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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:46 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Gilmour provides retort for Roberts' statements

TORONTO -- Gary Roberts used to wonder how Doug Gilmour stayed in shape. He told NHL.com in an interview last week that despite being neighbors with Gilmour, he never once saw "Killer" training outdoors.

"I was out running every day, biking, trying to get in shape, and then in the first practice in training camp he's skating by me like I'm standing still," Roberts said. "I thought, he must work out in his closet."

No he did not.

"I had a gym in my basement," Gilmour said. "He didn't know that."

Gilmour's private workouts helped him get the better of Roberts all the time, even when Roberts finally convinced him to step out of his front door to train.

"Finally Gary got a hold of me to go for a bike ride and he's got all the gear on, this fancy bike, and I've got a five-speed mountain bike with a baby seat on the back," Gilmour said. "We went about 24 kilometers for a ride and had a race up the hill at the end. I beat him on the race and he threw his mountain bike down the hill because he was so mad."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Belfour idolized, learned from Tretiak

TORONTO -- Ed Belfour could have picked Ken Dryden or Tony Esposito to be his hockey idol as a 7-year-old boy growing up in Carman, Man. But Belfour went the other way and picked Vladislav Tretiak, the enemy goalie in the epic 1972 Summit Series.

"There were a lot of Canadian kids that idolized Vladislav Tretiak from the Summit Series," Belfour said Monday. "It was so publicized."

For Belfour, though, Tretiak went from idol to coach to friend. Mike Keenan hired Tretiak to be the Chicago Blackhawks goalie coach in 1990, shortly after Belfour got to the Windy City.

Belfour said Tretiak didn't speak a word of English, but they quickly developed a repour that helped Belfour become a Hall of Fame goalie.

"We had an interpreter almost the whole first year and he would come on the ice with us, but for the most part Vladdy would come on the ice too, so he would show me what he wanted done," Belfour said. "He picked up on English very quickly. He did a great job with me and I'm always very appreciative and thankful."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:05 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Connections run deep among Hall of Fame inductees

TORONTO -- Joe Nieuwendyk’s NHL career spanned 20 seasons with five teams. He won the Stanley Cup three times in three cities.

One of those victories did not come in 2003-04, his lone season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. That doesn’t mean that year wasn’t a special one for him.

“Growing up about 40 minutes down the road in Whitby, it was probably the highlight of my career, and I say that with all sincerity,” said Nieuwendyk, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night. “Growing up a Leafs fan, Borje Salming and Lanny McDonald -- that’s why this weekend has been so special. Just to do it for one season was incredible.”

Nieuwendyk is one of four new members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and all four have played hockey for a team in this city. Three of them played for the Maple Leafs, while Mark Howe spent a season with the Toronto Marlboros of the then-called Ontario Hockey Association (the predecessor of the Ontario Hockey League).

Each of them had different experiences playing in this city, but they all look back on that time with fond memories.

“I loved playing here,” said Ed Belfour, who was with the Leafs for three seasons. “The focus of the hockey world is here in Toronto, and I loved being part of that. I love it when everybody knows the game and talks about the game and the passion that you could feel in this city. All those rivalries with Montreal and Ottawa, leading up to the games you could feel the electricity in the city and it was great to be apart of that.”

Belfour backstopped the Leafs from 2002-03 until 2005-06. He was here for Nieuwendyk’s one season, and he also was Doug Gilmour’s teammate ... for one game.

Gilmour was a fan favorite in Toronto for parts of six seasons in the 1990s, and remains incredibly popular here. He returned to the Leafs during the 2002-03 campaign, but injured his knee in his first game back and did not play again.

“This was my longest-standing team, and this is what I still call home,” Gilmour said. “My years in Toronto were just ... I can’t say enough about the management and the ownership and my teammates and the runs that we had. None of this was possible without them.

“The fans here have been great through my career. You play for them. It is amazing when you go out on the ice here, like we did on Saturday night, and part of your getting ready mentally is going out on the ice and seeing the fans and their reactions -- it really gets you motivated. Believe me, [Saturday] night was the closest we’re ever going to get to that again. It was just great and I say thank you to all of them for the support.”
Howe was 17 years old when he moved to Toronto for a season of junior hockey. His team that year was very successful (47-7-9) and included several future NHL players, including his brother Marty, Bob Dailey, Mike Palmateer and Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.

“I was here long before [the other three inductees],” Howe said. “I know Detroit is Hockeytown and I grew up in the States, but anybody, especially when you play pro, if you ever got to watch the morning skate at Maple Leaf Gardens or in the Montreal Forum, the tempo of the practice was just phenomenal. It was like game-pace tempo, and most coaches would have to cut practices short because you come into those building and there’s just so much energy and you’re so excited.

“I got to do that everyday with the Marlies. After a while, I got to work with the broom crew and I got to go down in the old boiler room and do my sticks. The Leafs were struggling at the time but the Marlies had a great year and we got a lot of great press. The people I boarded with, the Tanner family, were great people. If there’s a city that might compare to this is maybe Montreal for hockey history, but even to just be a part of it for one year was special.”

Nieuwendyk is connected to Gilmour and Belfour through previous NHL stops. He won the Cup with Gilmour in Calgary in 1989 and with Belfour in Dallas a decade later.

The Howe family will be in the spotlight Monday at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and for good reason. There will also be a special connection to the Maple Leafs and to this hockey-mad city.

Felix Potvin and I lived about 30 feet from the [Maple Leaf] Gardens, so we would just walk out and just walk into our apartment,” Gimour said. “It was just so electric down there and we saw it all the time. It is just something that you can’t replace.”

Added Nieuwendyk: “This is a fabulous honor to go in with the guys I’m going in with. I played against Mark and I can see why he was a loved teammate and a competitor. I have firsthand knowledge of the other two guys, and I couldn’t go in with a better class. It is a thrill.”
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 2:48 PM

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

Isles recall Neiderreiter from conditioning assignment

Nino Niederreiter, the No. 5 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, will make his season debut for the New York Islanders when they host the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

The 19-year-old native of Switzerland has 3 goals and 1 assists in 6 games at Bridgeport of the AHL this season. The winger spent two weeks with the Sound Tigers while on a conditioning stint after suffering a groin injury during training camp.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano said that Niederreiter was playing well enough in camp to make the team before the injury.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 2:43 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Retirement proved difficult for Nieuwendyk

TORONTO -- Joe Nieuwendyk admitted Monday that he struggled mentally immediately after he retired in December 2006.

"I really struggled for a year and a half after that," said Nieuwendyk, who had to end his career due to chronic back pain that didn't allow him to lace his skates on some mornings. "I think a lot of players go through that. I loved being around my teammates. I couldn't wait to get out of the house in the morning and go spend time with them before we even practiced. That was the hardest part."

But Nieuwendyk's post-playing career quickly began in Florida as a special consultant. He moved quickly up the ranks, becoming a special assistant to the GM in Toronto before moving into his current position of GM of the Dallas Stars prior to last season.

Those early days after retirement are forgotten now because Nieuwendyk again feels the competitiveness he felt as a player.

"Cliff Fletcher brought me to Toronto and obviously fast-tracked me to my position in Dallas," Nieuwendyk said. "I'm very thankful for that, and for me it is has been terrific because it's the closest thing to playing again. I still feel the competitive juices and I'm around the guys enough where I get a little bit of that again. It's been terrific."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl



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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 2:34 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Despite success, Boucher expects more from Bolts

WINNIPEG -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are on a 7-3-0 roll, but coach Guy Boucher is not easily impressed.

Saturday night's 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues left Boucher in an irritated mood on Sunday, so he kept his club off the ice for self-assessment. Tampa Bay's 3-5-2 road record and the Lightning's inability to respond until late in the game against the Blues frustrated Boucher.

"I think probably because it toned me down," Boucher replied when asked why the Lightning did not skate on Sunday. "I kind of protected the players, but it still came out today.

"We have high standards for ourselves," he continued. "Even though we're missing players, we still have the same standards and expectations, and it's important that we respect the process. We don't respect the process on the road and we have to understand."

Defenseman Victor Hedman has not played Tampa Bay's previous three games because of an upper-body injury. Boucher indicated that Hedman's status for tonight's game will be a game-time decision, but it is expected that he will play. Hedman's absence has been a significant blow for a blue line that has been without Mattias Ohlund all season.

The Lightning will also be without left wing Ryan Malone, who will miss his third game with an upper-body injury.

Here is the projected lineup for Tampa Bay tonight:

LIGHTNING
Nate Thompson - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Tom Pyatt - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Brett Connolly - Dominic Moore - Adam Hall
Ryan Shannon - Blair Jones - Steve Downie

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Pavel Kubina - Marc-Andre Bergeron
Brett Clark - Bruno Gervais

Dwayne Roloson will return to the net for the Lightning, with Mathieu Garon backing up.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 2:18 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Love of the game still there for Belfour, inductees

TORONTO -- When someone from the Hockey Hall of Fame called Ed Belfour to tell him he would be part of the Class of 2011, he didn’t answer because he was asleep.

Belfour was taking an afternoon nap, because he had a men's league game in Frisco, Texas, that night.

"I still wish I was playing. That is my release to get back into the game and still be involved," Belfour said. "I play sometimes two or three times a week in a men's league, and I play on two, three different teams. I really enjoy it and I love the game. It is a little different playing out because I don't have to warm up as much."

He doesn't play in net, but Belfour continues to play the sport he loves. Joe Nieuwenduyk also plays, but not quite as regularly as Belfour. Other Class of 2011 members Doug Gilmour and Mark Howe have not been playing hockey of late, but they were all on the ice Sunday at Air Canada Centre for the Legends of Hockey game.

Howe is a scout for the Detroit Red Wings, so he's in hockey rinks all the time. He just hadn't been skating in them.

"Very little because of my back," Howe said. "When we played yesterday and up until two weeks ago, I had not skated in five-and-a-years. My youngest son Nolan works out of a rink near Princeton, N.J., so I went over there and skated with him for three days just so I could hopefully get around the rink a little more.

"I wish I could skate more. I still have fun, but a lot of times it is the aches and the pains and when your feet and your legs start going numb on you, it is time to call it quits."

That said, Howe is going to pull on a sweater again soon. He played 10 seasons for the Philadelphia Flyers, and he will be on the ice against the New York Rangers in early January at Citizens Bank Park.

"I'm going to try and gut it out in the Winter Classic alumni game, and I'll pay for it dearly but I'm looking forward to it," Howe said. "I think the fun of that will overtake the pain and agony that I'm probably going to have for a month after."

Gilmour also hasn't played much hockey recently, but he is the general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League.

"That was my first game in two years, and believe me I could tell," Gilmour said.

Nieuwendyk is the GM of the Dallas Stars, and still plays every now and then with some of his former teammates and other former players from the organization.

"I do [play] -- we've kind of formed a little bit of an alumni out in Dallas now, which I think is important for the long-term growth of the game in Dallas," Nieuwendyk said. "Now we have Mike Modano coming back to us, which is going to be huge. We get together once in a while and lace 'em up and it is fun."

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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 2:06 PM

By Richard Milo -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Markov practices with Habs in step toward return

BROSSARD, Que. -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov took another step toward an eventual return from knee surgery when he practiced with his teammates for the first time Monday morning.

Markov did not speak to reporters afterwards, but his presence at the morning skate was a big lift for his Canadiens teammates.

"It was nice to see him on the ice," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "He's a big part of our team."

Markov spent 60 minutes on the ice with his teammates skating in a non-contact jersey. He spent another 20 minutes skating on his own with the Canadiens' assistant coaches.

"We haven't established a timeline for his return but it's encouraging to see him skating with the team," coach Jacques Martin said. "We'll see if he skates tomorrow."

However, as far as the Canadiens' game tonight against the Buffalo Sabres is concerned, an important member of the Montreal defense will be absent as Hal Gill was ruled out with an illness.

Rookie Alexei Emelin will take Gill's spot next to Raphael Diaz on what becomes an extremely young Canadiens defense. After veterans Jaroslav Spacek and Josh Gorges, the combined experience of the other four Canadiens defensemen -- Subban, Emelin, Diaz and Yannick Weber -- is only 184 games.

"We'll need to keep things simple and play well away from the puck," Martin said.

Aside from the loss of Gill, the Canadiens will make no lineup changes from the group that won 2-1 in overtime in Nashville on Saturday night, meaning Scott Gomez will remain on a wing on the fourth line with Petteri Nokelainen.


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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 1:56 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Looking for spark, Jets recall Jaffray, Kulda

WINNIPEG -- Subpar play on the ice means the Winnipeg Jets are beginning to shuffle their roster, starting with tonight's contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the MTS Centre.

The Jets are 0-3-2 in their past five games, their latest a 2-1 defeat coming on Saturday night at Columbus against the 30th-ranked Blue Jackets. That loss followed a 4-0 shutout by the Florida Panthers in Winnipeg last Thursday.

"We need a good game from a standpoint of work, discipline, details and energy," coach Claude Noel said.

In response to the recent poor play, the Jets recalled left wing Jason Jaffray from St. John's of the American League on Sunday. Jaffray had 7 goals and 12 points in 15 games with St. John's and recorded a hat trick with the IceCaps on Saturday night, earning himself the recall.

"He is a really solid AHL player who has really good character," said Noel, who had Jaffray as an AHL player last season. "He is a really sincere player. I don't want him to be more than what he is."

Jaffray's arrival has spelled the end of the Jets' top forward line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler that has combined for just six goals over the club's first 17 games.

"I'm just trying to get some things going," Noel said. "We're just trying to juggle around to jar some things. It's probably time."

The Jets also swapped young defenseman, re-assigning Paul Postma to the IceCaps and recalling Arturs Kulda.

Winnipeg enters a busy stretch back on home ice, where the Jets will play eight of their 11 next games. However, a difficult week looms with the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers following the Lightning.

Noel downplayed the recent buzz about Tampa Bay's 1-3-1 system, stressing the need to avoid carrying the puck and turning over the puck against the Lightning's quick counterstrike.

"It's just a different system," Noel said. "They do a good job."

Back on Oct. 29, the Jets assembled one of their finest performances this season, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"It should give us confidence," Noel said of that game. "It showed we can play well and play for 60 minutes."

Here is the projected lineup for Winnipeg tonight:

JETS
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Alexander Burmistrov - Bryan Little - Evander Kane
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Jason Jaffray - Tim Stapleton - Blake Wheeler

Mark Stuart - Dustin Byfuglien
Johnny Oduya - Zach Bogosian
Arturs Kulda - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets, with Chris Mason serving as backup.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 1:24 PM

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

Lucic maintains innocence in collision with Miller

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- In defending the actions of his player Monday after practice at Ristuccia Arena, Bruins coach Claude Julien not only spoke to Milan Lucic's intentions but also a past incident that should shed a little more light on what went on when Lucic and Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller collided Saturday night.

Lucic was scheduled to have a 1 p.m. phone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Monday.

"I saw the same thing [as Lucic explained]," Julien said. "It certainly wasn't our plan to run him over and for what it's worth, Looch has done the same thing to one of our coaches [assistant Geoff Ward] last year. He buries his head when he chases the puck, by the time he lifts it up, somebody's there. Last year was a coach, this year was Miller."

The Lucic-Miller collision occurred in the first period of the Bruins' 6-2 win against the Sabres after Lucic blocked a shot at the Boston blue line. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound forward lost the puck and was trying to catch up to it when the contact, which knocked Miller's mask off, happened.

"At first, I was skating as hard as I could after the puck and I looked up and he was still in his net. And when I looked down at the puck, I was continuing on and the next thing I look up and he's coming out full speed at me," Lucic said. "Obviously it was a hard collision and I did everything I could just to brace myself. Like he said, I have 50 pounds on him. So that's probably why he might've got the worst of it. Even if you look at the video, I was cringing after the play, too, because I was winded, because it was such a hard collision. He got a good piece of me as well and that's pretty much it."

Miller not only finished that period, but also played in the second. After the game Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said Miller had a sore neck, but Sunday the team revealed the goaltender was suffering from a concussion.

"If you look at it, I've looked at the hit 100 times because he said that he got a concussion. I've looked at it and his shoulder hit my chest, so there was no hit to his head," said Lucic. "His helmet came flying off, but his head didn’t hit the ice. Later on in that period, one of their guys lifted [Tyler Seguin's] stick and threw him into the net as well. So who knows what it was? But I mean it's obviously unfortunate that he got hurt on the play."

Lucic said he was surprised that Miller was able to continue in the game if his collision was the one that caused the concussion.

"With the new protocol and the concussion stuff, I know the last three NHLPA meetings that I've been part of, they've clarified about concussions and head injuries, the main thing that they talked about is there's no such thing as getting your bell rung or seeing stars anymore," said Lucic. "That's considered a concussion. And if you're in that position, you have to do whatever you can to take yourself out of play. And obviously, Ryan plays a big part in the NHLPA and what he does, and I respect him what he does there. That's pretty much it."

 After the game, Miller directed some expletive-filled comments toward Lucic through a brief media scrum. Lucic was taking a "sticks and stones" approach to those words.

"Obviously he felt like he needed to stick around and say what he said," said Lucic. "For me, (in) one ear and out the other, I just move on and focus on what I need to do to continue helping this team be successful."

Lucic is currently second on the Bruins with 14 points and 8 goals. His past discipline history includes a fine for a punch in a scrum last December and a one-game suspension for a hit after the whistle during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff series with Montreal.

Julien, who stressed that he didn't want to talk about any League decision that hadn't been made yet, still pointed out that there have been similar incidents in the past that didn't result in bans.

"You've seen it before. Guys run over goaltenders," said the coach. "At one point, [Carey] Price [had that happen] in Montreal, stuff like that. You’ve seen collisions. [Montreal's] Brian Gionta on Toronto's goaltender [James Reimer], he's not that far out but he's out of his crease and he's coming across.

"I mean there shouldn't be game plans to run goaltenders over. I'm all for that. To say you put traffic in front of him is one thing. To run him over, I disagree with that. So again, it just kind of reinforces that it certainly wasn't meant to happen that way."
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