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Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 4:40 PM

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

Parise: Wild getting more than just saves from Dubnyk

Devan Dubnyk has done more than just stop the puck to give the Minnesota Wild a chance to securing a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Left wing Zach Parise said Dubnyk has also given the Wild confidence to rediscover the way they feel they need to play in front of the goalie.

That, as much as stopping the puck, is the impact quality goaltending can have on any team.

The Wild weren't getting quality goaltending before Dubnyk arrived on Jan. 14, and they were a mess with an 18-19-5 record and .893 save percentage that led to 3.0 goals-against per game.

The Wild have gone 19-4-2 since Dubnyk made his debut on Jan. 15. Dubnyk has started every game and has a .937 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average.

Minnesota is on pace to be the first wild card in the playoffs from the Western Conference.

"When he came in and made some big stops in his first couple games it let us take a deep breath," Parise said. "It had felt like every mistake we were making was magnified and ending up in the back of our net. I'm not saying that's the goalie's fault, because when we were losing we started to really change the way we played. Not even realizing we started to cheat on the offensive and we weren't playing a winning style of hockey. Now we've gotten back to that, so I think that's put less pressure on our goalies. We have kind of rediscovered our game to play the way that makes us a good hockey team."

Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Stastny leading the Blues in a different way

Even though Paul Stastny was a veteran and the big-ticket free agent signee, it would have been hard for him to force his way into a leadership role with the St. Louis Blues this season considering he was the new guy in a room already filled with leaders such as David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Alex Steen and Barret Jackman.

So instead of trying to upset the leadership hierarchy of his new team, Stastny has found another way to be an important leader for the Blues.

"He has really taken [Dmitrij] Jaskin and [Patrik] Berglund under his wing and tried to help them become a line," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's kind of been the quarterback of those two guys to coordinate good play, and they've given us good minutes every night for the last little while.

"I think he's taken to heart leading a smaller group of athletes rather than the bigger group."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 5:00 PM

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

Niedermayer happy filling part-time role with Ducks

Scott Niedermayer may one day want to take on a heavier role as a coach or executive in the NHL, but for now the Hall of Fame defenseman is content with being a part-time assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks.

"I'm comfortable with it for sure," Niedermayer said this past weekend following an event to honor the New Jersey Devils 1995 Stanley Cup championship team.

Niedermayer is in his third season on the Ducks coaching staff, but his role is limited to mostly home games and home practices.

"I'm busy at home still," said Niedermayer, who is married with four kids. "I'm realizing what a tough job it is the coaching staff has. It's a difficult job, a lot of moving pieces there. I'm enjoying my position."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 1:58 PM

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

Rosen's mailbag - March 11, 2015

Here is the March 11 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:

Why does Bruce Boudreau's team always choke in the playoffs? Case in point, his Caps team and his current Ducks team? -- @StevieSaidYup

Let's give his current Anaheim Ducks team a break considering it's only March 11 and they haven't had a chance to lose in the Stanley Cup Playoffs yet. I also wouldn't say his team last season choked. Yes, they lost 6-2 in Game 7 to the Los Angeles Kings at home, but it was in the Western Conference Second Round and they lost in seven to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. And they were down 2-0 in the series before winning Games 3, 4 and 5. And they had a rookie goalie in John Gibson. I'm willing to give that team a pass.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 9:38 AM

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

Fetisov talks Russian stars, national team struggles

Viacheslav Fetisov doesn't get to watch too much of the NHL these days, what with the fact he lives in Russia, works as a senator in his country's upper house of parliament, as well as a myriad of other projects.

Simply put, Fetisov, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings, doesn't have the time to follow the NHL as closely as he once did. However, Fetisov still takes a great deal of pride in learning about the successes of some of Russia's top players in the NHL.

"Pavel Datsyuk made himself a valuable hockey player in the history of this game," Fetisov said during a recent interview at the NHL office in Manhattan. "I'm happy for [Alex] Ovechkin and [Evgeni] Malkin and how they present themselves and got success. I'm happy for them and I wish them all the best. I also admire Ilya Kovalchuk. I put him on the team when I was coaching the Olympics in 2002. He's a very likable guy and a good hockey player. He's a character."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 1:48 PM

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

Rosen's mailbag - March 4, 2015

Here is the March 4 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:

With Mark Giordano's injury, who becomes the frontrunner in the Norris Trophy race? -- @matszabqc

If I had a vote (I do not) and I had to vote today (I still do not) I'd vote Drew Doughty as the winner followed by Kris Letang and Duncan Keith. In that order, in fact. At least to me Giordano wasn't the runaway frontrunner before he got hurt. He was likely going to be a finalist, and maybe he would have been the favorite by the end of the season, but it wasn't a lock.

Doughty is as important to the Los Angeles Kings as any player is to his team this season. He plays a lot of minutes (29:25 per game), but he does more in his minutes than maybe any other defenseman in the League. He is a possession monster, evidenced by his 56.79 SAT percentage and his 57.60 SAT close percentage. Simply put, Doughty plays less defense and more offense when he's on the ice, which is the entire point of the game. Nobody wants to play defense. The best defenseman drive their team's offense. Doughty does that without sacrificing his game when the Kings don't have the puck. He is starting more in the defensive zone than he has in recent seasons, and yet he has 38 points on a team with the 18th best offense in the NHL.

Posted On Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 11:22 AM

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

Babcock confident newcomers fit in Red Wings lineup

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is confident that where he is starting forward Erik Cole and defenseman Marek Zidlicky on Wednesday against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) could have some staying power because this is not a plug-'em-in, wait-and-see scenario.

Cole will play on the left wing with center Henrik Zetterberg and right wing Justin Abdelkader. He'll also play on the power play with Zetterberg, Abdelkader, Gustav Nyquist and Niklas Kronwall.

Zetterberg, who has been out for the past four games with a head injury, is expected to return against the Rangers.

Posted On Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 1:26 PM

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

At the Rink: Coyotes at Rangers

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Rick Nash expects to play Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes after sitting out the game Tuesday against the Calgary Flames because of neck spasms.

Nash is second in the NHL with 37 goals, two fewer than Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin. The Rangers are 7-0-2 in their past nine games.

"I talked to him on the ice and I got the thumbs up," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

Nash said the only thing that would prevent him from playing against Arizona is if his neck spasms return, but he didn't seem concerned. He said his neck started bothering him Monday afternoon and by that night he was experiencing the spasms. The massage therapy treatment he got from the Rangers training staff has helped.

"We'll see how it reacts this afternoon but everything is positive to play tonight," Nash said.

Posted On Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 3:01 PM

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

Rosen's mailbag - Feb. 25, 2015

Here is the Feb. 25 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:

With Nick Leddy locked in long term will Johnny Boychuk be the next domino to fall? -- @tjanthony25

Fall how? Fall out of the Islanders grasp? Fall in line with the Islanders by re-signing on a long-term contract? There are different ways this domino can go down, or, as you said, fall.

My hunch is that Leddy's contract will not prevent the Islanders from going hard after re-signing Boychuk, which they are likely doing already. Islanders general manager Garth Snow is notoriously quiet when it comes to negotiations, which is why we didn't hear anything on the Leddy contract situation until it was actually done and ready to be announced.

Posted On Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 6:41 PM

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

Rangers forward Nash out against Flames

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Rick Nash is not in the lineup Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames because of neck spasms. He is considered day-to-day. Nash had played in every game of the season until Tuesday.

Oscar Lindberg was expected to make his NHL debut in place of Nash. Lindberg was recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

Lindberg was expected to start the game centering the third line between J.T. Miller and Carl Hagelin. Kevin Hayes, who is normally the Rangers' third-line center, moved up to take Nash's spot on the top line with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello.

Nash did not practice Monday, but it was listed as a maintenance day. He is second in the NHL with 37 goals behind Alex Ovechkin (38). Nash had two goals in the Rangers' 5-2 win at Calgary on Dec. 16.

Lindberg has 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 54 games with Hartford this season. He leads the Wolf Pack with 155 shots on goal and is second in points and third goals.

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Quote of the Day

In respect to the organization and my teammates, it was the best move. When I look back at my career and all the different things I had to overcome, I have no regrets. It was great.

— Devils captain Bryce Salvador on retiring from the National Hockey League Wednesday