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Ex-Sabres defenseman Housley among five to receive Hockey Hall call

Former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Phil Housley is among five players who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.

One of three defensemen who will enter the hall, Housley is in good company. He is joined by longtime Detroit Red Wings blueliner Nicklas Lidstrom and one of the NHL’s most physical defenders, Chris Pronger.

Also to be inducted for their playing careers are forward Sergei Federov, who spent most of his career with Detroit and Angela Ruggiero, one of the most decorated players in women’s hockey history.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Housley was selected by the Sabres as the sixth pick overall in the first round of the 1982 draft and went on to score 338 goals 894 assists and 1,495 career games with the Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

As a Sabre, Housley collected 178 goals and 380 assists for 558 points in 608 games over eight seasons before he was traded to Winnipeg in deal that brought Dale Hawerchuk to Buffalo. Housley had 10 goals and 17 assists in 35 postseason games with Buffalo. He is second only to Mike Modano in scoring among American-born players in the NHL and ranks fourth among all defensemen, although he was used as a forward at times early in his career with the Sabres.

“I am absolutely elated to be entering the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2015,” Housley said in a news release.

“One glance at the legends who have already been enshrined proves that this really is the ultimate (honor) for a hockey player.”

Housley, who holds the NHL record for most games played without winning the Cup (1,495), has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators.

Lidstrom, 45, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman seven times and helped the Red Wings win Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

Pronger, 40, was NHL MVP and Norris winner in 2000, and he helped Canada win the gold medal in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics. He also helped the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup final in 2010.

Fedorov, 45, won Stanley Cups with the Red Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and he became the first European to be named NHL MVP.

Ruggiero was the youngest player for the American team that won the first Olympic gold medal in women’s hockey.

Ruggiero, who played at Harvard, also helped Team USA win four more gold and six silver medals at the world championships.

Non-players who received the hall call include Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay and Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos.

Bruins get Rinaldo

Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall made his second deal in three days Monday, sending feisty left winger Zac Rinaldo to Boston for a third-round pick in the 2017 draft.

Rinaldo, 25, supplied energy but lots of ill-advised (read: knuckleheaded) penalties during his five-year stint with the Flyers. He had a goal, six points, five fights, and 102 penalty minutes in 58 games last season.

In 223 career games with the Flyers, Rinaldo had eight goals, 24 points, 572 penalty minutes, and three suspensions. He was fined twice.

The Flyers used some of the money they freed up by dealing Rinaldo to re-sign Chris VandeVelde to a multi-year deal. VandeVelde, 28, had nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 79 games in the 2014-2015 season.

Around the boards

• The Kings announced Monday they have terminated the contract of center Mike Richards, citing ‘material breach’ by the player one day after placing him on unconditional waivers for a buyout. Their three-paragraph release was short on specifics. The NHL Players’ Association released a statement regarding the termination of Richards’ contract: “We are in the process of reviewing the facts and circumstances of this matter and will discuss the situation with the player in order to determine the appropriate course of action.”

• Dallas signed goaltender Antti Niemi to a three-year contract extension Monday. Terms of the signing were not disclosed, but the deal is worth $13.5 million over three years. The Stars acquired Niemi via trade from San Jose.

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