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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:16 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Jagr from hero to bitter rival for Krejci

BOSTON -- Growing up, Czech center David Krejci hung posters of Jaromir Jagr on his walls.

"Tons of them," the Bruins center said. "But they're all gone now. He's my enemy now, you know."

For the first time in three seasons, Jagr will be an enemy of Krejci and all the Bruins. The future Hall of Fame forward will be in the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup tonight as he plays his first NHL game since leaving to play in Russia after the 2007-08 season.

Jagr said he's not any more or less excited for this game than any other. But he knows his team will have its hands full with Krejci.

"Of course, he's supposed to be our top from the Czech Republic," said Jagr, who was Krejci's Olympic teammate in 2010. "There's no question about it. And he proved it in the playoffs last year. They won the Stanley Cup and now it's going to be a huge challenge not only for me, but for the whole team."

Krejci joked that when he was a kid and Jagr already was in the NHL, he never thought he someday would be on the same ice with his idol, who's now 39. When he was an NHL rookie, Krejci got his first on-ice dose of Jagr and he's prepared for more of the same things from the star forward.

"He's a big body, right? Once he gets going, it's tough to stop him," said Krejci. "He proved it in Russia that he could still play hockey, and he also proved it in the preseason games. So we know he's here to play hockey, he's ready to go. He wants to prove so many people wrong. I'm sure he's ready to go. He's a great player, but he's going to have a tough night tonight."
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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty faces no limitations

Drew Doughty may have just three full practices and one exhibition game under his belt after signing a new-long term deal last week.

But he will be under no restrictions when it comes to playing time in Friday's season-opening game against the New York Rangers.

"I had a conversation with Drew the other day after the game and asked him how he is doing and how he is feeling," Murray said Thursday. "He said he felt very comfortable in the exhibition game against Hamburg. I have confidence that he is going to be able to log the minutes we need from him.

"He's energized, he's enthusiastic, he's excited about his new deal and coming back to join the team. He's a great player and we'll get him the minutes we feel we need to get from him."

Last season, Doughty played almost 26 minutes a game. His mark of 25:38 was topped by just four other defensemen.



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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:10 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings without Penner for season opener

The Los Angeles Kings will not begin the 2011-12 season with their full roster.

Dustin Penner, normally a top-six forward, will not play in Friday's opener against the New York Rangers at Globe Arena. He has been ruled out with an undisclosed injury.

"Dustin Penner is still not feeling great," Murray said Thursday after the team's 75-minute practice at the Globe. "He's probably about 80 percent. It's improving, but it's going to take some time. He's not going to be ready for tomorrow. He'll just continue to rehab, get some ice time and push him until he's comfortable."

Penner took part in Thursday's practice, but left after 40 minutes.

With Penner out, Murray juggled his lines a bit. Brad Richardson moved into the top-six rotation and spent Thursday on a line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown.

That alignment was a bit of a surprise, but Murray said it was a reward to Richardson for his work in camp, as well as a strong showing to close last season.

"He's been real good, right from the first day," Murray said of Richardson. "He's just coming off the playoff from last year where I thought he showed some signs of breaking through. He's got great speed. I think the confidence is starting to show in his game. He put a lot of numbers up in junior, and sometimes with players it takes a little bit of time.

"Again, he is starting to feel it, it's starting to come. He's more comfortable in tighter situations with the puck on his stick. He's always been a player that can create separation with his speed. I just hope he continues to go forward from here. It's a great opportunity for him."

In other lineup news, Murray confirmed that Jonathan Quick would start Game 1. He would not, however reveal if he has a goalie already in mind for Saturday's game in Berlin against the Buffalo Sabres.

"The only thing I can say is that Quick will play the game tomorrow," Murray said. "We talked in the past, in the early part of camp back home, where I have said that I won’t lock myself in and have designated games for the goaltenders. We're going to play it out here. Points are so critical that if we got a goaltender that is on a roll, that's the right way to go."


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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:08 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Lineup questions for Bruins

BOSTON -- The Bruins might not know until game time which of their new faces will be in the lineup when they open their defense of the Stanley Cup against Philadelphia tonight at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, Versus).

Defenseman Adam McQuaid, a key part of the Bruins' top six last season, missed the last couple days of practice with flu-like symptoms. He skated this morning, but the Bruins plan to monitor his situation over the course of the day before determining if he can play.

If McQuaid can't go, Matt Bartkowski would be one of two newcomers on Boston's back end. Joe Corvo, who was acquired in a trade with Carolina over the summer, is scheduled to play.

Up front, free-agent signee Benoit Pouliot and rookie Jordan Caron alternated on left wing on a line with center Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin during the morning skate. Coach Claude Julien told everyone to come to the rink tonight prepared to play.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 1:38 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers claim Woywitka off waivers from Canadiens

STOCKHOLM -- The Rangers picked up some defensive insurance Thursday by claiming Jeff Woywitka off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

Woywitka was due to fly from Montreal to Stockholm, where the Rangers open the season Friday against the Los Angeles Kings. It wasn't immediately known if Woywitka would arrive in time for the morning skate, or who will be assigned to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL to make room for him on the roster.

Defensemen Stu Bickel has been assigned back to Connecticut.

Woywitka signed a one-year, two-way contract with Montreal on July 1 that pays him $650,000 at the NHL level.

"It's too bad we lost him, but it's a nice opportunity for him in New York," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "I think the fact we signed players like (Alexei) Emelin and (Rafael) Diaz, they're two players with a lot of potential who have played professional hockey before and who bring different elements. So I think we have good depth on defense."

The Rangers were looking for a veteran defenseman to help them with Marc Staal going on injured reserve due to post-concussion symptoms. The club recalled Erixon from Connecticut on Wednesday and brought him back across the Atlantic to potentially make his NHL debut Friday against the Kings in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere.

However, coach John Tortorella would prefer that Erixon learn the North American game in the AHL for a while.

Woywitka played the last two seasons in Dallas, compiling 14 points over 99 games. He has played in 251 NHL games since making his debut with St. Louis in 2005-06. His best season was 2008-09, when he had 18 points in 65 games with the Blues.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 1:11 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Starting lineups

The Flyers and Bruins both skated today at TD Garden ahead of tonight's game (7 p.m. ET, Versus). Here's how their lineups could look tonight based on the lines and defense pairings at today's practice:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Jordan Caron/Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Joe Corvo
Dennis Seidenberg-Matt Bartkowski

Tim Thomas will start in goal with Tuukka Rask backing him up.

The defense pairings could change if Adam McQuaid plays tonight. He's been battling a flu bug and will be a game-time decision. If McQuaid is able to play, he would replace Bartkowski in the lineup, but not necessarily play with Seidenberg.

FLYERS
Jakub Voracek-Danny Briere-Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Jaromir Jagr
Scott Hartnell-Sean Couturier-Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo-Maxime Talbot-Andreas Nodl

Chris Pronger-Matt Carle
Kimmo Timonen-Andrej Meszaros
Braydon Coburn-Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky backing him up.

The Flyers' defense pairings also could change if the team opts to play Matt Walker tonight in place of Lilja. Walker did not practice this morning, but there were hints that Walker could be in the lineup.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 12:16 PM

By Andrew Gordon -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Andrew Gordon Player Blog

End of trip means start of something great

Rarely during a vacation is the end of the trip the most exciting part. I have never been on a trip in my life where I looked forward to the end more than the actual trip itself. But that seems to be the case here in Helsinki. Nothing against the beautiful country or the friendly people I have met while I was here, but the end of the trip means the start of a new season.

These next two days are what I came for. These are the days I have been thinking about since free agency rolled around on July 1 -- the start of a new season, a new beginning, a fresh start.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 11:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

NHL Director of Euro Scouting Goran Stubb offers overseas insight

There's no question the closer we get to the 2012 Entry Draft, the hot topic not only will be Russian forwards Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting and Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Quebec Remparts, but that incredibly talented crop of defensive prospects starring in the Western Hockey League.

However, there's also a fine group of prospects starring overseas who also might capture the fancy of NHL scouts and general managers.

Recently, NHL.com caught up with NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb to find who he thought were the most talented players outside North America. For starters, Stubb didn't hide the fact that Sweden will present a hockey haven for most scouts this season, with Finland coming in second.

"At present, there are some prospects from Russia, but no superstars," Stubb told NHL.com. "The Czechs, Slovaks, Swiss and Germans don't have anyone in the top 10 (among European skaters overseas) … right now."

Here are Stubb's top five European standouts eligible for the 2012 draft:

1. Filip Forsberg, F, Leksand (Sweden) - The 6-foot-1, 180-pound left wing (no relation to former NHL All-Star Peter Forsberg) was spectacular for his country at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August, totaling 4 goals and 10 points in six games for the silver medal-winning Swedes. His ability with the puck has been compared to fellow Swede Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators.

Swedish standout Filip Forsberg
"I think my offensive game is my biggest strength," Forsberg told reporters in July. "I like to shoot the puck, but I think I can play a complete game in terms of scoring, playmaking and defensive play."

Said Stubb: "He's a talented, speedy, two-way forward who can score the big goals. He also has a good selection of shots."

2. Sebastian Collberg, F, Frolunda (Sweden) - With decent size (5-11, 180) and sniper-like mentality off the right wing, Collberg is a player who might be off the radar at this point, but he won't stay there long. Collberg had 21 goals and 44 points in 35 games with Frolunda HC in 2010-11. In addition to a great wrist shot, scouts love the fact he isn't afraid to initiate contact in the corners.

"He has a great first step … is so quick," Stubb said. "He rushes down the wing and shoots a lot; he's got soft hands and a quick shot. He's a player with great offensive instincts."

3. Pontus Aberg, F, Djurgarden (Sweden) - The 5-11, 187-pound left wing, who missed being eligible for the 2011 draft by eight days, offers a right-handed shot. He produced 13 goals and 30 points in 41 games with Djurgarden's junior club in the J20 SuperElit league last season and already has 4 goals and 6 points in nine games playing in the Elitserien this season. Aberg's contract with Djurgarden runs through the 2013-14 season.

"He's played great to open up the fall season," Stubb said. "He's a speedy, hard-working winger with a nose for the net … a sniper with a very good overall skill level."

4. Teuvo Teravainen, F, Jokerit (Finland) - The left-handed Teravainen is being touted as Finland's top performer. NHL Network analyst and prospect guru Craig Button labeled Teravainen as a potential sleeper for the 2012 draft. The 5-11, 187-pound right wing had 16 goals and 35 points through 11 games for his Jokerit U-16 club in 2009-10. Last season, he had 5 goals and 17 points in 11 games for Finland's Under-17 Team. He has compared his style of play to Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk.

"Talk about a dynamic skater ... Teravainen is a guy who can make things happen so quickly," Button said. "He's really smart and able to draw defenders to him and make really good plays. Right now he's a little slight, but when you watch him on the ice, he's a real dynamic player. Right now, for me, he's a guy who is a first-round pick. By springtime, he could be mentioned among the top guys."

Stubb agreed: "He speedy, quick and talented … an offensive-minded winger who, with quick, surprising moves creates scoring chances for linemates and himself around the net. He's a bit inconsistent from game to game and will need to improve in that area."

5. Henrik Samuelsson, F, MoDo (Sweden) - If the name sounds familiar it should -- Samuelsson is the son of former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, who spent 16 seasons in the NHL. Henrik left the U.S. National Team Development Program when his father was hired as MoDo's coach and has 2 assists and eight penalty minutes in eight games so far this season.

His older brother, defenseman Philip Samuelsson, was selected in the second round (No. 61) by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 draft.

Henrik, a 6-foot-2, 193-pound right wing was born in Scottsdale, Ariz., and had 28 points and 98 penalty minutes for the U.S. National Team Development Program's under-17 squad last season.

"He's got good size, works hard and plays with grit," Stubb said.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 9:40 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers ready to go ... karting

STOCKHOLM -- After a second straight healthy practice at Ericsson Globe Arena, several Rangers players were planning an afternoon go-karting trip.

Odds are coach John Tortorella wasn't among them.

The Rangers are a loose bunch these days, but they're also a focused bunch. I'm not sure if I've been around a team that was more excited to get the preseason finished.

Four games on international ice in five nights in four different countries will get you soured on the preseason. The Rangers are pumped to play for two points Friday.

"I'm not sure if it's nerves; it's anticipation," Tortorella said. "Camp is long. It's long for the players, it's long for the coaches. I'm anxious to see us play. If you don't have any type of anxiousness or nervousness before a game, any game, you're not ready. So, yeah, I'm geared up right now."

Henrik Lundqvist said he can feel himself getting "more tense and focused on what we have to do."

"The season starts tomorrow and I can tell inside of me that mentally I'm getting ready and physically I'm getting ready," he added. "It's exciting."

Rupp misses practice: Left wing Mike Rupp was held out of practice Thursday as a precaution due to a sore knee, Tortorella said. The coach called it a maintenance day for Rupp, and said he will be in the lineup Friday against the Kings (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN).

Quotable: "I've got to say, we're really happy with the team we have right now," defenseman Dan Girardi said. "We have four solid lines, obviously one of the best goalies in the League and a pretty young, strong 'D' corps back there. Even without Marc (Staal), I think we're one of the top-10 teams in the League. I don't want to go too high or too low here, but I think we've got a pretty solid team here."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 8:27 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Ducks ready to finally get back to playing

HELSINKI -- The Anaheim Ducks know they're going to have a lot of people in the audience cheering for them here at Hartwall Areena, and the Buffalo Sabres know this is going to be like a road game when the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere games start Friday (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

The Sabres technically will be the home team, but expect a couple of Anaheim's players to receive the loudest cheers.

"I don't know why we're not -- we should be the home team," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said with a laugh. "We have more Finns than they do. It doesn't make sense that we're not the home team. Maybe we should write a letter."

In more serious business, it is time for just that for the Ducks. They have been in Helsinki for five days, and have been feted by fans from Helsinki and Anaheim alike.

Now it is time for the NHL regular season to start, and Friday's game counts just as much as one in Los Angeles or San Jose will in November or March.

"It is a little different because we're here in Finland playing the Buffalo Sabres," Carlyle said. "We've been here close to a week and we've enjoyed the country. They've opened up their arms and done everything possible to make it comfortable for us. It is an exciting time for Finnish players playing in their homeland and it is an exciting time for all of our players to finally get to play games. You can play all the exhibition games you want and have all the practices you want, but nothing compares to playing in an NHL game and that starts tomorrow night for us.

"We're putting it on the line -- these are points for the season. Points in October are much easier to get than they are in March. You look at the playoff races -- take last year for instance -- we had 99 points and we only made the playoffs by three. It is competitive. It is also like you're looking at getting 100 points to qualify for the playoffs and that is tough."

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