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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 2:20 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings maintaining faith in Weiss

DETROIT -- It's still too early to call the Stephen Weiss signing a bust, according to Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

Weiss, who will see a specialist in Philadelphia on Friday about his injured groin, has two goals and four points in 26 games for Detroit since signing a contract this past summer for a reported five years and $24.5 million.

"I don't care what sport you are, when you look at an athlete you look at what they've accomplished over a period of time," Holland said after Detroit's morning skate Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. "Every athlete probably has one year that's way better than the norm and one year worse than the norm, but there's a lot of statistics that are somewhat similar. When you look at the book on Weiss, it says 48 points five of the last seven years."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 4:10 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings, Ducks navigating through injuries

DETROIT -- The Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings haven't faced each other since Detroit pulled off an upset in a seven-game Western Conference Quarterfinals series last spring.

They'll share the same ice surface again Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena, but the circumstances are quite a bit different.

Anaheim has 51 points and leads the Pacific Division, while the injury-plagued Red Wings are currently fourth in the Atlantic Division after moving to the Eastern Conference.

"The feeling's still in your stomach that you lost in a Game 7 after the season that we had," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said following Anaheim's morning skate Tuesday. "I don't know if there's ever any real personal feelings other than we got beat and these are the guys that beat us. We just want to get back on the horse and make sure [we] can compete with these teams."


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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 5:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings, Blackhawks face off in playoff rematch

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks are ready to pick up where they left off last spring.

Two of the top three teams in the Western Conference will face each other Sunday night at United Center for the first time since Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored 11:40 into the second overtime of Game 5, in the same arena, to end their 2013 Western Conference Final series.

Each team is finding ways to win without their top goalie, but the results Saturday were split. The Kings, who are still without goalie Jonathan Quick (groin), beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 at Canadian Tire Centre before the Blackhawks, playing without Corey Crawford (lower body), lost 7-3 to theToronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre to end a three-game winning streak.

Los Angeles also extended its streak of not allowing a first-period goal to 18 straight games and has a record of 13-1-4 in that span.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.11.2013 / 6:08 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers to give Emery start against Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- From a plot perspective, Ray Emery's return to the Windy City couldn't have worked out any better.

The Chicago Blackhawks (22-6-5), with whom Emery won the 2013 Stanley Cup, are playing with a rookie in net because of lower-body injuries sidelining top goalie Corey Crawford and backup Nikolai Khabibulin (signed over the summer to replace Emery).

The Blackhawks could probably use a proven veteran like Emery during the next couple weeks, despite Antti Raanta making an impressive start to his NHL career with a 4-0-1 record, 2.14 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

Instead, Emery will be in net for the Philadelphia Flyers (13-14-3) on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

"Ray's been good for us this year and we use him, but it's good to get him in this game tonight," Flyers coach Craig Berube said following his team's morning skate. "He had a great year last year with [Chicago] and won a Cup, so he's looking forward to it."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 4:00 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks activate Kostka from injured reserve

CHICAGO -- Defenseman Michael Kostka was activated from injured reserve by the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

The 28-year old Kostka missed the Blackhawks' past 23 games with a fractured foot and had one assist in two games with Rockford of the American Hockey League during a conditioning stint.

Prior to getting injured, Kostka had one goal -- the first of his NHL career -- in the two games he played for the Blackhawks. He made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, playing 35 games and finishing with eight assists and 27 penalty minutes.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.08.2013 / 1:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Shaw returns for Blackhawks against Panthers

CHICAGO -- There was some good news on the injury front for the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday morning.

Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell both participated in the team's optional morning skate prior to facing the Florida Panthers on Sunday night. Shaw will play against the Panthers, but Bickell still has a ways to go in his recovery from a lower-body injury.

"First time on the ice there today [for Bickell]," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was good to see him out there but we'll get a better indication, I guess, [when he's] out there with everybody."

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POSTED ON Friday, 12.06.2013 / 6:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks, Ducks top teams that could use a win

CHICAGO -- It's a matchup of top teams Friday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), but the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are winless in their past two games.

The Ducks (18-7-5) have dropped a pair of games in shootouts, and the Blackhawks (20-6-4) have lost two straight in regulation for the first time this season, including a stinging 4-3 defeat Thursday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota charged back with two late goals in the third period to beat Chicago, after coughing up a one-goal lead early in the final period. The Blackhaws are in the middle of a stretch when they're playing nine games in 15 days, after returning from a seven-game, 14-day road trip.

"We're probably at the high-point of the season in basically the volume of games," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're just rolling one to the next. We want to make sure we keep the right focus going into the game ... here we are tonight playing that is rested and they're big and they played us well last year and they're a dangerous team. That's a challenge."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 1:43 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings get good news on Datsyuk, DeKeyser

DETROIT -- Amid a slew of injuries to key players, the Detroit Red Wings received a slight bit of good news Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Top center Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser (shoulder) both participated in the morning skate prior to Detroit hosting the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Neither will play, but Datsyuk said he's symptom-free after missing the past four games with concussion-related symptoms.

"I don't have symptoms," Datsyuk said. "[I need] to talk to [the] doctor and make a decision."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 12.03.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

No clowning as Blackhawks return from 'Circus Trip'

CHICAGO -- Five days after the Chicago Blackhawks won a memorable 11-round shootout against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center, the Central Division opponents will meet again Tuesday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

The Blackhawks (20-4-4) will host the Stars (12-9-4) in their first game since going a franchise-best 6-1-0 during their annual November "Circus Trip," when their arena hosts the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Just like last season, when the Blackhawks ran through the Western Conference with little trouble in the 48-game regular season, they aren't clowning around. Chicago has won six in a row, is 15-3-2 in the past 20 games, and leads the NHL with 44 points through 28 games.

"I thought we had a real good trip, [with] every game played the right way," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we stabilized a situation that was getting a little bit out of hand with goals against, and I thought we were rock solid in all zones defensively and we had a lot of offense because of that. I love that consistency with the four lines and how we're playing."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 2:20 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings sign Ericsson to six-year extension

DETROIT -- Jonathan Ericsson was the ultimate "Mr. Irrelevant" when he was selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the 291st pick in the 2002 NHL Draft.

Now, the 29-year old defenseman is anything but irrelevant in his role on the right side of Detroit's top defense pairing with Swedish countryman Niklas Kronwall. The Red Wings confirmed it Wednesday morning by announcing a six-year contract extension for Ericsson worth a reported $25.5 million.

Ericsson, who's missed 10 games with a shoulder injury, has one goal and four assists with a plus-3 rating in 15 games heading into a "Wednesday Night Rivalry" game against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).

"When I got drafted this was a longshot for me," Ericsson said following Detroit's morning skate. "Just being able to maybe one day to play for the Red Wings, that's one thing. But to be able to play here for, I don't know how many years it's going to be now, it's an amazing feeling. Being a part of this top-ranked organization for my whole career is great."

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I didn't think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so I'm thanking my lucky stars tonight.

— Columbus forward Nick Foligno on scoring the overtime goal after telling the Blue Jackets in the locker room that he would win the game