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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:45 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for the Flames, Blues

Here's how the lineups could look when the Calgary Flames take on the St. Louis Blues tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome:

FLAMES

Alex TanguayBrendan MorrisonJarome Iginla
Curtis GlencrossOlli JokinenDavid Moss
Lee StempniakRoman HorakRene Bourque
Tom KostopoulosTim Jackman

Chris ButlerJay Bouwmeester
Mark GiordanoScott Hannan
Derek SmithCory Sarich
Anton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff is expected to get the start in goal with Henrik Karlsson serving as his backup.

BLUES
Vladimir SobotkaDavid BackesChris Stewart
T.J. OshiePatrik BerglundMatt D'Agostini
Alex SteenJason ArnottJamie Langenbrunner
Evgeny GrachevScott NicholChris Porter

Kent HuskinsAlex Pietrangelo
Barrett Jackman – Kevin Shattenkirk
Carlo ColaiacovoRoman Polak

Brian Elliott is expected to get the start in goal with Jaroslav Halak serving as his backup.
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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:38 PM

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

Cleared to play, Commodore awaits opportunity

DETROIT -- Detroit defenseman Mike Commodore (knee sprain) has been medically cleared to return to the ice in game action, according to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

Now what the 31-year old veteran needs is an opportunity to crack the defensive-pairing rotation. Since he was hurt toward the end of the preseason, Commodore has seen 24-year-old Jakub Kindl play well in his absence as the team's sixth defenseman, paired with 27-year-old Jonathan Ericsson.

Kindl had a slip-up at Washington last weekend, finishing with a minus-3 in a 7-1 loss to the Capitals, but overall has been solid. Commodore, meanwhile, knows he needs to remain patient.

"I've had a couple of good practices lately, which is good because it's been awhile," he said following Detroit's Friday morning skate. "I just want to have good practices and then when the opportunity arises, be ready to go. If it takes a while for that opportunity, then so be it. That's fine."

Commodore is wearing a knee brace for the first time in his career, but said he doesn't mind it.

"I'll be playing with a brace for the rest of the season, if not the rest of my career," he said. "It's fine. I'm used to it now."

His knee is also feeling more stable now than it's been since his return to practicing.

"Every once in a while, if I get extended on that leg … if my weight gets extended out it can be a bit of a pain, but it's a lot better," he said. "It's gotten a lot better in the last week."

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:34 PM

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

Abdelkader to center Detroit's fourth line

DETROIT -- On the surface, it kind of looks like a demotion for 24-year old Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader -- who was moved from left wing of the third line to center the fourth line against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

That's where Abdelkader will start Friday night's game against the San Jose Sharks, between left winger Drew Miller and right wing Tomas Holmstrom. Meanwhile, Todd Bertuzzi flips from right wing on the third line to the left side of that line in order to make room for right wing Patrick Eaves.

Rather than a demotion for Abdelkader, however, Detroit coach Mike Babcock sees the move as merely the result of fitting puzzle pieces together. Babcock didn't like the prospect of pairing Holmstrom and Eaves on a line, so he needed to figure out a way to get them both playing on separate lines.

Moving Abdelkader -- who played center almost exclusively in junior and at Michigan State -- seemed like the most logical thing to do.

"I had to move some stuff around and I needed a center," Babcock said. "I don't know if it's the best thing for Abby, but it's the best thing for our team."

Babcock also played Abdelkader at center during a first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes last season, when the Wings were without injured center Henrik Zetterberg. He didn't produce much offensively, but Abdelkader's 6-foot-1, 219-pound frame was a help defensively and he was pretty good in the faceoff circle, too.

"He's a center iceman," Babcock said. "The only time he hasn't (been) is when I wanted to get him more minutes. He wasn't getting the minutes I thought he deserved as a player (on the fourth line). I think he needs top-nine minutes. Even tonight, just because he's centering the fourth line doesn't mean he'll get less minutes."

Abdelkader said he's not looking at it as a demotion and just wants to use his versatility to play wing or center to the Wings' advantage.

"Wherever the team needs me, I'm just going to go chip in and help out," he said. "Whether it's third line, fourth line, wing or center … whatever it is, I'll do to help the team win. It's a little different game when you're playing up the middle of the ice. You handle the puck a little more and in the D-zone you're coming down low a little more, but it's nothing new to me. I've played center the majority of my career."

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:30 PM

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

Conklin scuffling for Red Wings

DETROIT -- Since shutting out the Colorado Avalanche in the second game of the season, Detroit Red Wings backup goalie Ty Conklin has hit a rough patch in the previous two games.

The Red Wings have dropped two in a row and Conklin started both, allowing 10 goals against on 56 shots to drive his goals-against average up to 3.36 with a paltry .882 save percentage. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he's not pleased with Conklin's recent play, but also knows the veteran has what it takes to turn it around -- as evidenced by this being his ninth season in the League.

"I thought he was outstanding in (his first game) and since then I don’t think he's been near as good," Babcock said on Friday morning. "Conks would be the first guy to tell you that. He's been in the League a long time and the reason he's been in the League is he scratches and he claws and he battles. When things have gone bad for him, he's taken a deep breath and gotten back (to work). All of us at times during the year that happens to us, but you've got to respond."

Jimmy Howard, the Wings' starter, didn't play in either of the last two games and his wife gave birth to their first child last Sunday -- which caused him to miss the trip to Columbus entirely. Howard will be back in net on Friday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks but Babcock didn't say which goalie would get the nod for Saturday's road game against the Minnesota Wild.

It could be Howard, though, considering the recent time off and his hot start (4-0-0, 1.72 GAA, .933 save percentage) prior to it.

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:09 PM

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

Barry's Best: The top plays of the week

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 12:47 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blackhawks, Hurricanes

Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center:

BLACKHAWKS

Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Andrew Brunette
Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa - Daniel Carcillo
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Viktor Stalberg - Marcus Kruger - Jamal Mayers
 
Duncan Keith - Nick Leddy
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook
Steve Montador - Sean O'Donnell

Corey Crawford is expected to start in goal with Ray Emery serving as his backup.
 
HURRICANES

 
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Justin Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Tuomo Ruutu
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Zach Boychuk - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart
 
Tim Gleason - Joni Pitkanen
Bryan Allen - Jay Harrison
Tomas Kaberle - Jamie McBain
 
Cam Ward is expected to start in goal with Brian Boucher serving as his backup.

With the Hurricanes looking for more offense on the top line, Tlusty will play the left wing alongside Staal and  LaRose. Stewart returns to the Hurricanes lineup after missing one game with a lower-body injury. He replaces Brett Sutter.

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 12:38 PM

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

Projected lineups for Sharks, Red Wings

This is how the lineups could look when the San Jose Sharks face the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena:

SHARKS

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Patrick Marleau
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Benn Ferriero
Brad Winchester - Andrew Murray - Andrew Desjardins

Douglas Murray - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Jim Vandermeer / Jason Demers - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi is expected to start in goal with Thomas Greiss serving as his backup.

RED WINGS

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

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard is expected to start in goal with Ty Conklin serving as his backup.


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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 12:24 PM

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

Melrose Place: Penguins impressing early on

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 12:24 PM

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

Melrose Place: Should visors be mandatory?

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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 10:28 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NJD @ PHX - 6:18 of the first period

At 6:18 of the first period in the Devils/Coyotes game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Coyotes forward Patrick O'Sullivan kicked the puck with his skate off Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador's stick into the net for a goal.  Under rule 49.2 "a kicked puck that deflects off the stick of any player (excluding the goalkeeper's stick) shall be ruled a good goal."   Good goal Phoenix.

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