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Colorado Avalanche: News From Around the NHL December 24th, 2014

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Calvin Pickard is getting more love in this interview (and apparently Tanguay is a smart shooter - SHOOT TANGS, SHOOT!). []

STRANG: Speaking of Roy, he's been very complimentary of your play and your poise. What has that been like, hearing that endorsement?

PICKARD: It's cool. I grew up watching Patrick dominate the NHL. He's one of the best goalies of all time, if not the best. To have him have a ton of confidence in me and to say those things about me and get excited and be complimentary, it's nice. It gives me confidence. I just want to keep that going and make sure Patrick keeps that confidence in me.

Hockey parents rock, and one hockey "kid" got to thank his dad. []

But one hockey player got to thank his dad for letting him follow his dream and did it in a cool way.

In a Molson Canadian #AnythingForHockey promotion, Vitaly Lanochkin got to thank his dad by having some one-on-one ice-time on a beautiful rink built high in the mountains in a picturesque setting.

Andrei Lanochkin moved his family from Estonia to Canada so that his family could have a better life and Vitaly could chase his dreams

Does the Wold Junior Championship more consistently show the international level of hockey play? []

The World Junior Championship is an old entity, four decades old to be precise, and in some ways has been a more consistent barometer of the state of hockey across the world. While boycotts and amateur status debates drastically affected Olympics rosters over the years, the under-20s have routinely held the top competition for the best young players from major hockey-playing countries.

For this reason, we have grounds for some interesting comparisons among these countries, in particular the leagues that have shared their talent for the world juniors. Their players' performance within those leagues and their subsequent WJC performance can tell us a lot in a larger sample. By looking historically, we can also add context to the story, including how political shifts like the division of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia affected these programs.

The Blues have spoofed Home Alone. []

It seems like every team is doing Holiday-themed videos these days and you can add the St. Louis Blues to that list as well. Earlier today, the Leafs went with a simpler approach to the Holiday videos, but the Blues went more intricate like some other teams.

The Leafs also made a Christmas video. []

Things aren't quite as cheery in Leafs nation as they were at around this time last week with the team currently on a three game losing skid. But don't think for a second that that means the team isn't in high spirits this holiday season.

Monday, the Maple Leafs provided fans across Leafs nation with a small Christmas gift, one that they'll all thoroughly enjoy...albeit with the volume down low.

Is Chris Stewart going to be a Bruins? []

Last week, Boston Bruins beat writer Joe Haggerty talked about potential trade targets for a scoring winger. Two key names he mentioned were T.J. Oshie and Chris Stewart. This shouldn't come as much of a shock; barring a two-goal game from either Brad Marchand or Reilly Smith on Dec. 23, or a hattrick from Dougie Hamilton or Loui Eriksson, the Bruins will go into the Christmas break without a single player in double-digits for goals. After letting Jarome Iginla walk, and the parts from the Tyler Seguin trade not really filling the void, there is a lot of scoring missing from the Bruins roster.

Dallas Eakins is no longer welcome by the Oilers, but he may get a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization (with the Marlies) . []

Dallas Eakins was fired by the Edmonton Oilers as head coach less than a week ago, but he may have another opportunity before you know it.

According to Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox during Hockey Night in Canada's second intermission "Headlines" segment, Eakins could return to his former coaching position in Toronto.

Ten players to watch at the WJC - that don't have "McDavid" in their name. []

Ivan Barbashev, winger, Russia

After saying at the scouting combine that the KHL is not for him, Barbashev has produced in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats. In three seasons, he has 179 points. Barbashev, a second-round pick of the St. Louis Blues, brings size at six foot one and offensive ability.

Del Zotto is unhappy with his ice time, or lack thereof. []

In November, Del Zotto was heralded as the Flyers' most consistent defenseman.

Last night against the Jets, he was benched as a healthy scratch for the eighth time in 10 games. He has played just two games in December.

Lee Stempniak also has the mumps. []

The New York Rangers have another mumps case, and the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils might not be done with the contagious disease.

The Rangers said that forward Lee Stempniak has the mumps, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 17 since late October. He has been in isolation during the contagious phase and skated on his own on Monday. He'll rejoin the team at practice on Tuesday.