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Posted On Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 1:07 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Red Wings-Blackhawks: A Live Blog

Howard keeps game tied early

The fans closest to the goal thought it was in, but Jimmy Howard knew he had the puck under his toe. Jake Dowell tried to poke the puck over the line twice with just over seven minutes left, but the Wings goalie kept his leg flat on the ice and came up with a huge toe save to keep the game scoreless.
 
There are just under six minutes left in the first period now. The Blackhawks are outshooting the Red Wings 9-8 and Howard has had to make some pretty sparkling stops to keep it scoreless, but Corey Crawford also had to come up with a dazzler.
 
Tomas Holmstrom set up Johan Franzen in front for a one-timer from the low slot, but Crawford got back in position in time to make what appeared to be a pad save in his butterfly on Franzen with roughly 10 minutes left in the period.
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Posted On Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Red Wings-Blackhawks: A Live Blog

Still scoreless at first TV timeout

There is 13:11 left in the first period and the Wings and Hawks remain scoreless, though Chicago has had the better of the chances.
 
Jimmy Howard has made two sharp right leg pad saves, the first on Nick Leddy 1:40 into the game and the second on a blast by Duncan Keith at the 4:10 mark.
 
Chicago failed on its first power play attempt. It didn't even get a shot on goal as the Wings had a clear kill with Tomas Holmstrom in the box for a delay of game at 1:44.
 
Jonathan Toews, who is centering a line with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, has stayed on late after two shifts and created chances with Patrick Kane each time. Kane is skating with Michael Frolik and rookie Ben Smith.
 
The crowd is really into it here, as to be expected. At the end of the TV timeout they showed Mr. T himself on the big videoboard and they went nuts for him. Mr. T. (B.A. to you A-Team fans) is wearing a Blackhawks jersey.
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Posted On Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 12:36 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Red Wings-Blackhawks: A Live Blog

Pregame sets the tone

As soon as the lights went off and the Blackhawks opening video montage, complete with the fantastic stitching of the Blackhawks' logo, started blaring through the arena the crowd stood up and started roaring.

Yeah, this isn't just your average regular season game.

The fans got quiet as they watched the video, as they always do, but when the Hawks came streaming onto the ice one by one with Metalica's "Enter Sandman" blasting through the arena the place absolutely erupted. They went nuts for Corey Crawford and the rest of the Hawks starting lineup, including Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Jake Dowell, Fernando Pisani and Byran Bickell.
 
The soldout crowd got louder and louder as anthem singer Jim Cornelison performed the National Anthem in front of the scorer's table.

There are very few venues in North America that get amped up for an anthem like United Center does for a Blackhawks game.

It's time to drop the puck. The crowd is ready. Are the Wings and Hawks?

Let's find out.
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Posted On Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 12:17 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Red Wings-Blackhawks: A Live Blog

Howard vs. Crawford

As expected, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is getting the start today opposite Corey Crawford, who will be making his 27th straight start for the Blackhawks.

Howard was victimized three times on six shots in the first 8:45 of Friday's game in Detroit, but he also made some dazzling saves to keep the deficit somewhat manageable.
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Posted On Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 11:59 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Red Wings-Blackhawks: A Live Blog

Feel the buzz

As the building fills up, the big videoboard above center ice is showing the Blackhawks playing their customary soccer game, a new time-honored tradition that goes on outside of nearly every dressing room in the NHL.

Every media member here spent the morning trying to figure out all the possible clinching scenarios for the Blackhawks and where they could wind up playing. I was just in a conversation with two members of the Chicago Tribune and a Blackhawks' PR member discussing the merits of Anaheim, where the Hawks will be headed if they are able to beat the Wings today.

Of course, we were all putting the proverbial cart before the horse. The Red Wings will have their say against the Blackhawks today and could decide who they play in the first round of the playoffs, either Phoenix or Nashville.

If Detroit wins the Predators will be coming to Hockeytown this week. If the Blackhawks win, the Coyotes come to Joe Louis Arena.

Chicago could end up as high as fifth or as low as ninth at the end of the day.

"There are four scenarios," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said this morning. "The fourth one is not a good one. So, let's take care of business."

So much on the line here at United Center this afternoon.

The scoreboard clock reads under 20 minutes now, so the teams should be on the ice for warmups soon. Fans are lining along the glass to try to get a glimpse of their favorite players. There is a buzz.

"Anything can happen," Quenneville added. "We still control our own destiny. We're still trying to get to where we want to get to. We'll know at the end of the day."
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Posted On Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 12:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Countdown to the Playoffs

No easy road for Hawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are finally looking like a solid playoff team, but while their six-game winning streak has allowed them to leap from 11th to fourth in a matter of a few weeks, they are still not even close to being out of the woods. Their 76 points is only three more than the ninth-place Ducks and 10th-place Predators. The Wild are just four points back in 11th.
 
The rest of the Blackhawks' schedule is statistically the most difficult in the League. Their opponents have an average winning percentage of .586 and of Chicago's 18 games remaining, only 11 are on the road. San Jose's remaining opponents also have a .586 winning percentage, but the Sharks will play 12 of their final 18 games on home ice.
 
Let's break it down for the Blackhawks:
 
Record against teams left on schedule: 12-10-3
 
Games vs. Western Conference playoff contenders: 8
 
Games vs. teams ahead of them in Conference standings: 4
 
Games vs. Eastern Conference playoff contenders: 6
 
Games vs. teams with more than 76 points: 8
 
Biggest challenge: Three games left against Detroit
 
Biggest challenge II: Two games left against Tampa Bay

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Posted On Sunday, 02.27.2011 / 3:06 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Bowman, McPhee ones to watch

Stan Bowman and George McPhee find themselves almost in lockstep as the trade deadline draws closer. The respective general managers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals have a plethora of prospects, a solid core in tact and still the need/want to upgrade their current rosters for the playoff push.

Let's start with the Capitals and McPhee, who is notorious for keeping his mouth shut at this time of the year. He picked up Marco Sturm off waivers from Los Angeles, which for all intents and purposes is a solid, no-lose move. But, are we really to believe that Sturm, who has had both of his knees operated on since 2008, is the difference-maker McPhee was hoping to land?

Sturm is a nice asset to have, a solid veteran who can play a good two-way game. He's probably suited for third-line duty to start, but that doesn't answer the Capitals need for a second-line center or a top-six scorer. Sturm used to be that and may very well be again, but it would be a stretch to think he can be that for the Capitals this season.

So, what does McPhee do? Ales Hemsky would be a nice addition, but Paul Stastny would be a better one because he will fill that second-line center role better than anyone available who isn't named Brad Richards. However, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, Stastny probably won't get moved. The Caps would have to shed salary to make it happen.

Let's move on to Hemsky, who could play on the Caps first or second line. Washington might have to give up one of its goalies, Semyon Varlamov or Michal Neuvirth, to get him, and McPhee has been reluctant to move off his stance that the club is going with those two in net.

Perhaps the more attainable player is someone like New Jersey's Jason Arnott, who also would fill that hole in the middle of the Caps' second line and wouldn't cost nearly as much as someone like Stastny or Hemsky.

Washington isn't likely to trade top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, but center Cody Eakin, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goalie Braden Holtby could draw decent returns. Holtby in particular could be an interesting asset to peddle if McPhee doesn't plan to move Varlamov or Neuvirth. The Devils would have to be interested in acquiring a young goaltending prospect.

What about Bowman and the Hawks? They have plenty of draft picks that could be up for grabs in the right deal, and wouldn't seem to be put off by a rental either considering their core is locked up and already have plenty of their 2011-12 cap space tied up into 11 players (12 if you include young defenseman Nick Leddy).

Leddy, Kyle Beach, Dylan Olsen, Ivan Vishnevskiy, Jeremy Morin could all be in line to make the big club next season, joining Michael Frolik, Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell and Viktor Stalberg as the role players behind the core guys.

All that being said, perhaps David Booth could be an intriguing option for the Blackhawks even though he's signed for four more seasons at $4.25 million. The Hawks would have to move some salary back to Florida to make the deal happen, but with former GM Dale Tallon now manning the Panthers' post it's not unreasonable to think a deal could be made.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Sunday, 02.27.2011 / 10:44 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Morning Musings: Feb. 27

It's the morning before the big deadline day and there are several interesting reports/columns out there in the hockey world mentioning plenty of teams that could be busy between now and 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

Let's start in Buffalo, where new owner Terry Pegula could be interested in making a big splash, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. He linked the names Brad Richards and Paul Stastny to the Sabres, who are 2-0-1 since Pegula officially became the team's owner early last week. Buffalo is two points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference.

Nobody from Colorado has said that Stastny is definitely in play, but after making the playoffs last season and taking a step back this season it wouldn't be totally ridiculous to think that GM Greg Sherman is thinking about taking the team in a new direction. He has already traded Chris Stewart for Erik Johnson and Craig Anderson is now in Ottawa. Stastny doesn't seem likely to move, but we've seen stranger things.

Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk hasn't denied that Richards is in play, but there is a conundrum there that he has to deal with.

With back to back wins over Detroit and Nashville the Stars are now seventh in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the ninth place Blackhawks. Richards (concussion-like symptoms) hasn't played since Feb. 13 and Dallas doesn't play again until Tuesday, when it starts a four-game road trip in Phoenix.

His value remains high despite the uncertainty surrounding his symptoms and we've seen reports saying the Rangers and Kings could be interested as well. Teams will want some certainty that Richards, a pending UFA, will be able to return soon, before they make a play for him. But, with that same certainty Nieuwendyk may choose to keep him for a possible playoff run.

It's silly to say that a GM has to make a move at the deadline, but the Kings' Dean Lombardi could be thinking that way. His team has forgotten about its dreadful 2-10 stretch from Dec. 23-Jan. 20 and has won 11 of its last 15 games to pull into fifth place in the Western Conference. Of course, they're only four points away from 10th, so Lombardi might feel compelled to do something before Monday's deadline to make sure that the team is situated well for the stretch run.

If Lombardi is looking to make a splash, say for Richards, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky or Florida's David Booth, the deal would probably have to include prospect Brayden Schenn. Lombardi told Fox Sports West on Saturday, "quite frankly, I don't think he's going anywhere." He couched that statement by saying it would have to be a "really special" return, but we believe him when he says Schenn is staying put.

How about this swing by veteran Edmonton Journal scribe Jim Matheson: Hemsky to Atlanta for young defenseman Zach Bogosian? Matheson spoke to Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who didn't deny such a move could take place but did say that any move for Bogosian must include a return that bolsters the team now and for the future. The Oilers would need to give more than Hemsky to get a defenseman that could turn into a stalwart on their blue line for years to come.

It might be a pipedream, but at least it's food for thought.

Sunday's game in Sunrise, Fla. could be a defining game for the New Jersey Devils and what GM Lou Lamoriello chooses to do before the deadline.

The Devils have miraculously pulled themselves back into the playoff conversation, but they remain 11 points out of the eighth spot with Buffalo, Atlanta, Toronto and, yes, Florida, between them and Carolina. They are a major longshot to make the playoffs for the 14th straight season and a win Sunday wouldn't change that, but a loss could be devastating and convince Lamoriello to give up on the season and move some assets that could at least get some marginal returns. Jason Arnott would be at the top of that list, though he would have to waive his no-trade clause.

Finally, I'll just toss this out there to see if it sticks anywhere, with Martin Brodeur starting Sunday for the first time since Feb. 6, what about trading Johan Hedberg to a team that needs some goaltending depth? He could wind up with a contender and the Devils could always re-sign Moose in the offseason. Odds are his experience in New Jersey, which has been excellent, would be enough to convince him to return.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 3:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Canucks injuries shouldn't change much

Vancouver is down five defensemen (six if you include minor-league call-up Lee Sweatt), but there are a myriad of reasons why GM Mike Gillis isn't likely to make a big splash into the blue-line waters come 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 28.

Prior to the hockey world learning of Kevin Bieksa's foot injury, which could keep him out a month, Gillis told Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca that the Canucks have enough salary cap space to add a $1 million player. But, that's only for now because that money truly doesn't exist when you factor in the eventual returns of Bieksa, Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis before the end of the regular season.

The Canucks have to have cap space to bring those guys back in, which is why they probably won't add anyone of great significance, if they add at all, unless they are willing to subtract from the current roster. We could see them trying to deal Sami Salo, but he's their No. 2 defenseman behind Christian Ehrhoff until the injured guys return, which likely won't be until after the deadline.

"It probably doesn't cause me to rethink strategy," Gillis told Spector. "The fact is, we have to have space to get guys back into our line-up after the trade deadline. We may not have space to make any deals."

Gillis doesn't have to either. The Canucks have positioned themselves for a high seed, likely No. 1 unless these injuries cause a prolonged slump, so the GM can quietly sit back and watch all these other teams make moves while he waits for his guys to return.

Ballard (knee) and Hamhuis (concussion) are expected back before the playoffs. Alex Edler (back surgery) and Andrew Alberts (broken wrist), who are both on long-term injured reserve, could be back during the playoffs when there is no salary cap. Bieksa's status had not been updated by the team as of Thursday afternoon.

"I don't know why we would (trade a roster player)," Gillis said. "We're in first place, and we've lost maybe the most man games of any team in the League. I can't see a circumstance where we're trading a player off our roster at this point in time."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 2:04 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Burke: Reports false, no deal yet for Kaberle

Toronto GM and President Brian Burke said Thursday on NHL Live! that Tomas Kaberle has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause, has not given the Maple Leafs a list of teams he's willing to go to, and that any reports suggesting a deal with Boston is imminent are completely false.

Now, we understand that Burke has to say this now, especially if a deal is in place and waiting for sign-off from Kaberle. Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reported earlier Thursday that the package Toronto will receive from Boston for Kaberle includes Blake Wheeler and a draft pick.

However, Burke, who was talking to hosts E.J. Hradek and Don LaGreca, said the Leafs are still talking to multiple teams about Kaberle and that he hasn't spoken to the puck-moving defenseman. Burke spoke about honoring Kaberle's no-trade clause even though he wasn't the one who gave it to him. John Ferguson was the Leafs GM who signed Kaberle to his current contract.

Burke actually said he isn't sure if Kaberle will be traded, though the odds of him being moved eventually, perhaps as early as today despite what he said, are still very high.

Burke said he has been talking with Kaberle's agent, Rick Curran, "who asked for radio silence" on the situation. He said Kaberle's no-trade clause does not prohibit him from talking to other teams about potential trades. He also said he can "almost promise" more activity from the Leafs before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

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

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season