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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 6:06 PM

By Staff -  / - At the Rink blog

Devils acquire Foster from Ducks in four-player deal

The New Jersey Devils acquired defenseman Kurtis Foster from the Anaheim Ducks on Monday in a multi-player deal.

In exchange for Foster and minor-league goalie Timmo Pielmeier, the Devils sent the Ducks forward Rod Pelley, defenseman Mark Fraser and a seventh-round draft pick.

The Devils were looking for help on defense after Andy Greene was recently sidelined for four weeks with a broken toe and Anton Volchenkov suffered a hand injury that has left him day-to-day. The team called up Matt Taormina and Alexander Urbom, who made their season debuts on Saturday afternoon against the Canadiens.

The 30-year-old Foster, a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2000 Entry Draft, had 1 goal and 2 points in nine games this season for Anaheim. In 340 career games for the Thrashers, Wild, Lightning, Oilers and Ducks, he has 38 goals and 143 points.

Foster scored a career-high 10 goals for Minnesota in the 2005-06 season, but suffered a potentially career-threatening broken leg near the end of the 2007-08 campaign when he was checked into the boards racing back on an icing touch-up. Foster returned to play 10 games for the Wild near the end of the following season and scored a career-high 42 points for Tampa Bay in 2009-10, becoming a finalist for the Masterton Trophy.

Pielmeier, 22, appeared in 10 games with Elmira (ECHL) this season, posting a 4-5-0 record with a 3.45 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. He made his NHL debut with Anaheim last season, making seven saves in relief of Curtis McElhinney on Feb. 19, 2011 at St. Louis.

Pelley, 27, has appeared in 211 games with New Jersey, collecting 7 goals and 26 points. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound center has appeared in seven games with New Jersey this season, going scoreless with seven penalty minutes.

Fraser, 25, has played 98 games with the Devils, earning 3 goals and 8 points. Selected by New Jersey in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Fraser has gone scoreless in four games this season.

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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 4:05 PM

By Jeremy Roenick -  NHL Network Contributor / - World According to JR

Roenick builds his team of top American talent

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick pens a weekly blog for this season called, "World According to JR." It runs every Wednesday and will again this week. However, with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday night in Chicago, Roenick decided to write a special blog entry catered to Americans in hockey. Roenick was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame last year.

Let me start by saying what an honor it is to have Gary Suter, Chris Chelios, Keith Tkachuk, Ed Snider and Mike Emrick join me in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. All five are truly legends not just in the American hockey world, but the entire hockey world.

It is an annual tradition at the time of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductions to debate the best American-born players. But what about the next generation of U.S. Hockey Hall of Famers? More appropriately, what about this generation of American hockey stars?
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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 2:52 PM

By Staff -  / - At the Rink blog

Lightning sign Miettinen to two-way deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday signed free agent forward Antti Miettinen to a two-year, one-way contract.

Miettinen, 31, had been playing for Ak-Bars Kazan of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, but is no longer on the active roster. The Finnish right wing last appeared in an NHL game in 2010-11 as a member of the Minnesota Wild when he produced 16 goals and 35 points in 73 games. He also tied for the team lead in power-play goals (8) and game-winners (4). He had 20 goals and 44 points in 2009-10.

Miettinen, 6-foot, 190 pounds, must clear waivers before joining the Lightning.

A native of Hameenlinna, Miettinen has skated in 472 career NHL games with the Wild and Dallas Stars, collecting 89 goals and 212 points. He's played in 24 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with Dallas, notching 2 goals and 5 points with 10 penalty minutes.

Miettinen was originally drafted by the Stars in the seventh round (No. 224) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 1:29 PM

By Alex Galchenyuk -  Special to / - Alex Galchenyuk draft blog

Galchenyuk settling into rehab routine

Alex Galchenyuk is a forward for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot, 198-pound forward was born in Milwaukee but is of Russian decent -- his father, Alexander, spent five of his 22 professional seasons playing in the U.S. Alex was the first pick of the 2010 OHL draft, and last season had 31 goals and 52 assists in 68 games. He had 2 goals and an assist in five games for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and returned to take part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Despite suffering a major knee injury that could end his season before it really starts, Galchenyuk has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Hi Everyone!

It's been a very busy month for me. I've been going to the Fowler Kennedy clinic for therapy daily, where I work with trainers Nancy and Kim. In Sarnia, Dr. Vargo, Mike Anning and Eric Corda also work with me on a daily basis. I'm doing workouts for my back, shoulders, arms and core. My leg workouts now consist of leg press, bike and elliptical balance exercises. I work mostly at the rink, and my dad and our trainer Mark Anderson have been helping me with that. So far my road to recovery has been going pretty good. I can do a lot more now, so the past month has been like a daily routine of therapy and training for me. Trying to get a little better every day.

I've been going to all our games lately; I just don't go on the road trips because I can't miss any therapy right now. Trying to support our guys from the sidelines, although I can't describe how hard it is to watch. I would much rather be out there with them, but at least I get to spend more time at the rink now. You know, I guess sometimes life throws out these challenges for you and you start appreciating things a lot more after you don't have them for a while. Right now I'm making the most of my situation and I'm hungrier than ever to get back out on the ice. I know that when I do go back that I will appreciate my time on the ice and being with my teammates even more.

I read Brett Connolly's comments on, and it was pretty cool to hear some words of support from him. I also had a chance to talk with Morgan Rielly who's kind of in the same boat with me with an ACL tear.  

Right now I'm looking forward to visiting my sister and our friends in Chicago; we're going to see a Blackhawks game and do some Christmas shopping, then we'll drive to Sarnia and spend Christmas and New Year's in a nice family atmosphere.

I wish everyone a great holiday season. Spend some quality time with your family and friends and hopefully the new year will be happy and successful for all of us!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

P.S. -- Santa, help me get back on the ice soon!
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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 1:24 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Lightning facing adversity as Devils come to town

TAMPA -- Four games ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning headed out on the road, seeking a measure of consistency. Monday night they return to the St. Pete Times Forum having found some, but not the sort they had hoped for.

The Lightning (12-15-2) will face the New Jersey Devils (14-13-1), having dropped six of their last seven games while being outscored by their opponents, 27-13 -- certainly not the sort of reliability coach Guy Boucher was hoping to find.

"Consistency comes from habits, and there are a lot of things that are not habits for us this year," Boucher said.
"Turnovers have killed us and we don't have a powerhouse offense. We've got three big names, but no secondary scoring. When we try to 'run and gun' it, we don't look consistent like we're supposed to.

"We don't have consistency because we don't have the same attention to details and habits. The chemistry is different."

Monday will be the second of four meetings this season between these two clubs; New Jersey took the first matchup 4-2 on Nov. 19, also in Tampa. In that contest, Ryan Carter and David Clarkson led the Devils with a goal and an assist apiece.

Martin St. Louis scored for Tampa Bay, but he won't be on the ice Monday night as he continues his recovery from facial fractures suffered when he was hit in the face with a puck during the morning skate Dec. 8 in New York.

"It's unrealistic right now to think St. Louis can return before Christmas," Boucher said. "Not having him puts a gigantic hole in our lineup."

That gigantic hole may be viewed most clearly on the power play, where the Lightning are sporting a 2-for-23 success rate.

"We've got less movement on the power play now," Boucher said. "Marty (St. Louis) created things that weren't planned. You can't expect to do the same things without Marty."

Despite St. Louis' absence, the Devils are not taking anything for granted.

"The Lightning are still a really good team without him," Zach Parise said. "But he's probably their best overall player. When you lose that, other players will elevate their game, so I'm sure they'll be tough."

For Tampa Bay, things have been tough in a different sort of way.

"It's a very trying year with lots of adversity," Boucher said. "And that’s good. That's how you build -- through adversity."
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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 1:22 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Devils, Lightning

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New Jersey Devils at the St. Pete Times Forum:

Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - David Clarkson
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Dainius Zubrus - Ryan Carter - Nick Palmieri
Eric Boulton - Tim Sestito - Mattias Tedenby

Henrik Tallinder - Adam Larsson
Alexander Urbom - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Matt Taormina

Johan Hedberg
Martin Brodeur

Ryan Malone - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Shannon
Tom Pyatt - Dominic Moore - Blair Jones
Adam Hall - Nate Thompson - Dana Tyrell

Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman
Matt Gilroy - Marc-Andre Bergeron
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon

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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 9:00 AM

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

LaFontaine discusses concussion safety and testing

In this week's 'Making of a Royal' blog, head coach Pat LaFontaine discusses concussion safety and testing. LaFontaine's Hall of Fame career was ended by a concussion, so he is very passionate about the subject matter. He retired in October, 1999. LaFontaine believes the NHL has taken positive steps in dealing with head injuries and concussions.
Concussion safety has come a long way from when I played. Personally, I've been a proponent for it since I retired. I've been through it twice and know the ramifications and severity in dealing with post-concussion syndrome.

People resist change and that makes me laugh. When we went to 4-on-4 in overtime, traditionalists said you can't change the game. But I've been saying for the longest time that we're so much better than what we're doing as a whole. One of the great things the League did in 2004 was allowing the speed to enter the game. With that, came greater collisions and we started to find out at an early stage that the speed on impacts was so great there were things we were missing. All of these factors played into rising concussions. It's inevitable that if speeds are greater and guys are bigger, faster and stronger, hitting the head will cause more concussions. So with all those changes, came a bag of negative things; but we didn't want to deal with it.
Here's the thing, 95 percent of the body is available to hit. We know that if you hit the head hard enough, you're likely going to have concussion issues that, potentially, could have long-term effects. We knew that, but were still caught up with thinking we're going to lose hitting.
I'm a traditional guy, but you only grow through change. I think there's been a real shift in the NHL and it's making the game better. I'm enjoying watching games because guys are thinking twice about throwing an elbow. There's no honor in nailing a guy from behind, no honor in hitting a guy in the head. It's called a cheap shot because there's no honor in it and it shouldn't be in our game.
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Posted On Monday, 12.12.2011 / 12:00 AM - Melrose Minute

The top 5 goalies of all-time

No player spends more time on the ice than the man in net, and often he can be the difference between winning and losing. With that in mind, here are my five greatest goaltenders in NHL history:

5. Glen Hall

Glenn Hall won 406 NHL games, taking Calder, Vezina, and Conn Smythe trophies along the way to go with two Stanley Cups as a player. (Photo: Getty Images)
He's one of the top 10 in wins, one of the most famous goaltenders ever to play and he was very unique. Everyone of course knows about him puking before games and that might make him seem nervous, but he did it as long and as well as anyone. When you think of goaltending, Glenn Hall is one of the names that always pops up.

Hall had several major accomplishments, but what might stand out most of all is his 502 starts in a row. Coaches would never let that happen now. Coaches are worried about goaltenders being tired. Obviously they weren't playing 82-game seasons then, but Glen did play when it was 70 games, and not only that, but a lot of those times there was only one goaltender so he was the only goalie for practice, too. To do that and never be hurt, and do all that traveling, because they were flying commercial then -- they didn't fly charter jets -- or taking the train, that number is just mind-boggling. That a goalie could play that many games without a mask without getting hurt, it's just a crazy, crazy number. Coaches are very careful these days. They'll let him play two games in a row, but not three, or they'll monitor his minutes. It's just a crazy number -- one that we'll never see approached again in the NHL.

4. Jacques Plante

His numbers are right up there with the best. He's one of the most famous goaltenders ever, and he's one that changed the game by having the guts to wear a mask. In those days general managers thought that wearing a mask was a sign of weakness. They actually ordered goalies not to wear masks, and Jacques was powerful enough and strong enough mentally that he said, "To hell with you. I'm wearing a mask. I don't care what the GM thinks and I don't care what the coach thinks. I'm wearing a mask and it won't hurt the way I play." He knew he would play better with a mask on, that he'd be braver and more aggressive. Jacques Plante changed the game of hockey for the better. He played well into his 40s and was on the Blues with Glenn Hall later in his career, he won several Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, had 434 wins in 837 games, which is pretty impressive and he's just one of the great ones. No doubt about it.

3. Terry Sawchuk

He's in the top five in wins, and I put him No. 3 because of the shutouts. He had over 100 of them. A lot like Glen Hall's record, it's just a crazy record playing as many games as he did. He won Stanley Cups, had 447 wins and was a guy that fought a lot of demons. If he was a football or baseball player in the United States they'd have a movie about his life. But the thing that sets him apart is the number of shutouts he had in his career.

We don't look at history enough in our sport. Kids today don't know the history of our sport and who was great in the 40s and 50s -- with all sports. Baseball guys will say the same things -- that young guys don't know what Jackie Robinson went through or what Ty Cobb was like. In our sport, young hockey fans should know Terry Sawchuk and know about his history.

2. Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 6-8-0
GAA: 3.18 | SVP: 0.884
This is going to be the debate, but I'm going with Brodeur at No. 2. He has the most wins in the regular season, and he's great, still playing at 39 years old and still getting wins, but I don't think he's going to pass Patrick Roy in playoff wins. Both have won Stanley Cups, but Marty's No. 2 because Patrick's playoff record is so unbelievable. Still Brodeur is a great goaltender and a great ambassador for the game. He's also a different kind of goaltender. He's very media-friendly, he's a great puck handler and a great passer -- like a third defenseman. Most goalies are told not play the puck, but I imagine most coaches told Marty to play it. He was like another set of eyes back there. He changed the game that way, but the numbers really speak for themselves. He has over 600 wins and is just unbelievable.

And not to take away from Marty, but the teams he played behind were so good defensively. We changed the game after the lockout because of the Devils. On some nights, Marty would see only 18 shots. Very rarely did he see 30 shots. A lot of those games, though, Marty had to make 2 or 3 saves at key times to win playoff games or Stanley Cup games. Sometimes it's easier to play goal when you're seeing 40 shots than when you're seeing 14.

1. Patrick Roy

I saw Patrick up close when he won the Cup in 1993 with Montreal and I was coaching Los Angeles. He's won the Conn Smythe three times with two different teams, he's won the Stanley Cup four times and he won with the best team and without the best team. He's got the most playoff wins and I'm a big believer that a big part of greatness is your playoff record. Marty has a great playoff record too, but we've seen Roy do so many things and be such a great competitor. If I have one game and my life is on the line, I want Patrick Roy in net. I think he's the best big-game goaltender to ever play in our sport.
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Posted On Sunday, 12.11.2011 / 9:18 PM

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

Yakupov returns after seven-game absence

After sitting out the previous seven games with a sore back, Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov returned to the lineup on Sunday and was one major pain in the neck for the Peterborough Petes.

Yakupov chipped in with a goal and two assists to help lead the Sting to a 4-2 victory over the Petes in an Ontario Hockey League matchup at the RBC Centre in Sarnia. It was just the contribution the Sting needed in snapping a two-game losing streak and improving to 18-9-1-4 on the season.

"He's a very special player," Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu told Dave Borody of "Star players have that knack of being game breakers and changing the momentum of the game. He came back today and had three points. Not bad for a guy who missed the past two weeks."

Yakupov, who was named the game's second star, is projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick at the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh on June 22. Despite missing nearly two weeks, Yakupov would score the first of four Sarnia Sting goals in second period.

He leads the team with 19 goals, 11 power-play goals, 49 points and a plus-17 rating in 24 matches. Last year, Yakupov led his team and all OHL rookies in scoring with 101 points, including 49 goals, in 65 games.

There's a good chance Yakupov will be selected for the Russian National Junior Team that will play in the 2012 World Junior Championship in Calgary beginning Dec. 26. The Russians are the defending WJC gold medalist.

According to NHL Central Scouting, Yakupov's agent, Igor Larionov has advised Russian coach Valeri Bragin that Yakupov will travel to the team's camp in Calgary on Dec. 18. Russia will have two exhibition games prior to the start of the tournament -- on Dec. 20 against Team USA in Red Deer and Dec. 22 against Czech Republic in Lethbridge.

Earlier this season, Yakupov's linemate and fellow Russian countryman, Alex Galchenyuk, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and underwent surgery. He is still at least four months away from returning to the lineup. Galchenyuk suffered his injury on Sept. 16 in a preseason game against the Windsor Spitfires.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Sunday, 12.11.2011 / 6:41 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Emery gets the start, but no 'controversy' in Chicago

CHICAGO – Is there a goalie controversy brewing in the Windy City?

Not the way Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville sees it. He's starting veteran Ray Emery over starter Corey Crawford for the second straight game tonight against the Sharks – and for the third time in the past four games – but the term "controversy" doesn't compute in his mind.

"It's a nice situation," Quenneville said. "Ray's played well in there and gets a chance to keep going in the net. So, we'll keep making decisions based on their play. But I think it's a good situation. We've got both guys playing well and some nights the decisions are tough."

As for Crawford, who allowed three goals on 16 shots in his last start last week, has a 3.00 goals-against average and an. 896 save percentage – both lagging from what he did as a rookie last year. Quenneville said that sitting out and working in practices could help him turn it back around.

"I think he's been fine," Quenneville said. "He's been working on his game and I think that he's just waiting for his chance to get back in the net. His approach has been fine. We'll measure more of that when he gets back in, but he's been fine."

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Quote of the Day

I was surprised. I knew I got it. It's tough. You never know how hard it is until it registers on the gun. I got pretty much all I could into and you just hope for the best.

— Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber after winning the AMP NHL Hardest Shot event at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition