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POSTED ON Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Matt Dumba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Matt Dumba draft blog

Dumba building off strong summer

Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Hi, this is Matt Dumba from the Red Deer Rebels. I'm really excited to get this season going. It's been a good start to the season here. We're 8-3 now. We got off to a slow start as a team and I did individually, but we've picked it up and found a rhythm, and lately we've been on a roll, winning five games in a row, and I have 7 points in 11 games. They're pretty good numbers, I'm happy with that. And it's fun playing with Justin Weller on the back end here. I'm really looking forward to the next month ahead of us.

We're only a month or so into the regular season here, but I've actually been on the ice for a while. I was named captain of our team for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August. I'd been to Europe when I was younger with a summer hockey team. We traveled around and played other teams. It was nice to experience that, but I hadn't been over in recent years. It was really interesting to go over to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, experience the culture and see how everyone is over there.

As a team, we came out and lost our first game to Sweden, which was a wake-up call, but we went on a tear in the next five games and won every game by a decisive margin. It was a pretty amazing accomplishment. As captain, leading the team was pretty easy with such a great group of players and characters on that team. I had a pretty good tournament and really showed I could play that defensive game, but also add that offense, the hits and flair that everyone likes to see.

After that, I had the NHL RDO Camp in Toronto. That camp was pretty interesting. You got matched up against some of the top guys in this year's draft. It was pretty neat to see all the guys, especially the Russian guys, Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk. It was great to see their skill and what you're up against, competition-wise. It was a pretty fun few days -- fun to go up there and know people are watching, but just have fun with it, just go out there and have fun and enjoy the experience.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 12:02 AM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NJD @ LAK- 13:12 of The Second Period

At 13:12 of the second period in the Devils/Kings game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck went into the net off of Dainius Zubrus' body but was not batted by Zubrus into the net. Good goal New Jersey.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 12:01 AM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

VAN @ EDM - 13:34 of The Third Period

At 13:34 of the third period in the Canucks/Oilers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Edmonton forward Jordan Eberle's shot did not cross the goal line. No Goal.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 9:34 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

OTT@CAR - 17:29 of the third period

At 17:29 of the third period in the Senators/Hurricanes game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Jeff Skinner's goal was not tipped by a high stick. Good goal Carolina.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 8:07 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kings give Quick the night off

The NHL's reigning Player of the Week will be wearing a baseball cap instead of a goalie's mask on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said Jonathan Quick, who's riding a streak of three consecutive shutouts, will be the backup when the New Jersey Devils come to the Staples Center on Tuesday night.

Murray said at Tuesday's morning skate that he made the decision prior to Quick's 28-save, 1-0 victory against Dallas on Saturday night.

"He’s got to play. Quick can’t play 82 games," Murray told the media. "We’ve got 17 games here in front of us until the end of the month (of November). Fifteen are conference games. So what do you do? Am I going to wait until December, when we have five Eastern Conference games, and get him in then? He’s got to play. He’s a good goalie and he played great for us in the second half of the year last year. We’ve got a lot of big games right in front of us now, so it’s time to start putting him into some games.

"The decision was made Saturday morning. It’s not like it was after Quick’s third shutout. It was before, to give him a heads up. It was fair to give him an opportunity to think about it over the weekend, the day off on Sunday, and come in to work hard yesterday in practice. There’s no second-guessing this one for me. It’s just time for him to get playing again.”

Bernier said he's not feeling any extra pressure because of Quick's hot streak, which has seen the former UMass star keep opponents off the scoreboard for 188:10.

"First of all I was happy for him, but then I wasn’t sure if I was still going to be in net tonight,"  he told Rich Hammond of Kings Insider. "But I guess he [Murray] kept his word, and I’m happy to be back in.”

One player who won't be in the lineup is defenseman Drew Doughty, who's eligible to come off IR but isn't ready. He's been out since Oct. 15 with a shoulder injury.

Murray said Doughty was scheduled to see the doctor today and could be back by the end of the week.

“The opportunity will probably be tonight, to see the doctor at the rink," he said. "We plan on taking him with us on the road trip, kind of shooting for the end of the week here as a possibility.” The Kings hit the road after the game against the Devils -- they play at Dallas on Thursday, at Phoenix on Saturday and at Colorado on Sunday.



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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 5:00 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes' 'Fall Classic' Game

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:39 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hawks to keep close eye on Ducks’ top line

CHICAGO – The Blackhawks know from first-hand experience last season how much the Ducks’ top line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry can impact a game – especially if left unchecked for even a couple seconds.

Last season, the Ducks beat the Hawks 2-1 on March 26 at the United Center and Perry scored both of Anaheim’s goals. Getzlaf and Ryan also picked up assists on both markers, as the Ducks’ top line dominated the puck most times they were on the ice.

“You’ve really got to be mindful when they’re out there and really try to limit their time deep in the zone,” said Blackhawks back-up goalie Ray Emery, who started that game for Anaheim and picked up the win. “Those three players are dominant players on their own, and when they play together it’s that much more special. They can kind of find each other with little blind plays and quick spins to the net and they’re always dangerous when they’re out there. More nights than not, if you shut them down you’re going to do pretty well against their team.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville agreed with that assessment, stating that his team can’t even have one lapse when the Ducks’ top trio is on the ice. The Hawks had a number of defensive miscues on Saturday night that led to a 5-4 shootout loss at home to the Colorado Avalanche and will need to be a lot better on against the Ducks on Tuesday.

Quenneville even said he’ll likely use more than just the energy checking line of Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to defend them.

“That line does a lot of things you don’t see,” Quenneville said. “They can make special plays and they kind of have an understanding of where other guys are and they’re dangerous around the net with quick sticks. There’s got to be an awareness of when they’re on the ice. They play so much it’s a tough responsibility for one line (to defend them), so hopefully a couple of guys will have a chance of seeing them as well.”
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:37 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hawks hope to end shootout struggles

CHICAGO – The good news for the Chicago Blackhawks so far is that they’re not leaving as many points on the table this season as they did a year ago.

Last year, a trend of blowing third-period leads put the Hawks in a difficult position in the Western Conference standings at the end of the season – when about five teams were battling for the last two playoff spots.

Still, Chicago has lost both of the shootouts it’s been in through the first seven games and losing those extra points is unacceptable in their minds – especially with an all-star trio of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp making up the first three in their shootout lineup.

Alas, Toews and Kane – who’ve been good in shootouts historically – are both 0-for-2 so far, while Sharp is 0-for-1.

“There are key points that have been left on the board, especially in the shootout,” said Kane, who is 17-for-45 in shootouts for his career. “With the talent we have in our room, you definitely want to get that other point and we feel like we should every time. It’d be nice to get those. They add up at the end of the season when you’re picking spots for the Western Conference.”

Asked if maybe goalies are just getting better at shootouts, Toews scoffed at that notion.

“Nothing’s changed,” said Toews, who leads the Hawks with a mark of 19-for-39 in shootouts for his career. “Everybody wants to talk about (shootouts) since Kaner and I are 0-for-2, but we’ve had a pretty good history at that. We’ve got a lot of good shooters on this team, so at the end it’s the coach’s decision if they want to mix things up, but when we’re in that situation we trust fully the guys who are going out there. It’s not for lack of trying. Sometimes it just doesn’t go in.”
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:34 PM

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

Coyotes hoping to get more sticks hot

The Coyotes were looking for a jump in offense after scoring two goals in two games in home losses to Chicago and Los Angeles. And two key players to the Phoenix offense, Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle, responded with their first goals of the season as the Coyotes used three goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to beat Anaheim 5-4 on Sunday.

"It was good to see those guys get on the board for us. Hanzal had two big goals early in the game and Yandle wound up getting the game-winner," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Boyd Gordon got his first goal as well. We're the kind of team where everybody has to contribute, so that game was a good sign."

Now Phoenix would like to see a few more sticks get hot as it opens a three-game homestand against the Dallas Stars tonight. The Coyotes had the Stars shut out for more than 59 minutes in Dallas on Oct. 10 before the Stars forced overtime and eventually prevailed 2-1 in a shootout. Phoenix had many offensive opportunities in that game to give ex-Star goalie Mike Smith a bigger cushion, and the season-high five goals against the Ducks is a positive sign.

"Dallas is playing a solid team game and they are willing a lot of close game like the one against us, Tippett said. "We've been kind of up and down and we'd like to put together a few games together and get on a run like Dallas has done. We gave up more goals than we'd like but in the end we did what we had to do to win. We want to clean some things up."

The Coyotes shook up their fourth line Sunday, trading center Petteri Nokelainen to Montreal and bringing up collegiate scoring machine Andy Miele from Portland of the AHL. Miele, getting a shot to provide some of the punch lost during the Kyle Turris contract holdout, had a two-goal, three assist game against Manchester last week, prompting the Coyotes to revamp their fourth line. Offensive-minded Patrick O'Sullivan got the start over enforcer Paul Bissonnette as well, although the selection between those two will likely be a game-time decision.

The game will also feature the return to Glendale of popular center Vernon Fiddler, who led the team in faceoff percentage and was a big part of Phoenix's back-to-back playoff runs from 2009-11. Fiddler signed with Dallas as a free agent in the summer, but the Coyotes have found his replacement to be a good fit so far.

Gordon currently leads the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 63.8 percent and has won 53 of 79 draws (67 percent) over the last five games. Gordon not only scored his first goal against the Ducks, he won 12 of 17 faceoffs. He is also a main cog on the Phoenix power-play unit that has allowed just two goals since the season opener and stopped a potent Anaheim power play on all five chances (10 shots) on Sunday.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:30 PM

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

Projected lineups for Stars, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups are projected to look when the Dallas Stars face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing.com Arena:

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal with Andrew Raycroft serving as his backup.

COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Patrick O'Sullivan - Andy Miele - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal with Jason LaBarbera serving as his backup.
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We're certainly happy we got the win, but we feel we have a long way to go obviously. We're going take another step in San Jose and it is going to be a tough one.

— Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams said after his team's Game 4 win vs. the San Jose Sharks