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Posted On Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 11:01 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - The Research Project

A real thinker

It happened late in the first period of Thursday morning's game here at RDO Camp. The Black team coached by Dave Tippett scored a goal on a 5-on-3 advantage, yet because of the rule change being tested, both of the offending players from Dan Bylsma's White team had to remain in the penalty box.

The 5-on-3 continued for another minute. Tippett's team didn't score another goal, but the message was sent.

A rule change that would force all penalties to be served in their entirety could have a great influence on the outcome of a game.

"Oh what a price to pay," Nashville GM David Poile told NHL.com. "I think we really would have to talk about that one long and hard."

Poile is on the fence on this potential rule change. He said he sees its merits, but he also questions if it would affect how the official calls the game.

"If it's a situation late in the game and you're shorthanded already, how will that influence a referee in calling a second penalty when he knows what the increased punishment is?" Poile said. "That's a tough one for me. I mean, I get it. It's not that i dislike it, but what would I vote for it right now? No."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 08.17.2011 / 7:16 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - The Research Project

Removing trapezoid had little effect

Brendan Shanahan thought going into the second session at RDO Camp on Wednesday that even with no trapezoid to restrict them, goalies still wouldn't have too much time to skate into the corner in order to play the puck.

Now he feels he has a small sampling of visual evidence to prove his point.

"We took out the trapezoid rule and yet the goalies still had no time to come out and play the puck," Shanahan said Wednesday afternoon. "I think the idea of goaltenders coming out and having all day to set the puck up, tee it up are gone simply because of the lack of the defenseman's ability to hold up the forecheckers now and clutch and grab through the neutral zone. So even though we said to the goalies go play the puck, they had no time."

Shanahan was quick to point out that it was "just one test and it doesn't mean it's the end of that idea." He also admitted that there may still be opportunities in the game that goalies could have the time to head into the corners and play the puck in order to start the attack going forward, but he firmly believes their opportunities would be few and far between in today's game.

"As far as a forward coming through the neutral zone and doing a soft chip and dump, he's just coming so fast now whereas 10 years ago the guy would have been picked or someone would have jumped on his back," Shanahan said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 08.17.2011 / 4:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - The Research Project

Reward the power play

Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini wanted to scream out, "Blow the whistle," until he realized in Session 2 here at RDO Camp a team that commits a penalty had to do more than simply gain possession of the puck in order for the whistle to blow and the ensuing power play to start.

"You recognize the onus is on the player to get the puck out before they can blow the whistle," Tambellini told NHL.com. "The play is not over. You have to work to earn the right to get the whistle. I didn't mind that."

Tambellini just described the delayed penalty rule that was tested in Session 2 and appeared to be of keen interest to many in attendance. The team that committed the penalty had to get the puck out of the zone before the referee could blow his whistle to stop play and impose the penalty on the offending player.

The rationale is that the extra time it takes for the offending team to clear their zone would essentially create a longer power play for the opponent once the opposing coach pulled his goalie.

It's hard enough to gain possession when you're down a man; now imagine how difficult it would be to clear the zone with possession.

"It also creates fatigue," Tambellini said. "Say you're playing Detroit and they've been in the zone for a minute and a half, then you take a penalty and now you have to get it out of the zone. You'll have a much greater chance for a scoring opportunity."

Tambellini said he's all for enhancing scoring opportunities through power plays, and making the offending team clear the zone with possession is one way to do it.

"I think it's great that we continue to strive to be able to show the incredible ability of these players," he said. "They're so well-disciplined and so well-coached, so fit that the dropoff level of energy to defend isn't too much. So, you need to keep finding ways to reward the players that have the skill and can make a great play. You have to reward the team that is working hard to keep the puck in the zone. Don't just let teams take lazy penalties against teams and players that maybe are more skilled, hard-working and fit.

"It takes a lot of work in the game to generate a Grade A opportunity. You want to reward the effort and the skill to do that."

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Posted On Wednesday, 08.17.2011 / 3:04 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - The Research Project

Shero keen on faceoff variations

Just prior to Session 2 here at RDO Camp, we caught up to Penguins GM Ray Shero to discuss some of his thoughts on the rule changes that were in place during Session 1.

Shero is particularly pleased that three faceoff variations are being tested here because, "I think we have to come up with something better than what we're doing on faceoffs now," he told NHL.com. "I think it's really confusing. Guys get kicked out now and I don't know why."

In Session 1, a player that committed a violation in the faceoff circle was required to move back one foot and keep his skates behind a penalty line, thereby losing his leverage and strength on the faceoff as the linesman dropped the puck.

The faceoff variation being tested in Session 2 right now involves the linesman putting the puck on the dot and blowing his whistle to let both centerman know they have to come set. The linesman is then picking up the puck and dropping it for a normal draw, but any movement between the whistle and the puck being dropped is a violation.

Finally, the variation that will be tested Thursday morning prohibits involves encroachment. The player guilty of encroaching on the faceoff will be prohibited from being a replacement for the centerman who had to get booted out of the circle as a result of the encroachment.

"I like these faceoff ideas," Shero said. "Just looking at the faceoff is a good thing."

Shero also told NHL.com that he's a fan of having the same linesman dropping the puck for every faceoff except for the start of periods and after goals. That was a change tested in Session 1.

"I think there is the continuity of getting to know them," Shero said. "The center icemen want to learn the tendencies of the linesmen and this is just another way where there is more consistency to it. Maybe then they won't get thrown out as much. I think the centers would like some uniformity to it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl





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Posted On Wednesday, 08.17.2011 / 11:31 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - The Research Project

Boudreau says ice it anyway

As soon as the penalty was called on the opposing team with 1:29 left in the second period, Dan Bylsma screamed for his goalie and told him to come to the bench.

It certainly seemed like odd timing to pull the goalie.

However, considering the shorthanded team was not allowed to legally ice the puck in the first session of RDO Camp on Wednesday, Bylsma had to figure the penalty killers wouldn't be shooting the puck the length of the ice just to get it out of the zone. Provided they weren't accurate enough to shoot it into the empty net, all icing the puck would do is create a faceoff back in their defensive zone.

So by pulling his goalie Bylsma created a 6-on-4 advantage. It was a calculated risk considering the rule change being tested, but it backfired when the shorthanded team got the puck out of the zone and created a 2-on-1 against a helpless defenseman with no goaltender behind him.

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, who was sitting in the stands here watching it all unfold, understood Bylsma's tactic and didn't mind the risk, but if he were coaching the shorthanded team he would have told them to fire the puck down the ice regardless of the potential for icing being called and the ensuing faceoff coming back into his defensive zone.

"I'm going to try for the free goal," Boudreau told NHL.com. "Shoot it down and take your chances."

While acknowledging a rule change that would eliminate the shorthanded team from legally icing the puck "would be quite an advantage for the power-play team," Boudreau also said it would be hard to effectively kill a penalty without clearing the puck out of the zone.

Even though the shorthanded team would not be allowed to make a line change if they're called for icing, he feels the break between the whistle and the ensuing faceoff is long enough to give the players on the ice a breather.

"When you're under pressure and you're shorthanded, I don't think it will stop you from icing the puck because you've got to get it out of the zone," Boudreau said. "That's the No. 1 thing."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 8:49 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - The Research Project

Larionov has the keys now

TORONTO -- Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov was all smiles as he breezed through the hotel lobby here Tuesday, waiting somewhat impatiently for his prized teenage clients to arrive.
 
Larionov found out hours before we saw him that he has officially been certified by the NHLPA to be a player agent in the NHL. He already received his certification to be a player agent in the Kontinental Hockey League six months ago.
 
"It took me a while, but I got the e-mail today," Larionov told NHL.com. "It feels good. It's a new adventure for me. I started in this last year after I resigned from the KHL's Board of Directors. I want to see young players play and guide them through to the NHL."
 
With his certification official, Larionov can relax and watch his clients, Sarnia Sting forwards Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, participate in this week's Research, Development and Orientation Camp.
 
A year from now, he will likely find himself working out entry-level contracts for each client after they become first-round draft picks.
 
Yakupov is considered to be the top player eligible for the 2012 Entry Draft. He was the Rookie of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League with 101 points (49 goals, 52 assists) in 65 games. While playing for Team Russia, Yakupov had a hat trick in the bronze medal game at this year's World Juniors.
 
Galchenyuk had 83 points on 31 goals and 52 assists in 68 games for Sarnia last season. He's a 6-foot-2 center who skated for Team USA at the recently completed Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia. Galchenyuk's father, also named Alex, grew up playing in the Soviet Union and later represented Belarus in international competition, including the 1998 Olympics.
 
Larionov said he gets to Sarnia often to see his clients play.
 
"Detroit to Sarnia is a real easy trip," Larionov said.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 06.14.2011 / 8:58 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Turco Talk

Luongo mentally strong enough to rebound

Veteran NHL goalie Marty Turco is lending his expert opinion to NHL.com in the form of his own blog. Turco Talk will be updated daily with Marty's thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. Marty can also be seen daily on the NHL Network giving analysis on NHL On the Fly at the Stanley Cup Final.

On the eve of Game 7, Marty writes about Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo:


VANCOUVER --
Roberto Luongo is in a better state of mind than people assume he is right now.

He knows of his capabilities. It's one thing to be fighting the puck, one thing to be moving the wrong way, one thing to have your body not respond the way you want it to -- but in his mind the changes necessary aren't huge. They're not even minute on a physical level. There aren't really any changes that he needs to make.

The only thing Roberto knows he needs to do is blank everything out like goaltenders do, like he has done a thousand times in his career, and go out there and give himself and his teammates the best chance of winning. He knows he has to do that and he knows how to do it.

Of course, only Roberto knows what is exactly going on in his head, if he's feeling any added pressure that has hurt his chances to focus, prepare and visualize. But, let's all remember that this is a goalie who has past experiences. Just look at the first round this year for example, and, of course, the gold-medal game back here in this exact city and arena. He has to summon those positive memories.

I think he will.

Is he going to let some goals in? I don't know. There's a good chance of it, but it isn't going to be Roberto Luongo isn't playing well, or he's lost his game or lost his mind.

His resiliency has been forthright and needed here in these playoffs, and it's going to be tested again. He knows he's going to give it all and hopefully he can make some saves to help feed the crowd some and feed his teammates some confidence to continue to win at home, where the Canucks have been so good.

This is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, something you dream of since you first start learning about the sport and about the NHL. Roberto's age and tenure in the National Hockey League will allow him to see that light.

It'll allow him to put it into perspective.

It'll allow him to do the one thing that he and his teammates and everybody that's cheering for the Canucks want him to do -- that's letting go of all things outside, positive and negative, so he can just stop the puck. As a goalie that's what you have to do.

His confidence is there. His game is there.

Roberto is a goaltender who has been under a lot of pressure and scrutiny, and the weight of the world will be lifted off his shoulders if he wins the Stanley Cup.
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Posted On Thursday, 06.09.2011 / 8:51 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Bruins ready for world-class Luongo in Game 5

VANCOUVER -- Tim Thomas has allowed one goal in the last two games and all of Vancouver can't stop talking about him. He's red-hot and whether the Canucks want to admit it or keep trying to fool themselves, in all likelihood Thomas is in their heads, dominating the mental game in the Stanley Cup Final.

On the flip side, Roberto Luongo has allowed 12 goals in the last two games and all of Boston can't stop talking about him. He's ice cold, but the Bruins insist they are not in his head.

Can it go both ways like that? Even if the Bruins do think they've got Luongo on tilt, do you really think they'd admit it?

"I don't think we're in Luongo's head at all," Brad Marchand said Thursday afternoon once the Bruins arrived in Vancouver. "He's one of those goalies that can shake a game off and get a shutout the next game. We just have to pray we're fortunate enough to get even one (Friday) night."

C'mon, really? Marchand has to be playing some of his own head games with that quote

Fortunate to get even one? They scored 12 over two games against Luongo in Boston.

"A lot of the goals have been kind of the not-so-straight-shot goals, so I don't think it's going to hurt his confidence at all," Rich Peverley, Boston's offensive hero in Game 4, told NHL.com. "He's a top caliber goalie, one of the best in the League. You know he's going to bring his 'A' game (Friday)."

Shawn Thornton said the same thing when he was asked about the Bruins' potentially being in Luongo's head. Despite the fact that Luongo was sieve-like at TD Garden, the Bruins' expectation is that he returns to being world-class in Game 5.

Luongo has given up four or more goals in back-to-back games twice in these playoffs, but he's also given up two or fewer goals in 13 of his 21 starts. He allowed four or more goals eight times during the regular season, including three games in a row in October.

"The guy doesn't have a gold medal for no reason. He can play," Thornton said. "I don't think anybody assumes we're in his kitchen now. He's going to have an unbelievable game (Friday) night, I'm sure. I know we're going to have our hands full."

So will Luongo.

"We have to keep playing the same way and that's all we need to worry about," Patrice Bergeron said. "Just keep doing the same thing we've been doing."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 3:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Nasty boy Canucks

BOSTON -- Alexandre Burrows' had his biting incident with Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. Maxim Lapierre waved his finger in Bergeron's face in Game 2, daring him to chomp down. And, in Game 3, Ryan Kesler cross checked Dennis Seidenberg in the back enough times to make the Bruins' defenseman want to fight and Raffi Torres just missed with a flying elbow.

With all of this out front and center, it was no surprise that Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin was asked not once, but twice about if his team is comfortable being labeled as the nasty boys of this Stanley Cup Final?

Henrik's first response was a brush off.

"We don't really care," he said. "If people from the outside want to say what they want, that's fine."

When he was asked the same question again, he laughed and asked, "Are we?" When the reporter said, "That's what people are saying," Henrik responded, "Yeah, in Boston maybe."

Well, that is true. But, that's also part of being the villain, a role the Canucks don't seem to bothered by right now.

"I know what kind of group we have," Henrik said. "We're a tight group, honest players. There are guys that are going to maybe cross the line a little bit, but again, we're talking about gray areas. I don't think we're the dirtiest team in the playoffs. I don't think that by far. A lot of attention gets put on our team because we are where we are right now. That's the way it's going to be."


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Posted On Sunday, 06.05.2011 / 1:36 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Sedins not happy with their performance despite win

VANCOUVER -- For taking up two-thirds of a line that scored two goals Saturday night, Henrik and Daniel Sedin were pretty upset with the way they played in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

"We played a lot better last game than we did tonight," Henrik said following Vancouver's 3-2 overtime win. "Tonight was maybe our worst game of the playoffs and we were able to score two goals. That's how it is sometimes."

Daniel Sedin scored the game-tying goal with 10:37 to play in regulation and Alex Burrows scored the winner 11 seconds into overtime. Burrows had the primary assist on Daniel's goal and Daniel had the primary assist on Burrows' goal. Henrik was on the ice for both.

However, the Sedins and Burrows were bottled up for most of the first two periods and didn't truly spring to life until after Daniel scored his goal. They finally started to find some time and space in the offensive zone when the game was tied at 2-2, and that's probably due to the fact that they began to wear down Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was their shadow all night long.

Daniel finished with the goal, assist and four shots. Henrik had no points for the second straight game and won only four of 13 faceoffs to drop his record to just 12-26 in the series. Burrows had a huge night with two goals, an assist and five hits, but he was also limited offensively in the 37-plus minutes between his first goal and Daniels' tying goal.

"I thought our line didn't play that good, but we probably got rewarded for all the chances we had last game," Daniel said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential