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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 11:48 AM

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

Bruins get Ference back, Paille possible as well

BOSTON -- The Bruins will try to extend their current winning streak to seven games when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden tonight.

They might have a different-looking lineup than they had when they beat New Jersey Tuesday night.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk missed the morning skate with flu-like symptoms and is questionable for tonight, according to coach Claude Julien. Regardless of Boychuk's status, Andrew Ference is set to return from a two-game absence with a lower-body injury. Ference practiced for the first time since his injury Wednesday.

Up front, forward Daniel Paille is also a possibility to return. He has missed three games since suffering a broken nose Nov. 7 vs. the New York Islanders. Here's the Bruins' projected lineup factoring in returns by Paille and Ference:

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

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

Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice for the Bruins, who all left the ice in a single-file line as has been their new tradition.



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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 11:46 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Reports: Marc Staal cleared for light exercise

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has been given the green light to start lightly exercising, according to two published reports.

Staal has yet to play this season due to post-concussion symptoms that stem from a hit he received from brother Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes last season. The Rangers' alternate captain and No. 1 defenseman has spent the past four weeks resting at his home in New York and hasn't participated in a practice this season.

The Rangers are not offering any timetable for Staal's return.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 10:14 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flyers lose defenseman for 6 weeks

In his short time in the NHL, Philadelphia Flyers rookie Erik Gustafsson made a solid impact, averaging 18:28 per game with a plus-6 rating in five games. His ice time went up each game, topping out at 23:00 Nov. 5 against Columbus.

Gustafsson hasn't played since, however, due to a wrist injury, and the Flyers announced this morning that he won't play at all for another six weeks following surgery to repair the injury.

"Erik underwent wrist surgery this morning at Methodist Hospital (in Philadelphia)," said Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren. "The surgery was performed by Dr. Randy Culp. We expect Erik to be out of action for six weeks."

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

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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 9:56 AM

By Jacob Trouba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Jacob Trouba draft blog

Trouba talks Four Nations triumph

Jacob Trouba is a defenseman for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound native of Rochester, Mich., recently helped the U.S. Under-18 Team earn the Four Nations tournament title in Switzerland. He was also ranked the No. 1 skater within the United States Hockey League by NHL Central Scouting on its preliminary release of draft eligible players. Trouba, who participated in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

What’s up hockey world? I’m only a month into the season and there have already been some ups and downs.

This young season has been eventful to say the least. We are 10-6-1 at this point and 2-5 against NCAA teams. In my mind, one of the greatest advantages of playing at the US NTDP is playing older competition. We are always up against a challenge. In my first year we played USHL teams as a group of 16 year olds. We were playing guys up to 20 years old. It was hard to go into a corner with a guy that has 4 years of maturity on you. Now in my second year we feel that we can play with every USHL team, so we put NCAA teams on our schedule. That is playing against a 25 year old grown man. We know we need to bring our best game against every D-1 team. If we don’t we will get embarrassed every time. The problem our team has found out early this year is the D-3 teams are just as hungry to beat us. There is no room for a preparation let down or we will come out slow and be down 3 goals before we know it. We learned that early this year in a 6-4 loss to Adrian College.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 2:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Life as a Scout

Recapping Regina


REGINA, Sask. -- The opening day of the 'Life of a Scout' is history and it's time to bid a fond farewell to the capital city of Saskatchewan.

The game on Wednesday at the Brandt Centre was tremendous as the Western Hockey League stars scored a 5-2 victory over Team Russia in Game 5 of the Subway Super Series. If Team WHL can manage a victory in the sixth and final game of the Series on Thursday in Moose Jaw, then then Canadians will reclaim the title they lost last year.

     Colton Sissons, Kelowna Rockets
Of the 2012 draft eligible prospects, center Colton Sissons of the Kelowna Rockets had one assist. Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels finished a minus-2 but proved to be a physical force with several big hits. For the most part, Dumba was paired with Saskatoon Blades Duncan Siemens.

Sissons actually assisted on the team's final goal.

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards thought Sissons played exceptionally well in the final period. Team WHL actually scored twice in the third to put the finishing touches on the triumph, which now has the CHL stars holding a 3-2 series lead.

"Sissons did a nice job on the assist; he waited for the off-partner, protecting the puck and using his size," Edwards said. "In the corners, he protected the puck well and was the type of player who was pretty effective all night."

Team WHL coach Don Hay liked what he saw in both Dumba and Sissons.

"I thought they both played well," Hay said. "Matt had a big hit in the first and that led to some energy for us. We were down 1-0 at the time and we kind of took off after that. So any time you have a physical play from your D-man, it's really important.

"As for Sissons, he played the wing and played center, killed penalties and did a lot of good things."

While Edwards would be the first to tell you he isn't a goalie expert, he was impressed with Russian starter Andrey Makarov, who has posted a 13-5-0 record with a 2.44 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 18 appearances this season with the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League. Makarov made 37 saves, included 17 of 18 stops in the second, on Wednesday.

So the gang is set to leave Regina on Thursday afternoon and, according to Edwards, the drive to Moose Jaw should take about 45 minutes. En route to the Mosaic Place, which has replaced the old 'crushed can' in Moose Jaw, we hope to make a stop at The Tunnels of Moose Jaw where it is alleged former gangster Al Capone spent most of his life.

"Overall, I feel it was a pretty successful night," Edwards said. "We saw a well-played hockey game and those draft eligible guys (Dumba, Sissons and Makarov) really did a nice job."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 2:01 AM

By Eric Lipschutz -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Hawks big four stars in win

Pick a star … any star.  If you are a fantasy owner of one of the Blackhawks' big guns, chances are you had a big fantasy night.

Marian Hossa led the way by assisting on three of Chicago's five goals in its victory against Vancouver. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp all scored for the Hawks. Kane and Toews -- both of whom fantasy guru Matt Cubeta tabbed in the top 10 of his most recent Center Stage rankings -- also added assists for good measure. Kane's goal, which was assisted by Hossa, came on the man advantage serving as an extra bonus to leagues that reward power-play points.

It looks like good times are ahead for the Blackhawks, who own the League's best record. And, after easily dispensing the talented Canucks on Wednesday night, the Hawks appear to be firing on all cylinders. If you are fortunate enough to own any of the Blackhawks' big four, sit back and enjoy the ride. 
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 12:41 AM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

ANA @ LA -- 5:25 of the third period

NHL Hockey Operations used two different replay angles to confirm the on-ice officials' ruling that Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf batted the puck into the net with his glove and did not contact the puck with his stick before it crossed the goal line. No Goal.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.16.2011 / 11:27 PM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Myers responds after recent benching

Will the real Tyler Myers please stand up?

Since a phenomenal rookie campaign in 2009-10, in which the gargantuan Buffalo Sabres defenseman collected 11 goals, 37 assists and 48 points in 82 games, Myers has seen a steady decline in production, leaving many fantasy owners wondering what to make of the potentially-potent blueliner.

Through 17 games this season, the 21-year-old has just two goals and six points to go along with a minus-3 rating and just 26 shots on goal.

Fantasy and reality crossed paths recently, as the Sabres opted to make Myers a healthy scratch Nov. 14. But in his return to the ice Wednesday night against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, the 6-foot-8. 227-pounder had a huge game.

Myers tickled the twine twice, including a power play tally, and threw four shots on net. For 60 minutes, he was a factor and it appears he's ready to prove that his recent skid is behind him.

For fantasy owners, patience will be a virtue. The Sabres currently rank in the middle of the pack in goals allowed per game but are in the Top-10 in goals per game. That leaves Myers susceptible to a low plus-minus rating, but also means that Myers is in a system that welcomes defenseman jumping into the play, which means his production opportunities are there.

Give Myers time and/or use him as a complimentary piece on your roster, but don't give up on an obvious talent at a time when he's showing signs of potential big gains.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.16.2011 / 10:54 PM

By Eric Lipschutz -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Kovalchuk returns with a bang

After missing five-games with a groin injury, Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the Devils lineup Wednesday night looking no worse for wear. Kovalchuk scored a highlight reel first period goal in New Jersey's 5-3 win over Buffalo. 

Prior to getting hurt, Kovalchuk was not producing his usual high level of scoring. Heading into Wednesday’s contest, Kovalchuk had recorded just two goals in 11 games while posting a mediocre minus-4. There are no glaring reasons that would point to Kovalchuk getting off to a slow start. If anything, Kovalchuk may just be adjusting to playing for his third coach in two seasons with the Devils. 

Kovalchuk owners should enjoy having their star forward back in the lineup and don’t need to worry about him getting back to his typical high standards sooner than later.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.16.2011 / 10:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Life as a Scout

Second period report card from Brandt Centre


REGINA, Sask. -- Through two periods here at the Brandt Centre, Team WHL is holding a 3-2 lead in Game 5 against Team Russia in the Subway Super Series.
 
Kelowna's Colton Sissons was a lot more active with the puck in that period, according to Central Scouting's Chris Edwards.
 
"He handled the puck a lot more … came out of the corner and took it to the net and, on the power-play, he handled the puck pretty well," Edwards said. "He went to the net and put up a good screen. In the first period he was a physical threat and in that second, we saw more of his puck handling ability."
 
Edwards has also been impressed with Russian goalie Andrey Makarov, who is in his first season with the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League. It'll be interesting to see where Makarov sits when Central Scouting releases its preliminary list of the top players from each league on Thursday.
 
"Makarov has played well; he has a good glove and was at the top the crease, challenging," Edwards said. "He was sucking up point shots and not allowing rebounds."
 
His opinion of Red Deer's Mathew Dumba hasn't changed.

"I really like what I see in Dumba," Edwards admitted.
 
Hmm … that Dumba-Duncan Siemens pairing could be one to watch in December when Hockey Canada makes its final decisions on the roster for the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship.
 

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres