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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 12:07 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Reimer remains out for Maple Leafs

NEW YORK -- Goaltender James Reimer won't be back for the Toronto Maple Leafs after all.

After practicing Wednesday, Reimer was not on the Madison Square Garden ice Thursday morning before the Leafs face the Rangers later tonight. The Leafs brought back Ben Scrivens from the AHL to serve as the backup to Jonas Gustavsson once again.

Reimer missed the Leafs' previous game Monday against the Flyers after taking a hit to the head from the Canadiens' Brian Gionta on Saturday. The Leafs are giving Reimer an extra day of rest as a precaution.

Gustavsson said after practice that Reimer has been dealing with a concussion, but the team is calling the injury whiplash. Coach Ron Wilson said if the Leafs played the Rangers on Wednesday, Reimer would've been good to go.

"The doctors haven't said that to me," Wilson said of Reimer having a concussion. "Last time I checked, I don't have a medical degree and I don't think The Monster does either. Until we're told something like that, this is a day-to-day thing."

The last time Gustavsson played here, he allowed six goals on 25 shots in a 7-0 loss on Jan. 19. Marian Gaborik scored four goals for the Rangers.

Four days later, the Leafs called up Reimer for good.
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 4:22 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Connolly nearing season debut for Maple Leafs

NEW YORK -- It's taken a little longer than coach Ron Wilson may have liked, but he'll likely be working with the roster he hoped to have on opening night when the Maple Leafs face the Rangers on Thursday night.

Tim Connolly, who signed a two-year, $9.5 million contract during the summer, has missed the team's first eight games while dealing with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He practiced with no problems at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday and said he's good to go.

"We'll wait till tomorrow before we make any decisions," Wilson said, "but Timmy Connolly's very, very, very, very close."

Tyler Bozak will definitely make his return after missing two games with a foot injury.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 12:55 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Live-Blogging NHL Opening Night With Dave Lozo

Opening night live-blog, part 2: the early games

It's been a while since we have had ourselves had a live-blog. How have you been? Nice summer? Mine was OK. Want to compare vacation photos? Yeah, me neither. I'd rather just watch some hockey tonight and make snarky comments about players while I'm on my couch and nowhere near a locker room. It's safe, warm, and if I have a beer while watching a game at home, I get way less stares than when I'm doing keg stands on press row.

We've got three games tonight -- Canadiens-Leafs and Flyers-Bruins at 7, then Penguins-Canucks at 10. Before all that, NHL Network is having a four-hour (!) pre-game extravaganza starring Kevin Weekes and ... I'm not sure, really. As long as you have Weekes, everything else doesn't matter, right? But everyone will be in Boston for the banner raising, which I imagine will be a swell time of fun and happiness for people at TD Garden.

The Canadiens and Leafs game should be interesting. This may surprise people, but hockey is wildly popular in Canada, and the Canadiens and Leafs have a lot of fans who take things very seriously. I'm picking the Canadiens to reach the Cup Final and the Leafs and to make the playoffs, so in my mind, this is a heck of a matchup. I don't so much care what you think of it, but you should watch so you can at least following along with my jokes. I'm a joke maker.

Then at 10, Pens-Canucks. Fun. Sidney Crosby isn't back, but Evgeni Malkin is. The Canucks have waited about three months for a chance to wash the taste of losing to the Bruins out of their mouth, and the Penguins are the Listerine in this metaphor. It's a potential Cup Final preview on opening night. You can't ask for much more than that. Well, you can ask, but this is all you're getting. Man, you're greedy.

So here we go:

12:54 -- Well, that shootout lacked drama. Two calm saves for Fleury, two goals by Letang and Malkin where Luongo wound up on his stomach. Pens win 4-3, I'm going to sleep, take good care.

12:48 -- We are through OT and headed to a shootout. Daniel Sedin nearly won it in the first minute, but Fleury held his post on a tricky move from behind the net by Sedin.

12:37 --
Cody Hodgson beats Fleury, but it goes through the goalie's legs and just wide. With 75 seconds left, it looks like OT is inevitable.

12:34 -- We're still tied at 3, but Jordan Staal just left the ice and went to the locker room. Could be an injury, could be equipment. Stay tuned.

12:17 -- Henrik with just a sick pass to Daniel, who goes high glove to tie it. It was so sick that doctors would've given that pass a week to live. That's how sick it was.

12:15 -- Third period has gotten going at Rogers, but my Internet isn't getting wonky, like Paris Hilton's eye. I had a great thing before I wrote, but the site timed out. Oh well. 3-2 Pens in the third!

11:47 -- Keith Ballard has pulled the Canucks to within a goal as the second period winds down. Fleury had no chance as the Sedins get the assists.

11:19 -- I wrote this funny entry after Cooke scored his second of the game, a shorthanded goal, but there was an error message and it got erased. So this is all you get.

10:55 -- One period done, and it's 2-1 Pens. Definitely the most fun game of the night so far. It looked like the Canucks tied on a shot that Fleury gloved but the momentum of the shot took his trapper into the net. However, video replays were inconclusive. It looked like it crossed the line completely to me, but "it looked like" isn't conclusive. As in, it looked like I was going to become a professional baseball player, but replays showed conclusively I wasn't that good.

10:48 -- Maxim Lapierre keeps this game's theme going, as he slides the puck from behind the goal line and banks it off Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net. Good lord. This is a goaltending clinic. You know, the part of the clinic where you show goalies what not to do on shots from behind the goal line.

10:42 -- Matt Cooke, kind of like Michelle Branch, is everywhere to me. He draws the penalty on the first goal, scores the power-play goal on the next PP. And the beauty is he's on my NHL.com fantasy team. And that's why I drafted him. Power play goals. Right. Sure. 2-0 Pens.

10:35 -- As I weep for men everywhere while I watch a Weight Watches for men ad, the Pens are going on a power play after Jannik Hansen hit Zbynek Michalek from behind. Let's see if Luongo can defend the bank shot.

10:25 -- It took about 5 minutes for the James Neal to get his first goal and Roberto Luongo to let up a goal from behind the goal line. Neal banked it off the goaltender on the power play after Matt Cooke drew -- yes, drew -- a penalty. I don't think anyone will be pumping Lu's tires after that one.

10:17 -- At long last, the Pens and Canucks are under way. I'm glad this game is on by itself. I think it'll be the best one of the night.

9:59 -- The Flyers are going to hang on after the Bruins nearly tie it on a power play, but Kimmo Timonen made a stick save with a gaping net. Bryzgalov was great, the Bruins were asleep at the wheel for about a period, and it was enough to cost them the opener. Pens-Canucks is just a few minutes away, which will be nice because focusing on two games is hard. I know, I know. I'm a true hero, finding a way to watch two hockey games at once.

9:45 -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are the best team in the NHL. Leafs 2, Canadiens 0. Reimer held the fort in the first period and it seemed to deflate the Canadiens, who looked pretty awful the final two periods. My apologies now to Habs fans for picking them to come out of the East.

9:28 -- The Bruins have a little more energy in the third, but it appears that Cup hangover has settled in immediately. Missed passes, offsides, no one is skating. Meanwhile, the Leafs are settling in and are less than 10 minutes from having the most points in the NHL. Good for you, Toronto.

9:17 --
Phaneuf unleashed an absolute one-time bomb over the shoulder of Price that makes it 2-0. It all started with a turnover by Subban in the neutral zone and ended after Kessel teed up Phaneuf. Lot of time left and the Leafs are giving away power plays.

9:05 -- The Bruins get a couple of PP chances late in the second period, but the Flyers are the ones that get all the scoring chances. They are through two in Boston and the champs are still down 2-1. On the bright side, the third period in Toronto is starting. I love when games sync up like this.

8:50 -- The Leafs take a 1-0 lead to the locker room after two periods. They had a lengthy 5-on-3 to close the period, but they seemed interested in skating around the neutral zone and not shooting. I thought they did an excellent job of killing off their power play. The addition of David Steckel is paying immediate dividends.

8:41 -- So both games are happening at the same time right now, and I've got no volume on the Versus game. I'm listening to the CBC guys. Chara just shoved Giroux face-first into the boards, and it looked like a case of OH MY GOD CHARA IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT GUY WHO IS QUICK AND JUMPED IN FRONT OF CHARA. Alas, Chara has gotten a penalty for that. In Toronto, the Leafs are dominating the second period. They've got a goal, a post, and Kessel hit something on a 2-on-1 when it looked like he opened up the net with an nifty move. I can't wait till these games are over so I can start being overly judgmental about these teams.

8:25 -- The Leafs are suddenly buzzing in the second period, taking the play to Montreal. Sources tell me Ron Wilson didn't say a word, he just tweeted things like, "Thinking about murdering someone on the bench. They have their backs to me, so they'll never see it coming." Twitter, there's nothing it can't do.

8:14 -- Matthew Lombardi, who missed all but two games of last season because of a concussion problem, scores a shorty to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead. That's a nice story. He could win the Masterton.

8:09 -- The Flyers just tied it on a beauty of a goal by Claude Giroux, then Jakub Voracek gives them the lead like 4 seconds later. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for both goals, although Giroux utterly undressed him on the first one. Both goals come in the final minute. I'm sure passing the Cup around before the game had nothing to do with it.

7:52 --
Brad Marchand has scored the first goal of the season. The Bruins have been clicking, while the Flyers have looked mostly like a team full of new players getting to know each other. It's all Montreal in Toronto, but no one has scored. It's tied at 0-0 after one period with the Habs starting the second period on a power play.

7:35 -- Anthem being sung in Boston. Leafs can't get out of their own zone in Toronto. Jaromir Jagr just turned 42.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:25 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: DeBoer happy to have Lemaire’s help

NEWARK, N.J. -- Peter DeBoer is a new coach surrounded by coaches who were with the Devils last season. Perhaps others would feel threatened by that situation and prefer to work in a different way, but DeBoer said he has no problem with working alongside Jacques Lemaire.

"I'm secure enough in what I do that I think I'd be crazy not to utilize a resource like Jacques," said DeBoer, who has Lemaire on his staff as a special assignment coach. "He won Stanley Cups as a player and as a coach. I just don’t understand the rationale of having a guy like that around and not using him. It wouldn't make sense to me."

Lemaire took over last year after the Devils fired rookie coach John MacLean. DeBoer spent three seasons coaching the Florida Panthers, so he's hardly a rookie, but he's still getting to know his new team in New Jersey. Having Lemaire around is helping DeBoer learn about everyone, something that's key on a team that has a lot of roster spots in play.

"I think there's jobs up for grab. I think when you look at our board, there's lots of opportunities on this team," said DeBoer, who also mentioned that first-round pick Adam Larsson has looked "outstanding" so far. "I'm excited to see who comes out at the end."

DeBoer also said Zach Parise looked 100 percent and that he doesn't expect there to be too much of a learning curve with his fast-paced style he's installing during training camp.

"We're not re-inventing the wheel," DeBoer quipped.


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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:59 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: Larsson humble but confident

NEWARK, N.J. -- Adam Larsson was quiet and chose his words carefully following the first day of his first NHL training camp. The fourth pick in the 2011 Entry Draft has the size (6-foot-3, 197 pounds) and experience from playing in Sweden to jump into the NHL right away.

The Devils also lack a surplus of experienced, viable defensemen, which gives Larsson a pretty good chance to crack the roster.

But Larsson was careful not to say he deserved to be there, just that he was going to do his best during camp and let the coaches make their decision.

"I'm just going to do my thing," Larsson said. "The biggest difference between here and Sweden must be the speed and skills of the players. Hopefully I'll get used to it. Of course this is a dream for me. It's huge for everybody to be part of an NHL team. I'm just going to do my best and hopefully I will make the team."

Does the 18-year-old believe he belongs here?

"Of course I believe it," Larsson said. "I'd be stupid if I didn't."

Veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador got his first glimpse of the first defenseman taken in this year's draft and liked what he saw.

"I think he's definitely got the skill set," Salvador said. "You just can't put too much pressure on him. Playing defense in this league is very difficult. We just need to let him develop and not put too much pressure on him."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:56 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: Salvador healthy after lost year

NEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Bryce Salvador missed all of last season because of a concussion. To avoid another this season, he offered some sage advice.

"Don't get hit in the face with a slap shot," he said.

That's how Salvador said he first suffered his injury two years ago and some hits during the preseason last year led to his concussion. He was back on the ice Saturday at the start of Devils training camp and said he feels no effects from the injury.

"I think it was definitely a learning experience, showing that not all concussions are the same," Salvador said. "It was just fun to be back. It's been a long time since I've had that kind of energy going through me. It was a 'nice to be alive' kind of thing. It's good to be back out there."

As long as Salvador doesn't suffer any setbacks, he will be one of the Devils' top-six defensemen and could find himself playing alongside rookie Adam Larsson. The two were paired at times during the day's second session, but Salvador said that wasn't planned and just happened as they were cycling through seven defensemen during the session.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: DeBoer pushing the pace

NEWARK, N.J. -- It's coach Peter DeBoer's first training camp with the New Jersey Devils. He's arrived on the scene as a bench boss who wants to push the tempo and dictate pace.

It seems that's his philosophy during practice, too.

Following the team's first of three sessions on Saturday, players talked about how quickly things were moving during their first practice with their new coach.

"There's not a lot of standing around," forward Zach Parise said. "All of the drills were high-paced, lot of guys moving during the drills, so that's good. And not a lot of rest in between drills, so your heart rate is up pretty much the whole time."

Patrik Elias, who will likely open the season as the team's No. 1 center with Travis Zajac out because of an Achillies' tendon injury, was on a line with Parise throughout most of the first session. But don't read too much into or think that DeBoer wants the duo to work together.

"They put us in the first group so we formed our own line," Elias said. "I don't know if that's our line, but the coach didn't say anything."

Elias also remarked about DeBoer's style.

"You got to like it. He wants to play aggressive," Elias said. We're going to forecheck, be in their face. Maybe in the past we were too passive and he wants to change that."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:26 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: Parise talks future, captaincy

NEWARK, N.J. -- There's really no shortage of topics to discuss with Zach Parise at this point of the season, but the one that's not likely to go away until April is his future with the New Jersey Devils.

Parise is one of the League's bright young stars, but after signing a one-year contract this offseason, he will be staring at unrestricted free agency if the Devils don't lock him up. Following his practice session on the team's first day of training camp, the questions started.

Q: Do you expect to have this hanging over you all season?

"I was anticipating people asking that questions, and I'll give you the same answer throughout the whole season," Parise said respectfully. "We're working on it. Nothing's going to change. Mentally, I feel great. I feel fresh. I'm excited to start."

Q: Any worries the contract stuff will become a distraction?

"Not at all," Parise said. "I guess I haven't really been exposed to media all summer, so no one's been asking, but I don't foresee it being a problem. Like I said, you can ask me now or you can ask me in two months -- we're working on it. I'm sure people are going to keep reminding about it, but I don't see it affecting my play."

Another question Parise has been asked consistently is whether he wants or expects to receive the team's vacant captaincy. Having just a one-year contract, it makes it a complicated issue for the Devils. Parise said he would accept the 'C' if coach Peter DeBoer wanted to bestow it upon him. But goaltender Martin Brodeur talked about how there's no easy choice.

"The pick of a captain is when you pick one, you need to make sure you pick the right one," Brodeur said. "I grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens and being the captain in that organization is a big deal. And lately, we've been kind of swapping around captains. We're trying to build a little more of an organization that's going to have the stability we had for years with Scotty (Stevens) as captain.

"A guy like Zach, he's going to be looked at as a big leader, just like (Ilya Kovalchuk), just because of the talent they have and the impact they have on other players. That's why they have to take their time. They have to make sure all the pieces are in places, if that's the route (Parise as captain) they want to go."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:46 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: Final season for Brodeur?

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur opened what could be the final training camp of his NHL career Saturday. The surefire Hall of Fame goaltender, who will turn 40 in May, is in the final year of his contract with the New Jersey Devils and is not currently negotiating a new one.

Brodeur isn't willing to say this season will be his swan song, instead opting to take a wait-and-see approach.

"This is going to be the same as every other season," Brodeur said. "I'm not going to change my approach because I feel it could be my last. I just go out there and try to have fun and enjoy the game. After that, I'll evaluate how I feel about continuing. I'm approaching this season like any other season."

If general manager Lou Lamoriello came to Brodeur with a contract for next season during this one, would Brodeur consider signing it before the summer?

"I don't know. Everything will be in front of me at one point and I'll have to make decisions," Brodeur said. "Right now, I'm not in the middle of making a decision. But who knows if something is brought up to you, you put it in your head and see how you feel and make your decision then."
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Posted On Thursday, 09.08.2011 / 11:32 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Brad Richards a Packer-backer

The NHL season starts in less than 30 days, but Brad Richards might be even more excited for the start of the NFL season.

The newest New York Ranger was born in Prince Edward Island and played his professional hockey in Tampa and Dallas. Yet Richards has always been a fan of the Green Bay Packers, who will kick off the NFL season against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

But why the Packers?

"My dad was a big NFL fan, so I watched it a lot," Richards said. "When I started getting interested, I was probably 15 or 16, right when (Brett) Favre was winning MVPs. It was all him. But then I found out more about Packer tradition and Lambeau Field and I always just went with."

Even during his time in Dallas, home of the Cowboys, he never kept his love for Green Bay a secret.

"Oh no, " Richards said. "I was very open about all that."

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday