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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 11:50 AM

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

Niederreiter's back, but will he play?

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Nino Niederreiter's two-week conditioning stint with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers is over -- he scored goals in each of his last three games. The New York Islanders' top pick in the 2010 NHL Draft is back on Long Island, but coach Jack Capuano won't commit to playing him in Tuesday night's game against the New York Rangers.

In fact, Capuano wouldn't commit to what his lines would look like when his team takes the ice tonight, other than that Evgeni Nabokov will make his second straight start in goal, with Al Montoya as his backup.

"I think that he can bring an element of size and physicality to our lineup," Capuano said of the 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward, who looked good in training camp before suffering a groin injury. "What I'd like to see him do is like all the other guys -- play within the team structure but play loose and enjoy yourself."

There hasn't been much to enjoy on the Island lately. The Islanders are mired in a 1-6-3 slump that began after a 4-2 victory against the Rangers at the Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 15. That includes an 0-2-1 road trip that ended with a 4-1 loss at Vancouver on Sunday night.

"Some guys are squeezing their sticks right now," Capuano said. "As bad as the last couple of weeks (have been), we've had some chances; we’re just not scoring."

As for what he's looking for from Niederreiter, whether it's tonight or later in the week?

"I want him to play like he played at Bridgeport," Capuano said. "He worked hard and got himself back to where he needed to be.

"Obviously he's had some success in junior hockey; he scored some big goals. For us -- top nine, with some power-play time. He's got quick hands for a big guy. Hopefully we'll get some pucks to the net, he'll get to the net and good things will happen."

Niederreiter spent nine games with the Islanders last season before being returned to Portland of the Western Hockey League. The Islanders could send him back again, but he wants to make the kind of impression that will keep him on Long Island for good.

"I'm excited to be back here," he said. "If I get the chance tonight, hopefully I can score.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can every night to show (GM) Garth (Snow) that I can stay here and he can't send me down. This is definitely where I want to be."

 
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 10:45 AM

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

Sullivan, Kennedy skating with Pens

When the Pittsburgh Penguins came out for the morning skate today at Consol Energy Center, injured forwards Steve Sullivan and Tyler Kennedy were with them.

Coach Dan Bylsma had told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Sullivan (lower body) and Kennedy would take part in the morning skate, and would play if they felt up to it. Otherwise, Dustin Jeffrey, recalled from a conditioning assignment with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, would re-enter the lineup.

Sidney Crosby is on the ice, but won't play tonight. Also skating today is forward Eric Tangradi.

Here is what the lines looked like, according to the Penguins' website:

Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Richard Park - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 10:10 AM

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

Pens' Jeffrey recalled from AHL conditioning stint

With Steve Sullivan (lower-body injury) and Tyler Kennedy (concussion) game-time decisions, the Pittsburgh Penguins today have recalled forward Dustin Jeffrey from a conditioning assignment with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scratnon.

Jeffrey is scoreless in six games this season, but he still might be dealing with the effects of March surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee.

Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the conditioning assignment was not performance based; rather, it's because Jeffrey needed to get into game situations that weren't available when the Penguins were a fully healthy team.

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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 9:08 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Gilmour honors Burns during speech

TORONTO -- Tie Domi, who narrated the video celebrating Doug Gilmour, said he was a player who "wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't have made it." Yet here Gilmour was, standing at the podium and ready to deliver his Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech.

Gilmour began by talking about how he played for a lot of teams, so he couldn't thank everyone, but he thanked the owners, the trainers who "put us back together again" and the fans who provided inspiration, the coaches who "were willing put up with all my practical jokes, because I needed that."

Among the people Gilmour did single out included Don Cherry, "a little biased, I know" he said, and Cliff Fletcher, who traded for him in both Calgary and St. Louis.

Gilmour thanked his family, especially his mother, for letting him continue to follow his dream of playing hockey despite being the youngest child. He thanked his teammates, who he said none of this would have been possible.

He finished up by thanking Pat Burns, who was Gilmour's coach in Toronto. Gilmour said earlier in the day he worried about getting emotional during his speech, and it was mentioning Burns that caused him to do so.

"We all miss him," Gilmour said. "The League misses him. More importantly, we think he'll be here [in the Hockey Hall of Fame] one day."

With that, the ceremony to celebrate the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2011 was complete.

Thanks for following along.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 9:03 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Nieuwendyk earns his rightful place in Hall

TORONTO -- Joe Nieuwendyk was eligible for the Hall of Fame last year. He didn't make it, but it doesn't matter anymore.

Nieuwendyk, the great two-sport athlete from Whitby, Ont., is now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hey, the guy did score over 500 goals, register over 1,200 points and win the Stanley Cup in three different decades with three different teams.

Oh, and he was also a heck of a lacrosse player.

Nieuwendyk started his speech by adjusting the microphones. He talked about being blessed in his life because he has so many wonderful people who are responsible for him getting into the hall of fame.

"It simply has been humbling," Nieuwendyk said.

Nieuwendyk rehashed the crossing emotions he was having after receiving his call from the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee in June.

"I was packing to go on a trip to Calgary to pay my last respects to the most caring and kind man I ever had the privilege of meeting in hockey, Harley Hotchkiss," he said. "As I was flying out there I had time to reflect on my own life and all that was important. After seeing so many familiar faces and Harley's wonderful family, it made me realized that tonight is all about friends and teammates."

He thanked his parents, Gord and the late Joanne, who made sacrifices for their four kids -- Rick, Gil, Wendy and Joe.

Joanne died of cancer in 1996, but her passion stays inside of Nieuwendyk. He recalled the time after the Flames won the Cup in Montreal in 1989, when after the game Joanne grabbed Joe's hockey stick and started directly traffic in the streets so the team bus could get through.

"Mom was the nurturer and No. 1 supporter. She was always the hockey mom that led the cheers. I miss her everyday and I know she's proud tonight."

Nieuwendyk had a lot to say about his best friend and former teammate, Gary Roberts, who he grew up with in Whitby, Ont. They played against one another when they were five years old and eventually became teammates.

"When I played my first game with the Flames, Gary was by his side. Twenty years later when I laced 'em up for the final time as a Florida Panther, he was again by my side. He truly is a remarkable person and a terrific friend. I always knew throughout my career that he had my back. He always knew I had his back, too, unless Marty McSorley was chasing him around the ice. In those cases he was on his own."

Nieuwendyk said that he called his parents every night for a month after he went to Cornell because he wanted to come home. He was happy that they made him stick it out in Ithaca, N.Y.

"My dad told me to stick with it and I'm glad that he did because it was there I had an experience that far exceeded anything I could have imagined. Those truly were some of the best years of my life."

After Nieuwendyk played his final game at Cornell, he was with his teamamtes scrounging for money so they could get a pizza. The next night he was in New York City going out to dinner with Lanny McDonald as a member of the Calgary Flames.

"I truly learned what the term, 'Kid, you're in for the full share' meant," he said. "My life in the National Hockey League started."

Nieuwendyk talked at length about Cliff Fletcher, the GM in Calgary who drafted him and then served as his mentor when he decided to start a managerial career.

He thanked McDonald for being his teammate and friend.

"The greatest lesson I received winning the Cup at the age of 22 was to see what it meant to you and some of our wonderful veteran players," he said to McDonald during the speech.

Nieuwendyk thanked Bob Gainey and Tom Hicks for bringing him to Dallas "at a stage of my career where I was asked to provide some of that guidance."

He went on to thank the Devils and Lou Lamoriello, the Maple Leafs for fulfilling his childhood dream of wearing the blue and white, and the Florida Panthers.

"I thank you all for the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the greatest game in the world," he said.

Nieuwendyk then talked about his family, including his wife Tina, who he called "the backbone of our family." He had this to say to his three children: "You all have big dreams. Work hard and follow your dreams, and know that your mom and dad will be there every step of the way to support you just like my mom and dad were."

He nearly broke into tears. Nieuwendyk also had this to say for his son, Jackson.

"My children didn't have an opportunity to see their dad play too much, but this is special to me because hopefully I'll gain some credibility with my son and he'll listen to me when I tell him how to win a faceoff."

Finally, Nieuwendyk closed an emotional speech with this:

"Many people are responsible for me being here tonight. Two things I have realized -- One, five minutes is not enough time to properly thank all of you. And, second, there are simply no words to express how grateful I am to have each and every one of you in my life. Thank you."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Bettman congratulates new inductees

TORONTO -- Commissioner Gary Bettman went to the podium and talked about being the greatness of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"In a time when so much of our daily life is consumed by temporary bursts of information, with stories and rumors told in the span of 140 characters, it is still refreshing to be in this Hall, which is a haven from the mundane, from the exploitive," Bettman said. "The Hall's very foundation is lasting, permanent and eternal. The Hall is enduring, it is real and it is authentic. Most of all, it is meaningful."

Bettman said the Hall represents a generation of fans who have cheered these four inductees, along with future generations who will cheer future greats. He said this night is about a proud father, himself a Hall of Fame member, who gets to see his son inducted.

He also congratulated Joe Nieuwendyk, and said he was "a little biased on this one" when congratulating a fellow Cornell alum and, pun intended, a Star(s) general manager. Bettman also congratulated Doug Gilmour, who he said is "almost God-like" here in Toronto.

Bettman finished by saying, "the name Ed Belfour is synonymous with playing the game at the highest level of emotion and intensity." He also congratulated media honorees Terry Jones and Mickey Redmond.

"The Hall is enriched by the presence of all of you," Bettman said.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:32 PM

NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Redmond, Jones also honored

TORONTO -- Mickey Redmond and Terry Jones were rightfully honored at the induction ceremony. Both became honored members of the Hall of Fame earlier Monday at a luncheon.

Redmond received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for exemplary broadcasting and Jones received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for bringing honor to journalism and to hockey.

Jones told the crowd at the luncheon that for years he has had the best gig in the country. He has worked in Edmonton for years.

Redmond has been a broadcaster ever since finishing his playing days in 1976. He worked for CBC and has been on Red Wings broadcasts for years.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:29 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Belfour poignant, emotional during brief speech

TORONTO -- Ed Belfour won the Vezina trophy twice, the Stanley Cup in 1999 and a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He added "Member, Hockey Hall of Fame" to his impressive hockey resume Monday night.

TSN's James Duthie introduced Belfour and called him a "man of few words," but that his play on the ice was more important than words. During a video commemorating Belfour's career, narrated by former teammate Jeremy Roenick, he called Belfour one of the most intense players he's ever played with or against.

Belfour began his speech by thanking his mentor from his early days in Chicago, Vladislav Tretiak, for being here and traveling from Moscow to be here. He also thanked former teammate Chris Chelios for being here as well.

Tretiak was Belfour's goaltending coach when his NHL career began in Chicago, and Belfour talked earlier today about how the Russian legend was one of his idols growing up ... and how Tretiak didn't speak English when he first became the Blackhawks goalie coach. Roenick mentioned in the video introduction that Belfour wore No. 30 early in his career, but switched to No. 20 as a tribute to Tretiak.

He thanked fans for the "Ed-die, Ed-die" chants, saying they gave him inspiration every time he played. Belfour also thanked his family.

True to Duthie's introduction, Belfour was again a man of few words, but these were poignant and emotional.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Mark Howe delivers heartwarming speech

TORONTO -- For years he has been known as Gordie's son, Mark. Can we please now refer to him Mark Howe, Gordie's son.

Mark Howe has lived his entire life in the shadow of his famous father, but now that they share a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it's time that Mark gets his just due for being a legend just like his old man.

Howe, a finalist for the Norris Trophy three times in the 1980s, was the first of the four inductees to get enshrined into the Hall tonight.

Howe, dressed to the nines in a tuxedo with a sharp looking bow-tie and vest combination, held his plaque up with Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Bill Hay and then strode to the podium. He put on his dark-rimmed glasses, pulled out his speech and started to read.

Howe told NHL.com on Sunday that normally when he gives a speech or talks in public, he doesn't read, he just talks from the heart. Tonight he wanted to read just to make sure he didn't forget anything.

Howe opened his speech with a message to the hockey world about the victims of the tragic Lokomotiv plane crash in September, in which he lost his dear friend and former defense partner, Brad McCrimmon.

"I hope the victims of this terrible tragedy receive full compensation for their losses, which is not the case at this time," Howe said. "I find this morally upsetting. The families have lost their loved ones, they do not have to suffer financially as well. The hockey world should do all it can to make it right."

Mark then recognized Maureen McCrimmon, Brad's widow, who was in the crowd.
"It makes my evening complete," he said.

After thanking several people that had an influence on his career, his development as a hockey player and his overall life, he talked about going to Philadelphia in 1982.

"From the beginning it was as if I was born to be a Flyer," he said. "Although I wanted to slash him a few times, I want to thank Mike Keenan for helping me to raise my bar."

He also mentioned some of his old teamamtes, including McCrimmon, Glen Cochrane and Kjell Samuelsson.
"The orange and black will be a part of me forever," he said.

He then moved on to thanking the Illitch family and Jim Devellano for bringing him to Detroit to fulfill a dream of playing for his dad's old team.

Mark then had a touching moment when he thanked his ex-wife, Ginger.

"Although I have been separated for a number of years now, I would be remised not to thank Ginger for bringing the three kids into his world and the commitment she made to them as a mother."

He moved on to his siblings, Kathy, Murray and Marty. He had some extra special words for Marty.
"Marty is so much a part of this evening. You looked out for me, protected me. You're my big brother and my best friend."

Mark talked about his three kids and said he knows how they feel tonight "because I watched my father be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. The three of you are the most important people in my life. I am so proud to be your father. I love you all very, very much."

He talked about his mother, the late Colleen Howe, and said how he wished she could be here tonight. He thanked her for everything, including teaching him how to be the son of Gordie Howe.

"I guess there is one person left to thank in this building," he then said, referring to his dad. "I'm not going to thank you for being my linemate for six years and I'm not going to thank you for elbowing the guy who may have taken a dirty shot at me. I'm not going to thank you for being the greatest hockey player ever. I want to thank you for being the husband, father and grandfather you are. You are the role model that led my life. I'm so proud to call you my dad."

Mark told a story that after he retired Gordie said he wished just for one game he would have worn his No. 9 Red Wings jersey. He never got the chance in a game, but he honored that request tonight, pulling the red No. 9 sweater over his tuxedo with pride.

"Dad, I love you," he said. "Thank you."

Howe exited the stage. Next up is Ed Belfour.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 7:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Festivities are under way

TORONTO -- The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony has begun.

We are stationed down below the area in Brookfield Place, where the ceremony is taking place. Our location is actually a restaurant called Piazza Manna. We have the broadcast on TSN2 coming into the restaurant and the media is being well fed as well.

The red carpet event was again a success as several honored members of the Hall of Fame as well as numerous other luminaries in the hockey world walked through the gauntlet of media.

Among the honored members that walked were Bob Gainey, Bill Barber, Johnny Bower, Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, Cliff Fletcher, Bernie Federko, Jim Gregory, Igor Larionov, Ted Lindsay, Lanny McDonald, Borje Salming, Steve Shutt, Ray Scapinello, Ed Snider, Vladislav Tretiak, Bryan Trottier and Brian Kilrea.

Among the special guests that walked the carpet were Gary Bettman, Brendan Shanahan, Donald Fehr, Pat Quinn, Gary Roberts, David Poile, Ray Shero, Ken Holland, Mike and Marian Ilitch, Paul Holmgren and Mike Richter.

Shero told a great story to NHL.com about how he played against Joe Nieuwendyk in college when he was a senior at St. Lawrence and Nieuwendyk was a freshman at Cornell.

"It's hard to believe he didn't remember me," Shero said laughing. "But, I remembered him and how good he was, how strong he was as a freshman in college. To see where he is now in the Hall of Fame is just amazing."

After TSN's James Duthie welcomed everybody to the induction ceremony, Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Bill Hay gave some opening remarks. We're in a commercial break now, but Mark Howe will be the first up for induction when the show returns.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh