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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 1:30 PM

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

Bailey back from Saturday injury, in Isles' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey, who suffered a neck injury on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be in the lineup on Monday when his team faces the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Bailey was forced to exit Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 16:23 mark of the second period after taking a hard hit behind his own net from left wing Chris Kunitz.

"I feel good," Bailey told "I was a little nervous at first, and had to kind of gather my thoughts. I felt it in the neck right away and anytime you feel it in the neck, you get a little nervous."

Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 11:08 AM

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

Zubrus to return to Devils' lineup Monday

NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Dainius Zubrus will make his anticipated return to the lineup on Monday when the New Jersey Devils play host to the New York Islanders at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG PLUS 2, MSG PLUS).

Zubrus, who underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist on Feb. 14, has missed the past 26 games. He's been skating on his own since mid-March and practiced with the team on Monday for the first time since he last played on Feb. 5 against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

"I feel good, it's been a while," Zubrus told reporters after practice. "I think I have [my stamina] back. After about 10 days after my surgery I was able to work out, so I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. I know getting back in a game situation is a little different since you battle guys and push guys, so that adds a lot more work, but it's not going to be the first time I've ever done this, so I think I'll be OK."

Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 11:38 AM

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

Shoulder injury sidelines Barkov

The top draft-eligible prospect from Europe on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list, center Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, will be sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told that Barkov sustained a shoulder injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on Wednesday. Tappara earned a 3-1 victory to take the best-of-7 series, 4-1.

"He will probably miss rest of the season," Stubb told "The injury will not affect his [high] draft status."

Barkov finished the regular season with 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 games for Tappara. He produced four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff matches.

Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 1:22 PM

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

Panthers search for season-long win streak

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Florida Panthers have an opportunity to win three consecutive games for the first time this season when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Prudential Center.

The only other time the Panthers entered a contest having won the two previous matches was Feb. 5 when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Winnipeg Jets. Florida has defeated the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers in the opening two games of this five-game road swing.

"We're looking at the first period and everything is short-term snapshots," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "It's been nice to have a couple days off where we can sit on a victory; it makes a tremendous difference. Rest comes easier when your mind is at ease."

Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 11:52 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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."

Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 11:50 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 10:05 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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.

Posted On Friday, 03.15.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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 "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.

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 9:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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.

Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 7:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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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