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Posted On Sunday, 11.06.2011 / 1:20 PM

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

Salo, Burrows out but Rome could return for Canucks

CHICAGO – It will be a game-time decision, but it looks like Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome might get back into the lineup after missing the first 14 games with a hand injury.

Rome participated in the morning skate Sunday at the United Center and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault didn’t rule out the possibility of him playing against the rival Chicago Blackhawks. If he plays, Vigneault might opt to put Rome on the second defense pairing with Alexander Edler and re-pair defensive stoppers Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa on the top pairing.

“We’ll see how he feels tonight and we’ll make that call tonight before the game,” Vigneault said of Rome. “We’ll see what we have (for pairings) if Aaron goes back in, but we need our whole group to play well. I thought in St. Louis (on Friday), for the most part it was one of our better defensive games. Against Chicago we’re going to have to be real strong without the puck and I’m confident that we can do that.”

The Canucks will be missing forward Alexandre Burrows and defenseman Sami Salo against the Hawks. Both are considered day-to-day and Vigneault doesn’t expect either to become a long-term absence.

Burrows is dealing with a recent back issue that flared up this past week and didn’t skate Sunday. Salo, who tried to skate, left the workout early and has missed two games with a groin injury.

“We’ll see how they feel in the next couple days,” Vigneault said. “If either one had been able to go, they would’ve went. It’s just both of them feel they’re not quite there, so we’ll see how they do this week.”
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Posted On Sunday, 11.06.2011 / 1:17 PM

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

Keith remains out for Blackhawks

CHICAGO – Duncan Keith will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury believed to be his hand, which was hit with a shot last week against the Nashville Predators.

Keith made the Hawks’ recent two-game road trip to Florida but didn’t play in either game despite practicing. The Hawks didn’t skate Sunday morning at the United Center, but did do some team stretching drills and Keith didn’t appear to be participating.

In his place most likely will be 40-year old defenseman Sean O’Donnell, who will be paired with 20-year old puck-mover Nick Leddy . The pairing of Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson is being used as the top pair in Keith’s absence, with O’Donnell and Leddy the second pair over the boards.

“[Keith’s] not going tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re looking for him on the next road trip.”

Chicago will hit the road for two games in St. Louis and Columbus this week before heading back to the United Center for a pair of games next weekend – which will lead into the annual “circus trip” that sends the Hawks to the West Coast and Western Canada.
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Posted On Sunday, 11.06.2011 / 12:48 PM

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

Projected lineups for Canucks, Blackhawks

Here's the projected lineup for the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks for their showdown Sunday night at United Center:

VANCOUVER

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Cody Hodgson - Ryan Kesler - Chris Higgins
David Booth - Maxim Lapierre - Andrew Ebbett
Aaron Volpatti - Manny Malhotra - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Aaron Rome/Andrew Alberts - Alexander Edler
Keith Ballard - Alexander Sulzer

Roberto Luongo will start in goal for the Canucks and Cory Schneider will be his backup.

CHICAGO

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

Brent Seabrook - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Sean O'Donnell - Nick Leddy
Steve Montador - Sami Lepisto

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks and Ray Emery will be his backup.
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Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 2:15 PM

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

Perry enjoys emotional night off

DETROIT – Anaheim Ducks star forward Corey Perry took a special car trip across the U.S.-Canadian border Friday night and drove to London, Ont., where he played junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League.

There, the London Knights welcomed him onto the ice at John Labatt Centre to retire the No.94 jersey he wore there for three memorable seasons. Perry began to get a little emotional as he watched the banner with his former jersey number rise to the rafters.

Afterward, the car he drove there in got a flat tire – but it still couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.

“It was a special night,” said Perry, the reigning Hart Trophy winner and Rocket Richard Trophy recipient. “When you’ve got an organization that does that for you at such a young age … normally they wait until you’re retired and done playing hockey, so to have it done already feels special. It was a lot of fun.’

As for the emotions he experienced?

“It was a special night and it was nice to have my family and friends there,” Perry said. “I looked over at my mom when the banner was going up and she had some tears in her eyes and it just got me choked up as well. It was (a little overwhelming). You see the video and they all started chanting my name, so I was pretty emotional. Then the banner going up and knowing it’s going to be there forever, it’s pretty cool.”
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Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 2:11 PM

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

Fowler's offseason conditioning paying off

DETROIT – He’s just 19 and is still listed at 6-foot-1, 196-pounds, but Anaheim Ducks second-year defenseman Cam Fowler says he’s bigger than listed and it’s paying off in terms of his improved defense this season.

The puck-moving, speedy Fowler also said his weight gain was the result of a hard off-season training program. He said he came into Anaheim’s camp weighing around 208 pounds this fall, but has since dropped about five to play at 203.

So far, it’s working out well.

“Battling in the corners and pushing off of guys is where I really notice is the most,” said Fowler, who has five assists and in 13 games. “The main thing is that I didn’t want it to slow me down at all, and it hasn’t. That’s a big part of my game. It’s just been a little added strength, which I needed.”

Fowler, an offensive-minded defenseman, had 10 goals and 30 assists as an 18-year old rookie last season. He also had an ugly minus-25 rating, which he targeted for improvement by bettering his defensive skills. It seems to be working, as he’s currently a minus-2 heading into Saturday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings – the team located just across the Detroit River from his hometown of Windsor, Ont.

“It’s just kind of picking your spots out there (to be more offensive),” Fowler said. “A lot of it depends on who you’re matched up with and what line you’re playing against. Some lines you really have to pay attention, because there’s guys that can really hurt you. We played against (Alex Ovechkin) and (Marian Gaborik) and those guys are always on the offense. If you’re getting caught up ice in the play, it really puts you behind the eight ball. You need to know when to jump up in the rush and when to hang back.”
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Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 1:30 PM

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

Bertuzzi out for Red Wings

DETROIT – Forward Todd Bertuzzi will not play Saturday night for the Detroit Red Wings against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

“(Bertuzzi’s) not feeling good,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s been sick for a few days and he’s just not feeling good.”

TheRed Wings (5-5-1) will also be without forward Patrick Eaves (lower back) for the second straight game after he injured himself against the Minnesota Wild earlier this week. Eaves has missed two practices, but skated with the Wings on Saturday morning before getting more treatment on his back.

Fabian Brunnstrom, who made the Red Wings roster on a tryout offer in training camp, has been recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to enter the lineup in place of Bertuzzi. Brunnstrom played in just one game with Detroit before he was sent down and has one goal in one game with the Griffins.

Where he will be placed in the lineup is to be determined because Detroit didn’t skate their forward lines Saturday morning, but Bertuzzi had skated at left wing on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary during practice Friday.

Forward Jiri Hudler will also be in the lineup after needing 26 stitches to sew up cuts above and below his left eye after he was pushed headfirst into the boards last game by Calgary’s Scott Hannan. Hudler’s eye is still swollen and the headaches he dealt with kept him awake most of the first night. However, he wasn’t going to ask out of the lineup – especially during Detroit’s current six-game winless skid.

“Pain?” Hudler said on Friday. “Haven’t got time for pain.”
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Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 12:49 PM

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

Projected lineups for Ducks, Red Wings

Here are the projected lineups for the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings for their game Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.

ANAHEIM

Bobby RyanRyan GetzlafCorey Perry
Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuTeemu Selanne
Matt BeleskeyMaxime MacenauerAndrew Gordon
Devante Smith-PellyBrandon McMillanPeter Holland

Cam FowlerFrancois Beauchemin
Lubomir VisnovskyToni Lydman
Luca SbisaKurtis Foster

Jonas Hiller is starting and Dan Ellis will be his back-up. Holland could make his NHL debut in place of Nick Bonino, who is questionable because of a hyperextended knee.

DETROIT

Jiri HudlerPavel DatsyukDanny Cleary
Valtteri FilppulaHenrik ZetterbergJohan Franzen
Fabian BrunnstromJustin AbdelkaderDarren Helm
Drew MillerCory EmmertonTomas Holmstrom

Nicklas LidstromIan White
Niklas KronwallBrad Stuart
Jonathan EricssonMike Commodore

Jimmy Howard will make the start in goal, and Ty Conlkin will be his back-up. Todd Bertuzzi will not play because of illness.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 1:14 PM

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

Flames re-tool lineup looking to break through

DETROIT -- It looks like the Detroit Red Wings aren't the only team hoping that a reshuffled lineup pays off on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

While Detroit is splitting up star forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and giving defenseman Mike Commodore his first regular-season action as a Red Wing, the Calgary Flames are also re-tooling their look.

Calgary, which is currently sitting 14th in the Western Conference standings just two spots behind Detroit, is mixing up the forward lines and defense pairs for this games against the Wings -- who are winless in five straight games.

"We'll have a different look in three lines tonight, to start with anyway," Flames coach Brent Sutter said after Thursday's morning skate. "We want to do certain things with certain guys to help them get going. That's all part of it as coaches to get guys through their early struggles. We're going to shuffle some lines up tonight and see if that can help."

Most notably, the Flames appeared to have Olli Jokinen at center on the top line with Curtis Glencross at left wing and Jarome Iginla staying put at his usual right wing spot. Iginla and Jokinen played on a line together a couple of years ago with success, but Sutter said things have changed since then.

"Olli's a different player than he was two years ago when Jarome and him played together," Sutter said. "Olli's role has changed. He's playing a different brand of hockey for us. He's being rewarded for changing his game and the way he's playing. He’s playing well and enjoying that role. Jarome will have to adjust somewhat to his new linemates and the way they play."

Iginla said he's up to the task.

"They're playing really well," he said of his potential new linemates. "They're quick players. They're fast. I'll work to get my feet going and keep up with them."

The Flames' second line will now likely feature Alex Tanguay (2 goals, 7 assists) and Lee Stempniak (1 goal, 3 assists) on the wings between center Brendan Morrison -- who hasn't scored a point in six games and has a minus-1 rating.

Defensively, expect Anton Bachuk to get back into the lineup on the second pairing with Scott Hannan and Mark Giordano to move to the third pair with Cory Sarich.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 1:12 PM

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

Detroit's Eaves dealing with balky back

DETROIT -- Patrick Eaves doesn't recall exactly which play did it, but at some point during the Detroit Red Wings' previous game against the Minnesota Wild his back started hurting.

The pain only worsened after he finished the game and he missed Detroit's practice on Wednesday. He also missed Thursday's morning skate and has been ruled out for Thursday night's game against the Calgary Flames. He said this injury is something new and not related to any ailments he had in the past.

"Last game, just one shift I came back to the bench and something didn't feel right," said Eaves, who hasn't scored in six games for the struggling Wings. "I probably was just in an awkward position, so I've just got to let it calm down and let it run its course. It feels better than it did yesterday. I don't look at this as a major setback or anything. Just get better."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 12:08 PM

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

Commodore set to make season debut for Red Wings

DETROIT -- Mike Commodore has patiently waited his turn, and now he'll get to pull on the winged wheel sweater of the Detroit Red Wings for the first time in a regular-season game.

Commodore, who sprained his knee in the preseason and lost a potential starting spot in the process, will play his first game for the Wings on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames. He'll enter the lineup on Detroit's third defense pairing with Jonathan Ericsson and replace Jakub Kindl.

After rehabbing his knee, Commodore has practiced hard and watched games as healthy scratch. Now he'll get a chance to show what he can bring to this team with a 6-foot-4, 227-pound frame and the penchant for hard-hitting defense on the blue line.

"For me, it starts tonight and I just want to have a good effort tonight," Commodore said. "I haven't played in a while. Being physical is part of my game, but I just have to make sure I don't get caught out of position trying to run around. I just want to keep it simple and be physical when I need to be, when the opportunity is there."

The Wings' defensive system is also new to Commodore this season, but he feels like he has a good grasp of what they do after logging a lot of practice time in training camp and returning to the ice after the knee injury.

"I've got a lot on my plate tonight, to be honest with you," Commodore said. "Without those practices I'd have been lost. I think with the time I've had … I wasn't panicking either with my situation of not playing and being scratched for a few games. Obviously I'd like to play, but at the same time the practices were good for me and I didn't mind that."

Detroit coach Mike Babcock is looking forward to seeing what Commodore can add to his team. He also understands Commodore's excitement at getting his first game with the Wings.

"He should be eager, he's been skating enough," Babcock said. "It's like with any pro sport. Everybody wants to play more, everybody wants to score more, everybody wants to win more. You've got to earn the right to do all those things, so here's an opportunity for him today and what he does with it we're going to watch. We're about winning games, so the best guys are playing."

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres