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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:22 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres arrive in Germany

The Buffalo Sabres arrived in Mannheim, Germany Sunday morning and imnmediately made their way to the rink for a one-hour practice at SAP Arena that was heavy on skating drills.

Coach Lindy Ruff planned both the time and content of practice to give his team the best chance to get accilimated to European time. The club travelled overnight from Buffalo and landed at approximately 9 a.m. local time. By noon, 6 a.m. on their bo0dy clocks, they were on the ice for a pretty spirited practice.

“I think to just get the legs underneath you, and break up what’s going to be a long day. We want to try and stay on schedule, and make sure that everybody stays up and gets back on what would be our North American schedule,” he explained. “We have stressed the importance of staying on schedule, and not laying down and ending up with a three-hour nap and then you can’t sleep during the night.

“I actually thought they looked pretty good. We kept it a little on the lighter side. But overall I thought the boys skated pretty well.”

The players, who did not seem to sleep much on the trans-Atlantic flight, were happy for the chance to do something
upon arrival, if only to kill some time until they can shut it down tonight.

"I think the idea is to fight it for six or seven more hours and try to get to bed at 7:30 or 8 p.m.," goalie Ryan Miller told "I'm not going to make it much longer than that. Maybe a little bit of food and hopefully there is something to do for awhile." 

Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 9:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Super Saturday

Flames Camp: Iginla's start stalled

Training camp did not start as hoped for Calgary and Jarome Iginla.

The Flames captain and leading scorer from last season only made it through 30 minutes of Saturday's session, the team's first practice of the new season. Back spasms forced Iginla to leave the ice early.

"Unfortunately, after I'd started a little bit, I had a little bit of a spasm there," Iginla told reporters. "It's nothing I haven't had before. I've had them during the season at different times.

"I thought it was better to be safe than keep aggravating it."

Iginla, though, said there was little reason for concern. As an older player, he says, he pays more attention to the messages his body sends him and did not want to take any chances so early in camp.

"Most of my training was more geared toward skating and puck skills, just to keep trying to improve in those areas and be a more efficient skater, not really so much to be necessarily bigger or stronger," Iginla said. "Also to try to use a little bit of camp and work on being ready to go when the games start as opposed to necessarily the first day of training camp.

"I feel great. It sounds kind of funny when you skate the first day and don't finish it, but I do."

Posted On Friday, 09.09.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Player Media Tour

Ovi hits the Big Apple

Someday soon fans are going to be able to buy Nike shoes endorsed by Alex Ovechkin -- but he spent part of his time in Manhattan for the NHL Player Media Tour making a pair of his own.

Ovechkin might have met some famous people and attended a swanky party or two, but he was clearly most excited about his trip to the Niketown store on Thursday.

"It was so sick, so sick," Ovechkin said. "I was so excited to be there. I made my shoes. It is sick. I just order, like you can build your shoe. They are just going to be mine."

He "built" a pair of shoes through the custom NikeID program. They are black and red and say "AO GR8" on the backs.

"Like my license plate," said Ovechkin, referencing the plate on his Mercedes SL 65 Black series.

Ovechkin spent part of Wednesday night at a party at the Versace Boutique. He spent some time there mingling with other players and various celebrities, and a picture of him posing with Kevin Connolly of "Entourage" fame and a well-known hockey (and in particular New York Islanders) fan.

"I know him but I don't watch 'Entourage.' It was nice to meet famous people, new guys," Ovechkin said. "I spent like 30 minutes there. It was nice to see all the players and the guys. It was nice."

What Ovechkin wears to events like the Versace party always seems to make for interesting fodder in the blogosphere. While other players were in more traditional apparel for that setting, Ovechkin showed up in a Nike T-shirt and jeans.

He was also sporting a nice watch, which the blog Capital Games at reported to be a Hublot watch that costs $238,000. Ovechkin said he's gotten use to people writing about and caring about what he wears.

"It is me. I don't care," Ovechkin said. "I have my watch, I have my jeans, my cell phone. I have underwear. I think it is good. I like to have good stuff on me. It is not a secret."

After Ovechkin was done meeting with members of the media in midtown Manhattan, he planned on an excursion to Queens to take in a match at the U.S. Open before heading back to Washington.

Several other NHL players who were here for the two days went to Flushing to watch some tennis Thursday night, and you can count Ovechkin among the many NHL players who are tennis fans.

"Yeah, of course," Ovechkin said. "Tennis is very popular [in Russia]. Of course [I like Roger] Federer but I think we're going to see [Rafael] Nadal. I'm pretty excited to see his play, and maybe I'm going to have a chance to meet him after."

Posted On Friday, 06.24.2011 / 9:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Emotional tribute to Boogaard at Draft

The night started with an emotional tribute to Scouting Director EJ McGuire and now it is Derek Boogaard's turn to be remembered.

The New York Rangers, selecting at 15, honored Boogaard, a former Wild player, during their pre-pick speech and then allowed Boogaard's older brother, Aaron, to make the pick. But, before Aaron could announce the pick, he was drowned out by a standing ovation from the crowd, team officails on the draft floor and media in the risers.

There were very few dry eyes in The Xcel Energy Center in what proved to be a touching tribute.

Then, it was down to business and Aaron Boogaard announced the Rangers had selected J.T. Miller, a center from the US National team. He is the highest drafted Pittsburgh native, stripping that honor from RJ Umberger.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

Kesler takes home the 2011 Frank J. Selke Trophy

Vancouver's Ryan Kesler was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the League's best defensive forward on Wednesday night.

The third time proved to be the charm for Kesler, who had been nominated but lost in each of the past two seasons.

Kesler was a key component of a Vancouver team that won the Presidents' Trophy and carried the Canucks all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. He had a league-best for forwards in the blocked-shot category (80) and also delivered 124 hits and 65 takeaways. Kesler also had a career-best 57. 4 percent success rate in the faceoff circle.
Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

Chara wins the Mark Messier Leadership Award

Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara was named the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone winner Wednesday night.

Messier, the NHL legend, hailed Chara not only for his on-ice contributions as the team captain, but also for his off-ice charitable initiatives.

Chara, who was up for the Norris Trophy, but lost to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, is a long-time supporter of Right To Play, a program that uses sport to improve thge lives of children from disadvantaged areas. He also was a big contributor to the Bruins' PJ Drive and Cuts for a Cause.
Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:13 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

Lidstrom wins the 2011 Norris Trophy

Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom won the 2011 Norris Trophy, his seventh time winning the award for the League's best defenseman.

Boston's Zdeno Chara and Nashville's Shea Weber were the other finalists.

Lidstrom was second in scoring among defenseman with 62 points, including a personal best 11-game scoring streak. He played more than 23 minutes a game for the Red Wings.

Lidstrom tied Hall of Famer Doug Harvey by winning the Norris for the seventh time. Bobby Orr holds the record with eight.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 4:09 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - NHL Awards Blog presented by GEICO

Countdown to the NHL Awards begins

LAS VEGAS -- The countdown to the 2011 NHL Awards is just more than three hours. As you figure out the snacks and drinks for NHL Network's live broadcast of the Awards red carpet (5 to 7 p.m. ET) and the Awards telecast (7 to 9 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC), here is a look at the order for trophy winners and the celebs who will be presenting the award. The order offers some drama right away as Kevin Smith and Cobie Smulders hand off the Norris winner for best defenseman, which figures to be a tight race among perennial winner Nick Lidstrom, 2011 Stanley Cup champion captain Zdeno Chara and young star and already stalwart status, Shea Weber.

The night will cap with a tight call as well, when the Hart MVP winner is announced by Jennifer Beals and Jason Reitman among Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin and Martin St. Louis. Here's the list, with a cheat-sheet line with the official category description for the casual fan.

James Norris Memorial Trophy (presented by Kevin Smith & Cobie Smulders)
Nominees: Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, Shea Weber
Category: Outstanding All-Round Defenseman

Art Ross Trophy (presented to Daniel Sedin by Jay Mohr)
Category: Leading Scorer

Frank J. Selke Trophy (presented by Criss Angel)
Nominees: Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Jonathan Toews
Category: Forward Who Excels in Defensive Play

Jack Adams Award (presented by Donny Osmond)
Nominees: Dan Bylsma, Barry Trotz, Alain Vigneault
Category: Outstanding Coach

Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award Presented by Bridgestone (presented by Mark Messier)
Nominees: Zdeno Chara, Shane Doan, Nicklas Lidstrom
Category: Superior Leader in Hockey, Contributing Member of Society

Calder Memorial Trophy (presented by George Stroumboulopoulos & Jeremy Roenick)
Nominees: Logan Couture, Michael Grabner, Jeff Skinner
Category: Outstanding Rookie

William M. Jennings Trophy (presented to Cory Schneider & Roberto Luongo by Jay Mohr)
Category: Goaltenders on Club with Fewest Goals Against

NHL General Manager of the Year Award (presented by Craig Patrick)
Nominees: Mike Gillis, David Poile, Steve Yzerman

Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy (presented to Corey Perry by Jay Mohr)
Category: Regular-Season Goal Scoring Leader

Ted Lindsay Award (presented by Ted Lindsay)
Nominees: Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos
Category: Most Outstanding Player Selected by the National Hockey League Players' Association

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (presented by Luc Robitaille & David Henrie)
Nominees: Ray Emery, Daymond Langkow, Ian Laperriere
Category: Perseverance Sportsmanship and Dedication to Hockey

King Clancy Memorial Trophy (presented by Jerry Bruckheimer)
Category: Leadership Qualities On and Off the Ice

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (presented by Camille Grammer & Adrienne Maloof)
Nominees: Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Lidstrom, Martin St. Louis
Category: Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct

NHL Foundation Player Award (presented by Michelle Beisner & Commissioner Gary Bettman)
Nominees: Dustin Brown, Mike Green, Daniel & Henrik Sedin
Category: Dedication to Charities

Vezina Trophy (presented by Jon Hamm)
Nominees: Roberto Luongo, Pekka Rinne, Tim Thomas
Category: Outstanding Goaltender

Hart Memorial Trophy (presented by Jennifer Beals & Jason Reitman)

Nominees: Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin, Martin St. Louis
Category: Most Valuable Player to His Team
Posted On Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 8:40 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Dropkick Murphys front man glad to be in Vancouver

Ken Casey had no problem making an extra trip to Vancouver on Wednesday.

Casey, the front man for Boston punk rock group Dropkick Murphys, hopped on the plane Boston chartered for family and staff that left Massachusetts this morning to attend Game 7.

"To think this organization has never been involved in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final and here I am at the first one, it’s pretty powerful stuff," said Casey, who will be back in Vancouver later this month when the Murphys play the Commodore Ballroom here in support of their critically acclaimed new album, "Going  Out in Style."

But first there is some hockey business here to be attended to.

Casey has been a long-time season-ticket holder for the Bruins, and he believes his club has a good chance of winning the Cup on Wednesday night.

"If they play physical they have a chance," he said. "When this club plays physical, you have seen it all year long, they are at their best. It is a good sign that they have been talking about it for the past two days."

Casey is the first to admit he hasn’t always been so optimistic. He almost gave up his season tickets a few years ago, but a last-minute intervention by former Boston player Don Sweeney, now with the Bruins' front office, saved the day.

"I was talking with Sweeney about that on the plane out here," Casey said, standing outside Rogers Arena and taking some good-natured heckling from Vancouver fans. "They really put their money where their mouth was and built a great team and now here we are."

If the Bruins win Wednesday night and claim the Cup, the Murphys will likely play a big part in the championship parade back in Boston, just as they did when the Red Sox won their recent titles.
Posted On Monday, 06.06.2011 / 2:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Lapierre's antics wearing thin with Bruins

Maxim Lapierre is no favorite among the Boston Bruins.

Players are still seething over Lapierre's behavior in Game 2 when he taunted Bruins center Patrice Bergeron with his gloved hand. The taunt was in reference to Bergeron’s allegation that Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows had bitten him during a scrum in Game 1.

The NHL ruled after Game 1 that the Burrows biting incident was not an intentional bite and he was not suspended. Burrows then went on to score two goals -- including the OT winner -- in Game 2.

Boston coach Claude Julien said Monday morning that Lapierre has stepped over the line with that taunt.

"If it's acceptable for them, then so be it," Julien said after the morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for Game 3. "Certainly wouldn't be acceptable on our end of it. I think you know me enough to know that. Not much I can say on that. The NHL rules on something. They decide to make a mockery of it, that's totally up to them. If that's their way of handling things, so be it.”

Later, in comments in French to the French-language media covering the series, Julien further suggested that Lapierre's behavior isn’t even acceptable to his teammates.

"It's one of the reasons he played for three teams this year," Julien said in French, according to several reports.

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Quote of the Day

We don't know how long Carey will be out, but for us, it's business as usual.

— Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on goaltender Carey Price, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury
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