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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:38 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Minnesota product Gilbert set to make Wild debut

ST. PAUL -- It's possible the smile hasn't left Tom Gilbert's face since it was announced he was traded yesterday in a deadline deal from Edmonton to Minnesota.

Gilbert, born and raised in the Twin Cities, will make his Wild debut this evening on national television against the Los Angeles Kings. And while the story is definitely of the feel-good variety, none of that will matter once the puck hits the ice. The Wild, winners of three of their last four games, trail the Kings by three points in the ever-tightening Western Conference playoff race, where just six points separate six teams for the final two playoff spots.

But for Gilbert, hitting the ice tonight will probably be the most relaxed he's been over the last 24 hours. After learning of the trade, Gilbert said he spent a couple of hours answering emails and texts before packing and hoping on a plane to get to St. Paul. He arrived early this morning, skated with his new teammates and will now try and glean as much as he can about a new system in the eight hours or so before faceoff.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Gilbert said. "I think after this first game, once I get settled, it'll be more of a reality."

Perhaps the only people more excited than Gilbert are his parents Kelly and Mary, who still live in Gilbert's hometown of Bloomington, Minn. -- a short 15-minute drive south of Xcel Energy Center.

"I had called my parents before and warned them that my name was out there and that Minnesota was brought up," Gilbert said. "Obviously, my mom and dad were pretty excited. It took me about an hour and a half after the trade to get a hold of them. I'm sure they were dying to hear from me."

From a hockey standpoint, moving Gilbert for franchise mainstay Nick Schultz -- someone Kings defenseman and former Wild teammate Willie Mitchell said he thought would be a "lifer," -- should help jumpstart Minnesota's lackluster offensive production from the blueline.

"It's a big reason why Tom is here," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "The way we want to play the game, a huge part of that is how our defensemen execute and transition the puck out of our defensive zone and deliver it up to our forwards quickly.

"It's a tough game to play if your defensemen aren't moving the puck well. We defend well, but we spend too much time defending."

Here's tonight's projected lineup for the Wild:

Devin Setoguchi - Kyle Brodziak - Dany Heatley
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Nick Palmieri
Darroll Powe - Erik Christensen - Nick Johnson
Jed Ortmeyer - Warren Peters - Stephane Veilleux

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Tom Gilbert - Justin Falk
Kurtis Foster - Nate Prosser

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:34 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Boucher unsure what kind of team he'll have tonight

TAMPA, Fla. -- When Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher surveyed the locker room after Tuesday's morning skate, he saw an unusual collection of players. There was Mike Commodore and Brian Lee, two defensemen obtained Monday at the trade deadline; Tim Wallace, claimed on waivers Feb 23; and three call-ups from AHL Norfolk -- Brandon Segal, Mike Angelidis and Trevor Smith. Not yet present, but en route from Norfolk, was Evan Oberg.

Missing were Vincent Lecavalier, who will miss his fifth consecutive game Tuesday with a fractured hand; Ryan Shannon and Victor Hedman, both sidelined with upper-body injuries; and Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson and Brendan Mikkelson, all ill with a stomach virus. The virus also hit assistant coach Marty Raymond, who was sent home from practice.

"I've never seen anything like it," Boucher said.

The Lightning open a two-game homestand Tuesday when they host the Montreal Canadiens at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Hanging on to their playoff hopes just six points out of the final post-season spot, Boucher will send out a mixed bag of players, some of whom he knows and some of whom he never has seen on the ice before.

"I don't know who's going to play tonight," Boucher said. "We'll just see what we put on the ice."

On the ice for certain will be two of the three defensemen acquired Monday. Keith Aulie, obtained from the Toronto Maple Leafs, is awaiting a visa, but Commodore and Lee were given a crash course on the Lightning game plan before the morning skate.

"We went over a lot of information; a lot to digest this morning," Lee said. "I'll try to pick it all up this afternoon and then come back and be ready for the game. There are different systems and ideologies here, but at the end of the day, it's still hockey."

Commodore, joining his seventh NHL team in 11 seasons, will be ready to go, but admitted he didn't get much rest Monday.

"I couldn't sleep, so I got to bed around 3 a.m. I was in Tampa by 11 p.m. but I couldn't fall asleep," Commodore said. "A lot happened yesterday. I had a couple of hours to get things packed and catch a flight. Hopefully, I'll get a nap today and be ready to go.

"We had a meeting and the coach went over some stuff, just keeping it simple. From what I've taken from everything this morning, from the coaches to the new gear to not playing in a month, I'm just going to keep it real simple tonight. That will be the number-one thing that I do."

Boucher planned to play his newcomers in tandem on the ice Tuesday.

"We'll play Commodore and Lee together," Boucher said, "since they both won't know what's happening. We'll try to help them both at the same time."

Commodore said the pairing will be "a work in progress."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:16 PM

By Neil Acharya - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Panthers, Maple Leafs

Here's how the lineups project when the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Florida Panthers tonight from the Air Canada Centre:

Sean Bergenheim - Stephen Weiss - Mikael Samuelsson
Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Kopecky - Wojtek Wolski
Shawn MatthiasMike Santorelli - Jack Skille
Krystofer Barch - John Madden - Jerred Smithson

Brian Campbell - Jason Garrison
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson
Keaton Ellerby - Mike Weaver

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen

Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Matt Frattin
Matthew Lombardi - Tim Connolly - Nikolai Kulemin
Mike Brown - David Steckel - Joey Crabb

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
John-Michael Liles - Mike Komisarek
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn

James Reimer
Jonas Gustavsson
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:12 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Gilroy to get first look from Senators

BOSTON -- Ottawa isn't wasting any time getting newly acquired defenseman Matt Gilroy into its lineup.

Gilroy, who was acquired Monday from Tampa Bay in a trade for Brian Lee, will make his Senators debut tonight at the TD Garden against the Boston Bruins and skate on a pair with Chris Phillips, according to coach Paul MacLean.

"He's got good size and he's got good mobility and he can make a pass," MacLean said after his team's morning skate. "So he gets the puck going up the ice. He has the ability to join the rush and even lead the rush at times. That’s the type of player that we like on the back end, and he gives us another puck-moving guy on the third pair that has the ability to bring offense. And in today's game, if you're not attacking with four people, you're not going to score goals."

Gilroy said he was excited to get traded up in the standings to a team currently holding a playoff spot. He also thinks his game will fit well with his new teammates.

"There's a lot of talented players here," Gilroy said. "They like to move the puck. And there's a lot of talented forwards here that like to work with the D on the rush, so it should be exciting to play with."

Defenseman Matt Carkner will be scratched along with forward Kaspars Daugavins, as MacLean will also re-insert Zenon Konopka into the Sens' lineup. Robin Lehner gets a second straight start in net.

"It's going to be fun," Lehner said. "I played Boston last year once. They're a good team, obviously, and a huge challenge for both me and the team."

Here's the Senators' projected lineup:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Bobby Butler
Colin Greening - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Zenon Konopka - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Nick Foligno - Jim O'Brien - Chris Neil

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar

Robin Lehner
Alex Auld
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:04 PM

By Ben Raby - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Caps use same personnel as they chase third straight

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals look for their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 11-15 as they begin a five-game homestand tonight against the New York Islanders.

Washington begins the day in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind eighth place Winnipeg and three points behind the Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers.

The Islanders have lost three of their last four games to drop to 13th place in the conference, eight points out of a playoff position.

Dale Hunter is expected to use the same lineup that won back-to-back games last weekend against Montreal and Toronto. That means that veterans Mike Knuble, Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine will again be healthy scratches.

"You have to work hard in practice and prepare yourself that when I get in I'm going to play well," Hunter said. "Now if Hammer or Knubes get in and they play well, they'll bump out a guy. That's the way it is."

Hamrlik, who has played no fewer than 75 games in each of the past five seasons, will be a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game, while Knuble will watch from the press box for the third straight game, and for the sixth time in 10 games overall.

Knuble, 39, has 3 goals and 12 points in 57 games this season and has spent much of the season on Washington's fourth line.

"I haven't been healthy scratched in six years," said Caps forward Brooks Laich, "but my second year when I got healthy scratched, you feel like you're forgotten about. The rest of the team is here and you're just a forgotten piece, and for the guys that aren't playing, you want to make sure that as a teammate that you still include them in everything. Talk about the game with them and keep them involved as much as possible, because it would be easy if nobody talks to them for them to go the other way."

Michal Neuvirth (8-9-3) is expected to start a third straight game for the Caps for the first time since Dec. 15-26 when the 23-year-old started five straight games.

Evgeni Nabokov (15-15-0) will start for the Islanders. Nabokov, an unrestricted free agent at season's end, was thought to have been on the trading block prior to yesterday's deadline.

"Nabby has been a huge part of our success," Islanders captain Mark Streit said. "But honestly, I didn't expect [a trade] because we're still in it, we have a shot -- we need a great run here, let's not fool ourselves -- but [general manager] Garth [Snow] didn't want to make any deals because he believes in the team and has a lot of faith in us so we're all looking forward to the next six weeks."

Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game:

Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Keith Aucoin
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jay Beagle - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov - Dennis Wideman

Michal Neuvirth
Tomas Vokoun


Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
David Ullstrom - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey
Michael Grabner - Casey Cizikas - Kyle Okposo
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Streit - Milan Jurcina
Mark Eaton - Steve Staios

Evgeni Nabokov
Al Montoya

NOTES: The Capitals have the second best home record in the Eastern Conference at 20-8-2. … Nabokov is 10-1-0 lifetime against the Caps with two shutouts, a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. … Nino Niederreiter is expected to be a healthy scratch for the Islanders. Niederreiter has 1 goal in 39 games this season and his minus-19 rating is last among Eastern Conference forwards.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:00 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Bruins will have Rolston, Mottau in the lineup

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins' three deadline-day acquisitions were all in town this morning.

Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau, who were picked up from the New York Islanders, took the morning skate at the TD Garden in preparation for tonight's game against Ottawa. Both are scheduled to play against the Senators.

Greg Zanon, who was acquired from Minnesota, arrived late in the morning. Bruins coach Claude Julien said he wants Zanon to get in a practice with the team Wednesday before playing the veteran blueliner in a game.

With Nathan Horton (concussion), Rich Peverley (knee) and Johnny Boychuk (concussion) currently out of the lineup, Boston needed the reinforcements.

"We've run into some injuries lately," Julien said. "That's been a challenge in itself to keep our lineup going in the right direction. So now there's a little bit more breathing room, as far as putting some guys in that have been around for a while."

Shawn Thornton has been ill, but took the skate and should be ready to go at puck drop.

Here is the Bruins' projected lineup for tonight:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - David Krejci
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Brian Rolston - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Andrew Ference
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Mike Mottau - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 12:10 PM

By Staff -  / - At the Rink blog

No Lidstrom tonight for Red Wings

A swollen ankle will keep Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom sidelined Tuesday when the club skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Lidstrom apparently was injured after being hit by the puck during Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, the Red Wings have re-called defenseman Doug Janik from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Janik will make his season debut against Columbus on Tuesday.

Lidstrom told the media Monday that X-rays taken after Saturday's game and again Monday showed no fractures, and he is day-to-day. The team also is without defenseman Kyle Quincey, who is day-to-day with a groin injury. He'll be replaced in the lineup by Brendan Smith.

Lidstrom, who will miss only his second game of the season, is hoping to return to the lineup Friday against the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena.

He also sat out a 7-2 loss at Montreal on Jan. 25.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 11:50 AM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Canes get Ward back in goal against Predators

RALEIGH, N.C. -- After sitting out deadline day, the Hurricanes will ice their regular lineup -- one that is still missing several injured players. But Cam Ward will return to the net for Carolina, after missing four starts with a lower-body injury.

The Hurricanes have filled out the roster with several of their American Hockey League prospects, including Zach Boychuk, who was called up Tuesday. Against Nashville, Kirk Muller will skate eight forwards who are 25 years old or younger.

"They're capable of beating anyone when they play a good, honest game," Muller said. "This is our group. There's no cavalry coming. This is who who we are, and we've got to push and see what happens from here on in."

The Predators, coming off Monday night's 2-1 win over Los Angeles, were unable to travel after the game due to foggy weather conditions. When they arrive on Tuesday, they will have two new deadline acquistions in the lineup. Andrei Kostitsyn -- the older brother of Nashville forward Sergei Kostitsyn -- joins the Predators from Montreal, while Paul Gaustad comes over from Buffalo.

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Jerome Samson
Jussi Jokinen - Jeff Skinner - Zach Boychuk
Drayson Bowman - Brandon Sutter - Andreas Nodl
Anthony Stewart - Tim Brent - Derek Joslin

Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Jaroslav Spacek - Jamie McBain

Cam Ward
Justin Peters
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Posted On Monday, 02.27.2012 / 8:43 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

No trades by Flames, but Jackman signs

CALGARY -- Though he didn't make a trade on deadline day, Jay Feaster wasn't idle.

Instead, the Calgary Flames general manager took the opportunity to sign rugged forward Tim Jackman to a two-year contract despite inquiries on his status from other teams.

"It's a big relief," said Jackman, who will earn $612,500 for each of the next two seasons. "It's good to know that they want me around and that I get to stay in Calgary for two more years. I love playing here, so it's a great honor and I'm excited."

Signing just before the deadline, Jackman admitted he was worried he could be moved before Monday's 3 p.m. ET deadline.

"It was a stressful day," he said. "I had a few phone calls, talking to my agent. I talked to Jay. I finally figured out how everything was going to work out. It was a little stressful, but now we get to get ready for tonight (against St. Louis).

"It is a boost of confidence for me. For one, for them to say that they want me and to keep me around for two years and then the other that teams were interested in me. It feels good and I'm excited about it."

Moving him was a possibility Feaster said, adding Jackman's greater value comes with him wearing a Flames' jersey.

"There were enough teams that were nibbling at that," Feaster said. "Candidly, we didn't feel that anyone offered us something that was of a greater value to us – whether it's now or in the future – compared to his value to us down the stretch."

In the end, Feaster was pleased with his only transaction of the day.

"Getting him signed, we're happy about that. We think it's a good deal for both of us and he's an important guy in that room and a very popular teammate."
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Posted On Monday, 02.27.2012 / 4:22 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Flames

CALGARY -- The St. Louis Blues aren't about to mess with success.

Fourth in the NHL with 83 points, the Blues were inactive during the trade deadline and will have their roster intact for tonight’s contest against the Calgary Flames.

Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames remained idle as well, and so this is how the lineups project for tonight's meeting at the Scotiabank Saddledome:

Andy McDonaldDavid BackesT.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Chris Porter - Jason Arnott - Chris Stewart
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kent Huskins - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott


Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay - Michael Cammalleri - Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - Tom Kostopoulos
Guillaume Desbiens - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman

Derek Smith - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday