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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 1:01 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Projected lines for Bruins, Canadiens

MONTREAL – Here are the probable lineups for tonight’s game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens.

Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Bruins’ last loss was at the Bell Centre when they dropped the second half of a home and home series, 4-2. Since then, Boston has outscored its opponents 42-14 over the course of the streak.

That makes it a daunting  task for the Canadiens' inexperienced defensive unit, still missing veterans Hal Gill (infection), Jaroslav Spacek (upper body), Andrei Markov (knee) and Chris Campoli (hamstring).


Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin
Benoit PouliotChris KellyRich Peverley
Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk
Dennis SeidenbergJoe Corvo
Andrew FerenceAdam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask


Michael CammalleriTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta
Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisErik Cole
Lars EllerScott GomezTravis Moen
Aaron PalushajPetteri NokelainenMathieu Darche
Josh GorgesP.K. Subban
Alexei EmelinRaphael Diaz
Frédéric St-Denis – Yannick Weber

Carey Price
Peter Budaj
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:55 PM

By David Kalan - Staff Writer / - At the Rink blog

Blue Jackets Mason injured; Karlsson to start for Flames?

Goalie Steve Mason suffered a head injury during Monday's morning skate.

Mason was apparently rattled by a shot from Rick Nash early in the skate, which caused Mason to drop to the ice where he stayed for a few moments while being tended to by trainers, according to a report in the Columbus Post-Dispatch. Mason was able to leave the ice on his own, but has been ruled out Monday night's game against Calgary as a result of the injury.

While Curtis Sanford is getting the start, Columbus did call up Allen York from its America Hockey League affiliate in Springfield to serve as backup for the game.

"He’s not good," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel told reporters of Mason after the skate. "Yorkie's on his way in here. (Mason's) going to miss tonight and we'll re-evaluate him tomorrow. He got hit pretty good there, hit pretty hard."

Sanford is 1-0-1 this season with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

While it has not been confirmed by Calgary, the Post-Disptach also reported that Henrik Karlsson is expected to get the start for the Flames Monday, giving No. 1 goalie Miikka Kiprusoff the night off.
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:50 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Devils, Panthers

Here are how the lines could look when the New Jersey Devils face the Florida Panthers tonight at the BankAtlantic Center:


Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Rod Pelley - David Clarkson
Brad Mills - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg


Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Tomas Kopecky - Evgenii Dadonov
Marco Sturm - Mike Santorelli - Jack Skille
Shawn Matthias - Tim Kennedy - Michal Repik

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Theodore
Jacob Markstrom
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:48 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Samuelsson moving closer to Panthers' debut

FLORIDA -- While Sidney Crosby will make his long-awaited season debut Monday night, Panthers forward Mikael Samuelsson is still waiting to make his debut with his new team.

At least Samuelsson is getting close.

The veteran, who won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008, has been on injured reserve with a lower-body injury since he was acquired in the Oct. 22 trade that sent David Booth to Vancouver.

But the hope is that Samuelsson could make his Panthers debut before the end of the month.

Samuelsson appeared in six games for Vancouver early in the season before he had a setback related to the sports hernia surgery he underwent in May.

"We're taking it really slow," Samuelsson said. "Obviously I've never done that before. I think I need that time. We're getting there. Give me one more week or something like that. I'll let the guys in there decide, the trainers."

The other veteran acquired in the Booth trade, forward Marco Sturm, has 1 goal and 1 assist in 12 games with Florida.

After finishing with 50 points in 75 games for Vancouver last season, Samuelsson has 1 goal and 2 assists this season. He's looking forward to the opportunity of adding to that total.

"As long as I'm healthy when I get back, I'm good about it," Samuelsson said. "But I'm anxious to get going."
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - At the Rink blog

Jagr to miss another game for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr will not return to the lineup on Monday when the Flyers play host to the Carolina Hurricanes at Wells Fargo Center.

Jagr, who suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes and missed Saturday's game at Winnipeg, remains listed day-to-day.

The 39-year-old veteran did skate with the team on Monday and looked relatively sharp in his turns and cuts on the ice. According to, Jagr injured his groin a little over a minute into the team's victory over the Coyotes last week. He did skate on his own on Sunday.

"When it comes to injuries, we don't want to put anybody in trouble at this point," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We'd like everybody healthy and back and ready to go. If a player is cleared and they say they feel good and they want to play, then that's what we go by."

Brayden Schenn also skated with the club and told afterward that he was feeling "very good." When asked when he expected to return to the lineup, Schenn said it was up to the coaching staff and that he'd be ready.

The 20-year-old Schenn has no points and a minus-5 rating in four games this season.

Besides the Philadelphia injury update, there was another big topic to discuss on Monday following Flyers practice. In particular, the return of Sidney Crosby to archrival Pittsburgh, and former teammate Maxime Talbot was more than willing to share his thoughts.

"It's definitely good news for the League and, most of all, for him," Talbot said. "It was a long and tough road back but I think it's great for hockey and he's such an important player for the NHL and as a person, too. I know [Flyers and Penguins] is a big rivalry but every hockey fan should be happy that he's back and healthy again.

"I'm sure every single hockey player this morning said, 'Have you heard Sid is coming back?' It's something that everybody is anticipating and that's great."

When Laviolette was asked if Crosby's return is good for hockey, the coach responded, "It's good for the Penguins."

Talbot spent six seasons in Pittsburgh with Crosby before signing a free agent contract with the Flyers in the offseason.

"I texted [Crosby] on Sunday morning and he texted me back last night and was excited," Talbot said. "We all know how big of a media circus it will be [Monday] for the NHL. It's probably the hottest ticket all season; I can compare it a little like when Mario was coming back."

Talbot said that despite the fact he now plays for the rival Flyers, Crosby is and always will be a dear friend.

"I've known him since he was 13-years-old," he said. "Just because you change teams, it doesn't mean all of a sudden he's a bad guy. Sid is someone I respect and he's a great competitor, great for the game. We had the same agent when he was 13 and we were in a camp in Los Angeles. Even then, he was already better than me at 13, and I was 16. He was better than a lot of people; you knew he had something special in him."

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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flyers, Hurricanes

While it was an optional skate for both teams Monday morning, here are the expected line combinations for tonight's matchup between the Flyers and Hurricanes.

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Harry Zolnierczyk
James van Riemsdyk - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Maxime Talbot - Jakub Voracek
Jody Shelley - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo

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

Ilya Bryzgalov will start between the pipes.


Jeff Skinner - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Brett Sutter - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Jamie McBain - Tomas Kaberle

Cam Ward should get the start

General manager Jim Rutherford on Monday recalled forward Brett Sutter from Charlotte of the American Hockey League and reassigned forwards Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe to the Checkers.

Sutter, 24, has earned 1 assist in four games this season with the Canes. He has 2 goals and 4 points in 14 games with the Checkers this campaign.
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:02 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Penguins in Sid's return

Yes, that is Sidney Crosby in the Pittsburgh Penguins' starting lineup against the New York Islanders. It's the comeback that Crosby, the Penguins and the NHL have awaited since January, when Crosby sustained a concussion that ultimately sidelined him for more than 10 months.
This will be only the third game in the last two seasons in which all three of the Penguins' top centers -- Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal -- will play in the same game. Staal missed the first half of last season with a foot injury and broken hand.
But Crosby isn't the only Penguins player to return following an injury layoff. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who hasn't played since Oct. 22 because of a broken finger in his right hand, also returns and will be paired with usual partner Paul Martin.
The Penguins' lineup, one they have been waiting to put on the ice since the season began:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Craig Adams - Richard Park - Arron Asham
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland
Marc-Andre Fleury is back in goal after Brent Johnson played during a 3-2 loss at Florida on Saturday night. Fleury is 7-0-1 at Consol Energy Center this season.
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:00 PM

By Pat LaFontaine -  Special to / - Making of a Royal

Mental preparation key tool for coaches to instill

In this week's "Making of a Royal" blog, coach Pat LaFontaine discusses his team's preparation habits for major national tournaments. LaFontaine and his assistants -- Steve Webb and Scott Donahue -- draw inspiration from the coaches who shaped them as they implement mental and physical preparation.

One thing that Steve, Scott and I, the three coaches, constantly do is look back at your playing days. I think you earn an appreciation and a greater respect for all the other coaches -- I was very fortunate to have some tremendous coaches during my playing days -- but you constantly reflect back and appreciate and respect the job the coaches do to prepare the team on a regular basis.

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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 11:26 AM

By Staff -  / - At the Rink blog

Vokoun to start; Ward in lineup for Caps

After getting shelled by the Toronto Maple Leafs for 4 goals on 18 shots Saturday, the Caps' Tomas Vokoun was the first goaltender off the ice at practice Monday morning, and indication he will start against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Joel Ward was dealing with an illness at practice Sunday, but coach Bruce Boudreau said he would be in the lineup.

Many of the Capitals beat reporters have speculated that Alexander Semin could be a healthy scratch. He took his line rushes this morning on the fourth line and not with his usual top-six linemates.

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov will make his NHL debut. John Erskine will be a gametime decision.
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 3:00 AM - Melrose Minute

Melrose: All-Star honorees at the quarter pole

With most teams in the National Hockey League at or nearing 20 games played this season, I've made my All-Star picks, as well as my coach and rookie of the year at the season's quarter pole. Here is who I think has been the best of the best at each position in the League this season.

Right wing: Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel
Right Wing - TOR
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 29
SOG: 73 | +/-: 6
His numbers (League-leading 16 goals, 29 points) speak for themselves. I think he's been the best player in the NHL so far this season. Toronto's off to a good start and obviously he's a gigantic part of what they've done, so Kessel is my first forward for my All-Star team.

Center: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

I think this guy is just emerging into a superstar. He's just a great two-way center. He can score points, he can also kill penalties, he's good defensively. He's just an excellent hockey player. He can do anything. People are seeing why the Philadelphia Flyers felt they were able to trade Mike Richards.

Left wing: Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago's off to a great start, he's off to a great start, and he's a high plus, which means he's playing five-on-five very well. He's putting the puck in the net and he's just playing like we envision Marian Hossa when he's healthy. He's been awesome. I've watched Chicago a number of times and he's dangerous, he's skating well, he's attacking the net well and, as I said, he's a plus-11 right now. That's excellent. He always gets points on the power play, but being that high of a plus means that five-on-five he's getting his points also.

Defenseman: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Boston's won eight in a row, Chara's a plus-12, and he always plays against other teams' best players. I really take that as a consideration. You want a defenseman with good numbers, and Chara gets his points, but he's so much more than that. Being that high a plus and playing against every team's best three forwards every night is pretty impressive. I think Chara and the Boston Bruins have found their game. There's no better team in the NHL right now than Boston, and Chara is a big part of that.

Defenseman: Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 14
SOG: 61 | +/-: 19
I'm taking Shea Weber for the exact same reasons. He's plus-19, he and Chara both have 14 points, and he too plays against the other teams' best forwards every night. He's got the highest plus in the NHL and that's a pretty impressive number for a defenseman. We saw what he did last year in the playoffs and he just does everything. He's got the big shot, he's a great passer of the puck, he can play a very physical style if he needs to, and every night he sees everybody's best player. He never gets a shift off, where he's out there against the fourth line.

Goaltender: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars

He's still 11-4, he's still leading the NHL in wins. Dallas as a team has struggled, but I think when you look at all the other goaltenders in the NHL, his numbers are still great. He's among the League leaders in everything and 11 wins -- that's the most important number for goaltenders.

Best rookie: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers

He had five points in his last game, he's got 19 points overall. Edmonton is surprising a lot of people right now and he's certainly been a big part of that. He's just a guy that sees the ice very well and sees his teammates very well. You just watch him and he does everything well. To have that many points is great for a rookie. He's under the microscope, too. No one expects it out of the other guys, but this guy has had a target on his back from day one and he's been great from day one. He hasn't had any slumps, and to do it with the pressure he's been under is just amazing.

Best coach: Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes

This team, what they're going through with ownership and Bryzgalov leaving in the summer, they're one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They just had a great streak where they went on the road and beat some very good teams, so the record speaks for itself. With all the other stuff that's happening it's easy for that team to get sidetracked and start talking about the wrong things. He's done a great job of keeping them focused on what's important, and that's winning. The only thing they can control is winning, and they've done a great job of that so far.
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It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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