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Posted On Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 7:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Dropkick Murphys bagpiper pulling for Flames

Scruffy Wallace of the Dropkick Murphys has been in Boston for almost a decade, adopting the ways of the parochial city that his band celebrates in so many of their songs.

While not quite as Boston yet as Bobby Orr, Fenway Park or Sam Adams, Wallace has become a part of the city, laying down pretty strong roots. He owns a house in one of Boston's many diverse neighborhoods and is part-owner of a local watering hole.

But, his heart still belongs to Calgary, the place his family settled after emigrating from Great Britain when he was just a child. In fact, the bagpipes he plays for the Murphys are adorned with the provincial flag of Alberta.

And, it is Calgary that will once again own his heart this Sunday when he will gather a group of friends to his home and tune into Versus to watch the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens at Calgary's McMahon Stadium.

"There's a big part at my house," Wallace Told on Thursday, just minutes after the band finished rehearsal for an upcoming tour to celebrate the release of the band's latest disc, Going Out in Style, which debuts March 1. "I got my Flames jersey all ready to go. We'll have some steak tips and some beers and watch the game."

And, make no mistake, it will be a pro-Flames gathering.

"Hopefully the Flames will destroy the Canadiens," Wallace said. "I don't like the Canadiens."

Wallace's friends from Boston also don't like the Canadiens after years of the Montreal franchise wearing the black hats in The Hub. So, they could be some pretty loud cheers emanating from Wallace's neighborhood Sunday.

But, he knows it will be nothing like the noise that will engulf McMahon Stadium on Sunday.

"Calgary is such a great hockey town," says Wallace, who played goalie until he joined the military and took up rugby. "It's a really intense hockey town. That's why I could relate to Boston when I moved here."

Wallace would love to be in Calgary as his Flames and the Canadiens rekindled a rivalry that defined Wallace's time there. The teams met in the Stanley Cup Final in both 1986 and 1989. Montreal won the 1986 matchup, but the Flames gained revenge three years later in the final game of Calgary legend Lanny MacDonald's career.

Despite being from Great Britain originally, Wallace took to hockey immediately upon arriving in Calgary.

"In Canada, hockey is not a sport, it's a way of life," Wallace said. "You can't help but follow it."

But, now Wallace's new way of life -- playing the pipes in a rock band -- prohibits him from even entertaining the idea of going to Calgary for the game, which will be the biggest event in the city in quite some time.

The Dropkick Murphys are in the middle of intense rehearsals in preparation of a spring tour, which opens next week in Niagara Falls, N.Y., to support the Going out in Style disc. Her can't pull himself away from that -- not that he would want to.

"We're all really excited about this new record," Wallace said. "It's been long overdue."

Wallace also thinks the album shows some real growth by the band, without deviating too far afield from its Celtic punk roots.

Plus, Bruce Springsteen makers a cameo on the album, assuring that it will be a worthwhile listen.

"You're talking about Bruce Springsteen here," Wallace said. "He was gracious  to sing some songs for us and we are pleased as punch with the results."
Posted On Tuesday, 02.15.2011 / 11:04 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Toronto acquires Voros from Anaheim

Brian Burke continues to be the busiest NHL GM heading into the 2011 Trade Deadline, making his third trade this month. Tuesday morning Burke acquired rugged forward Aaron Voros from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a conditional Draft pick in the 2011 Entry Draft.

In the event Toronto re-signs Voros prior to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft then Toronto will transfer Anaheim's 7th round pick (previously acquired) in 2011 to Anaheim.

Voros, who is in the American Hockey League with the Syracuse Crunch, played 12 games with Anaheim this season, failing to register a point and racking up 43 penalty minutes. In 162 NHL games -- with Minnesota, the New York Rangers and Anaheim, Voros has 18 goals, 37 points and 395 penalty minutes.

This is also the second trade in February that Burke has made with his former employer in Anaheim. Earlier this month, he sent veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin back to the Ducks, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2007, in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul and prospect Jake Gardiner.
Posted On Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 12:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Ducks aquire Beauchemin from Leafs

The Anaheim Ducks, locked in a tight race in the Western Conference, made the first bold move leading up to the 2011 NHL Trading Deadline later this month, trading for defenseman FrancoIs Beachemin from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

Beauchemin has some history with the Ducks, having played there during Anaheim's Stanley Cup run in 2007.

Here is the release from the Ducks:

The Ducks announced today that they have acquired defenseman Francois Beauchemin from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for right wing Joffrey Lupul and defenseman Jake Gardiner

“We are thrilled to be able to reacquire Francois,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “He is a physical, puck-moving defenseman with tremendous character. We would also like to wish Joffrey Lupul well in Toronto. He’s worked very hard to return from a serious ailment and we hope he can get his career back on track.”

Beauchemin, 30 (6/4/80), was a key member of the Ducks 2007 Stanley Cup Championship club. He played with the Ducks from 2005-09, appearing in 246 regular season games (21-69=90 points with 172 penalty minutes). Beauchemin also played in 55 playoff games with Anaheim, scoring 8-10=18 points with 68 penalty minutes (PIM). He scored 4-4=8 points in 20 games during the club’s 2007 Stanley Cup run, ranking third in the NHL in average time-on-ice (30:33). He also has two of the three multi-goal games by a defenseman in club playoff history.

A native of Sorel, Quebec, Beauchemin has played in 54 games this season, scoring 2-10=12 points with 16 PIM. He was originally acquired by Anaheim from Columbus with Tyler Wright in exchange for Sergei Fedorov and a fifth-round selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft on Nov. 15, 2005. He ranked fourth in the NHL in total minutes played (2093:23) in 2007-08, averaging 25+ minutes both that season (25:31) and in 2006-07 (25:28).

Beauchemin was drafted by Montreal in the third round (75th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by Columbus off NHL waivers on Sept. 14, 2004. After his stint in Anaheim, he signed a three-year contract with Toronto as a free agent on July 6, 2009 (runs through 2011-12 season). The 6-0, 213-pound defenseman has played in 382 NHL games (with Montreal, Columbus, Anaheim and Toronto), scoring 28-101=128 points with 221 PIM.

Lupul, 27 (9/23/83), has played in 26 games with Anaheim this season, scoring 5-8=13 points with 14 PIM. He returned to the Ducks lineup on Dec. 5 vs. Phoenix after missing a nearly a full year with a back injury and subsequent blood infection (his previous game was Dec. 8, 2009 vs. DAL). Lupul was most recently acquired by Anaheim from Philadelphia with Luca Sbisa, a first round selection in 2009, a first round selection 2010 and a conditional draft pick for Chris Pronger on June 26, 2009. He has played in 421 NHL games, scoring 117-121=238 points with 246 PIM with Anaheim, Edmonton and Philadelphia.

Gardiner, 20 (7/4/90), has appeared in 30 games for the University of Wisconsin (WHCA) this season, collecting 7-23=30 points with a +20 rating and 22 PIM. Selected by Anaheim in the first round (17th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Gardiner advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game in his sophomore season at Wisconsin last year. He has appeared in 110 career games for the Badgers, earning 16-48=64 points with 58 PIM.

We'll have more on this trade shortly on

Posted On Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 10:07 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Bruins put first-round pick in play

The Boston Bruins may well be the team to watch in the next three weeks when it comes to the 2011 Trade Deadline.

Tuesday, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli all but guaranteed his team would be active on the trade front before the deadline arrives.

Certainly, Boston has been forced to be more aggressive with the season-ending injury to first-line center Marc Savard, but that move also freed up some necessary cap space to go after a marquee player.

"In the real world, I'd like to add without subtracting," Chiarelli said Tuesday on his weekly call to the Toucher and Rich show on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Chiarelli also woke up many across the League by saying on the show that the first-round pick obtained from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade is in play. Last season, the Bruins refused to even listen to offers for that pick during their attempts to add talent for the playoff push.

Now, however, the Bruins feel that their young core -- players like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask to name a few -- have advanced to the point where the team can switch from building for the future to more of a win-now mode.

"It's a valuable pick so it would have to be a valuable asset coming back," Chiarelli said.

As of Wednesday's standings, Toronto sits in 26th place in the League standings, meaning that the pick could be a top-5 selection in June's Entry Draft.

Chiarelli said during the show that he has already received some action on the No. 1 pick, but refused to name names.

"Right now prices are very high, because its three weeks before," Chiarelli said. "Look at the West standings, they’re so tight. The East is tight too, just not as tight. There's not a lot of sellers right now."

Boston currently holds the No. 3 seed in the East, but is just two points ahead of Montreal for the lead in the Northeast Division. The Bruins play the Canadiens on Wednesday night at the TD Garden.

So, what type of player is Boston seeking at the deadline? Neither Chiarelli nor Cam Neely, the team's president, would be specific.

"I think we're going to look at anything we feel we can do to make our club better going into the postseason," Neely said Tuesday on the Felger and Massarotti show on 98.5. “We have a really strong hockey team that we&'d like to improve in a few areas. If it makes sense for us, we'll do anything."

Both Chiarelli and Neely admit that it is unlikely that they will find a No. 1 center on the trade market, but they would like to add some depth at forward. There is also a school of thought that the team would like to add an experienced defenseman to bolster its blue line.
Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:52 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - All-Star Game live blog

Team Lidstrom wins

Wow. What a finish!

Team Staal pulled its goalie with a little more than a minute to go in the game and Team Lidstrom made it pay almost immediately as Loui Eriksson scored in the open net to make it 11-9. It was Eriksson's fourth point of the night.

But Team Staal refused to go quietly into the Raleigh night. Team Staal captain Eric Staal scored with 33 seconds left to make it 11-10. It was Staal's second goal of the game.

The Staals pressed for the equealizer for the final 33 seconds, but Tim Thomas was up to the challenge and earned his third career All-Star victory in as many appearances.

What a game and what a perfect ending to a perfect weekend here in Raleigh.

Thanks for following the game in this blog and stay on for what will be a bounty of stories and reaction from our All-Star collection of writers.

Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:48 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - All-Star Game live blog

Frantic finish

There's three minutes left in the game and Team Lidstrom is still nursing a one-goal lead, 10-9.

Rick Nash scored on a breakaway to make things intersting.

By the way, the Team Lidstrom defensive pairing of Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber is a combined plus-14. Weber also has 4 assists. A contender for MVP honors to be for sure.
Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - All-Star Game live blog

Seesaw match

The lead just keeps changing down the stretch.

After Eric Staal tied it at 7-7, Defenseman Kris Letang scored on a ripper of a shot to give the Staals a 8-7 lead. But the Lidstroms would not go away, scoiring two goals 46 seconds apart to retake the lead at 9-8. Danny Briere ended Henrik Lundqvist's masterful run by beating the Rangers goalie at the far post. Then, Jonathon Toews re-staked the Lidstroms to the lead -- just its second of the game.

It should be an interesting final eight minutes.
Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - All-Star Game live blog

Hometown hero

Eric Staal didn't have much of an impact in the first two periods, but the Team Staal captain -- and hometown hero -- picked an opportune time to break out, scoring a breakaway goal to tie the game at 7-7.

Set free on a pass from Corey Perry, Staal broke in a lone and slid a shot between the legs of Tim Thomas, who started the third period as the Team Lidstrom goalie.

Amazingly, Team Staal goalie Henrik Lundqvist kept the game tied when he stoned Matt Duchene on a penalty shot, the first in the history of the All-Star Game.

Duchene was awarded a penalty shot because Team Staal's Alex Ovechkin threw his stick at Duchene to try and foil his original breakaway.

Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - All-Star Game live blog

Overtime rules

With only one goal separating the two teams and just one period remaining, I'm sure many of you are thinking overtime and wondering if there is a special format for this special game.

The answer is no. It is the same overtime format that the League uses in the regular season. That means the two teams will play five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime (boy should there be some offensive chances in that scenario). If nobody scores, the game will go to a shootout. Coaches will be have to pick three shooters and can also name any of their three goalies to take part in the contest.
Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:57 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - All-Star Game live blog

End of two

The second period is done and a fantastic finish looms as Team Lidstrom holds a 7-6 lead.

The highlight of the second intermission promises to be the Guardian Project segment. I was here Saturday for the dress rehearsal and the piece is pretty captivating.

Soon, members of the media will be asked to vote for the MVP (fans have been texting all game and will have a 25-percent say in the vote) and it will be a tough decision to say the least.

My picks right now are Anze Kopitar for Team Lidstrom and Patrick Sharp  for Team Staal.
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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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