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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 11:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

NHL Network and NHL.com will have WJC covered

The NHL Network U.S. will provide live broadcasts and NHL.com will offer live streams of U.S. National Junior Team games at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta., this year.

Matt Rosen, Dave Starman and Rob Simpson will make up the broadcast team for the NHL Network's coverage of Team USA's games during the tournament, which runs Dec. 26-Jan. 5. Team USA will play four preliminary round games in Group B at Rexall Place in Edmonton prior to the start of the medal round on Jan. 2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Rosen, who will handle play-by-play duties, has spent three years calling college hockey and football for the Big Ten Network. He also served as the host for all Phoenix Coyotes radio broadcasts as well as the team's post-game call-in show, "Coyotes Wrap-Up." In 2005-06, Rosen did play-by-play for the Roanoke Valley Vipers of the United Hockey League. Prior to that, he could be heard as the voice of the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. Matt's father, Sam Rosen, has been the television voice of the New York Rangers since 1982.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 11:30 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Elias, Tallinder out as Devils face Rangers

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer confirmed that Patrik Elias and Henrik Tallinder both won't play Tuesday night against the Rangers at Prudential Center. Elias is home sick and Tallinder will miss his third straight game with back spasms that cropped up as he was stretching prior to last Friday's game against Dallas.

Travis Zajac will bump up to center the second line between Dainius Zubrus and Petr Sykora. Tim Sestito will get into the lineup and play on the fourth line between Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen.

Zajac made his season debut Friday after rehabbing from Achilles surgery in August. He also play against Saturday in Montreal and has averaged 15:28 of ice time in the two games, but will likely see that number rise against the Rangers.

"A couple of days off was good and I feel ready to go again (Tuesday)," Zajac said. "We want to take it day-by-day still for the next little while, but for now I feel great. I'm ready to play wherever I'm needed and whatever situation they need me to play in."

Zajac still doesn't think he'll play upwards of 19 or 20 minutes yet.

"We have enough guys that can play in enough situations," he told NHL.com. "I don't think they'll throw me into 19 minutes, or even 18, just yet."

DeBoer, though, said the Devils may not have a choice.

"Obviously it's a little sooner than we anticipated and probably more ice than we anticipated," DeBoer said. "We're asking a lot of him, so we'll have to monitor him and make sure he's OK."

DeBoer said Tallinder is getting better, but he's not quite ready to go just yet. Matt Taormina will play in his second straight game.

The Devils' lines and defense pairings should look like this for the start of Tuesday's game:

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Ryan Carter - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Tim Sestito - Cam Janssen

Matt Taormina - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Kurtis Foster
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson

Martin Brodeur will start in net. Johan Hedberg will be the backup.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 2:30 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Stars aligning for Morrow

The concern surrounding Brenden Morrow is diminishing by the day, as the Dallas Stars' captain has returned to his goal-scoring ways.

Since returning to the lineup from an upper-body injury on Dec. 8, Morrow has compiled 4 goals and 3 assists in six games. Despite a minus-2 rating during that stretch, the 32-year-old winger has excelled on the man advantage with 3 power-play points, while racking up 17 shots on goal and 6 PIMs as well during that span.

Brenden Morrow
Left Wing - DAL
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 16
SOG: 42 | +/-: -1
But, beyond his stellar production, Morrow has shown tremendous chemistry on the Stars' secondary line with Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott. That trio was in full swing Monday night with two of the team's first three goals, as Morrow's linemates assisted on his opening goal before he returned the favor on Ribeiro's strike early in the second period en route to a 5-3 win against Anaheim.

For a guy who seemed on pace for an underachieving season when he went down with an injury on Nov. 21, this recent development is huge for fantasy owners who stuck with Dallas' captain, and is also relevant for owners seeking an experienced forward on the free agent wire.

Morrow, in his 12th NHL season, has never posted a 40-goal season, but set a career high with 33 goals last year. Despite missing six games due to his injury this season, Morrow's recent stretch indicates he could still be in position to build off his 2010-11 campaign. While he may not be available in deeper pools, he is owned in only 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues and could be a timely fantasy squad addition for a team in need of goal-scoring help.
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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 9:31 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

MTL @ BOS - 18:46 of the Third Period

At 18:46 of the third period in the Canadiens/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice, David Desharnais centering pass went off Erik Cole's skate and then off his stick and into the net. Good Goal Montreal.
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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 8:06 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

MTL @ BOS - 2:42 of the Second Period

At 2:42 of the second period in the Canadiens/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Andrew Ference's centering pass deflected off David Krejci's skate and into the net in a legal fashion. Good Goal Boston.
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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 6:55 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lucic hopes reputation won't take a hit

BOSTON – Although he's accepted his one-game suspension with the utmost humility, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic hopes this punishment for his hit from behind on Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo and the decision by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan don't tarnish the reputation the left winger has worked his career to build.

Shanahan said in his explanation of his decision Monday that Lucic's past, which included a phone hearing for his hit on Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller earlier this season, factored into the suspension.

"As far as my history is concerned, obviously I think you look at the five years I've been here, I’ve led the team in hits for all those years. And this is the first time that I've ever had a hearing or a suspension when it comes down to a hit. Take aside the hit on the goalie, I'm talking about a hit on the players. I do everything in my power to keep it clean out there," said Lucic, whose one prior NHL suspension came during the 2009 playoffs after a high hit in a scrum.

"I remember even earlier this year, one of the Boston reporters came up to me and asked me 'Is the reason why you're not playing as physical as the years before because of the new rules and the clarity of it?' And I answered the question, 'Yes.' Obviously he put out some pretty clear videos of what is a suspension and what isn't, and I try my full-on best to follow those rules."

Lucic, whose history also includes a $3,500 fine last December for a punch after the linesman had intervened in an altercation, said he explained to Shanahan that he tried to make sure the hit wasn't from behind. Rinaldo was also quoted as saying he didn't think the hit warranted a ban.

“Obviously I support the League's attempt at addressing player safety," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "And I think Milan might have explained to you … if you look at it closely, I feel that he … did change his game, so to speak, on that check. I thought he stopped skating. If you looked at his left arm going in, I thought he tried to lever him so that he could hit him in the crest, and I don't think he hit him as hard as he normally does. Milan's a guy whose led our team in hits, I think, since he's been here, and he's very rarely been penalized with boarding, hit from behind – the roughing stuff. He's a clean player, and that's what the law is now, so we'll abide by it."

Lucic expressed disappointment about not being able to face Montreal tonight at the TD Garden. But overall, he's been impressed by Shanahan and the League's effort to get dangerous checks out of the game.

"I think it's good that it's in the back of players' minds now, that the NHL is not a place just to be running around recklessly anymore," he said. "And I think that's a good thing. And it's good to see they're aware to keep the game safer and to try to take head injuries ultimately out of the game because you don't want to see anyone, your teammate or an opponent, go through any troubles with concussion problems or anything like that."

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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 5:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Ice guru Craig meets the media

PHILADELPHIA -- It was show-and-tell time for Dan Craig, the NHL's resident ice-making guru.

During the general media availability at 3:30 Monday afternoon, Craig ran over and grabbed one of the four-inch pipes that he will use to connect the floor of the auxiliary rink to the refrigeration truck parked outside Citizens Bank Park. He picked it up and began explaining how it connects to the floor and how the pipe eventually connects to the truck outside.

"We hook the (aluminum panels) onto these hoses," Craig said, pointing out the hoses attached to the pipe. "There's a quick connect here and the glycol, which is simple antifreeze, gets pumped into the aluminum panel, which is a quick, fast-freezing element. The whole set up will take about 300 panels, and these are 30 feet long by 30 inches wide. We'll push 1,500 gallons of glycol in per minute from the truck down into the floor."

Craig had the assembled media amazed. It was one of those, "Wait a minute, you don't just spray water and it freezes" moments.

It definitely is not, and that's why Craig pulled out one of the pipes to demonstrate.

Other than the show-and-tell, Craig offered some positive updates for how the first day of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic buildout was going. He said everything is on schedule and going according to plan.

The plan for Tuesday is further set-up and the goal is to be spraying water by Thursday night. He said it'll happen at night because the sun goes down and the temperatures dip into the 30s, and those are ideal conditions for ice making.

"We might as well use the benefit of being down into the 30s or high 40s to make a good sheet of ice," Craig said. "So, if you go onto the (NHL.com) webcam, you won't see a whole lot of work going on during the day. A lot of it will happen at night with security lightning because that's the best time for us to work."

Once Craig was finished with his demonstration and update, he started fielding some questions. A television reporter asked him about the challenges he faces here at Citizens Bank Park compared to other outside venues.

"I don't know yet. I really don't," Craig said. "It's one of those things you have to be in here for a couple of days. This morning it was very calm, very nice, and now we have the wind picking up, and it's approximately gametime for us. That's one of the things I watch, is to really see what transitions here between noon and 4, what happens in the region and how it affects us here. If you get up to the truck you don't feel the wind, but down here you feel the wind. It's elements like that that we have to play with and work with."

The goal, Craig said, is to have an inch of ice built by Dec. 26 so they can start painting white Dec. 27. He wants to have the lines and logos painted on the 28th and then build more ice so the entire sheet is ready before the scheduled media skate on Dec. 30.

Craig was asked if it's important that the ice gets skated on prior to the actual game being played on Jan. 2.

"Definitely, definitely," he said. "It doesn't matter where you are or what facility you're in, you always try to make sure it's chewed up a little bit so we can let it heal itself and get the bottom back together. Density on a sheet of ice is the No. 1 thing we deal with."

With no further questions, Craig's first general media session was over. He walked away smiling as he went to tackle his next task.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 5:08 PM

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

Canucks, Wild both dealing with injuries

Monday night's battle atop the Northwest Division has turned into a war of attrition.

The Canucks announced on Monday defenseman Aaron Rome will be out 3-4 weeks after breaking his thumb blocking a shot during Saturday's win in Toronto to wrap up a five-game road trip, and fellow blueliner Keith Ballard won't play against the Wild after suffering back spasms in the morning skate. Even Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault had to leave the rink early because he wasn't feeling well.

"He has had a tough time," associate coach Rick Bowness, who took Vigneault's place addressing the media, said of Rome's second broken thumb already this season. "We get him back in the lineup, he finds his game and then gets hurt again."

Ballard is expected back in time for Wednesday's game against Detroit, so Bowness said he didn't expect the Canucks, who were already carrying eight defensemen, to recall any more from the AHL -- even if injuries up front forced them to twice play a rearguard up front on the fourth line during the recently completed 3-1-1 road trip.

They shouldn't expect any sympathy from a Minnesota Wild team that led the Canucks by five points atop the Northwest Division, but limped into Vancouver with several key players nursing injuries, and a handful more called up from the AHL to fill in.

The list includes four, arguably five, of their top-six forwards, and is topped by captain Mikko Koivu, who is out with a leg injury suffered Wednesday against Chicago. They are also missing Devin Setoguchi (lower body), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), and Casey Wellman (wrist), but Pierre-Marc Bouchard returns after missing two games with a broken nose suffered while being checked head first into the boards Tuesday in Winnipeg.

Bouchard will be counted on to replace some of the missing offense for a Minnesota team that has dropped three straight -- the last two in shootouts -- for the first time all season.

"We're missing some skill in the lineup and he brings that," coach Mike Yeo said. "And he was playing so well before he got hurt, so I'm really hoping he can come back at that level and also what he brings to the power play will be a help for us."

Koivu and Bouchard both took part in practice Sunday after missing a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders the night before, and were back on the ice in Vancouver late Monday morning. While Koivu won't join Bouchard in returning against the Canucks, he did skate hard at the end of Monday's session, and still hopes to play before Christmas, perhaps Tuesday in Calgary or Thursday in Edmonton to wrap up a three-game trip.

"He looks really good out there," Yeo said of Koivu

It would be a welcome return for a team that will use its 34th different player this season when AHL call up Jed Ortmeyer makes his season debut against the Canucks. It could have been 35, but call up Chad Rau, a Minnesota native, isn't expected to play, instead watching as a healthy scratch along with defensemen Greg Zanon and Justin Falk.

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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 5:06 PM

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

Projected lineups for Canucks, Wild

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Vancouver Canucks host the Minnesota Wild:

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond - Ryan Kesler - Chris Higgins
Maxim Lapierre - Cody Hodgson - Jannik Hansen
Dale Weise - Manny Malhotra - Mark Mancari

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler - Sami Salo
Andrew Alberts - Keith Ballard

Roberto Luongo, 5-0-1 in his last six, starts in goal, with Cory Schneider backing up.

Dany Heatley - Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Matt Cullen
Cal Clutterbuck - Kyle Brodziak - Darroll Powe
Jed Ortmeyer - Warren Peters - Jarod Palmer
Colton Gillies - Nick Johnson - Brad Staubitz

Nick Schultz - Mike Lundin
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Marek Zidlicky - Clayton Stoner

Niklas Backstrom starts in goal, and could play again Tuesday in Calgary, where he always excels, because Josh Harding hasn't played since a neck injury on Dec. 6.

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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 4:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Renzulli reveals details about ancillary events

PHILADELPHIA -- If NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig is in charge of the actual game that will be played Jan. 2 here at Citizens Bank Park, NHL Senior Vice President of Events Don Renzulli helms all the ancillary events that will make the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic one of the most memorable events of the 2011-12 season.

At a press briefing today, Renzulli gave a few details of what the non-rink décor of the stadium will entail.

Most obvious are the 1,500 temporary seats installed in center field, which will be completed and approved by the end of the week. Left field near the foul pole will feature two goalie sticks framing a hockey puck about 35 feet in diameter, while the right-field corner will house the host positions for NBC and CBC.

The broadcast positions for NBC and CBC will be erected in what usually is short center field.

The auxiliary rink will be built between the pitcher's mound and home plate, and another small stage will be built in front of home plate for the anthem singers.

Work also is going on outside the stadium on Citizens Bank Way, where a spectator plaza will be constructed.

"That's where we open that up to the fans and our sponsors," Renzulli said. "There will be merchandise, a band, video board, food and beverage. A place to go enjoy yourself prior to the game. Once that opens for Alumni Day on the 31st, that'll stay open right through to when we drop the puck at 1:28 p.m. on Jan. 2.

"We've got bands on the 31st and 1st. There will be video board out there. We'll show highlights, NHL Network out there live. The network will be live out there broadcasting. All of our sponsors -- I think we have 10 or 11 that will activate out there -- they'll all have tie-ins with hockey. It's not just showing products, it's really tie-ins with the game. We'll have roaming entertainers, something similar to what we've had the past four years."

Renzulli also talked about the weather reports, which he said were very hopeful leading into the game.

"One good thing is the last hour the weather has changed," he said. "This is more like Winter Classic weather instead of the 60-degree weather we've had in the past. The weather report that I'm seeing is snow toward the end of the week, at least light snow, right through to Jan. 2. Hopefully Mother Nature works in our favor, the sun stays out of our way, little clouds, little snow and we're looking forward to a great day on Jan. 2.

"This will start to take shape pretty quickly. Hope to watch Dan make ice come Thursday."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff