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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 1:00 PM

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

Potential lineups for Flyers, Jets

PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off last night's 5-1 loss in Montreal, the Philadelphia Flyers opted not to skate today, so there's no real guarantee on what their lineup could look like heading into tonight's game against the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets, meanwhile, will play the first game of their season-long seven-game road trip tonight, and had every player on the ice this morning.

Here is what the Flyers might look like, and what the Jets will look like tonight:

FLYERS
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk - Matt Read - Jakub Voracek
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Andreas Nodl

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros - Andreas Lilja
Matt Carle - Matt Walker

Coach Peter Laviolette was non-committal on his goaltender for tonight, but the guess is Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start, considering Ilya Bryzgalov played last night, in addition to the fact that he's given up at least four goals in three straight games.

The other change in the lineup could be Jody Shelley drawing in on the fourth line in place of Nodl.

JETS
Alexander Burmistrov - Nik Antropov - Evander Kane
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Kyle Wellwood
Kenndal McArdle - Tim Stapleton - Blake Wheeler
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya - Randy Jones

Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal, with Chris Mason serving as the backup.

Ben Maxwell will be a healthy scratch, as Slater returns to the lineup after missing Monday's game with an upper-body injury suffered Oct. 22 against Carolina.

Eric Fehr also skated with the team; check back in a bit for more on him and his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery.

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

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 1:53 PM

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

Sens send Zibanejad back to Sweden

The Ottawa Senators have elected to return first-round pick Mika Zibanejad to his team in the Swedish Elite League.

Zibanejad, the sixth pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, had just 1 assist in nine games, and was a minus-3.

The Senators had until Thursday, which would have been Zibanejad's 10th game, to make a decision. Returning him to Djurgarden in Sweden delays the start of his three-year, entry-level contract. However, the Senators can't recall him until his European season is over, unless it's under emergency conditions.

"We think, for the long-term development of him, to give him the opportunity to become what we believe he has a chance to become, and that is a quality NHL player, that this is the right step for him at this moment," Senators General Manager Bryan Murray told reporters today.

Murray said the decision came down to the determination that it would be better for Zibanejad to play a top-line role with Djurgarden then on the third line in Ottawa.

"I think the reason we're probably sending him back is that we want him to have the puck, we want him to have a chance to score points, to be a legitimate top-six NHL player," he said. "I think at 18 years of age, he was playing the last little bit to survive and not make mistakes, rather than be a creative kind of kid that we think he'll turn out to be.

"From a selfish point of view, it was very difficult. We like him, he's a good man, he's a guy that will work hard and do everything the coaches ask every game. In turn, I think, from Mika's point of view, we want to have to pay him a lot of money in the future and that will only happen if he becomes, as I say, a legitimate top-six forward and creates offense."

Murray said coach Paul MacLean fought hard to keep Zibanejad, due in part to the player's size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds), skill and defensive-zone ability. However, MacLean said he understood the decision.

"Nowhere is it what's best for Paul MacLean," he said. "It's what's best for the Ottawa Senators and this is the right decision."

Zibanejad said he was going to look at the decision as a positive.

"I really wanted to stay but I knew there was options to send me home," he said. "I was prepared for that and I was prepared to stay. I'm going home. It's sad, but on other hand it's a good thing for me.

"It's going to be a chance for me to improve my game."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 9:58 AM

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

Connolly sticking with Lightning

Facing a rapidly approaching deadline in regard to the future of rookie left wing Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager decided after last night's game against the Sabres.

Connolly is sticking with the team.

"We feel Brett's shown that he belongs in the NHL and makes our team better," Yzerman wrote in a text message to the St. Petersburg Times. "So, we've decided to keep him."

Yzerman had until Thursday's game against Nashville to make the decision on whether to keep Connolly or return him to his junior team, the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League. Connolly's ninth game was last night; if they sent him back before he played a 10th game, it would have delayed the start of his entry-level contract for another year.

Connolly has 2 assists in nine games, but is tied for the team lead with a plus-5 rating, and is averaging 13:54 of ice time per game.

Playing on a line with veteran Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis hasn't hurt his development, either.

"Both guys have Stanley Cups and a lot of experience, so, for me, it's nice to have a couple of guys like that I can talk to," Connolly told the Times before Tuesday's game. "I'm just trying to take as much knowledge as I can."

He'll have much more time to listen and learn going forward.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 10.24.2011 / 4:11 PM

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

Unfamiliar faces for Lupul

PHILADELPHIA -- Joffrey Lupul spent two of his best NHL seasons (2007-09) with the Flyers, scoring a total of 45 goals and helping Philadelphia reach the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, one season after the team finished with the fewest points in the League.

That 2007-08 season saw the Flyers improve so fast thanks to a group of young forwards, chiefly Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Scottie Upshall, R.J. Umberger, Scott Hartnell and Lupul. Four seasons later, the only player from that group still left in Philadelphia is Hartnell.

"The only guy (from Philadelphia) I keep in touch with is Hartnell," Lupul said after the Leafs' practice Monday morning. "I played with (Claude) Giroux and those guys but just for a short period of time. It's a completely different animal over there now."

Lupul said he loved his time in Philadelphia, which ended at the 2009 draft, when he was traded to Anaheim as part of the package that brought Chris Pronger to Philadelphia.

"I played on some good teams here," he said. "I think a lot of us were sort of establishing ourselves, Richy, Carts, Upshall, and I look around the League and all those guys, we're all on different teams, but playing a key role (for those teams). It was a good development for us here. Obviously I would have liked to bring a championship, but we learned a lot. I enjoyed all my time here in the city."

He said he still is close with Richards, and was as stunned as the rest of the hockey world when the Philadelphia captain was traded this past June.

"Complete shock," he said. "Half the building had a Mike Richards jersey, I think. To see him go was unbelievable. Just the way he played and the way he came to the rink every day, he was the ultimate captain and leader."

The only positive for Lupul was Richards landing in Los Angeles, where he lives not far from Lupul's offseason home in Southern California. Lupul said they weren't able to link up this past summer, but is looking forward to catching up next summer.

"Maybe at the end of the season," he said. "We can go play golf."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 10.24.2011 / 2:33 PM

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

Schenn vs. Schenn

PHILADELPHIA -- The first rule tonight when the Leafs' Luke Schenn goes against the Flyers' Brayden Schenn? No fighting.

It's a message Rita and Jeff Schenn have drummed into their boys' heads so much, they don't even have to tell them anymore.

"I've said that so many times, they've heard it at home," Rita told NHL.com this morning. "They said mom, you don't have to tell us anymore. It won't happen."

But if it did, who would win?

"I would," Luke said with no hesitation. "I would definitely win, no doubt."

Braydon had already left, so there was no chance for a rebuttal. However, Luke is the older brother in both age and size, so the guess is he might be right.

But what stands out is how close the pair is. They're just over a year and a half apart in age, and while hockey has kept them apart, they talk daily.

"That's important," said Rita. "I'm glad they have that relationship. They do talk daily, I don't know how many times a day. When they're on their teams, for sure it's business. They're competitive, but when they get off, it's back to what they know, just brothers."

So who will the family be rooting for? Rita and Jeff will cheer equally -- Luke said Jeff told the family at dinner he wishes there still were tie games -- but the family's two younger sisters divided their older brothers. Macy, 10, will wear a Leafs jersey, while Madison, 14, will wear a Flyers jersey.

While their clothes will split, their loyalty only is to the name on the back.

Madison said she'll be happy if the Flyers score, but added, "If the Leafs do something I'm going to jump up, too."

Here's Brayden discussing tonight's game with the media following the Flyers' practice:



And here's Luke's time with the press following the Leafs' skate:





Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 10.24.2011 / 2:21 PM

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

Gustavsson to fill in until Reimer returns Thursday

PHILADELPHIA -- Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer won't play tonight, but coach Ron Wilson expects to have his starting netminder back in time for the Leafs' next game, Thursday at the New York Rangers.

Reimer left Saturday's game with a neck injury after a collision with the Canadiens' Brian Gionta.

"He seems almost 100-percent today," Wilson said following the team's morning skate. "It gives us an opportunity on an emergency basis to bring up Ben Scrivens. The Monster (Jonas Gustavsson) will get the start and we should be fine. James should be fine by Thursday the way it looks right now."

Gustavsson's numbers don't look very impressive -- he's 1-1-0 with a 5.35 goals-against average and .852 save percentage -- but Wilson said those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Gustavsson started last Thursday in Boston and allowed six goals on 43 shots. He was far better Saturday against Montreal, when he relieved an injured Reimer and stopped 15 of 18 shots in 41:23 of work as the Leafs won 5-4 in overtime.

"Both situations have been very difficult, any goalie will tell you that," said Wilson. "We knew we were going in to a hornet's nest in Boston, but that was our plan. He was helpless there in the sense that we didn't support him at all. Lot of point-blanks saves and shots and they had traffic in front of the net and we didn't do a good job of clearing it. And the other night, again, you're in a hornet's nest with a very desperate team. To go in cold like he did, his first shot went in, but I thought he did a pretty good job when you look back at some of the saves he made when we needed him late in the game and late in the second period. They're saves that you remember as a coach but get overlooked by everybody. He found a way to win the game, that's most important thing."

Gustavsson said he sees tonight's game as a chance to continue to impress upon his coach and teammates that he can do the job when called upon.

"You want to prove that you're comfortable, that they can play the same way, they don't have to change the whole system because of Reimer being out," he said. "Of course I want to do that. Good teams count on everybody. That means I count on them and they can count on me."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 10.24.2011 / 2:09 PM

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

Jagr firing blanks

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr has been around a long time, so he's gone through scoring slumps before. The fact that he's gone seven games without a goal to start the season might be the longest he's ever had to start an NHL season, but it's a far cry from his longest drought, a 16-game stretch from Nov. 17 to Dec. 18, 1990, his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

How did he snap out of it?

"It hit me in my leg," Jagr said. "That's how I scored. Our defenseman hit me in my leg, that's what happened."

Jagr said he doesn't feel like he's pressing to get goals, but said he knows there's more he could be doing to put the puck in the net.

"I don't think I'm pressing," he said. "Of course it would be nice to score some goals to help the team win, especially now when we've lost two straight games.

"I have high expectations for myself. Of course I would like to score three goals every game to help the team win, but that's not going to happen. It's tough. That's why I'm here. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to fight to the end and hopefully everything will turn around."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 10.24.2011 / 12:35 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flyers, Maple Leafs

Here are the projected lines for the Flyers and Maple Leafs for tonight's game in Philadelphia. The Flyers had all but two players on the ice today -- captain Chris Pronger and forward Danny Briere are healthy, but opted not to skate. They didn't have full line rushes, but it's expected they'll use the same lines from Saturday's loss to the St. Louis, which were the same for Sunday's practice.

FLYERS
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
James van Riemsdyk - Matt Read - Jakub Voracek
Jody Shelley - Sean Couturier - Maxime Talbot

Chris Pronger - Matt Carle
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros - Matt Walker

Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal, with Ilya Bryzgalov the backup.

Forward Andreas Nodl and defenseman Andreas Lilja will be healthy scratches.

MAPLE LEAFS
Joffrey Lupul - Matthew Lombardi - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Nikolai Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski
Nazem Kadri - David Steckel - Matt Frattin
Jay Rosehill - Philippe Dupuis - Mike Brown

Mike Komisarek - John-Michael Liles
Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
Luke Schenn - Jake Gardiner

Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal, with Ben Scrivens called up from AHL Toronto to be the backup. Regular goalie James Reimer is out with a neck injury.

Defenseman Cody Franson and forward Colton Orr will be the healthy scratches. Forward Tyler Bozak, who took a puck off his foot last Thursday in Boston and didn't play Saturday against Montreal, will be a game-time decision tonight, according to coach Ron Wilson.

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

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 2:55 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blues, Flyers

Here are the potential lineups for the Flyers and Blues heading into tonight's game in Philadelphia. We stress potential because the Flyers didn't practice line rushes, while the Blues didn't skate after beating the Hurricanes in overtime last night in St. Louis.

FLYERS

Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
James van Riemsdyk - Matt Read - Wayne Simmonds
Scott Hartnell - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Andreas Nodl

Chris Pronger - Matt Carle
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros - Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky backing him up.

These are the lines the Flyers used at practice Friday, but coach Peter Laviolette said after that practice that the lines he used Friday might or might not be in place for the game.

There's a chance Jody Shelley could make his season debut in place of Nodl on the fourth line, and Matt Walker is an option on defense in place of Lilja.

BLUES


Chris Stewart - Vladimir Sobotka - David Backes
Alexander Steen - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
T.J. Oshie - Patrik Berglund - Matt D'Agostini
Evgeny Grachev - Scot Nichol - Chris Porter

Kent Huskins - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carlo Colaiacovo - Roman Polak

The starting goalie is in question, as coach Davis Payne wouldn't commit to either Brian Elliott, who was impressive stopping 27 of 29 shots in last night's win, or Jaroslav Halak.

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

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 2:26 PM

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

Ovechkin feeling just fine

Alex Ovechkin didn't practice yesterday, but he's feeling just fine, and will be in his usual spot on the Caps' top line tonight.

Yesterday, however, he was ordered to stay off the ice by coach Bruce Boudreau.

"He's got some bumps and bruises right now," Boudreau told reporters. "It was more of a maintenance day with two more games this week. Just told him to take it off and get some stretching done."

Ovechkin said the day off was a welcome one for him.

"It's hockey," he said following today's morning skate. "You always have bruises, maybe pain somewhere. It's nice when the team gives you a day off."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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