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At the Rink blog
Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Eakin proving a solid addition for Stars

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars acquired Cody Eakin in a trade with the Washington Capitals on draft night for Mike Ribeiro, the general consensus was that the young center who appeared in 30 games for the Capitals as a rookie would center the Stars' fourth line this season.

And through Dallas' first two games, that's exactly where the 21-year-old skated for Stars second-year coach Glen Gulutzan, on the fourth line alongside Ryan Garbutt and Reilly Smith.

But before Tuesday's game at the Detroit Red Wings, Gulutzan informed Eakin he was flipping him and Tom Wandell, who had been centering Dallas' second line in the first two games. And in short, it was a move that paid off as Eakin assisted on both Stars goals, which were scored by Michael Ryder, in a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

"I wasn't really expecting it, but come game time it was nice to see that. I just keep playing the way I play -- get them the puck, create energy, be the first one on the forecheck, get them the puck," Eakin said of playing alongside Ryder and veteran Ray Whitney. "A couple of times they turned a little bit of nothing into something. It was a great opportunity for me. Hopefully I continue to work hard and stay on that line for a while.”

Of course, the man who made the call to put him on the second line couldn't be happier with how his decision turned out and plans to keep him alongside Ryder and Whitney for the time being.

"He's got great speed. He's got some grit. He plays the game hard and he has some offensive ability. He can think the game and he plays on both sides," Gulutzan said. "He's just got to get experience. The more experience he gets, the better player he'll become. Now it's not just about one time, it's about keeping that moving forward and being consistent. He was in the American (Hockey) League. He's just got to be that at this level."

As one of a number of young Stars players who played for the club's AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, during the lockout, Eakin, who had 24 points (12 goals) in 35 games in the AHL, definitely hit the ground running for the start of training camp and hasn't looked back.

"Yeah, I think it was definitely nice to be playing. I think it'd be a little tougher coming off not playing like a lot of the guys have. Last year, too, helped me a lot with not being shell-shocked or a little caught off guard with how fast it is," he said. "Obviously there's a lot of room to improve. I don't think I've reached my goal yet of having a really, really good game yet. I think the legs are there from playing so many games. It's going to be a busy stretch, just got to make sure I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:06 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Senators, Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Here are the projected lineups for the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at BB&T Center:

SENATORS

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Jakob Silfverberg

Guillaume Latendresse - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Jim O'Brien - Peter Regin - Erik Condra

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar

Patrick Wiercioch - Andre Benoit

Craig Anderson

Ben Bishop

Injured: Jared Cowen, Mike Lundin

Scratches: Kaspars Daugavins, Mark Borowiecki

Coach Paul MacLean is going with the same lineup he used in the 4-0 victory Monday against those same Panthers, which was the team’s last game. The only difference is that Ben Bishop will serve as the backup goalie after Robin Lehner was reassigned Tuesday to Binghamton.

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Alex Kovalev

Jonathan Huberdeau - Peter Mueller - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Shawn Matthias - Drew Shore

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Injured: Kris Versteeg, Marcel Goc, Erik Gudbranson, Sean Bergenheim,

Michael Caruso

Scratches: Mike Santorelli, Tyson Strachan

Captain Ed Jovanovski will be back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday at Montreal, the second set of back-to-back games.

Drew Shore earned another start after making his NHL debut in a 4-1 loss against the Canadiens.

“He had a lot of enthusiasm out there,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “Extremely coachable and knows the game. He’s a kid that has stepped in and really made a statement. I thought he had a good game to start his NHL career the other night.”

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:04 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Redden set to make NHL return for Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The last time Wade Redden suited up in a National Hockey League uniform, it was difficult to imagine at the time it would take that roughly three years to put on a jersey again.

The 35-year-old, who signed a pro-rated one-year, $800,000 contract with the Blues last week, will make his return to the NHL when the Blues host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET).

Redden, whose last game was in a New York Rangers uniform on April 11, 2010, is likely to skate with Alex Pietrangelo on the Blues' top pairing tonight.

The wait is finally over, and Redden is glad to put the ordeal with the Rangers behind him after spending the last two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Connecticut Whale.

"It's been a while, but I've obviously been playing still," said Redden, whose last NHL points ironically came against the Blues when he scored a goal and added an assist on March 18, 2010. "The AHL is not the same level, but it's still a pretty good league. It's obviously a lot different atmosphere and I'm looking forward to being a part of it tonight again."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Hurricanes, Sabres

Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night's game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres:

HURRICANES

Jiri TlustyEric Staal – Alexander Semin

Jeff SkinnerJordan StaalZac Dalpe

Drayson BowmanJussi JokinenChad LaRose

Patrick DwyerTim BrentKevin Westgarth

Tim GleasonJustin Faulk

Jay HarrisonBobby Sanguinetti

Joni Pitkanen - Jay Harrison

Cam Ward

Dan Ellis

Scratches: Jeremy Welsh, Zach Boychuk, Joe Corvo

SABRES

Thomas VanekCody HodgsonJason Pominville

Marcus FolignoTyler EnnisDrew Stafford

Steve OttMikhail GrigorenkoNathan Gerbe

John ScottJochen HechtPatrick Kaleta

Robyn Regehr - Tyler Myers

Andrej Sekera - Jordan Leopold

Christian Ehrhoff - Alexander Sulzer

Jhonas Enroth

Ryan Miller

Scratches: Matt Ellis, TJ Brennan

Injured: Ville Leino

Gerbe has been cleared to play after off-season back surgery and will join the lineup tonight, paired with Ott and Grigorenko.

"Nathan's got a natural goal-scoring touch, so I think he's got some finish to him," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's got real good speed and we're hoping he can create a little bit of offense for us."

Enroth makes his first start of the season in goal for Buffalo. In two career games against Carolina, Enroth has a 0.49 goals-against average.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Blackhawks

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellAndrew ShawViktor Stalberg

Brandon BolligMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Nick LeddyMichal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injuries: Daniel Carcillo (lower body), Steve Montador (upper body)

Scratches: Sheldon Brookbank, Jamal Mayers

Notes: Chicago, which beat St. Louis 3-2 in its-home opener on Tuesday at United Center, is 3-0-0 to start the season for the first time since 1972-73. Through their first three games, the Hawks have killed off 90 percent of opposing power plays, allowing just one power-play goal, tying them for the second-best PK in the League. Chicago is 2-0-0 on the road so far this season. The Hawks and Stars split their four meetings last season with each team winning once at home and once on the road. Seabrook currently leads the league in blocked shots with 13.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Derek Roy - Jaromir Jagr

Ray WhitneyCody Eakin - Michael Ryder

Brenden Morrow - Vernon Fiddler - Eric Nystrom

Ryan GarbuttTom Wandell - Reilly Smith

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas

Jordie Benn - Trevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Christopher Nilstrop

Scratches: Colton Sceviour

Injuries: Aaron Rome (groin)

Notes: Dallas split the two games on its first road trip of the season, losing at Minnesota on Sunday but prevailing 2-1 in Detroit on Tuesday. The Stars did not practice on Wednesday since mechanical issues with the team's plane forced them to spend Tuesday night in the Motor City. They did not arrive back in Dallas until Wednesday evening. Stars second-year head coach Glen Gulutzan flipped Eakin, who had been centering Dallas' fourth line, with Wandell, who had been skating on the second line, against the Red Wings and the move paid off as Eakin assisted on both Stars goals, which were scored by Ryder, who led Dallas with 35 goals last season.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:18 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wolski to top line, Neuvirth to start for Caps

WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals will have a different look Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens, with Michal Neuvirth making his season debut and Wojtek Wolski expected to see time on Washington’s No.1 line.

The Capitals are 0-2-0 for the first time since Oct. 1996.

“I feel cold, but, you know, this is job I picked and I’ve got to handle it,” said Neuvirth, who dressed as Braden Holtby’s backup for the first two games this season.

“I’m trying to stay positive and happy. I felt good during practice… and I’m ready to go.”

Neuvirth played in 24 games for HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic this fall, and appeared in 38 games for the Capitals last season. He has a 4-0-1 lifetime record against Montreal with a .939 save percentage, 1.82 goals-against-average and a shutout.

“Obviously I’ve just coached against him and I know that’s a very good goalie,” Oates said after Thursday’s morning skate. “I’ll like seeing him wearing my sweater.”

Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Canadiens:

CAPITALS

Wojtek WolskiNicklas BackstromAlex Ovechkin

Matt HendricksMike RibeiroTroy Brouwer

Jason ChimeraJay BeagleJoel Ward

Marcus JohanssonMathieu PerreaultJoey Crabb

Karl AlznerJohn Carlson

Tom PotiMike Green

Roman HamrlikTomas Kundratek

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

CANADIENS

Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisErik Cole

Rene BourqueTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta

Brandon PrustAlex GalchenyukBrendan Gallagher

Travis MoenRyan WhiteColby Armstrong

Andrei MarkovAlexei Emelin

Josh Gorges – Tomas Kaberle

Francis BouillonRaphael Diaz

Carey Price

Peter Budaj

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 10:13 AM

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

Wild recall defense prospect Brodin

The Minnesota Wild have recalled one of their top defense prospects, Jonas Brodin.

The 19-year-old was the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. He was a member of Sweden's gold-medal winning team at the 2012 World Junior Championship and had been playing in Sweden until joining Minnesota's American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, for the 2012-13 season.

Brodin suffered a broken clavicle in a Nov. 2 game against Oklahoma City and returned to action Wednesday night.

It's possible Brodin could made his NHL debut Friday when the Wild visit the Detroit Red Wings. In a blog Thursday, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo speculated that would depend on the health of Jared Spurgeon as well as what the Wild want to do with fellow prospect Mathew Dumba, who is still with the team but hasn't played in any of Minnesota's first three games.

Star Tribune reporter Rachel Blount reported Brodin was paired with Clayton Stoner at practice on Thursday.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 9:46 AM

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

Pens reshuffle minor-league depth with pair of deals

The Pittsburgh Penguins spent Thursday morning reshaping their depth with a pair of trades involving minor leaguers.

In the first, the Penguins obtained Chad Kolarik from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Benn Ferriero. In the second, Pittsburgh moved defenseman Carl Sneep to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick.

Kolarik, who turns 27 later this week, is the second-leading scorer on the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, putting up 16 goals and 35 points in 41 games. Selected by the Phoenix Coyotes (No. 199) in the 2004 NHL Draft, Kolarik has made six NHL appearances, going without a point in two games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and registering an assist in four games with the Rangers in 2010-11. He missed the 2011-12 season with a knee injury.

Ferriero, 25, had four goals and 18 points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. He has played in 92 NHL games, all with the San Jose Sharks between the 2009-10 season and the 2011-12 season.

Sneep, 25, started the 2012-13 season in Wheeling of the ECHL, scoring three goals and 15 points in 29 games. He also played one game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before the trade. Sneep, a second-round choice of the Penguins in 2006, has made one NHL appearance, registering an assist in that game.

The Penguins will receive the Stars' seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft if Sneep plays 10 or more regular-season games with Dallas. It is also conditional on Sneep passing a physical by Friday.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 9:16 AM

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

Avs' O'Reilly, Russian team mutually part ways

Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly, a restricted free agent, has left Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk after the player and Kontinental Hockey League team mutually agreed to terminate his contract Thursday.

The news comes jhours after Avalanche forward Steve Downie was ruled out for the season because of a knee injury that will require surgery.

According to rsport.ru, the club released O'Reilly from the deal because of fears he would return to North America at some point after the KHL signing window closes on Jan. 31. O'Reilly signed a two-year deal with Metallurg last month, but it contained an out clause allowing him to leave if offered more money by a NHL franchise, according to the report.

“Ryan did not rule out the possibility of a new contract overseas during February and he understood that this course of events would affect Metallurg’s preparations for the playoffs,” Metallurg said in a website statement.

In fact, according to rsport.ru, Metallurg already has a replacement lined up for O'Reilly.

"Ryan behaved honorably in allowing us to find another player to replace him," team vice president Gennady Velichkin told R-Sport. "We've been looking for a player to replace O'Reilly for a long time and we've already found him."

O’Reilly had five goals and four assists in 12 games for Metallurg, but reportedly reaggravated a foot injury in a game against Traktor Chelyabinsk on Wednesday.

Now, the focus turns to O'Reilly's future in Colorado.

With the injury to Downie, the Avalanche could use some more firepower on the forward lines, and the team's leading scorer from last season would certainly provide that.

O'Reilly, 21, had 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games last season, more than doubling the 26-point campaigns he put up in each of his first two seasons in the NHL.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 9:59 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hanzal, Klesla out with injuries for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes were without center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla for Wednesday's game with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Coyotes said both players are out with lower-body injuries.

Both players sat out Tuesday's practice following Sunday's 6-4 loss to Chicago, but both skated on Wednesday morning. Hanzal had a goal and two points in the first two games of the season. Klesla was scoreless and minus-3 in the two games.

Alexandre Bolduc replaced Hanzal, while Michael Stone made his season debut in place of Klesla. Phoenix is looking to avoid an 0-3-0 start against the Blue Jackets, who are 1-0-1 after two games.

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