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Posted On Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 12:06 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Senators' Michalek won't return until after Christmas

KANATA, Ont. -- Ottawa Senators forward Milan Michalek, out since Dec. 13 with a concussion, participated in Thursday's morning skate while wearing a grey no-contact jersey and will not play in the game against the Florida Panthers. He is expected to return after Christmas, the earliest being the Dec. 27 game against Montreal. Michalek will take a baseline test today to assess his progress, but wants to concentrate on his conditioning before returning.

Peter Regin re-aggravated his shoulder against Buffalo on Tuesday -- he practiced on Wednesday, but according to coach Paul MacLean, it tightened up and he will be out of the lineup indefinitely. Ottawa will dress seven defensemen for Thursday's game to compensate. Regin previously had surgery on the same shoulder in March, but re-injured it in October and missed 22 games.

"He has to make the decision what's best for him," MacLean said. "Surgery (again) is an option."
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Posted On Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 11:20 AM

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

A beautiful Day 4 as sun makes its return

Decor has gone up on the roofs of the broadcast chalets the NBC and CBC studio crews will work out of. (Photo: NHL.com)
PHILADELPHIA -- Work started again bright and early here at Citizens Bank Park, and the men and woman working on transforming the ballpark into an outdoor hockey wonderland received a wonderful gift -- the return of the sun. After two straight days of rain, it was a welcome sight.

While warm and sunny doesn't do much for ice making, it certainly makes all the other things going on around the ballpark get done a lot smoother.

Today's changes included décor going on the roofs of the chalets NBC and CBC's studio crews will work from, the construction of the broadcast platform and entertainment stages and more dressing up of the ballpark with Winter Classic signage.

The boards are being locked into place, and once that gets done, NHL Senior Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his crew will be able to start running the coolant into the ice pans. When that happens, things get shifted into Mother Nature's hands, as Craig will wait for temperatures to drop enough that he can start spraying water and beginning the process of making ice.

We'll have more a bit later after our daily briefing with Craig, but you can follow along with NHL.com's live webcam.

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


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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 11:19 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

STL @ COL - 14:07 of the Second Period

At 14:07 of the second period in the Blues / Avalanche game , video review was inconclusive in determining if the net was completely dislodged before the puck crossed the goal line. Therefore, the referee's call on the ice stands. Good goal Colorado.

78.5 (x)  When the net becomes displaced accidentally. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 9:44 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PHX @ CAR- 19:01 of the Third Period

At 19:01 of the third period in the Coyotes / Hurricanes game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck did not cross the goal line.  No goal Carolina.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 7:10 PM

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

Kruger out; Pirri recalled by Hawks

CHICAGO – Marcus Kruger is doing OK after the hit he took on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the Swedish rookie center will sit out Wednesday's game at the United Center against the Montreal Canadiens.

To replace him in the lineup, the Hawks put forward Daniel Carcillo on injured reserve to clear a spot for center prospect Brandon Pirri, whom they called up from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Wednesday afternoon.

"Krugs is doing alright today, but he's not playing,” Quenneville said late Wednesday afternoon. "He had a couple shifts there late in the first and then he came out for the second and a couple times I had to call for him to go and he just wasn't ready to play. That's kind of where we're at."

Pirri will likely go straight into the active lineup for Kruger, who was centering the second line between star forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. The 20-year old Pirri has played one game this season with the Hawks and finished with an assist in 15:43 of ice time in the season-opener Oct. 7 in Dallas.

Pirri, Chicago's second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft (No.59),  is also the AHL's seventh-leading scorer with 13 goals and 31 points in 28 games. It's his play at the other end of the rink that he's been trying to work on in Rockford.

"(Ted Dent), our coach down there, stresses that good defense leads to offensive chances and by me shoring up my game (on defense) good things would happen in the offensive zone," Pirri said. "I see myself as a leader (in Rockford), so I'm working on my consistency and I think it's been going well this year."

It also happens to be a special game for Pirri to play in Chicago, coming against the team he grew up disliking as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's a big game and I'd be lying to you if I said it I wasn't real excited to be here," Pirri said. "Being from Toronto, you always have that in you to beat the Habs and it's real cool being able to play them."

Carcillo, meanwhile, has been out with an undisclosed upper-body injury believed to be a concussion since getting injured on Dec. 14 in Minnesota. Quenneville said he's progressing well and could be ready to return to action after the NHL's Christmas break period.

Placing Carcillo on IR was merely a procedural thing to make room for Pirri, according to Quenneville.

"He's doing good," Quenneville said. "He's much better. These four days here, he should be back. We're hoping he can come out and be ready to go."

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 6:40 PM

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

Wings and Canucks psyched for showdown

There's not a lot to choose from between the streaking Canucks and Red Wings right now -- and that has both sides excited to play each other on Wednesday, another in what has traditionally been an entertaining series between two teams with plenty of talent, speed and scoring ability.

"Two teams that play the right way," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said after Wednesday's morning skate. "Detroit plays a high-paced game and they like to play fast. There are a lot of components to our game that are probably similar to theirs."

Detroit is 21-10-1 this season, has scored 107 goals and leads the Western Conference with a plus-36 goal differential. The Red Wings have won five of six. Vancouver is one point behind in the standings at 20-11-2, has scored 110 goals, is second in the West and third in the NHL at plus-30, and is on a 10-2-1 run.

"They've been going good, we've been going good. They've got a real good team, they're organized, I like the way they play," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It's fun to be in this building. It should be a good game, but we've got to hold up our end of the bargain. We've got to play well."

The similarities continue in the crease, where Jimmy Howard leads the NHL with 20 wins, ranks fifth with a 1.92 goals-against average, and 10th with a .928 save percentage. At the other end, Roberto Luongo has overcome his annual October struggles, and is 6-0-1 with a .949 save percentage in seven starts since coming off injury. Keeping those numbers down Wednesday won't be easy -- Detroit has 30 goals in their last six games, while the Canucks are averaging more than four the last 10 games -- but both sides are up to trying.

"You always get really psyched up for these games," Vigneault said. "Fast-paced, lot of tempo, lot of skill on the ice. It makes for great hockey games for the players and for the fans."

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 6:33 PM

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

Coyotes say Mike Smith is day-to-day

Much to the Phoenix Coyotes' relief, it appears goalie Mike Smith wasn't as badly injured as it first appeared.
 
Smith, who had to be helped from the ice 3:29 into the third period of Tuesday's 2-1 win in Florida, is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes recalled goalie Justin Pogge from Portland for the second time in a week -- five days ago he arrived to sub for backup Jason LaBarbera -- to take Smith's place on the roster.
 
"He's day to day," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett told Coyotes.com Wednesday in Carolina, where the Coyotes will face the Hurricanes. "He just had a little tweak and we're hoping it's not too serious."
 
The Coyotes will keep three goalies on the roster. They placed defenseman Adrian Aucoin (lower body) on the injured list to open a spot on the roster.
 
Smith was credited with the win and improved to 15-10-3, setting a career high in wins. LaBarbera held the Panthers scoreless in the final 16:31, stopping Stephen Weiss of the Panthers on a penalty shot with 24.5 seconds to play -- the puck stopped right on the goal line -- to preserve the win.
 
Smith was moving from side to side positionally and experienced no contact when he fell face-first to the ice in pain, suffering what appeared to be an upper leg or groin injury. He rolled on the ice in pain before medical personnel reached him and, eventually, helped him from the ice.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 5:35 PM

By Jeremy Roenick -  NHL Network Contributor /NHL.com - World According to JR

JR: Rangers, Flyers seek upper hand in Classic preview

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick will be penning a weekly blog for NHL.com this season. Look for new entries from, "World According to JR," every Wednesday. Roenick will offer sharp, can't-miss opinions on What's Clicking and What's Missing in the National Hockey League.

The Flyers and Rangers have at it Friday night in a preview of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic while a team on the other coast is going through a coaching change that better get them steered in the right direction. It's all on my mind this week, so read on …
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 5:05 PM

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

Projected lineups for Canucks, Red Wings

Here are how the lineups could look when the Vancouver Canucks host the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Rogers Arena:

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

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Andrew Alberts - Alexander Sulzer

Roberto Luongo, 6-0-1 in his six starts since coming back from injury, is in goal again, with Cory Schneider backing up.

Ballard skated briefly again Wednesday after leaving Monday's game-day session early because of back spasms, but won't play. Add in the broken thumb Aaron Rome suffered Saturday in Toronto and the Canucks will use a new third pairing again:

Ebbett, out since November with a fractured foot suffered in the same game he scored his first goal of the season, returned to the ice last week and took part in his first full practice Tuesday. He'll return to game action Wednesday as the Canucks look to add skill against the Red Wings, replacing the bigger Mark Mancari in the bottom six.

RED WINGS

Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Danny Cleary - Darren Helm - Drew Miller
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom
 


Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Brad Stuart - Jakub Kindl
 


Jimmy Howard starts in goal, with Ty Conklin backing up, an order that could be reversed when the Red Wings return to Alberta to play in Calgary on Thursday night. Detroit has won five of its last six.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 3:40 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Avalanche

DENVER -- These are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center:

BLUES

Alex Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Matt D'Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Chris Porter - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott
Jaroslav Halak

Injuries: RW B.J. Crombeen (shoulder), LW Andy McDonald (concussion), D Kent Huskins (ankle) and C Vladimir Sobotka (ankle) are out.

AVALANCHE
Matt Duchene - Paul Stastny - Daniel Winnik
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Milan Hejduk
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - TJ Galiardi
David Van Der Gulik - Kevin Porter - Cody McLeod

Jan Hejda - Shane O'Brien
Stefan Elliott - Erik Johnson
Matt Hunwick - Ryan O'Byrne

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Semyon Varlamov

Injuries: RW David Jones (groin), RW Chuck Kobasew (head), LW Peter Mueller (head), C Mark Olver (head), D Ryan Wilson (head) and RW Brandon Yip (groin) are out.
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Quote of the Day

As a player, it's obviously a sad day, but to be on the ice with some of those guys and show our respect as both teams did around center ice, it's definitely a nice touch.

— New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson on the ceremony to honor the fallen Canadian soldiers before the game Saturday in Ottawa
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