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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:02 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Blues pull one over on Polak

ST. LOUIS -- Apparently, Blues defenseman Roman Polak has to polish up on his baseball knowledge.

When St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter came into the locker room Thursday and introduced himself, Polak didn't know who he was and thought the Blues were working in a new player.

Fellow defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo made it known, and Polak was given a chance for a rebuttal.

"I told him not to tell anybody," Polak joked. "I thought we got a new player. He said, 'Hey I'm Chris.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm Roman what's up.' ... I didn't know. I probably should, but I'm not into baseball."

Tonight's game will feature honors for the World Series champions. Manager Tony La Russa, along with Carpenter and third baseman David Freese, will be on hand. La Russa will drop the ceremonial first puck.

There will be highlights of the World Series as well as other Cardinals-themed items throughout the night.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:00 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Canucks

Tonight's probable lineups for the Blues and Canucks, who will meet for the second time this season after St. Louis won 3-0 on Oct. 26 in Vancouver:

BLUES

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

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Taylor Chorney - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott will start in goal after blanking the Canucks last week with a 34-save effort. Jaroslav Halak, 1-5 with a 3.58 goals-against average and .843 save percentage, will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include defenseman Nikita Nikitin and winger Chris Porter. Defenseman Kent Huskins has a bone bruise on his left ankle and will not play. David Perron (post-concussion syndrome), Andy McDonald (concussion) and B.J. Crombeen (fractured shoulder) are on injured reserve.

CANUCKS
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
David Booth - Ryan Kesler - Cody Hodgson
Christopher Higgins - Manny Malhotra - Jannik Hansen
Aaron Volpatti - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Alexander Sulzer

Roberto Luongo gets the start. Cory Schneider will be the backup.

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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 1:32 PM

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

Tortorella: Rupp will require arthroscopic surgery

Rangers coach John Tortorella told reporters Friday that forward Mike Rupp will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee next week. A timetable for Rupp's return will be determined after the surgery.

Tortorella also said that Wojtek Wolski, who re-injured his groin in Thursday's 2-1 shootout win over Anaheim, is expected to have an MRI and is definitely out for Saturday's game against Montreal. That means Sean Avery will make his season debut with the Rangers after clearing re-entry waiveres and getting recalled earlier in the week.

Backup goalie Martin Biron missed practice due to a death in the family, but will be back for Saturday's game. Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start against the Canadiens.

Tortorella said there was no further update on the status of Marc Staal (post-concussion symptoms). He reportedly used the word "indefinite" when asked about Staal's health status.

The Rangers could make a subsequent move to replace Wolski on the roster should he be out for an extended period, but they've done nothing as of yet. They also haven't officially announced the signing of defenseman Anton Stralman, who reportedly agreed to a one-year, $900,000 contract on Thursday.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 1:22 PM

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

Kovalchuk's status remains uncertain for Saturday

The Devils still don't know the extent of Ilya Kovalchuk's lower-body injury or if he'll be able to play Saturday at home against Winnipeg.

"We're going to evaluate him today and get a report tonight and probably, it'll be more, see how he feels tomorrow morning," Devils coach Pete DeBoer told the reporters in attendance at the Devils optional practice Friday.

Kovalchuk left Thursday's game in Philadelphia late in the third period. He told reporters he thought it was a muscle pull. Kovalchuk did not return for overtime and did not participate in the shootout, though he said he did think about it.

"I tried and it wasn't good at all," Kovalchuk said.

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur confirmed that he will start Saturday against the Jets. Brodeur admitted he felt some soreness in his right shoulder following Wednesday's 5-3 loss to Toronto (his first game since suffering the injury three weeks earlier), but it went away and he felt fine during pre-game warm-ups in Philadelphia.

Johan Hedberg did not practice for the Devils after complaining of back pain following his 4-3 shootout victory Thursday. And defenseman Andy Greene, who sat out Thursday's game with a lower-body injury, will participate in the morning skate Saturday. He'll be re-evaluated afterward.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avalanche, Stars

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

AVALANCHE
Matt Duchene - Paul Stastny - Milan Hejduk
Joakim Lindstrom - TJ Galiardi - David Jones
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Daniel Winnik
Cody McLeod - Jay McClement - Kevin Porter

Kyle Quincey - Shane O'Brien
Erik Johnson - Ryan Wilson
Ryan O'Byrne - Jan Hejda

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Adam Buish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krystofer Barch - Jake Dowell - Toby Petersen

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft


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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:39 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Boudreau: Ovi 'benching' got too much attention

Now that a few days have passed since Washington coach Bruce Boudreau sat Alex Ovechkin in the final moments of a game Tuesday night against Anaheim, the coach said Friday morning the story didn't deserve the attention it received.

"There was no football, there was no basketball, there was nothing else going on," Boudreau said after the Capitals' morning skate in Raleigh. "So they made a big deal out of nothing."

The Capitals were trailing by a goal with 1:27 left in regulation when Boudreau called a timeout. He didn’t put Ovechkin on the ice then, nor did he do so with 1:02 left when there was another stoppage in play and he pulled goaltender Tomas Vokoun for an extra attacker. Nicklas Backstrom wound up scoring the game-tying goal with 42 seconds left, as well as the winner in overtime.

"It's all about accountability, but it was way overblown," said Boudreau. "[Ovechkin] wasn't benched or anything; he just wasn't chosen to go out the last minute. I've done it many different times with many different players. You have a hunch and you go with it. I just thought the other guys were going to score."

WASHINGTON

Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTroy Brouwer
Cody EakinMarcus JohanssonAlexander Semin
Jason ChimeraBrooks LaichJoel Ward
Mathieu PerreaultMatt HendricksMike Knuble

Roman HamrlikDennis Wideman
John ErskineJohn Carlson
Jeff SchultzKarl Alzner

Michal Neuvirth

CAROLINA

Jiri TlustyEric StaalChad LaRose
Jeff SkinnerTuomo RuutuAnthony Stewart
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Brandon SutterPatrick Dwyer
Drayson BowmanTim BrentZach Boychuk

Joni PitkanenJamie McBain
Tim GleasonBryan Allen
Jay HarrisonTomas Kaberle

Cam Ward
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:26 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Lightning, Blackhawks

These are how the lineups could look when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum:

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

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Matt Gilroy

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon

BLACKHAWKS

Patrick Sharp - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Andrew Brunette
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Daniel Carcillo - Marcus Kruger - Jamal Mayers

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook
Sean O'Donnell - Nick Leddy
Sami Lepisto - Steve Montador

Ray Emery
Corey Crawford
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:22 PM

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

Projected lineups for Senators, Canadiens

Here are the projected lineups for Friday’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place:

SENATORS
Milan MichalekJason SpezzaColin Greening
Nick FolignoStephane Da CostaBobby Butler
Kaspars DaugavinsZack SmithChris Neil
Nikita FilatovJesse WinchesterErik Condra

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsBrian Lee

Craig Anderson will get the start, with Alex Auld serving as backup.

Daugavins was recalled from Binghamton today. Lee returns to the lineup, with Zenon Konopka and David Rundblad sitting as the healthy scratches.

CANADIENS
Max PaciorettyTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta
Mike CammalleriDavid DesharnaisErik Cole
Travis MoenLars EllerAndrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu DarchePetteri NokelainenMike Blunden

Josh GorgesP.K. Subban
Hal GillRaphael Diaz
Jaroslav SpacekYannick Weber

Carey Price will get the start, with Peter Budaj backing him up.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 11:21 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

A few more OHL players to watch

There are certainly more than seven players NHL scouts are keeping an eye on from the OHL for the 2012 NHL Draft. NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, who specializes in OHL prospects, and Central Scouting goaltending guru Al Jensen have been keeping close tabs on a few other top prospects.

Dylan Blujus, D, Brampton -- In his second OHL season, the 6-2.75, 193-pound blueliner is developing into a star.

After totaling 26 points and a minus-14 rating in 67 games this season, Blujus has 10 points in his first 15 games, and is a plus-9.

"He's getting better every time I see him," said Edwards. "He's a real solid guy, and every viewing I've had he's gotten better. He's starting to show real good decision-making and puck movement. … His playmaking is good, his play in his own end. He's being used in a top-two role with Brampton, on the power-play and penalty-killing units."

Edwards also has been impressed not just by Blujus' shot, but his accuracy with it.

"He's got a real good shot and it hits the net," said Edwards. "He's getting it on net, making the goalie make a save," unlike another player he recently watched, who he said, "took eight shots and missed the net on all eight."

Trevor Carrick, D, Mississauga St. Michael's -- He hasn't produced much offensively yet, but the 6-1.5, 172-pound blueliner is earning attention for his smart play on the ice.

"He's a very poised guy," said Edwards. "He's got good mobility, and he picks it apart on the back end with good outlet passes. At times you look at him and he might be high-risk, but he makes it work. He's a real smart, heady type of defenseman."

Edwards said in the games he's seen Carrick play, it's been a slow build to his game.

"Early in the game he's on the third defense pair, in the first period he takes a regular shift," said Edwards, "but by the end of the night he's logging all the ice and playing against the other team's top line. He's a really reliable guy. Not many mistakes."

Michael Clarke, C, Windsor -- The 5-11.25, 184-pound center is tied for the lead among all first-year OHL players with 8 goals, but it's his work ethic that has impressed scouts.

"He's going to get his goals by going to the net and knocking in rebounds," said Edwards. "I'm not sure you'll see him go end-to-end and dangle people. He's going to get his points in setting up plays, scoring dirty goals, ugly goals."

Edwards said Clarke reminds him of a top player from last year's draft, Blue Jackets second-round pick Boone Jenner.

"He'll do anything you have to do to win," said Edwards. "He's great in the faceoff circle, he's a great competitor, he'll block shots. He's used in all situations, he's on the second line, killing penalties. He might be a little better skater than Jenner was. … This guy is a competitor. So far from what I've seen, he might be best competitor in the draft."

Brendan Gaunce, C, Belleville -- The hard-working forward is scoring at a near point-per-game clip this season and is showing improved skill in the offensive zone.

But like Clarke, it's Gaunce's work ethic that is earning positive reviews from scouts.

"He's a hard-working, up-and-down guy," said Edwards. "On the power play he really handled it well, creating good scoring chances. Five-on-five he's also solid. He'll get involved and win battles for pucks. He's tough. He'll separate guys from the puck and knock people down. To go along with his good skill set, he can be a pretty dangerous player."

Matthew Murray, G, Sault Ste. Marie -- The 6-4 netminder is tied for third in the OHL with nine wins, to go with a 3.29 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.

Jensen told NHL.com what impresses him most is Murray's technical skill.

"He's got that NHL presence of a goalie," said Jensen. "He just looks like a goalie in there. He's big, his net coverage is very good, he's very controlled in the net. He plays the bulk of the games and is very consistent. His technical part of the game is very good. He's very controlled in his movements. He gives himself a chance to stop the puck because he's always in the proper position. He doesn't have to come all the way out all the time. He plays mostly in the paint because he covers all the holes."

Jake Paterson, G, Saginaw -- Jensen said the three times he's seen Patterson in action, "all three were 'A' games."

The numbers the 6-1.5, 183-pound goalie has posted so far -- 5-6-0, 3.95 GAA, .893 save percentage -- don't look all that great, but Saginaw is ninth in the 10-team Western Conference and has allowed the second-most goals in the league.

"He's got a great feel for the game," said Jensen. "He challenges when he has to, he battles, he's quick, he's strong, he's smart. … He's given his team a chance to win every night.

"I like his size in there. He's got great quickness and a great glove hand. He moves very well technically. He really reads the play well."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:01 AM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PIT @ SJ - 9:37 of the Second Period

At 9:37 of the second period in the Penguins/Sharks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck went off Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin's shin and into the net but that he did not kick it.  According to rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good goal Pittsburgh.

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players