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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 9:09 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

TB @ WSH - 5:56 of the Third Period

At 5:56 of the third period in the Lightning/Capitals game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Marcus Johansson's shot was stopped by Dustin Tokarski and never crossed the no goal line. No Goal Washington.
Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 8:37 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

BUF @ BOS - 18:09 of the Second Period

At 18:09 of the second period in the Sabres/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Shawn Thornton's shot deflected off Gregory Campbell's stick which was below the crossbar and into the net.  According to Rule 60.5 "The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick. If the puck makes contact with the stick below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed".  Good Goal Boston.
Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 8:16 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

TB @ WSH - 7:25 of the Second Period

At 7:25 of the second period in the Lightning/Capitals game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Steven Stamkos' centering pass deflected off Ryan Malone's left skate and into the net. According to rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal."  Good Goal Tampa Bay.
Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:39 PM

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

Kubina out, Manning in for Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- Defenseman Brandon Manning will become the sixth Flyers player to make his NHL debut this season when he plays Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Manning replaces Pavel Kubina, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Kubina played 20:17 on Tuesday against Detroit, but in the game before that, Sunday against the Capitals, he missed time after being hit in the face by a puck.

The Flyers already are missing veteran defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros indefinitely due to lower-body injuries.

Kubina has two assists in seven games since the Flyers acquired him from the Tampa Bay Lightning last month.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:24 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Henrik Sedin puts Canucks' struggles in perspective

VANCOUVER -- Canucks captain Henrik Sedin was doing his best Alfred E. Newman after his team's first consecutive regulation losses in four months: What -- me worry?

Sedin downplayed the losses, a 1-2-2 run, and the ongoing struggles of both the power play and the top line he centers alongside twin brother Daniel.

The rest of Vancouver may be panicked over a man-advantage unit that has one goal in seven games and a success rate below 10 percent the last two months, or seeing the Sedins, who combined for the last two NHL scoring titles, manage just 1 assist between them the last six games, but Henrik isn't.

"It feels like we're the least-worried guys in the city," Henrik said after practice Wednesday before exercising the option to skip Thursday's morning skate.

As several teammates suggested Thursday, there might be panic if it was April 8 instead of March 8. There is still more than a month to prepare for the playoffs, but there are things that need fixing, including a power play that led the League by a wide margin after going 4-for-11 during a big 4-3 win in Boston back on Jan. 10, but is just 8-for-68 in the 25 games since then.

That drought has also played a role in the Sedins' slide. In addition to his first six-game pointless skid since 2003, Henrik is pointless in 10 of the last 13, while twin brother Daniel has been blanked in nine of those same contests over the last month. And while history and head coach Alain Vigneault suggested it was just a blip and nothing to worry about, a lot of fans in Vancouver clearly are.

"We just have to execute a little bit better," said Alexandre Burrows, the Sedins' regular linemate at even strength. "I think teams are desperate, they play five guys in front of their net and we just have to create more and be more assertive with the puck and make sure we get to the net with traffic there."

Beyond the Sedins, there are other areas of concern that pre-date the current two-game skid and 1-2-2 stretch. The Canucks were 13-1-3 before that, but nine wins came in overtime and shootouts, and stellar goaltending often masked the defensive breakdowns that finally came to roost during a 5-3 loss to Buffalo on Saturday and a 5-2 loss to Dallas on Tuesday filled with odd-man rushes.

"We're certainly not as sharp as we need to be," defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. "It's simple things -- bad passes, poor defensive coverage -- that should be more of an automatic thing by now. Some of those are mental mistakes, maybe a little bit of lack of execution out there, and we need to be better at that."

Part of the problem may be simply matching the other team's intensity.

Both the Sabres and Stars -- and the Jets on Thursday -- are fighting for their playoff lives, while the Canucks have a 16-point cushion atop the Northwest Division and are practically guaranteed a top-two seed with a 13-point gap on the top Pacific Division team. The only question is securing the top spot in the West and chasing a second straight Presidents' Trophy.

"It's tough, we've seen it the last five-six games, teams that are working hard for playoff spots," said backup goalie Cory Schneider, who starts against the Jets. "But we should be able to match that, no problem. We're a team that knows how to play our 'A' game and ratchet up the intensity when we have to, and I think these are the type of games we are going to be playing from here on out and into the playoffs, so we better get comfortable playing desperate teams."

Vigneault even spoke publicly this week about experimenting with his lines over the final 15 games to get a better feel for his options come playoff time. The tinkering will continue with a reunited all-American second line and new third pairing against the Jets, but the coaches and players met beforehand to talk about the need to stay focused for each game.

"Sure, we're not in a battle to make the playoffs, but we need to take pride in how we play and do the right things," Hamhuis said. "If we don't, if we get lazy or start making bad habits, that's not the way you want to go into a postseason."

That said, Hamhuis didn't disagree with his captain's assessment from the day before that it might not be a bad thing to lose now instead of a month from now, if only because it forces the team to assess its shortcomings, especially after being able to get away with them, and win despite of them, earlier this season.

"Sometimes losing is a good thing," Hamhuis said. "When you go through adversity and tough times, that's when you get stronger and it certainly highlights some of the areas in our game that aren't where they need to be, execution being one of them and focus being another. Some of our plays that should be routine aren't right now, and you realize that when you start losing games."

Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:19 PM

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

Laviolette looks for some privacy

PHILADELPHIA -- For the last few seasons, the Flyers have held their morning skates here at the Wells Fargo Center, rather than their practice rink in nearby Voorhees, N.J. But with the Florida Panthers in town, coach Peter Laviolette opted to move the practice to Voorhees.

With a first-round playoff matchup against the Panthers a possibility, Laviolette wasn't interested in giving the opposition a free viewing.

"I think teams are watching," he said. "It's a chance to get over there, little more private."

If anyone from the Panthers made the trek across the Walt Whitman Bridge to New Jersey on Thursday, he wouldn't have seen much. Laviolette called the morning skate "casual," and said it was a chance to look at some new lines created due to injuries to forwards James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr. Van Riemsdyk and Voracek won't play Thursday against the Panthers, while Jagr is a game-time decision due to a hip injury.

"We have new lines, new power play, new combinations," said Laviolette. "Everything is new based on injuries. I want to make sure we get a chance to touch on things because of injuries."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:15 PM

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

Manning has an edge on and off the ice

PHILADELPHIA -- Brandon Manning isn't shy in admitting he's got a chip on his shoulder.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defenseman went undrafted by NHL teams, and finally earned a contract with the Flyers in November 2010.

Now in his first professional season, he's played well enough that he could make his NHL debut Thursday when the Flyers host the Florida Panthers.

"I think it's been the underdog story for me my entire career," Manning said. "It's something I've run with and I kind of rub it in people's faces, people who didn't think I could do it, or the teams that passed over me."

Manning spent four seasons with the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League, and last season had 21 goals and 32 assists in just 53 games. He was tied for third among all WHL blueliners in goals, and tied for ninth with 53 points.

He had surgery in September to repair a labrum tear in his hip, which sidelined him until December, but he's done well since returning with 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 AHL games.

"It took me a while," Manning said of when he felt 100-percent healthy. "I missed a few games again in December. In mid-February I had a streak of about 10 games where I felt really good. I just have to make sure I'm taking care of myself and doing what I have to do every day. It's definitely come along the last month, month and a half, for sure."

If Manning plays, he'll be the 12th rookie to get into a game for the Flyers this season, and the sixth to make his NHL debut. Who comes out of the lineup, however, is a question. All six defenseman who played Tuesday against Detroit were on the ice for Wednesday's practice.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette makes a rule of not discussing his lineup, but he might have tipped his hand when asked about Manning prior to Thursday's game.

"I'm excited to see him play because there's been a lot of real positive comments coming from the minor-league team that he's done a really nice job," said Laviolette. "He's a good two-way defenseman, he plays with an edge, he hits, he fights. It'll be interesting to watch him play. Apparently he's done a nice job down there, coming off the injury, worked hard in the summer to get to a point that now he's back playing. It's a good reward for him to get a game in and show what he can do."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 4:48 PM

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

Voracek a no-go, Jagr game-time decision for Flyers

The story on Wednesday was Jaromir Jagr likely would not play Thursday against the Florida Panthers but there was a chance Jakub Voracek could.

A day later, however, the story has changed 180 degrees, with Voracek ruled out while Jagr remains a game-time decision.

Voracek was leveled by a hard hit from Detroit's Niklas Kronwall in the second period of Tuesday's game. According to, Voracek was under a concussion watch and still had to pass a baseline test in order to be cleared to play.

Jagr, who suffered a hip injury late in the second period of Tuesday's game, skated during Thursday's morning skate, and said his decision would come prior to game-time.

"I don't know anything right now," Jagr told reporters following practice. "I'll let you know later. I felt good. Better than I thought."

Jagr has missed games four times this season due to lower-body issues.

"When you are talking about players who have been dealing with minor bumps or bruises, there are always conversations to make good decisions," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of Jagr. "We'll make those decisions and put the lineup that is best."

That lineup could include forward Harry Zolnierczyk, who was recalled from AHL Adirondack. Zolnierczyk has 3 goals and 2 assists in 36 games this season. He last played in the NHL on Feb. 5.

The team also recalled defenseman Brandon Manning. If Manning plays Thursday, it would be his first NHL game. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 AHL games. He missed the first three months of the season recovering from hip surgery prior to training camp.

An undrafted free agent, Manning was signed by the Flyers in November 2010. He was an offensive-minded defenseman in four seasons with the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League. He tied for third among WHL defensemen last season with 21 goals.

"I haven't seen a lot of him," Laviolette said. "He missed training camp. I haven't seen him up here yet and I don't get to see the guys in the minors that much. (He's) a good two-way defenseman who plays with some grit, plays with an edge."

The Flyers will be without defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros for a fourth straight game due to lower-body injuries, but all six defensemen who played Tuesday against Detroit appear to be healthy, so it's unclear where -- or if -- Manning fits into the lineup.

"It's kind of undecided right now," Manning said when asked if he was playing Thursday. "I'm just kind of waiting to hear how the other guys are doing and we'll go from there."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 4:22 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

'Yotes hope struggling Wild the tonic for March slump

One week ago, the Phoenix Coyotes were two games away from the longest unbeaten streak in franchise history, completing an 11-0-1 February with a leap from 12th place in the Western Conference to the Pacific Division lead with 23 points in a month.

Just seven days later, everything is upside down. The Coyotes are in the midst of the longest pointless streak in coach Dave Tippett's coaching tenure in Phoenix -- four games -- and face the prospect of their first five-game losing streak since February of 2009 when they host the Minnesota Wild.

The Coyotes will start goalie Jason LaBarbera tonight after Mike Smith allowed two goals in the first four minutes of a 3-2 loss in Columbus on Tuesday. The Coyotes have five players still on the injured list and none will play tonight, with enforcer Paul Bissonnette expected to replace Gilbert Brule.

The Coyotes are still seventh in the West and just two points behind Dallas for the Pacific Division lead, but are just one point ahead of San Jose, Los Angeles and Colorado, and need a win to stop the bleeding.

Minnesota knows all about losing streaks. The Wild are 0-4-1 in the last five -- scoring just one goal in the last three games, on a penalty shot by Devin Setoguchi on Tuesday with Minnesota already hoplessly out of a 7-1 loss at Colorado. They have only three wins in the last 16 games (3-10-3) and are now 13th in the Western Conference.

Minnesota was 20-7-3 and had the NHL's best record the last time it was in Phoenix (Dec. 10). Since then, the Wild are 8-22-7.

Only seven players who dressed for that Dec. 10 game will play tonight: Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen, Dany Heatley, Nick Johnson, Darroll Powe, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon.

The rest are either injured, in the minors or no longer part of the organization. How bad has the turnover been?  If defenseman Tyler Cuma, who was called up on Thursday, makes his NHL debut tonight he would become 45th player to wear a Minnesota jersey this season.

Josh Harding will be in goal after Matt Hackett was bombed in Colorado. Cuma will replace Jared Spurgeon (flu). Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) is still out, along with a list too long to mention here.

Here's how the lineups could look tonight:

Raffi Torres - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
David Rundblad - Chris Summers

Jason LaBarbera
Mike Smith


Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Darroll Powe - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Stephane Veilleux - Erik Christensen - Nick Palmieri
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Marco Scandella - Tyler Cuma
Steven Kampfer - Tom Gilbert
Nate Prosser - Kurtis Foster

Josh Harding
Matt Hackett

Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 3:58 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Canucks reunite 'American Express' line

The Canucks continue to tinker with their forward units and defense, re-uniting the American Express line of U.S.-born forwards Chris Higgins, Ryan Kesler and David Booth as they attempt to bump their worst slump in four months.

That it’s a two-game losing streak in regulation -- four of five (1-2-2) if you throw in overtime and shootout losses that sandwiched a win over St. Louis -- says a lot about expectations surrounding a Vancouver team that ran away with the Western Conference last season, but comes into this game second.

Still, there are improvements needed, so the changes continue against the Jets on Thursday night, with newcomer Marc-Andre Gragnani now on a third pairing with youngster Christopher Tanev while the more established Aaron Rome joins fellow veteran Andrew Alberts in the press box as healthy scratches on defense.

Here are the rest of the expected lineups for Thursday night. The Canucks are 41-18-8, while the Jets are 32-27-8 come to Rogers Arena on a 6-1-2 roll, but will have to reverse the trend of being much better at home (21-10-4) than on the road (11-17-4) to hold onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - David Booth
Mason Raymond - Samuel Pahlsson - Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra - Maxim Lapierre - Zack Kassian
Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Marc-Andre Gragnani - Christopher Tanev
Cory Schneider, who cut his professional teeth in Winnipeg with the Canucks' AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, is back in goal after watching Roberto Luongo start the last three.
In addition to the goaltending change, the re-unification of the American Express second line that showed so much promise earlier in the season also changes up the third and fourth units, with the struggling speedster Raymond now on a checking unit, and big trade addition Kassian moving back to more of a crash-and-bang fourth line after a game-plus experiment on that second line.
Gragnani, who came to Vancouver with Kassian in the trade with Buffalo, will continue to get a look on a first power-play unit that still ranks third in the League but has just one goal in the last eight games amid a two-month slump.


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Tim Stapleton - Nik Antropov - Antti Miettinen
Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey - Grant Clitsome
Randy Jones - Mark Stuart
Ondrej Pavelec starts in goal, with Chris Mason backing up.

No lineup changes for a Jets team that built most of its recent 6-1-2 run during a long homestand, but showed some improvement with a 4-3-0 record the last seven road games. That's a notable number considering they have lost 21 of 32 road contests this season.
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Quote of the Day

That's today's game. That's one of the things you have to deal with when you're a championship team. Guys are going to earn more money based on their performance and what they've achieved, [and] deservedly so. [Saad] falls into that category.

— Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Brandon Saad, who was traded by Chicago to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason