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Posted On Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 6:08 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Devils

NEWARK -- Hit hard by injuries and illness for much of the season, the New Jersey Devils will get a key component back in their lineup Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators when forward Patrik Elias returns after missing five straight games and six of the past seven with a groin injury.

Elias was on a line with Travis Zajac and Martin Havlat at the morning skate.

"I'm better than I was before I came back," he said.

Elias was injured Dec. 2 at the Pittsburgh Penguins. After sitting out the next game against the Toronto Maple Leafs he attempted to return Dec. 6 at the Washington Capitals. He scored a goal in 15:15 of ice time in New Jersey's 4-1 loss but said he came back too soon.

"I wanted to get back and play and help out," Elias said. "Ten minutes in I started getting the same issue again. I tried to go through it again but I couldn't really push. It got worse. The situation we're in, you want to be part of the team, you want to play. I didn't feel horrible, but obviously playing games, doing stops and starts, battling and shooting, it's different than if you go on the ice doing laps. We were a lot smarter this time."

Elias has three goals and 12 points in 26 games.

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Posted On Monday, 11.17.2014 / 2:10 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Rangers

NEW YORK -- After sitting the past three games as a healthy scratch, New York Rangers forward Anthony Duclair returns to the lineup Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Duclair, who was on a line with Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin at the morning skate, will play in place of Jesper Fast. Forward Lee Stempniak was moved to the fourth line with Tanner Glass and Dominic Moore.

"I'm not used to sitting," Duclair said. "It's definitely new for me. It's a process you have to go through as a young guy coming into the League. You can see throughout the League some guys sit out and it's alright. They have time to develop. For myself, I have to make sure when I'm in there I have to make an impact."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 9:03 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Matt Carkner on comebacks, Montreal Canadiens

Comebacks have been the order of the day during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. All three games Wednesday saw teams overcome deficits to even its series at 2-2. The eight games in which the winning team has overcome a deficit of two or more goals match the total for the entire 2013 postseason.

"If you're watching the game in the first period at home and you go to put your kids to bed or something and go read them a book, and then come down for the third, there's two different games going on," Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner said Thursday while visiting the NHL offices. "The momentum swings and just the all-out intensity is pretty cool to see. I think it's great for the fans to know either team has a chance. That's the way it's going to be for a long time."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 10:06 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Vanek embraces leadership role with Austria

NEW YORK -- New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek will not only make his Olympic debut next month at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, he will serve as the captain of the Austrian team. The announcement was made Tuesday by national team coach Manny Viveiros.

"Just being part of it is big for our country," Vanek said. "To be named captain is something special, but we have a lot of good guys who will help me out. We have a good leadership group."

Vanek is one of three NHL players who will compete for Austria. He joins Islanders teammate Michael Grabner and Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl.

"He's obviously been around the block a few times," Grabner said of Vanek. "He's always one of the biggest icons for hockey in Austria, so it's a big honor for him. It's nice to have him as my captain. I think he's going to have a big influence on the younger players on our team and, obviously, a lot of people, including myself, can learn a lot from him.

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Location, location, location: Classic finds latest home

One of the many great features of the Winter Classic is the location. The first one in 2008 was played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, and through the years the NHL has played the game in parks venerable (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park) and modernized (Heinz Field, Citizens Bank Park).

Michigan Stadium, used mainly for football but also the venue for the "Big Chill at the Big House" college hockey game in 2012 between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, will host the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Each year presents different planning agendas for schemes that work best in football and baseball stadiums in terms of getting the rink to fit dimensions and go with the shape of each facility.

The League will get plenty of practice as the regular season progresses. Following the 2014 Winter Classic are Coors Light Stadium Series games at Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles), Yankee Stadium (New York) and Soldier Field (Chicago), and the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver.


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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic