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Posted On Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 4:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Clutterbuck injury opens spot for Taffe

LOS ANGELES -- Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck will miss tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings with a leg injury.

"Unless something drastic changes, we're not expecting him to go," coach Mike Yeo said.

The Wild recalled left wing Jeff Taffe, who was in transit to Los Angeles and did not make it to the morning skate.

Asked if Taffe would play on the first line with Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley, Yeo said, "There's a good chance."

"The idea of him going out there and playing with Mikko and Heater, guys that have played together all year, I know those guys will help him."

Taffe, a University of Minnesota product, will make his Wild debut. He has played 175 NHL games but has mostly been a career minor league player.

Yeo did not coach Taffe in Houston of the AHL, but coached him while as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I think he should be real excited to play this game and real motivated to play this game," Yeo said. "It's a chance to play for the club where he grew up."
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Posted On Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 4:10 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Wild, Kings

Here are the projected lineups tonight for the game at Staples Center between the Los Angeles Kings and the Minnesota Wild:

Jeff Taffe - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Casey Wellman - Matt Cullen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Darroll Powe - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Colton Gillies - Cody Almond - Brad Staubitz

Nick Schultz - Mike Lundin
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Clayton Stoner - Greg Zanon

Matt Hackett

Minnesota placed forward Devin Setoguchi on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

"I don't think this is something that's going to be real serious, but we don't expect him in the next week," coach Mike Yeo said.

Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Dustin Penner - Andrei Loktionov - Ethan Moreau
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Kevin Westgarth

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson - Slava Voynov
Matt Greene - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Los Angeles activated Martinez off the injured reserve list and placed Willie Mitchell on IR.

Martinez has missed the past 10 games with an upper-body injury suffered on Nov. 12, coincidentally against Minnesota.

Mitchell has a groin injury suffered early in the game against Florida on Dec. 1.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 3:48 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hackett gets first NHL start for Wild

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Hackett will get the call again for the Minnesota Wild.

The rookie will start against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night in the follow-up to his NHL debut on Tuesday in which he relieved Josh Harding just over a minute into the game and shut out the San Jose Sharks in what became a 2-1 Minnesota victory.

Minnesota does not have its starting goalies speak to the media on game days, but coach Mike Yeo said Hackett "was all smiles" when told he would start again.

"It will be real good for Hacks to get another chance," Yeo said. "He played great last game, so let's throw him back in there."

It was thought that Niklas Backstrom might return but Backstrom will back up tonight and continue to rest his groin.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Backstrom said. "It's nice to be back and I'm getting better everyday."

Harding did not skate Thursday, but Yeo said he's better after he suffered a sort of whiplash from teammate Nick Schultz on Tuesday.

"Yesterday he felt great and he worked out," Yeo said. "We'll meet with him here this afternoon and figure out if he's going to be back with us tomorrow."
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 3:34 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Williams promoted back to Kings' first line

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Kings coach Terry Murray put his top line back together for tonight's game against the Anaheim Ducks, reuniting Simon Gagne and Anze Kopitar with Justin Williams, who had been demoted to the third line.

Murray also put Dustin Brown back at left wing.

"He's so effective coming off that left side on the attack," Murray said of Brown. "I just want to take advantage of it right now."

Penner feels good:
Kings forward Dustin Penner returned to the lineup last Saturday and scored his first goal of the season after he missed nine games with a hand injury.

Penner, whose season has been interrupted by injuries, said this is the best he's felt all season.

"It's a combination of the extra work I put in, and also I'm injury free," Penner said.

Penner's goal came on a tip in front of the net, which is exactly the type of net presence that coach Terry Murray has preached.

"That's the attitude that we need to re-establish as a team again," Murray said. "We're getting away from that the last several games. Overall, his game was real good. I just want to make sure there's no back off the gas pedal here."

Kings searching for entry point: An inability to generate shots has been an ongoing point of emphasis for the Kings, who remain among the worst-scoring teams in the NHL.

"I personally think it starts with our neutral-zone play, coming up the ice together," captain Dustin Brown said. "Sometimes we get too spread out. Whether it's a quick counter or a long counter, we've got to be able to identify that, as a group of five, and come together.

"You look at our team, we have nine or 10 guys that have scored 20 goals. So guys can score goals. But we can't score goals when we're dumping the puck and not getting it back, and the result of that is our neutral zone. As players, we have a system in place, guys need to identify a quick counter or a long counter. Those are really are two options. Right now we're getting caught in between those … it puts guys where they have to chip it in. There's no speed. There's no pressure on the puck."
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 3:30 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Beleskey getting shot on Ducks' top line

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is getting to know his team better, and one of the young pieces that has caught his attention is winger Matt Beleskey.

Boudreau put Beleskey with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the third period of Sunday's game, and that will be the case when Anaheim hosts rival Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

The move is not surprising because Beleskey played with Getzlaf and Perry briefly a couple of seasons ago under former coach Randy Carlyle.

Boudreau said it's part of learning about his team.

"A lot of these young guys I'd like to see," Boudreau said. "I think I pretty well know what Teemu (Selanne) can do. … When you're in the East you don't hear about Matt Beleskey, and you don't hear too much about Andrew Cogliano, even though he's a Toronto boy. … You don't hear a lot about those guys. It's intriguing to see what they can and can't do, and that takes a little bit of time."

Beleskey is taking the place of Bobby Ryan, who has been dropped to the second line with Saku Koivu and Selanne. Cogliano is back at third-line center.

Anaheim recalled center Nick Bonino in an attempt at offensive depth, although Bonino arrived late and won't play Tuesday. Bonino has 20 points in 17 games with the Syracuse Crunch.

"We're looking for scoring on the third and fourth lines," Boudreau said. "I think in today's game you need four lines that can score. Bonino, from what I've gathered … he's an offensive guy and we've got to give him an opportunity."

Parros available:
Ducks winger George Parros is a game-time decision after he missed 13 games with an eye injury.

Anaheim desperately needs size on its bottom-six forward unit, and it's possible that it could ice a fourth line of Parros and Jean-Francois Jacques.

 Boudreau, who coached Parros in Washington's organization, said it's not just about toughness, though.

"I'm not getting guys to fight," Boudreau said. "I told him when I had him (that) he's got to play. He's not just going to sit on the bench and take somebody’s spot."

Kings-Ducks connections:
Boudreau has roots in the Kings' organization as coach of its AHL-affiliate Manchester from 2001 to 2005.

The following year Boudreau coached Hershey in the Calder Cup where the Bears played a Portland team that had Getzlaf, Perry and current Kings forward Dustin Penner, who were sent down by Anaheim after the Ducks were eliminated by Edmonton in the conference finals.

Penner, who won a Stanley Cup playing with Getzlaf and Perry on the so-called Points Per Game line in 2007, said it was surprising to see his former team struggle.

"I know what they're going through," Penner said. "I did it for four years in Edmonton. It's definitely surprising. To what extent, I don't know. I think they rely heavily on their top two lines. When you look at every team that comes into Staples Center, they've got three or four lines. I'm not saying they won't have it in a year or two, but right now their bottom six, I don't know if they have 100 games combined."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 3:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Kings, Ducks

Here's how the lineups could look for tonight's game between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center:


Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Dustin Penner - Andrei Loktionov - Ethan Moreau
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Kevin Westgarth

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson - Slava Voynov
Matt Greene - Davis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell is skating but is still out with a groin injury. Alec Martinez (upper body) has been cleared for contact.


Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Niklas Hagman - Andrew Cogliano - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jean-Francois Jacques - Maxime Macenauer - George Parros

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Toni Lydman - Luca Sbisa
Sheldon Brookbank - Kurtis Foster

Jonas Hiller

Anaheim activated backup goalie Dan Ellis and re-assigned Jeff Deslauriers. Ellis had a groin injury.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 3:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Markov's return delayed, minor knee surgery needed

LOS ANGELES - Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov will undergo a minor surgery on his knee and will miss about three weeks, Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier said Saturday before a game against Los Angeles.

“Markov’s knee is almost at full strength,” Gauthier said. “He’s undergoing arthroscopic surgery to clean up debris.”

Markov had been cleared for contact weeks ago and there was speculation that he might return this week during the team's California trip. Markov has not played in more than a year because of knee surgery and has played only 52 regular season games the past two seasons.

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Posted On Friday, 12.02.2011 / 3:05 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Ducks put big line back together

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- New Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau's first big adjustment was to put Bobby Ryan on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Former coach Randy Carlyle had moved Ryan to the third line to try and generate offense. But Boudreau drew from his experience as Washington coach when he played Anaheim.

"All I know is that when we played against them, they were great," Boudreau said of the trio. "They were always dominant. That's my memory of them. We get them back playing like that, and they should be, again, as a good as any individual line in the League."

Boudreau also is quite familiar with Selanne, who scorched Washington with 2 goals and 2 assists Nov. 1.

"(I'll) tell him to do it every night," Boudreau said. "Usually you get a little slower when you get older, but he was fast that night and Saku (Koivu) looked great that night, too. Let's hope that they can continue that."

Here's a look at how the Ducks' lineup could shape up tonight.

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Niklas Hagman - Andrew Cogliano - Devante Smith-Pelly
Andrew Gordon - Maxime Macenauer - Ben Maxwell

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Toni Lydman - Luca Sbisa
Nate Guenin - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller will start in goal, with Jeff Deslauriers backing him up.

Check here for a look at the potential Flyers' lineup.

For more on the game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Friday, 12.02.2011 / 3:00 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Boudreau trying to settle into new job

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bruce Boudreau's remarkable journey over the past 48 hours came to a peaceful interlude after he fulfilled all his media obligations Thursday.

"Last night, when I left here at 6 o'clock, I went to bed," Boudreau said Friday after his first game-day skate as coach of the Anaheim Ducks. "It's been a long two days."

Boudreau didn't have much time to study his new team since he was hired as Anaheim coach late Wednesday. He will make his Ducks coaching debut Friday against Philadelphia in a new era for the club and Boudreau.

Asked how much of a crash course he's had to do on his new team, Boudreau said, "As crash a course as you can get.

"It's still a whirlwind. I'll be glad when it gets back to a little bit of normalcy -- for the players, too -- to get into that routine of what they'll be used to. It's probably a little bit a change from what they're used to. Whether that's good or bad, we'll see."

Boudreau said he has conducted three 1-on-1 meetings with players to get to know them better and begin that relationship.

"I think it's important to know what goes on in their life," Boudreau said. "If they've got two sick kids at home and they look really tired, it's not that they're out all night, it's maybe they're up all night because the kids are up all night. Little things like that help go a long way."

The Ducks appear to be in full-honeymoon mode with Boudreau. There was laughter and smiles in the locker room and a sense of renewed energy.

"He's very positive," Teemu Selanne said. "You can see he's really excited about the situation, and that's great … overall everything has been really good."

Tonight's game will be just six days after he coached his last game with Washington, the shortest turnaround in NHL history, according to the lias Sports Bureau. Boudreau acknowledged it's unusual.

"I went to the visitors' bench first," he said. "I'm not used to this. I'm sure it will happen in a hurry and I'll get used to it. But it doesn't happen very often."
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 4:28 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Canadiens, Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here's what the lineups likely will look like when the Canadiens and Ducks hit the ice in the Honda Center tonight.

The Ducks will have a new top line trio, with Matt Beleskey sliding into Bobby Ryan's spot.

The big news for the Canadiens will be the NHL debut of 2009 first-round pick Louis Leblanc, who will start on the third line.

Andrei Kostitsyn - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Michael Cammalleri - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Travis Moen - Louis Leblanc - Lars Eller
Mathieu Darche - Petteri Nokelainen - Yannick Weber

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz
Alexei Emelin - Frederic St-Denis

Peter Budaj will start in goal, with Carey Price spending the night as the backup.

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Bobby Ryan - Ben Maxwell - Niklas Hagman
Andrew Gordon - Maxime Macenauer - Devante Smith-Pelly

Cam Fowler - Toni Lydman
Francois Beauchemin - Luca Sbisa
Sheldon Brookbank - Nate Guenin

Jonas Hiller will start in goal, with Jeff Deslauriers serving as the backup. Regular backup Dan Ellis will miss about a week, according to coach Randy Carlyle, due to a sore groin.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense