Connor Mackey’s spark a stark Rangers wake-up call

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Every game, every season and every team has a turning point, for better or for worse.

For the Rangers on Saturday night, it was Connor Mackey dropping the gloves with Senators captain Brady Tkachuk after the AHL call-up upended Ottawa’s darling third-overall pick, Tim Stützle, in the second period.

How Harkins’ Turnaround Invigorated the Fourth Line

PITTSBURGH, PA – Jansen Harkins wasn’t great in his start to this NHL season.

Harkins, claimed by the Penguins off waivers from the Jets toward the end of training camp, earned a roster spot after a brief audition in the tail end of the preseason. But after four lackluster games where he wasn’t much of a factor on either side of the puck, he was put back on waivers and sent down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after he cleared.

J.T. Compher’s versatility, secondary scoring proving vital for Red Wings

DETROIT, MI – J.T. Compher has provided the Detroit Red Wings the secondary scoring and versatility they sought when they made him their most significant offseason free-agent signing.

Compher has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in the past 10 games and ranks third overall in scoring with 16 points, behind Alex DeBrincat (20) and Dylan Larkin (19).

He has solidified the second-line center spot, been an effective bumper on the second power-play unit, and their leading forward on the penalty kill by ice time. He is their only forward averaging more than two minutes a game on both specialty teams.

Slavin family uses hockey star’s platform to raise money to fight human trafficking

RALEIGH, NC – Sports have the power to inspire change and do good in the lives of the people who play and take part in them. It’s why Carolina Hurricanes star defenseman Jaccob Slavin is using his platform to help the 50 million people who are held in some form of modern slavery through human trafficking.

Operation Fight For Freedom is the Slavin family’s mission to raise $1 million as they look to battle human trafficking in the Philippines. Their goal is to raise money that can help local law enforcement in the South Pacific country put an end to the terrible crime.

The International Justice Mission estimated that nearly 50 million people are affected by human trafficking, whether it’s through labor and slavery, or sex trafficking.

Versatile Compher providing Wings with offensive spark

DETROIT, MI – Coaching staffs love players like J.T. Compher.

You can plug a player like Compher on a scoring line, checking line, either power play or penalty kill, in an offensive or defensive role, and Compher, the former Michigan standout, is going to do a professional job.

It’s one of the reasons general manager Steve Yzerman targeted Compher the first day of free agency on July 1, and the Wings signed Compher.

Nearly a quarter of the way into his first season, Compher has been exactly what the Wings wanted.

Canadiens’ Dvorak playing his best in the shadows, deserving of spot he holds

MONTREAL, QUE – A customary post of the lines ahead of Montreal’s matchup with the NHL’s lowest-rank team generated 10 responses — four of them begging to break up the trio that ended up being most responsible for a come-from-behind win.

Fully healthy now, Sean Walker is thriving in Philadelphia with Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA – It was just a few days before the start of the Philadelphia Flyers’ season. After facing weeks worth of questions about almost every single player at training camp, head coach John Tortorella sat up at the podium in Voorhees, and faced an unfamiliar query.

What were his thoughts on Sean Walker, unheralded offseason acquisition on defense who — based on practice combinations — appeared to be a lineup lock for Game 1?

“Steady,” Tortorella tersely responded. “You guys don’t talk about him, but you should.”

Why Ryan Johansen was beloved in Nashville is already apparent in Denver

DENVER, CO – There will be an emotional moment Monday night at Bridgestone Arena, both for the yellow-clad patrons and the guy whose memories of an eight-year run as one of their own will flash before him on the scoreboard.

Ryan Johansen will return to Smashville with the Colorado Avalanche, and the tribute video will likely be as meaningful to him as it will to the fans who adored him.

“During my time there, the fans were just incredible,” Johansen said. “They showed so much love toward the team, the players and the organization. It’s just a first-class organization that does a lot of tremendous things, not only within the rink but outside of that as well.”

Boston rookie Beecher score 1st NHL goal in Bruins’ 3-2 victory over Stars

BOSTON, MA – Boston rookie defenseman Mason Lohrei pulled the puck out of his pocket, the keepsake from his first NHL goal. John Beecher had one, too.

Beecher and Lohrei became the first Boston rookies in more than six years to score their first goals in the same game, doing so less than four minutes apart in the first period to put the Bruins ahead to stay in a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.

“Had to steal my thunder a little bit I guess,” Beecher, who scored first, said with a smile.