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Posted On Thursday, 09.08.2011 / 12:03 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Always keep a watch at PMT

NEWARK, N.J. -- One thing about being at the Player Media Tour is you better expect the unexpected.

For instance, while Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos were chatting about Gary Roberts' famous training techniques outside the NBC studio at Prudential Center, a small vehicle drove by with Jason Spezza in full uniform, skates included sitting on the flat bed.

Moments earlier, that same utility vehicle whizzed by with Andrew Ladd on the back, in full uniform.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews waltzed by that same area, both munching on apples -- their healthy lunch.

As I made my way over to the NHL Studios area, Tim Thomas was going there from the other direction. Dion Phaneuf walked by with Leafs PR guy Pat Park, and both were looking for directions to the NBC studio.

Just down the hall, boys.

Meanwhile, as I sit here and write this blog on my Blackberry, Avs d-man Erik Johnson just came by to go in with NHL Studios to stand in front of a green screen and do promos for NHL Network.

To sum it up, these guys are everywhere today, so I better keep my eyes and ears open.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.07.2011 / 10:21 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Toews enjoys his PMT veteran status

NEW YORK -- Jonathan Toews remembers the first Player Media Tour he attended back in 2009.

"I was star struck," he told NHL.com. "I've come a long way."

Indeed he has. Instead of being star struck, the Blackhawks captain is now comfortable in his starry skin as he prepares to go through his third Player Media Tour.

"It means a lot to be considered a top guy that gets invited back," Toews said. "You want to be one of those guys that keeps getting invited back."

Toews, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist have attended all four Player Media Tour events in Manhattan.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.07.2011 / 8:39 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Kesler honored to be first Canuck at PMT

NEW YORK -- Ryan Kesler is still recovering from his offseason hip surgery and he remains devastated at losing two former teammates, Rick Rypien and Pavol Demitra, but here he is in the Big Apple with his wife, Andrea, experiencing the NHL Player Media Tour for the first time.

Kesler also wanted to point out in during our conversation tonight at the Versace Boutique that he is the first Canuck to attend the Player Media Tour.

He's happy to say so.

Since he plays in Vancouver, Kesler rarely gets a chance to visit New York. In fact, he said this is Andrea's first time in the city.

They unfortunately can't stay for too long because Ryan has to go to Vail to get his hip examined and Andrea has to get home to their two kids to begin what she called her super mom duties again.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.07.2011 / 6:15 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

NHL stars take Manhattan

NEW YORK -- Stars of the National Hockey League are taking Manhattan this week for the 2011 Player Media Tour.

More than 30 players, including Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos and Tim Thomas, will take part in the League's third annual event that will take them to the NHL headquarters on Sixth Avenue as well as Prudential Center in Newark.

The event begins Wednesday night with an invite-only player cocktail party at the Versace Boutique on 5th Avenue.

The NHL in conjunction with the clubs has coordinated the Player Media Tour since 2008. This year's is going to be the biggest yet with more players than ever.
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Posted On Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 4:23 PM

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

Will we be back here again next year?

Brendan Shanahan stopped short of calling the Research, Development and Orientation Camp an annual event, but the value of it for the League, the clubs, players and attending media has grown in leaps and bounds from last year to this year that it'd be strange to think of not having this event next year as well.

"We're still talking about it," Shanahan said. "We've done it two years in a row and we'll take a step back to see if we do it annually. I know there would be some disappointed 17 year olds if we didn't do it next year, so we'll see."

That's just the thing about this camp, the orientation aspect for the top draft-eligible prospects has become such an important element. Testing potential rule changes and technological innovations is certainly important for the NHL, but getting to know the top prospects that could be coming into the League soon should not be undervalued.

"We are doing research and development at a time when our game has never been better, and what we've stumbled upon is a great event for the best 17 year olds in North America," Shanahan said. "It's good for us to get to know them a bit, for them to get to know the NHL a little bit and to learn a few things about what to expect in their draft year. It was a fun event."

Shanahan even came away with a favorite rule change that was tested, one he wouldn't mind seeing one day soon in the NHL.

"I think in overtime to change ends and do the second period line change, the far line change really made a difference," he said. "I think 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 were both really exciting."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 2:01 PM

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

Coach speak: Their favorites

After coaching three games that involved various different rule changes, Dan Bylsma and Dave Tippett were able to pick out what potential changes they liked best. Here are their favorites:

TIPPETT

No line change after going offside and the faceoff goes back into the offending team's zone

"It's a little bit the same as the icing rule, where you can't change and it goes back to the end zone. If they did that with offside also, that's an area where you can really exploit matchups. It's giving a team an advantage. Now, there are going to be some people who say just because you go offside, is it too much of an advantage? The one thing offside does is it stops the game, so you'd basically be penalized for stopping the game. Don't stop the game. Play fast, but there is going to be a consequence if you stop it with icing or offside. I know how hard it is when you ice the puck and you've got tired players on, a mismatch, it can change the outcome of games."

BYLSMA

Switch ends for overtime and start with four minutes of 4-on-4 and then go to three minutes of 3-on-3

"You'd get more games decided in the overtime. That's something I would like to see implemented in our game. All the good players are going to be on the ice more and the long change accentuates being tired. If it goes end-to-end and you get tired, I think more games will be decided in that overtime period than go to a shootout."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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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."

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

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday