NHL Notes: Semin, Hurricanes agree to extension

032513_alexanderseminusa.jpg

NHL Notes: Semin, Hurricanes agree to extension

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Alexander Semin has found a home with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The team said Monday that the left winger has agreed to a five-year contract extension that will pay him $7 million per season and keep him with the Hurricanes through 2017-18.

Semin had spent his first seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, who drafted him in the first round in 2002, and became the fifth-leading scorer in club history but appeared to be the odd man out.

He got a fresh start over the summer when Carolina -- which was looking for an elite forward to skate alongside Eric Staal -- took a flyer on him with a one-year free agent deal worth $7 million.

At the time, general manager Jim Rutherford said it was a low-risk, high-reward deal because "we got a very talented player (and) we didn't lock in for a long period of time and then find out it's not working."

It's sure working now.

Skating alongside Staal on the Hurricanes' top line, the 29-year-old Semin has a team-best 22 assists and is second with 30 points while keeping Carolina in contention for its first playoff berth since 2009.

"We're very happy to retain Alex," Rutherford said. "Alex is an elite player and has been a major contributor to the Hurricanes having a very strong top line."

Semin has 205 goals and 233 assists during his eight-season career.

Lightning hire Cooper as coach
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Jon Cooper as their new coach.

The team announced the move on Monday night.

Cooper had been coaching Syracuse of the AHL, Tampa Bay's top minor league affiliate. He is replacing Guy Boucher, who was fired Sunday after 2 1/2 years with the team.

Cooper will coach his first game for the Lightning on Friday night against the New Jersey Devils.

Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will handle coaching duties when the Lightning host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. The pair will then remain as assistant coaches for Cooper.

The Lightning, at 13-18-1, are in next to last place in the Eastern Conference.

Hossa remains out with injury
CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa has been ruled out for the Chicago Blackhawks' game against the Los Angeles Kings due to an upper-body injury.

Hossa left Chicago's 5-2 victory at Colorado last Monday after he took a hit in the first period. The right wing then missed the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday night, and was sidelined again for the opener of a three-game homestand on Monday night.

Hossa has 13 goals and 10 assists in 28 games this season.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

NHL Notes: Kings activate goalie Jonathan Quick from injured reserve

NHL Notes: Kings activate goalie Jonathan Quick from injured reserve

LOS ANGELES -- Goalie Jonathan Quick has returned to the Los Angeles Kings after injuring his groin in the first period of the season opener.

Quick led the Kings during warmups before Saturday's game against the Anaheim Ducks.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner missed 59 games with the injury, which occurred Oct. 12 against San Jose. He has been skating with the Kings for several weeks, but he didn't make any rehabilitation starts in the minors.

The Kings only announced his return by activating him from injured reserve 40 minutes before the opening faceoff.

Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012 when the eighth-seeded Kings steamrolled the competition on their way to the franchise's first Stanley Cup title.

When healthy, Quick has been the Kings' starting goalie since December 2008.

Ducks: Vermette's 10-game suspension upheld
NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 10-game suspension assessed to Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette.

Vermette slapped his stick against the back of linesman Shandor Alphonso's legs after losing a faceoff to Minnesota's Mikko Koivu during the third period of the Ducks' 1-0 win on Feb. 14. Vermette had a hearing with Bettman on Thursday after appealing the initial suspension.

Bettman announced Saturday that the 10-game ban would remain; Vermette has served four games already.

Vermette will lose $97,222 in salary.

The normally mild-mannered Vermette appeared to act out of frustration when Alphonso dropped the puck before the forward had put his stick in place on the ice. Officials immediately assessed a game misconduct to Vermette.

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

PITTSBURGH -- For Flyers coach Dave Hakstol and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, tonight’s Stadium Series game between the Flyers and Penguins brings back memories.
 
Hakstol coached North Dakota in an outdoor hockey in college, while Gostisbehere participated in one as a freshman at Union College.
 
For Hakstol, however, this whole idea of outdoor hockey began when he was growing up in central Alberta in the small town of Drayton Valley.
 
“I think everybody’s got great memories of growing up outdoors,” Hakstol said. “We had a back creek that we could shovel off. I’m sure everybody could sit back and tell you stories of playing on the outdoor rinks.
 
“For me, most recently, I’ve got two kids growing up playing on outdoor rinks, backyard rinks. It’s pretty cool. It takes you right back to the heart of the game.”
 
Hakstol’s outdoor coaching experience came during a game between Nebraska-Omaha and his North Dakota squad in 2013 at the “Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice.”
 
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Hakstol said of the event. “It’s just a different feel. It’s an ideal scenario.”
 
He said while tonight's game is special, it’s still about the points, first and foremost.
 
“You are cognizant of everything that surrounds the event and the game,” Hakstol said. “Yet for us, it’s two points. We’re fighting for every point here. That is going to paramount.”

Gostisbehere played at Fenway Park in 2012 for Union in a game against Harvard. That night, Union won, 2-0, to become the first ECAC club to ever win outdoors.
 
“I played at Fenway Park against Harvard and it was fun,” Gostisbehere said. “That was my freshman year and the only one I ever played in.
 
“Good crowd. It wasn’t packed obviously, but it was a night game. The ice was really good. It was really cold, too. It was pretty cool.”
 
As warm as it was Friday here -- a historic 78 degrees -- temperatures will begin in the 40s tonight at Heinz Field and then drop. It rained this morning but has since ceased.
 
“The biggest thing for me was to take a second, look around,” Gostisbehere said, admitting he failed to do that in college and won’t make that mistake again.
 
“Just cherish it a little bit. You are so focused on the game, it’s tough. That was biggest thing for me. It was such a blur. Just being in college and having the opportunity to play at Fenway Park was pretty awesome.”

This will the Flyers first-ever outdoor affair in Pittsburgh.
 
“It’s pretty exciting and I’m glad to be part of it,” Gostisbehere said.