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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 4:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Capitals' Trotz on 'analytics death,' power play

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz isn't against analytics in hockey as a useful evaluation tool, but he's against his team playing what he calls an analytics game.

Trotz said he saw the Capitals do too much of that on their recent three-game road trip into Western Canada, when they went 1-2 with a win against the Calgary Flames and losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

We'll let Trotz explain:

"Teams were really clogging us up and when we needed to chip pucks and have self-retrieval we we're trying to dangle," Trotz said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. "I call it analytics death. There's a time to carry and there's a time to self chip it. You've got all the speed so self chip it, get on the other side of the guy, and hang onto it. We were trying to dangle guys."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 10:35 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Wild's Koivu staying optimistic despite slow start

NEW YORK -- Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is trying to remain calm, confident and somewhat optimistic even though he has one goal and no assists through seven games this season.

He had 54 points on 11 goals and 43 assists in 65 games last season.

"Individually I feel good. As a line we've been playing good," Koivu said Monday prior to the Wild's 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden where he and his linemates, Charlie Coyle and Thomas Vanek, were shut out again.

Koivu's line has combined for three goals and six assists in seven games. Coyle has two goals and four points. Vanek has four assists, but he's still trying to score his first goal in a Wild uniform. Koivu has one goal on 16 shots.

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Posted On Monday, 10.27.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Rangers

NEW YORK -- The power play has been the biggest problem area for the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild so far this season. They'll try to solve it against one another Monday at Madison Square Garden.

"We'll figure it out," Wild left wing Zach Parise said. "We know it needs to be better, but I think the amount of shots and the amount of chances that we've gotten, it's there."

The goals haven't been. The Wild are 0-for-20 with one shorthanded goal against through six games. The Buffalo Sabres are the only other team in the League that hasn't scored a power play goal (0-for-30).

However, the Wild seem optimistic about their power play despite being shut out. They like the chances they're getting and the momentum they're generating. They also like the fact they haven't let their frustration over not scoring carry over into their 5-on-5 play.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.25.2014 / 12:00 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Stars' duo adjusting at different speeds after extended offseason

NEWARK, N.J. -- Dallas Stars center Cody Eakin hasn't missed a game this season, but he also hasn't been quite himself either, at least not according to coach Lindy Ruff.

"I think Cody has been behind," Ruff said. "He started off exactly the way I thought he would with a big bang, but then there was a dropoff from missing all of camp."

Eakin missed the first 13 days of training camp because of a contract dispute. He signed a two-year, $3.8 million contract on Sept. 30 but didn't participate in a practice until Oct. 2. He had to extend his training camp into the regular season and he's felt the pain in doing so.

"The first little while my groins were screaming at me," Eakin said. "One game it was one hip flexor, the next game it was the other hip flexor, then it was back to the groin. You work and your body is not used to it. It was tough. I was ready, but I was only as ready as well as I could be."

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Posted On Friday, 10.24.2014 / 5:26 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jason Spezza, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn did line rushes together Friday morning at Prudential Center, but Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it's unlikely he will start the game against the New Jersey Devils with his three star forwards on the same line despite their success during the past seven periods.

Ruff is looking for more balance in his top two forward lines because the Stars are on the road and do not have the last change. Ruff, though, said he will go back to the Benn-Spezza-Seguin line during the game.

"It's a great option to have," Ruff said.

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Posted On Friday, 10.24.2014 / 10:22 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Throwback night at Prudential Center for Devils-Stars

It'll be a throwback night at Prudential Center on Friday when the New Jersey Devils honor longtime television analyst Glenn "Chico" Resch prior to the game against the Dallas Stars.

Resch retired after last season after 17 years as an analyst on Devils games for MSG Network.

The Devils will honor Resch with an on-ice pregame ceremony before he goes up to the broadcast booth to join his longtime partner, Mike "Doc" Emrick on the game broadcast. "Doc" and "Chico" called Devils games together for 14 years before Emrick left to join NBC full-time after the 2010-11 season.

Emrick will host the on-ice ceremony honoring Resch; it will be shown live on MSG-Plus in the New York area.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.22.2014 / 11:20 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Oct. 22, 2014

Here is the Oct. 22 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Is it time to panic as a Colorado Avalanche fan or what? -- @jlwillert15

Panic is a strong emotion made even stronger when it's still October and the team you want to panic over has played seven games. Don't panic yet. There are 75 games to play.

But -- and you knew there had to be a but coming -- you might want to be concerned, or at least curious about what is happening with the Avalanche. Then again, if you monitored how the Avalanche won games last season and listened to the pundits in the offseason, you shouldn't be all that surprised Colorado is off to a rocky start (pun intended) this season.

Fact: The Avalanche allow far too many shots on goal per game. They did last season (32.7 per game) and they are doing it again this season (35.7 per game). It puts too much pressure on their goalies.

Fact: The Avalanche do not have the puck enough. They didn't last season, when they were minus-629 in shot attempts for and against, according to war-on-ice.com. They haven't this season as they are minus-94.

The Avalanche survived last season to win the Central Division because Semyon Varlamov was superb, good enough to be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, and because they were opportunistic.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 3:18 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Fast starts not uncommon for Sharks forward Marleau

San Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau is off to another strong start. This is not a surprise.

Marleau enters the Sharks' game Tuesday at the Boston Bruins with four goals and three assists for seven points in six games. Two of his goals and three of his points have come on the power play.

It's his most productive first six games of the season since last season, when he had six goals and three assists in the first six. That was his best start since, you guessed it, the season before, when he shot out of the lockout with nine goals and five assists in the first six games.

"There is no 'Wow, look what he's doing' factor because that's what we expect from him day in and day out," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He showed up in camp in real good condition, like he always does. His mindset was very good, very determined. He's playing with a couple good players right now that help him out. It's not a surprise to anyone in the locker room that he's playing the way he is."

Marleau has been playing with Logan Couture and Matt Nieto, neither of whom are off to a hot start. Couture has one goal and three assists; Nieto has one goal and two assists, but he hasn't had a point in the past three games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 9:51 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Spezza confident Stars' top-heavy lineup can work

Jason Spezza isn't worried about the Dallas Stars becoming a one-line team if coach Lindy Ruff continues to use him with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Spezza cited his experience as reason No. 1 for why he thinks the Stars can make it work for the long haul with a top-heavy lineup.

"Hey, me, Heater [Dany Heatley] and Alfie [Daniel Alfredsson] played together in Ottawa and we got to the Stanley Cup Final and had a great regular season," Spezza said Monday. "If you can find a way to win games you might as well use it."

Spezza said it's too early to compare playing with Seguin and Benn to playing with Heatley and Alfredsson.

He has played only one full game with Seguin and Benn, though they combined for two goals and seven assists in that game. He played the majority of the 2006-07 season with Heatley and Alfredsson and they helped the Ottawa Senators win the Prince of Wales Trophy.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.19.2014 / 3:37 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Rangers

San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan is sticking with his goalie rotation Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Alex Stalock is back in the net after making 42 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Stalock has stopped 72 of 75 shots, including 30 of 30 for a shutout against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 11. He has a .960 save percentage and 1.44 goals-against average. Antti Niemi made 35 saves in a 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

The Sharks have not lost in regulation this season.

"Alex will play here and he'll get another opportunity to help us find a way to be successful," McLellan said. "We believe in both of them."

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Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday