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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Report: Gomez meeting with Sharks

Just days after being placed on waivers and subsequently bought out of his contract by the Montreal Canadiens, veteran center Scott Gomez reportedly is meeting with the San Jose Sharks this weekend.

After scoring twice in 38 games last season, Gomez's tumultuous time in Montreal came to an end, leaving the 2000 Calder Trophy winner a free agent. According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, a number of teams have since inquired about Gomez, including the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, where Gomez started his career. After the Carolina Hurricanes were rumored to be looking at the 33-year-old center, the Raleigh News & Observer reported that they are not interested.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Kovalev ready to make Panthers debut

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The beginning of the NHL season is significant to every player, but for different reasons.

For Alex Kovalev, the Florida Panthers opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night represents the chance to be back in the NHL after being away in 2011-12.

The 39-year-old, who played 22 games in the Kontinental Hockey League last season, earned a contract with the Panthers this week after being invited to camp on a tryout basis.

"I'm just happy overall to be back on the ice, back in the big league and have a chance to play in the NHL again," Kovalev said.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Projected Lineups: Coyotes at Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Saturday night’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

COYOTES

Steve Sullivan-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata

Mikkel Boedkker-Matthew Lombardi-Shane Doan

Lauri Korpikoski-Antoine Vermette-David Moss

Paul Bissonnette-Boyd Gordon-Kyle Chipchura

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Zybnek Michalek

Keith Yandle-Derek Morris

Rotislav Klesla-David Schlemko

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Injuries: Raffi Torres (suspension).

Scratches: Alex Bolduc, David Rundblad.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Rangers' Nash ready for Broadway run

BOSTON – The years of trying to raise his team to prominence in Columbus are long over.

So are the months, or more, of dealing with trade rumors that seemed to follow him wherever the Blue Jackets went.

Now it’s time for Rick Nash, six months after he was dealt out of Columbus, to make his debut with the New York Rangers. Nash and his new club open the 2012-13 season Saturday night at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins.

“It’ll be a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement, a lot of nerves,” Nash said after the Rangers’ morning skate. “It’s obviously taken longer because of the lockout. But I think the biggest feeling will be excitement, getting the excitement going and playing my first one as a Ranger.”

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:17 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Toews to play for Blackhawks despite the flu

LOS ANGELES -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will play Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings despite missing practice Friday with the flu.

"He's playing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's ready to go."

Quenneville said he will have to keep an eye on Toews to make sure he doesn't need extra rest during the game, but he's hopeful that won't be an issue.

"We use him in all situations so we'll keep an eye on his minutes and gauge how he's feeling," Quenneville said. "I think if he gets fatigued a little bit we'll cut back, but hopefully he's ready to go his regular workload.

"Plus, I think he's beyond it, too," he added. "The game takes over. I think everybody has targeted today's game, everybody is excited."

Toews had 57 points in 59 games last season. He missed the last 22 games with of the season with a concussion, but he returned for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and played in all six games against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Toews has 16 points in 18 career regular-season games against the Kings.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:15 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Another Bourque, Hamilton to debut in Boston

BOSTON – Ray Bourque skated in a franchise-record 1,518 NHL games for the Boston Bruins during his Hall of Fame career.

When the Bruins open the 2013 season Saturday night against the New York Rangers at TD Garden, the legend’s son Chris should have just 1,517 to catch up to his pop.

The younger Bourque, with 33 NHL games over three seasons on his resume entering this season, joined the Bruins in a trade last summer. He earned a roster spot during Boston’s one-week training camp and should open the game against the Rangers on a line with center Chris Kelly and right winger Rich Peverley.

Bourque previously played one NHL regular-season game in the Garden – when he was with Pittsburgh in 2010.

“It was great obviously coming back playing in front of friends and family. It’s different when you’re the road team, you don’t to spend too much time around the city. It was a good experience. But I’m happy I’m on this side now,” he said after the Bruins’ morning skate.

Bourque anticipates at least 30-40 friends and family, from both the Boston area and Montreal, will be in the building using tickets he and his family secured. There should be plenty other people he knows on hand as well -- he grew up in Boston and attended Boston University for one season.

It’s been a long time since his earliest days hanging out with the Bruins.

“I grew up in this locker room here and the one that was in the building right next door that’s not here anymore,” he said. “So just skating on the ice before the team. Not wanting to get off but getting kicked off before practice, but coming in here and running around, probably pissing off all the trainers and that sort of stuff.”

Bourque and rookie Dougie Hamilton are set to make their debuts with the Bruins. Adam McQuaid, who underwent offseason surgery to treat a blood clot, has been medically cleared to play, according to coach Claude Julien.

Here’s the Bruins projected lineup:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin

Chris Bourque - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton

Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Lightning, Capitals excited to start season

TAMPA, Fla. –- The Tampa Bay Lightning open their 20th anniversary season by hosting the Washington Capitals at the sold-out Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday night.

It’s not quite business as usual, though, as emotions and nerves were running high in both locker rooms.

“This is not a normal night,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said after the morning skate. “It’s exciting for everyone. The players have been waiting for a long time, the fans have been waiting for a long time and I’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s here and it’s now and we’re all eager to go.”

The day promises to be especially exciting for Cory Conacher, who will be making his NHL debut skating on a line with Vincent Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell.

“Yeah, it’s hit me,” Connacher said. “I want to act like I’ve been here before but even just walking into the rink tonight will be a great experience.”

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Posted On Friday, 01.18.2013 / 11:43 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Opening Day for the 2012-13 campaign has arrived

Welcome to the opening day of the 2012-13 NHL season!

NHL.com will be with hockey fans all day, as the sprint to the 2013 NHL Playoffs begins with a flurry of games on the season's first day. There will be 26 teams in action, with contests starting at 3 p.m. ET and continuing into the early hours of Saturday morning.

The day starts with the defending champions, the Los Angeles Kings, celebrating the first title in team history, with a banner-raising ceremony before they kick off the Cup defense against the Chicago Blackhawks. At the same time on the other side of the country, bitter rivals Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will exchange pleasantries for the first time since the Flyers claimed a wild playoff series in April.

If those two contests at 3 p.m. ET aren't enough, MTS Centre will be rocking again as the Winnipeg Jets welcome the Ottawa Senators. Later highlights on the opening day schedule include the New York Rangers in Boston to face the Bruins (7 p.m. ET), the Toronto Maple Leafs in Montreal to face the Canadiens (7 p.m. ET) and the Detroit Red Wings will begin a season without Niklas Lidstrom for the first time in two decades when they travel to St. Louis to face the defending division champion Blues (8 p.m. ET).

The night concludes with the Anaheim Ducks in Vancouver to face the Canucks (10 p.m. ET), with the Cory Schneider Era set to begin with Roberto Luongo still on the roster and watching from the bench.

Check back frequently for more blog updates throughout the day, as our team of NHL.com writers and contributors will keep everyone abreast of lineup decisions, late-breaking news and other developments in and around NHL arenas as the League welcomes back everyone for the 2012-13 campaign.

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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