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Posted On Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 2:59 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Carcillo on the mend after taking puck to his face

CHICAGO – One of the better talkers inside the Blackhawks locker room is forward Daniel Carcillo, but he’s currently having a little trouble speaking because of stitches left behind from oral surgery to repair a bottom tooth plus cuts to his upper and lower lips.

Carcillo was accidentally hit with a puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets this past Thursday after Grant Clitsome hit him square in the mouth with a clearing attempt behind the net. Carcillo didn’t have time to get out of the way and the puck knocked out a tooth – which was his third lost since he started playing hockey.

The other two are the front upper teeth, which were knocked out by a stick back when he used to play for the Phoenix Coyotes.

“It happens (playing pro hockey),” Carcillo said of getting hit in the face with the puck. “I’ve never had it happen to me until now, but obviously we’re not wearing shields and it’s a fast game. If someone shoots a puck at your face and you’re two feet away, there’s really not much you can do.”

Carcillo said he had surgery Saturday to install the post for an artificial tooth but didn’t know the number of stitches it took to close the cuts. Carcillo, who will be in the lineup Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers, said that Clitsome apologized for what happened.
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Posted On Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 1:19 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Eager back in lineup, faces old friends

Following Edmonton’s Sunday skate at the United Center, Oilers coach Tom Renney said that former Blackhawks forward Ben Eager – who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010 – will return to the lineup against his former team (7 p.m. ET)

Eager was a healthy scratch Friday night in Detroit. Renney, however, hasn’t made his mind up about who will come out of the lineup to make room. The thinking among Edmonton reporters is that Lennart Petrell will be the odd man out, but after two straight losses it could by a number of guys.

Renney said he will think about it Sunday afternoon and make a game-time decision. Eager played against the Boston this past Thursday, but Renney said it wasn’t anything he did in that 6-3 loss that prompted his exit from the lineup against the Red Wings the next night.

“I don’t want guys out too long,” Renney said. “We’ve got a young team here and players have to play. It might not be what they’re not doing out on the ice (when they get scratched). It’s who’s out and who needs to get back in.”

The Oilers are looking forward to wrapping up this six-game road trip and hoping to end their two-game losing streak. They’ve dropped three of the first five on the trip.

“Our last really, really good game from start to finish for us was (vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 3),” Renney said. “That was because nobody really cared, other than making sure we all played off the same page and just did a really good job of everything together. We need to get back to that.”

Since that game, Edmonton has averaged just two goals a game and won just once in four outings. Simplifying things against the Blackhawks is what the Oilers are hoping will get them back on track.

“Sometimes when you’re squeezing the stick, whether you’re young or old or a forward or D-man … even a goaltender, you go a little outside of yourself and outside of what’s required of you within the team concept to have success,” Renney said. “That can be damaging.”

Here's the projected lineup for the Oilers tonight:

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle or Alex Hemsky
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Alex Hemsky or Jordan Eberle
Ryan Jones - Sam Gagner - Eric Belanger
Ben EagerAnton LanderLennart Petrell or Magnus Paajarvi

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Corey Potter - Andy Sutton
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk
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Posted On Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 12:05 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bolland still out for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Center Dave Bolland will miss his third straight game for Chicago with a foot injury that he hurt while blocking a shot against the St. Louis Blues last week.

Bolland will make the Hawks' annual upcoming six-game "circus trip" to the West coast and Western Canada, with the hope of making his return at some point on that venture.

"He's going to be on the trip," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said following Chicago's optional skate at United Center on Sunday. "Hopefully he gets to play in one of the first two games."

Here is the Blackhawks’ projected lineup for their game Saturday game against the Edmonton Oilers:

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Daniel Carcillo - Patrick Kane - Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell - Marcus Kruger - Michael Frolik
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers - Rostislav Olesz

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Nick Leddy
Steve Montador - John Scott

Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks and Ray Emery will back him up.
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Posted On Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 1:06 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Detroit's Mursak progressing well in ankle rehab

DETROIT – He’s still a couple weeks away from putting on skates and getting back on the ice, but Detroit Red Wings rookie forward Jan Mursak is progressing from a severely broken ankle that happened in the preseason.

Mursak, who had earned a spot on the Wings before the injury, is encouraged by how quickly he was able to shed both the initial cast and the walking cast that followed. He’s walking around with no cast right now, even though the ankle still feels stiff and isn’t strong enough to run or jump on it yet.

“It’s going pretty good,” Mursak said after working out in the Wings’ weight room Saturday morning at Joe Louis Arena. “Every day it’s a lot better and I can do more stuff. There’s still certain things that I can’t do, yet hopefully in the next couple weeks I can get better and get back on the ice and start skating.”
   
Mursak didn’t require surgery to fix the fracture, which happened in a preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Mursak was bumped during a hard charge to the net and lost his edge. He was sent flying feet-first into the dasher boards behind the net and his foot bent at an awkward angle – snapping a bone in his ankle and damaging some ligaments.

“I was lucky,” said Mursak, who made his debut with the Wings last season and played 19 games with Detroit. “It was kind of … on the line between surgery or not. I had to ask a few more specialists for ankles to see if I’d need one, but in the end I didn’t need (surgery), and it’s good because my recovery … it’s a lot shorter than it would be with surgery.”

The speedy Mursak played in 54 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League last season and finished with 13 goals and 22 assists. He’s just the second Slovenian to play in the NHL after the Los Angeles KingsAnze Kopitar and was eagerly anticipating his first full season in the League before he got hurt.

His last cast came off two weeks early, but Mursak doesn’t want to jump the gun in setting a timetable for a return – which doctors initially said would be around Christmas time in December.

“It just takes time to stretch that ankle now because it’s so stiff,” Mursak said. “We’ll see in the next few weeks how it goes. It’s still healing. It doesn’t hurt as much anymore. It’s just stiff and we have to stretch that out.”
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Posted On Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 12:48 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars look for options to help replace injured Goligoski

DETROIT – A bad night in Pittsburgh on Friday for the Dallas Stars got worse with the news that puck-moving defenseman Alex Goligoski has a fractured thumb that could keep him out of action for up to a month.

Goligoski was hit in the hand by a shot just six minutes into the game and left the game immediately. He didn’t return and flew back to Dallas after the game for X-rays – which showed the fracture.

“It’s non-displaced, so it’s probably going to be a four-week thing,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said, following Dallas’ optional morning skate Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s a bad blow for us, but he took a wrist shot off the thumb, so it’s just one of those things that teams go through. Other guys can step up now.”

In the immediate short term, that will include Adam Pardy – who will step into the lineup in place of Goligoski on Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings. He will be on the second defense pairing with Mark Fistric, who was hit in the throat with a puck against Pittsburgh on Friday night but is healthy enough to play.

“(Pardy) is a guy we went after in free agency and really wanted,” Gulutzan said. “He’s a big body that can move, so this can be a good chance for other guys to showcase themselves on a full-time basis.”

Another guy to watch in that regard is 21-year old puck-moving defenseman Philip Larsen, who was recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Saturday morning. Larsen, Dallas’ fifth pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (No. 149), could see a lot of ice time while Goligoski. He played for Gulutzan on the Texas Stars last season, so the coach is already familiar with him.

“I like the idea of having a right shot here,” Gulutzan said. “(Goligoski) can skate, (Larsen) can skate. Obviously he’s not at the offensive level that Goose is. Goose is a one or two (defenseman) and Philip, in my mind, is a five or six guy in the NHL. He had a great training camp. I don’t think there will be any huge learning curve for Philip. I think he’ll be ready to step in and help us when he gets an opportunity.”

Gulutzan said that won’t happen in Saturday night, but could after Larsen gets a few practices with the Stars under his belt.

Prior to his call-up, Larsen led all Texas Stars defensemen in scoring with one goal and nine assists in 10 games. He was also their top-scoring defenseman on the power play by racking up six assists with the man-advantage.

“I’ve got a lot of trust in Philip,” Gulutzan said. “He’s got a high compete level. When you get European-skating defensemen like him, you seem to think he’s a real catalyst offensively. He’s good offensively, but he competes real hard defensively and that’s what I think about him.”

Gulutzan said the only other lineup decision to make will be whether Krystofer Barch or Jake Dowell plays left wing on the fourth line for the Stars, which he said will be a gametime decision made after warm-ups.


Here are the projected lineups for tonight at Joe Louis Arena between the Dallas Stars (11-4-0) and Detroit Red Wings (8-5-1):

DALLAS

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

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Adam Pardy

Andrew Raycroft will start in net for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen will get a night off as the backup.

DETRIOT

Tomas Holmstrom - Pavel Datsyuk - Danny Cleary
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Patrick Eaves

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard will start in goal for the Red Wings and Ty Conklin will be his back-up.

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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:40 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blackhawks, Flames

CHICAGO -- After breaking a three-game losing skid Thursday night in Columbus, the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to hold a morning skate Friday at the United Center.

The Calgary Flames, Chicago's opponent Friday night, did have a morning skate after making a couple of roster moves Thursday. The Flames placed veteran center Brendan Morrison on injured reserve because of "inadequate rehabilitation of ACL knee surgery," and placed veteran defenseman Anton Babchuk on IR because of a broken bone in his hand that happened while blocking a shot Tuesday in Minnesota.

They called up defenseman T.J. Brodie to replace Babchuk and center Paul Byron to take Morrison's spot on the roster.

The Blackhawks could be without two-way center Dave Bolland for the second straight game, after he injured his foot while blocking a shot against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

If Bolland is unable to play, look for Chicago coach Joel Quenneville to go with a similar lineup to the one he used against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-3 win Thursday night -- save for sixth defenseman John Scott potentially being replaced by Sami Lepisto or Sean O'Donnell.

The Blackhawks finally found some success on their struggling power play against the Blue Jackets, going 2-for-3 after coming into the game having scored just once in their previous 30 man-advantage situations.

One of the biggest changes Quenneville has made to the power-play units is putting defenseman Steve Montador in front of the net as a forward -- which paid off against Columbus. Montador scored one of Chicago's power-play goals and was on the ice for the other one, as well -- scored by veteran forward Andrew Brunette.

"We had a real good first period and when you get the power play going all of a sudden you get some excitement in the team game,"Quenneville told reporters after the game. "It was nice to see a couple nice plays and a couple nice finishes around the net."

Here are the projected lineups for Friday night:

CALGARY

Jarome Iginla - Mikael Backlund - Alex Tanguay
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Rene Bourque
Paul Byron - Roman Horak - Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos - David Moss - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Scott Hannan - Mark Giordano
Derek Smith - T.J. Brodie

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal for the Flames, while Henrik Karlsson will be his back-up

CHICAGO

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Daniel Carcillo - Patrick Kane - Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell - Marcus Kruger or Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers or Marcus Kruger - Rostislav Olesz or Jamal Mayers

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Nick Leddy
Steve Montador - John Scott or Sami Lepisto or Sean O'Donnell

Quenneville didn't reveal Thursday night who would start for the Hawks, but the regular starter is Corey Crawford with veteran Ray Emery backing him up.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 3:32 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bertuzzi sidelined by dizziness, sinus infection

DETROIT -- Todd Bertuzzi will likely miss the next two games this weekend for the Detroit Red Wings with lingering dizziness and a sinus infection that have kept him out of two games and away from Joe Louis Arena for almost a week.

Bertuzzi was back in the building for Thursday's practice, but only lasted for about half of it before coming off the ice early. He said the problem started after getting hit in the face with a stick on Oct. 29 at Minnesota.

He played the next two games, both Red Wings' losses against the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames, before leaving the lineup because of the illness.

"It just kept getting worse and worse and I felt light-headed and dizzy and just didn't feel like myself," said Bertuzzi, who has 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 games. "Then I got a sinus infection and went and got my ears checked and had a little swelling in there. Now, (I'm) just on some pills trying to get the swelling down."

Detroit plays host to the Western Conference's top two teams -- the red-hot Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars -- in a rare home back-to-back occurrence on the schedule. Asked if he might be able to play in either game, Bertuzzi pretty much ruled it out.

"No, not the way I felt today … no," he said. "I don't know. (It's) day by day. In three or four days, hopefully the medication should kick in and (I'll) hopefully get my balance and stuff back."

At least his sense of humor is still intact. Asked if he'd lost any weight during his bout with the sinus infection, Bertuzzi hunched his shoulders.

"I don't know … if I say, 'Yeah,' then it looks bad on my wife for not cooking right," he said, smiling.

Taking Bertuzzi's place on the roster the past two games has been 26-year old Fabian Brunnstrom, who's played right wing on the fourth line while Tomas Holmstrom moved back into the top six forward to replace Bertuzzi.
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 3:16 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Zetterberg says winning early is crucial

DETROIT -- Despite ending a six-game winless streak last weekend, the Detroit Red Wings are well aware that it was just one win and they need to keep winning to make up the ground they lost in the Western Conference standings.

The way things are in the West -- and the way they were last season -- every standings point matters, but especially those early in the season, when teams usually are at their peak from a health standpoint.

"It's so tight on both sides, and when you're looking back at the end of the year, it's a win here and a win there and that's a playoff (season)," Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "That could determine whether you're going to make it or not. You have to get a good start."

That's why he understood the rationale behind the St. Louis Blues firing Davis Payne on Sunday and hiring highly-regarded veteran coach Ken Hitchcock to replace him.

"If you don't have a good start, it's real tough to get something going," Zetterberg said. "All of a sudden you have 55 or 60 games left and you know you're done. Teams don't want that to happen, so (sometimes) you have to make a tough decision early."
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 3:12 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Brunnstrom moves out, hopes to move up

DETROIT -- Fabian Brunnstrom no longer is staying with the Zetterbergs, so at least he's moved out on his own in the Motor City.

Now, the task is to move up in the Red Wings' hierarchy of forward lines. The 26-year old Swedish forward has played just two games since making the team out of training camp on a tryout offer -- but his last time out was much better than his first.

After not playing at all in Detroit's first five games, Brunnstrom made his debut in a 7-1 loss in Washington Capitals. Soon after, he was sent to the Red Wings' affiliate in the American Hockey League, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

After playing a game -- and notching a goal -- with the Griffins, Brunnstrom was recalled this past weekend to replace Todd Bertuzzi (illness) in the lineup. He played on the fourth line, but chipped in an assist in a 5-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks. He also buzzed around the net a lot.

Brunnstrom now will get another game at right wing on the fourth line tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. If he continues to play well, you might see his name start to creep up higher in the forward lines – since Detroit coach Mike Babcock has said before that Brunnstrom has the talent to be a top-six forward.

For now, he's content with playing on the fourth line and providing energy.

"It's a great team with a lot of good players, so when I get a chance, I have to take that chance and try to do something good," Brunnstrom said. "You have to take every day one day at a time and just do the best you can. It's professional hockey. You can't take a break and just have to keep pushing every day."

That includes driving to the net and doing some of the dirty work that he wasn't always used to handling back in Sweden.

"Those are the things I've been trying to do a little bit more since I came over here," Brunnstrom said. "It's hard to score goals, but if you go to the net you give yourself a better chance."

Babcock, pleased to hear him say that, hopes that becomes as contagious in the Wings' locker room as whatever flu bug appears to be going around.

"Let's hope he spreads the word," Babcock said.
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 3:06 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Oh captain … no captain?

DETROIT -- One of the first things that stands out about the Colorado Avalanche roster is the lack of a "C" next to any of the names.

Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny both have an "A" next to their names, as alternate captains, but there's no "C," and might not be a captain for some time.

"It's still a process that will play itself out here at some point," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "When? I don't know, but it's a process that's playing itself out. We have a number of good leaders in this dressing room and that's why we're doing that right now. It will play itself out when it's the right time."

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