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Posted On Sunday, 11.27.2011 / 11:49 AM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars put Lehtonen on injured reserve

The Dallas Stars took a significant hit Sunday when the team announced that starting goalie Kari Lehtonen had been placed on injured reserve after suffering a lower-body injury in Saturday night's 3-0 loss to the Coyotes.

Lehtonen, 28, currently leads the NHL in wins, going 13-4-1 this season with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. After winning eight games in the season's opening month, Lehtonen as named the NHL's Second Star of the Month for October. Behind Lehtonen's stellar play the Stars have been one of the pleasant surprises in the first quarter of the 2011-12 season and they are currently tied with Phoenix and San Jose for the most points in the Pacific Division.

With Lehtonen out, backup goalie and 11-year veteran Andrew Raycroft is expected to get the start Monday night when Dallas visits Colorado. Dallas did however call up goalie Richard Bachman from the AHL to fill the role of backup.

The Stars also recalled forward Francis Wathier Sunday.
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:55 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Blue Jackets Mason injured; Karlsson to start for Flames?

Goalie Steve Mason suffered a head injury during Monday's morning skate.

Mason was apparently rattled by a shot from Rick Nash early in the skate, which caused Mason to drop to the ice where he stayed for a few moments while being tended to by trainers, according to a report in the Columbus Post-Dispatch. Mason was able to leave the ice on his own, but has been ruled out Monday night's game against Calgary as a result of the injury.

While Curtis Sanford is getting the start, Columbus did call up Allen York from its America Hockey League affiliate in Springfield to serve as backup for the game.

"He’s not good," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel told reporters of Mason after the skate. "Yorkie's on his way in here. (Mason's) going to miss tonight and we'll re-evaluate him tomorrow. He got hit pretty good there, hit pretty hard."

Sanford is 1-0-1 this season with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

While it has not been confirmed by Calgary, the Post-Disptach also reported that Henrik Karlsson is expected to get the start for the Flames Monday, giving No. 1 goalie Miikka Kiprusoff the night off.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.08.2011 / 9:16 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Player Media Tour

Wrapping up Day 1 of the NHL Player Media Tour

After one day at the NHL's annual Player Media Tour, 34 different players from 28 different teams have made rounds with the media both at the League's offices in midtown Manhattan and at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

While much of the day involved sitting down for interviews with assembled media, as well as NHL.com, several players experienced both the practical and the off beat. Islanders fans for one, may be happy that Michael Grabner and John Tavares are in the fold for their franchise, but they may have to experience some concern that the duo could be interested in a career change. Grabner and Tavares took a break from the ice to try working retail for a day, walking the floor at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York.

Elsewhere, Atlantic Division rivals from both New York and New Jersey participated in the event as Henrik Lundqvist helped his new teammate Brad Richards adapt to the frenzied crowds at an autograph session. Devils winger Zach Parise meanwhile, sat down to discuss his impending contract negotiations with the New Jersey front office, while also calming fears that it was a stunt double, not Parise with his reconstructed knee, sliding across a car hood in a recent commercial he filmed.

Another young star, Logan Couture, sat down to talk with NHL.com and talked about how fun it is to casually sit down and chat with other players from around the League.

In Newark, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were some of the players who sat down for interviews with NBC, while several others filmed promos for NHL Network.

On Friday, the media tour will wrap up with the players who spent Thursday in Newark switching places with those in New York City. As those players continue to run through the media gauntlet tomorrow, so will NHL.com. Be sure to come back Friday for even more comprehensive coverage as well as up to the minute updates from our Player Media Tour blog.
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Posted On Friday, 07.01.2011 / 11:26 AM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Free Agency '11 Blog

Defenseman crop gets even smaller

As a native of Canton, Mich., James Wisniewski is probably more of a Wolverines fan that a supporter of the Buckeyes, but with his newly christened six-year $33 million contract with Columbus, he might want to look into some season tickets for Ohio State. He can certainly afford it.

Wisniewski's signing takes another big name out of what had been a very deep group of free agent defensemen, but in the flurry to trade negotiating rights over the past few days, Wisniewski, Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Montador, Kevin Bieksa and Andrei Markov have all signed new deals to stay with their current teams or whichever team had acquired their rights. That means what was once a large pool of defensive free agent talent is now that much thinner.

The men who seem best positioned to be the most sought after blueliners on the market might now be Columbus' Jan Hejda or recent Stanley Cup champ Tomas Kaberle, whom the Bruins appear set to let go after making the big move to acquire him at this season's trade deadline.

Obviously that move paid off for Boston, but with many of the top defenseman locked up, it may be time for that move to pay off for Kaberle. Ed Jovanovski or Bryan McCabe could also be able to cash in with the thinner market, but Wisniewski's big deal may have taken the last of the big names out of the equation.
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Posted On Friday, 07.01.2011 / 10:28 AM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Free Agency '11 Blog

Some names hopping across the pond

The start of the NHL's free ageny signing period is just 90 minutes away, but that doesn't mean some players aren't making moves. Of course, these aren't your standard players inking deals in the hours before teams lose their negotiating rights.

Some, struggling to break into the NHL full time, are crossing the Atlantic in hopes of greener pastures.

Reports have begun to surface that the Swedish Elite League's HV71 has managed to pursuade Islanders forward Jesse Joensuu and Noah Welch, who spent most of this past year with the AHL's Chicago Wolves, to sign deals in Sweden.

Elsewhere, Canucks farmhand Sergei Shirokov is reportedly heading to the KHL while Hannu Toivonen, who has made appearances with the Bruins and Blues over the past few years, has decided to play goal for Malmo, also of the Swedish Elite League. Toivonen spent the last two seasons in the Blackhawks' system with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.

Of course, when the clock hits noon and unrestricted free agency opens, deals involving NHL teams will finally begin to come through, and that's when the big names will start to fly around.

Sit tight. The fun is about to begin.
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Posted On Sunday, 05.29.2011 / 7:40 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

EA Sticks with its guns, takes Vancouver

Predictions are a funny thing, and getting them right from the start of the postseason is tricky enough. EA SPORTS has managed to do a pretty decent job with its EA SPORTS NHL '11 Simulation Engine, correctly predicting all but one of the 14 postseason series so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But with the Final comes added pressure. EA SPORTS' reputation doesn't simply have two months of prognostications at stake when Boston and Vancouver drop the puck Wednesday night for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

There's a whole season of work on the line.

That's because EA SPORTS' simulations didn't just pick Vancouver and Boston to meet for this season's championship in April, this matchup was pegged way back in October. In an impressive Nostradamus act, EA SPORTS' preseason simulation accurately tabbed Vancouver to win the Presidents' Trophy before facing off with Boston for a chance to lift the Stanley Cup. In those initial predictions, the Canucks pulled through and won their first-ever Stanley Cup championship in a taut seven-game Final.

This time around, with a chance to take a mulligan, EA isn't wavering.

According to its latest predictions, the EA SPORTS NHL '11 Simulation Engine is sticking with the Canucks over Boston in what it expects to be a tight series that goes the distance. And that Presidents' Trophy? It factored in handily as the home team won each game, with one of the more thrilling moments an overtime win by the Bruins in Game 6 at TD Garden to force a decisive seventh game.

In the end, that momentum won't be enough for the B's however, as EA SPORTS has the Canucks holding on in front of the Rogers Arena crowd with a 3-1 win in Game 7. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo is picked to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy.

If Vancouver winds up bringing the Cup back to Canada for the first time in 18 years, the people at EA SPORTS may want to begin investing in lottery tickets, but duplicating a 14-for-15 record would be an awfully tall order for 2012. For gamers who can't wait to see what kind of changes EA might make for next year's version of the game, which will be released in stores on Sept. 13, NHL '12 is already available for pre-order on XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 at the EA Store.

For the current playoff season, fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Final Round fan voting is now open at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL.
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Posted On Friday, 05.13.2011 / 12:52 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

EA SPORTS picks Canucks-Bruins in Final

That mythical perfect March Madness bracket is virtually impossible to achieve, and yet for some reason most of us fill one out anyway. The Stanley Cup Playoffs may not have 68 teams in them with a one-and-done system, but predicting each series in the spring is still highly fickle business.

Even for a computer.

It didn't look like the folks at EA SPORTS were going to have that problem for a while, but eventually the dream had to end. Using their EA SPORTS NHL '11 simulation engine, the video game makers followed up their 8-for-8 first round by nearly tabbing another perfect set, and had Detroit pulled off the incredible Thursday night, they would have had just that. But San Jose's gutsy performance in Game 7 threw a wrench in the mix and gave EA SPORTS its first miss of the postseason.

Fortunately, however, this is no suicide pool, and Simulation Engine is getting a mulligan and a clean slate for the conference finals, particularly after EA SPORTS nearly made good on its prediction of three lower seeds advancing through the second round.

The third round doesn't provide the same kind of daring prognostication, but since EA SPORTS has gone 11-1 so far, questioning the simulation seems foolish, and if EA SPORTS has its druthers, Vancouver and Boston will be meeting to determine who will lift the Stanley Cup in 2011. The Canucks may be facing a San Jose team with an enormous emotional lift after holding off a potentially historic comeback, but according to the computers, Vancouver will overcome a home loss to the Sharks in Game 1 with two straight overtime victories and an eventual Western Conference title in six games.

According to EA SPORTS, the East will be decided in similar fashion, and be a closer series than some might expect, not because of its length but because of its scores. While the Bruins are pegged to grab the Prince of Wales Trophy in six games, two of their wins are slated to come in overtime, with Tampa Bay flashing some sudden-death heroics of its own to stay alive with an overtime win in Game 5 at TD Garden.

EA SPORTS will continue to run simulations after each round of the playoffs, but in addition fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Second Round fan voting opens today at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Start dates for the Stanley Cup Final voting will be announced at the end of the Conference Finals.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.12.2011 / 2:21 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

EA SPORTS picks Canucks-Bruins in Final

That mythical perfect March Madness bracket is virtually impossible to achieve, and yet for some reason most of us fill one out anyway. The Stanley Cup Playoffs may not have 68 teams in them with a one-and-done system, but predicting each series in the spring is still highly fickle business.

Even for a computer.

It didn't look like the folks at EA SPORTS were going to have that problem for a while, but eventually the dream had to end. Using their EA SPORTS NHL '11 simulation engine, the video game makers followed up their 8-for-8 first round by nearly tabbing another perfect set, and had Detroit pulled off the incredible Thursday night, they would have had just that. But San Jose's gutsy performance in Game 7 threw a wrench in the mix and gave EA SPORTS its first miss of the postseason.

Fortunately, however, this is no suicide pool, and Simulation Engine is getting a mulligan and a clean slate for the conference finals, particularly after EA SPORTS nearly made good on its prediction of three lower seeds advancing through the second round.

The third round doesn't provide the same kind of daring prognostication, but since EA SPORTS has gone 11-1 so far, questioning the simulation seems foolish, and if EA SPORTS has its druthers, Vancouver and Boston will be meeting to determine who will lift the Stanley Cup in 2011. The Canucks may be facing a San Jose team with an enormous emotional lift after holding off a potentially historic comeback, but according to the computers, Vancouver will overcome a home loss to the Sharks in Game 1 with two straight overtime victories and an eventual Western Conference title in six games.

According to EA SPORTS, the East will be decided in similar fashion, and be a closer series than some might expect, not because of its length but because of its scores. While the Bruins are pegged to grab the Prince of Wales Trophy in six games, two of their wins are slated to come in overtime, with Tampa Bay flashing some sudden-death heroics of its own to stay alive with an overtime win in Game 5 at TD Garden.

EA SPORTS will continue to run simulations after each round of the playoffs, but in addition fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Second Round fan voting opens today at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Start dates for the Stanley Cup Final voting will be announced at the end of the Conference Finals.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 3:33 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

EA SPORTS predicts second round full of upsets

With four Game 7s in a 30-hour span, the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs went out with a bang, and given the win-or-go-home nature of each of those games, the chances that postseason brackets in office pools across North America would stay intact were tenuous at best. Having an opening round record of 7 correct picks would be pretty impressive. Even getting just 5 series right, as the writer of this very story did, isn't terrible.

Of course, going 8-for-8 isn't bad either.

The wizards at EA SPORTS did just that with their EA SPORTS NHL '11 simulation engine, which accurately tabbed such upsets as Tampa Bay's win over Pittsburgh and Nashville's first-ever postseason series victory. Rather than walk off into the sunset, however, EA SPORTS is back at it for round two of the postseason, and this time those predictions are a little gutsier than usual.

Taking three of four lower seeds to advance to the 2011 conference finals would make another perfect projection a pretty remarkable example of clairvoyance, but that's just what EA SPORTS is banking on, as its latest round of predictions has Vancouver as the lone higher seed advancing. For the Canucks to do so after a draining seven-game win over Chicago could be difficult, but EA SPORTS' simulations expect it -- and in just five games. If all goes according to plan, the Canucks will be facing Detroit, which is predicted to topple San Jose in overtime in a decisive seventh game.

In the East, Tampa Bay is picked to complete what would be the upset of the playoffs thus far, as EA SPORTS has the Bolts eliminating the No. 1-seeded Capitals in seven games, while the Bruins get a measure of revenge for last year's historic ouster at the hands of the Flyers with a six-game win over Philadelphia.

EA SPORTS will continue to run simulations after each round of the playoffs, but in addition fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Second Round fan voting opens today at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL, when fans can make predictions for the postseason's opening round. Start dates for subsequent rounds will be announced at the conclusion of each series.

EA SPORTS NHL 11 Round Two Predictions: Conference Semifinals

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver vs. Nashville (5)
 
Game 1: Nashville 3 @ Vancouver 1

Game 2: Nashville 2 @ Vancouver 5

Game 3: Vancouver 2 @ Nashville 1

Game 4: Vancouver 4 @ Nashville 2

Game 5: Nashville 0 @ Vancouver 2

Vancouver wins series 4-1

 
(2) San Jose vs. Detroit (3)

Game 1: Detroit 3 @ San Jose 2

Game 2: Detroit 2 @ San Jose 4

Game 3: San Jose 3 @ Detroit 4

Game 4: San Jose 5 @ Detroit 4 [OT]

Game 5: Detroit 2 @ San Jose 3

Game 6: San Jose 2 @ Detroit 5

Game 7: Detroit 4 @ San Jose 3 [OT]

Detroit wins series 4-3

 

Eastern Conference:

(1) Washington vs. Tampa Bay (5)

Game 1: Tampa Bay 1 @ Washington 3

Game 2: Tampa Bay 4 @ Washington 6

Game 3: Washington 3 @ Tampa Bay 4

Game 4: Washington 2 @ Tampa Bay 3 [OT]

Game 5: Tampa Bay 2 @ Washington 5

Game 6: Washington 0 @ Tampa Bay 2

Game 7: Tampa Bay 3 @ Washington 1

Tampa Bay wins series 4-3


(2) Philadelphia vs. Boston (3)


Game 1: Boston 4 @ Philadelphia 2

Game 2: Boston 2 @ Philadelphia 3

Game 3: Philadelphia 1 @ Boston 2[OT]

Game 4: Philadelphia 1 @ Boston 4

Game 5: Boston 1 @ Philadelphia 4

Game 6: Philadelphia 2 @ Boston 3

Boston wins series 4-2

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Posted On Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 3:33 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: Vancouver-Nashville Live Blog

EA SPORTS predicts second round full of upsets

With four Game 7s in a 30-hour span, the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs went out with a bang, and given the win-or-go-home nature of each of those games, the chances that postseason brackets in office pools across North America would stay intact were tenuous at best. Having an opening round record of 7 correct picks would be pretty impressive. Even getting just 5 series right, as the writer of this very story did, isn't terrible.

Of course, going 8-for-8 isn't bad either.

The wizards at EA SPORTS did just that with their EA SPORTS NHL '11 simulation engine, which accurately tabbed such upsets as Tampa Bay's win over Pittsburgh and Nashville's first-ever postseason series victory. Rather than walk off into the sunset, however, EA SPORTS is back at it for round two of the postseason, and this time those predictions are a little gutsier than usual.

Taking three of four lower seeds to advance to the 2011 conference finals would make another perfect projection a pretty remarkable example of clairvoyance, but that's just what EA SPORTS is banking on, as its latest round of predictions has Vancouver as the lone higher seed advancing. For the Canucks to do so after a draining seven-game win over Chicago could be difficult, but EA SPORTS' simulations expect it -- and in just five games. If all goes according to plan, the Canucks will be facing Detroit, which is predicted to topple San Jose in overtime in a decisive seventh game.

In the East, Tampa Bay is picked to complete what would be the upset of the playoffs thus far, as EA SPORTS has the Bolts eliminating the No. 1-seeded Capitals in seven games, while the Bruins get a measure of revenge for last year's historic ouster at the hands of the Flyers with a six-game win over Philadelphia.

EA SPORTS will continue to run simulations after each round of the playoffs, but in addition fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Second Round fan voting opens today at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL, when fans can make predictions for the postseason's opening round. Start dates for subsequent rounds will be announced at the conclusion of each series.

EA SPORTS NHL 11 Round Two Predictions: Conference Semifinals

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver vs. Nashville (5)
 
Game 1: Nashville 3 @ Vancouver 1

Game 2: Nashville 2 @ Vancouver 5

Game 3: Vancouver 2 @ Nashville 1

Game 4: Vancouver 4 @ Nashville 2

Game 5: Nashville 0 @ Vancouver 2

Vancouver wins series 4-1

 
(2) San Jose vs. Detroit (3)

Game 1: Detroit 3 @ San Jose 2

Game 2: Detroit 2 @ San Jose 4

Game 3: San Jose 3 @ Detroit 4

Game 4: San Jose 5 @ Detroit 4 [OT]

Game 5: Detroit 2 @ San Jose 3

Game 6: San Jose 2 @ Detroit 5

Game 7: Detroit 4 @ San Jose 3 [OT]

Detroit wins series 4-3

 

Eastern Conference:

(1) Washington vs. Tampa Bay (5)

Game 1: Tampa Bay 1 @ Washington 3

Game 2: Tampa Bay 4 @ Washington 6

Game 3: Washington 3 @ Tampa Bay 4

Game 4: Washington 2 @ Tampa Bay 3 [OT]

Game 5: Tampa Bay 2 @ Washington 5

Game 6: Washington 0 @ Tampa Bay 2

Game 7: Tampa Bay 3 @ Washington 1

Tampa Bay wins series 4-3


(2) Philadelphia vs. Boston (3)


Game 1: Boston 4 @ Philadelphia 2

Game 2: Boston 2 @ Philadelphia 3

Game 3: Philadelphia 1 @ Boston 2[OT]

Game 4: Philadelphia 1 @ Boston 4

Game 5: Boston 1 @ Philadelphia 4

Game 6: Philadelphia 2 @ Boston 3

Boston wins series 4-2

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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