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Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 6:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Isles' Reese ready to face his idol -- Jagr

PHILADELPHIA -- Growing up in the Pittsburgh suburbs, New York Islanders defenseman Dylan Reese said watching Jaromir Jagr with the Pittsburgh Penguins was one of the reasons he started playing hockey.

Tonight, he'll go head-to-head with his idol.

"He came in right around the time I stared playing," Reese, 27, told "He's one of the reasons I started playing, him and (Mario) Lemieux and the Penguins' Cup (winners) in '91 and '92 -- that's when hockey picked up in Pittsburgh and that's when guys my age started playing the sport."

Reese, a 2003 seventh-round pick of the Isles, got a close-up look this morning when he watched part of the Flyers' morning skate, said he thought this day never would happen once Jagr left for Russia in 2008.

"It's pretty exciting to play against him," said Reese. "I always admired his playing style and how he uses his body to protect the puck and he always seems like he's one of the toughest guys to get the puck off of. I'm excited to play against him tonight."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 4:16 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Concussion recovery 'day-to-day' for Pronger

Chris Pronger was one player notably absent from Wednesday's Flyers Wives Fashion Show in Philadelphia.

Pronger's wife, Lauren, hosted the event and told Comcast SportsNet that "it was not a good day" for the All-Star defenseman, who is recovering from serious post-concussion syndrome that will sideline him for the remainder of the season and the playoffs.

Pronger initially was injured Oct. 24 against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit in the eye by the stick of the Leafs' Mikhail Grabovski. Pronger missed two weeks and played just five more games due to what the team called an illness. He last played Nov. 19 in Winnipeg, and was shut down for the season Dec. 15 after consulting with two Pittsburgh-based concussion experts, Dr. Joseph Maroon and Dr. Michael "Micky" Collins.

"It's a tough go at home," Lauren Pronger said. "We're going day-to-day right now -- good days, bad days. It's been a lot of trauma going on. We're just praying right now. He's battling. He wants to be out there more than anybody. It's tough for all of us to watch him go through this."

The only words out of Chris Pronger since being shut down for the season came Jan. 14, when he released a short statement through the Flyers: "It is very, very tough right now. I don't feel well and it hurts so much not to be playing."

Lauren said the family's three children have been affected by Chris' injury, as well.

"They're confused all the time," she said, "'Dad, when can we go to a game? Dad, when can you play?' And he looks at them and says please don't ask that question. I want to get out there and play, too."

Lauren added the last month has been a major change for her, as well.

"It's been an adjustment for all of us," she said. "He's around a lot more -- I'm not used to that. I do as much as I can to support him. I want to see him better."

She said she had hoped Chris would be able to attend the fashion show, which raised money for Comcast-Spectacor Charities, a list that included the Police Athletic League, PAWS, the Ronald McDonald House and Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

"It was not a good day today, he's not here tonight," she said. "Breaks his heart, breaks my heart. We're hoping for a better day tomorrow, and at least a couple good days in a row would be nice."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 2:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Jagr having fun, not rushing to decide NHL future

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr made one thing very clear in speaking with reporters this morning -- in his world, happiness comes before money.

Jagr, who has had an outstanding return to the NHL after three seasons in Russia -- 34 points in 38 games, a spot on the team's top line -- says he's having as much fun now as he ever has in his long career.

"Everything right now is good and nobody is panicking," Jagr said. "That's what I like, nobody's panicking. We lose, coach has confidence, we don't panic, we don't switch lines. Our line didn't play good for four games, nobody panicked. Coach (Peter Laviolette) said to us, 'You have to play better,' but no panicking."

He's having so much fun a month shy of his 40th birthday that he said he'd be amenable to signing another one-year contract with the Flyers -- assuming things stay the way they are.

"I don't think it'll be a problem to make something here," he said.

Jagr did say, however, he's in no rush to sign any contract extension now. He's still not completely healed from the nagging groin injury that kept him out four games in November and two more in January. He'd said he'd rather wait until the end of the season and see how he feels and where he thinks he fits with the team.

"I don't want to talk about it because we've got 40 games to go and the playoffs," he said. "I just want to let it go. If I'm going to play good, I don’t think it's going to be a problem."

And Jagr said money won't be the biggest issue with him.

"If it would just be money, I wouldn't be here," he said. "Why would I come here when I get twice or three times as much in Russia and play 50 games? I came here just to play. Can you buy happiness for two years? Are you going to take the risk to go somewhere else and not be happy? I want to be happy. At my stage, I want to come to work and be happy. There's lots of places where the guys don't like each other, but they have to come (to the rink) because that's their job. I don't want that at my stage.

"We play good, have a lot of young guys, having a lot of fun. The coach is great, organization is great. It's like a family."

And to that extended family -- the Flyers' fans -- he says not to worry about next season.

"They don't have to worry," he said. "If I'm going to play good, I'll probably be here."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 1:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Numbers point to Bobrovsky

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers held a full skate this morning, but they didn't break into line rushes. Considering coach Peter Laviolette has a tendency to stick with things when they're working -- and they certainly were working in Tuesday's 5-1 win against the Wild -- it's likely the line combinations and defense pairings remain the same.

The only place it could change would be on the fourth line, where Zac Rinaldo could return to the lineup in place of Jody Shelley. Rinaldo sat out Tuesday due to an upper-body injury. He told that it was a neck injury suffered last Saturday in Nashville that stiffened up on him. He skated with the team at practice yesterday and was a full participant in drills this morning.

Also, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in place of Ilya Bryzgalov. While Bryzgalov was very good against the Wild, Bobrovsky's numbers demand he plays against the Isles.

In eight career games, Bobrovsky is 7-0-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. Bryzgalov, meanwhile, is 0-1-0 in three games against the Isles, with a 5.50 GAA and .825 save percentage.

We had the Islanders' lineup earlier; here's how the rest of the Flyers' lineup could look:

Jaromir Jagr - Claude Giroux - Scott Hartnell
Maxime Talbot - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Jody Shelley/Zac Rinaldo - Sean Couturier - Harry Zolnierczyk

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Andrej Meszaros - Erik Gustafsson

Either Shelley or Rinaldo will sit out, along with defenseman Andreas Lilja.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 1:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Isles want Parenteau to think shoot-first more

PHILADELPHIA -- Islanders coach Jack Capuano certainly is happy that forward PA Parenteau is tied for seventh in the League with a team-best 30 assists, but he believes there's more to the right wing than his set-up skills.

"A lot of times he's a guy that thinks pass-first," said Capuano. "The more he shoots the puck, the more (positive) results we're going to get. That's something we always stay on top of him about. He has had, the last few games, four or five shots a game and that's paid dividends for him."

Parenteau has nine goals this season, but two of them came Tuesday in Washington for his first two-goal game in the NHL.

"I am a little too generous at times passing the puck," Parenteau told "It's something I like to do. When I'm well-surrounded, I like to pass the puck. But he (Capuano) is right, I can definitely shoot it a little more. I did last game and I got rewarded for it. Maybe I'll look to shoot it a little more the rest of the year here."

Parenteau admitted playing on a line with top goal-scorers John Tavares and Matt Moulson, it was easy to think pass-first. Now that he's been moved onto a line with Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, it's easier for him to start shooting the puck more.

"Maybe sometimes playing with Moulson and Johnny I was a little too generous because I know they're such good goal scorers," said Parenteau. "And they were always open. … I try to be the same player -- try to move the puck well and make some plays, and take the puck to the net when it's needed."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 12:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Islanders staying the same

PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off a 3-0 win against the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday, New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano said he didn't see any reason to change his lineup for tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

That means defenseman Dylan Reese stays in the lineup for a second straight game in place of veteran Steve Staios.

Capuano said he's been impressed by what he's seen of Reese since the 6-foot-1, 201-pounder was recalled from AHL Bridgeport on Jan. 6.

"In Bridgeport, he's a 26-, 27-minute guy down there, he plays in all situations," said Capuano. "When you play that many minutes in those situations, you work on a lot of things. His game has come a long way."

Here's the rest of what the Islanders' lineup will look like when they hit the ice tonight:

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Matt Martin - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Tim Wallace - Jay Pandolfo - Nino Niederreiter

Mark Streit - Milan Jurcina
Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Mark Eaton - Dylan Reese

Evgeni Nabokov will start in net, with Al Montoya backing him up.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 2:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Panthers' Jovanovski could miss 2 months

The Florida Panthers announced today that defenseman Ed Jovanovski will have hand surgery today to fix a hand injury suffered Monday against the Boston Bruins.

No return time was specified by the club, but the Miami Herald is reporting Jovanovski could miss up to two months.

Jovanovski suffered the injury in a first-period fight with the Bruins' Daniel Paille.

The 35-year-old Jovanovski, who returned to the Panthers this season after spending the first four seasons of his NHL career with Florida, has 2 goals and 8 points in 43 games, and has been an important leader on a young defense.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 6:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Extra eye on Yeo

PHILADELPHIA -- As if his team's current slide hasn't been hard enough to deal with, Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo has to deal with an extra layer of criticism -- and it's not from his boss, GM Chuck Fletcher.

His father, Wayne, is among the 32 dads on this week's Wild father and son road trip. Fletcher said it's not just players that have their fathers -- coaches and members of the team's public-relations, medical and equipment staff have their dads along as well.

"Puts some added pressure on me," said Yeo of his father's presence. "It's another watchful eye over the shoulder. If I screw up, he'll let me know."

Yeo obviously was joking, but having the dads around for tonight's game in Philadelphia and Thursday's game in Toronto has fun for all involved.

"It's nice to have them here," Wild forward Devin Setoguchi told "Everyone likes to have their family in town. It's something cool for them to see. Usually it inspires guys to play better when their dad is in town."

Yeo, though, hopes his players don't need any extra inspiration.

"I don't know that we need motivation," said the coach. "There's plenty there for us. We shouldn't have to look too hard, whether it's the challenge of facing this stretch without key guys in our lineup or just the understanding of just how important these games are this time of year, or whether it’s the father's trip, there's plenty of reasons to come to the rink and be motivated."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 3:33 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Wild careful to not do too much

PHILADELPHIA -- How much do the Minnesota Wild miss Mikko Koivu?

As Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher told, "Clearly he's an irreplaceable player. There's nobody on your farm team that can come up and replace his role or the job that he does."

Koivu suffered an upper-body injury early in Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues and is considered week-to-week. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting the injury, to Koivu's shoulder, will sideline him about a month.

Koivu has led the team in scoring in three straight seasons, and his 33 points in 41 games is tops on the team this season.

And with just two wins in their last 15 games (2-10-3) and in the midst of a stretch where they play eight of 10 on the road, the Wild are preaching what Fletcher said -- no one can replace Koivu, so don't try to.

"We can't worry about anything other than just preparing to play our 'A' game," center Matt Cullen told "Every individual guy has to bring his 'A' game and that's it. Can't focus on picking up the slack or doing something for somebody else -- you have to do your job and you've got to do it your best.

"We don't need every guy to go out and score every time he touches the puck. … You have to go out and do your job, play the game the way you play it."

Cullen said he believes the key to working through the team's issues and missing players right now is to prepare like it's a playoff game.

"At this point in the season you get into these big games, especially when you're down like that, everybody needs to prepare as if it's playoff-style hockey," he said. "That's how we play our best, when we're all focused on playing playoff-style hockey."

Teammate Devin Setoguchi said the team has to adopt a foxhole mentality -- it's everybody in the bunker together, and no one is going to come in from the outside to help them.

"We've got a lot of adversity that we've overcome this season and we're still in a (playoff) position here," he told "We need to take it upon ourselves to maybe dig a little deeper, work a little harder when you're missing guys. If we're going to win games it's not going to be because of a lack of work ethic, sticking with the plan and the process."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 2:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Avoiding the trap

PHILADELPHIA -- Danny Briere said one thing he's noticed in his career is the hardest game is the first one at home following a road trip.

That's where the Flyers are tonight, facing a Minnesota Wild team that could be the perfect opponent.

The Wild are struggling (2-10-3 in their last 15) and are missing their team captain and All-Star, Mikko Koivu. However, facing a desperate team could be just what the Flyers need tonight.

"It could be a dangerous game if we're not ready," said Flyers center Danny Briere. "We can't be looking at the other team … and think that it's going to be easier because they're struggling. We have to come out strong. I'm sure they're not happy with their play lately and they want to turn things around. For us, it's important not to look at them but to make sure we come out of the gate with a bang today and put our own tempo in instead of letting them set the tempo of the game."

The Flyers have played just nine of their last 29 games in Philadelphia, but tonight starts a stretch of nine of their next 12 at home. They're just 10-6-2 at home this season, tying them for the second-fewest home wins in the Eastern Conference.

"It's a dangerous opponent because they're playing with a lot of desperation," defenseman Matt Carle told "The season is only halfway over, but you start looking at the standings and try to put yourself in a playoff position and they're battling right now in that 8-9-10 spot. They've had a tough stretch. You never know, one game, a bounce here or there can turn a team around and start building some momentum. Hopefully we can allow them not to pick up any of that tonight."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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