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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 10:36 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Quintal, Whitmore to serve on Olympic panel

Stephane Quintal of the NHL Department of Player Safety and Kay Whitmore of NHL Hockey Operations will be part of the four-man panel overseeing discipline for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Quintal, who serves as Director of Player Safety, has been with the NHL since 2011. He spent 16 seasons in the NHL, playing 1,037 games with the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Whitmore serves as the League's director of hockey operations and goaltender equipment and has worked for the NHL since 2004. He played 14 seasons professionally, including 155 games in nine seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Bruins and Calgary Flames.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 3:50 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Stamkos skates, still hoping for pre-Olympic return

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos often has said he'd like to play at least one game with the team prior to playing for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

However, on Tuesday he said that was the best-case scenario, and he would still consider playing in the Olympics even without an NHL warmup.

"The objective is to play a game," Stamkos said after skating with his teammates Tuesday in Toronto. "That's something I would really love to do. But if that's not the case there's going to be another discussion about whether I'm still going to be on that [Olympic] team. We haven't had that. It's more like we'll cross that bridge when we need to."

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who also serves as executive director of Canada's Olympic team, said much the same.

"If he gets a chance to play in a game, if he's cleared to play, great," Yzerman said. "If not, then depending on what the doctor says and how he feels, is he good to go for the first game of the tournament? He's the only one who really knows that once the doctors give him the green light to play."

Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 1:09 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kessel, van Riemsdyk expected in Maple Leafs lineup

Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk each took part in the morning skate Tuesday after missing parts of practice Monday and appear set to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at Air Canada Centre (7 p.m. ET, TSN).

Jonathan Bernier will start in goal for the Maple Leafs, who are looking to snap a two-game losing streak that followed six consecutive wins. It will be Bernier's first career appearance against the Lightning. Toronto is seven points behind second-place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.

The Lightning will counter with Ben Bishop, whose 26 wins are tied for third in the NHL, one behind Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks and three behind League-leader Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 12:38 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings put Franzen back on IR

After one game back, Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen on Tuesday was placed on injured reserve due to a recurrence of concussion issues.

Franzen had an assist in 16:45 of ice time Sunday against the Florida Panthers, his first game after missing 16 with a concussion sustained during a game Dec. 15 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Any time it's a head injury -- we've been through it a number of times -- they're hard things," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters after the team's morning skate Tuesday. "Obviously [Franzen] thought he was ready and then found out he wasn't.

"He'll be out a few [games] for sure, anyways, and he continues to work with doctors at U-M [University of Michigan]; they'll figure out when he’s available."

Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 10:56 AM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

Messier to talk Stadium Series, ice center on NHL Live

NHL Live with Bill Pidto, E.J. Hradek and Kevin Weekes, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, previews an 11-game Tuesday around the League while also checking in on the New York Islanders' practice at Yankee Stadium in preparation for their 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game Wednesday against the rival New York Rangers.

Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas makes his big return to face the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for the first time, and we'll welcome in Bruins radio voice Dave Goucher from our Arena Cam to discuss the big night.

In addition, NHL great Mark Messier joins us to talk about the Stadium Series and his new venture, the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 10:14 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Islanders' Vanek to captain Austria Olympic team

Thomas Vanek will be the captain for Austria's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Austria coach Manny Viveiros.

"Vanek is a star player for us and also in the NHL," Viveiros said. "That's enough to make him captain. He is a role model for all young players in Austria."

The 30-year-old New York Islanders forward became the highest-drafted Austrian-born player in NHL history when the Buffalo Sabres selected him with the fifth pick of the 2003 NHL Draft.

Posted On Monday, 01.27.2014 / 1:10 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

Lundqvist to talk Stadium Series on NHL Live

NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, has plenty to talk about Monday, one day after the New York Rangers' 7-3 win against the New Jersey Devils in the first of two 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium. Winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will stop by the studio.

Kevin Weekes has the distinction of having played for the Rangers, Devils and New York Islanders in his career, including serving as the Rangers goaltending tandem with Lundqvist at the beginning of the Swede's career. He'll join Mears and Hradek on the show.

In addition, NHL Network insider Bob McKenzie will provide the latest on trade rumors from around the League.

Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and join the conversation on Twitter as we ask you to pick the game of the night.

Posted On Sunday, 01.26.2014 / 5:01 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Franzen back, Zetterberg out for Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings are expected to get a key player back into their lineup Sunday for their game against the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena when forward Johan Franzen is activated after missing the past 16 games with a concussion.

Franzen has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 30 games.

"He can really shoot the puck," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told "Any time you come back from an injury, I don’t know how you’re going to respond. I mean, [Darren] Helmer's an example of that. I don’t know what to expect from the Mule. We’re just going to play him and see how it goes."

Posted On Sunday, 01.26.2014 / 12:55 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stadium Series start delayed due to sun glare

Due to sun glare on the ice and in the interest of player safety, the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET, has been delayed. Puck drop is officially set for 1:38 p.m. ET.

Posted On Saturday, 01.25.2014 / 12:44 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning's Stamkos cleared for light contact

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos was wearing a yellow practice jersey Saturday morning, indicating he's been cleared for light contact.

There isn't a set timetable for his return, however, and Lightning coach Jon Cooper made sure to clarify Stamkos is not fully cleared for practicing yet.

"He's getting better every day, but there are lots of things that have to go on still," Cooper said. "He hasn't been cleared and he's still a ways away from being cleared. He hasn't done any battling. It's just the process that is slowly going on here. But, in saying that, when you take the minimum-maximum of what the injury was, he's closer to coming in at the minimum time frame than the maximum time frame, so that's good for all of us."

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He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter