Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 4:14 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Predators, Avalanche

DENVER -- These are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center:

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Matt Halischuk - Craig Smith - Jerred Smithson

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback


TJ Galiardi - Paul Stastny - David Jones
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Milan Hejduk
Chuck Kobasew - Jay McClement - Daniel Winnik
Cody McLeod - David Van Der Gulik - Kevin Porter

Jan Hejda - Ryan O'Byrne
Ryan Wilson - Matt Hunwick
Kyle Quincey - Stefan Elliott

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Injuries: LW Matt Duchene (knee), D Erik Johnson (hand), LW Peter Mueller (head) and D Shane O'Brien (knee) are out.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 4:00 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Selanne's latest milestone: 1,300th career game

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It will be the 1,300th game for Teemu Selanne and likely the third goalie in two games for the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

Selanne will become the fourth active player to reach 1,300 games when the Ducks host the Dallas Stars, putting him in company with Nicklas Lidstrom, Roman Hamrlik and Jaromir Jagr.

Selanne will also become the ninth European-born and second Finnish-born player after Teppo Numminen to do so.

"A couple of guys reminded me today," Selanne said. "There's maybe some money on the board. They don't forget stuff like that."

On a serious note, Selanne has been Anaheim's most productive forward at 41. He leads the Ducks with 39 points and is second with 6 power-play goals.

His balky knee, which has been the major obstacle to continuing his career, has held up. And despite Anaheim's awful season, Selanne said he's still having fun.

"Obviously it has been more frustrating than before, but still that has been my goal to come here every day and enjoy it," he said. "It's easier when you win, but still in the morning when I leave from home I still have a place to come, so that's how it should be and they're happy.

"If you can't stay healthy, you can't have fun and you can't have success either. That's the main thing, just try to stay healthy."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau inherited Selanne when he became coach Nov. 30, but he's followed him throughout his career.

"He sure has done the test of time and deserves everything he gets," Boudreau said. "You guys know as I do, he's a better person than he is a player, and he's a great player. The goals he's gotten, the highlights that I've seen from his younger days, I mean they're still in the top 10s of best goals ever.

"I told him today that Gordie Howe played until he was in his 50s, so I don't see what your problem is."

Hiller out:
Jonas Hiller was not ready to skate two days after he suffered a lower-body injury against Columbus.

Boudreau did not name a starter, but he sounded like it would be Jeff Deslauriers, who came off the ice first after he arrived from the East Coast late Monday night.

Anaheim initially recalled Iiro Tarkki, who was forced into his first NHL game Sunday when Hiller got hurt. Tarkki has had better numbers than Deslauriers in AHL-affiliate Syracuse, but Deslauriers has 58 games of NHL experience.

"I've seen him play great and I've seen him play not so great," Boudreau said. "Let's hope it's the former and more than the latter."

Dallas defenseman Sheldon Souray said a new goalie puts an emphasis on shots.

"It just stresses the important a little more of getting pucks on net and not being to selective," Souray said. "Sometimes young goalies have a tendency to either be a little over-excited or a little nervous or both. Sometimes they try to overplay things, but we've seen it before, too, that they're so amped up that they play great."

Souray in: Souray will return to the lineup after he missed three games with an ankle injury.

"He's going to be a go tonight," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "The decision for us now is seven D. We don't think he's up for the 22-minute mark where he normally is, but if we can get 16 good minutes out of him, a little bit of a play."

Wandell in for Ribeiro:
With Mike Ribeiro out with a knee injury, Jamie Benn will center the first line with Steve Ott and Michael Ryder while Tom Wandell will center the second line with Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson.
Wandell has points in four straight games.

"It's a great opportunity for him," Gulutzan said. "He's going to have to not change his game and keep doing the things that made him successful."

Ribeiro took a knee-on-knee hit from Edmonton's Theo Peckham on Saturday. Gulutzan said an MRI on Ribeiro's knee revealed an MCL tear, but Gulutzan added that Ribeiro has an old MCL tear so that "pollutes the waters a little bit of what's actually there."

"He's limping around, but Ribs thinks he can play. But we have to make sure that he's stable enough that he's not going to get an injury there."
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 3:58 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Ducks

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Dallas Stars visit the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center:


Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Stephane Robidas - Alex Goligoski
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Sheldon Souray - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman


Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Andrew Cogliano - Nick Bonino
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - Kyle Palmieri

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jeff Deslauriers
Iiro Tarkki
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:46 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Blue Jackets set to start anew under Richards

CHICAGO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets went through their first morning skate without Scott Arniel as their head coach on Tuesday at the United Center, as they prepared to play the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Not much was different with assistant Todd Richards at the helm -- other than maligned center Derick Brassard moved back to the top line with Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash -- but there was an overall sense of responsibility being taken by players for what happened.

"This one's really hitting home," forward Derek Dorsett said. "(Arniel) taught me a lot, and he's a guy that put everything he had into it and just for some reason he couldn't get this group to click. It's a business and we all have to be professional about it and move on, but at the same time we've got to realize that we are part of the problem and we have to get our game back on straight -- and that's everyone individually, myself included."

The Blue Jackets have lost two out of the first three games on their current four-game road trip and have a 4-9-2 record in their last 15 games. They've also got just two players in the positive of the plus-minus rating category and have allowed 38 more goals than they've scored.

Columbus has also dealt with a suspension to top defenseman James Wisniewski and a slew of injuries to start the season that have all hampered the effort through the first half. Wisniewski (ankle) and top-line center Jeff Carter (shoulder) are among the injured currently, and it’s Carter's second ailment of the season.

It just seems to keep getting worse for the guys in blue, and now their coach has now been fired on top of it all.

"Anytime someone gets fired or traded, you never want to see that kind of stuff," Dorsett said. "We had Wiz suspended at the start of the year, we had (Carter) hurt and we ran into some injury problems and things weren't going our way. Then the snowball just started rolling down the hill and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. We kind of dug our way out of it, and then we hit some adversity and the snowball started getting bigger and bigger again. It's definitely a disappointing year and not one guy in this room's happy about it."

Richards, who was fired as the Minnesota Wild's head coach last season, backed up that sentiment and said the past day or two was tough on the entire team -- including himself. Richards actually had a chance to speak with Arniel and relate his own experience of being let go with him.

"The last 48 hours or 24 hours have been really tough on everyone," Richards said. "It's no different with me or everyone that's involved. When you're around somebody and you have respect for somebody, for how he was professionally and personally, when something like this happens it affects everyone. We've all felt the same way. That's why the last 24 hours have been difficult. It's been difficult on everyone."

What's left to do, however, is moving forward and still trying to correct the issues that have plagued this team over the first 41 games. There is still an entire second half of the season left to figure out a winning formula -- starting on Tuesday night against the Blackhawks, who ought to be hungry to stop a four-game skid of their own.

"The best way to do it is just start off on a winning note against a really good team here in Chicago," Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll said. "That's kind of the best way to turn the page is to get a win on the road versus a good team. As a player, it's tough to see a coach get let go, because you feel like it's your fault. You never want to see that happen. It can kind of spark a team to kind of look in the mirror and say, 'Hey, start picking it up,' and that's what we've got to do."
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:44 PM

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

Showdown in Montreal about more than the goalies

MONTREAL – The obvious storyline in Montreal tonight will be Canadiens goalie Carey Price facing the man who stole his job and led the franchise on its longest playoff run since its last Stanley Cup win in 1993, St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak.

But even after all this time has passed, Price still sticks to the story he kept telling over and over again as Halak was leading the Canadiens to the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.

“That was a good thing about our relationship,” Price said Monday. “Any relationship between two goalies has got to be healthy. It was his job to push me and mine to push him. He was playing well. At the end of the day the guy who’s playing the best is going to play, and he was playing extremely well so he deserved the ice time.”

Both star attractions have insisted this is not a game pitting goalie vs. goalie, but rather one pitting a team desperate to save its season against another team who has already accomplished just that.

The Blues have gone 18-5-5 since Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench in place of Davis Payne to rocket up to fourth in the Western Conference standings. But the Blues record on the road over that span is just 4-3-3, having benefitted greatly from a schedule heavily weighted with home games.

After leaving Montreal, St. Louis will play eight of its next nine games at home before embarking on a brutal stretch of 18 out of 26 games on the road. So Hitchcock is hoping his club will figure out its problems away from home in Montreal.

“It’s not about where you’re playing, it’s about playing on the road,” he said. “We’ve played awful well on the road then had a bit of a glitch and broke a few times and let in goals quickly. I think for us it’s just to keep going. We can put a lot of pressure on people if we’re forechecking and putting our game out there, we just have to stay with it a bit longer. We can’t let other team’s goalies frustrate us the way we have the last few road games.”

The Canadiens have the opposite problem.

They have played reasonably well on the road but have struggled at home for most of the season. Yet the Habs have won their last two at the Bell Centre and will be looking to win a third straight game on home ice for the first time this season.

Lineup changes should be minimal on both sides.

The Blues welcome back defenseman Ian Cole after he completed his three-game suspension for a hit on Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader.

The Canadiens were unsure of Max Pacioretty’s availability after he missed practice Monday with the flu, but he was on the ice this morning and looks ready to go. Coach Randy Cunneyworth will once again dress seven defensemen and it looks likely that center Petteri Nokelainen will be scratched for a second straight game as a result.

Of course, there’s no need to remind anyone of the goaltending matchup.

Here are the expected lineups for the game.


David Perron - David Backes - Chris Stewart
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Ryan Reaves - Scott Nichol - B.J. Crombeen

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ian Cole - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak


Michael CammalleriTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta
Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisErik Cole
Andrei KostitsynLars EllerTravis Moen
Mathieu DarcheMichael Blunden
Josh GorgesP.K. Subban
Alexei EmelinRaphael Diaz
Tomas KaberleChris Campoli
Hal Gill

Carey Price
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:44 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blue Jackets, Blackhawks

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center:


Vinny Prospal - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash
RJ Umberger - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Ryan Johansen - Antoine Vermette - Tomas Kubalik
Ryan Russell - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot - John Moore
David Savard - Aaron Johnson

Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Ben Smith - Michael Frolik - Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers - Jimmy Hayes

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Niklas Hjalmarsson
John Scott/Sean O'Donnell - Steve Montador

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:38 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Volchenkov set to return for Devils

CALGARY -- The New Jersey Devils will get a boost on the back end, as injured defenseman Anton Volchenkov will be in the lineup tonight against the Calgary Flames.

Volchenkov, who left the first period of New Jersey's New Years Eve tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a lower-body injury, said he is primed to get back on the ice.

"I'm ready to go, ready to play tonight," said Volchenkov, who has missed New Jersey's previous four games. "It feels pretty good. It's been one week. I feel it's been better. It's ready to go."

The Devils were expected to activate Volchenkov from injured reserve Tuesday afternoon. He was originally placed on the list Jan. 7, retroactive to Dec. 31. Volchenkov also missed three games from Dec. 10-13 with a hand injury and has played in 34 of the Devils' 41 games this season.

Travis Zajac, who is battling soreness to his left Achilles, will miss his fourth consecutive game. 

Here is the Devils' expected lineup:

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

Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Mark Fayne - Henrik Tallinder
Kurtis Foster - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:12 PM

By Dennis Ryan - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Discipline key to Maple Leafs' recent run

TORONTO -- Tonight at Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Maple Leafs will aim for a perfect 4-0 homestand as they host the Buffalo Sabres in the first game of a home-and-home series. Jonas Gustavsson, 8-3-0 in his last 11 starts, gets the nod in goal for the fourth straight game.

"It's all about finding that push everyday," Gustavsson said of the Leafs' drive for a playoff spot. "You can't relax or take any nights off, you've really got to fight every game because it's going to be tight the whole way."

One of the keys to the Leafs' recent run has been discipline, limiting opposition power-play chances against their penalty kill, ranked 30th in the League at 73.6 percent. In each of the last two games, wins over the Jets and Red Wings, they have been shorthanded just once and killed off that chance.

Coach Ron Wilson commented on the keys to staying out of the penalty box.

"Using good position, moving your feet is important, but the most important thing is keeping your sticks on the ice, which is good defense anyway," Wilson said. "It's an extra obstacle for the other team to pass around. When you raise your sticks and go at hands and arms or cross-check across backs, one of your weapons is up in the air and you give up a passing lane."

Ryan Miller starts between the pipes for the Sabres, who have won just twice in their last 10 games and lost six straight road games. According to Miller, the Sabres need to remain positive.

"Once you get a little too fixated on looking for mistakes and how to fix that, you get away from playing the way you should be playing," Miller said. "You've got to go out there with a clear mind, free and easy, enjoy the game and work hard. We've got to focus on the things we have to do to be a good team, getting above the puck, staying tight as a group, sticking up for each other and just playing some hockey."

Buffalo's struggling offense could get a boost with the return of center Derek Roy, who injured his shoulder Friday against Carolina and missed Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to Winnipeg. Roy will be a game-time decision.

"He was better this morning than he was yesterday," coach Lindy Ruff said following the game-day skate. "We'll let him go for warmup and see where he's at. He feels he's close."

Ruff stressed the importance of the game for the Sabres, mired in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points, facing a team six points ahead in the standings.

"We've got to step forward, it starts with one game. Urgency has to be at a premium," he said.

Here are the projected lineups for tonight:


Thomas Vanek - Jochen Hecht - Jason Pominville
Brad Boyes - Ville Leino - Drew Stafford
Patrick Kaleta - Paul Gaustad - Nathan Gerbe
Matt Ellis - Luke Adam - Cody McCormick

Tyler Myers - Brayden McNabb
Robyn Regehr - Jordan Leopold
Mike Weber - Marc-Andre Gragnani

Ryan Miller
Jhonas Enroth


Joffrey Lupul - Tim Connolly - Phil Kessel
Joey Crabb - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Clarke MacArthur - Matthew Lombardi - Nazem Kadri
Darryl Boyce - David Steckel - Mike Brown

Keith Aulie - Dion Phaneuf
Carl Gunnarsson - Luke Schenn
Cody Franson - Mike Komisarek

Jonas Gustavsson
James Reimer
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:02 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

No change in Crosby's status

PITTSBURGH -- No change in Sidney Crosby's condition. No return to the ice for him just yet, either.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said there has been no change in Crosby's status as he sits out with concussion-related issues for the second time this season. The Penguins' marquee star missed the first 20 games with an injury that carried over from last season, then played in eight games before being sidelined again.
Crosby hasn't skated since he absorbed several hits Dec. 5 against Boston, apparently triggering a reoccurrence of his concussion problems. He has been limited to light exercising since then.
Bylsma was asked Tuesday what Crosby is doing during his layoff.
"I don't have an update for you on that," Bylsma said. "He is in light exercise. He is exercising. What that is, in terms of heart rate and activity, is different on different days. That's where Sid is in his rehab right now."
The Penguins play their 13th consecutive game without Crosby against Ottawa on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old Crosby is effectively in the same condition he was in late August, before training camp began. He has yet to be cleared to practice and, once he does, he must show that he can absorb contact without issues before he can play again.
Crosby spent the last two games watching from the management suite at Consol Energy Center.
Since Jan. 5, 2011, concussion issues have caused the Stanley Cup-winning captain and Olympic gold medalist from playing in all but eight of the Penguins' 81 games. Pittsburgh is 39-26-8 without him, with a 16-13-3 record this season.
Since Crosby last played, the Penguins have dropped seven of 12, endangering their chances of reaching the playoffs.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 1:48 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Streaking Senators have passed Pens in standings

PITTSBURGH -- There will be a desperate team on the ice when the Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday night. And it won't be the streaking Senators.
The Penguins, on top of the Eastern Conference standings only a month ago, have tumbled to eighth place while losing their last four, six of 10 and seven of 12. The Senators, by contrast, are 5-0-1 in their last six and 8-1-2 in their last 11, vaulting them into fifth place in the conference.
After rallying from two goals down to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 on Sunday, the Senators (22-15-6) should have plenty of momentum heading into their second trip to Pittsburgh this season. They'll need it, as they play 10 of their next 11 on the road, a stretch that includes only one home game before their arena plays host to the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29.
"We've got to worry about what we can control, and that's how we prepare for our game," goaltender Craig Anderson said Tuesday. "Make them adjust to how we're playing, and obviously we're playing very good hockey right now and finding ways to win. We've got to continue with the same mentality we've been going on the last few games, and try to continue with that success."
That's what the Penguins (21-15-4) don't want to do -- continue with the same mentality they've had the last few games. Defenseman Brooks Orpik, upset with what he felt were unnecessary penalties, said there must be more accountability on the ice. Coach Dan Bylsma wants to avoid letdowns that he believes are occurring far too frequently.
The Penguins should get a boost from the surprise return of right wing James Neal, who was expected to be out weeks with what was initially diagnosed as a broken foot that occurred Saturday against the Devils. An MRI exam revealed he has only a badly bruised foot.
"We've got to get back on track and it starts tonight," Neal said. "I'm just happy I'm OK to play."
Forward Eric Tangradi, called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) for the third time this season, slides onto a line with Pascal Dupuis and Tyler Kennedy as Pittsburgh tries to avoid its first five-game losing streak since Dec. 27, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010.
Ottawa will have one lineup change, with defenseman Brian Lee replacing Matt Carkner as Chris Phillips' partner. Lee, who adds a speed element, sat out the last two games. Carkner had played five straight.
"We want to make sure we keep Brian Lee playing as well," coach Paul MacLean said. "The two are going to have to rotate depending on how we play."
Here are the likely lineups for the third of four games between the teams this season; they split the first two. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist in both games for Pittsburgh.
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Erik Condra - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Zenon Konopka - Bobby Butler
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Brian Lee
Alex Auld will be the backup goalie.
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Eric Tangradi - Pascal Dupuis - Tyler Kennedy
Steve Sullivan - Richard Park - Matt Cooke
Arron Asham - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen
Ben Lovejoy - Deryk Engelland
Brent Johnson, 8-2-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average against the Senators, will make his first start since he allowed five goals on 10 shots during the second period of a 6-4 loss in Ottawa on Dec. 16. Marc-Andre Fleury, who started the previous eight games, will go Wednesday night in Washington as the Penguins play back-to-back games for the second time in a week. They lost at home by identical 3-1 scores to the Rangers on Friday and the Devils on Saturday.
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Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week