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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 7:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Live Blog: at CHL Top Prospects Game

Athanasiou has big move in store for skills competition

KELOWNA, B.C. -- Will London Knights wing Andreas Athanasiou be able to pull off the ridiculous move he has up his sleeve at the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Skill competition on Tuesday here at Prospera Place.

If he does, it could turn out to be even more spectacular than last year's lacrosse-style scoop and wicked backhand off a spin-o-rama by Detroit Red Wings prospect Tomas Jurco.

"I remember watching that move last year by Jurco … it was pretty amazing," Athanasiou told

While the 6-foot-1, 174-pound native of Woodbridge, Ont., would not reveal the exact move he had prepared for the scouts and fans in attendance, he was certain that if he's able to execute, it will be something special.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 6:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Live Blog: at CHL Top Prospects Game

Grigorenko feeling good

KELOWNA, B.C. -- Quebec Remparts star forward Mikhail Grigorenko said he's not quite 100-percent healed from the ankle injury he suffered last month during the World Junior Championship, but he's still here for the 2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

"Not 100 percent, maybe 80 percent, probably," he told "It's going the right direction, feeling good now."

Grigorenko injured his left ankle during Russia's preliminary-round game against Latvia, when he collided with Latvia defenseman Artus Salija.

"It was a bad first pass from my (defenseman) and I didn't see the guy who hit me," Grigorenko told "I saw him at like the last moment. I just went out from him and he pushed me and my leg was twisted."

Grigorenko missed one game, but played the rest of the way in helping Russia win the silver medal. He finished with 2 goals and 3 assists in six games, but felt he wasn't able to showcase his full skill set.

"I think I played well without the puck," he said. "I didn't want to score a goal or do something with the puck, just tried to play for my team, just stay in my zone and help my (defense). I think I did really well."

He has 3 goals and 3 assists in five games since returning from the injury. For the season, he has 28 goals and 36 assists in 41 games. He's tied for ninth in the QMJHL in scoring with 64 points, and he leads all first-year QMJHL players in goals, assists and points.

At No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft, Grigorenko is the top-rated skater taking part in tomorrow's Top Prospects Game (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet). He'll play for Team Orr, which will be coached by Pat Quinn.

He'll be taking part in the accuracy shooting competition tonight as part of the skills contest.

"I've never tried it," he said. "I hope I will be good at this. Yesterday I tried to shoot the puck and I missed the net."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 6:06 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Morrison faces old team in debut with Hawks

VANCOUVER -- One of the first things Brendan Morrison did after getting traded from Calgary to Chicago was buy his wife and four kids some Blackhawks apparel. The next step may be warning them not to wear it this summer, when he typically returns to his hometown just outside of Vancouver.

"They're safe, they're in Calgary," Morrison said of having his family wear Hawks' attire. "We'll just have to hide it in the summertime."

As Morrison prepared to make his first start with his new teammates Tuesday night, he didn't need any history lessons on their long and often bitter rivalry against his old Canucks team. After three straight playoff meetings, the mutual dislike is well documented.

"Nothing like getting thrown into the fire first game," joked Morrison, who started his NHL career in New Jersey but established himself in the League during eight seasons with the Canucks.

Chicago is Morrison's fifth team in less than four seasons since leaving Vancouver, but he still comes home in the summer and is familiar with the rivalry against the Blackhawks. Most are.

"I don't think it takes anybody long to figure out the history between these two teams," said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who will return to the lineup after missing a game and a half with a wrist injury. "Now he's on our side, so he's got to get his priorities right."

The rivalry started three seasons ago with a line brawl and grew when they met in the playoffs soon after. It's continued to grow through two more post-season meetings, with the Canucks finally winning in the opening round last season - in overtime of Game 7 after blowing a 3-0 series lead -- after dropping second-round series in each of the two preceding years.

If the Vancouver's nasty Stanley Cup Final series against Boston last year created a new, equally bitter rival for the Canucks, it felt very familiar to Toews.

"It just seems to get worse every year," he said. "Watching that seven-game series, you see a lot of things that went on between Boston and Vancouver that happened between our two teams as well."

Things were slightly tamer during the first two meetings between the Canucks and Blackhawks this season - Vancouver won the first 6-2 in Chicago on Nov. 6 and the Hawks returned the favor 5-1 here 10 days later.

"Not every game is going to be line brawls and physical," cautioned Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa. "But it usually doesn't matter what time of the year it is, they are playoff-type games and physical and emotional and always fun to play in."

Of course, both games this season were played before checking center Dave Bolland went on a Chicago radio station and - with some prompting from the hosts and a live audience - called the Canucks' identical twin forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin "sisters," joking they would never be Blackhawks and slept in bunk beds.

Canucks' coach Alain Vigneault responded by mocking Bolland's IQ and looks. Neither side wanted to talk much about it before Tuesday's game, though Vigneault explained his reaction a day earlier.

"Any time you attack two players with the class that Henrik and Daniel have and what they do not just for the game, but for outside the game, it's crossing the line," he said. "That said, we've moved on."

Whether it adds to the rivalry on the ice, Vigneault wondered how it "could be more intense than it already is." Toews wasn't as sure, but at least hoped it would bring the best out of Bolland, who has long owned the Sedin line. As if playing the Canucks isn't enough.

"We'll find out I guess," Toews said. "There's always some stuff going on back and forth in the media and that's nothing new. We all know Bolly is one of those guys that likes to get under his opponent's skin, especially this team so I'm sure we'll see his best game tonight."

As for Morrison, he has no problems with the ever-changing rivalries that come in switching teams. His last season ended prematurely with a serious knee injury suffered against the Blackhawks, and Morrison was upset after being mocked by the Chicago bench. But all is forgotten now.

"To me it's a done deal, it's over with," said Morrison, who has played just 28 games this season because of his recovery from the ACL surgery that followed. "The one guy that I made eye contact with when something was said is not here, so there's no issues."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 4:36 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Still no Clowe for Sharks, but return could be soon

SAN JOSE -- Sharks forward Ryane Clowe skated for the second straight day Tuesday morning, but he'll miss his sixth straight game tonight when San Jose faces Columbus at HP Pavilion as he continues to recover from a facial fracture.

Clowe was hurt Jan. 10 at Minnesota when he went face-first into the glass. He played the next three games -- the first two while wearing a protective cage -- but not since then, and remains on injured reserve.

"I feel good," Clowe said after practice. "Obviously back on the ice yesterday and today, doing everything pretty normal and feeling good. I think I'll be back this week."

Clowe said he wants to make sure his fracture has healed to the point where it can withstand a blow when he returns.

"I guess the biggest worry is just getting hit there again," Clowe said. "I don't want to keep wearing a cage when I come back. I want to make sure if I do get hit there, if something happened and I get in a fight and get punched there, I'm not out another few weeks. The time's up to where it should be healed now."

Clowe said he never took a baseline concussion test after being injured in Minnesota because he never felt any concussion symptoms.

"My nose was bleeding, but I didn't feel anything like that," Clowe said. "As far as my head and all that, I felt good. No issues with that. We flew after the game, and I was fine."

After facing Columbus, the Sharks next game is Thursday at home against Dallas. Although Clowe said he hopes he's good to go against the Stars, there's no guarantee at this point.

"If he was completely comfortable and good we'd play him tonight," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He's that important to our team. The sooner the better, but the other thing we have to consider is not only the injury but the fact he hasn't skated in a while. We want to make sure that when he does go in he's ready to play and play the way he can."

The Sharks are also missing top-six forward Martin Havlat, who will miss his 18th straight game Tuesday night. Havlat is recovering from surgery to repair a partially torn hamstring tendon, but McLellan said he’s making good progress.

"When I came back from the All-Star break and walked in and he met me in the hallway, he looked really good," McLellan said. "That was the best I've seen him look. No crutches, no limp, walking very good. I think from this point forward it's about getting it strengthened up and conditioning now. I can't pinpoint a day for you, but the sooner the better."

McLellan said he doesn't even know when Havlat will return to the ice and resume practicing.

"I don't know what the training staff is thinking," he said. "I just know that he looked real good and he was bright again, he was smiling, and that's a big step in the right direction."

With Havlat and Clowe out, the Sharks recalled forward John McCarthy from Worcester of the AHL, and he will likely center the fourth line against Columbus.

Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, meanwhile, will reach a milestone tonight when he plays in his 400th career game, all with San Jose.

"I love playing here," Murray said. "I don’t know if there's 29 other teams that don't want me or if I'm doing something right."

Murray, 31, is in his seventh season with the Sharks.

"I've got to be on some sort of record for how long it took me to get to 400," said a joking Murray.

Here's how the lineups could look tonight:

Andrew Desjardins - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Benn Ferriero
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester - John McCarthy - Andrew Murray/Jim Vandermeer

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Dan Boyle
Douglas Murray - Brent Burns
Colin White - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Vinny Prospal - Antoine Vermette - Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger - Derick Brassard - Ryan Johansen
Ryan Russell - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Colton Gillies - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Brett Lebda
John Moore - Marc Methot/David Savard
Aaron Johnson - Grant Clitsome

Steve Mason
Curtis Sanford

Mason will get the start in goal for Columbus, interim coach Todd Richards said. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi, first off the ice after Tuesday morning's skate, is expected to start for San Jose. Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot missed the morning skate because of an illness and is questionable for the game. David Savard would likely take Methot’s place if he can't play. San Jose defenseman Jason Demers will miss the game with a lower-body injury, but defenseman Brent Burns will return to the lineup after missing one game because of a knee-to-knee collision Jan. 23 at Edmonton.  Sharks defenseman Jim Vandermeer skated with the forwards Tuesday morning, but McLellan said he didn't know whether he'd be in the lineup. Vandermeer saw action at forward in the Sharks' last game before the All-Star Game break against Calgary.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 4:22 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Toews, Sharp return, Morrison debuts for Hawks

VANCOUVER -- The Chicago Blackhawks kick off a season-high nine-game road trip in Vancouver on Tuesday night with three lineup additions, none bigger than captain Jonathan Toews and sniper Patrick Sharp, who both return from left wrist injuries in time to face their biggest rivals.

"It's a good way to get started," said Sharp, who has been out just over three weeks. "You never want to sit out these games, whether it's a playoff game or regular season, it's always a great atmosphere. Two teams that are great teams that obviously don't like each other, but it's a lot of fun to play these games. I think both sides will say that, so I wouldn't miss this one for the world."

Toews only missed a game and a half and doesn't expect to miss a beat on the top line, but Sharp returns sooner than expected and to a new-look second line anchored by ex-Canucks center Brendan Morrison. Acquired by the Blackhawks from Calgary over the All-Star weekend, Morrison will start with his new team playing between Sharp and fellow sharp-shooter Marian Hossa.

"This guy is third in the League in scoring right now, and talking to some guys in here they feel he could be the best player in the League right now," Morrison said of Hossa. "He's a game-breaker. There's a lot of guys in here -- (Patrick) Kane, Toews, Sharp, (Duncan) Keith, (Brent Seabrook) -- I look around the room and there's a great supporting cast. … I have been lucky over the years to play with some pretty high-end talent, guys like Markus (Naslund) and Todd (Bertuzzi) and Jarome (Iginla). Just to be in that mix and be a part of it should be fun."

With three new bodies on the top lines, there are changes on the bottom two as well. Dave Bolland is back in his usual spot as a third-line checking center, flanked now by Marcus Kruger, who slides down and over from the second-line center spot taken by Morrison, and rookie Andrew Shaw.

"We're comfortable with (Kruger) against anybody and Shaw has played extremely well -- there's upside offensively and defensively," coach Joel Quenneville said, warning the new looks may not last too long. "It's something we're going to try and we'll see how long it goes."

Michael Frolik, who was made a healthy scratch for the first time in Chicago’s last game before the All-Star break, returns on a fourth line with veterans Jamal Mayers and Andrew Brunette, with Bryan Bickell coming out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. Rookies Jimmy Hayes, Ben Smith and Brandon Pirri have all been sent back to the American Hockey League since playing in Chicago's last game before the All-Star break, and the Blackhawks know they have little margin for error as they prepare to spend the next 19 days on the road, a trip Quenneville has broken into three segments.

"From Game 48, where we were first in the League, to Game 50, where we are sixth in the conference, it's pretty amazing the ground we lost," he said. "Our division is going to be tough to the end."

Tonight's projected lineups:

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Brendan Morrison - Marian Hossa
Marcus Kruger - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Michael Frolik - Jamal Mayers - Andrew Brunette

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Niklas Hjalmarsson
John Scott - Steve Montador

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

On the back end, it appeared Sean O'Donnell, who was out skating late, could come out in favor of the 6-foot-8 Scott on the third pairing:

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - David Booth
Mason Raymond - Cody Hodgson - Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Aaron Rome

Cory Schneider
Roberto Luongo

Nothing changes except the goalie for the Canucks, who will start Schneider for the first time in three weeks, in part, coach Alain Vigneault said, because he was able to work out during the All Star break, while Luongo traveled with family.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 3:26 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Red Wings hope to maintain pre-break momentum

CALGARY -- The Detroit Red Wings entered the All-Star break with the most points of any franchise.

It's coach Mike Babcock's job to ensure his club returns to the ice with that same focus.

"We have to get started again," Babcock said, whose Red Wings have a league-best 67 points heading into tonight's action with the Calgary Flames.

"Any way you look at it, any momentum you had is now gone. There's a bunch of teams battling. The teams that are in the clump right outside the playoffs are the toughest down the stretch."

That doesn't mean Babcock has a slough of adjustments he wants his team to make.
"Not a whole bunch of (changes)," Babcock said. "Obviously you're always trying to make your team better. In saying that, there's no question about it we have to be a better team. There's lots of improvement for this group, we understand that, now let's play the games."

If there's any question his team feels the same way, veteran Todd Bertuzzi said the message came through loud and clear.

"It's tight in the West, every point is important," Bertuzzi said. "I don't think we have time to feel out. I think we're pretty much ready."

Detroit's projected lineup for tonight's game:

Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Mike Commodore

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 2:50 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Wild set to face red-hot Rinne, Predators

ST. PAUL -- Following a week-long break for both teams, Nashville and Minnesota resume play Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

In many ways, these teams have gone through similar peaks and valleys over the season's first half. The Wild began the season red-hot, winning 17 of 21 games through a stretch that lasted until mid-December. Since then, Minnesota has tumbled, dropping from the top spot in the NHL to eighth in the West.

Nashville, meanwhile, started rather slow but has picked it up lately, winning 12 of 15 since the Christmas break. Included in that run is a 2-1 win against the Wild in their last meeting. That contest was a low-scoring affair, with a goal by each team in the third period sending the game into overtime and shootout, where Colin Wilson netted the winner for the Predators.

Of course, low-scoring games are nothing new to either one of these teams. Minnesota has one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league. And against Nashville, the Wild seem especially snake-bitten. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has three shutouts against Minnesota in 10 career starts, owning a 7-3-1 record all-time against Minnesota, with a 2.02 goals against and a save percentage north of 92 percent.

"They've got great goaltending and solid defense and so do we," Predators defenseman Shea Weber said. "We expect a tight game."

Rinne's stingy nature against the Wild has extended to a League-wide hex of late, as the 6-foot-5 Finn has won each of his last nine starts and has allowed two goals or less in each game. Since winning that game against Minnesota in late December, Rinne is 12-1-0 with a 1.60 goals against and a .947 save percentage -- all three marks among the top-three in the NHL.

"Him playing well against this team, and us playing well against this team, I don't have the answer. Sometimes it's just the team," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Jack Skille, before he got traded [by Chicago], scored like eight goals and I think about six of them were against us. It just happens."

Minnesota has struggled while Rinne has dominated the League, but the Wild entered the All-Star break on a high note, winning two games in a row -- both on the road against Dallas and Colorado and both against teams in a dogfight with the Wild for the final playoff spot in the west. Minnesota heads back onto the road after the game Tuesday and will lead off with the Avs and Stars again.

That makes this contest all the more important – as with Nashville's spot in the tight Central Division standings, every game is critical from here on out.

"It's playoff hockey for us right now, it has been for a long time," Wild winger Cal Clutterbuck said. "We need to respond."

Weber and defensive partner Ryan Suter were the only two players from either team to play in Sunday's All-Star Game in Ottawa. Minnesota representative Mikko Koivu missed the game with injury, although he has skated and practiced each of the last two days. Nick Johnson participated in the skills competition Saturday night.

"Just a good time to get our brains off hockey for a few days," Clutterbuck said. "It's really the division of the ultimate push and the rest of the year, in terms of what is considered crunch time."

Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse are both inching closer to a return for Minnesota, with Koivu likely closer than Latendresse -- who has missed much of the season with a concussion. He has skated and practiced each of the last two days as well, although Wild coach Mike Yeo would not provide a timetable for their returns.

Minnesota will counter Rinne in goal with Josh Harding, who owns a 4-4-1 career mark against Nashville with a 2.64 goals against and a .914 save percentage.

Yeo is hoping either he or Niklas Backstrom, who has struggled mightily of late, can take control of the job between the pipes for the Wild.

"Down the stretch, it's a lot easier for a guy to prepare and get into a groove knowing they are playing," Yeo said. "We're not going to just give it to anybody. Somebody is going to have to step up and take it."

Here is the projected lineups for both teams:


Devin Setoguchi - Matt Cullen - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Johnson - Kyle Brodziak - Dany Heatley
Carson McMillan - Warren Peters - Darroll Powe
Matt Kassian - Chad Rau - Jed Ortmeyer

Jared Spurgeon - Nick Schultz
Greg Zanon - Clayton Stoner
Nate Prosser - Justin Falk

Josh Harding
Niklas Backstrom

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Jordin Tootoo - Nick Spaling - Gabriel Bourque
Jerred Smithson - Craig Smith - Matt Halischuk
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Jack Hillen - Ryan Ellis
Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Iginla, recharged Flames ready to chase playoff berth

CALGARY -- It didn't take long for Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla to refocus after spending the All-Star break as a member of Team Chara.

Iginla and teammate Michael Cammalleri were the first two on the ice in preparation for the Detroit Red Wings tonight, firing one-timers, a tradition the two shared as teammates during Cammalleri's first stint with the Flames.

Needless to say, the captain is recharged and ready to lead the Flames to their first playoff berth since 2008-09 despite spending his break participating in the All-Star Game.

"Even though it's a few days, we have lots to do there, but at the same time mentally it's not that intense," Iginla said. "I'm excited to get back and get going. It's a nice break to get going for the stretch drive."

That's good news for Calgary coach Brent Sutter, whose team sits at 52 points on the season, putting the club in 11th in the Western Conference and three behind the eighth-place Minnesota Wild. The Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes also have 52 points.

"I don't think it's any different for our team as any other team," Sutter said. "I think for all teams it's time for them mentally to take a break from the game and get re-energized and refreshed."

In other words, Sutter's Flames have to ignite the rest of the way in order to leapfrog into a playoff position.

"The reset button is pushed for everybody, and now everyone is on the same page as far as coming off the break," Sutter said.

Calgary's projected lineup tonight:

Alex Tanguay - Mikael Backlund - Jarome Iginla
Michael Cammalleri - Olli Jokinen - Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma - Blair Jones - Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Scott Hannan - Mark Giordano
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 2:14 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Birthday boy Seguin back from whirlwind All-Star trip

BOSTON -- There wasn't much time for Tyler Seguin, the Boston Bruins' leading scorer with 19 goals and 43 points, to catch his breath over the weekend.

Seguin competed in the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game in Ottawa, and also made time to visit with some family and friends while back in his native province. The Bruins granted him -- and his All-Star teammates Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara -- a day off from practice Monday, but today he was right back on the ice for the team's morning skate at the TD Garden in preparation for tonight’s game with Ottawa.

Seguin could be forgiven if his energy level was a little down after the whirlwind last three or four days coming on the heels of playing in 46 of Boston's 47 games leading up to the All-Star break.

"I'd like to say it is," said Seguin about energy being an issue. "But obviously I have to be ready, I have to have energy because I'm young. I'm 20 now, so I'm not that young anymore. I'm not 18 anymore. Maybe I do get fatigued now."

With the arrival of his 20th birthday today, Seguin has his mom and sister in town to celebrate and watch him play. And although there wasn't much rest for the weary in Ottawa, Seguin wouldn't have traded the experience for anything.

"I don't know if it felt like a break. It was a pretty long weekend," he said. "But it was one of the best weekends of my life. It was great, just hanging out with those guys and seeing some family and friends from back home. It was definitely a great break for me."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 1:53 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Jets hope for reversal of fortunes after ASG break

PHILADELPHIA -- The Winnipeg Jets returned to the ice Monday afternoon with a spirited practice in Philadelphia that stretched nearly two hours.

The Jets (22-22-6), who have lost three consecutive games, will face the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Jets have taken both meetings against Philadelphia this season and have scored a combined 15 goals in the two contests.

However, a dreadful 3-8-1 January record threatens to doom the club's playoff chances, and the Jets desperately need to start amassing wins if they are to close the five-point gap that separates them from the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. The Panthers and Capitals both hold two games in-hand on the Jets, as well.

"It's down to business now," center Bryan Little said of the Jets' remaining 32 games.

The Jets play seven of their next nine games away from home before they begin an eight-game homestand in the second half of February. Coach Claude Noel cut short the club's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center after his club pleased him with a crisp session.

"I thought the energy was pretty good this morning," Noel said. "Certainly the execution was better than it was yesterday."

Noel expects to see a refreshed Jets team and believes that the All-Star break allowed some of this charges to re-evaluate their recent play and re-focus going forward.

"It will be interesting to see where we're at mentally, physically and how we go," Noel said.

Winnipeg will be without forwards Evander Kane, Alexander Burmistrov and Tim Stapleton. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, out since Dec. 23 with a knee injury, accompanied the club on its trip that will continue Thursday night at Tampa Bay.

Winnipeg also added some reinforcements from their AHL affiliate St. John’s in forwards Aaron Gagnon and Spencer Machacek.

Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in net.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Eric Fehr - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Antti Miettinen - Aaron Gagnon - Spencer Machacek

Tobias Enstrom - Ron Hainsey
Johnny Oduya - Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
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Quote of the Day

I mean, hockey had to change the rules because of Marty, and that's impressive. I got two Stanley Cup rings because of the guy. Look at the banners of [Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko] and Marty is right up there when you think about the New Jersey Devils; he was part of the core group and he'll go down as one of the greatest goalies ever.

— New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez on former teammate Martin Brodeur, who will announce his retirement Thursday