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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:22 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Bruins, Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Here is what the lineups should look like when the scorching-hot Bruins and Islanders take the ice tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice this morning, which means he'll likely get the start. Tuukka Rask would be the backup.

Boychuk is a game-time decision after missing Thursday's 2-1 shootout win against Columbus with flu-like symptoms. He skated this morning and appears ready to go. … Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer are the likely healthy scratches for the Bruins, who have won seven in a row.

ISLANDERS
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Michael Grabner
Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau
Blake Comeau - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter
Matt Martin - Josh Bailey - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Rick DiPietro gets the start for the Islanders in goal. He will be backed up by Anders Nilsson, who was recalled by AHL Bridgeport due to injuries to both Evgeni Nabokov (groin) and Al Montoya (hamstring). The Isles placed Nabokov -- who could miss up to a month -- on injured reserve this morning.

Nilsson, a third-round draft choice (No. 62) in 2009, is 5-2-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average in 7 AHL appearances this season, his first in North America.

Kyle Okposo, who has just 3 assists in 14 games, will be a healthy scratch for a third straight game. Mark Eaton is back in the lineup and will replace Mike Mottau, who is also a healthy scratch.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 11:35 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro excited for opportunity

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders began the 2011-12 season with three healthy goaltenders. Now, they're down to one.

And it's the one nobody would have guessed.

Rick DiPietro, who has spent a large chunk of the past four years in the infirmary, will be the Isles' starting goaltender Saturday night when the Isles host the Boston Bruins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The 30-year-old relieved Evgeni Nabokov early in Thursday night's 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens after the latter suffered a groin injury that could sideline him up to a month.

Then, on Friday, the Isles announced that Al Montoya -- who has been sharp in the six appearances he's made this season -- is day-to-day with a strained hamstring. New York was forced to promote Anders Nilsson from AHL Bridgeport on Saturday morning to back up DiPietro, who now has been presented with a golden opportunity to regain his spot as the Isles' No. 1 goaltender.

"It's a good opportunity to get in there and get an extended chance to play some games," said DiPietro, who is 2-1-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in five appearances this season. "At the end of the day, it's all about winning and that's our main focus."

DiPietro, the No. 1 pick at the 2000 NHL Draft, made 26 appearances last season -- the most in three years due to various knee, hip and head injuries. Now healthy and eager to seize the moment, DiPietro -- who has 10 years left on his contract -- admits he will put added pressure on himself to reclaim his position as the Isles' franchise goaltender.

"I always end up putting a little added pressure on myself than I probably should," he said. "But really, the focus is winning. That's what I want to do and that's what this hockey club wants to do. We're in the middle of November here and it's time for us to turn this around and get things going in the right direction."

Montoya was rewarded for a strong training camp by starting the Isles' first three games of the season. With Nabokov also in the mix, DiPietro didn't receive his first start until Oct. 29. Suddenly, injuries to both Nabokov and Montoya have DiPietro back in the spotlight. Islanders coach Jack Capuano is hopeful DiPietro will make the most of this chance.

"It's a good opportunity for him," Capuano said. "If you know Rick at all like we know him, he's a competitive kid and he wants that challenge. There's no better place than against the Stanley Cup champions tonight, so it'll be a good test for him."

"I feel good," DiPietro said. "I had a good summer. I'm looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 12:26 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jets dealing with injuries to their blue line

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Winnipeg Jets will have a different look on their blue line Thursday night against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Winnipeg will be without world-class defenseman Tobias Enstrom after he was injured during Monday's 4-3 shootout victory at Florida. Enstrom suffered an upper-body injury after being hit by Panthers forward Jack Skille and was sent back to Winnipeg for further evaluation.

The Jets are also likely to be without defenseman Mark Stuart, who is day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury Monday.

Winnipeg is already without defensemen Derek Meech (lower body) and Ron Hainsey (upper body) and recalled Mark Flood and Brett Festerling from AHL St. John's on Thursday morning.

"Guys are going to have to pick up the slack," said Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian, who could conceivably play close to 30 minutes against the Isles. "For right now, I've just got to keep it simple and kind of read of who you're playing with."

Here are Winnipeg's projected lines for Thursday night:

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

Randy Jones - Dustin Byfuglien
Brett Festerling - Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in goal for the Jets. Pavelec is 3-4-1 with a 3.62 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in nine appearances. Former Isles goalie Peter Mannino will be the backup as Chris Mason (groin) was placed on injured reserve Thursday morning.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 10:20 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro to get second straight start for Isles

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders, who are in search of their first victory in 19 days, will boast the same lineup for Thursday's game against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Rick DiPietro will make his second straight start after stopping 27 of 30 shots in last Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Here are the Isles' projected lines for Thursday night:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Mike Mottau will be the Isles' lone healthy scratch.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 12:50 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Lightning, Islanders

Here is what the lineups should look like for the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders when they meet tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Neither team skated this morning, as both opted to only have meetings.

Both squads' lineups are expected to look very similar to their previous games. New York is coming off a 2-1 win against Minnesota on Monday afternoon, while the Lightning dropped a 6-5 shootout decision at Washington later that night.

LIGHTNING
Teddy Purcell - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Steve Downie - Vincent Lecavalier - Ryan Malone
Brett Connolly - Dominic Moore - Ryan Shannon
Adam Hall - Mattias Ritola - Nate Thompson

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Bruno Gervais

Dwayne Roloson, who turned 42 yesterday, gets the start in goal. Blair Jones, Tom Pyatt and Matt Gilroy will be the scratches.

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Mike Mottau

Al Montoya will get his third straight start in goal, with Evgeni Nabokov dressing for the first time this season as the backup. Rick DiPietro is being re-evaluated today after being struck near the temple by a Rolston slap shot yesterday. Trevor Gillies skated this morning and is expected to be activated off the injured reserve list, but the Isles will again be without Nino Niederreiter and Milan Jurcina, who are out with groin injuries.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 7:04 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Vokoun makes Caps debut

Tomas Vokoun, who signed for a bargain ($1.5 million) this summer, is just minutes away from making his debut with the Washington Capitals as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center.

Here are Washington's forward lines, accoriding to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post:

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble
Troy Brouwer-Marcus Johansson-Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks-Mathieu Perreault-Jeff Halpern

Dwayne Roloson gets the nod between the pipes for the Lightning, who swept the Caps out of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs five months ago.
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 3:35 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Hockeyville Hubbub

A special night for Cody Porter

Last month, Conception Bay South resident Cody Porter was focused on attending and making a name for himself at the High Performance Program in Gander, where we was set to try out for Team Newfoundland & Labrador.
 
The 13-year-old arrived in Gander on Aug. 21 and completed his first round of on-ice and off-ice activities the following day. But that night, he failed to compete in his first game due to what he thought was a fever. He went back to his hotel with hopes that he could sleep it off.

On the morning of Aug. 23, Porter was still not feeling well but managed to make his way to the rink. But his condition continued to deteriorate, and he was soon placed in an ambulance. He was rushed to the James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander, going in and out of consciousness along the way.
 
Within the next hour, Porter's temperature was up to 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn't long after that his vitals flat lined. But with the help of some antibiotics, doctors were able to stabilize Porter and quickly placed him on an air ambulance headed for the Janeway Children's Hospital here in St. John's. During that trip, Porter flat lined a second time.

"I don't really remember much," Cody said. "I only remember getting in the ambulance. That's all I really remember."

"There's no words to explain how fast it all happened," Cody's mother, Laura Lee, told NHL.com. "We never thought he was as sick as what he was. Everything just happened so fast. They had him in St. John's in no time."

Porter was sedated for the next five days. During that time, doctors discovered a growth on his heart. Fortunately, all the tests performed came back negative. In all, he spent 11 days in the hospital. He lost 15 pounds during that span and needed roughly a dozen donations of blood platelets.

"He was asleep for five days and once they woke him up, he was doing good," Laura Lee said. "It took a few days for him to come home, but he's doing well now. The growth shrunk and it went away."

Tonight, Porter will find himself standing at center ice to drop the ceremonial puck for the Kraft Hockeyville game between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators at the Mile One Centre. It will be a great moment for a child who has been through so much in the last month.

"I'm really excited about tonight," Cody said. "It's going to be really cool."

"I'm going to cry," his mom said. "I'll be crying the whole time. He's a pretty special boy."
 
Porter hopes to continue his hockey career soon. Doctors have informed him that he won't have his full strength back until around Christmas, so he'll be staying off skates for the time being. He hopes to try out as a second-year Bantam next season.
 
"They said I can go back to playing hockey next year," Cody said. 

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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 2:41 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Hockeyville Hubbub

Forward lines for Hockeyville game

We're less than 90 minutes away from opening faceoff here in St. John's. Players and coaches seem genuinely thrilled to be a part of the Kraft Hockeyville experience and are primed to put on a good show for these rabid fans tonight.

Here are the expected forward lines tonight for each club:

Winnipeg
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Carl Klingberg-Jim Slater-Tim Stapleton
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Chris Thorburn
Patrice Cormier-Ben Maxwell-Troy Bodie

Ottawa
Colin Greening-Mika Zibanejad-Daniel Alfredsson
David Dziurzynski-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Mike Hoffman-Corey Locke-Bobby Butler
Corey Cowick-Derek Grant-Mark Parrish

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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 2:06 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Hockeyville Hubbub

Regin, Machacek visit CBS schools

As it should be, the kids are the big winners in the Kraft Hockeyville festivities.

Just hours before the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators battle at the Mile One Centre in St. John's, a player from each squad headed out to Conception Bay South to visit two elementary schools. Jets forward Spencer Machacek and Sens center Peter Regin represented their clubs and took turns taking questions from students of both Topsail and St. George's Elementary Schools. They also signed some autographs and took group photos.

"I had a lot of fun interacting with the community," said Machacek, who hails from Lethbridge, Alberta. "I've never been out here. This is a beautiful part of the country. It's amazing. The teachers and the kids are just so excited to have us here. All the energy is a lot of fun. It's a special thing I'm sure for them to have NHL players come in. We were all young like that once. It was a lot of fun."

St. George's Principal Paul Edwards was thankful to both Regin and Machacek, knowing full well the two players created memories for his schoolchildren that will last a lifetime.

"The kids have been excited all week," Edwards said. We're delighted today to have the players with us. The kids are excited and they will be for another few days while Hockeyville is ongoing. There's been quite a lot of excitement and enthusiasm from our school.

Not lost in the shuffle was a visit from NHL alumni Mathieu Schneider and Rob Zamuner to the Janeway Children's Hospital in St. John's. There's little doubt Schneider and Zamuner brightened some kids' days.

"I think it's amazing that they do this," Machacek said of the Kraft Hockeyville experience. "I'm sure every year, it just grows and grows. A lot of people haven't been out here, including myself. To be able to see this part of the country and see the excitement in this town and to give these kids an NHL game, it's pretty special."
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 10:56 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Hockeyville Hubbub

Auld happy for Winnipeg

Ottawa Senators goalie Alex Auld knows firsthand just how passionate the hockey fans are in Winnipeg.

Auld, a former second-round draft pick (Florida, 1999), spent parts of four seasons playing for the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League. He reflected on his time there fondly this morning after the Sens skated in preparation for tonight's Kraft Hockeyville showdown against the Jets at the Mile One Centre.

"It's exciting," Auld said of the Jets' return to the NHL. "I played four winters there and you could see the passion in the fan base and the love they still had for the Jets. It was tough some nights. We were having a tough game, and the, 'Go Jets Go!' chant would go. It was a little discouraging for us, but it's pretty cool. I was pretty excited and I had been hopeful for a couple of years with all the talk about it."

One of Auld's best seasons came during the NHL work stoppage, when he appeared in 50 games for the Moose. Auld helped Manitoba qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs that season by going 25-18-4 with a 2.56 goals-against average. That season marked the opening of the MTS Centre, which will be the home of the Jets.

"We had a great group of guys," Auld recalled. "Nobody was worrying about who was getting called up or anything like that. We had a good playoff run that year and it was a really fun year. We all really enjoyed it. Opening the new building was pretty cool and closing the old arena. All those things are things you remember forever. Now we'll be playing in Winnipeg again in the NHL. That'll be cool."

 

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres