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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 12:08 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Commodore set to make season debut for Red Wings

DETROIT -- Mike Commodore has patiently waited his turn, and now he'll get to pull on the winged wheel sweater of the Detroit Red Wings for the first time in a regular-season game.

Commodore, who sprained his knee in the preseason and lost a potential starting spot in the process, will play his first game for the Wings on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames. He'll enter the lineup on Detroit's third defense pairing with Jonathan Ericsson and replace Jakub Kindl.

After rehabbing his knee, Commodore has practiced hard and watched games as healthy scratch. Now he'll get a chance to show what he can bring to this team with a 6-foot-4, 227-pound frame and the penchant for hard-hitting defense on the blue line.

"For me, it starts tonight and I just want to have a good effort tonight," Commodore said. "I haven't played in a while. Being physical is part of my game, but I just have to make sure I don't get caught out of position trying to run around. I just want to keep it simple and be physical when I need to be, when the opportunity is there."

The Wings' defensive system is also new to Commodore this season, but he feels like he has a good grasp of what they do after logging a lot of practice time in training camp and returning to the ice after the knee injury.

"I've got a lot on my plate tonight, to be honest with you," Commodore said. "Without those practices I'd have been lost. I think with the time I've had … I wasn't panicking either with my situation of not playing and being scratched for a few games. Obviously I'd like to play, but at the same time the practices were good for me and I didn't mind that."

Detroit coach Mike Babcock is looking forward to seeing what Commodore can add to his team. He also understands Commodore's excitement at getting his first game with the Wings.

"He should be eager, he's been skating enough," Babcock said. "It's like with any pro sport. Everybody wants to play more, everybody wants to score more, everybody wants to win more. You've got to earn the right to do all those things, so here's an opportunity for him today and what he does with it we're going to watch. We're about winning games, so the best guys are playing."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 12:04 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lines for Flames, Red Wings

Here's how the lineups could look when the Detroit Red Wings try to halt their 0-4-1 slide tonight against the Calgary Flames at Joe Louis Arena:

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

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

Jimmy Howard will start in goal tonight and be backed up by Ty Conklin


FLAMES

Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay - Brendan Morrison - Lee Stempniak
Rene Bourque - Roman Horak - David Moss
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Scott Hannan - Anton Babchuk
Mark Giordano - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal tonight and he will be backed up by Henrik Karlsson

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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 10:20 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro to get second straight start for Isles

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders, who are in search of their first victory in 19 days, will boast the same lineup for Thursday's game against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Rick DiPietro will make his second straight start after stopping 27 of 30 shots in last Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Here are the Isles' projected lines for Thursday night:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Mike Mottau will be the Isles' lone healthy scratch.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 4:36 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Rangers on Thursday

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Rangers lineup should remain the same for Thursday's game against Anaheim as it was for Monday's win over San Jose. The only difference is that Henrik Lundqvist will likely replace Martin Biron in net.
 
Here is what the Rangers lines and D-pairings looked like in practice Wednesday:
 
Brandon Dubinsky - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Wojtek Wolski - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Andre Deveaux - Artem Anisimov - Erik Christensen
 
Sean Avery will be the extra forward Thursday night. It'll be his first visit to Madison Square Garden this season.
 
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Michael Sauer
Steve Eminger - Jeff Woywitka
 
The Rangers have only six defensemen on the roster.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 2:31 PM

By Jeremy Roenick -  NHL Network Contributor /NHL.com - World According to JR

Avery where he should be, Red Wings not so much

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick will be penning a weekly blog for NHL.com this season. Look for new entries from the "World According to JR," every Wednesday. Roenick will offer sharp, can't-miss opinions on What's Clicking and What's Missing in the National Hockey League.

The Rangers recalled a guy who could and should help them, and the dynastic team in Hockeytown is going down an unfamiliar path. Read on to see what I think about Sean Avery and the Detroit Red Wings.
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 1:50 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

No Eaves for Wings; Nyquist sent down

DETROIT -- Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves didn't practice today while taking a "maintenance day" for an undisclosed ailment. Also, rookie forward Gustav Nyquist was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League after getting called up Monday and playing just one game.

Nyquist, who had 4 goals and 9 points for the Griffins before getting brought up, played 11:07 against the Wild and didn't record a point, a shot on goal or a hit in 13 shifts.
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 1:48 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kronwall feeling fine after hard hit by Koivu

DETROIT -- The morning after he appeared to be hurt on the final play of a 2-1 overtime loss Tuesday, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall was back at practice without limitations.

About a minute and 30 seconds into overtime against the Minnesota Wild, Kronwall charged into the corner in the Detroit zone on a penalty kill to play the puck against Mikko Koivu, who'd gotten to it first. Koivu instinctively stepped back and threw a shoulder at Kronwall to shield the puck and appeared to hit Kronwall in the face. The blueliner's head was knocked back and his helmet was jarred loose.

Kronwall, who just signed a seven-year contract extension with Detroit on Monday, was examined after the game, but the Wings didn't provide an immediate update on his condition. After Wednesday's practice, Kronwall met with reporters and said he's feeling fine.

"I just got a little dinged right off the hit for the first five or seven seconds," he said. "I felt fine after. As soon as I got off the ice, everything felt great."

He said he feels fortunate to not have been injured worse.

"Of course, because you never know with incidents like that," said Kronwall, who was also re-examined Wednesday morning before taking the ice for practice at Joe Louis Arena.

"It was a good play on his part," Kronwall said. "He caught me off guard and it ended up costing us the game. Obviously I have to be a little more aware out there. I think it was a square shoulder. I kind of leaned forward to go in and fight for the puck and he just took a step backward and there wasn't any more to it."

Teammates were concerned about Kronwall's health after the hit, but now that they know he's fine, they can go back to worrying about stopping a frustrating five-game winless streak.

"You don't want anybody hurting, especially when you're struggling a little bit as a team," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You want all hands on deck. He's an important player for us and it was unfortunate the way it happened. But that's part of hockey."
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 12:59 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Gustavsson to stay in net for Leafs

NEWARK, N.J. -- James Reimer is ready to return, but it likely won't be until the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow night.
 
Coach Ron Wilson said it once again will be Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes for tonight's game against the Devils (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN), marking his fifth straight start since Reimer suffered a whiplash injury against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 22.
 
Gustavsson is 2-2-0 with a .905 save percentage since Reimer went down. Of the 12 goals he's allowed over that span, six have come with the Leafs shorthanded. He's filled in admirably, but Reimer looks ready to come back soon.
 
"I'm expecting James to say he's fine," said Wilson, who spoke to the media while Reimer stayed on the ice here at Prudential Center. "He felt fine after practice yesterday and he felt good in the middle of practice (today).  Hopefully he'll be ready to be the backup (against New Jersey) and be ready to start tomorrow.
 
"That's the whole thing when a guy's got a minor injury, especially a goalie -- you don't want to fool around. The Monster (Gustavsson) has done a good job. His confidence is high."
 
No. 3 goaltender Ben Scrivens practiced Wednesday, so if Reimer feels any ill effects between the morning skate and the game, Scrivens will back-up Gustavsson.
 
Wilson said Joey Crabb would jump into the spot of Matt Frattin, who was sent down to the Marlies of the AHL on Tuesday. Defenseman Jake Gardiner is dealing with a sore foot and will be a game-time decision against the Devils.
 
We had the Devils' lineup earlier; here's what the Leafs lineup likely will look like:
 
Joffrey Lupul - Tim Connolly - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Matthew Lombardi - Tyler Bozak - Joey Crabb
Mike Brown - David Steckel - Philippe Dupuis
 
Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
Luke Schenn - Jake Gardiner
John-Michael Liles - Mike Komisarek
 
Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal; James Reimer, if healthy, will be the backup. If Reimer can't go, Ben Scrivens will sit behind Gustavsson.

If Gardiner's foot injury prevents him from playing, Cody Franson would replace him.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
 
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 12:52 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: October's Best

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 12:05 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Parise back in familiar spot

NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise's brief career as an NHL center appears to be over.
 
Forced into the role due to an offseason injury to Travis Zajac and one during the season to Jacob Josefson, the Devils moved Parise from left wing to center in an effort to generate offense.
 
It didn't have the desired effect.
 
The Devils were held to one goal on 24 shots against the Penguins on Oct. 22, one night after losing Josefson for 3-4 months due to a broken collarbone. In the three games that followed, coach Peter DeBoer had Parise center a line with Ilya Kovalchuk on the left wing.
 
The Devils went 1-2-0 in those games and scored just seven goals, so DeBoer decided to move Parise back to left wing for tonight's home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN).
 
Despite the team's struggles offensively -- they are tied for 28th in the League with an average of 2.00 goals per game -- DeBoer feels the Devils are on the verge of breaking out.
 
"We just have to continue what we're doing. I think they're going to come," DeBoer said. "We're not getting 15 shots a night. We're getting 30-plus. Kovalchuk had seven the other night (against Dallas). I believe they're going to come. We have to get a little grittier around the net."
 
After struggling at the position last season, DeBoer will try Kovalchuk at right wing tonight. Here are the rest of the Devils' projected lines:
 
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Ryan Carter - David Clarkson
Cam Janssen - Brad Mills - Nick Palmieri
 
Henrik Tallinder - Adam Larsson
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
 
Martin Brodeur will start in goal, with Johan Hedberg the backup.
 
For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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