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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 2:44 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Quenneville shakes up Blackhawks lines again

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has never been shy about shaking up how he deploys his players. The bright lights of the Stanley Cup Playoffs aren't going to change his ways, it seems.

Judging from the morning skate, the Blackhawks will have a new look up front in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round series Friday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN). Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Friday, Chicago's morning skate featured forward lines completely different from those that started Game 3, a 4-0 victory by the Wild.

"All we can really do is prepare the way we had [the lines on Friday morning] and we'll see what happens," said center Ben Smith, who is playing the wing on a line centered by Jonathan Toews. "I think I have played with everyone this season, so it makes it a little easier. We're always prepared for that because that is the way it is. It keeps us guessing, keeps us in the game and keeps us involved."

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Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 7:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Finland scratches Rask from Olympic semifinal

SOCHI -- Finland goaltender Tuukka Rask has been scratched from the semifinal game against Sweden on Friday at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to the lineup posted by the IIHF.

Rask, of the Boston Bruins, is suffering from the flu, according to Finnish officials.

Backup Kari Lehtonen will replace Rask.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 4:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Slovenia's Kopitar leaves with stomach issue

SOCHI -- Slovenia forward Anze Kopitar did not finish his team's Group A loss to the United States on Sunday night due to a stomach ailment.

Kopitar, a star with the Los Angeles Kings, left in the second period and did not play in the third. He played 16 shifts totaling 11:31 in ice time.

After the game Slovenia coach Matjaz Kopitar, also Anze's father, said that Anze was suffering from a stomach issue and "had no power."

He also said that he removed Anze from the game as a precaution.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 3:34 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sochi Travel blog

Bus ride shows it's a small world

SOCHI -- It really is a small world!

Woke up for Day 3 of my Olympic adventure feeling a bit out of sorts and disoriented. The adrenaline of coming to a foreign country and finding my way had turned into a routine. In my travels, the 72-hour mark has been the usual demarcation line for me when the novelty gives way to the tasks at hand, so I wasn't too surprised that Wednesday dawned with me a bit off-kilter.

But on the morning bus ride to the Bolshoy Ice Dome for another full day of hockey, a random encounter set me right.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 1:18 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Daly: Decision on 2018 Olympics could come soon

SOCHI -- NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly likes what he has seen so far from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

And he says he is receiving favorable reviews from NHL players, who have now been on the ground here for two days.

"Everything is in one place and the arenas are brand-new facilities," Daly said Tuesday during an informal press conference at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the main site of the ice hockey competition. "They are gorgeous facilities and they are close to the Athletes' Village, which makes it convenient for the players. They have only been here for 24 hours, but the reports I am hearing are very positive."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 6:22 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sochi Travel blog

Russia team draws great interest in warm Sochi

SOCHI -- Welcome to Day 2 of the Sochi Olympics!

A little sleep was had by all after a day that stretched past 24 hours for the NHL.com crew here, and things look much brighter after a little shut-eye.

It's really warm here in Sochi with temperatures hitting 54 Fahrenheit by 2 p.m. In fact, it is so warm that Sochi organizers have tapped into the emergency snow supply that has been hoarded for the past year to groom some of the mountain courses.

You are not supposed to sweat at a Winter Olympics, but there is a lot of that going on. Not that I'm complaining. In fact, the weather in the Coastal Cluster is very similar to the weather four years ago in Vancouver.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:21 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Datsyuk practices, will play for Russia in opener

SOCHI -- Russia captain Pavel Datsyuk practiced Tuesday morning at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and declared himself ready for action in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Everything is fine," Datsyuk said at Pushkin Hall in the Main Press Center. "My injury doesn’t bother me at all. I'm fully [acclimated]. We are all in the same condition."

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 3:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sochi Travel blog

Exhausting but fun Day 1 in Sochi

SOCHI -- Well, Day 1 is in the books -- almost.

It's midnight here as Monday bleeds into Tuesday. We arrived almost 14 hours ago and took off from the United States almost 24 hours ago. We are all running on fumes at this point.

All that is left is to find the right bus back to our Ruskiy Dom hotel (the T3 is the hope) and we can grab some much-needed shut-eye. We are all a little punch-drunk now. Sleep never looked so promising.

Despite the demands Monday placed on us, it was a great day. We conquered so many challenges, met so many old friends and made even more new ones.

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

U.S. GM Poile not going to Sochi

SOCHI -- David Poile, the general manager for the United States men's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will not be joining the team in Russia because of injuries he sustained last week when an errant puck struck him in the face during a practice in St. Paul, Minn.

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero will serve as the acting GM for the United States in Sochi. Both announcements were made by USA Hockey after the team concluded its first Olympic practice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome late Monday night.

"He [Poile] is back in Nashville with great care," said Jim Johansson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "It's just not advisable for him to come to Sochi with everything he has to deal with. Saying that, he is still our general manager."

Poile, also the general manager of the Nashville Predators, had surgeries to his eye and nose areas Feb. 7 at a St. Paul-area hospital after being in hit in the face during the Predators' morning skate Feb. 6 at Xcel Energy Center. After spending most of the weekend in the hospital for observation, Poile flew back to Nashville on Sunday.

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 8:07 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sochi Travel blog

Welcome to Russia

SOCHI -- Welcome to Russia, NHL.com readers!

The NHL.com staff (myself, Corey Masisak, Dan Rosen and Arpon Basu) made it here this morning and will be here for the next two weeks, bringing you all the news from the biggest international hockey tournament of them all.

We will be sending these digital postcards each day. In them we hope to give you some insight into the Olympic experience away from the ice rinks.

Despite some trepidation, getting to Sochi was a snap. Our plane left at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday out of Newark, N.J. It arrived at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday. I caught a few hours of sleep and woke up just in time to see the sun rise as we cut across the Black Sea before landing.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Drouin feels close to return from concussion

TORONTO -- Jonathan Drouin said Sunday that he is getting closer to taking the ice with the Canadian junior national team.

Unfortunately, that won't happen before the Canadians depart for Europe later today. He does, however, plan to skate during the team's run-up to the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Malmo, Sweden. Canada has a week-long European training camp and also plays three exhibition games.

Drouin has been sidelined for nine days with a concussion, but he has ridden a stationary bicycle for each of the past two days and has not reported any symptoms related to a concussion. Drouin said he has experienced no post-concussion symptoms for the past three days.

"Riding the bike is not the funnest thing, but it is part of the protocol," Drouin said Sunday, the first time he has spoken to reporters since he arrived for the three-day camp on Thursday evening. At that time, he said he was still experiencing light headaches, but was hopeful that they were the result of the flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia. "But, I'm getting used to it and hope to get on the ice soon."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 5:53 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada junior team wins exhibition, 3-0

TORONTO – Canada's hopefuls for the national team that will play in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship were workmanlike in a 3-0 victory against a collection of local college hockey stars in an exhibition Saturday afternoon at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.

Workmanlike was enough for the team's coach Brent Sutter.

"I was pleased with a lot of things," he said.

Connor McDavid scored on a second-period power play to open the scoring. Josh Anderson added a goal in the first 15 seconds of the third period and Charles Hudon finished a strong game with an empty-netter in the final minute.

The two goalies, Zachary Fucale and Jake Paterson, were not severely tested, but handled everything that came their way.

"When you think about it, we've had one practice for an hour long and getting everybody together and quickly go through some things," Sutter said, referencing the late-afternoon session here on Friday. "Some things we weren't able to get done through practice time, but we were able to do it through a meeting and some stuff on the board."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 5:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada's Drouin rides bike, making progress

TORONTO – Forward Jonathan Drouin did not play Saturday in Canada's 3-0 victory against a select team of area college players, but coach Brent Sutter said the Halifax Mooseheads star is making process from a concussion sustained eight days ago.

"Everything went good today," Sutter said after the game. "He rode the bike today and had no symptoms. That's a really good thing. [Sunday] we'll get him to go a little bit harder. Then, we'll get him back on the ice overseas if that goes well."

Canada leaves for Europe after a morning practice at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence here Sunday.

Drouin, who has 50 points this season in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play, was injured this past Friday after a hit from Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts. He is expected to be the top offensive threat for Canada in the tournament, which begins Dec. 26.

Bo Horvat, Josh Morrissey, Nic Petan and Griffin Reinhart also did not dress. All except for Morrissey were healthy scratches. Morrissey, a defenseman with Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League, is dealing with general soreness, the coach said.

"Morrissey is still a little banged up, came into here a little banged up and we didn't want to chance that," Sutter said. "He's a little sore, so we figured keep him off the ice for a few days and get him back on the ice when we get over to Europe."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 3:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada sets lineup against CIS Selects

TORONTO – Canada Under-20 national team coach Brent Sutter used an exhibition Saturday against the CIS Toronto Selects to try to figure out what his roster and lines will look like when the team leaves Sunday evening for Malmo, Sweden, site of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Sutter scratched Jonathan Drouin, Bo Horvat, John Morrissey, Nic Petan and Griffin Reinhart for the game. Drouin was unavailable as he is still dealing with a concussion suffered eight days ago.

Connor McDavid, the 16-year-old prodigy, was given a high profile, playing center on a line with Hunter Shinkaruk and Sam Reinhart. Meanwhile, Aaron Ekblad, the 17-year-old defender, played with Adam Pelech.

Here is how Canada looked at the start of the game:

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Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 4:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada's Drouin doesn't practice, but feels he's close

TORONTO -- Left wing Jonathan Drouin did not practice with the other hopefuls for the Canadian national Under-20 team on Friday at the Mastercard Center for Hockey Excellence.

The star with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is sidelined with a concussion suffered a week ago in a league game against the Quebec Remparts.

Upon his arrival on Thursday for Hockey Canada's three-day World Junior Championship Selection Camp, Drouin said he was close to being able to skate

"It's getting better," Drouin told reporters on Thursday, after arriving at Pearson International Airport. "I'm not at the point of skating right away. We're taking it day-by-day. When I see the medical staff from Team Canada … when they [give] me the OK, I am going to go on [and play]."


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Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 4:05 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Wendel Clark altered role to chase World Junior glory

TORONTO -- One of the dominant messages when it comes to the World Junior Championship is that elite players will have to adjust roles.

For Canadian kids, that is especially true as the country's developmental system produces wave after wave of players capable of playing on the international stage at the Under-20 level. Virtually everyone who shows up at Canada camp is a star on his club team, but that will not be the case for those players when the final roster is picked for the tournament in Sweden, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

Some players will have to check egos and play lesser rolls with passion if Canada hopes to find gold.

If the players on hand at Hockey Canada's 2014 Selection Camp at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence need extra motivation to alter their game, or their expectations, they need to look no further than Wendel Clark, one of the game's most legendary players.


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Posted On Tuesday, 08.27.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Olympic Orientation Camp blog

Ryan receives offseason assist from ex-NHLer Holik

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan found a new way to train this summer, and it came from a familiar hockey face.

Ryan used the natural beauty of the rugged terrain around his summer home near Jackson Hole, Wyo., to work on his cardio base. He was shown the way by Bobby Holik, the former NHL player who won a pair of Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils during an 18-year career.

Holik, who retired in 2009, settled in the area after his playing days. According to Ryan, Holik reached out to him -- through Twitter -- with the idea of doing some offseason training.

Ryan agreed and signed on for some dry-land training like none he had ever experienced before.


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Posted On Monday, 08.26.2013 / 3:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Olympic Orientation Camp blog

Laviolette still stunned by Giroux's injury

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Time has done little to dull the abject fear Peter Laviolette felt when he answered Paul Holmgren's call two weeks ago.

Holmgren, the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, was calling Laviolette, the team's coach, to inform him that Claude Giroux, the team's captain and best player, had injured his hand playing golf and required corrective surgery on his right index finger.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.23.2013 / 4:32 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bergeron out of hospital, 'day-to-day'

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is "day-to-day," coach Claude Julien said Sunday afternoon during his team's availability at TD Garden. Julien would not reveal the nature of the injury, saying only that it was a "body" injury.

Bergeron was hurt at some point during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. He took just two shifts in the second period and did not return for the third period. After the game, he was taken to a local hospital for "observation," according to the team.

Linemate Brad Marchand said Bergeron returned to the hotel Saturday night and joined the team for a post-game meal, reporting that he was "crushing" some food, including some french fries.

Asked to describe Bergeron's mood at the meal, Marchand said: "He's always in a good mood, but he was good."

Bergeron flew home with the team Sunday, but was not made available to the media.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.23.2013 / 12:21 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Soderberg shakes off rust, steps into Bruins' lineup

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Carl Soderberg knew he was up against it Saturday night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Told earlier Saturday that he would be making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in the pivotal game of a best-of-7 series that has been played at a furious and physical pace, Soderberg knew he would have to overcome the handicaps associated with not playing since April 28.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 8:03 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

3-OT loss brings back memories of 1990 for Neely

CHICAGO -- If anyone knows what the Boston Bruins are going through in the aftermath of a draining triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at United Center, it would be team president Cam Neely.

When Andrew Shaw banked an already deflected shot off his knee pad and past Tuukka Rask for the winning goal 12:08 into the third overtime to give Chicago a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Neely felt a very familiar pain as he watched from the team's management box.

Twenty-three years earlier, Neely -- then a star power forward with the Bruins -- lived through a similar nightmare in Game 1 of the 1990 Final. The Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers were locked in a 2-2 tie past the 15-minute mark of the third extra period at Boston Garden when Edmonton's Petr Klima, who had played sparingly throughout the game, scored the game-winning goal.

That game ended 55:13 into overtime; it's the longest game in Stanley Cup Final history.

"Mentally, it wasn't tough to recover from that," Neely said Thursday at the Bruins' hotel. "Physically, it was the same for both teams."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 8:08 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Kennedy in, Vitale out for Penguins in Game 4

BOSTON -- Still looking for the lineup that will provide a jolt to the anemic attack of the Pittsburgh Penguins, coach Dan Bylsma made another lineup change for Game 4.

Forward Tyler Kennedy, scratched for the past two games, was reinserted into the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. He replaces Joe Vitale.

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins, Bylsma only focused on Game 4

BOSTON -- There is no denying that changes could be afoot if the Pittsburgh Penguins lose Friday night and are swept out of the Eastern Conference Final by the lower-seeded Boston Bruins.

Such a scenario would be construed as a failure for a team that was the odds-on favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Final, especially after general manager Ray Shero loaded up before the NHL Trade Deadline with the acquisitions of Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen and Douglas Murray.

As such, there is a consensus that the 2013-14 Penguins would look significantly different if the team is bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs this weekend. There have been some rumblings coach Dan Byslma would lose his job over such a failure.

Bylsma addressed that issue during his off-day press conference Thursday.

"I don't coach, have never coached for my job," Blysma said. "When I took over as coach of this hockey team in 2009, I came here to win hockey games, and that's where we're at right now. We know exactly what's in front of us with being down 0-3, but I believe in that group, I believe in that team, I believe in how we battled and how we're going to battle. And we're going to go in knowing we have an elimination game and win Game 4."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 11:37 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins' Campbell to miss rest of playoffs

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his right fibula Wednesday night, blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Campbell is out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That's the bad news -- and it is extremely bad news for a team that is the spitting image of Campbell's tenacity and grit.

"That's the way he is," said Boston center Patrice Bergeron, who scored the winning goal to end Game 3 in double overtime, 2-1 in favor of the home team. "He sacrifices the body always for the team, for the better of the team. Obviously, we tried to rally behind that and do it for him because he's a big part of our team on and off the ice."

The good news is that Boston won the game in which Campbell was injured to put the Penguins on the brink of elimination in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final. Boston needs to win one of the next four games, beginning Friday with Game 4 at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three seasons.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 12:49 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference solid in return to Bruins' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference wasn't sure he was ready to join the Eastern Conference Final after being idled three weeks with an injury.

But, he was eager to give it a try Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 at Consol Energy Center.

It turned out he was ready. Ference played a little more than 17 minutes and assisted on the game-opening goal by David Krejci in a 3-0 victory.

“It’s kind of like jumping on a moving train obviously to come in at this point in the season," Ference said.


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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 8:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference in Bruins lineup for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is in the Game 1 lineup for the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After taking part in the pregame warmups Saturday, Ference was inserted into the lineup by Boston coach Claude Julien, who scratched young defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who is from the Pittsburgh area.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins enjoy advantage in faceoff circle

PITTSBURGH -- Though there are many areas in which the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins seem to have an advantage in this Eastern Conference Final, the faceoff circle is not one of them.

The fourth-seeded Boston Bruins have dominated draws throughout the postseason, topping the League with a 57.5 success rate. Pittsburgh is at 50. 1 percent.

This could be a key area because if Boston can start with possession of the puck on a regular basis after play stoppages, Pittsburgh's skill players will have to expend more energy trying to regain possession. That means less time spent generating offense.

Part of the reason Boston is so good in the faceoff circle is that they have so many quality options. Five players have taken 90 or more draws for the Bruins during their 12-game postseason run. Almost all have been phenomenally successful.

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 6:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins aren't worried about long layoff

PITTSBURGH -- Despite a sketchy history when it comes to long layoffs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said his team is ready for the Eastern Conference Final despite having a week without a game.

Boston last played this past Saturday when it defeated the New York Rangers to end their second-round series in five games. The Pittsburgh Penguins have had eight days off after eliminating the Ottawa Senators in five games a week ago Friday.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final is Saturday at Consol Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 5:45 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins coach Julien waiting to reveal Game 1 lineup

PITTSBURGH -- When it comes to the Boston Bruins' Game 1 lineup, coach Claude Julien isn't going to reveal anything until game time Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

"There are some decisions that we are going to make tomorrow, going to be game-time," Julien said Friday, minutes after the Bruins arrived at their hotel here. "There are some decisions that are going to be made and that is the beauty of it that we have decisions we can make.

"I'm certainly not going to tip my hand here and tell you guys who is in and who is out because that is the advantage we have in the playoffs and we definitely want to take advantage of that."

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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 7:47 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Morrow in Penguins lineup, scores opening goal

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brenden Morrow must have some power of persuasion.

Morrow, who missed Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury, and took line rushes with the extra forwards at the morning skate Friday, found his way back into the lineup for Game 5.

He scored the first goal of the game 6:25 into the first period.

Morrow said Friday morning he felt better and it would be a game-time decision whether he played.

He replaced forward Beau Bennett, who played in Game 4. To start the game, Morrow was on Pittsburgh's fourth line with Jussi Jokinen and Craig Adams.

Here is what the Penguins lineup looked like for Game 5:

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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins shrug off Alfredsson's remarks

PITTSBURGH -- Not surprisingly, the comments made by Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the aftermath of Game 4 were still a primary topic of discussion 36 hours later on the morning of Game 5.

After absorbing a 7-3 shellacking in Game 4 Wednesday, on home ice, no less, Alfredsson was asked if he could see his team winning three straight games to wriggle free of the elimination situation they now face for the duration of this best-of-7 series, starting Friday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

His answer sent shockwaves across the province of Ontario and many other hockey-mad communities across North America.

"Probably not," Alfredsson said in the Ottawa dressing room Wednesday night. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, you know, it doesn't look too good."

Many saw that statement as a concession speech of sorts from the Ottawa leader. Others saw it as a motivational ploy. Alfredsson has since tried to clarify his comment but has not backed off it.

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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins likely to stick with same lineup in Game 5

PITTSBURGH -- It does not appear Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is going to mess with a good thing.

Judging from line rushes during the morning skate Friday in preparation for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), it appears the Penguins will ice the same lineup that dominated the final 40 minutes of Game 4 Wednesday in Ottawa.

The biggest questions revolved around forward Brenden Morrow, who missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, and forward Chris Kunitz, who barely played in the third period of Game 4.

They were on the ice Friday morning at Consol Energy Center. Kunitz took a regular turn on his normal line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Morrow was relegated to the collection of extra forwards during the line rushes.

Morrow said he felt good during the skate and that his participation in Game 5 would be a game-time decision, but it appears Bylsma will stay with veteran Jussi Jokinen and rookie Beau Bennett, each of whom joined Craig Adams on a reconstituted fourth line.

Here is how the Penguins lined up at the morning skate:

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 7:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Letang, Adams in lineup for Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins created a bit of intrigue Friday morning at the morning skate when neither top defenseman Kris Letang nor checking forward Craig Adams took the ice for the 35-minute session. But both were on the ice for the pre-game warmups and dressed for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators.

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 12:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Bylsma supports MacLean as Jack Adams winner

PITTSBURGH -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean is one of the finalists for the Jack Adams Award, joining Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks in contention for the NHL's coach of the year award.

The coach MacLean is facing in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins head man Dan Bylsma, said he believes MacLean might be the most-deserving of the finalists.

"He deserves it," Bylsma said Friday morning before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. "I wasn't casting a vote, but certainly what he's done, you talk about last year coming into an Ottawa Senators team that he didn't know what to expect or where they would be at, he did a great job last year.

"But this year, different challenges for his team and group and they've dealt with some injuries and still consistently been a good hockey team without some of their key guys and with some of their key guys, and I would have cast a vote for him as well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 11:50 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Letang, Adams not present for Pens' morning skate

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins created a bit of intrigue Friday morning at their morning skate when neither top defenseman Kris Letang nor checking forward Craig Adams took the ice for the 35-minute session.

Their status for Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center is unknown.

There was no reason provided for the absences, but it should be noted each took part in a long -- and high-paced -- practice Thursday.

"The people on the ice this morning and our injuries are a non-discussion," coach Dan Bylsma said after the morning skate.

With Letang missing, Mark Eaton slid into the rotation on the blue line. Forward Jussi Jokinen took Adams' spot. Each played in the first-round victory against the New York Islanders before being replaced by injured players returning to the lineup.

This is how the Penguins looked during the morning skate:

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:55 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Bylsma pleased by Penguins setting physical tone

PITTSBURGH -- Dan Bylsma doesn't buy the NHL stats that say his Pittsburgh Penguins significantly out-hit the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center.

The League's official stat sheet said Pittsburgh enjoyed a 40-26 advantage in hits in Game 1. It's not that Bylsma doesn't believe the disparity, he just doesn't care about what the Senators did. Wednesday, Bylsma said his team keeps its own stats on the checks delivered by the Penguins but don't track hits by the opposition.

He added that the numbers don't matter in the end. It is more about the tone set -- and he liked the tone his team set with its physical bite in Game 1.

"I think we had significantly more hits in first period than the rest of the game," Bylsma said. "I kind of like how we came out and played on our toes in the first, and played in the offensive zone and were at least able to get to our game -- especially in the first half of that period."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

With extra off day between games, Penguins rest up

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't do much on Wednesday, the morning after a convincing 4-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The players who did not play in the game -- the Black Aces -- took part in a short, but crisp practice. They were joined by defenseman Deryk Engelland, who returned to the defensive rotation in Game 1, and Craig Adams, the fourth-line center. Evgeni Malkin also took a quick twirl, but did not wear full pads.

However, that doesn't mean the Penguins didn't get anything done.

Most importantly, said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, the team got a chance to rest a bit by staying off the ice. Instead, the team met in the morning, watched a little video and talked about points they want to stress in Game 2 on Friday.


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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 7:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Penguins without Neal, Orpik in Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Forward James Neal and defenseman Brooks Orpik are not in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.

Neal was injured early in the second period of Game 1 on Wednesday. He appeared to injure his ankle after a heavy hit by defenseman Travis Hamonic along the side wall during a Pittsburgh power play. Orpik hasn't played since suffering a lower-body injury April 23. He skated with the team during each of its past two practice sessions.
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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby to play for Penguins in Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Friday morning he will play in Game 2 of the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Friday night against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

"I'm cleared to play," Crosby said following the team's morning skate. "I'm excited to get back in there and play in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

Coach Dan Bylsma did not confirm Crosby will be in the lineup for Game 2, refusing to provide any update on injuries or lineup changes. But both the player and the team's website said he will be in the lineup.

It will be Crosby's first game since sustaining a broken jaw during a game March 30. He began skating on his own April 15 and started skating with the team April 26.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 4:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Capuano likes Islanders' attitude after tough Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- The day after, there were few signs there would be lingering effects from the dispiriting 5-0 loss the New York Islanders suffered less than 16 hours earlier to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

It was a loose group that showed up Thursday afternoon for a short, but spirited, practice at Consol Energy Center.

"You got to have spirited practices," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We have a good bunch of young guys on our hockey club and that is how we have gone about our business all year. You could see the emotion they had today and the fun they had today. That is what you have to do. There's going to be surges and there's going to be momentum playing against a good team, like I said, but you want to make sure the guys stay relaxed.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby out for Game 1, no timetable for return

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Wednesday morning he would not play when his team opens the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby told reporters after the team's practice he did not receive medical clearance to play. He has been out of the lineup since sustaining a broken jaw when a deflected puck hit him in the face during a game March 30. He needed surgery to repair the break, and also lost several teeth.

"[The doctor] said everything looked good, but he just wasn't ready to clear me to play," Crosby said. "Obviously, I would have loved to have played, but that's not the way it is. I'll make sure I'm ready when the time comes.

Crosby admitted he doesn't know when that time will be.

"I'll just wait and see," Crosby said. "He didn't give me a date."

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 9:42 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Americans to play Czechs in quarterfinal

The United States advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2013 World Junior Championship with an 8-3 victory against Slovakia in a must-win game Monday, the final day of group play and will play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal round Wednesday.

The Americans finished with two wins and six points in pool play, good for third place in Group B. If Slovakia had won Monday, it would have taken third place.

Under the tournament format, the United States play the second-place qualifier from Group A in a cross-over game. That team became the Czech Republic later Monday when Sweden defeated Finland, 7-4, to solidify the Group A standings.

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 7:43 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. opponent in quarterfinals to be determined

The United States advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2013 World Junior Championship with an 8-3 victory against Slovakia in a must-win game Monday, the final day of group play.

The Americans finished with two wins and six points in pool play, good for third place in Group B. If Slovakia had won Monday, it would have taken third place.

The Americans' opponent in the quarterfinal, however, remains up in the air.

Under the tournament format, the United States will play the second-place qualifier from Group A in a cross-over game.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.30.2012 / 7:51 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

WJC snapshot: With loss, USA faces do-or-die game

Victories by Canada and Finland in Sunday's early games at the World Junior Championship have clarified the qualification picture just a bit.

Canada held off the United States in a much-anticipated Group B showdown, using the heroics of goalie Malcolm Subban to claim a 2-1 win Sunday. In Group A, Finland erased two two-goal deficits against Switzerland to claim a 5-4 victory in a shootout. Markus Granlund had two goals in regulation and the winning shot in the shootout, which went five rounds deep.

Canada's victory gives the Canadians a temporary hold on the top spot in Group B and assures them of a place in the medal round, which begins Jan. 2. Canada is the only team left in the tournament with a perfect record, 3-0-0-0 for nine points.

On Sunday, the Canadians play the host Russians, who have eight points from three games. Russia needed overtime to beat Slovakia. The winner of the Russia-Canada game (9 a.m., NHLN-US) will earn the top seed from Group B and a bye into the semifinals. The loser will have to play in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.29.2012 / 12:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Russians, Swedes win; top respective groups

Yaroslav Kosov netted a hat trick in the third period and four other Russian players had two points as the Russians routed Germany, 7-0

The Russians have eight out of a possible nine points to temporarily hold first place in Group B. Russia frittered away perfection in the opening game of the tournament, defeating Slovakia in OT to take just two of the maximum three points.

Canada, with six points from two games, plays the United States on Sunday and can re-take first-place with a regulation win against the Americans. The Russians have Sunday off and then play Canada in what could be the deciding game of the group on Monday.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 12:50 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils stick to same lineup for Game 5

Clearly, Peter DeBoer liked what he saw out of his team in Game 4 on Wednesday.

As a result, he won't tinker with the lineup for Game 5, another elimination game for his club.

That means that forward Petr Sykora and defenseman Henrik Tallinder will stay in the lineup in place of Jacob Josefson and Peter Harrold, respectively.

Tallinder played 19:21 in his first action in five months after battling a blood clot and its complications. Sykora, meanwhile, played for the first time since May 19 when Josefson was re-inserted into the lineup during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the rangers

Yet, DeBoer has no reservations that either player will hit the wall in the second game back from a long layoff.

"I don't see that as an issue," DeBoer said after his team took an optional morning skate Saturday at the Prudential Center. "I don't have to talk to those guys. Between them, they've got decades of experience at the NHL level and in the playoffs. They know their bodies. I don't buy that the second game is going to be tougher. You're in the Stanley Cup Final. They're ready to go."

Here is the Devils expected line up for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 8:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Brodeur has no plans to retire

Don't plan the Martin Brodeur retirement ceremony just yet.

While many have speculated that this summer would be a perfect time for the 40-year-old goalie to retire -- especially if his New Jersey Devils defeat the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, which begins in Newark with Game 1 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

But, Brodeur doesn't necessarily subscribe to that train of thought, at least according to the comments he made after Monday's practice at the Prudential Center. It is a continuation of the storyline he has espoused since January and he says emotional Stanley Cup Playoffs wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers and a unexpected berth in a fifth Stanley Cup Final have done nothing to change his mind.

"I can’t say no, but I doubt it," Brodeur said Monday when the idea of retiring if the Devils defeat the Kings in the Finals was broached. "I'm really enjoying this. Regardless of what happens in this series, I think we made a great step last year at the end of the year and through this year to have a really good team and a good coaching staff together and it’s fun. To me, it's all about having fun coming to the rink.

"I know a lot of people say it's great to retire on top, but at the end of the day, when I'm going to say it's over, it's over, I'm not going to come back. I want to make sure I make the right decision. Right now I'm leaning toward coming back. We'll see."

And, don't think that Brodeur is just being swayed by the magical run he and his team are on this spring. He began entertaining thoughts of playing beyond this year when his team rallied from an abysmal start in the 2010-11 season to almost make the playoffs in stunning fashion last year.

"The way I'm enjoying myself, we jelled as a team," Brodeur said. "Coming to the rink was fun, on the road was fun, that's what I was looking for. I didn't have fun last year. I'm not used to losing. That was tough. To me, I really thought this was going to be my last year, but more and more, it was I can still play."

Wednesday, in Game 1 of the Final, Brodeur will play in his 200th Stanley Cup Playoff game. Only Patrick Roy has played in more playoff games, registering 247 contests. Brodeur's counterpart from the Kings, Jonathan Quick, has played in just 27 postseason games.
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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 11:17 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Phaneuf embraces catcalls from Ottawa fans

The Ottawa Senators fans were unwavering in voicing their disapproval of the Toronto Maple Leafs involved in Thursday's 2012 Molson Canadian NHL Fantasy Player Draft.

Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul was the assistant captain of Team Chara, helping Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara pick the team that would go against Team Alfredsson, chosen by hometown hero Daniel Alfredsson. He was booed lustily each time he announced a pick.

The catcalls, however, reached a crescendo when Lupul announced the selection of Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who has played the role of a villain in the Battle of Ontario since his arrival in Toronto a couple of years ago.

But, Phaneuf had no problem with the passion of the fans.

"The fans were great," Phaneuf said. "They don't like us. It's a big rivalry. They have their opinion. We don't want to be liked by the opposition."
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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 7:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Alfredsson angling to get all Senators on his side

GATINEAU, Que. -- It wasn't the biggest revelation ever, but less than an hour before the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Fantasy Player Draft started, Team Alfredsson captain Daniel Alfredsson admitted he is angling to get all the hometown Ottawa Senators  -- defenseman Erik Karlsson, center Jason Spezza, and winger Milan Michaalek -- together on his team.
   
"I'd like to see that happen, yes," Alfredsson said. "Who knows how it is going to play out. It would be nice to get the crowd on our side."
   
Alfredsson also said that he would like to get the Swedish players involved in the game -- Ottawa's Karlsson, and Vancouver's Sedin twins, Danny and Henrik and Alex Edler -- on his side, as well. He already has Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist as his assistant captain. Ranger Carl Hagelin is one of 12 rookies named to the roster pool, but he will be selected as part of a group of rookies and not individually.
   
He is counting on his own drafting acumen, as well as the reluctance of opposing captain Zdeno Chara to pick the Vancouver Canucks after Chara's Bruins played Vancouver in a bitterly contested Stanley Cup Final this past June.
   
"Erik is a Sen and I'd like to have him on my team and then, obviously, the Sedins, I wouldn't mind them either," Alfredsson said. "I don't know if we will pick them early or if we will just hope that Zdeno and Lupul won't pick any Canucks."
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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 5:45 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Red Sox closer amazed by ballpark transformation

PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew Bailey knows all about Citizens Bank Park, having attended games as a fan and pitched there in the past, but even he was shocked by what awaited him Monday afternoon.

"It's cool to see a stadium that I know what it looks like for baseball after having been here, and see it as something else," Bailey, the brand-new closer for the Boston Red Sox, told NHL.com. "I can't believe what it looks like now."

Bailey was a last-minute attendee to the sold-out game, driving down from his Connecticut home on Sunday afternoon to see the team of his youth, the Philadelphia Flyers, play the New York Rangers in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. He couldn't stop smiling at his good fortune in what has already been an off-season of incredible good fortune.

The baseball closer grew up in Haddon Heights, N.J., not too far across the river from Philadelphia. His parents now live in Cherry Hill, N.J., a stone's throw from the Flyers' practice rink in Vorhees, N.J. The 27-year-old grew up at the height of the Flyers' renaissance with the Legion of Doom line, and hockey was a passion when he wasn't chasing his baseball dream.

"I grew up a big fan of the Flyers and I loved the Legion of Doom," Bailey said. "I watched them a lot."

Eric Lindros, the fulcrum of the Legion of Doom line, flanked by Mikeal Renberg and John LeClair, was in the ballpark and was introduced during Monday's first intermission, just to add to Bailey's enjoyment of the game.

Soon, though, Bailey knows that thoughts will have to turn to the coming baseball season and his job as closer for the Boston Red Sox, one of the most pressure-packed occupations in all of sport.

Bailey, who was traded to Boston in a major deal with Oakland right after Christmas, says he is ready to fill the shoes of Jonathan Papelbon, who, ironically, will call Citizens Bank park home this season after signing a free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

"The opportunity to win is so great in  Boston and I'm excited about that opportunity. Plus now I have a nation rooting me on," he said, referring to the team's fans, who are known as the Red Sox Nation.
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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 1:26 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars will have Morrow when they face Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Dallas Stars received some good news on Friday morning, hours before they face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center.

First-line left wing Brenden Morrow is a go for the game after being questionable with an elbow injury. The Stars even put Steve Ott on IR on Thursday to open up a spot in case Morrow couldn't answer the bell.

But that proved not to be the case as Morrow took part in the morning skate, which dealt mainly with special-teams play.

"Brenden's a go," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We knew Brenden was going to be a go. He fell on his elbow and had some stitches there, but you know that is not going to hold Brenden back."

The Stars are making one lineup change, however.

Krystofer Barch will be re-inserted into the lineup, playing a fourth-line wing role.

"Barchy will go for us tonight," Gulutzan said. "He's played with lots of energy and been real physical for us. He's gonna come in, and (Jake) Dowell and (Adam) Pardy will be out, but you will see both those guys most likely in tomorrow."

The Stars finish a taxing road trip with a Saturday night game against the Red Wings in Detroit.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krystofer Barch - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Alex Goligoski - Mark Fistric
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 5:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Sabres beat Kings, 4-2

Fatigue proved not to be an issue for the Buffalo Sabres in Saturday's Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Los Angeles Kings at O2 World Arena in Berlin.

Despite arriving in Berlin at 4 a.m. after a Friday night victory in Helsinki, Finland against the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo came out flying and scored the game's first three goals en route to a 4-2 victory against the Kings, who had arrived two hours earlier after a Friday night win against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, Sweden.

Before the game, German native Christian Ehrhoff said he was hoping that adrenaline would overcome any hardships the team might have endured as he enjoyed a rare chance to play as a NHLer before a German crowd, which crammed the arena to capacity.

Rookie Luke Adam certainly showed no signs of being tired as he scored the game's first two goals. Linemate Thomas Vanek, from nearby Austria, assisted on both goals after putting up a three-point night in Helsinki in Friday's 4-1 victory.

Adam, one of the last players to make the Buffalo roster, scored his first goal just 2:40 into the period, snapping home a one-timer after a pass from Jason Pominville. It was Vanek's work along the end boards, though, that made the play possible.

Adam's second goal came just 2:20 later, on his next shift, when he swept home the rebound of a Vanek shot.

Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford scored Buffalo's other goals as backup Jonathan Bernier was shelled for 4 goals in the final two periods after a strong first. Bernier, who had 22 saves, earned the start after No. 1 Jonathan Quick earned the win in Friday night's 3-2 win against the Rangers.

The Sabres also have another German on their roster, Jochen Hecht, but he missed the game with concussion-related symptoms. In fact, Hecht has not played at all on this trip, including an exhibition game on Tuesday against Adler Mannheim, his hometown club.

In a somewhat shocking move, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff opted to go back to Ryan Miller in net, just 15 hours after landing in Berlin.

Miller replayed that confidence by being sharp early, stopping 22 of 23 shots in the first two periods. In fact, the only goals he allowed were a power-play tally by Anze Kopitar with 39 seconds remaining in the second period and a late goal by the Sloivenian star, who has 3 goals in the two European games. He finished with 31 saves.

With Drew Stafford in the box for tripping, the Kings moved the puck efficiently around the perimeter -- especially after Paul lost his stick -- until Kopitar got the puck in the high slot and ripped it home over the shoulder of a screened Miller.

Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, who scored the overtime game-winner Friday night against the Rangers, earned the assists on the goal, which was Kopitar's second in as many games.

It is also the second game in a row that the Kings have scored on the power play, which was a point of emphasis this preseason. Johnson's game-winner Friday came on a 4-on-3 man advantage.

Stafford restored the three-goal lead less than four minutes into the third.

With Kevin Westgarth in the box for an offensive-zone cross-checking penalty, Stafford pounced on a rebound and swept it past Jonathan Bernier for his first goal of the season.

Nathan Gerbe and Derek Roy earned assists on the goal. For Gerbe, it was his second point of the night.
The goal was the first power-play tally Los Angeles has allowed in these first two games.
 

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 4:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Stafford's power-play goal puts Sabres up three

Drew Stafford has restored the three-goal lead less than four minutes into the third.

With Kevin Westgarth in the box for an offensive-zone cross-checking penalty, Stafford pounced on a rebound and swept it past Jonathan Bernier for his first goal of the season.

Nathan Gerbe and Derek Roy earned assists on the goal. For Gerbe, it was his second point of the night.

The goal was the first power-play tally Los Angeles has allowed in these first two games.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 3:48 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Sabres lead 3-1 after two periods

If the Los Angeles Kings want to record a second-straight come-from-behind win, they have some serious work to do in the third period, trailing 3-1.

The Kings, though, carry momentum into the final 20 minutes here as Anze Kopitar got a power-play goal in the last minute of the period. With Drew Stafford in the box for tripping, the Kings moved the puck efficiently around the perimeter -- especially after Paul Gaustad lost his stick -- until Kopitar got the puck in the high slot and ripped it home over the shoulder of a screened Ryan Miller.

Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, who scored the overtime game-winner Friday night against the Rangers, earned the assists on the goal, which was Kopitar's second in as many games.

It was also the second game in a row that the Kings have scored on the power play, which was a point of emphasis this preseason. Johnson's game-winner Friday came on a 4-on-3 man advantage.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 3:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Gaustad gives Sabres 3-0 lead

Buffalo is showing no signs of fatigue as they hold a 3-0 lead with 6:00 minutes left in the second period.

Paul Gaustad is the latest Sabre to score, planting himself in front of the Kings crease and deftly tipping a Nathan grebe shot past Jonathan Bernier. Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragani earned the secondary assist on the goal.

The sold-out crowd is in full voice now as they have adopted the Sabres as the "home" team because of the presence of German defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Austrian forward Thomas Vanek in the lineup.

Vanek has assists on the first two goals -- both by Luke Adam -- and Ehrhoff has returned from an injury scare at the end of the first period.

After taking a 4-1 win against Anaheim in Helsinki, Finland on Friday night, the Sabres did not arrive in Berlin until after 4 a.m. because of some travel-related issues.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 3:18 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Adam's pair puts Buffalo up, 2-0

Buffalo strikes first here in Berlin as Luke Adam breaks the scoreless tie on a one-timer. Adam, who was one of the last players to make this team, scored at 3:40 of the second period. He scored again, unassisted, at the five-minute mark when he banged home a rebound before the Kings' defense could answer.

On the first goal, Austrian Thomas Vanek drew the secondary assist on the goal with a workmanlike effort deep in the attacking zone. In fact, he had drawn a delayed penalty on defenseman Matt Greene when he kicked the puck free and onto the stick of newly-minted captain Jason Pominville, who fed it to Adam for a one-timer that squeezed through the legs of Jonathan Bernier.

The first goal came on Buffalo's 10th shot of the game. In four periods in Europe, Vanek now has 5 points -- 2 goals and 3 assists.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 2:53 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Sabres, Kings scoreless after one

After one period, the score between the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres remains 0-0.

Buffalo received the first power play of the game, but it came at a heavy price as Jarret Stoll of the Kings earned a two-minute roughing penalty after crashing hard into Christian Ehrhoff along the wall in the Buffalo defensive zone.

It took Ehrhoff more than a minute to get up and he headed directly to the Buffalo dressing room.

Ehrhoff, a German, has drawn the loudest cheers throughout Saturday's first period. 

To make Matters worse, Buffalo could not capitalize on the power play, managing just a pair of shots.
Soon after its expiration, Justin Williams had two of the best chances in the first period, forcing Ryan Miller to make pad saves on his initial shot and a rebound.

Then, in the last minute of the first period, Thomas Vanek took an interference penalty, much to the ire of the crowd, which also strongly supported the Austrian forward. The Kings' power-play advantage will carry into the second period.

After one period, Los Angeles holds a 12-9 advantage in shots.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 2:31 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Scoreless midway through first, with goalies strong

Each goalie had to be strong in the game's first 10 minutes.

Jonathan Bernier was the first to show his stuff, robbing Nathan Gerbe on a breakaway. Bernier earned the start after Jonathan Quick played on Friday.

Then, it was Ryan Miller's turn. First, he denied Anze Kopitar's snap shot from the high slot. A few minutes later, he got his leg pad against the post to stop a wrap-around stuff attempt by Kevin Westgarth, who has drawn into the lineup in place of Trent Hunter.

The Sabres have the same exact lineup they used in Friday's 4-1 win against Anaheim.

With 11:01 left in first period, it is 0-0.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 2:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Sabres-Kings live blog

Kings get the road treatment for second night in a row

For the second-straight night, the Los Angeles Kings are clearly the enemy -- at least in the mind of the home fans.

Saturday night, in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Buffalo Sabres at the O2 World Arena in Berlin, the Sabres are the clear favorites, likely because of the two Germans -- Christian Ehrhoff and Jochen Hecht -- on the roster, as well as Austrian Tomas Vanek. Ehrhoff and Vanek were in the starting lineiup, while Hecht missed the game with an upper-body injury.

Before the game even started, the fans at the sold-out arena were already chanting "Let's Go Buffalo"

Friday night, the Kings played the New York Rangers in Stockholm and had to face national team hero Henrik Lundqvist in the net for the rangers.

In this game, the Kings face Ryan Miller, who played last night in Helsinki. For Los Angeles, Jonathan Bernier gets his first start of the season.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 1:34 PM

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

Despite late arrival, Miller earns back-to-back starts

Lindy Ruff can't deny that the travel delays after Friday night's win against Anaheim in Helsinki didn't hurt his team, but he's not going to make any excuses heading into Saturday's game against Los Angeles in Berlin.

The Sabres arrived after 4 a.m. Saturday after problems with their airplane. But the Kings also got in late, Ruff noted. Los Angeles arrived at its hotel around 2:30 a.m. after beating the New York Rangers in Stockholm.

The Sabres scuttled their original plans because of the delay.

"In an ideal world, we would have probably have come down here this morning, but we have had travel delays in the past where you change," Ruff said Saturday before the game. "I think LA had a fairly late night too, so I think it's fairly even for both teams.

Plus, Ruff did not have to back off on his choice to start No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller in back-to-back games. Miller allowed just one goal in the 4-1 victory against the Ducks.

"We gave it some thought, but because it has been pretty light (on games) and he didn't play in the Manheim game (on Tuesday), I think we felt that with no practices this morning and we even delayed our meeting by an hour, that we could come back with Ryan," Ruff said.

There should be no other lineup changes.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 11:19 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Young defenseman Martinez has been gaining notice

Although he did not find his way on to the score sheet Friday night in the 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, it was hard to ignore young defenseman Alec Martinez, who is entering his second full season with the Los Angeles Kings.

On most of the 24 shifts he took Friday night -- combining for 19:44 of ice time -- he did something positive to catch the eyes of the coaching staff and spectators alike. At other times, he was not noticeable at all -- which is also good for a defenseman because it means he is not making mistakes.

Less than 15 hours removed from that performance, Murray had some high praise for Martinez, who played his college Hockey at Miami University and made his NHL breakthrough this past season, appearing in 60 NHL games, as well as the Kings' first-round playoff loss to the Sharks.

"He's the kind of player that you have to make room for and you want to see grow and you want to see get more minutes in a game," Murray told NHL.com. "He's got great mobility, vision, he jumps up in the play and he can score goals and defends very well because of his agility and mobility.

"He's a young guy that still has some stuff to figure out in the defending part of the game, especially the down-low part of the game. But we want to keep pushing and demanding more of him so his game will continue to improve and he can contribute more in the critical situations. "

One of the things that makes Martinez so noticeable is his ability to handle the transition game and get the puck to the right places, allowing the Kings to get into that quick counter-attacking mode they favor. Plus, he can do it either with the puck on his stick, lugging it to the offensive zone, or with the quick pass.

"It is the way the game is evolving, with the speed now and the necessity for defenseman to be able to carry the puck, move the puck through the middle of the ice," Murray said. "We see a tremendous upside with him and we just hope that he is going to be able to handle the workload that we're going to ask of him."

Martinez's workload is approaching 20 minutes per game despite the fact that he plays a similar style to franchise cornerstones Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty. All three like to look for offense and all three still need to work extra hard in their own end to make up for deficiencies there. But Murray says Martinez has earned the extra playing time and he will continue to get it until his play suggests otherwise.

"You do have to have four (defensemen) that play a big part of it," Murray said. "You are looking for your shutdown guys that are going to match up against top lines and your PK guys like Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi. The other players -- particularly with Martinez, I don't think is a problem with putting more of a workload on him. He's able to handle it -- we have seen it in the minors and we have seen it in training camp.

"I'm just excited for him because he's a player that really surprised us last year whenever we called him up. He's become a pretty important player for us."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 9:47 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Murray says Premiere experience has been positive

For the Kings, their European adventure is almost complete.

After arriving in Hamburg on Monday for a Tuesday night game against the Freezers of the DEL, the Kings settled in Stockholm for three days. That stay was finished off Friday night with a 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers in the first of two 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere games the Kings will play.

The team arrived in Berlin in the wee hours of the morning Saturday and will play the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1 victors against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday in Helsinki, Finland, on Saturday night at the O2 Arena here. After the game, the Kings fly to the United States for an extended stay on the East Coast before Thursday night's game in New Jersey.

Despite some obvious travel hardships, coach Terry Murray says his team's Premiere experience has been all the team could want.

"It's been a great week here (in Europe)," Murray told NHL.com. "To me, everything was really well done with the planning part of it. It's an incredible amount of work done by a whole lot of people. There's so many details. Our training staff has been phenomenal in getting done what they needed to get done in moving us around and having everything in place for the players.

"From the League standpoint, everything was exactly what we needed. There were plenty of people to give us whatever information we needed, to help us out to move around. I don't think you can ask for anything better than that actually."

Murray raved about Friday night's game in Stockholm, and not just because his team emerged victorious thanks to Jack Johnson's dramatic goal in overtime.

"Overall, I think the experience has been tremendous, giving back to the European fans," Murray continued. "The energy in the building (Friday) night was really good. It was a lot of fun playing in Stockholm. There are a lot of great Swedish players over the years, a lot of them in attendance (Friday night). That part of it was great and we are just looking forward to finish it off tonight in Berlin."

As mentioned, the Kings will charter home Saturday night after the game, arriving in the States in the early-morning hours of Sunday morning. After a rest-and-recuperation day Sunday, the team will hit the ice Monday to begin preparation for Thursday's game against the Devils. The team then plays the Flyers on Saturday night before heading home for next Tuesday's home opener against The St. Louis Blues.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 9:42 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Penner will miss second straight for Kings

Dustin Penner will not play in Saturday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere final against the Buffalo Sabres at O2 Arena, missing his second-straight game with an unspecified injury, coach Terry Murray stated Saturday morning.

"Every day that he is off the ice, he's going to get better, he's going to recover more," Murray told NHL.com at the team's Berlin hotel. "We'll get him through another day here with some treatment and then we'll get back over to East Coast after the game tonight and then we have four days before we play again. That's going to be good for him. We'll get him back on the ice on Monday and work on getting his conditioning back up. Three days of hard work and hopefully he'll be ready for the Devils."

Penner missed just the seventh game of his career since becoming a full-time player in the NHL during the 2006-07 season.

Murray also revealed on Saturday morning that Jonathan Bernier will get the start in goal for Saturday night's game. Jonathan Quick was the goalie in Friday's 3-2 OT win against the Rangers in Stockholm, stopping 24 of 26 shots. But Murray has decided to shuffle the deck, in part because of the hard travel conditions to get to Berlin post-game. The team did not arrive at the hotel until after 2 a.m. local time.

"It's back-to-back games and it was a very late night last night," Murray said. "Getting here, that is too hard. That's part of it and the other part of it is both goalies are looking good; they are fresh and we'll give Bernier his opportunity tonight."

Bernier is 15-11-3 in his 32 career appearances, posting a 2.56 goals against average, a .911 save percentage and 4 shutouts.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 3:55 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Kings' power play comes through with winner

The Kings' stagnant power play finally came to live in overtime, giving the Kings a 3-2 victory when jack Johnson scored on a rebound with 52 seconds left in OT.
 
Anze Kopitar started the play with a shot on Henrik Lundqvist that resulted in a rebound. Mike Richards was alongside the crease and he shoveled it on Lundqvist for a second save, but Jack Johnson, pinching from the point, made no mistake as he roofed the rebound over Lundqvist, who was brilliant throughout.

The Los Angeles' power play had been 0-for-4 before that goal.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 3:36 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Overtime next for Kings, Rangers

The Kings had an excellent chance to win the game in the dying seconds of regulation as Brian Boyle committed an unnecessary interference penalty with just 2:03 remaining in regulation.

The Kings had two excellent chances -- including a hard shot from Dustin Brown -- but could not solve Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. The Kings are 0-for-4 on the power play so far.

We are heading to overtime as regulation ends with a 2-2 tie.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 3:31 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

New King Richards ties game

Well, that was short-lived, as the Kings have come back and tied it 2-all late in the third period.

Mike Richards beat Michael Del Zotto to position in the slot and got his stick down to tip a sweet pass from linemate Brad Richardson over the shoulder of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 4:59 remaining in the game.

Kings coach Terry Murray's hunch certainly paid off there as he decided to put Richardson onto that line when Dustin Penner (undisclosed injury) could not go. In doing so, Murray talked about his late-season surge of confidence and the world-class speed that allows Richardson to gain separation on defenders. Both were on display on that goal.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 3:29 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Gaborik goal puts Rangers ahead

For the Swedish fans that wanted a tense affair with their local heroes playing a big part, that wish has come true through the game's first 50 minutes.

Marian Gaborik scored to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead with 9:32 remaining in regulation. Gaborik scored on a goal-mouth scramble when he received a shovel pass from Brandon Dubinsky and wristed a shot that ricocheted off Jonathan Quick and into the net. Brad Richards earned his first point as a Ranger with the secondary assist on the play, a centering pass from behind the net.

Plus, the fans have watched local hero Henrik Lundqvist put on an absolute clinic -- especially in the first period, when he kept a sluggish Rangers team in a game in which it was being out-shot at a 3-to-1 margin.

The Rangers, thought have overcome the early doldrums and has taken the play to Los Angeles as often as not in the past 30 minutes.

Ryan Callahan has been the impetus for that revival. He already has 10 shots in this game.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 2:44 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Rangers, Kings tied 2-2 after two

The action continued in a back-and-forth manner in the second half of the second period -- again without a score, though.

The Rangers, however, had their first power play as Simon Gagne took a roughing penalty on Ryan Callahan, who has been New York's top player through two periods -- the Rangers had four shots in the first period and Callahan had three of them. On this play, it was going hard to the net that resulted in Gagne's retaliatory foul.

The Rangers couldn't capitalize on the man-advantage, though, as Quick did some good scrambling to deny a great chance by Marian Gaborik.

As the period progressed, the hitting picked up as both teams seemed to find their legs.

However, the score remains 1-1 heading into the third period.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 2:23 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Rangers picking up the pace

The Rangers have found the right gear here in the second period to make things a bit more even.

The highlight of the early part of the period was a spirited fight between the Kings' Kyle Clifford and Brandon Prust of the Rangers, which was received enthusiastically by the crowd.

Shortly after that, the Rangers gave up a third power-play to the Kings, who had a few chances. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, however, made two big saves to deny the Kings on a third-straight man-advantage situation.

New York's best chance in the first half of the second came from Artem Anisimov, but Quick swallowed it up.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:23 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Kings, Rangers tied 1-1 after one period

The Los Angeles Kings dominated the first period of Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the New York Rangers, but the game was tied 1-1 after one period.

Kings forward Anze Kopitar opened the scoring with a laser-beam of a shot over the glove of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist after a bad turnover by Artem Anisimov. Justin Williams jumped on the loose puck just inside the Rangers blue line and was able to slip a pass to Kopitar in the slot for the quick release.

The Rangers struggled mightily to generate offense in the first and did not manage a shot on goal until right before the tying goal by Ryan Callahan at the 15:22 mark. The scoring play started with a turnover and an initial save by Jonathan Quick on Callahan. But Callahan re-acquired the puck, on a pass from Anisimov, and fired a bad-angle shot -- from the goal line -- over Quick's shoulder and inside the far post.

The pro-Rangers crowd at the Globe Arena cheered wildly for the Rangers, particularly Lundqvist and Norway's Mats Zuccarello, who played several years in Sweden before joining the Rangers. Lundqvist actually provided the period's biggest highlight with a lightning-quick glove save on Kings captain Dustin Brown in the high slot.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 6:40 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kopitar looks forward to Swedish homecoming

It's been six seasons since Anze Kopitar played in Sweden, but he still has fond memories of his time in Sweden and is looking at Friday night's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the New York Rangers as a homecoming of sorts.

Kopitar played two seasons with Sodertalje, a Swedish Elite club located about an hour south of here. He has made countless trips to Stockholm with Sodertalje. He even played several games in the Globe Arena, site of Friday night's game.

"I played a few games here that I remember well," he told NHL.com after Friday's morning skate at the Globe.

He is also excited to have some family and friends in the building. Slovenia is several hours away, but his grandparents and his girlfriend have made the trip. His parents, though, are back in Los Angeles and will watch the game on TV.

There will also be a contingent from the Sodertalje organization at Friday's game

"Not a whole lot of guys," Koptar said. "The organization has changed. It's been a few years since i played there, but I will have a few guys coming in."

After traversing much of North America during the preseason and then having extended training camp and an exhibition game in Hamburg, Kopitar is ready to start the regular season.

"It's time," he said.

He knows the Kings are expected to be better than the club that finished No. 7 in the Western Conference last season and was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. He believes the Kings are better, but wants to see his assumption challenged by the pressure of the regular season.

"It seems that way that we've gotten a lot better over the summer," Kopitar said "It's tough to see guys go, but I guess you have to give up something to get something. It's nice to see those guys come in and obviously they are hungry. There's a lot of experience in that group. It's definitely going to help us experience-wise."



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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty faces no limitations

Drew Doughty may have just three full practices and one preseason game under his belt after signing a new-long term deal last week, but he will be under no restrictions when it comes to playing time in Friday's season-opening game against the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN).

"I had a conversation with Drew the other day after the game and asked him how he is doing and how he is feeling," Kings coach Terry Murray said Thursday. "He said he felt very comfortable in the exhibition game against Hamburg. I have confidence that he is going to be able to log the minutes we need from him.

"He's energized, he's enthusiastic, he's excited about his new deal and coming back to join the team. He's a great player and we'll get him the minutes we feel we need to get from him."

Last season, Doughty played almost 26 minutes a game. His mark of 25:38 was topped by just four other defensemen.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty faces no limitations

Drew Doughty may have just three full practices and one exhibition game under his belt after signing a new-long term deal last week.

But he will be under no restrictions when it comes to playing time in Friday's season-opening game against the New York Rangers.

"I had a conversation with Drew the other day after the game and asked him how he is doing and how he is feeling," Murray said Thursday. "He said he felt very comfortable in the exhibition game against Hamburg. I have confidence that he is going to be able to log the minutes we need from him.

"He's energized, he's enthusiastic, he's excited about his new deal and coming back to join the team. He's a great player and we'll get him the minutes we feel we need to get from him."

Last season, Doughty played almost 26 minutes a game. His mark of 25:38 was topped by just four other defensemen.



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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:10 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings without Penner for season opener

The Los Angeles Kings will not begin the 2011-12 season with their full roster.

Dustin Penner, normally a top-six forward, will not play in Friday's opener against the New York Rangers at Globe Arena. He has been ruled out with an undisclosed injury.

"Dustin Penner is still not feeling great," Murray said Thursday after the team's 75-minute practice at the Globe. "He's probably about 80 percent. It's improving, but it's going to take some time. He's not going to be ready for tomorrow. He'll just continue to rehab, get some ice time and push him until he's comfortable."

Penner took part in Thursday's practice, but left after 40 minutes.

With Penner out, Murray juggled his lines a bit. Brad Richardson moved into the top-six rotation and spent Thursday on a line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown.

That alignment was a bit of a surprise, but Murray said it was a reward to Richardson for his work in camp, as well as a strong showing to close last season.

"He's been real good, right from the first day," Murray said of Richardson. "He's just coming off the playoff from last year where I thought he showed some signs of breaking through. He's got great speed. I think the confidence is starting to show in his game. He put a lot of numbers up in junior, and sometimes with players it takes a little bit of time.

"Again, he is starting to feel it, it's starting to come. He's more comfortable in tighter situations with the puck on his stick. He's always been a player that can create separation with his speed. I just hope he continues to go forward from here. It's a great opportunity for him."

In other lineup news, Murray confirmed that Jonathan Quick would start Game 1. He would not, however reveal if he has a goalie already in mind for Saturday's game in Berlin against the Buffalo Sabres.

"The only thing I can say is that Quick will play the game tomorrow," Murray said. "We talked in the past, in the early part of camp back home, where I have said that I won’t lock myself in and have designated games for the goaltenders. We're going to play it out here. Points are so critical that if we got a goaltender that is on a roll, that's the right way to go."


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Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 12:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Parse makes final cut for Kings

The Los Angeles Kings cut their roster to 23 players Thursday during an off-day for the team here in Stockholm.

Defenseman Slava Voynov was optioned to Manchester of the American Hockey League, while Jake Muzzin was placed on injured reserve. Colin Fraser, meanwhile, will start the season as an injured non-roster player.

Scott Parse
Those moves got the Kings down to 23 roster players, plus Jeff Zatkoff, the third goalie. Zatkoff does not count against the roster while in Europe; he'll be optioned to Manchester when the team returns to North America on Sunday.

The final roster cut-down deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.

Wednesday's announcement also means forward Scott Parse has made the club despite struggling through much of camp.

Parse, who admitted to his struggles in the preseason, had a stronger game Tuesday in a 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge game against the Hamburg Freezers at O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany, which likely assured his spot on the team.

After the game, Kings coach Terry Murray admitted he wasn't pleased where Parse was at, but believed there still was room for improvement as the forward tries to put major hip surgery behind him. Certainly, Parse's track record helped him stick with the club.

Murray said he put Parse on the team's top line Tuesday in an attempt to get Parse going. He liked the results, to a degree, and suggested Parse could open the season as a first-line forward -- especially with forward Dustin Penner questionable for Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere season-opener against the New York Rangers at the Globe (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN).

"First of all, he's coming through a lot from last year; he missed all but five games during the season, then he ended up with a couple games in the playoffs because of the hip surgery," Murray said after his team earned a 5-3 victory against Hamburg. "That's a major rehab process that he has gone through. He made a huge commitment in the offseason to work out and get himself ready for camp. I think he's still just trying to find his way.

"The one thing that he brings is that first, second step, where he can create separation and score some goals, and I'm not seeing that quickness right now. It's a little methodical, and so he has a ways to go, but on the positive side of it, I like his attitude. He did work very hard. He's trying to get it all together. Parse is a player who can score. I will keep him there and give him the opportunity to get things on track."
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 10:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty passes first test

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was just happy to survive Thursday night's preseason game against Hamburg.

After all, much was conspiring against him. Most importantly, he had just two practices -- actually one practice and a morning skate -- with the full team after arriving in camp late because of a contract stalemate. Secondly, the game was played on the big ice, meaning he would have a ton of extra ice to cover.

Yet, thanks to the fact that the Kings dressed eight defensemen and coach Terry Murray was judicious with Doughty's ice time, the young defenseman was able to weather the storm and come out the other side in better shape for it.

"I felt good," Doughty said minutes after his team earned a 5-3 win against the Freezers at O2 World Arena. "Obviously, I didn't feel 100 percent or the way I wanted to; but after the long trip, I thought I played well."

Doughty made several good defensive plays in the game and was dangerous from the point on the offensive side of the puck, but he says the Olympic-sized ice was causing him some problems -- especially in down-low coverage.

"That was the tough part," he said. "I think all the guys struggled with that (Tuesday night). You thought you were in a good position and that guy's 15 feet away. It was a tough adjustment, but we did alright. These games are tough to play in."

After landing in Stockholm early Wednesday morning, the Kings were given the day off. They will practice Thursday at the Globe Arena in a final preparation for Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Rangers here on Friday.

That game will be played on NHL-sized ice and Doughty says he will be ready.

"You know, I think I will be at my best in that opener there," Doughty said. "Once I put my mind to it, I go out there and play my best. That's my main focus now, getting in a couple of practices and being at my best on opening day."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:47 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Moreau pads lead with goal early in third

The Kings finally have a bit of breathing room as Ethan Moreau gives Los Angeles a 5-3 lead on Hamburg here at O2 World Arena.

Moreau, the fifth King to score Tuesday, roofed a backhander off a rebound past a late-reacting John Curry, who had little chance on the play, which started with a great chance by Anze Kopitar.

Hamburg has already erased three leads in this game, but they will be hard-pressed to do so again as there are less than 15 minutes remaining in the game.


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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Richardson gives Kings 4-3 advantage after two

The Los Angeles Kings wanted a good tune-up for the regular season when they played the Hamburg Freezers Tuesday night at O2 World Arena in their final preseason game.

Well, they are getting just that. After two periods here, the Kings lead 4-3, taking their fourth lead of the game as Brad Richardson scored the go-ahead goal with just 16 seconds left in the second period.

The Kings got off to a dream start, scoring just 36 seconds into the game.

Justin Williams' goal, on the first shot of the game, was a seemingly harmless wrister from the right circle that seemed to handcuff John Curry, the Hamburg goalie. Curry played the past several seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins' system. This is his first year with Hamburg.

After carrying the play for close to five minutes, the Freezers were rewarded with a power-play goal that tied the game at 1-1. Former NHLer Serge Aubin, who played 374 NHL games for Columbus, Colorado and Atlanta, beat Jonathan Quick with a nasty shot from the slot with 7:09 left.

On the very next shift, Alex Martinez restored the lead for the Kings, snapping home a brilliant feed from Dustin Brown, who used the wide ice of the Olympic-sized rink here to give himself some separation.

However, with a little more than two minutes remaining in the period, Kevin Schmidt, from Markham, Ont., pinched in from the point and received a perfect pass, which he fired over Quick's shoulder to tie the game heading into intermission.

In the second period, the teams exchanged goals again to send it into the third deadlocked.

The Kings failed on a pair of power plays in the first half of the second period and then watched as Hamburg scored on the counter-attack to take a 3-2 lead midway through.

The Freezers earned the goal, as they dominated play on the scoring shift before Aubin scored on his own rebound after Quick had made two initial saves on the sequence. It was Aubin's second goal of the game.

Just as was the case in the first period, though, Hamburg couldn't hold a lead as the Kings stormed back and got a goal from Anze Kopitar after passes from Justin Williams and Scott Parse, who is in a dogfight to make this team.

Quick was pulled after the goal in a pre-planned move as Kings coach Terry Murray put in Jonathan Bernier for the second half of the game

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is making his preseason debut in this game after signing a new long-term deal late last week and has already made two good defensive plays.


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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kopitar pulls Kings into 3-3 tie with Hamburg

For the Kings, it was time to get a little nervous.

The team failed on a pair of power plays in the first half of the second period and then watched as Hamburg scored on the counter-attack to take a 3-2 lead midway through. The Freezers earned the goal, as they dominated play on the scoring shift before Serge Aubin scored on his own rebound after Jonathan Quick had made two initial saves on the sequence. It was Aubin's second goal of the game.

Just as was the case in the first period, though, Hamburg couldn't hold a lead. The Kings stormed back and got a goal from Anze Kopitar after passes from Justin Williams and Scott Parse, who is in a dogfight to make this team.

Quick was pulled after the goal in a pre-planned move as Kings coach Terry Murray put in Jonathan Bernier for the second half of the game



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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings, Freezers deadlocked at 2-2 after one period

The Los Angeles Kings wanted a good tune-up for the regular season when they played the Hamburg Freezers Tuesday night at O2 World Arena in their final preseason game.

Well, they are getting just that. After one period here, the score is tied 2-2 as the Freezers have twice erased one-goal deficits.

The Kings got off to a dream start, scoring just 36 seconds into the game

Justin Williams' goal, on the first shot of the game, was a seemingly harmless wrister from the right circle that seemed to handcuff John Curry, the Hamburg goalie. Curry played the past several seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins' system. This is his first year with Hamburg.

After carrying the play for close to five minutes, the Freezers were rewarded with a power-play goal that tied the game at 1-1. Former NHLer Serge Aubin, who played 374 NHL games for Columbus, Colorado and Atlanta, beat Jonathan Quick with a nasty shot from the slot with 7:09 left.

But on the very next shift, Alex Martinez restored the lead for the Kings, snapping home a brilliant feed from Dustin Brown, who used the wide ice of the Olympic-sized rink here to give himself some separation.

However, with a little more than two minutes remaining in the period, Kevin Schmidt, from Markham, Ont., pinched in from the point and received a perfect pass, which he fired over Quick's shoulder to tie the game heading into intermission.

Quick got the start for the Kings and he will play approximately half the game, according to coach Terry Murray. Jonathan Bernier will play the second half. Drew Doughty is making his preseason debut in this game after signing a new long-term deal late last week and has already made two good defensive plays.



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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings answer Freezers' goal, up 2-1

A pair of goals in less than a minute have brought live into this game after a slight lull.

After carrying the play for close to five minutes, the Freezers were rewarded with a power-play goal that tied the game at 1-1. Former NHLer Serge Aubin, who played 374 NHL games for Columbus, Colorado and Atlanta, beat Jonathan Quick with a nasty shot from the slot with 7:09 left.

But on the very next shift, Alex Martinez restored the lead for the Kings, snapping home a brilliant feed from Dustin Brown, who used the wide ice of the Olympic-sized rink here to give himself some separation.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:13 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Williams gives Kings a quick lead

The Los Angeles Kings have gotten off to a dream start in their final exhibition game, scoring just 36 seconds into the game against the Hamburg Freezers at O2 World Arena in Hamburg.

Justin Williams' goal, on the first shot of the game, was a seemingly harmless wrister from the right circle that seemed to handcuff John Curry, the Hamburg goalie. Curry played the past several seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins system. This is his first year with Hamburg.

Jonathan Quick got the start for the Kings. He will play approximately half the game, according to coach Terry Murray. Jonathan Bernier will play the second half. Drew Doughty is making his preseason debut in this game after signing a new long-term deal late last week.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 9:31 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings on alert for upset bid

The result was impossible to miss. It seemed everyone in Germany knew by Tuesday morning that the New York Rangers had lost Monday's preseason game against Swiss club HC Zug 8-4.

Not only was it talked about by the Los Angeles Kings, but it served as a valuable reminder that the Hamburg Freezers, the Kings' opponent in Tuesday's preseason finale, also will be looking for a headline-grabbing win against an elite NHL team.

"From their standpoint, it's an exciting game," Kings captain Dustin Brown told NHL.com. "For us, it is a game we are expected to win. It's almost a lose/lose situation for us. But the game can't be about the score for us, it has to be about preparing ourselves to open the season against the Rangers.

"For an exhibition game, I'm sure it will be intense."

Kings coach Terry Murray has to walk that fine line between trying to win the game as a confidence-builder for his club, while also making decisions that best will prepare his club for when it starts the regular season Friday against the Rangers in Stockholm (1 p.m. ET VERSUS, TSN).

"We are going to approach the game the right way emotionally," Murray told NHL.com. "We want to make sure we play hard and get our team and structure in order so we are ready for opening night against the Rangers. Again, it will be a professional approach with good tempo and good pace."

But, there is the chance for a loss in that scenario -- especially with the game being played on an Olympic-sized sheet that is far more familiar to the home side.

"We have all been through these kinds of scenarios before, whether you are a player or a coach," Murray said. "You get into these games where, as you mentioned, it can be a lose/lose (scenario) where if you don't win by a 10-0 score then there is something wrong with your performance. We're looking at as an important game.

"It's an exhibition game that we have to go out and play the right way and make sure our system is in place and coming at it with the right team attitude to get things prepared for the first game. We'll play our best and let the game unfold from there."

Franchise defenseman Drew Doughty will make his 2011-12 debut Tuesday against the Freezers. He knows it will have a bit more zip than a traditional NHL preseason game, but he welcomes the challenge as he prepares for the start of the season.

"We know that they are going to come out hard and try their best to beat us," Doughty told NHL.com. "We can't take them lightly. If we do that, there is a good chance that we'll get beat."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 9:06 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings adopt hybrid lineup for Freezers game

While Los Angeles coach Terry Murray wants to treat Tuesday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge game against the Hamburg Freezers at their O2 World Arena as a regular-season game, he knows he will have to make a few concessions.

Tuesday morning, Murray said he would ice as close to his opening-night lineup as possible -- with a few significant alterations.

The biggest one comes courtesy of the expanded roster limits in the European leagues. With the ability to go beyond the NHL's 20 dressed players, Murray said he'll dress 22 for Tuesday's game. Both extras will be defensemen as the Kings try to limit the minutes played by Drew Doughty, who will be making his debut after just two full practices with the team.

"We're going to dress eight defensemen -- 22 guys," Murray told NHL.com. "That's kind of nice because Doughty is coming back and this will be his first opportunity to get some ice time with the team. This will allow him to get into the lineup without playing those 27 or 28 minutes and that is a good thing. Other than that, we'll have pretty much a full lineup."

Up front, Dustin Penner is the only veteran sitting out.

"But that just gives a young player the opportunity to play in another game," Murray said.

In goal, Murray said Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier will split time in the game so each can get a final tune-up before Friday's season opener in Stockholm. 
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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 1:01 PM

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

Homecooking appeals to Buffalo

There was a little taste of home here for the Sabres on Monday morning.

Buffalo took the ice for Monday's practice at the SAP Arena and was surrounded by a sea of blue and yellow as fans which made the team-sponsored trip flocked to the open practice. They were joined there by fans of Adler Mannheim, the club team which Buffalo plays here in Tuesday night's Compuware Premiere Challenge exhibition, to make quite the festive scene that was nothing more than a traditional morning skate, featuring line rushes and shooting drills.

Yet, the fans cheered every move, including stickhandling drill in which each player had to navigate the puck through a line of closely spaced pucks. If the player failed, he had to start from the beginning again. The fans followed intently, loudly cheering each successful attempt and groaning with each failure.

"It made for a fun practice and a fun atmosphere," coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's funny how (the stickhandling drill) turned into something that fans kept an eye on. I think it created an extra pressure for the player trying to do it. Some passed the test and some got frustrated. It was fun."

The loudest cheer of the day, though, came in the dying minutes of the session when local-boy-done-good Jochen Hecht joined practice in time for the picture the team took with the 110 or so members of the fan club in attendance.

Hecht was held out of practice as he battles concussion-related symptoms and he won't play in Tuesday's NHL Premiere Challenge exhibition against Manheim, the team for which he turned pro almost 15 years ago. It was a bitter blow for both Hecht and the fans of Adler Mannheim, who have anticipated Tuesday's reunion for much of the past two months.

Despite the profound disappointment Hecht was feeling as he came to grips with the death of his dream to play before the Mannheim fans as a member of the Sabres, he said that Monday's reception by the fans certainly helped his spirits.

"It felt great of course," Hecht said. "Coming here and being able to say hello to the fans that don't get to see me during the summer. They want to show that I belong to them. This is my hometown. I used to be one of them sitting in the stands watching the team."

The practice ended with the fan club members being invited on to the ice for a picture with the team. Forty members of the fan club missed the practice after they were delayed in the United States. They are expected to arrive Tuesday morning. After the picture, the players stayed on the ice and mingled with the fans.

"It tells a lot about our fans that they travelled all this way," Ruff said. "It was nice to give them a little something extra. The 10 minutes of interaction we had on the ice was great for our fans. I think that part of it is really important and I think the players enjoy it too."

Young defenseman Tyler Myers agreed. He stayed on the ice longer than many of his teammates, signing banners and photos and taking pictures with fans.

"Today was kind of cool," Myers told NHL.com. "It was unexpected, for sure. When you get that many fans out there, it makes it a lot of fun. The fans are a big part of what we do. They fuel the fire."

 

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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 12:34 PM

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

Sleep issues remain for Sabres

Alarm clocks were a necessity Monday morning for the Buffalo Sabres.

The trans-Atlantic flight did serious damage to the internal clock of some of the players.

"I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep," defenseman Tyler Myers said.

Rookie Luke Adam said he was up from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. before finally falling back asleep.

"When my alarm finally went off, it felt like it was 2 a.m.," Adam told NHL.com

Even Christian Ehrhoff, a native of Gemany who makes the flight on a regular basis, admitted to struggling a bit with jet lag on Monday afternoon.

Coach Lindy Ruff, though, was happy the sleeping struggles did not manifest themselves in Monday's practice session.

"I thought the guys looked pretty good this morning," Ruff said. "I thought their jump was good and I think going into tomorrow's game it will give us another measure of the energy of our team."


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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 12:31 PM

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

Ruff expects stern challenge from Mannheim

Lindy Ruff expects the best out of Adler Mannheim in Tuesday's Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge game at SAP Arena.

After all, Mannheim gave the San Jose Sharks all they could handle in an exhibition here last October. San Jose eventually prevailed, 3-2, in the shootout, but not before being pushed to the limit by a quick and hungry home team.

"I think it is going to be a highly competitive game judging by the fact that last year they played San Jose and almost beat San Jose," Ruff said after Monday's practice. "They can skate and they have some guys that can shoot. They have a lot of pride and I think any time you get to play a team from the NHL and you can knock them off, that is a feather in your cap. So, I think the game is going to be real competitive."

That's a situation that suits Ruff just fine. Just three days removed from the start of the team's regular season -- a NHL Premiere game against Anaheim in Helsinki, Finland -- Ruff believes his team can use a spirited final tune-up.

"It's a good environment for us," he said. "I think a real competitive game is a good environment for us. To play under the gun and to play against guys that are competing really hard and they are not teammates, it's a good tune-up for starting the season."

With that said, Ruff isn't committing to his starting lineup for Tuesday's game.

Backup goalie Jhonas Enroth will get the start after starter Ryan Miller went the distance in Saturday night's preseason game against Washington back in the United States.

"We want to get (Enroth) some work," Ruff said.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:13 AM

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

A blast from the past

Rene Corbet is from is from Victoriaville, Quebec and was a second-round pick by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 Entry Draft. Today, he lives and works in Calgary, a place in which he played 68 of his 362 NHL games during a nine-year career that ended in 2001.

But, it was here in Mannheim that Corbet found his hockey home. After leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins iN 2001 -- the final stop in a five-team journey across the NHL -- Corbet decided to give Germany a try. He signed with the Mannheim franchise after leaving the Penguins and ended up staying for eight years.

Tuesday night, he will have his number retired before Adler plays the Buffalo Sabres in a NHL Challenge game at SAP Arena.

"I never expected anybody to retire my number," Corbet told NHL.com minutes after arriving at SAP Arena straight from his flight on Sunday. "It's certainly an honor. I have a lot of memories from this team in the eight years I was here . That was a really special time. I have two boys that were born in Germany. This is a special place for me.

"It's unbelievable. It's a class organization and they took such good care of me for eight years. It's hard to stay in one place that long in Europe."

Corbet helped manheim win a DEL title during his time with the club -- a memory that he considers his most fond from his time in Germany -- and finished with 111 goals and 96 assists in 266 DEL games.
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:09 AM

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

Bigger isn't always better for Sabres

The Sabres quickly learned Tuesday's exhibition game against the Adler Mannheim hosts could pose several problems.

The building is built in such a way that the fans -- even in the top sections -- are extremely close to the ice. Plus, the area behind the goal Mannheim protects twice is a standing-only section that is jammed with the team's most ardent supporters. They sing and clap throughout the game, which can be a disruptive force for an opposition unused to such tactics.

But, by far, the biggest challenge will be adapting to the bigger ice surface as the SAP Arena features an Olympic-sized sheet of ice.

After Sunday's practice, Tomas Vanek called it an ocean, referring to the extra room in the Corners of the offensive zone. Goalie Ryan Miller, meanwhile, was talking about how his angles were a bit off and how he had to fight the tendency to move too far side-to-side when tracking rushes. He says his visual clues are all off because of the wider ice surface.

Lindy Ruff knows his team will have some issues with the big ice, but he is grateful Tuesday's game is the only one that will be played on the Olympic-sized surface. The NHL Premiere games in Helsinki and Berlin will be played on NHL-sized ice sheets.

"You'll see a little bit of difference in the game (Tuesday)," Ruff said. "Outside the (faceoff) dots, you have the extra 20 feet that players can use, but inside the dots you are looking at the same game from the dots-in.  IF you make sure you are playing on the inside, you usually play well. If you get caught on the outside and handling the puck, you can look pretty good -- but you generally don't get too much done. In our case, it is to try to play our (NHL) game on this ice."
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:31 AM

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

Juggling the lines

The Buffalo Sabres brought 24 players to Europe and could open ther season with this lineup -- minus emergency goalie Drew MacIntyre, who is here on a roster exemption.

Of those 23 players, Luje Adam might be the biggest surprise. The young forward, taken in the second round in 2008, has taken advantage of some injuries (Jochen hecht) and suspensions (Brad Boyes) to really open the eyes of the coaching staff.

During Sunday's practice, Luke centered a line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville and could play in that role in Tuesday's exhibition game against Adler Manheim. With Adam in that spot, Drew Stafford moved up to play on a line with Nathan Gerbe and Derek Roy, while Boyes played with Ville Leino and Tyler Ennis. The fourth line was a rotating trio of fashioned from four forwards --  Patrick Kaleta, Paul Gaustad, Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick -- while Hecht took part while wearing a non-contact jersey.

So, can the 21-year old Luke make the Sabres after his first pro season, which saw him score 62 points in 57 AHL games, as well as 4 points in a 19-game cameo with the Sabres?

"Right now, we are still in the evaluation process, you know," Ruff said. Derek (Roy) is coming off injury. We'll  take another look at Luke (Tuesday) night. I think he has played well. Brad Boyes is coming off injury and I thought his last game was his best one. There are players pushing for ice time and position right now."
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:22 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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." 


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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 9:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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."


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Posted On Friday, 09.09.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 nbcwashington.com 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."

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Posted On Friday, 06.24.2011 / 9:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 7:13 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 4:09 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 8:40 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Monday, 06.06.2011 / 2:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Friday, 05.27.2011 / 1:17 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Recchi looking for a strong Game 7

Mark Recchi has had an Eastern Conference Finals to forget.

The 42-year-old winger does not have a point in the first six games of this series. He is also a minus-5. He's not even getting many chances. He has just six shots in the series, but three of them came in Game 2. He has just two shots in the past four games.

His goal drought actually stretches back nine games, to Game 1 of the second-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. But he did deliver in other areas in those first two rounds. In fact, in 17 games, he has 2 goals, 5 assists and a plus-4 rating.

Recchi has been around enough to understand that his fortunes could again change on a dime in this Game 7. And, facing what could be his final game in the NHL, the veteran forward plans to bring his best effort in Friday's do-or-die game.

"I think the first game (against Tampa Bay) I wasn't good," Recchi said. "I think after that I've been OK. I haven't been good, I haven't been bad. 

"You know what? That's all washed away in one game now tonight. You lay it out on the line and go out and have fun with this and get back to the Stanley Cup Final. We've been together all year. And, obviously, you would like to have an impact. But at the same time, teammates, that's why we're here for each other."

Recchi has won two Stanley Cup titles in his career and he knows they are products of 20 players -- or more -- contributing to the cause. So, while he is not happy with his play in the round, he knows he has done his part to deliver his team to the point where it needs just one win to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 21 years.

"I think earlier in the playoffs our line was terrific and carried a lot of the burden of the team," Recchi said. "Other guys have stepped up and been terrific now. Now it's one game and let's all do it together. That's the important thing is we all have one opportunity to get to the Stanley Cup Final and we'll do it together."
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Posted On Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 7:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Thomas confident that Bruins will prevail

Boston goalie Tim Thomas certainly has a short memory.

Just minutes after giving up four straight goals to allow Tampa Bay to become just the third team in these playoffs to erase a three-goal deficit and win (the final goal of the 5-3 victory in Game 4 was scored into an empty net), Thomas was able to crack a few smiles as he started the process of looking ahead to Game 5.

Thomas, who finished with 33 saves Saturday, also flashed some of that legendary self-belief that helped him make the journey from potential career journeyman to perennial Vezina Trophy finalist.

Asked if he knew how this series would turn out after Tampa Bay became just the fourth team in Bruins' playoff history to beat Boston after the B's had taken a three-goal lead in a game, Thomas didn't even hesitate.

"Yeah, we are going to win," Thomas said. "I don't how it's going to be at any one time or one game. What's important is we come back in Game 5 and win that game."

If the Bruins can do that after Saturday's heartbreak, Thomas will play a big role. At times Saturday, he was fighting the puck. He did not get much help in the second period, but he also did not exude the same type of confidence he had in Thursday's Game 3, a 31-save shutout against the high-powered Lightning.
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Posted On Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 7:03 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Bad day for Bruins' Krejci

On an afternoon filled with difficult performances, perhaps nobody suffered more for the Bruins in Saturday's 5-3 loss than first-line center David Krejci.

Absolutely nothing went right for Krejci in Game 4.

He was on the ice for Tampa Bay's final three goals of the game, including the game-winner by Simon Gagne just 6:54 into the third period. His poor effort at a poke check as Sean Bergenheim came out of the corner after gobbling up a Tomas Kaberle turnover behind the Boston net was a huge part of Bergenheim's tying goal as well.

Krejci didn't manage a shot in the entire game and his wingers – Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton -- each had just one.

Perhaps, most tellingly, Krejci was just 3-for-12 in the faceoff circle, the poster boy for Boston's struggles at the dot. The B's won just 40 percent of Saturday's 65 draws.

Krejci's struggles did not go unnoticed by his coach.

"David had a tough night in the faceoff circle, and I think that kind of identified the type of game he had tonight," Claude Julien said. "It wasn't the type of game we're used to seeing David play."

But Julien was also quick to admit that quite a few more of his players struggled mightily in the final two periods.

"I didn't feel our players -- a lot of our players did not play their best game tonight," Julien said. "We are a team that when we're at our best, we win battles, and we win races and we're strong on the puck.

And from the second period on, I don't think we spent that much time in our own end compared to what we're used to."

-- Shawn P. Roarke
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Posted On Friday, 05.20.2011 / 4:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Julien: Krejci fine despite not practicing

When Boston center David Krejci was walloped with a clean open-ice hit by Marc-Andre Bergeron in the dying minutes of the first period, there was concern that he may have suffered a head injury, fears that were exacerbated by the fact that Krejci took a while to get up from his knees and did not play on the ensuing power play.

When Krejci played the final two periods of the game and pronounced himself fit afterward, those fears subsided.

Well, they gained life again Friday afternoon when Krejci was one of several Boston players missing from the team’s optional practice.

No need to worry, though, said Boston coach Claude Julien.

"David is fine," Julien said Friday. "We had a bunch of guys stay off today. It's more of an optional and short skate. So there's no issues with David. He's playing tomorrow with no issues at all."

Game 4 is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. here at St. Pete Times Forum. 
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 4:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Julien fires back

It appears that Boston coach Claude Julien has had enough of Guy Boucher's commentary on the Bruins.

The Lightning coach has spent the better part of two weeks now pumping up the Bruins in his public comments.

Already, Boucher has said he expects goalie Tim Thomas to perform miracles and has suggested that injured center Patrice Bergeron would play in each of the first two games of this series. Bergeron, out with a concussion for almost two weeks, may play in Game 3.

Thursday morning, Boucher spent part of his presser talking about the speed possessed by Boston rookie Tyler Seguin, who has 3 goals and 3 assists in the first two games of this series.

"I think the players and everybody underestimated his speed," Boucher said Thursday morning. "That's the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and for his team. And being a young guy, having success right away certainly takes a lot of nervousness away. For us, we know that he's going to be on the ice. We have to be able to keep on him."

Julien, speaking about an hour later, was apprised of Boucher's comments and decided he had just about enough of the Lightning coach trying to build the Bruins into world-beaters, the same tactic Boucher so successfully employed in the second-round sweep of top-seeded Washington.

"Well, Tampa has been very good at complimenting our team," Julien said, an edge seemingly in his voice. "They do a really good job of that. I think Tampa has got some pretty good speed themselves, (Marty) St. Louis and those kind of guys, Stamkos. They've got the same kind of players.

"So my answer to that would be I think they're pretty well served on their side. I don't think they're worried so much about Tyler more than they want to flatter him, and we know that there are the mind games that teams play, and right now we're just focusing on what we have to do here. And, if anything, I would be more tempted to compliment my own players such as St. Louis and those guys that are just as good as Seguin when it comes to speed."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.17.2011 / 8:03 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Savard in Boston for Game 2

The Bruins received a welcome visitor before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Injured center Marc Savard, sidelined since suffering a concussion in January, made the trip down to Boston for Game 2, according to the Bruins.

Savard suffered his season-ending concussion – the latest in a series of serious concussions – in Denver in a game against the Avalanche on Jan. 25. He returned home to Ontario and has not been around the Bruins since.

Well, that all changed Tuesday night as Boston prepared for Game 2, hoping to even this series at one game apiece before it heads to Tampa Bay for Thursday's Game 3.

Throughout the week, Boston coach Claude Julien has said Savard is welcome to visit any time he feels willing and able.

"He's part of our hockey club and he's always welcomed here," Julien said earlier this week. "He wants to come down and he's trying to get over a concussion that's really set him back. We've given him that space and being around family is a good thing to help yourself through that. We'll be happy to see him."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 5:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Despite success, Seguin sees no Game 1 PP time

Sunday, Claude Julien reaffirmed that rookie Tyler Seguin was one of the best players on the ice for Boston in Saturday's Game 1 loss.

Seguin had a goal and an assist in the 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and displayed his world-class skills on the first-period goal. He used an absolutely sick move to beat Tampa defenseman Mike Lundin and then used a quick shot to beat Dwayne Roloson to the far post.

Sounds like just the type of skill set that could help out a Boston power play that finished 0-for-4 in Game 1 and is now just 2-for-41 in the postseason, doesn't it?

Well, Julien said he had no real inclination Saturday night to include Seguin on either man-advantage unit, not even after Boston failed to gain the offensive zone on the first power-play opportunity of the night.
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Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 3:19 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Julien admits Kaberle feeling pressure to perform

Sunday, Claude Julien admitted what has been painfully obvious to most observers of the Bruins this postseason: Defenseman Tomas Kaberle is struggling.

Kaberle, obtained from Toronto near this year's trade deadline to help Boston with its power play and its transition game, has done precious little of either this postseason.

Boston's power play is historically bad, going just 2-for-41 in the first dozen games of this postseason. Kaberle has been a huge part of that downfall, making some questionable decisions at the point and often refusing to shoot when the opportunity presents itself. Saturday night, in the game 1 loss, he did take two shots from the point on the power play and each was well wide.

Earlier in the game, Kaberle made an egregious turnover behind his own net which led to Teddy Purcell's goal, the last in a game-changing run of three goals in 85 seconds by the Lightning.

After the game, Kaberle insisted he was not gripping his stick extra hard or feeling the pressure of being expected to perform better. But, on Sunday, Julien suggested otherwise about the veteran defenseman.

"There is no doubt he is pressing a little bit," Julien said. "I would say that because he knows what is expected of him and he knows what is being said about him; he knows all that stuff. At one point, you hope that he is capable of focusing on just doing the job, and we have confidence in him and we are going to work with him for him to get better, because we are going to need him to play at his best if we plan on moving on here and winning some hockey games."
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Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 3:17 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Marchand vows to avoid selfish behavior in future

The Boston Bruins were clearly frustrated by Tampa Bay's ability to shackle their offense Saturday in the 5-2 loss in game 1 of the eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.

Nobody, however, wore his anger more openly than the always combustible Brad Marchand.

In the second period, Marchand exploded in rage for everyone to see. In the midst of a frustrating evening that would see him finish with no shots and a minus-2 rating, Marchand shattered his stick, taking to healthy whacks to make the stick finally crack.

"It wasn't good enough the first time I did it, so I had to do it again," he said of his stick-swinging exploits. "I had a lot of frustration built up. I wanted to be a factor out there and it wasn't happen and it just got to me."

That, however, can't happen at this stage of the playoffs. You can't give another team the satisfaction of seeing frustration take hold. It is a sight that will merely embolden the opponent to do more of the same, knowing that it has tangible results.

According to coach Claude Julien, the outburst has already been addressed.

"That's something we don't like to see and we don't want to see; but he is a first-year player, he is a rookie and he is certainly learning," Julien said. He is going to be the first one to tell you that he is learning as he goes along here. And you can't allow yourself to get frustrated; you have to battle through things. We just showed a little bit of frustration and I'm sure you are not going to see that again.

Julien was not the only one delivering that message. Many of Boston's vets were doing the same, talking to some of the younger Bruins during and after the game.

"It's pretty early to be frustrated," Boston defenseman Andrew Ference said Sunday. "It's just wasted energy. It's addressed right away by whoever is sitting beside them, definitely in the lockerroom afterwards. It's not about showing emotion. You can have emotion, have fire and be mad about things; but in the playoffs – especially this far in – you have to know how to direct your energy and use it wisely. If you are yelling at Refs or slapping things around, you're not using your resources wisely."

Marchand, for one says he got the message loud and clear.

"I was a little frustrated there, and I reacted in a way that I shouldn't have," Marchand said Sunday "It was selfish and it brought a lot of negative energy to the team at the wrong point. (Claude) recognized that. He's upset about that because he knows I'm better than that. He knows that I can control my emotions better than that. I can't be getting off my game. I need to be getting teams off their games."
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Posted On Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 12:09 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Boston's Bergeron back on the ice

Boston forward Patrice Bergeron, sidelined for the past eight days with a concussion, was on the ice on his own Saturday morning at TD Garden in what coach Claude Julien described as a light skate.

Bergeron is not expected back soon -- he will almost assuredly miss both Saturday night's Game 1 and Tuesday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay here at the Garden. Bergeron suffered the concussion, the third of his career, during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Flyers.
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Posted On Friday, 05.13.2011 / 3:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

No change in Bergeron's status

It's been a full week since Patrice Bergeron suffered his concussion, on a hit from Philadelphia's Claude Giroux in Game 4 of the last round.

However, there remains no timetable for his return, according to Boston coach Claude Julien, who addressed Bergeron's condition after Friday's practice, the final one before Boston begins the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay, with Game 1 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS).
 
"I think he's improving, he really is improving," Julien said. "We're optimistic about him. As Peter (Chiarelli, GM) said, we knew he was going to miss the start of the series, and how much he is going to miss I can't tell you right now. But he is on the right track and we're staying positive.

"Again, I say that every day. I'm not going to say much more because when it comes to concussions, you have good news and you have setbacks and you have all kinds of things that can happen. I'm not going to stand here and change my tune every day except to tell you that right now that's going in the right direction."

Bergeron has not been back on the ice since the hit in Game 4 of the Philadelphia series. Once he is cleared to practice, it likely will take several days before he is allowed to play in a game.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.05.2011 / 2:53 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Kampfer returns to practice for Bruins

There was a new face at Boston's light practice Thursday at TD Garden, defenseman Steve Kampfer.

The rookie was skating with the Bruins for the first time since injuring his knee on April 9, while playing for the American Hockey League's Providence Bruins.

"It's good to get back out there. It's been a long couple of weeks sitting by and watching, but it's good to get back out there skating, and skating with the guys especially," Kampfer said after practice. "It's definitely a perk. It's moving ahead, but it's always slow at this time."

And while Boston might still be in the market for a sixth defenseman after the injury to Adam McQuaid in Game 2 -- replacement Shane Hnidy played less than three minutes in Game 3 -- don’t expect to see Kampfer in the lineup.

"We had no contact in our drills, so [Thursday] was a very good skate for him. We're moving forward as we're being told by our medical staff," coach Claude Julien said Thursday. "He's looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it, but he's not ready."

Speaking of McQuaid, the defenseman did not skate for the third-straight day after injuring his neck in Game 2. But Julien said McQuaid is making significant progress.

"He is definitely getting better," Julien said. "I know we are still saying day-to-day, but there is improvement in him. We are getting very optimistic things are going to happen quicker. Right now, we are just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well and, hopefully, we will have better news here in the next few days."

Even with the newfound optimism, there is no expectation McQuaid will recover sufficiently to play in Game 4, especially with Boston holding a 3-0 lead in the series. That means Hnidy will once again be in the lineup.

Despite using Hnidy for less than three minutes in Game 3, Julien said Thursday that he has full confidence in the veteran, who has just four games of experience this season.

"We definitely have confidence in him," Julien said. "We also understand he hasn't played much this year. Right now, the guys we had in our lineup last night were able to share our ice time last night. But having him as a sixth defenseman is something we are certainly comfortable with."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 11:25 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Boston's McQuaid travels home with team

Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid, knocked out of Game 2 after a scary collision with the end boards in the first period of Game 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday at the Wells Fargo Center, was released from the hospital and made the trip back to Boston with the team, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

"He's coming back with us," Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Globe. "So that's a good sign in itself."

McQuaid was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia after the incident, at the 17:38 mark of the first period, and he remained there several hours for observation. On the play that led to the injury, McQuaid tried to throw a big check on Flyers captain Mike Richards near the Boston goal and missed, launching himself awkwardly into the end boards, where he struck head first before crumpling onto the ice.

He remained on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the playing surface by teammates Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic.

Boston was forced to play the rest of the game with just five defensemen. Because of overtime, the workloads became significant.

Dennis Seidenberg played a game-high 36:26 and Chara played 31:35. Johnny Boychuk played almost 29 minutes and Andrew Ference was just short of 28 minutes. Tomas Kaberle played just under 20 minutes. McQuaid played just 4:04 before leaving the game.

McQuaid's status for Game 3 Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC) is unknown, although it should be updated Tuesday following the Bruins' practice.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Chara feeling much better

Zdeno Chara was actively involved throughout Wednesday's practice at lake PLacid and showed no lingering effects from the dehydration issues that ruled him out of Game 2.

Chara played in Monday's Game 3, a 4-2 win by Boston, and played a bit more than 26 minutes. He had an assist, blocked three shots and doled out three hits. And, it appears two days of rest here in Lake Placid have only made Chara stronger on the eve of Thursday's game 4 at the Bell Centre

"I'm feeling much better," Chara said after Thursday's practice.

Chara's improvement hasn't escaped the attention of his teammates either.

"The other day, when they pulled him out of the game, he looked like he was going to die any second," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "I think he's totally recovered and he looks fine to me."
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Recchi: Belief will fuel comeback

Five years ago, Boston forward Mark Recchi, then with the Carolina Hurricanes, opened the playoffs with two-straight home-ice losses to the Montreal Canadiens. Yet, two months later, Recchi was lifting the Stanley Cup, having overcome that disastrous start.

This season, Recchi watched his Bruins fall into an 0-2 hole against the Canadiens – again with both losses at home – and felt all the same disappointments before remembering how Carolina turned that playoff-opening adversity into a pathway to a championship.

Does he see similarities with the Bruins now that they have a Game 3 victory under their belt against the Canadiens and have, at least, forced themselves back into the series.

"If we win tomorrow, maybe we'll see some similarities," Recchi said, laughing. "It's still a long road ahead. Obviously, me being through something like that, you can talk to the guys about it. It's been done, it can be done. But, there is a lot of work to do. We have to stay focused. "

Recchi believes the key to engineering a comeback from such long odds has less to do with tactical changes than it does with the consistency of the team's mindset.

In 2006, Recchi joined the team, through trade, with about 20 games left in the season. He says his first impression was how united the team was in its belief. That unity, he says, rescued the Hurricanes when things started off so poorly.

"It's all about believing and believing in what we have done all year and believing in each other and trusting what we have done all year and trusting each other;  that's what it comes down to," Recchi said. "If we don't trust each other, we wouldn't have won Game 3.

"Now we have to believe in each other more than ever tomorrow and trust in each other that everyone is going to go out there and play a good game and do the right things for the hockey club like we have all year. If we do that, then we put ourselves in a good position to win a hockey game. If not, then we will make it very hard for ourselves."
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 1:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Kelly sent home for further evaluation

Boston forward Chris Kelly was sent home to be examined by the team's doctors for a possible facial fracture, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien.

"He just went back to Boston (Wednesday) to see our doctors today and make sure everything is OK and we anticipate him back in Montreal with us tonight," Julien said. "Everything's alright, according to what we know. There might be a fracture, but it’s nothing that would prevent him from playing."

Kelly was hurt in Game 3 when Scott Gomez knocked him down and Kelly fell face-first into the goal post. The Bruins forward finished the game -- even scoring the empty-net goal that sealed Boston's 4-2 victory.

If Kelly can't play in Tuesday's Game 4, it appears rookie Tyler Seguin will be drafted into the lineup. During Wednesday's practice at Lake Placid, Seguin and Jamie Arniel took turns in his spot during line rushes. Seguin has far more experience this season, having spent the whole year with the team.

Seguin, a healthy scratch in the first three playoff games, had 11 goals and 11 assists in 74 regular-season games.
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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 1:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Philadelphia-Buffalo Live Blog

Leopold could play in Game 3

Buffalo News writer Bucky Gleason is reporting that Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold could return for Monday's Game 3.

Leopold, who tops all Buffalo defensemen with 13 goals, suffered a broken hand on March 25 and has not played since. He has been skating with the team for a little more than a week and was expected back on April 22.

If he is able to return, Leopold should be a huge boost to the Sabres' power play.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.16.2011 / 11:19 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Julien: Chara should play

Despite being treated at the hospital for dehydration Friday night, Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara is expected to be in the lineup for Saturday's Game 2 at TD Garden

"Until our medical staff tells us he can't go, he's in tonight," Boston coach Claude Julien said Saturday morning after the team's optional morning skate.

The team announced Saturday morning that Chara was treated at a local hospital for dehydration, confirming a story first published by the Boston Herald.

Otherwise, they were very tightlipped about the status of their No. 1 defenseman.

Many of his teammates did not even find out that Chara was hospitalized until they arrived at TD Garden Saturday's morning skate.

Yet, they believed, to a man, that Chara will be in the lineup Saturday night for Game 2 of the best-of-7 series.

"I'll be surprised if he's not in the lineup," center Patrice Bergeron said

Chara skated in Friday's practice after playing a game-high 25 minutes and six seconds in Thursday's Game 1. He was, not, however, his usual dominating self. Several times, Montreal forwards beat him wide with speed in the attacking zone and he lost more puck battles than usual.

His absence, if the doctors hold him back, would be a huge hit to the Bruins, who need to win to avoid heading to Montreal in an 0-2 hole.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.16.2011 / 10:32 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Chara hospitalized for dehydration

According to a report in Saturday's Boston Herald, Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara spent Friday night in the hospital, receiving fluids to battle dehydration.

Boston spokesman Matt Chmura confirmed that Chara was in the hospital and is still being evaluated by Boston's medical personnel. His status for Saturday night's Game 2 is yet to be determined.

Chara skated in Friday's practice after playing a game-high 25 minutes and six seconds in Thursday's Game 1. He was, not, however, his usual dominating self. Several times, Montreal forwards beat him wide with speed in the attacking zone and he lost more puck battles than usual.

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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 11:22 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Sopel willing to pay any price to win

With Montreal's defense ravaged by injuries throughout the season, GM Pierre Gauthier was on the lookout for reinforcements throughout the season.

Brent Sopel was one of his targets; coveted for both his presence in the defensive zone and his championship pedigree after winning a Stanley Cup this past season with Chicago.

Gauthier was able to land his man in late February and the hard-nosed vet is already paying dividends. Thursday night, in Montreal's Game 1 victory against Boston, Sopel was at the vanguard of his team's shot-blocking commitment. The Canadiens blocked 19 shots and Sopel shared the team lead with fellow defenseman James Wisniewski. Each player had 4 blocks.

"It's playoff time," Sopel said. "Everyone is battling for one another and sacrificing. I've always said that blocking shots hurt, but if a puck hits me it is not going into the net. That is what you have to do is block shots and play solid defensively."

Sopel proved his point in the third period, splaying out to block a dangerous shot from Boston defenseman Andrew Ference.  

"Like I said about sacrificing to win, I'll do that; I'll drop in front of anything," Sopel continued. "Pricey is there for us and I am there for him. We all are. It was just one of those things, a bang-bang play. He has a shot and I am going to be lucky to get my body on it."

Price certainly appreciates the willingness of those around him to sacrifice their well-being for the greater good.

"I could mention everyone on our hockey team," Price said. "From Andrei Kostitsyn to Brent Sopel; everyone is willing to sacrifice the body for the team."

Price says he tries to let his teammates know how much he appreciates their efforts after each block, but he was extra demonstrative after the block by Sopel on Ference.

"I let him know every time he blocks a shot," Price said. "When I have guys that are willing to sacrifice any part of their body to keep the puck out of the net and from reaching me, I'll let them know for sure. That is encouraging and is good for our hockey team."

Sopel is happy for the acknowledgment from his goalie, but insists he is just doing the job for which he was imported into the organization two months ago.

"Price and I have connected pretty well from day one," Sopel said. "I sacrifice my body in front of the puck and he enjoys that. He is thankful for that. That is how we win. We haven't talked about it but I'm sure later on we will have a laugh."
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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 12:04 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Gionta saves day again

Thanks to the heroics of Carey Price, Brian Gionta's performance was relegated to sidebar material in Thursday's huge 2-0 win for Montreal at TD Garden.

But, there is no denying the impact the Canadiens captain had on the game.

His goal, just 2:44 into the contest was not only a study in opportunism, but it gave Montreal an opportunity to go into its defensive shell and begin the process of strangling the life out of the Bruins.

Gionta then scored a goal with less than three minutes remaining, putting the game out of reach for a Boston team that could not find a way to solve Carey Price on this night.

Scott Gomez, suffering through the most unproductive year of his career, had assists on both goals as he claimed turnovers and sent Gionta on the counter attack.

"I talked to our team and you know in the playoffs your best players have to elevate their game," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought that our top players, Gionta and Gomez elevated their game tonight."

The Canadiens, though, have become used to Gionta elevating his game when the team is in need. It's a trait that defenseman Brent Sopel picked up on almost immediately after he arrived in Montreal in late February.

"He was won a Stanley Cup and has scored many goals in New Jersey," Sopel said. "He is a little guy who doesn't give up.  He battles and battles and battles. Obviously, being a leader of this team, he leads and we all follow in his footsteps.  If we keep doing what we are doing and battling the way he does each and every night we are going to be OK."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 3:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Price enjoys complete confidence of his team

Last year, Carey Price was the forgotten man in Montreal's push to the Eastern Conference Finals, pushed aside to facilitate Jaro Halak's Cinderella run.

But, now Halak is gone – traded to St. Louis this summer in a highly unpopular move at the time – and Price is the man after a regular season to remember.

But, Price does not have great postseason numbers. He has 19 postseason appearances in his NHL career and has won just 5. He has lost the past 6 postseason games he has played.

Yet, the Canadiens are convinced he can be the man this spring that propels the team on another long run through the playoffs.

"Goalies are always big this time of year and Carey's been awesome," defenseman Hal Gill said.

"Us, as players, have had the treat of having some outstanding goaltending and Carey has been the guy for us all year and we expect the same from him moving forward in the playoffs," added forward Mike Cammalleri.

In fact, Cammalleri believes Price's success now rests in last year's frustration of riding the bench while Halak earned all the accolades.

"I think it started last year for Carey and I said that all along," Cammalleri said. "When Jaro played so well, Carey kind of handled it with a level of maturity that led to success this year. He made a decision at some point last year where he said OK, regardless of what happens, I’m going to get better.

"No one scored on him the last two months of practice and that whole thing led into it this year. I'm a big believer that things don't just happen for no reason and I think he put in the work to get to where he has been this year."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 3:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Savard still on Bruins' minds as playoffs open

Marc Savard, sidelined with a concussion, may be away from the Bruins, but he is not far away from the thoughts of the team as the playoffs are about to begin.

Thursday morning, Boston coach Claude Julien said that he speaks to the play-making center every week or so.

"We communicate, and things haven’t changed in his case, and it’s unfortunate for him," Julien said. "I'm sure he's going to be sitting at home and watching these games and wishing he could be part of it because as a player that part of you will never leave.

"And this is the most exciting time of the year, and I know he loved the times that he was in the playoffs. And he was obviously a pretty important part of the success of our hockey club; so will we miss his play? Absolutely. You don't lose an elite player like him and not feel it."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 11:52 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Miracle on ice?

With an eye toward alleviating some of the attention associated with playing the Canadiens in Montreal, the Boston Bruins have come up with a unique solution.

With two days off between Monday's Game 3 and Thursday's Game 4, it seemed natural that Boston might head back to Boston for two days of practice before returning to Montreal on Wednesday night. Instead, the Bruins cut the distance they will have to travel by setting up two days of practice in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The team will practice at the Team USA rink at the Olympic training facility, the same rink that hosted the 1980 Olympics and the thrilling gold-medal triumph by the Americans.

The Bruins don't have many Americans on their roster, but that shouldn't dilute the specialness of this side trip. It will be especially fulfilling for goalie Tim Thomas, the only full-time American on the roster. Thomas grew up as a big fan of the Miracle on Ice team.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 9:15 PM

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

Calgary wins, 4-0

The Flames comntinued red-hot, despite the frigid temperatures at McMahon Stadium.

Calgary defeated Montreal, 4-0, in the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, thanks to two goals by a dominant Rene Bourque and a 39-save performance by goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

The game set several records, including most shots by a player (Bourque, 11), saves by a goalie (39, Kiprusoff), and shots by a team in a period (21,Montreal), which broke the record set just a period earlier by Calgary.

With the victory, Calgary improved to 11-1-2 in its past 14 games. As a result of the victory, Calgary jumped back into the playoff picture in the Western Conference, going from ninth place to sixth in the bottleneck that is the West heading down the stretch.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 9:09 PM

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

Record night

The 2011 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic was a record night.

Man of the match Rene Bourque led the way, firing off a record number of shots for an outdoor game by putting 11 pucks on Montreal goalie Carey Price. Two of those shots went in, making Bourque one of just five players to have a record two goals in an outdoor game. Montgreal's Yanic Perreault, Edmonton's Richard Zednik, Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and Washington's Eric Fehr are the others.

But, Bourque was not the only one firing the puck as the teams set records for most shots in a period and a game. Calgary broke the shots for a period record in the first, taking 19 shots, two more than the record set by Detroit in the third period of the 2009 Winter classic at Wrigley Field. That record, however, only last 20 minutes as Montreal fired 21 shots in the second period.

All that shooting almost set the record for shots by both teams, which was 80. The teams finished with a combined 76 shots.

But, all that shooting did help set anoyther record. Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 39 shots he faced in gaining the shutout, the first in the six-game history of outdoor games. The 39 saves broke the mark of Buffalo's Ty Conklin, who stopped 36 Pittsburgh shots in the inaugural Winter Classic in Buffalo.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 8:54 PM

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

Century club for Bourque

Sunday is certainly a day that Rene Bourque will not soon forget. He was the clear man of the match, scoring twice and firing off nine shots in the first 50 minutes of the game, but also the second of his two goals gave him 100 for his career.

Bourque reached 100 goals in 373 games.

The teams switched sides, as advertised, at the 10 minute mark of the third period with Montreal holding a 35-33 adavantage in shots. But, the wind did not hamper Calgary, who scored its fourth goal moments after the switch.

Jarome Iginla made a nifty little saucer pass, especially considering the ice conditions, across the Montreal crease and set up Alex tanguay for an easy tap-in.

Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has been almost as good as Bourque, stopping the first 35 shots he has faced. The record for an NHL outdoor game is 36, held by Buffalo's Ty Conklin, who made 36 saves in the inaugural NHL Winter Classic. 
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 8:43 PM

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

Third period begins

Each team will spend half the third period with the wind at their back, which has been a clear advantage throughout this game. Calgary starts the period with the wind advantage, but will switch sides with Montreal at the 10-minute mark.

Once again, Dan Craig's ice crew scraped and flooded the ice by hand and it looked very good under the football stadium's lights.

The period also started quickly on the ice. The teams went more than five minutes without a whistle, which benefitted Calgary, who holds a 3-0 lead.

By the way, the announced attendance is 41,022 for the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 8:11 PM

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

Two periods done

Calgary leads 3-0 after two periods after Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque scored second-period goals.

Bourque's goal was his second of the game and 19th of the season. He scored a 5-on-3 goal in the first period with a deft little tap-in.

Almost as impressively, Bourque has nine shots in the first two periods.

Calgary's two goals in the second period came against the run of play as Montreal dominated on the shot clock in the second, out-shooting Calgary 21-11.

That means that Calgary's record of 19 shots, set in the first period, lasted just 20 minutes. Notably, each team set the record while enjoying the wind advantage. After two periods, the teams have combined for 59 shots in two periods with Calgary holding a 30-29 advantage.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 8:03 PM

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

Flames take control

Curtis Glencross almost single-handedly made Calgary's shorthanded goal at 12:44 of the period happen to make it 2-0.

Glencross and Brendan Morrison somehow engineered a 2-on-1 break while Jay Bouwmeester was in the penalty box for tripping Max Pacioretty. Morrison passed to Glencross, but a snap shot from Glencross went wide. Glencross, though, chased down the shot behind the net and skated it into the corner. As he was checked, he slid a backhander to Anton Babchuk, who fired a one-timer past Carey Price.

Then, 122 seconds later, Rene Bourque made it 3-0 with his second goal of the night. Somehow, Bourque was able to corral a bouncing pass from Cory Sarich and get it to settle before he made a sweet deke to force Price commit before tucking the puck in the net.

Bourque is the fifth player to score two goals in an NHL outdoor game. Yanic Perreault, Richard Zednik, Jiri Hudler and Eric Fehr are the other players to turn that trick. Bourque's second goal came on his eighth shot on the night.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:51 PM

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

Changing winds of fortunes

The wind is certainly having an impact on this game.

Calgary had the advantage in the first period and translated it into a 19-8 advantage in shots. The 19 shots are a record for an outdoor game.

But, it has been a different story in the second period as Montreal has benefitted from the wind. With nine minutes gone in the second, Montreal holds a 12-3 advantage in shots.

Travis Moen and Hal Gill might have had the best chances of the first half of the period. Moen was sprung into the zone with a sweet pass, but Miikka Kiprusoff robbed him on a short-side bid. The rebound, however, eventually found its way to Gill at the point and his booming slapper was steered away by the goalie's blocker.

Not surprisingly, Rene Bourque has one of Calgary's three shots in the period. Tom Kostopoulos also had a shot in the second, a snapper that beat Carey Price to the five-hole, but banged off Price's pad and kicked just wide of the post.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:34 PM

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

First-period notes

Dan Craig's ice crew is doing a yeoman-like job scraping and flooding the ice during the break.

And, it appears that Craig's ministrations are paying off.

Calgary's Rene Bourque said during the intermission that the ice wasn't too bad, "about what you could expect for a night like this," he said on CBC. Although he did say that there was a bad spot to the side of the Montreal net.

Montreal's Tomas Plekanec led Montreal with three shots and Cammalleri had two. Hal Gill led Montreal in ice time, playing 7:57 despite spending two minutes in the penalty box for tripping.

Calgary might have had a record 19 shots, but only three players managed more than one. As mentioned, Bourque had six and Tom Kostopoulos and Alex Tanguay each managed two shots. Nine other players had single shots. Jay Bouwmeester led Calgary in ice time, playing 7:56.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:11 PM

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

Record effort in first

The Calgary Flames head into the warmth of their dressing room after the first period holding a 1-0 lead on a Rene Bourque goal on a 5-on-3 advantage.

Calgary, playing with a stiff wind at its back, dominated the period, holding a 19-8 advantage after 20 minutes.

The 19 shots are an outdoor game record. The previous record is 17, which was set by Detroit in the third period of the 2009 Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bourque was the most dominating man for the Flames, firing off seven shots, all of which translated into legitimate scoring opportunities.

Price, who did not have a chance on Bourque's tip-in goal, kept the Canadiens in the game with a very strong period.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:00 PM

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

Trading chances

After Rene Bourque opened the scoring -- No. 18 on the year for him, assisted by Alex tanguay and Olli Jokinen -- the game settled into more of a back-and-forth affair.

Mike Cammalleri, making his return to the lineup, was sprung on a semi breakaway, but was denied by Miikka Kiprusoff.

On the next shift, Tanguay had a good chance, but fired just wide of the post. Two minutes later, Bourque was looking for goal No. 2 with a slapper that Price sticked aside. Bourque gained the puck on a turnover by Subban, who was trying to make a long pass but was foiled when his stick shattered.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:50 PM

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

Ice is broken

Montreal took two tripping penalties in rapid succession to set up Calgary for the game-opening goal.

At the 6:11 mark, P.K. Subban was whistled for tripping Tom Kostopoulos in the corner. Thirty-three seconds later, Hal Gill went to the box after committing a trip at his own blue line.

Carey Price started the 5-on-3 kill well by robbing Bourque early in the two-man advantage. But, Bourque got even when he tipped a shot past price at the 8:09 mark.

Gill was playing in his first game after returning from injury, Defenseman James Wisniewski also played in the game, despite taking a puck to the cheek just three days earlier. He had to play with a full shield. Mike Cammalleri also returned to the lineup after a long absence.

With those returns, Alexandre Picard and Tom Pyatt were Montreal's scratches.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:46 PM

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

We're underway

As expected, the ice has been an early talking point as the bitter cold has impacted the ability to maintain the ice at a proper temperature.

Earlier Sunday, Dan Craig and his ice crew decided that they would not take the Zamboni onto the ice surface for fears of further damaging the surface. So, the crew is shoveling the ice clear by hand and flooding it with a hose.

They are also patching holes on the ice during breaks to make the ice as good as possible, resulting in a few delays.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:32 PM

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

Pre-game festivities

The 2011 Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic is just about ready to start after a spectacular pre-game ceremony.
 
Both Thompson Square and paul Brandt handled the anthems flawlessy. Brandt, a Calgary boy, belted out O Canada while wearing a Flames Heritage Classic jersey.
 
The highlight, though, might have been a fly-over by the canadian Snow Birds.
 
Now, it is time to play. The game-time temperature is minus-11, but feels like minus-20 celsius because of a strong wind that will blow at the Flames back in the first period. Montreal will have the wind advantage in the second period and the teams will switch sides midway through the third period to even out the advantage.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:31 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Pre-game festivities

The 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic is just about ready to start after a spectacular pre-game ceremony.
 
Both Thompson Square and Paul Brandt handled the anthems flawlessy. Brandt, a Calgary boy, belted out O Canada while wearing a Flames Heritage Classic jersey.
 
The highlight, though, might have been a fly-over by the Canadian Snow Birds.
 
Now, it is time to play. The game-time temperature is minus-11 Celsius, but feels like minus-20 because of a strong wind that will blow at the Flames back in the first period. Montreal will have the wind advantage in the second period and the teams will switch sides midway through the third period to even out the advantage.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

A memorable night at McMahon

Calgary could not deliver a win for the 10,000 hometown fans that came to McMahon Stadium to see history repeat itself.

Instead, the Montreal Canadiens wore the black hats -- toques, perhaps -- by taking a 5-3 decision on a bitterly cold afternoon turning into evening in Calgary.

Montreal goalie Eric Fichaud, the youngest player in the game, made several key saves to deny some Flame attacks and "youngsters" Mike Keane, Russ Courtnall and Kirk Muller keyed the Montreal offense against Calgary goalie Mike Vernon, playing for the first time since his retirement in 2002.

Despite the scoreline, the Heritage Classic Alumni Game was a success for all involved.

The fans were treated to quite the show as many of the players that battled for the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1989 went at it yet again.

They were also treated to a number of memorable moments.

Terry Crisp, the coach of the 1989 Calgary team that won the Cup in Montreal -- the only team other than Montreal to claim the Cup at the Forum in the history of hockey -- was once again behind the bench. The iconic Lanny McDonald -- still sporting his trademark mustache -- was once again sporing his No. 9 jersey and flying up and down a Calgary ice surface.

Bob Gainey, who has been in the shadows since stepping down as the Montreal GM last season, made a triumphant return as The Montreal alumni coach, joined by Ryan Walter and Rejean Houle.

The crowd also saw two successful penalty shots in less than a minute, one by McDonald and the other by Montreal's Kevin Haller.

Plus, they saw some of the biggest stars in the game happily grab shovels and clean the ice during the stoppage between the two 20-minute halves -- a chore to anyone that has ever played shinny that speaks to the very essence of the outdoor game.

But, most of all, the 10,000-strong crowd watched some of the most famous names in the game smile their way through a 90-minute trip down memory lane, essentially serving up the perfect appetizer for Sunday's Heritage Classic.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Emotions running high

Jim Peplinski just started jabbing at Eric Fichaud's pads after the Montreal goalie made a save.

Rick Green, though, came over and playfully pushed him away and the two joked around, mimicking that they might drop the gloves in a battle. But of course cooler heads prevailed and the two smiled as they skated away.

While the mock shoving match was playful, there is no doubt that Calgary has turned up the intensity.

But that intensity went for naught when Kirk Muller scored against the run of play during a 2-on-1 to make the score 5-3.





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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

One-goal game again

Calgary refuses to say die.

It's now 4-3 as Gary Roberts scores on a typical power-forward move, driving to the net hard to be in position for Joe Nieuwendyk to feed him with a perfect pass to make it 4-3.

Roberts has a few advantages on his peers in this game. First, he is a fitness freak and he trains several current NHLers, so his cardio level is off the charts for this game. Plus, this is Roberts' second outdoor game in less than two months.

Roberts played for the Pittsburgh alum the day before the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter classic at Heinz Field. The Penguins, unfortunately, dropped that game to the Washington alumni.



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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Adding to the drama

Calgary has cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the second half when Lanny McDonald was awarded a penalty shot by referee Mick McGeough.

McDonald took the puck at center ice and drove in on Eric Fichaud. As he reached the circles, he settled a bouncing puck and snapped a shot five-hole to cut the deficit to just one.

McDonald's goal was well-received as he is one of the most popular players in Calgary history.

But McGeough showed he wasn't playing favorites when he gave Kevin Haller a penalty shot for Montreal just a minute later. Haller scored with a wrist shot, despite the fact that somebody on the Calgary bench threw a stick at him as he crossed the blue line.

Haller's goal made it 4-2 for the visiting Canadiens.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:15 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Time to shovel

Halftime was not rest time for the players.

Eschewing a Zamboni run because of the heavy use the rink endured today -- two full practices and two family skates -- Dan Craig opted to clean the ice with shovels.

Of course, the players did the heavy lifting, grabbing shovels and skating up and down the ice, pushing the snow into huge piles to be cleaned off by the ice workers.

It was a scene eerily reminiscent of the alumni game at the first Heritage Classic in 2003 when the alumni from Edmonton and Montreal shoveled the snow at halftime. Legends like Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky and Guy Lafleur joined the effort and all the players were given a standing ovation by a packed house at Commonwealth Stadium that braved -22 F temperatures to see Gretzky play in his first game since his retirement four years earlier.




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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:07 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Welcome to halftime

The first of two 20-minute halves has come to an end and the visiting Canadiens are snowing on Calgary's parade, holding a 3-1 lead.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first part of the period, Calgary turned the effort up a notch and got at least one goal before the break to make things interesting.

Calgary goalie Mike Vernon also got better as the period went along. In fact, he made a great last-minute save against Mike Lalor.

That gives the Flames hope heading into the second half. Certainly they will have a lively crowd cheering for the comeback as the 10,000 fans that have piled into McMahon have been both vocal and supportive.




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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:01 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Party crashers

Montreal seems intent on ruining this Calgary feel-good party.

Craig Levie just tallied a goal to make it 3-0 on an assist from current Montreal assistant coach Kirk Muller. Brent Gilchrist and Mike Keane had the first two first goals for Montreal.

While some of the Montreal players are having a good time, Brian Skrudland is being killed by his former teammates. Keane playfully called Skrudland the worst roommate he ever had in 23 years of professional hockey and also said Skrudland is the reason his hair has turned gray. Russ Courtnall, meanwhile, said Skrudland did not shut up this afternoon before the game.

Skrudland said he couldn't care less. "I'm just happy to be alive these days," he said, kidding.

And with that, Calgary gets on the board. Montreal goalie Eric Fichaud couldn't handle a slap shot from Al MacInnis and Joe Nieuwendyk showed he stIll has world-class hands by claiming the rebound and putting it in shortside before Fichaud could respond.

Then, Calgary had another goal waved off because the puck was played with a high stick.








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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 6:57 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Montreal leads 2-0

Terry Crisp is talking about the 1989 team in Calgary and is raving about their leadership.

"It was awesome. As a coach, it made your job so much easier," Crisp said.

He talked about Timmy Hunter, who is now a coach for Toronto, taking the team to task as a perfect example.

As soon as he finished, Montreal took a 2-0 lead as Brent Gilchrist scored a goal.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 6:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Breaking the Ice

Russ Courtnall is talking about the game on CBC and says it is a bit cold out and that even the short shifts the alums are taking is tough on the lungs.

The game is visually appealing as most of the players are wearing old-fashioned togues perched atop their heads.

It has taken quite a long time to break the ice in this game. We're seven minutes in and there has been no scoring. Mike Vernon of the Flames and Eric Fichaud of Montreal have just been asked to make one tough save each. 

Oops, spoke too quickly as Mike Keane makes me eat my words, scoring from the slot at the 7:30 mark of the game. Keane, who battled injury to play in this game, was camped in the slot and  fired a shot past Vernon, who was already sprawled at the side of the cage to make an initial stop on a Montreal flurry.

1-0 Montreal



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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 6:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

We're underway

We're under way here at McMahon.

Calgary started with a powerhouse front line, running out Gary Roberts, Lanny McDonald and Joe Nieuwendyk.

But it was Mike Vernon, in goal, who created the first signature moment of the game. Less than a minute into the game -- his first since he retired -- he made a smart save and helped turn the puck the other way.

Also interesting is that Joel Otto, one of the best two-way centers of his generation, is playing defense in this game.

Also, Martin Gelinas, a former Flame, is playing for Montreal, which has a short bench for this game.





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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 6:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Great memories

Calgary forward Theo Fleury has been enjoying the trip down memory lane this weekend in Calgary.

He arrived in Calgary a few days ago after finishing an old-timers tour of Canada. He has been posting twitter messages about his adventures and the reunions with teammates from that 80s powerhouse.

The 1989 team might be the best that this city has ever seen.

Six players on that team, which beat Montreal in six games in the 1989 Stanley Cup Final, produced at least one 50-goal season. Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Haakan Loob, Lanny McDonald, Fleury and Joe Mullen. That team also had Doug Gilmour, who only managed a career-best 42 goals, and topped the 100-point plateau for the first of three times in his career.




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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 6:19 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Excitement building

Faceoff for the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic Alumni Game is less than 10 minutes away here at McMahon Stadium.

Excitement has been building throughout the afternoon as the alums from the Calgary Flames prepare to rekindle their late 1980s rivalry with alum from the Montreal Canadiens. The teams met in the Stanley Cup Final twice in the span of four years. Montreal won the first match in 1986, but Calgary gained revenge in 1989, claiming the Stanley Cup at the Montreal Forum to add insult to injury for the proud Flames.

The two alumni rosters are loaded.

Three Hall opf Famers are involved: Lanny McDonald and Al MacInnis are playing for the Flames, and Bob Gainey is coaching for Montreal.

But that is just the beginning of the talent that has been assembled. Mike Vernon, playing goal for the first time since his retirement, Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts and Theo Fleury are playing for Calgary.

Montreal's Guy Carbonneau is joined by Russ Courtnall (Montreal), Jyrki Lumme (Montreal) and Sergio Momesso (Montreal) on board.

It is a perfect late afternoon for hockey as well. Temps are hovering around minus-15 as the sun starts to fall to the horizon and warming a rather large crowd of fans gathered in the east side of the stadium.









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Posted On Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 7:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com 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."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.15.2011 / 11:04 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 12:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 10:07 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:52 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com for what will be a bounty of stories and reaction from our All-Star collection of writers.






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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:48 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:57 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:51 PM

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

What a comeback!

Team Staal might be stronger starters, but Team Lidstrom are fantastic finishers.

The Lidstroms have ripped off three unanswered goals to take a 7-6 lead. Danny Briere picked the far corner against Carey Price to give Team Lidstrom its first lead after almost 35 minutes of play. Team Lidstrom was down 4-0 in this game and 6-4 in the second period.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:42 PM

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

Reason to give

All-Star Games are famous for their wide-open play.

But, you won't see a more wide-open goal than the one Anze Kopitar scored for Team Lidstrom to make the game 5-4.

Kopitar and Loui Eriksson broke in on a 2-on-0 without a Team Staal defender even in the defensive zone. Not surprisingly, Kopitar converted but not until he had executed a give-give-give-and-go with the Stars Center.

By the way, we are more than half way through the game and the contest's first offsides was just whistled.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:34 PM

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

Team Staal on the rise

Team Staal certainly starts fast.

After scoring the first four goals of the game, in less than 10 minutes, Team Staal scored the first two goals of the second period in less than six minutes.

Chicago's Patrick Sharp, making a strong push for MVP honors, opened the scoring by adding a goal to his two first-period assists. For a while Sharp had three assists, but one was taking away in a scoring change.

Then, Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang rifled a shot from the high slot that found the underside of the crossbar and left Jonas Hiller without a prayer to give Team Staal a 6-4 lead.

At the other end, Carey Price made several strong saves to keep Team Lidstrom off the board for the first 10 minutes. Perhaps the highlight was a save against Jonathon Toews at the mid-point.




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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:24 PM

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

First goals

There were eight goals scored in the first period and, amazingly, seven were first-time All-Star goals for the player that scored it.

Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring with his fifth career All-Star Goal -- in his fourth game -- but then it was time for a number of players to get onto the scoring act.

Paul Stastny, Patrik Elias, Claude Giroux, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Byfuglien, Loui Eriksson and Matt Duchene all found the net for the first time as All-Stars. All but Elias and Kopitar are making their first All-Star appearances.

By the way, the goalies have changed. Carey Price is now playing for Team Staal, while Jonas Hiller is in for Team Lidstrom.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:02 PM

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

End of first

A very entertaining first period is now in the books and it ap;pears that the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to steal the Thunder from the hometown Hurricanes.

Chicago winger Patrick Sharp has three assists for Team Staal and Jonathon Toews has a goal for Team Lidstrom. Pat Kane has an assist -- perhaps the best of the period -- and former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien, now pLaying for Atlanta, scored off that pass.

Right now, 3 Doors Down is rocking the RBC Center with their intermission set and I am having another pulled pork sandwich. I may need a pork product detox when I get back to Jersey.



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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:49 PM

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

Chicago connection

And here, perhaps, starts the comeback.

Team Lidstrom's Dustin Byfuglien -- having a season to remember -- just scored a nice tight-angle goal on a one-timer to make it 4-2.

Byfuglien's goal was set up by a familar face in Chicago's Pat Kane. The two combined quite often last season as teammates in Chicago during the run to the Stanley Cup.

Kane made a sweet pass across the crease, which Ward admitted on TV he did not expect, to feed Byfuglien for the shot.

Soon after, Chicago's Jonathon Toews set up Dallas' Loui Eriksson, and Colorado's Matt Duchene followed with a breakaway goal to tie the game at 4-4.

Marc-Andre Fleury has righted the ship after a rugged start to make this game interesting as it heads into the dying minutes of the first period.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:43 PM

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

Jinxed

Cam Ward was right to be peeved with the Versus announcers, who mentioned he had not yet allowed a goal during a first-period conversatioin with him. Not two minutes later, Team Lidstrom's Anze Kopitar ended the shutout run with a sweet goal that saw him go top shelf after breaking in alone on Ward.

Team Staal is still dominating though, leading 4-1. Chicago's Patrick Sharp already has three assists.

Needless to say, I didn't see this coming. In my post-draft analysis, I said Team Lidstrom had clear advantages in goal, on defense and at two of the three forward positions. But, it's early and I still believe in the depth of Team Lidstrom. We'll see how smart I am in about two hours.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:37 PM

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

What a start

The home fans are certainly getting what they came for.

Team Staal, captained by Eric Staal and populated with all the Carolina players in the All-Star Game -- Staal, goalie Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner -- is dominating early. Team Staal holds a 4-0 lead just eight minutes into the contest. Alex Ovechkin, Paul Stastny, Patrik Elias and Claude Giroux have the goals.

Ward is also dishing dirt on teammate Skinner, reveling that the 18-year-old rookie -- who looks like pop star Justin Bieber -- has been asked to several proms in the area.

The Carolina goalie is also giving the announcers the gears becuase they just mentioned that he hasn't allowed a goal yet, usually seen as a bad show of form by superstitious goalies.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:36 PM

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

What slump?

Alex Ovechkin is not having the best season of his career and the struggles have been evident as he has been more subdued than normal this weekend.

But the Capitals superstar doesn't struggle in All-Star Games.

In his first three appearances, he had 4 goals. It took him just 52 seconds to find the back of the net Sunday for Team Staal. Ovechkin's goal was a bit lucky as his centering pass bounced off Team Lidstrom defender Duncan Keith and skittered past Marc-Andre Fleury.

"He has not failed ever," Emerick said.

Team Staal got two more goals in the first four minutes to take a 3-0 lead. Team Staal goalie Cam Ward is mic'd for the Versus coverage and he admitted that he felt a little bad for his counterpart at the other end, who is not having the start he envisioned.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:10 PM

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

Introductions

What a fantastic way to start the afternoon as the game presentation folks paid homage to the pick-up game of shinny with the sticks being piled at center ice and being pulled by a collection of young players.

After the youth players pulled the sticks of a couple of other youth players, Carolina alumni started joining them. With the third stick picked, Rod Brind'Amour came skating to center ice, saying it was his stick. Next, it was Ron Francis joining the group. Then, it was Team Lidstrom captain Nick Lidstrom. Finally, it was Team Staal captain Eric Staal joining the party -- to a huge ovation -- just before the rest of the 2011 All-Stars came streaming onto the ice.

As Versus play-by-play man Mike Emerick said, it was quite the tour through the generations.

The standing ovation for Team Lidstrom coach Peter Laviolette was also very cool. Laviolette, remember, led Carolina to its only Stanley Cup title in 2006.

But, nothing compared to the applause rained down under the Carolina Hurricanes, who were the trhe last three players in the Team Staal lineup to be introduced. Let's just say that the building was rocking like a hurricane when the names of rookie Jeff Skinner, goalie Cam Ward and captain Eric Staal were announced. A truely iconic moment verY early iN the afternoon's proceedings.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 3:34 PM

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

Ready to Rock in Raleigh

After three days of build up and fun, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover is finally ready to get rolling.

The players are on the ice warming up and the anthem singers are starting to get some butterflys.

I, on the other hand, am firmly ensconced in the NHL.com bunker ready to give you the highlights of what will be a memorable game. I'm ready, too, after having spent much of the morning and early afternoon preparing a traditional pig picking. It came of perfectly and I got to sample the finished product, which with fuel me throughout the afternoon.

Not only was the food excellent and the guys and gals from The Pit, a local BBQ institution here in Raleigh, excellent company, but my planning work in making it happen  has eaned me a new nickname. The boys in the bunker here are now talking about pulled Roarke instead of pulled pork. A witty bunch they are.

Now, it's time to put the pig in the memory bank, though and concentrate on the puck. I promise to do my best.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 9:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

Discover Elimination Shootout

Team Staal entered the final event leading 25-15, but knew it would face the hardest push from Team Lidstrom in the Discover Elimination Shootout, the final event.

The goalies dominated early, as Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price stopped the first seven shots before Team Lidstrom's Dustin Byfuglien finally solved Price on the eighth shot. Fleury stopped the first sIx shots he faced before P.K. Subban went under the glove to break the spell. Fleury Finished with seven saves and Price had six after Danny Briere scored on his attempt.

The second set of goalies wasn't as lucky. Team Staal's Corey Perry scored on the first attempt against Jonas Hiller, his Anaheim teammate. Rick Nash also scored against Hiller. Meanwhile, Team Staal goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped the first seven shots he faced, including the League's leading scorer, Steven Stamkos. Marty St. Louis, another Lightning player, snapped the shutout bid.

The third set of goalies got off to a great start when Tim Thomas denied Team Staal's Alex Ovechkin. Hometown goalie Cam Ward allowed Pat Kane to score on the first shot he faced, but responded after that by stopping five of the final seven attempts. Thomas and Ward each allowed three goals.

That means only a dozen players advanced to the second round.

Again, Fleury was on fire. He stopped Subban before Perry fooled him to score -- Fleury tried an ill-advised poke check. Price, meanwhile, opened Round 2 with two saves before St. Louis befuddled him with a forehand-backhand move. Hiller stopped all three shots he faced in the second round, as did Lundqvist.

So it was just Perry and St. Louis in the final round, but Ward stopped St. Louis on his first attempt to make Perry the winner and give Team Staal a 33-22 victory before a pleased crowd at RBC Center.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 9:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

Chara wins XM NHL Hardest Shot

Zdeno Chara wasn't going to relinquish his hardest shot title without a fight. So he saved his best for last, ripping a record shot of 105.9 in the opening round of the championship round against Shea Weber to win his fourth-straight title and second in a row against Weber.

"Shea was shooting really awesome," Chara said. "I was not feeling that great, but thanks to the fans, they got me going.

Weber, who won the preliminary-round matchup, couldn't really hang his head. He took four shots in the competition and none registered under 103 mph.

Team Lidstrom's Brent Burns of Minnesota set the mark in the first round with a blast of 98.4 mph, and his opponent, David Backes of St. Louis, could not top it. The rookies, Cam Fowler from Team Lidstrom and Boston's Tyler Seguin from Team Staal, couldn't do it although the Bruin won the point for Team Staal with a shot of 95.7 mph.

But that was as long as Burns' mark stood as Chara, the defending champ, and Weber faced off in Round 3. And, the young gun took this duel in impressive fashion, throwing up a mark of 104.8 on his second attempt. That was better than Chara's best shot, 104.1 on his fIrst attempt.

Atlanta's Dustin Byfuglien also topped the 100-mph barrier, firing a 102.4-mph shot on his second try, but that was not good enough against the two masters.

Nobody else came close to those numbers and Chara earned a rematch in the final.

Alex Ovechkin actually had five attempts to beat the mark, hitting 98.2 on his first shot before breaking his stick on the second attempt and making two attempts that did not register b efore he hit 97.2 mph on his second attempts.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 8:17 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

G Series Skills Challenge Relay

Team Staal opened the brand-new G Series Skills Relay Competition with a time of 2:18. Boston's Zdeno Chara, Carolina's Eric Staal and Vancouver's Daniel Sedin did the one-timers before San Jose's Dan Boyle served as the passing expert at center ice. Then it was Buffalo's Tyler Ennis doing the stickhandling relay before Paul Stastny did the puck-possession relay. Corey Perry finished with the accuracy shooting portion.

Team Staal's initial time did not stand long, as Team Lidstrom's first team beat it by nine seconds, thanks in part to Chicago's Jonathan Toews, who hit the four targets in just five shots to make up some serious time. Nicklas  Lidstrom, Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson did the one-timers before Henrik Sedin did the passing and Martin St. Louis and Matt Duchene handled the relays.

Team Staal couldn't beat that time with its second team, which finished with a time of 2:30 when problems with one-timers from Kris Letang, Mike Green and Claude Giroux, who hit three posts, got the attempt off to a slow start

Team Lidstrom could not make up significant ground, however, when its second entry struggled in the relay portions to finish with a time of 2:33 and end up in third place. With five points in the event, Team Lidstrom now trails by 10 points, 21-11.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 8:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

D. Sedin McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting

The highlight of this competition came in the third round, when Chicago teammates Patrick Sharp of Team Staal and Jonathon Toews of Team Lidstrom were pitted against each other.

After a first attempt that ended too close to call, the two Hawks had to do a do-over and Toews handily won the rematch. redeeming himself for what he perceived as a poor showing in this event two years ago in Montreal.

But that was one of the few bright spots in this event for Team Lidstrom, who is losing handily in the overall competition.

The other high point was Chicago's Patrick Kane defeating Team Staal captain Eric Staal, much to the chagrin of the hometown fans, who were chanting, "Let's Go Canes.".

But Daniel Sedin got Team Staal back on track in the next round of the prelim competition, beating Martin Havlat by going 4 for 4. The Vancouver forward was the only of the 10 shooters to be perfect in the competition.

Daniel Sedin then won the championship by going 4-of-5 in the final, just nipping Kane. Team Staal now leads 18-6.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 7:53 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

Ovechkin wins Blackberry NHL Breakaway Challenge

As expected, the Breakaway Challenge was full of skill and highlights, as the six players made some of the most creative attempts seen in this contest, which began in 2008.

Washington's Alex Ovechkin earned his third straight win in this contest with an unbelievable series of moves in his four shots, capped by his last attempt. On that one, Ovechkin dribbled the puck down the ice with the knob of his stick before switching back to a traditional stick hold to beat Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a sweet shot. After he scored, Ovechkin sheathed his stick as players from both teams banged their sticks on the ice.

When asked about his winning moves, Ovechkin pleaded ignorance.

"I'm so excited right now, I can't remember," Ovechkin said.

With the victory, Ovechkin helped give Team Staal a 12-3 lead after two events.

Montreal rookie P.K. Subban certainly gave Ovechkin a run for his money, just as Ovechkin had predicted in his pre-event comments. Subban curried favor with the home crowd when he showed up for the competition in Jeff Skinner's Carolina Hurricanes jersey. But Subban, who won the AHL Skills competition, was about more than just fashion. On two of his attempts, he passed the puck over the net to himself and tried to bat int in, baseball style. However, he failed on both shots. He also tried to bounce the puck on his stick down the ice before shooting it betweeen his legs.

Anaheim's Corey Perry also had a highlight when he carried the puck down the ice lacrosse-style, over his shoulder, and fired off a shot.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 7:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater



Things got off to a rollicking start with the Bridgestone Fastest Skater competition at the RBC Center.

Team Lidstrom and Team Staal finished the preliminaries tied at 3 points each before Team Lidstrom's Michael Grabner won the final with a thrilling come-from-behind defeat of Edmonton's Taylor Hall. The two young blazers also met in the preliminaries, with Grabner winning that heat as well. In fact, the Islanders' Grabner had the two fastest times in the seven-race card, finishing the lap in 14.061 in the preliminaries and winning the title with a time of 14.238. In the final, Hall was clocked in 14.751. Team Staal won the event 5-3.

Perhaps the highlight, though, was the race betyween gaolies Tim Thomas and Cam Ward in the middle of the preliminaries. Boston's Thomas fell during the lap, but still almsot caught Carolina's Ward at the end.

By the way, the player introductions were awesome. Not only was the colored steam drape that the players skated through completely mesmerizing, but so was the idea of the players coming out to music associated with either his team or city. The coolest example, of course, was the four Hurricanes coming out in order at the end of the ceremony to the blaring sounds of the classic "Rock You Like a Hurricane" that is omnipresent at any game at RBC Center. But both the Philadelphia Flyers contingent, which came out to Rammstein's "Du Hast" and the Boston Bruins grouping, which came out to the Dropkick Murphys' "Shipping Up to Boston" get honarary mention in our minds.



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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 6:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

More replacements

Last-minute alterations to the Honda NHL SuperSkills rosters are trickling in as we approach the start of Saturday's show.

In the previous post, we discussed the interesting wrinkle where the goalies will now take part in the fastest-skater competition.

Now, Chicago's Patrick Sharp, who leads the Blackhawks in goals, replaces New Jersey's Patrik Elias in the McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting competition

In the G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay, Minnesota's Martin Havlat will now be a passer and Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle will replace Havlat in the stickhandling portion of the relay. 

In the BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge, Vancouver's Henrik Sedin is out, replaced by Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars.

You have 24 minutes to update your Skills rosters and make a last run to the fridge before the competition starts. Get moving!


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Posted On Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 6:18 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Blogging the Honda SuperSkills

Mark, Get Set, Go-alie

Ever wonder who the fastest-skating goalie In the NHL is?

Well, you will have part of the answer Saturday night as Boston goalie Tim Thomas and Carolina's Cam Ward face off as part of the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater competition.

It should be an interesting part of the fastest-skating show that opens the show Saturday night.

Our initial thought is that Thomas will disappoint the RBC crowd by beating Ward in the head-to-head race. We have no scientific basis -- there are no 50-meter times or the like that we know about -- but, rather are drawn to the fierce competitiveness that Thomas brings to virtually any endeavor.



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Posted On Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Ready to Raleigh

Watch out for Forsberg

Joel Quenneville is keeping pretty good tabs on what is going on in Denver these days as superstar Peter Forsberg tries to make another comeback with the Colorado Avalanche.

Forsberg shocked the hockey world when he showed up in the Mile High City last week to skate with the team, looking to play in the NHL for the first time since limping away with a foot injury after the 2008 postseason.

Ironically, Quenneville was the coach of that team and he watched Forsberg fight for fitness as the Avalanche made a playoff drive.

Now, three years later, the Avalanche is again in a playoff fight, sitting in a three-way tie for the eight and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Quenneville knows the elation that is being felt now by GM Greg Sherman and coach Joe Sacco.

"It's great for them. I know three years ago when he came back, he was somewhat limited in some of his activity but he was still probably the most amazing player in the game," Quenneville said Friday night. He could do so many things then that not too many players could do. He was a big factor in us getting in the playoffs and he was great in the first series against Minnesota and then we lost him in the series against Detroit. Going into the Detroit series, we felt we had a real chance and then when he got hurt in the morning skate, it was like we were all devastated."

So, does Quenneville believe the 37-year-old Forsberg has more magic left to pull off another meaningful comeback.

"Watching him in a couple of clips there, he looks like he was ready to play," Quenneville said. "It's good for (Colorado) and we'll have to deal with it.

"You get him in a game, he still does things that nobody can do. I'm sure everybody they must be excited."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.05.2011 / 5:07 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Sweden, USA trade second-period goals

A quick exchange of goals in the second period livened up Wednesday's bronze-medal game here at HSBC Arena.

The Swedes, who lost to Russia two nights ago in the semifinals, struck first as Oscar Lindberg scored a goal from the seat of his pants at the 11:56 mark. On the play, Carl Klingberg came steaming down the right side and fired a tester that USA goalie Jack Campbell pushed into the left circle. Lindberg, however, got just enough of the puck as he fell to the ice to sweep it through Campbell's legs as he went from post to post. American defenseman Jon Merrill just missed an opportunity to clear the puck off the line.

That goal, however, seemed to finally awaken the Americans, who had peppered Swedish goalie Fredrik Petersson Wentzel with shots, but not many testers. Just 96 seconds after the Swedish goal, things were knotted again as the Americans struck on the power play.

Chris Kreider got the goal, one-timing a pass from Chris Brown into the far corner of the net before the Swedish goalie could react. Brown made the play with a strong rush into the zone that took him all the way around the net before he picked out Kreider, who was pretty tightly marked. Kreider, though, was able to get off a quick shot that seemed to surprise Petersson Wentzel.

After two periods, the US holds a 24-18 advantage in shots.

The first period was all about the goaltending.

Petersson Wentzel, the surprise starter for the Swedes, repaid the confidence of coach Roger Ronnberg, stopping all 13 shots the Americans managed in the first. The highlight came when he flashed the left leg to stone Kyle Palmieri on Team's USA's first power play.

Robin Lehner, a top prospect in the Ottawa system, had played the semifinal game against the Russians.

Campbell, who has played every game for the Americans, wasn't nearly as busy, making just 5 saves in the first. But, his right-leg save against Calle Jankrok in the game's first minute -- on a Swedish power play -- set the tone for the period.

Team USA's Emerson Etem probably had the best opportunity to score in the first, but he hit the post after taking a sweet feed from Mitch Callahan.

Canada plays Russia in the gold-medal game later this afternoon.

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Posted On Monday, 01.03.2011 / 5:11 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Russia up 2-1 after two periods

Russia has shown no tired legs after Sunday night's miracle comeback against Finland in the quarterfinals.

Back on the ice 17 hours after the overtime win against Finland, Russia was right back on the HSBC ice Monday afternoon, playing top-seeded Sweden in the first of the day's two semifinals.

After two periods, Russia holds a 2-1 lead and is looking to spring a second-straight upset.

Team captain Vladimir Tarasenko gave Russia the lead in the first period and then Denis Golubev stretched the lead to 2-0 when he found himself alone in the slot after a great pass from Stanislav Bocharov and used a sweet forehand-backhand move to get Sweden goalie Robin Lehner moving in the wrong direction before potting a far-corner shot just inside the goal post.

Tarasenko, a 2010 first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, scored at the 6:37 mark of the first period, on just Russia's second shot. On the play, Tarasenko put together a strong cycling shift before barging toward the net along the goal line extended and firing a no-angle shot that somehow deflected behind Lehner.

Sweden applied the majority of pressure early on -- outshooting Russia 12-4 at one point -- but could not solve Russian goalie Dmitri Shikin, who robbed Jesper Fasth and Johan Larsson with beautiful saves.

In fact, it took almost 38 minutes before Sweden finally found the back of the net and it took an explosive slapper from Adam Larsson on the power play to turn the trick.

Defenseman Maxim Berezin was in the box for tripping when Jesper Thornberg passed a puck into the slot from the corner. Rickard Rakell, in the slot, tried to play it, but only got enough of his stick on it to slow it down. Then Larsson, projected as a top-five pick for the 2011 Entry Draft, pounced, pinching in to unload a cannon that beat Shikin, who had stopped the first 27 shots he faced in this game.

Russia needed a miracle comeback Sunday -- scoring two goals in the game's final four minutes against Finland to force OT before Evgeny Kuznetsov won the game in the seventh minute of OT -- just to get into Monday's game.

Sweden, meanwhile, heavily was favored to win this semifinal. Not only did they already beat Russia, 2-0, in pool play; but they were well-rested. By knocking off pre-tournament favorite Canada on the last day of pool play, Sweden earned the quarterfinal bye and did not have to play Sunday.
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Posted On Monday, 01.03.2011 / 4:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Russia up 1-0 after one period

Russia has shown no tired legs after Sunday night's miracle comeback against Finland in the quarterfinals.

Back on the ice 17 hours after the overtime win against Finland, Russia was right back on the HSBC ice Monday afternoon, playing top-seeded Sweden in the first of the day's two semifinals.

After one period, Russia holds a 1-0 lead on a flukish goal by captain Vladimir Tarasenko, a 2010 first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues.

Tarasenko scored at the 6:37 mark of the first period, on just Russia's second shot. On the play, Tarasenko put together a strong cycling shift before barging toward the net along the goal line extended and firing a no-angle shot that somehow deflected behind Swedish goalie Robin Lehner.

Sweden applied the majority of pressure early on -- outshooting Russia 12-4 at one point -- but could not solve Russian goalie Dmitri Shikin, who robbed Jesper Fasth and Johan Larsson with beautiful saves.

The Russians needed a miracle comeback Sunday -- scoring two goals in the game's final four minutes against the Finns to force OT before Yevgeny Kuznetsov won the game in the seventh minute of OT -- just to get into Monday's game.

Sweden beat Russia, 2-0, in pool play.
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Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas