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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 1:02 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Rangers

BOSTON -- The New York Rangers' lineup isn't set in stone heading into Tuesday night's tilt with the Bruins. Forward Ruslan Fedotenko, who missed the past two games, skated with the team for the first time in the morning and is a game-time decision.

If Fedotenko can't play, coach John Tortorella will likely use defenseman Stu Bickel as a fourth-line forward for the third straight game.

These were the lines during the Rangers' practice at TD Garden this morning:

Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Michael Rupp - John Mitchell - Ruslan Fedotenko/Stu Bickel

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Marc Staal - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:56 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Rangers remain focused on the task at hand

BOSTON -- It's just another game between the East-leading New York Rangers and second-place Boston Bruins.

That's the stance both sides are taking heading into Tuesday night's game at TD Garden. The Rangers have played one more game than the Bruins and hold a seven-point lead in the standings. A regulation win by the Rangers wouldn't clinch the East with 25 games to play, but it would be a huge mountain for the Bruins to climb.

"I don't think we're necessarily looking at this game like we need to catch up to these guys more than we need to play well to give us a chance to win the game -- it's as simple as that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Right now, our issues are a lot different than worrying about how far ahead they are or how much we need to catch up. We just have to go out there and play and if we play well and do the job we know we can, hopefully we can come up with a win and the rest will take care of itself."

The Rangers are taking the same tact -- they don't care how many points they are ahead of the Bruins, they just want to play their game. The last time the Rangers came to Boston they won 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 21 to turn a one-point lead in the East into a two-point edge.

The gap is wider now, but nothing is changing as far as the approach.

"I think we've done a pretty good job of trying to focus on the task at hand," Rangers forward Brian Boyle said. "We've got 20 games left where a lot can go on, where teams are going to catch fire. A lot can happen, you know? Right now, we're just trying to put one foot in front of the other. From a preparation standpoint, from what they think of us, I don't know. I don't really care. That's what they need to worry about. We're just trying to prepare for them and get our game ready."

The Rangers scored the winning goal thanks to Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference taking a major boarding penalty against defenseman Ryan McDonagh in overtime. Marian Gaborik scored in the waning seconds to win it, but neither team feels Ference's hit will be something that will carry over to this game.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of big saves by the goaltenders," McDonagh said when asked what he's expecting against the Bruins, who will start Tim Thomas against the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist. "We're just going to play our system and our structure and get our forecheck going and grind them out."

The grinding style has been a hallmark of the Rangers the past three seasons since Tortorella arrived, and now it's yielding more success than ever. Combining that style with the physical one the Bruins play, and it's a mixture the Rangers relish.

"That's just the way we play," Tortorella said. "That's the way we have the best opportunity to win hockey games. That's been part of us building that identity for the past couple years. There's no secrets at all. That's the way we're built a little bit, and that's how we've developed our identity."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:49 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Preds' Ellis could sit out again

NASHVILLE -- Rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis was scratched for only the second time in 21 games since being called up in Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to Boston. Trotz said he thought Ellis had slipped back into making some high-risk plays that the coach didn't like. Trotz would not reveal whether Ellis would sit again tonight in favor of Jack Hillen.

Here's the likely lineup the Predators will have tonight:

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Brandon Yip/Gabriel Bourque - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Jerred Smithson - Craig Smith - Matt Halischuk

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Jack Hillen/Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne will start in goal, with Anders Lindback the backup.

Brian McGrattan will sit out, as will one of either Ellis or Hillen, and one of either Yip or Bourque.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:45 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL.com Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

Could Jackets be looking into Nash trade?



Could the Columbus Blue Jackets be investigating a trade of captain Rick Nash?

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the team has made it clear to certain NHL clubs that Nash would be available for the right price.

"We're open to all options to try to improve the team," Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson told the newspaper this morning. "As far as rumors go, we're just not going to comment."

The rumor Howson mentioned is one from French-language TV station RDS, which reported Monday that the Jackets had put Nash on the trading block.

Citing a source, Dispatch writer Aaron Portzline wrote that Nash -- who has a no-movement clause -- has not requested a trade.

"The last couple of weeks there have been so many rumors," Nash told the newspaper following the team's morning skate. "And when a team loses, more rumors keep on surfacing. That's what it seems to be right now, is just rumors.

"I'm a Blue Jacket right now. I've played my whole career here and it's a special place to me. So as of right now I'm a Blue Jacket."

However, Portzline reports that following recent organizational meetings, which included, among others, owner John P. McConnell, president Mike Priest, Howson, senior advisor Craig Patrick and interim coach Todd Richards, that the possibility of trading Nash needed to be explored.

Last month, Nash told the Dispatch he had no desire to leave Columbus.

"I love Columbus. I love being here. I love being a Blue Jacket," he said. "The city of Columbus deserves a winner and deserves a good product on the ice. If it comes to that -- like you said, all speculation -- but if they don't want me here, they want to move me? I’m not going to do something where it's going to hurt the franchise just because I have that in my contract."

Howson, speaking with NHL.com Saturday in Philadelphia, said he wouldn't be commenting on any trade rumors leading into the deadline, but said he's determined the path the team wants to take.

"I'm not going to disclose what we're going to do, but we certainly have a plan in place," Howson told NHL.com. "We're working on it, we're talking to teams. We'll see … it's not just a pre-deadline plan. It's a plan leading up to the draft and leading into next season. We'll see what happens before the 27th and we expect to be active."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:45 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Trotz defends Quenneville

NASHVILLE -- The last time the Predators saw Chicago, the Blackhawks were riding high.

Nashville put an end to all of that. With consecutive wins against their Central Division rival Jan. 21 and Jan. 24 (Nashville actually had another game in between but Chicago did not), the Predators sent the Blackhawks into what was become their current eight-game winless streak.

During that span, Chicago has plummeted from having the most points in the League to sixth in the Western Conference and fourth in the division. Nashville can pad its lead on Chicago to seven points with a regulation victory today.

All of that has put some heat on Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who guided the team to the Stanley Cup in 2010. However, at least one member of the coaching fraternity has Quenneville's back.

"Joel's an outstanding coach," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "I'll say this: When you win, us coaches get too much credit, and when you lose, we get too much blame, and it's somewhere in between. He's got a wealth of knowledge. He's won Stanley Cups, he's been to the finals, he's done all that. … I don't know what criticism they're giving him, but he's one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League. They're just going through a dry patch."

Trotz also said he understands what the Blackhawks are going through.

"When things aren't going your way, everything's hard," Trotz said. "And you have to almost to accept that it's going to be hard and get enthused about the battle and the hardship you're going through. We've had our struggles in the past, but you become a stronger team through the battles …

"But it's not easy coming out of it. You've got to really want it."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:40 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Fedotenko skates, game-time decision for Rangers

BOSTON -- Ruslan Fedotenko skated with the Rangers on Tuesday morning for the first time since a hit by Tampa Bay's Dominic Moore last Thursday that knocked him out of the game.

Fedotenko missed the following two games, but he skated on his own Monday before taking part in practice in preparation for Tuesday night's clash with the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

"I feel better right now," said Fedotenko, whose left eye area was bruised as a result of Moore driving Fedotenko's stick into his face, a play that earned Moore a $2,500 fine. "I don't want to describe (the specifics of the injury). It's between me and the medical staff. I don't want to say too much. I'm sure you understand that."

Fedotenko tried riding a bike the day after the hit, but was unable to do so. He was smiling and not holding back during Tuesday's practice, but coach John Tortorella said he was unsure if Fedotenko would be back in the lineup against the Bruins.

Fedotenko said he would be a game-time decision and is day-to-day.

As for the hit, Fedotenko talked about it for the first time since it happened.

"I was angry at that point," Fedotenko said. "I felt like the puck was not near me at all, so I didn't really expect that hit. I think that's why it happened. We're trying to take these kind of plays away from the game, so we don't have any type of concussions and hurt each other. I don't know what to say. It's too bad. I'm sure he was not intending to hit me hard, but I think he was going after me because I hit him right before that."

Fedotenko was asked about the League's decision to fine but not suspend Moore because it was Fedotenko's stick that did the damage, not Moore's shoulder.

"On the one shot, you see the shoulder didn't hit me in the face, but I feel like intent was there," Fedotenko said. "The puck was not near me. They make the decisions and we'll go with that."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:24 PM

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

AHL recalls eager to get into Bruins' lineup

BOSTON -- With an 11-day, six-game road trip looming after they host the New York Rangers tonight at TD Garden, the Bruins have stocked their roster with a couple spare parts for use in case of emergency.

Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk and forward Joshua Hennessy were recalled from the Providence (AHL) farm club Monday and both took part in the morning skate today. Both project to be healthy scratches against the Rangers.

For Hennessy, who was born in Brockton, Mass., joining his hometown team is a dream come true. The former second-round pick of San Jose is also overjoyed to be back in the NHL after skating in just 20 games over a three-season span and then playing last year in Switzerland.

Now he's 27 and feels better prepared to handle playing at the sport's highest level if he gets into the lineup.

"I'm a little older than the last time I was up. ... I'd say there's a lot less nerves this time," said Hennessy, whose only NHL experience came with Ottawa. "Should I get the opportunity to play, it's just move my feet, use my skating and puck-handling ability, I guess, and work hard, be responsible defensively -- leave an impression in absolutely any way possible."

Bodnarchuk also hasn't played in the NHL since the 2009-10 season, when he skated in four games for the Bruins. Boston used a fifth-round pick on Bodnarchuk in 2006, but other prospects have passed him on the depth chart the last couple seasons. Boston's desire to get regular seventh defenseman Steven Kampfer some consistent playing time in the AHL opened up this opportunity for Bodnarchuk, who has played better this season than last with the P-Bruins.

"This year I'm really, really happy with how the year's going. I think as a fourth-year pro, I'm still a young guy, but I have almost four years under my belt and I think the biggest thing for me has been my consistency," Bodnarchuk said. "Personally, game in and game out, I haven't had a bad game and I think that's a big thing for me. I came out of juniors an offensive guy and I sort of bought into the role as a defensive, shutdown PK guy. The consistency of my game in this year is what's really helped me come on and turn some more heads."


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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 11:40 AM

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

Julien doesn't want Bruins concerned with standings

BOSTON -- The last time the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins met, they were neck and neck in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers left the TD Garden that afternoon with a win and sole possession of first place. Now they return to the scene of that dramatic overtime victory with a comfortable seven-point lead. Bruins coach Claude Julien, however, doesn't want his team worrying about the standings as much as what his players have to do on the ice tonight.

"I don't think we're necessarily looking at this game like we need to catch up with these guys more than we need to play well, and play well to give us a chance to win the game," Julien said after his team's optional morning skate. "It's as simple as that. Right now, our issues are a lot different than worrying about how far ahead they are or how much we need to catch up. We just have to go out there and play. And if we play well and do the job that we know we can, well hopefully we'll come up with a win and the rest will take care of itself."

The Bruins will leave for a six-game, 11-day road trip after facing the Rangers. So they've recalled defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk and forward Joshua Hennessy to provide depth while away from home. But for tonight, the lineup figures to feature the same players that beat Nashville on Saturday:

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

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 9:41 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL.com Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

Howson won't comment on Nash rumors

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson declined to comment on a report by French-language TV station RDS that Jackets captain Rick Nash has been placed on the trading block.

Dispatch writer Aaron Portzline, citing his sources, said Nash is not being shopped, nor is the club intent on moving him. However, he adds, the Jackets have reached a point where every player on the roster could be available for the right price and that includes Nash.

Nash has a no-movement clause in his contract, and told the newspaper late last month that he has no desire to leave Columbus.

"I love Columbus. I love being here. I love being a Blue Jacket," Nash said. "The city of Columbus deserves a winner and deserves a good product on the ice. If it comes to that -- like you said, all speculation -- but if they don't want me here, they want to move me? I’m not going to do something where it's going to hurt the franchise just because I have that in my contract."

Howson, speaking with NHL.com Saturday in Philadelphia, said he wouldn't be commenting on any trade rumors leading into the deadline, but said he's determined the path the team wants to take.

"I'm not going to disclose what we're going to do, but we certainly have a plan in place," Howson told NHL.com. "We're working on it, we're talking to teams. We'll see … it's not just a pre-deadline plan. It's a plan leading up to the draft and leading into next season. We'll see what happens before the 27th and we expect to be active."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 02.13.2012 / 10:08 PM

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

Morris scratched with groin injury

VANCOUVER -- Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris was a surprise late scratch for Monday night's game at Rogers Arena with a groin injury.

Spotted talking on his cell phone outside the arena just 35 minutes before the game, Morris had a good chuckle when asked if it had anything to do with the impending trade NHL deadline. The 33-year-old took the morning skate and was expected to play.

"Just old, bumps and bruises," Morris told NHL.com before confirming the groin injury.

Morris, under contract another two seasons with a $2.75-million salary cap hit, has one goal, nine points and minus-10 rating 48 games.

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Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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