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Posted On Monday, 11.30.2015 / 2:53 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Future with Hurricanes unclear for captain Staal

NEW YORK -- Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal wants to be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season and many more after. He'd like to get there with the Hurricanes. That's where things get tricky for him.

Staal is in the final season of a seven-year, $57.25 million contract and said he and his agent have not had any negotiations on a new contract with general manager Ron Francis. The Hurricanes are 8-11-4 and seven points out of a playoff spot heading into their game against the New York Rangers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, MSG).

The lack of contract negotiations between a veteran player and a team that isn't currently trending toward a playoff berth makes it reasonable to suggest the likelihood of a trade is growing by the day. However, the Raleigh News & Observer reported last week that Staal's agent, Rick Curran, could meet with Francis early in December.

Posted On Monday, 11.30.2015 / 1:28 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Rangers

NEW YORK -- It would be easier for the New York Rangers to deal with their current three-game losing streak if they could focus on correctable issues that have only recently popped up. The problem, as center Derick Brassard indicated, is the losing streak is the result of a season-long struggle that was previously masked by excellent goaltending and luck.

"We haven't really found our game since we started the season," Brassard said. "We found a way to win, but we just have to focus out there on the way we want to play, our structure, and we have to be harder to play against. If we do that, we're going to give ourselves a better chance to win, but we're also going to feel better about ourselves."

The Rangers enter their game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on Monday ranked 29th in shot-attempts percentage (45.8), 28th in shots against per game (31.6), 21st in faceoff percentage (49.4) and 30th in 5-on-5 scoring chance differential (minus-94, according to

Posted On Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 11:27 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Canadiens captain spends Thanksgiving with family

NEW YORK -- A well-timed road trip to play the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils is giving Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with some family members for the first time since he was a teenager.

"A long, long time ago," Pacioretty said.

Pacioretty, who turned 27 last week, is from Connecticut, but he will be in Manhattan on Thursday because the Canadiens have to play the Devils on Friday before traveling home. They defeated the Rangers 5-1 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

He said his parents sold their home in Connecticut and moved to Florida, where they are spending the holiday. However, Pacioretty's sister Katie lives here, and his sister Christine is flying in from Dallas to be with her siblings.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 1:15 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Rangers

NEW YORK -- Although New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault says he and his team have moved on from their 3-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 15, the way he talked Wednesday morning makes it sound like the sting of that defeat is still fresh and raw.

"We definitely … got a lesson in hockey in that particular game," Vigneault said.

That line was a variation of him saying the Canadiens "schooled" the Rangers after the game at Bell Centre last month.

Despite a 13-1-2 record since, it's easy to sense being around the Rangers they won't feel good about themselves until they avenge that loss to Montreal, which is the opportunity they have at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, RDS, MSG 2).

Posted On Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Nov. 25, 2015

Here is the Nov. 25 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday in the Over the Boards blog during the 2015-16 NHL season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Do you think the defensemen award should be split; one for overall points and the other for actual defense stats? -- @whoopoi


The explanation of the Norris Trophy is fairly simple in that it goes to "the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position." The object of playing defense is to stop the other team from scoring; the best way to do that is to not let the other team have the puck. The best defensemen in the NHL today are elite skaters, puck movers, distributors and scorers. They are the players who possess the puck the most, because a good offense is, as they say, the best defense.

Posted On Monday, 11.23.2015 / 1:18 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Rangers

NEW YORK -- If the Nashville Predators are going to break out of their scoring slump Monday, they'll have to do it against the team giving up the fewest goals in the National Hockey League.

The Predators (11-5-3) enter Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-TN, MSG+) without a goal in their past 153:47, including back-to-back 4-0 losses at the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in the first two games of their current five-game road trip. They have 72 shots on goal since their last goal.

The Rangers (15-3-2) lead the NHL in goals-against per game at 1.85. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist leads the League with a 1.85 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. New York also is 10th in blocked shots with 297.

"They block a lot of shots and defend well. But I think part of them defending is they play so well offensively," Predators captain Shea Weber said. "They have so much speed and skill that they're able to keep teams on their heels. We have to make sure we're attacking just as much. We have to play with the puck."

Posted On Friday, 11.20.2015 / 8:23 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Flyers legend discusses link to Coyotes rookie

Arizona Coyotes rookie Max Domi had a chance, unexpected and unforgettable meeting with Philadelphia Flyers legend Bobby Clarke at a rink in Kitchener, Ontario, shortly after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old.

Domi will never forget the impact that meeting had on him because he saw for himself a former NHL player who made it to the Hockey Hall of Fame despite his Type 1 diabetes.

"I switched my number to 16 because of Bobby Clarke," Domi said last month during a visit to Prudential Center. "I was lucky enough to meet him at a minor hockey tournament. I met him for like maybe two minutes and I realized how much that did for me and I was like, 'That's an eye opener.' It's something difficult to deal with, but he's dealing with it so why can't I?"

Clarke remembers that meeting too, a testament to the impact it and Domi have had on him.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.18.2015 / 11:39 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Stars' Nichushkin working toward a big move

If Dallas Stars right wing Valeri Nichushkin continues to impress coach Lindy Ruff with his effective combination of speed and power, the likelihood of him soon moving up to the top line to play with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin will go up.

"It's a good possibility that if he's going that well, to put a bigger body there, a guy that can hang onto the puck, a guy who can physically dominate," Ruff said. "It worked really well in [Nichushkin's rookie season] and it's a real good possibility that you'll see it again."

Nichushkin fared well with Benn and Seguin as a rookie two seasons ago, when he put up 14 goals and 34 points in 79 games, and Seguin and Benn each had a breakout season.

He missed all but eight games last season because of hip surgery and was off to a slow start this season as he tried to work his way back into the speed of the game.

Ruff thinks Nichushkin is close to being all the way back now.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.18.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Nov. 18, 2015

Here is the Nov. 18 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday in the Over the Boards blog during the 2015-16 NHL season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Do you believe there's any danger of the Tampa Bay Lightning missing the playoffs after their poor start? -- @kinglewimcmxc

I received a lot of questions about the Lightning this week. I couldn't choose them all. This one cut right to the heart of the issue, and that's why I selected it. I'll answer some others here, and credit the person (Twitter handle) for asking the question.

Posted On Tuesday, 11.17.2015 / 11:18 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Yakupov finally thriving with Oilers: Larionov

TORONTO -- That Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov has only one point, an assist, in five games since rookie center Connor McDavid went down with a fractured clavicle isn't all that surprising given the chemistry they were creating before the injury.

"It was a fun line to watch," said Hockey Hall of Fame member Igor Larionov, who doubles as Yakupov's agent, following the Legends Game at Air Canada Centre during Hall of Fame Weekend on Nov. 8.

Larionov, though, indicated that even without McDavid as his linemate, Yakupov is finally at peace in Edmonton and should be able to deliver consistently strong performances, which has been a problem for him since he came into the League in 2012-13 after being the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

The key for Yakupov, Larionov said, is Oilers coach Todd McLellan.

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Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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