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At the Rink blog
Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 3:31 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Burmistrov game-time decision for Jets

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets' 12-11-2 record belies coach Claude Noel's mood these days.

The Jets collected five of a possible eight points during their just-concluded four-game road trip, but Noel arrived home less than pleased with his team's recent play. Winnipeg enters games Tuesday ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers, and the Jets have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs five consecutive years. Talk of a desire to build accountability and establish a winning culture have surrounded the club nearly since its arrival in Winnipeg in May 2011.

"If you win by accident, that's going to run out," Noel said. "You're going to run into problems. That's where the fear comes in for me. We'll take [the wins], but let's be real -- the one thing that I like to do is to be honest with our team, make sure that we look in the mirror at how we play. For me, it's all in how you play and if you do the right things."

Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:43 PM

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

Blue Jackets not getting caught up in win streak

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards acknowledged after his team's practice Tuesday that its play has been improved lately. But he repeatedly stated that the Blue Jackets' focus was on their home game Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, not their five-game win streak, which is tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the NHL's longest current run.

"We've been fortunate enough to win some games, but this is our next biggest game," Richards said. "Our focus has to be on [Tuesday] and nothing else. When this one's over, we'll get ready for the next one. Our guys have done a good job focusing and managing that part of it. We can never get ahead of ourselves."

Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs attempt to improve on road mark

WINNIPEG -- The Toronto Maple Leafs return to the friendly environment of the road Tuesday night when they meet the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Toronto (15-10-1) has posted a 9-5-0 mark away from Air Canada Centre, where coach Randy Carlyle's club is fresh off a 5-4 shootout loss Saturday evening to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Toronto has collected points in four of its past five games. After facing the Jets, the Maple Leafs meet Pittsburgh again Thursday to begin a three-game homestand.

It was thought that Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin, who returned against Pittsburgh after a knee injury sidelined him for 12 games, might form a new second line for Toronto. Carlyle shrugged aside the notion, however.


Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets looking to turn things around at MTS Centre

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets at long last can unpack and settle back in at home for a game Tuesday evening against the Toronto Maple Leafs at MTS Centre after spending nearly three weeks on the road.

The Jets (12-11-2) survived a stretch of nine of 11 games away from home, going 6-2-1 and holding themselves firmly in contention in the Eastern Conference.

However, coach Claude Noel panned his club's effort in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils that ended the Jets' four-game road trip Sunday. Noel benched Alexander Burmistrov for most of the second half of the loss, with the third-year center logging a season-low 9:22 of ice time against the Devils. Burmistrov remained on the ice long after the Jets' morning skate concluded, and Noel termed his status a "game-time decision." Chris Thorburn will likely replace Burmistrov.

The Jets will be back on home ice, where they have struggled this year and own four wins in their first 10 home games.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:12 PM

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

Johansson moved up to Capitals' top line

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Marcus Johansson is the latest to play as the top-line left wing after returning to the lineup in a 4-1 loss Sunday against the New York Rangers.

Prior to that, Johansson missed 12 games with a concussion while Jason Chimera, Wojtek Wolski and Matt Hendricks all saw time on the top unit.

"I really saw some energy and skating and being a bit of a hound on the puck and making good decisions," Capitals coach Adam Oates said of Johansson's game Sunday. "Maybe that hit in training camp [in which he collided with Ovechkin in a scrimmage] did hurt him where he was trying to fight through it and didn't have the pace I saw the other night. I really thought he was solid."

In his first nine games this season, Johansson was limited to one goal and a team-worst minus-7 rating. In his return Sunday, the 22-year-old had an assist and saw time on both special teams units.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:07 PM

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

Capitals' Laich feeling better physically, mentally

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals welcomed a familiar face back to practice Tuesday when injured forward Brooks Laich skated with his teammates for the first time since Feb. 16.

Laich has missed the entire season with a strained groin muscle suffered in Switzerland during the lockout. There still is no time frame for his return.

"It's been a lot of work," Laich said ahead of the Capitals' game Tuesday against the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. "It's been the hardest thing I've ever gone through. Physically it's a lot of work, but mentally probably even more draining. But hopefully it's all for good. We have a great medical staff that's really helped me and pushed me in the right direction. Hopefully I'll be back out soon."

Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:48 PM

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

Mikko Koivu celebrates birthday with brother Saku

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The busy travel and game schedule of National Hockey League players typically means things like birthdays and holidays with friends and family are missed.

That's why it was extra special for Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu to spend the eve of his 30th birthday with older brother Saku Koivu of the Anaheim Ducks.

"There's a lot of times where when we come here or they come to California, it's a back-to-back game or you don't really have time to enjoy it, so it was fun," Saku said. "Obviously it's a big day for him, 30th birthday; just goes to show how time flies. It feels like he just came over here and now it's already 10 years."

Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:40 PM

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

Whitney in for Stars; Benn, Morrow likely out

DALLAS -- After missing 16 games with a broken bone in his foot, Ray Whitney will return to the ice for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center. It will be Whitney's first game since Feb. 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"It [the process] has been long. It's the first time I've had a broken bone, so it's been longer than expected, but I've had enough of riding the bike," Whitney said. "I'm excited to get back on the ice and see if we can't get a good push here in the last half."

However, the news isn't quite as favorable when it comes to Dallas center Jamie Benn (wrist) and captain Brenden Morrow (groin), both of whom are unlikely to play against the Predators.

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