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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Life as a Scout

Scout Edwards adjusts on the fly

MOOSE JAW, Sask. -- While we safely reached our destination in Moose Jaw -- some 50 miles west of Regina -- the blizzard we encountered has forced NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards to rethink his agenda.

Videographer Steve Hoffner tapes segment with Edwards
Instead of leaving for Swift Current following Thursday's final game of the 2011 Subway Super Series at Mosaic Place, Edwards had to change his hotel arrangements and instead will stay at a Comfort Inn in Moose Jaw. Of course, we'll be joining him.

Once we rolled in Moose Jaw, Edwards stopped his car to show me and videographer Steve Hoffner one of the area's top picture spots -- the big moose on the outskirts of town. Quite a moose.

We then passed the old arena where the Moose Jaw Warriors played their games. Outsiders refer to it at the Moose Jaw Civic Centre but the locals -- and Edwards -- know it as the 'crushed can' for its low roof line in the center of the building.

"If you're sitting on one side of the rink, you can't see across to the other side because the roof is so low," Edwards said. The plan, right now, is to make the six-hour drive west from Moose Jaw to Lethbridge on Friday morning at some point. We'll stop in Swift Current for some lunch.

Throughout the 45-minute drive from Regina to Moose Jaw, Edwards successfully navigated his way through a blizzard to reach his ultimate destination. Unfortunately, Edwards won't have an opportunity to chart the playing habits of 2012 top prospect and local boy Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors. He will, however, get another glimpse of Russian goalie Andrey Makarov of the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League. According to NHL Central Scouting, Makarov, who played well in a 5-2 defeat to Team WHL on Wednesday at Brandt Centre in Regina, is the top-rated goalie in the Western Hockey League.

Edwards will also get an opportunity to see potential 2013 prospect Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 6:34 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Rask gets the call for Bruins

BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask will get the start in goal when the Bruins host Columbus tonight at TD Garden.

Rask backed up Tim Thomas during the Bruins' prior two games. During Boston's six-game winning streak, Rask has earned two victories.

Rask brings a a 2-3-0 record, 2.62 goals-against average and .908 save percentage into the matchup with Curtis Sanford and Columbus, which is last in the overall stadings at 3-13-1.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 5:52 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

'Glue guys' invaluable resource to youngsters

You know that dependable pair of jeans you own? They're versatile, they feel nice, they fit just right. You can wear them anywhere and they never do you wrong.

The NHL's version of those jeans are a team's glue guys -- Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff in Edmonton; Matt Cullen in Minnesota; Ray Whitney in Phoenix; Sheldon Souray in Dallas; Mike Knuble in Washington; Andrew Brunette in Chicago; and even a superstar like Jaromir Jagr in Philadelphia can fall into that category at this stage of his career.

What exactly is a glue guy? You hear that term a lot from hockey players. Glue guys are the players who aren't necessarily superstars, but are the veterans who can keep a team together by doing the little things that go unnoticed. All of these guys I mentioned aren't just glue guys, but they are producing on the ice as well. There isn't a more valuable guy you can have on your team than a glue guy who can still get it done on the ice.

Sometimes teams are in a rush to get rid of the glue guy, that old, reliable, perfect pair of jeans that have never done you wrong. But before you throw out those jeans and buy a new pair of G-Stars because those are the cool, new, expensive jeans everyone is wearing these days, just remember what happened with the Bruins and Mark Recchi last season and what he meant to that team.

Whether it's finding a restaurant on the road or handling ticket requests from family members, or things on the ice like getting advice on opposing goaltenders or defensemen or how to handle things like a scoring slump, these guys are super important.

There's nothing that prepares you for playing in the League like being in the League, and that's why these guys mean so much to all the young players who are getting to the NHL quicker than ever. The best thing you can have if you're someone just breaking in are guys like this to lean on. A player who is in the middle of a long career is a great resource for a young kid just getting his feet wet.

I would say this to a lot of the GMs and coaches: beware. I know you're itching to show off your shiny new toys -- your brand new pair of G-Stars -- but you still want to make sure you complement these guys with good pros. If nothing else, they are great resources to learn from. If you look at the Cup winners, you have a lot of glue guys that are a part of their team.

Yet some GMs want to throw a ton of money at young guys who are still just RFAs to avoid offer sheets and get them tons of minutes right away. Now you force feed them minutes and they struggle and you're surprised?

These glue guys are a hockey encyclopedia. It's all about the details. Some kids may not want to get a massage after a game or practice. You think Teemu Selanne is doing that now? If Selanne's hip flexors are tight, he's going to take the time to do stretches, then get up on the massage table. It's all about having a maintenance plan, and it's never too early in your career to start that. It's all these little things that help you practice, recover, rehab. They are tools you need to be a long-standing pro.

People think development stops when you reach the pros. Guys that are smart, they get it. Guys like Joe Pavelski spend the offseason working on their skating. It's not about going back to your hometown during the summer and shinnying it up with your friends and laughing. Evgeni Malkin said this year he vowed to be a better pro and spent his summer working his tail off, and he's won a Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup!

I played for a lot of teams, so I got to learn from a lot of different players about what it takes to be a pro. Guys like Rod Brind'Amour, Ron Francis, Kirk Muller, Brian Skrudland and Mark Messier.

When it comes to reaching a point in your career when it's time to start dispensing advice and being an example, everybody is a little different. Some guys are more natural and come out and tell you to focus on this or stop doing that. Some guys are more vocal, but a lot of guys want to see that guys are hungry. They want to see young players come to them and show they have a desire to get better. Just because you tore it up in Lethbridge and Kitchener, that doesn't mean it translates to the NHL. It might not translate to your role or the team you're on. Even if it does, a lot of these guys have knowledge.

Some young guys are receptive and some don’t want to listen. They look at veterans like they don't care, like they have everything figured out. My advice is listen to the people that have done it already. They can help you.

Even if it isn't a veteran player, there are assistant coaches on teams that can give advice on playing today's game too. You don't want to talk to Teppo Numminen in Buffalo? You don’t want to ask Charlie Huddy in Winnipeg about what it was like to play with Paul Coffey? The Devils have Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. That's endless amount of knowledge!

All smart players who have long careers will give credit to the players that helped them along the way. Young guys today should notice that and be smart. There's knowledge to be passed down, and it's right there in the locker next to you.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 4:45 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bryzgalov expects emotional night

Ilya Bryzgalov tried to play it off, calling tonight's matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes "game No. 18." No one was buying that, however.

The Philadelphia Flyers goaltender will face his former team for the first time tonight and admitted it would be an emotional game.

"It's special; it's my former team," he told reporters Wednesday. "I have lots of friends and can't forget the time I played there. The good years, (there were) lots of friends, lots of good people work in this organization, and it is going to be a very special game."

Bryzgalov spent most of the last four seasons with the Coyotes, who claimed him on waivers from the Anaheim Ducks early in the 2007-08 season. He left Phoenix this June, when his rights were traded to the Flyers prior to him becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Bryzgalov left the Coyotes as the club's all-time leader in games played (257), wins (130) and shutouts (21), and he guided the Coyotes to back-to-back playoff appearances the previous two seasons. His 42 wins in 2009-10 are a franchise single-season record, as are his eight shutouts from the same season.

After a hot start and a rocky middle, Bryzgalov is trending up again, with a 3-0-1 record in four November games, with a 1.98 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. And after allowing four goals on 10 shots Oct. 27 against Winnipeg, he's allowed nine goals in his last five games.

Bryzgalov is committed to the Flyers now -- he signed a nine-year deal with Philadelphia in the offseason -- but won't forget the time he had in Phoenix.

"I really appreciate everything they did for me," he said. "I wish them the best. I'm really glad they are doing well without me because they deserve it. They work extremely hard. They have beautiful people in that organization. Management and coaches and a good group of guys. I have lots of friends out there."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
 
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 4:42 PM

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

Barry's sixth 'Mullet of the Week' winner is ...

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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 4:42 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Luongo, Kesler day to day for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler, defenseman Keith Ballard and goalie Roberto Luongo all were missing when the Canucks returned to the ice for practice today.

Given the intense session ended with a 15-minute bag skate, it wasn't a bad time to be away. Of course, that all depends how long they're gone.

In the cases of Kesler and Luongo, coach Alain Vigneault sounded confident it wouldn't be long, with Luongo skating on his own before practice and both listed as a possibility to play the Canucks' next game, Sunday against Ottawa. But Ballard may not return as quickly.

The defenseman left Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Chicago soon after a first-period collision and Vigneault said he is out "indefinitely" with back "issues."

"Butt, back tightened up," Vigneault said. "See how it responds next couple of days."

The Canucks are well equipped to handle Ballard's absence, with NHL-proven Andrew Alberts and Alexander Sulzer waiting on the sidelines. They are less prepared for another extended absence for Kesler, though. He crashed into the end boards with his right shoulder after driving hard to the net late in the second period. The reigning Selke Trophy winner returned to play in the third period, but was receiving treatment after the game, and again Thursday.

"He came in with stiffness, and we decided to give him the day off to take care of his shoulder," Vigneault said, adding there was no concern of a separation. "At this time," Vigneault said he expects Kesler, still trying to find his game after offseason hip surgery, to be ready Sunday.

That's good, because the Canucks are carrying 12 forwards and their depth is depleted after utility forward Andrew Ebbett broke his foot late last week, and fourth-line hopeful Steven Pinizzotto recently underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.

Vancouver could get Mason Raymond back sooner than expected. Out all season after fracturing a vertebra on an awkward hit by Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuck during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, Raymond was cleared for contact after undergoing physical testing prior to Thursday's practice.

"Tests all good, even the strength for upper body was better than anticipated," Vigneault said. "We'll see how he feels here the next couple of days as far as practice."

Vigneault confirmed the decision to send Eddie Lack back to the AHL on Thursday and use an emergency fill-in goalie for a fourth-straight day was based more on the Canucks' lack of salary cap space, but there also is a chance Luongo will be back Sunday. Off the ice since suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury in Sunday's win against the Islanders, Luongo skated for half an hour with goalie coach Roland Melanson before Thursday's practice.

"He's still day to day," Vigneault said.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 4:39 PM

By Eric Lipschutz -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Ott returns to Stars lineup on Friday

The Dallas Stars have activated center Steve Ott from injured reserve. Ott was put on IR on November 10 (retroactive to October 29) and has missed the last six games due to a lower-body injury, but he will be back in the Stars' lineup Friday night when Dallas visits Colorado.

Steve Ott's high PIMS and hits totals make him a viable fantasy option. (Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI)
Ott's return should provide a big boost for his owners who could use some help in the PIMS and hits departments. The rugged center led the Stars last season with 183 PIMS and 252 hits, and in just 11 games this season, Ott has already compiled 25 PIMs to go along with a whopping 42 hits. Ott's game is more than just grit, however. Last season he reached double digits in goals with 12, and had scored twice this year before getting hurt.

Despite his well-rounded game, Ott is currently owned in just 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If your league counts PIMS and hits as categories Ott is a must own. In fact, Ott warrants consideration in all formats, considering he is slated for top six minutes centering a line between the rising Jame Benn and offensively-skilled Michael Ryder. Now back from injury, Ott is a safe bet to keep contributing to categories across the board going forward.

In addition to activating Ott, the Stars announced they have placed right wing Adam Burish on IR with a broken hand. He is expected to miss at least four weeks with the injury. Burish had scored three goals in 16 games while adding an impressive 32 PIMS, however, his loss will not affect most fantasy teams as Burish is owned in just two percent of Yahoo! leagues.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 3:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Flyers, Coyotes

Here is what the lineups could look like when the Flyers and Coyotes take the ice tonight in Philadelphia.

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

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

Ilya Bryzgalov will be in goal to face his former teammates for the first time since leaving Phoenix for Philadelphia this summer. Sergei Bobrovsky will be the backup.

COYOTES
Mikkel Boedker - Cal O'Reilly - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres - Patrick O'Sullivan - Kyle Chipchura

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
David Schlemko - Rostislav Klesla

Mike Smith likely will start in goal, with Jason LaBarbera the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 3:35 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Leafs, Predators

Here is what the lineups likely will look like when the Maple Leafs and Predators meet tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

MAPLE LEAFS
Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Nikolai Kulemin - Tim Connolly - Matt Frattin
Matthew Lombardi - David Steckel - Mike Brown
Philippe Dupuis - Joey Crabb

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
John-Michael Liles - Mike Komisarek
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn
Cody Franson

Ben Scrivens will start in goal, with Jonas Gustavsson the backup.

The Leafs could go with seven defensemen tonight, meaning Jay Rosehill and Colton Orr would be scratches. If coach Ron Wilson elects for a 12th forward instead, Rosehill or Orr would play on the fourth line with Dupuis and Crabb and Franson would sit out.

PREDATORS
Craig Smith - Colin Wilson - Patric Hornqvist
Mike Fisher - Martin Erat - Sergei Kostitsyn
Blake Geoffrion - Nick Spaling - Matt Halischuk
Niclas Bergfors - Jordin Tootoo - Jerred Smithson

Shea Weber - Ryan Suter
Kevin Klein - Francis Bouillon
Jonathon Blum - Jack Hillen

Pekka Rinne is expected to start in goal, with Anders Lindback the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 3:32 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Ducks host Kings as home-and-home concludes

The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will conclude a home-and-home series on Thursday night at Honda Center.

Because of the back-to-back game situation, the Kings did not have a morning skate Thursday while the Ducks had an optional skate after LA's 2-1 shootout victory on Wednesday night.

Anaheim is expected to start Dan Ellis, who is 7-1 with a 2.24 goals-against average in nine career games against L.A. It will be his first start since he allowed three goals in a loss to Columbus on Oct. 30.

Los Angeles is expected start Jonathan Quick in goal again, according to lakingsinsider.com.

Quick stopped 23 of 24 shots in regulation and overtime and six of seven shootout attempts on Wednesday, including one on Kurtis Foster to seal the victory.

Quick also played in back-to-back games on Oct. 29-30 against Phoenix and Colorado and went 1-0-1.

Anaheim winger Niklas Hagman was awaiting visa clearance as of Thursday morning and it was not known if he would be eligible to make his Ducks debut. Anaheim claimed Hagman off re-entry waivers earlier this week.

Anaheim center Ben Maxwell received his work visa to play for the Ducks, but has yet to have a full practice with the whole team. The Ducks also have defenseman Nate Guenin at their disposal after he was recalled Tuesday with Jean-Francois Jacques.

KINGS

Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Andrei Loktionov - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Trevor Lewis - Colin Fraser - Ethan Moreau

Drew Doughty - Jack Johnson
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Rob Scuderi - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

DUCKS
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Matt Beleskey - Brandon McMillan - Devante Smith-Pelly
Andrew Gordon - Maxime Macenauer - Jean-Francois Jacques

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Toni Lydman - Kurtis Foster
Luca Sbisa - Sheldon Brookbank

Dan Ellis
Jonas Hiller


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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday