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At the Rink blog
POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 4:23 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Defenseman Martinez cleared to rejoin Kings

VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Alec Martinez has been medically cleared to return to the Los Angeles Kings lineup, according to coach Darryl Sutter.

But whether or not he cracks a roster that has won five straight games and seven of the past eight remains to be seen. Sutter certainly hinted it wasn’t guaranteed, even though Martinez was one of the six defensemen to play every game of the Kings’ Stanley Cup Championship run last summer.

“He’s not getting in just for what he did,” Sutter said of Martinez, who hasn’t played since Feb. 11 and took part in his first full practice Friday. “He’s got to beat somebody out. So when that happens, if it’s based on other guy’s performance, [it's] not that big a deal.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 4:13 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Defenseman Bieksa game-time decision for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Kevin Bieksa is a game-time decision for the Vancouver Canucks after missing the past two with a sore groin, but whether he plays or not, they will have to shake up their roster for Saturday night’s game against the streaking Los Angeles Kings.

Ryan Kesler’s fractured right foot, and his attempt to play through the injury for six games, made sure of that. By the time the results of Kesler’s CT scan were known, the Canucks had placed fourth-line wing Aaron Volpatti on waivers a few hours earlier, losing him to a claim by the Washington Capitals.

That combination led to Vancouver claiming 6-foot-5, 228-pound forward Tom Sestito off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers, and the recall and subsequent demotion back to the American Hockey League of journeyman Andrew Ebbett.

It won’t help a Canucks team struggling to find chemistry and coming off consecutive losses, especially with three natural centers among their 12 healthy forwards.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 2:22 PM

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

Coyotes have Brown, Klinkhammer at their disposal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With center Martin Hanzal and winger Radim Vrbata now on injured reserve, the Phoenix Coyotes called up forwards Chris Brown and Rob Klinkhammer from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

Either Brown or Klinkhammer could make their Phoenix debuts when they open a rare run of three straight games Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena.
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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 1:57 PM

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

O'Reilly likely to play for Avalanche on Sunday

Ryan O'Reilly appears set to make his season debut for the Colorado Avalanche.

O'Reilly skated with the Avalanche at practice Saturday, two days after the team matched the offer sheet he signed with the Calgary Flames, and the Denver Post reports he will play Sunday at the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"Hopefully I can contribute as best I can," O'Reilly said after practice. "It will probably take a while to get back in the swing of things, just find the chemistry, to catch up to the speed of the game. ...

"I feel good, I'm skating as hard as I can, I feel healthy. I'm just hungry, I can't wait to be playing hockey again."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 1:34 PM

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

Therrien reflects on role developing Crosby

Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien coached two full seasons and parts of two others with the Pittsburgh Penguins. After being promoted from coach of the team's American Hockey League team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he led the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final and helped to groom a young core that eventually won it all in 2009 without him.

Facing his former team for the first time Saturday in Montreal, the coach of the first-place Canadiens was able to look back fondly on his time with the Penguins.

"I really enjoyed my time in Pittsburgh," Therrien said following the team's morning skate. "We loved the city and the fans. But we have to move on. I have a new challenge here in Montreal."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 12:57 PM

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

Projected lineups for Panthers, Hurricanes

After about two weeks of playing without a number of their regulars, the Carolina Hurricanes are welcoming back the majority of their walking wounded.

Two days after activating Tim Gleason and Tim Brent from injured reserve and welcoming back Jeff Skinner, who had been out with a concussion, the team announced that defenseman Joni Pitkanen has been activated from injured reserve.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 12:54 PM

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

Vanek sidelined Saturday with upper-body injury

Buffalo Sabres leading scorer Thomas Vanek will miss Saturday's game against the New Jersey Devils with an upper-body injury.

Sabres coach Ron Rolston is hopeful Vanek can return to the lineup for Sunday's game at the New York Rangers.

Brian Flynn was called up from Rochester of the American Hockey League and will make his NHL debut.

Vanek has 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points, good for third in the League scoring race.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 12:43 PM

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

Malkin does off-ice workouts second straight day

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said injured center Evgeni Malkin has done off-ice workouts each of the past two days.

"Evgeni Malkin has been working out the last two days, not skating, back in Pittsburgh," Bylsma said Saturday before his team played the Montreal Canadiens.

Bylsma said there was no medical reason Malkin did not skate Saturday, that it was an ice-availability issue. He suffered a concussion in a Feb. 22 game against the Florida Panthers and was placed on injured reserve Sunday.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 12:05 PM

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

Martin not part of Penguins' morning skate

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin, who left Thursday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with a lower-body injury, will apparently remain out of the lineup Saturday. He did not appear with the Penguins at the team's morning skate ahead of their matchup Saturday night at the Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 10:40 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Senators, Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- With the early start to Saturday's game, neither the Ottawa Senators nor the Philadelphia Flyers skated before their game.

With the Flyers coming off a win against the Washington Capitals in their prior game, it's doubtful they change their lineup. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who left that Feb. 27 game against the Capitals with a lower-body injury, said after practice Friday he would be ready to play Saturday.

The Senators, who lost in overtime to the Boston Bruins on Thursday, will make one lineup change, with Ben Bishop to start in goal after Robin Lehner made 44 saves in the overtime loss to the Bruins.

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I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round