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Posted On Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 9:45 AM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Bryzgalov soaks up 'adulation' in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Jets fans may not care much for Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, but he certainly seems to like them.

The latest in a long line of NHL goaltenders to receive an unfriendly welcome at the MTS Centre, Bryzgalov has come under intense jeering from the Winnipeg fan base after making comments about the city that many fans deemed to be critical. Jets fans serenaded Bryzgalov with boos and taunts throughout the evening as he made his first-ever NHL start in the city.

But Bryzgalov, who made 22 saves in the Flyers' 5-4 overtime win, offered a cheeky assessment of his evening in Winnipeg.

"I like it," Bryzgalov said of the experience. "It was a great atmosphere. I wish every building would be supportive like here and support me like here."

"It was nice to hear [them] cheering, 'Ilya, Ilya,'" Bryzgalov said jokingly. "I never heard that before anywhere. When 15,000 people support you, it's very impressive."

"Here they cheer me," Bryzgalov continued, tongue in cheek. "In Philly, they boo me."

The evening capped off an eventful day for Bryzgalov in the Manitoba capital. He took a shot to his left glove hand during Philadelphia's morning skate, leaving his status for the game in doubt. However, the injury did not prove to be serious.
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 9:00 AM

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

Roenick: Ducks clicking, Islanders inconsistent

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick pens a weekly blog for "World According to JR" appears every Wednesday and includes Roenick's sharp, can't-miss opinions on What's Clicking and What's Missing in the National Hockey League.

The Anaheim Ducks' amazing run under coach Bruce Boudreau and why the New York Islanders can't ever get over the hump. It's all in the blog, so read on:

What's clicking?

It's amazing to watch what the Anaheim Ducks are doing right now. They were 20 points out of eighth place on Jan. 6, but entering Tuesday's game in Tampa Bay they are five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference

Incredibly, when Boudreau arrived just a few days after getting fired by Washington, the Ducks still couldn't get it right. They won just three of their first 14 games under him, but they are 15-2-4 in their last 21. For a team that looked like it couldn't do anything right, to change coaches like that and all of a sudden catch fire the way the Ducks have and play as soundly defensively -- it's just amazing.

This is a team that couldn't keep the puck out of the net, and now teams are finding it hard to get even one goal. Mind you, these are some of the same teams that were scoring in bunches against the Ducks. The same teams now can't score against them. Amazing.

My hat goes off to Boudreau and the mentality he's brought in there. I'm sure there were players on that team that were sick and tired of Randy Carlyle's drill-sergeant mentality; seeing now how Boudreau is with this team, at least it seems to me that the players are really playing hard for him and buying into his system.

The run they're on now, being as close to a playoff position as they are -- and with a lot of it being on the road -- tells me this is a team on a mission.

Moreover, they are fun to watch.

Teemu Selanne, at 41, continues to defy his age. He's just as fast as anybody out there now, and with his brilliant hockey mind he's leading this team. Guys like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan are following right with him.

Perry, in fact, is the best second-half player in the NHL, bar none. You saw the way he finished last season on an absolute tear, and he's doing it again. He's scored six goals in his last five games.

Between Selanne and Perry, they're bringing this team back into the playoff hunt.

It'll be interesting to see if they make the playoffs, and even more interesting to see if a coach that got fired by one team can win the Jack Adams Award in the same season with another team. That's never happened before. I would think Boudreau would be a shoe-in if the Ducks make the playoffs.

What's missing?

I don't know if the New York Islanders even want to play in the postseason.

This team probably works as hard, if not harder, than any in the National Hockey League. But when the moments get bigger, they seem to find ways to lose in big ways.

So there they were, six points out of a playoff spot, battling hard in every game to get there, working hard to climb up the standings, believing in coach Jack Capuano and the system he has put in place. They're beating the best teams in the NHL with that work ethic, and they get close to the playoff spot. But with a hot team in Ottawa coming into their building, they lay an egg in a 6-0 loss.

That is just so frustrating. You'd think it wouldn't happen when they can see the playoff line, so like I said before -- I wonder if the Islanders even want to make the playoffs? I wonder if they're so young that they don't have that mentality.

That's not a knock against their team; it's a knock against their age and maturity.

Their best player, John Tavares, is having a good season, but he's not bringing the team over the hump to get them more consistent. They have other good players in Matt Moulson, P.A. Parenteau, Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit, but they can't seem to grasp the mentality of how to slam the door.

Who is going to teach them that? Well, I believe having Doug Weight behind the bench is one of the best things the Islanders can have. That guy is a winner and can be a really good mentor to the young guys, but Dougie is such a nice guy. He needs to have some tough love with these players.

These guys work hard, but they're finding ways to lose when they're in critical situations. It frustrates me and I'm sure it frustrates Islanders fans everywhere. It's about time this young team matures and doesn't accept getting blown out 6-0 when they're in arm's reach of a playoff spot.

I sure hope Capuano and Weight put their foot down and expect more out of their players. I sure hope they can get back into the playoffs sometime soon.

Islanders fans have endured enough already.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 11:30 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

EDM @ CGY - 17:29 of the Third Period

At 17:29 of the third period in the Flames/Oilers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Taylor Hall's shot completely crossed the goal line. Good Goal Edmonton.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 10:13 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

After nabbing Quincey, Wings mull further moves

CHICAGO – Hours after completing a trade to bring in defenseman Kyle Quincey as part of a three-team deal, Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland didn’t rule out making another deal before Monday’s trade deadline expires.

Quincey’s addition gives the Red Wings eight NHL defensemen and the recent play of goalie Joey MacDonald has settled the backup role in net, but that doesn’t mean Detroit is necessarily done wheeling and

“I'm going to kick the tires,” Holland told prior to his team playing the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at the United Center. “We're done in goal, we're done on defense. We might be done. We'll see."

As for what might pique Holland’s interest now, think forwards – big forwards. Also, don’t be surprised if the Red Wings stand pat after Tuesday’s deal between his club, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche.

“You’re always looking for grit and size and experience,” Holland said. “We’ll see. It’s got to be a fit. At the end of the day, this (Quincey) trade was about a fit for three teams.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 9:42 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

LAK @ PHX - 14:44 of the First Period

At 14:44 of the the first period in the Kings/Coyotes game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Willie Mitchell's point shot was tipped into the net by Dustin Brown with his stick below the crossbar.  According to rule 60.5 "The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick. If the puck makes contact with the stick below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed."  Good goal Los Angeles.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 9:30 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

SJS @ CBJ - 8:48 of the Third Period

At 8:48 of the third period in the Sharks/Blue Jackets game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Jamie McGinn batted the puck into the net with a high stick. According to Rule 60.5 "An apparent goal scored by an attacking player who strikes the puck with his stick carried above the height of the crossbar of the goal frame shall not be allowed. The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick." No Goal San Jose.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 9:09 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Coyotes will feature patchwork lineup against Kings

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Coyotes 7-0-1 run during the month of February will undergo a stiff test Tuesday night, when Phoenix debuts a patchwork lineup featuring three players with less than 20 games of NHL experience.

The Coyotes will be without forwards Kyle Chipchura (wrist) and Taylor Pyatt (upper body) along with defensemen Rostislav Klesla (upper body), Derek Morris (family illness) and David Schlemko (foot) when they face the Los Angeles Kings in a battle of teams fighting for playoff position in the Western Conference.

Winger Matt Watkins, a fifth-round choice by Dallas in the 2005 draft, will make his NHL debut and skate with enforcer Paul Bissonnette and Gilbert Brule on Phoenix's makeshift fourth line. Phoenix’s third defensive pair will consist of 2008 third-round pick Michael Stone, who made his NHL debut in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win over Dallas, and Chris Summers, a grizzled veteran by comparison with 15 NHL games under his belt.

The Coyotes might be even more shorthanded but center Martin Hanzal, who suffered a lower body injury against the Stars Saturday, will be back against the Kings, keeping the No. 1 line with winger Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata intact.

The Kings get center Jarret Stoll back from injured reserve and he will play with Colin Fraser and Brad Richardson. Both teams have a grand total of one goal against the other in the last 125 minutes of hockey – with each coming away with 1-0 wins. Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick (1.87 GAA) and red-hot Phoenix goalie Mike Smith (seven straight wins, 2.25 GAA) will try to keep that trend going.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 8:42 PM

By Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor / - Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

Report: Sharks have interest in Nash

Will Rick Nash soon be a member of the San Jose Sharks?

NHL Network hockey insider Darren Dreger reported Tuesday night that the Sharks are a strong contender for Nash's services. Sources have told Dreger that the Columbus Blue Jackets wanted Logan Couture in return, but that was quickly rejected by Sharks general manager Doug Wilson.

Nash and Sharks captain Joe Thornton are apparently good friends and have performed well together in international competitions.

Nash, 27, has a no-trade clause and will ultimately determine where he ends up.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 5:18 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Bryzgalov deemed fit to start against Jets

WINNIPEG -- The Philadelphia Flyers announced this afternoon that goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will start for the club in tonight's game with the Winnipeg Jets.

Bryzgalov had taken a shot to his (left) glove hand during the team's morning skate at the MTS Centre earlier in the day. Bryzgalov left the ice early, returned to the Philadelphia dressing room and did not speak with the media. Comcast Sportsnet later reported that Bryzgalov went for X-rays.

Bryzgalov has twice faced the Jets in Philadelphia this season. He allowed four goals on 10 shots in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky during a 9-8 loss on Oct. 27. He started against the Jets at home on Jan. 31 and turned in a 23-save performance in 2-1 shootout loss.

Bryzgalov has gone 20-11-6 with a 2.79 goals-against average in 40 games this season with the Flyers. He joined the club this past summer from the Phoenix Coyotes after agreeing to a nine-year contract.

Bobrovsky will back up Bryzgalov tonight.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 5:05 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Ribeiro happy to be back in Montreal

MONTREAL -- It's been a long time coming for Mike Ribeiro.

The Dallas Stars center will play his first regular-season game in his hometown since he was traded away in 2006 by the Montreal Canadiens, and he can't wait.

"I'm excited to see the atmosphere in the building again," Ribeiro said Tuesday morning. "Maybe they forgot me, it's been so long."

Ribeiro was injured the only other time the Stars played at Bell Centre since he was traded for defenseman Janne Niinimaa on Sept. 30, 2006, though he did play in a preseason game here in September.

"It's been six years," said Ribeiro, who turned 32 on Feb. 10. "If I look back on my career there are some things I'd like to do over again, and I think everyone in their lives can look back at things they'd like to improve. But I'm looking to the future, and what's in the past is in the past."

Ribeiro thrived almost immediately upon his arrival in Dallas, while Niinimaa played just 41 games in a Canadiens uniform. The deal widely is panned by Canadiens fans as one of team's the worst in recent years.

"I'm sure they know they made a mistake, but who would have said I would play this way?" Ribeiro said. "I'm coming back to Montreal in front of my friends and people I grew up with, so I'll try to play well and I'll try to score tonight."

He feels the constant pressure the Canadiens are under from their fans and the media to produce a winner led to him being traded, and it affects the franchise's ability to wait for their young players to reach their full potential.

"You have to be patient with the young guys, because you get better as you grow and as you learn the game," he said. "A lot of times in Montreal you have to win now and a lot of times kids are not ready to win now, so you get impatient and trade them -- like in my situation -- a little too quickly."

Ribeiro is far from the only former Canadiens player in town with the Stars. He’s joined by his linemate, right wing Michael Ryder, and defensemen Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray, who was disappointed he won't be able to suit up as he recovers from a foot injury.

The game also will be special for first-year Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, who grew up a Canadiens fan in Hudson Bay, Sask., and wore the No. 23 jersey of Bob Gainey to school as a kid.

The game is so special he insisted his father, Gene, make the trip to Montreal to attend.

"I've had a few pinchable moments, and this was certainly one of them when we played our exhibition game here," Gulutzan said. "It's not the typical exhibition game with 20-some thousand people in the stands. It's special to come back to Canada, but in Montreal it's a little extra special. It's a little surreal at times."

While players always get up for games against their former teams, Gulutzan feels the Canadiens have a home-ice disadvantage because it's pretty difficult for any player not to get excited to play a game in Montreal.

"You get amped up to play here because it's exciting," Gulutzan said. "It's the talk of the town and the players feel that vibe. I'm sure it's not easy for the home team here because other teams are gunned up and ready."

That certainly will be the case for Gulutzan's top center.
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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals