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At the Rink blog
Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 12:25 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Callahan to have MRI on injured shoulder

The New York Rangers announced team captain Ryan Callahan will have an MRI on his shoulder Wednesday afternoon.

Callahan appeared to injure his left arm during a third-period fight with the Philadelphia Flyers' Maxime Talbot during Tuesday's game. During the scuffle the players were yanking on each other and fell to the ice. When they got up, Callahan held his left arm close to his body and immediately skated off the ice.

"We were holding each other up and his shoulder popped out or something," Talbot told NHL.com. "It was unfortunate. I let him go. I kind of felt it, but then I saw his face as well."

Callahan scored his second goal of the season in the second period, and it held up as the game-winner in the Rangers' 2-1 victory.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 11:19 AM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Senators' Spezza out against Canadiens

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators' top center, Jason Spezza, will miss his second straight game Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Spezza, who has been sidelined with an upper-body injury, is still being evaluated, according to coach Paul MacLean. The injury occurred sometime during Ottawa's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. MacLean did not know whether Spezza would be absent for a significant period of time.

MacLean will start Kyle Turris at center, alongside Spezza's regular left wing, Milan Michalek. Daniel Alfredsson will play right wing on that line.

The Senators were victorious against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night without Spezza in the lineup, but his absence is being felt in the dressing room and the team has been required to make adjustments.

"It's a big void out there; Spezza plays a lot of minutes for us and he's big on the faceoff," Chris Neil said. "But it's another opportunity for other guys to step up. It makes us more of a four-line team. We can roll all four, and we've got the confidence to put our third or fourth line out against their top two lines to get the job. It has to be a group effort in here."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:58 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Clowe doesn't plan on giving up any of his intensity

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe has had a day to cool off since his meltdown Sunday night against the Vancouver Canucks when he drew eight penalties, including a game misconduct late in the second period.

Just don't expect to see a kinder, gentler Clowe on Tuesday night when the 5-0-0 Sharks play the 3-1-0 Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion.

"There's no secret how I play," Clowe said. "I'm an intense guy and an emotional guy. I try to play on the edge. Sometimes I go over. I don't make any apologies for that.

"I don't like taking those penalties and that extra penalty where you hurt your team. Obviously that wasn't my plan, but I don't make any apologies for going over the edge."

Clowe tied the franchise single-game record with his eight penalties. Four of them came rapid-fire and ended his night. He was sent to the box for high-sticking at 19:33 of the second period but quickly earned two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct when he protested the call. At that point, an infuriated Clowe started smashing his stick in the box, drawing a 10-minute misconduct, then a game misconduct.

Clowe had been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct even before the puck dropped Sunday when he got into a confrontation with Alexandre Burrows. In the first period he received a five-minute major for fighting after a long bout with Zack Kassian and two minutes for holding the stick. In the second, he was penalized for tripping.

Clowe only took serious issue with the high-sticking penalty.

"I was just going up the middle of the ice," he said. "It was a stupid call. I tried to finish a guy. He just skated out of trouble. I don't even know if I got a piece of him. The guy gives me a high sticking. The other two calls before that I didn't say anything. ... It was just a constant march to the penalty box that game. It got frustrating."

Clowe made team history when he went to the box before the puck dropped. The Sharks had never before opened a game skating 4-on-4.

"I don't know what happened," Clowe said. "Burrows and (Logan) Couture got into it a little bit. I just stepped in there. I don't know why we got penalties. It always gets riled up when we play those guys."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:51 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks' Lack out six months after hip surgery

The Vancouver Canucks announced Tuesday that goaltending prospect Eddie Lack will be out at least six months following hip surgery.

"After consultation with our team physicians, it was deemed that Eddie Lack would require a procedure on his hip," Mike Gillis said in a statement. "We expect Eddie to make a complete recovery and continue his professional career after a successful rehabilitation program."

Lack went 7-4-1 in 13 games this season with the Canucks' American Hockey League team, the Chicago Wolves, but hasn't played since Nov. 24.

Lack, 25, signed a new two-year contract with the organization during the offseason, and was expected to slide into the backup role behind Cory Schneider if a long-rumored trade involving Roberto Luongo ever happened.

Should the Canucks still deal Luongo, the only other goaltender currently under contract to the Canucks is Joe Cannata, a sixth-round pick in 2009 who began this season in the ECHL before joining the Wolves when Lack was hurt. The current starter for the Wolves is Matt Climie, who has split time with Lack in the AHL in 2011-12 and at the start of this campaign, but who is not currently signed to an NHL contract.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:33 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

San Jose holds special place in Etem's heart

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Growing up in the Southern California city of Long Beach, Anaheim Ducks rookie forward Emerson Etem played a junior hockey tournament in San Jose and had a chance to watch the Sharks play the Minnesota Wild at HP Pavilion.

Tuesday night, Etem will make his NHL debut at the Shark Tank when Anaheim faces San Jose.

"I grew up watching the Sharks and all the rest of the California teams," Etem said after Anaheim's morning skate. "I went to a Minnesota Wild-San Jose game, maybe in the early 2000s, just on a hockey trip, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I'm finally here and I'm going to be playing in the same building where I watched back in the day. It's just going to be exciting."

Etem said he'll skate on the fourth line with Rickard Rakell and Kyle Palmieri.

"A good line," he said. "Hopefully we build some chemistry early on. We felt good out there today. It's going to be exciting."

Anaheim selected Etem with the 29th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. Last season he had 107 points in 65 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League, scoring 61 goals and adding 46 assists. This season he had 12 goals and two assists in 40 games for the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who talked to reporters before Etem revealed he would be in the lineup, said his rookie had "a great camp" this year.

"He was the last cut," Boudreau said. "With a lot of those guys in five days, they were pretty close together, so we're just rotating so they keep playing. If he does play tonight, what you're going to see is a really strong skater and an NHL body. He's got a man's body for a 20-year-old (6-foot-1, 210 pounds). I thought that was really evident in training camp. He's probably very raw as far as a lot of things go, like all young guys are experience-wise, but he's definitely got all the attributes to be a good NHL player in the future."

Etem said he played in a few NHL preseason games last season, including one at San Jose.

"Obviously the NHL regular-season pace is a huge notch above that," said Etem, who hopes to have his parents make the trip from Southern California for Tuesday night's game. "I got a little bit of experience, and I played in this barn last year in an exhibition game. I know a little bit about what it's all about. I just have to go out there and make sure I play a simple game, take it all in and enjoy the moment. Work hard and take advantage of the opportunity I'm given."

Here's how the lineups could look as the Sharks face the Ducks at HP Pavilion:

DUCKS

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Bobby Ryan - Nick Bonino - Teemu Selanne

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Daniel Winnik

Kyle Palmieri - Rickard Rakell - Emerson Etem

Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Bryan Allen

Luca Sbisa - Toni Lydman

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Injuries: None

Scratches: Devante Smith-Pelly, Sami Vatanen, Brad Staubitz

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Martin Havlat - Logan Couture - Ryane Clowe

Tommy Wingels - Michal Handzus - TJ Galiardi

Andrew Desjardins - Scott Gomez - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brad Stuart

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Brent Burns, Jason Demers

Scratched: James Sheppard, Nick Petrecki, Frazer McLaren

Boyle, who's battling a cold, missed the morning skate, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he'll definitely be in the lineup. Demers (wrist) and Burns (lower body) took part in the skate. McLellan said Demers is getting very close to being healthy enough to play. Asked if he was encouraged by his progress, Burns said, "I wouldn't use that word. ... I'm doing everything I can. I'm working."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hamonic good to go; Joensuu out 5-7 weeks

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Hamonic acknowledges that he "couldn't move" when he first sustained an ankle injury Sunday. Two days later, though, the New York Islanders defenseman declared himself "ready to play" in Tuesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hamonic, the 22-year-old who is averaging more than 24 minutes of ice time per game, participated in the morning skate at Consol Energy Center two days after "rolling over" his foot during the third period of an overtime loss at the Winnipeg Jets.

Hamonic was in the lineup when the Islanders took the ice Tuesday night.

"I wouldn't be putting myself in a situation like that if I didn't feel ready to play," Hamonic said after the morning skate. "Obviously, (Pittsburgh) has a lot of skill up front and a lot of power and a lot of speed, more than anything, and I wouldn't want to be putting myself at risk physically and also don't want to be a liability out there for the guys. If (health) was an issue I wouldn't even be (taking part in the morning skate), so it's a dead issue."

Hamonic is expected to play with regular partner Andrew MacDonald. Capuano said Thomas Hickey will remain in the lineup after making his NHL debut Sunday at the Winnipeg Jets. Joe Finley will be the odd man out.

Casey Cizikas reclaimed his spot on the fourth line, with Eric Boulton a healthy scratch.

The Islanders also announced that forward Jesse Joensuu will miss the next 5-7 weeks after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. Joensuu has not played for New York yet this season and is suspended because his injury was sustained while playing in Finland during the lockout.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Despres to replace injured Niskanen next to Letang

PITTSBURGH -- In part because of the outstanding organizational depth at the position, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been carrying eight defensemen.

Now that the first injury of the season has hit the team, the fruits of that depth will begin to be realized.

Matt Niskanen will be out for two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury sustained early in the Penguins' 2-1 shootout win Sunday at Ottawa. In the immediate future, that means rookie Simon Despres regains his spot in the lineup. The former first-round pick will be paired with Kris Letang to open the game Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

"He's an exceptionally good defenseman -- he talks a lot out there, he's easy to play with," Despres said of Letang. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Despres, 21, spent the early part of the abbreviated training camp paired with Letang, whom many pundits view as a Norris Trophy candidate. But when the season opened, it was Niskanen who was to the left of Letang.

Despres did, however, make the team in what was a somewhat surprising move only because he did not need to clear waivers to be sent back down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Ironically, the player who lost out on the Penguins' decision to keep Despres in the NHL, Brian Strait, was claimed by the Islanders, is taking a regular shift next to captain Mark Streit and will face his former team Tuesday.

A favorite of coach Dan Bylsma for obvious reasons -- Despres' pure skating and puckhandling skills are surpassed only by Letang among Penguins defensemen -- Despres averaged almost 10 minutes of ice time through Pittsburgh's first three games. However, he was a healthy scratch in the Penguins' two most recent contests in favor of more stay-at-home Ben Lovejoy.

"[Despres] played well for us; he did some good things when he was in the lineup," Bylsma said. "He wasn't reprimanded when he got out -- 'You're not playing well.' There was just some consistency in his game and decision-making that would make him better at both ends of the rink, defending and offensively. That's part of his maturation process."

A left-handed shot, Despres will play on the left side with right-handed Letang on the right. Niskanen, a righty, liked taking one-timers from Letang when he played on Letang's left side. Letang shrugged off any suggestion of a readjustment period to a new defense partner.

"It's a different partner, but we all play the same system, so it's going to be the same," Letang said.

"I think (Despres) did pretty well [in the first three games he played]. He just needs to focus on his defensive game. Everybody knows he's got great abilities and got great skills and has got a good shot and can skate really well. I think he just needs to get better defensively and learning the game better."

Bylsma said Despres can fill Niskanen's void at the point of the Penguins' second power-play unit. Still, even if he is usually paired Tuesday with Letang, Despres doesn't expect Letang-like minutes.

Letang played 29:10 Sunday in Ottawa, and veterans Brooks Orpik (28:28) and Paul Martin (31:06) also logged considerable time. Though the ice time numbers probably won't be that gaudy, expect the trend of those three playing significantly more than Despres, Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland to continue.

"We've got a lot of good defensemen on this team," Despres said. "We've got to get ice time to a lot of people."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Defense prospect Brodin makes home debut for Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's first round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft was defenseman Jonas Brodin.

After playing in Sweden last season, he was expected to compete for a roster spot with Minnesota in training camp.

A lockout, a broken collarbone and an abbreviated stay with the Houston Aeros later, Brodin is with the Wild and will make his Xcel Energy Center debut tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets after playing in both of the games on Minnesota's recent two-game road trip.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said he's been very pleased with his young defenseman through two games, especially considering the circumstances.

"Going to Joe Louis [Arena in Detroit], that's a pretty tough welcome to the NHL and I thought he was outstanding," Yeo said. "I thought he was very good in St. Louis, too, in a game that was very difficult for a defenseman to play. I think he's done a very nice job.

Yeo is rewarding the young Swede by moving him to the Wild's top pairing with veteran Ryan Suter. The promotion promises to bring a much bigger spotlight, more ice time, and gives Wild brass a chance to see a defensive pairing that could be together for a long, long time.

"Quite possibly," Yeo said. "Certainly we're projecting for [Brodin] down the road to be that kind of player. But let's be fair, this is only his third game in the NHL. We're asking a lot of him, but we do think he is capable of it."

The move also allows the reunion of Tom Gilbert and Clayton Stoner on the Wild's second D-pairing, a unit that was very impressive over Minnesota's first two games -- the team's two wins so far this season.

The Blue Jackets were late arrivals to Minnesota. After beating the Dallas Stars on Monday night at Nationwide Arena, weather conditions kept their plane grounded until this morning. The team did not leave Ohio until 10 a.m. local time and arrived in Minnesota less than eight hours before puck drop.

The team is not scheduled to hit the ice until warm-ups tonight, but will look to build off their win last night, which snapped a four-game losing streak.

Look for Niklas Backstrom to make his second straight start in goal for the Wild. The Jackets, who played Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes last night, are expected to counter with Steve Mason.

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Mikael Granlund - Devin Setoguchi

Matt Cullen - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck

Darroll Powe - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner - Tom Gilbert

Marco Scandella - Justin Falk

Niklas Backstrom

Josh Harding

BLUE JACKETS

RJ Umberger - Artem Anisimov - Derek Dorsett

Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Vinny Prospal

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Derick Brassard

Colton Gillies - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - James Wisniewski

Nikita Nikitin - Fedor Tyutin

John Moore - Adrian Aucoin

Steve Mason

Sergei Bobrovsky

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Chris Ryndak -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Brennan, Weber in on Sabres' blue line

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres will mix things up on the blue line as they prepare for their home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Defensemen TJ Brennan and Mike Weber will replace Robyn Regehr and Alexander Sulzer in the lineup. Regehr will miss the game with what Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called an "undisclosed lower-body injury" while Sulzer will be a healthy scratch. Ruff expects Regehr will only be out in the short term.

Brennan and Weber have been healthy scratches through Buffalo’s first five games.

"You want guys that are chomping at the bit to play," Ruff said. "They're excited to play and full of energy. We'll tone them down from there."

The Sabres will have leading scorer Thomas Vanek back in the lineup after he missed Buffalo's game on Sunday against the Washington Capitals with a muscle strain. Buffalo also announced on Tuesday that 18-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko will stay with the club for the remainder of the season.

On the Maple Leafs side, defenseman Mike Komisarek will miss the game with an eye injury. Coach Randy Carlyle said Komisarek received a suture in his eye at a visit to the doctor on Monday.

“Komisarek, at the end of practice [Monday] experienced a little fibreglass chip in the eye,” coach Randy Carlyle said after Tuesday's morning practice.

Komisarek visited the doctor again Tuesday and while he was cleared to play, the Maple Leafs coaching staff decided to shut him down for the night as a precautionary measure.

Carlyle was vague about how Komisarek injured his eye.

"It was one of those things that you'd like to take back in your life, I think, when you do something stupid," Carlyle said. "It was crazy."

Jake Gardiner may play for Toronto on Tuesday, but Carlyle feels no pressure to put the defenseman in the lineup. Gardiner injured his head and neck in a game on Dec. 8 while with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He returned to the Maple Leafs lineup on Jan. 23 after missing the first two games of the NHL season.

"There's a need to get him back on track, but I don't think there's any pressure on us to play Jake Gardiner in any of the situations we're presented with right now. It's a coach's decision whether he plays or doesn't play," Carlyle said.

Forward Clarke MacArthur did not partake in the morning skate and is "very doubtful" for the game, according to Carlyle.

James Reimer will start in goal for the Maple Leafs, and Ryan Miller will start for the Sabres.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Chris Ryndak -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Grigorenko happy to be staying with Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Mikhail Grigorenko is staying with the Buffalo Sabres.

General manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff gave the 18-year-old center the good news Tuesday morning. Following a five-game tryout, the Sabres could have returned Grigorenko to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but decided that it would be best to keep him in the NHL for the duration of the season.

The Sabres selected Grigorenko with the 12th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. For Grigorenko, knowing that a decision was made one way or the other was a big relief.

"Today coming to the rink, I was a little bit nervous. I didn't know what to expect. Finally, they told me I was staying so I'm really happy," Grigorenko said after the morning skate Tuesday.

"Well, I think by the smile on his face, it was a quite a big relief,” Ruff said of Grigorenko's reaction to the news.

Regier said two things mainly went into the decision.

"First, the ability to continue to continue his development in conjunction with his ability to help us win hockey games," Regier said.

Grigorenko played a career-high 17:10 on Sunday against the Washington Capitals. He has not registered a point through five games, but the Sabres front office liked enough of what they saw to keep him on the roster.

Both Grigorenko and the Sabres' front office understand that the hard work does not stop now that he has made the team, but it must continue throughout his career.

“We talked about the work he put in and the work he’s going to have to put in. He’s earned this opportunity,” Ruff said.

While Grigorenko found out before the skate, his teammates did not learn about the decision until they were about to leave the ice. Ruff gathered the team near the boards on the opposite side of the Buffalo bench and made the announcement. The team tapped their sticks on the ice in congratulations and a few teammates gave the rookie a good face wash.

“It’s cool. It’s awesome. I know everyone’s excited,” Sabres captain Jason Pominville said. “I don’t know if you saw the reaction on the ice, but guys were pretty happy for him. He’s made some big strides. He’s improved in every game he’s played in. I think last game was probably his best.”

Grigorenko will dress in his sixth NHL game on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center.

"I think it’s a really good step in my career. I’ll do everything to show people that they made the right choice,” Grigorenko said. “It’s really good to know that I’m staying with the team and I can focus on the hockey now and not think about all those [other] things."

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