 / NHL.com
OTTAWA -- Canada forward Connor McDavid shook off the rust after a five-week layoff in a 5-2 win against Sweden on Sunday in an exhibition game ahead of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
McDavid, 17, played for the first time since breaking a bone in his right hand in a fight while playing for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League on Nov. 11. He had an assist on Canada's fourth goal, scored by Anaheim Ducks prospect Shea Theodore, in front of 13,826 at Canadian Tire Centre.
"Not playing in 40 days, you're about as rusty as you can possible get," McDavid said. "I thought my legs felt pretty good. The game speed was pretty high. Some plays happened pretty quick, but overall I thought it went all right."
Projected to be a top pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid played on a line with Ottawa Senators forward Curtis Lazar and forward Nick Ritchie, an Anaheim Ducks prospect.