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Posted On Friday, 05.20.2011 / 11:09 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

McLellan says Sharks are missing Demers

Jason Demers isn't a No. 1 defenseman or even a No. 2 for the San Jose Sharks. Yet his absence during the first two games of this series has had an impact on the team.

Just ask coach Todd McLellan.

"It has," McLellan said Friday morning. "Our belief in Jason and his ability is very strong.  He's played a very key role in our team play this year.  He's an offensive guy with very good eyes and very good hands, thinks the game creatively."

Demers' injury has forced McLellan to use Kent Huskins during Games 1 and 2. Huskins hadn't played since Feb. 19 and doesn't possess the same offensive skills of Demers.

"Huskins is a different player," McLellan said. "When you put Kent in, it changes. He's a defender. He's more about staying at home and playing in a smaller sheet of ice than the bigger sheet. So it does change the dynamic somewhat.  You have to ask others to do a little bit more in offensive situations.  But it's not the end of the world."

Put a period on it -- Of late, the Sharks have been struggling in the third period. During the first round against the Kings, the Sharks were dominated during the first period.'

Instead of seeing it as a negative, McLellan put a positive spin on it.

"If we're fortunate enough to move on and get to play, then we may even be talking about the second period," McLellan cracked.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Friday, 05.20.2011 / 9:12 AM

By Shane McColgan -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Shane McColgan draft blog

Kelowna's McColgan pitches NHL GMs, scouts

Shane McColgan is a right wing for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. McColgan, the only U.S.-born player selected in the first round of the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, finished runner-up to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels) as the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games. In 67 regular-season games this season, McColgan led the team with 66 points, including 21 goals. The native of Manhattan Beach, Calif., rated No. 125 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters in April, also led the Rockets with 8 goals and 19 points and was second with a plus-5 rating in 10 WHL playoff games. A participant in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August and the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, McColgan has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hello everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read my second to last Draft blog for NHL.com. After the season I took some time off; I think that was important. I won't start skating again until June 14 so I'll be off the ice for about two months but I have started my training program. That's why I'm now back in Kelowna … to train with a couple of the guys over here and with our athletic trainer (Jeff Thorburn) and skating coach (Aaron Konecsni) on the skating treadmill and that's been great. It's been good so far and I'm looking forward to getting started with the training.

While it is disappointing that I won't be able to attend the NHL Scouting Combine, I know that was something that was out of my control. Everyone knows how strong I am. I feel I can do anything in the gym but the main reason I wanted to go there was for the teams to really get to know me as a person, so that's the only reason why I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to go, but everything will work out the way it will. If scouts or GMs want to call or do interviews with me, that'll be great.

I do feel I can bring my playmaking ability and leadership as well to any team -- since I feel I've grown as a leader in Kelowna. I feel my strengths are my offensive ability and will to win because I always want to win … I'm a real competitive guy and I think every team needs that. Obviously I'm not going to be a fighter or a fourth-line type player but if they want me to do a different role, then I'll try that. I'll do whatever it takes to play.

I'm prepared for whatever round I go in or whatever number I'm chosen at the NHL Draft. It doesn't matter to me. At the end of the day, you still have to make the team. I'm not going to go to the Draft. I'm just going to stay at home with my family and watch it with my family on television. I'll celebrate it with my friends and family back home (in Manhattan Beach, Ca.).

Individually in the WHL playoffs, I really excelled and took to heart what my coaches told me to do in the playoffs and really focused on that. Team wise, I thought we had a really good chance this year to go further than the second round. Playing Portland was pretty huge for us and everyone was expecting them to sweep us but we took it to six games, so I think we can build off of that going into next year but it was a good season overall.

When I look back, I did go to the Top Prospects Game and the fact this is my Draft year, there was a little pressure but now that the season is over, I think I can sit back, relax and play the waiting game now. But it was a tremendous year and all the guys are great on my team. We're a tight-knit group in the locker room and looking forward to 2011-12.

As a rookie, I had a tremendous year and this year I kind of got off to a slow start (sidelined three weeks) with my surgery (to remove an abscess in the right tonsil) and everything going on at the start of the year, but there's no excuses. I knew I had to battle through that. Overall, I think I had a pretty solid year. I would have liked to score a few more goals but that's about it.

Thanks for reading and check back next month after the Draft for my final blog of the season.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 5:20 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Boyle: Sharks giving Sedins too much respect

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It's important to respect your opponent. But Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle thinks it's gone a little too far during the Western Conference Final.

"There's a little too much respect," Boyle said Thursday. "I think it's important to have respect for guys like the Sedins, but I think we're giving them too much."

Respect could be a synonym for space when Boyle talks about it. Is that something done knowingingly, or is it a sub-conscious thing that players might not realizing they're doing?

"That had a so-called quiet series last series, and no one expected that to happen this time around," Boyle said. "There's been a little too much respect. I think at home we'll have a little bit of ... the matchups will probably be a little bit better. I think when those guys are given that extra little foot, they can take advantage of it."

Sharks captain Joe Thornton feels it's important to give the Canucks respect, but agrees with Boyle that too much is a problem.

"We gave L.A. their respect, Detroit their respect and now Vancouver," Thornton said. "They did what they're supposed to do -- win two games at home. Now we gotta do what we're supposed to do -- win two games at our home."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 4:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Julien fires back

It appears that Boston coach Claude Julien has had enough of Guy Boucher's commentary on the Bruins.

The Lightning coach has spent the better part of two weeks now pumping up the Bruins in his public comments.

Already, Boucher has said he expects goalie Tim Thomas to perform miracles and has suggested that injured center Patrice Bergeron would play in each of the first two games of this series. Bergeron, out with a concussion for almost two weeks, may play in Game 3.

Thursday morning, Boucher spent part of his presser talking about the speed possessed by Boston rookie Tyler Seguin, who has 3 goals and 3 assists in the first two games of this series.

"I think the players and everybody underestimated his speed," Boucher said Thursday morning. "That's the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and for his team. And being a young guy, having success right away certainly takes a lot of nervousness away. For us, we know that he's going to be on the ice. We have to be able to keep on him."

Julien, speaking about an hour later, was apprised of Boucher's comments and decided he had just about enough of the Lightning coach trying to build the Bruins into world-beaters, the same tactic Boucher so successfully employed in the second-round sweep of top-seeded Washington.

"Well, Tampa has been very good at complimenting our team," Julien said, an edge seemingly in his voice. "They do a really good job of that. I think Tampa has got some pretty good speed themselves, (Marty) St. Louis and those kind of guys, Stamkos. They've got the same kind of players.

"So my answer to that would be I think they're pretty well served on their side. I don't think they're worried so much about Tyler more than they want to flatter him, and we know that there are the mind games that teams play, and right now we're just focusing on what we have to do here. And, if anything, I would be more tempted to compliment my own players such as St. Louis and those guys that are just as good as Seguin when it comes to speed."
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 12:53 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Lightning know Roloson will shake off loss

While the Tampa Bay Lightning have to play better defensively in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they are not worried about goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

The 41-year-old goalie allowed six goals on 27 shots against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 before being replaced by Mike Smith for the third period. He yielded five of those goals on just nine shots in the second period.

"He was pulled but it wasn't because of his poor play," captain Vincent Lecavalier said. "He still made some big saves. The goals we gave them -- it is tough for a goalie. It is not just the first shot, it was the rebounds. They were beating us to pucks. He'll be back strong tonight -- we know that."

Roloson has been resilient for the Lightning since arriving in January via a trade from the New York Islanders. He's allowed five or more goals four times since the trade, and he's 4-0-0 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.19 goals-against average in his next start after those games.

The cliche in this sport is goalies need to have short memories. Roloson's teammates and coaches are confident in his.

"He's built some mental tools over the years that some young guys don't have," said Guy Boucher said. "For him it is all about a 12-hour thing. Beyond 12 hours -- you can't even talk to him about it because it doesn't exist. That's a great mental tool that takes a long time and takes a mature man to do that. That's where he is right now."

Added Roloson: "It is just being about to forget about it. You dwell on things and it affects your play, so it's just being able to forget about it and focus on what you've got to do to be ready to go the next night."

Injury update:
Forward Dana Tyrell skated this morning without a red no-contact jersey on and Boucher confirmed is available to play. Whether or not he actually does remains to be seen.

Tyrell had 6 goals and 15 points for the Lightning during the regular season but has been out since Game 5 of the first round because of a lower-body injury. Boucher said the decision of whether or not Tyrell will rejoin the lineup has yet to be made.

Defenseman Pavel Kubina did not participate in the morning skate. Boucher said there was chance Kubina could have practiced Wednesday but the team didn’t have one, but Thursday they decided to not have him skate as he attempts to return from a concussion.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 12:09 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins looks forward to NHL Combine

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Well, it's NHL Combine time. I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and it's going to be a lot of fun. I know I'm really looking forward to talking with some teams and being able to meet some of the top prospects from around the world, so it's definitely going to be a fun experience. I think I'll be getting there on Tuesday (May 31). Before that, I'll be attending the CHL Award ceremony in Mississauga (at the Living Arts Centre on May 28).

The fact that nothing will be done on the ice is an interesting concept because it gives the general managers and scouts an opportunity to look at us off the ice and what we're like as people instead of just hockey players. So it's a whole different aspect.

I've been in the gym pretty much every day and I've been doing most of the Combine exercises. I'm trying to get as prepared for it as possible and have just been working as hard as I can. (The NHL Scouting Combine will be held May 30 to June 4 in Toronto).

I've heard about the bike tests (Wingate anaerobic measure and aerobic-max VO2) and I know they'll be pretty tough, but I think my cardio is pretty good so I should be OK on the VO2. But the Wingate is pretty tough. I'm trying to prepare myself for that, but I guess you never can prepare yourself enough for it.

As far as the season goes, it was disappointing to lose to Medicine Hat in the playoffs (4-games-to-1). All year they kind of had our number for some reason, but I thought we worked as hard as we could but things just didn't seem to go our way. The first round we played great (in a four-game sweep of Edmoton) and we had a couple of solid games against Medicine Hat, but couldn't get it done.

I think with the way the (WHL champion) Kootaney Ice have been playing in the playoffs, I think they have a very good shot at winning the Memorial Cup.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 10:37 AM

By NHL Public Relations -  /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

NHL Network U.S. will have Memorial Cup covered

The NHL Network U.S. will showcase the best teams in Canadian major junior hockey as they compete for a national championship title in the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament. The coverage will feature a combination of live and tape delayed broadcasts throughout the 10 days of competition from the tournament's host city of Mississauga, Ontario.

It marks the fourth consecutive year that the NHL Network will provide fans the opportunity to see the NHL's future stars and 2011 draft-eligible players battling for Canadian Hockey League's supreme trophy.

Those teams challenging for the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup include Western Hockey League (WHL) champion Kootenay Ice, Ontario Hockey League (OHL) champion Owen Sound Attack and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) champion Saint John Sea Dogs, plus the host team Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (OHL).

NHL Network U.S. will air Rogers Sportsnet's coverage of all tournament games with the broadcast team of play-by-play man Peter Loubardias, analyst Sam Cosentino and host Rob Faulds. All games will be broadcast in high definition.

Tournament coverage will begin on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. ET with the re-broadcast of the previous night's action between the Saint John Sea Dogs and the host Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. Saint John is led by top-ranked prospects Jonathan Huberdeau (No. 3 ranked) and defenseman Nathan Beaulieau (No. 5 ranked), two of nine Sea Dogs on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking list. Mississauga captain Casey Cizikas, drafted 92nd by the NY Islanders in 2009, will lead the Majors to their first Memorial Cup appearance since 1961.

In the second game of Saturday's double-header, NHL Network U.S. will provide live coverage when the Owen Sound Attack take on the Kootenay Ice at 7:00 p.m. ET.  WHL Eastern Conference MVP and Kootenay center Cody Eakin, drafted 85th by the Washington Capitals in 2009, will lead the Ice against Owen Sound, which is coming off a big Game 7 win in the OHL championship series.  The Attack's 17-year-old, draft-eligible goaltender Jordan Binnington only allowed four goals on 70 shots over the last two games of the series.

Additional live game coverage will be added to the NHL Network U.S. schedule as the NHL’s Conference Finals series conclude.  Fans are encouraged to check the schedule at www.nhlnetwork.com for updates.

All of NHL Network's live broadcasts will feature intermissions originating from the NHL Network studio in Toronto.  NHL Network will also feature nightly Memorial Cup coverage on NHL On The Fly with tournament news and notes and game analysis.

NHL.com also will have special coverage of the tournament in its entirety with a team of reporters and videographers on-site to cover the sights and sounds of the CHL's best.

The 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament features 25 recently drafted players from 20 NHL Clubs and 17 players eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft who have been ranked by NHL Central Scouting.

2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup on NHL Network U.S. Schedule (all times Eastern)

Date                 Game                                   Time (ET)
Sat., May 21    Saint John vs. Mississauga    9:00 a.m. (tape delay from 5/20)
                        Owen Sound vs. Kootenay    7:00 p.m. (LIVE)
Sun., May 22    Mississauga vs. Kootenay    7:00 p.m. (LIVE)
Tues., May 24    Owen Sound vs. Saint John    12:00 p.m. (tape delay from 5/23)
Wed., May 25    Kootenay vs. Saint John    12:00 p.m. (tape delay from 5/24)
Thurs., May 26    Mississauga vs. Owen Sound     12:00 p.m. (tape delay from 5/25)
Fri., May 27    Tie-Breaker (if necessary)    12:00 p.m. (tape delay from 5/26)
Sat., May 28    Semi-Final    1:00 p.m. (tape delay from 5/27)
Sun., May 29    Championship Game    7:00 p.m. (LIVE)

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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 2:10 AM

By Dhiren Mahiban -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Highlights of the night

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks had their way with the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night at Rogers Arena, beating the visitors 7-3 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Turning Point: At 12:05 of the second period, with the game tied 2-2, Chris Higgins hit Kevin Bieksa with a pass in stride through the neutral zone. The man they call 'Juice' made no mistake on his breakaway, beating Antti Niemi low glove-side for his third of these playoffs.

Vancouver would go on to score four more in the third before Ben Eager got the Sharks' third of the night.

The Save: With 2:26 remaining in the second Henrik Sedin feathered a pass cross-ice to defenseman Alexander Edler. However, Niemi came up with a huge right pad save to keep his team in it, and maintain the one-goal game.

The Quote: "(Kevin Bieksa's) a phony. He goes after our top players. He's been asked many times, by lots of players throughout the League (to fight), and he's declined. -- Sharks forward Ben Eager on Bieksa electing to fight Patrick Marleau

Player of the Game: Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa had a big night in the team's Game 2 win. He finished with a "Gordie Howe hat trick," collecting a goal, assist and a fight. Bieksa also had five hits in 18:55 of ice time.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.18.2011 / 10:26 PM

By Dhiren Mahiban -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Samuelsson update Thursday?

VANCOUVER – Expect an update on injured Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson on Thursday.

According to a source, the 34-year-old Swede is expected to be out of action for a while. It has not been confirmed, but it's believed Samuelsson has undergone some type of surgery.

On Wednesday morning, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault told the media that Samuelsson would not travel to San Jose for Games 3 and 4.

Samuelsson suffered a lower-body injury in mid-March during a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. It's believed Samuelsson re-aggravated the injury during the Canucks' Game 5 loss to the Nashville Predators. He has not played since.

The former Detroit Red Wing also missed Game 1 of the Chicago series, but the team said it was a case of the flu at the time.

Samuelsson had 18 goals and 50 points during the regular season and added a goal and two assists during the playoffs.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.18.2011 / 9:45 PM

NHL.com - Situation Room blog (2010-2011 season)

SJS-VAN Game 2: 13:03 of the first period

Video review was used to determine that the original shot from the San Jose player crossed the line.  Good goal.

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Quote of the Day

Because of the way they play and their skill set I don't think they're fourth-line players, so in my mind I'm looking at one of those guys I'll have to move over to the wing.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on his four-player battle for second-line center