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Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 11:52 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

D'Agostini set for Devils debut

NEWARK, N.J. -- Right wing Matt D'Agostini is expected to make his season debut for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday when the team plays the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.

The Devils conducted an optional skate at Prudential Center on Saturday morning, and though D'Agostini participated, coach Peter DeBoer was mum on who his newest acquisition would replace in the lineup. However, it's possible forward Krystofer Barch, who remained late out on the ice after practice, will be a healthy scratch.

D'Agostini, acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Friday, is looking forward to a new opportunity.

"It's kind of like a fresh start for me, so I'm looking at this as game one and looking to establish my game early by working hard and hopefully get some chances," D'Agostini said. "I'm best when I'm using my speed and driving the D-men deep, and creating havoc on the forecheck."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 11:50 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Brodeur will back up Hedberg against Rangers

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goalie Martin Brodeur will be on the bench serving as the backup to Johan Hedberg on Tuesday when the New Jersey Devils host the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

After being sidelined the past 11 games with a pinched nerve in his neck/upper back that was causing numbness in his shoulder and arm, the 40-year-old Brodeur said Tuesday he feels strong enough to return to the active roster.

"That's the plan now … I've been given the OK and that's the way we're going now," Brodeur said Tuesday, after his second straight practice with the team. "It's been fun the last two days being in the room and knowing what's going on a little bit. When you're injured, you're always on the side doing your own thing, so it's nice to be back."

The Devils on Tuesday activated Brodeur from injured reserve and assigned goalie Jeff Frazee to the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Albany.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 10:05 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

No skate for Rangers ahead of matchup with Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Rangers didn't conduct a morning skate at Prudential Center on Tuesday, hours after beating the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

The Rangers face the Devils on Tuesday night.

Against the Hurricanes, the top line of Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik generated no points, 10 shots and a minus-2 rating. It will be interesting to see if coach John Tortorella keeps that trio intact while giving goalie Henrik Lundqvist his fifth start in eight days. He could also opt for backup Martin Biron, who last started March 10 in a 4-1 victory against the Washington Capitals.

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Posted On Friday, 03.15.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Besse wins Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award

 Grant Besse, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Senior right wing Grant Besse didn't conclude this year's state tournament in the same remarkable fashion he did in 2011-12, but he certainly did his share in the regular season to catch the eye of all those who watched him perform at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School in Minnesota.

The 5-foot-8.5, 177-pound Besse, No. 124 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American skaters, was awarded the Mr. Hockey Award on March 10 during the 29th ceremony in St. Paul.

The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League Scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.

"[Besse] isn't real big, but he's very strong on his skates and with how he moves," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com. "He just looks so comfortable getting around the ice. He does everything with such ease, like move puck to teammate, shoot on the fly or move laterally to get around somebody.

"He doesn't have to slow down, stop or look. He's always constantly moving and when you combine that with one of the best wrist shots and releases in the draft, you understand why he almost put up 50 goals this season."

Besse was No. 187 on Central Scouting's final ranking prior to the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, but wasn't chosen.


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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 9:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon stars in return

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon clearly wasn't interested in easing his way back into the lineup after missing over a month due to injury.

On Wednesday, in his first game since Feb. 8, when he tweaked his knee and spent the next 14 games out of action, MacKinnon had two goals and two assists to lead the Mooseheads to a 6-2 victory against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

MacKinnon wasted little time, scoring just 35 seconds into the first period.

"We wanted to wait until he was 100 percent before he came back so he was really ready to go," Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme told The Chronicle Herald. "He was excited to be coming back. He played with energy and it was great to see how he handled it."

MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, has a point in 11 straight games, dating to Jan. 12, and has totaled eight goals and 21 points in that span. In addition to his offensive output Wednesday, MacKinnon also generated a team-high six shots on goal, delivered one hit and won 10 of 18 faceoffs.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 7:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Defenseman Schenn out of Flyers lineup with flu

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn has the flu and is out of the lineup against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at Prudential Center.

Schenn, who skated with the team in the morning, had appeared in all 27 games for the Flyers this season. The 23-year-old has two goals, seven points and a plus-2 rating.

Schenn was replaced in the lineup by Kurtis Foster, who was listed as a healthy scratch the past 12 games.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 12:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flyers to put Briere, Gagne on line vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- In an effort to generate some spark into the lineup, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will reunite Danny Briere with Simon Gagne on a line with Sean Couturier when his team plays the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at Prudential Center.

The Flyers sit last in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Couturier was centering Briere and Gagne during practice Tuesday at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, N.J. Laviolette confirmed Wednesday after his team's morning skate that those three players would join forces in an attempt to "maybe try and find something offensively or try a different look."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Central Scouting upgrades four players

          Laurent Dauphin, Chicoutimi, QMJHL

NHL Central Scouting has advised all NHL personnel to keep an eye on four 2013 draft-eligible players shooting up the ranks for the month of March.

In addition to profiling many of the top prospects on the radar, it's always interesting to learn of those performers improving to the point of getting special attention, as is the case each month when Central Scouting provides team scouts and GMs a cheat sheet of such performers.

This month, Central Scouting has targeted right wing Zach Nastasiuk of the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League, center Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and center Nicolas Petan of the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Dillon Heatherington of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League.

Nastasiuk, Dauphin and Heatherington, who were regarded as 'B skaters' in February, were upgraded to 'A skaters' this month. Petan jumped from a 'C' rating to 'A'.


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Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 3:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin back for Halifax; MacKinnon close

The Halifax Mooseheads will have one of their top 2013 draft-eligible forwards returning to the lineup on Monday when they play host to Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Halifax Metro Centre (6 p.m. ET).

Halifax general manager Cam Russell informed NHL.com that Jonathan Drouin, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury sustained on March 2, will make his anticipated return. Nathan MacKinnon, who has missed the past 13 games after sustaining a lower-body injury on Feb. 8, remains out. According to Russell, "[MacKinnon] is close."

Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, still leads the team with 98 points on 39 goals and 59 assists in 45 games. Despite playing in 20 fewer games, the 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound Drouin is three points from the overall scoring lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Josh Currie and Ben Duffy of the P.E.I. Rocket have 101 points apiece.

It's possible MacKinnon, Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked skater on the midterm report, could return Wednesday on the road against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. MacKinnon has 28 goals, 69 points and a plus-37 rating in 41 games this season for the Mooseheads (54-6-4).

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Tambellini honored by BCHL

The coaches of the British Columbia Hockey League recently revealed their league all-star team selections for the 2012-13 season.

Among those listed were two skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- forward Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles was named a Second-Team All-Star, and defenseman Dane Birks of the Merritt Centennials was named to the league's All-Rookie Team.

Tambellini, son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, was listed as a 'B' prospect at the start of the season for the Vernon Vipers before his trade to Surrey on Jan. 10. Tambellini, who is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2013-14 season, had 36 goals and 65 points in 52 games for Vernon and Surrey. In 16 games with Surrey, he's totaled 14 goals and 26 points.

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Quote of the Day

I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride. I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.

— Martin St. Louis after announcing his retirement from the NHL on Thursday