Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 1:10 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - At the Rink blog

Lightning could have Malone back by end of week

NEW YORK -- Lightning forward Ryan Malone has been on injured reserve since Jan. 31 with an upper-body injury, but he could be close to returning to the lineup.

He won't be back in time to face the New York Rangers on Thursday night, but after a lengthy skate at Madison Square this morning, Malone is eyeing a possible return in Buffalo on Saturday.

"It feels good, just a little contact there," Malone said following practice. "We're just making sure. We'll see how it feels tomorrow. We don't want to come back too soon. Everybody wants to make sure it's good to go and I'll last the rest of the season."

Coach Guy Boucher won't guarantee Malone's return Saturday, but he's hopeful.

"When he got injured, he thought he'd playing two days later," Boucher said of Malone's optimism about Saturday. "We need this guy in the lineup. He had been playing really well. His last 10 games out there (3 goals, 7 assists) he had been really terrific offensively. He finally had his legs going. So it's tough."

For the season, Malone has 10 goals and 17 assists in 41 games. He hasn't played since Jan. 21.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 12:40 PM

By Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Islanders start crucial stretch by hosting Canadiens

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders have an opportunity to get over the .500 mark as they host the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Isles (22-22-8) are a .500 club this late in the season for the first time in five years after Evgeni Nabokov guided them to a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia on Tuesday night. New York enters tonight's action nine points behind the Ottawa Senators for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Isles have four games in hand. Ottawa plays host to Nashville tonight.

"We've got to try to win hockey games right now," Isles coach Jack Capuano said. "It's a crucial two-week stretch for us."

Montreal (21-24-9) is seeking its third straight win after earning a 3-2 shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night. The victory allowed the Canadiens to move within 10 points of Ottawa, although the Habs have only two games in hand.

"Everybody's in the race," Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth said. "Everybody's got something to play for each and every night. We have to be on our game. We've built some good work of late, but that's not good enough. We can't rest on any laurels. We want to keep it going."

Here are the expected lines tonight for each club:

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Mathieu Darche - Tomas Plekanec - Travis Moen
Andrei Kostitsyn - Scott Gomez - Rene Bourque
Louis Leblanc - Lars Eller - Aaron Palushaj

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz
Tomas Kaberle - Alexei Emelin

Carey Price gets the start in goal. Peter Budaj will be the backup.

Diaz returns to Montreal's blue line after missing the last two games. Cunneyworth said it will be a game-time decision as to who Diaz will replace in the lineup. The Canadiens promoted Palushaj from AHL Hamilton on Wednesday as Yannick Weber is out with a leg injury.

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau
Rhett Rakhshani - Josh Bailey - Matt Martin
Tim Wallace - Jay Pandolfo - Nino Niederreiter

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Milan Jurcina
Mark Eaton - Aaron Ness

Nabokov, who stole a 1-0 shootout victory for the Islanders in Philadelphia on Tuesday night in a remarkable 45-save performance, gets the start in goal. Al Montoya will be the backup.

Travis Hamonic (nose), Rick DiPietro (lower body), Mike Mottau (concussion), Marty Reasoner (hand) and Dylan Reese (knee) are out for New York. Jurcina is returning to the lineup after missing the last two games with a laceration on his elbow. Brian Rolston will be a healthy scratch for a fifth straight game.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 11:42 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - At the Rink blog

Hedberg starts as Devils go for six straight

NEWARK, N.J. -- Johan Hedberg will make his first start in three games on Thursday when the surging New Jersey Devils play host to the red-hot St. Louis Blues at Prudential Center.
The Devils are looking to build upon a season-high five-game winning streak while the Blues enter the game having earned 22 of a possible 24 points against teams from the East this season.
The 38-year-old veteran has won six of his last eight decisions -- the last coming on Saturday in a 6-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. For the season, Hedberg is 13-7-1 with two shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
The decision comes two days after Martin Brodeur twisted his right ankle in a shutout victory over the New York Rangers. Brodeur didn't practice with the team on Wednesday but did return to the ice for the team's optional skate on Thursday.
"If it's a playoff game, he probably starts, but we want to do the right thing long term here," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We have to emotionally re-engage here and be ready to go."
Four of the Devils' five victories during their current run have come against teams currently holding postseason spots in the East. The steak began with a 4-3 shootout win over the East-leading New York Rangers on Jan. 31.
It isn't known if Brodeur will serve as Hedberg's backup, but the team did recall goalie Jeff Frazee from Albany of the AHL.
"I'm capable of coming in and playing if need be," Brodeur said.
"He looked pretty good in practice," DeBoer said of Brodeur. "I'll sit down with [Devils GM] Lou [Lamoriello] and we'll see how [Brodeur] feels when he gets off the bike and has done his workout."
Meanwhile, defenseman Adam Larsson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a bruised lower back, is progressing nicely according to DeBoer.
"He's getting better and did some light exercise [Thursday morning]," DeBoer said. "All the results on him have been negative, so it's just a matter of time."
DeBoer also said that while wing David Clarkson did not participate in the morning skate, he will suit up Thursday against the Blues. Clarkson, who is having a career-season with 21 goals and 30 points, was the only healthy player not to participate at Thursday's skate.
Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday game for the Devils:
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Steve Bernier
Eric Boulton - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Matt Taormina - Kurtis Foster
Johan Hedberg gets the start; either Martin Brodeur (ankle) or Jeff Frazee will serve as backup.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 11:26 AM

By Ben Raby - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Knuble set to be healthy scratch for Caps against Jets

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A trying season for Capitals veteran Mike Knuble hit a new low this morning when he was told that he would be a healthy scratch tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.

Knuble, 39, has played in all 53 games this season, the majority of which have been spent on Washington's fourth line.

The eight-time 20-goal scorer has three goals and 11 points this season and is a team-worst minus-14.

Knuble has not scored since Dec. 5 -- a stretch of 27 games in which he has been held to just 3 assists -- and he skated a season-low 8:31 in a 4-1 loss Sunday afternoon to Boston.

With Knuble out, Jay Beagle returns to the lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch for five straight games.

"It's always hard to do but we put Beagle in for more speed," coach Dale Hunter said. "Mike hasn't scored in a while and we figured we'd get him up top to watch the game."

Knuble did not speak to reporters after staying on the ice for extra work this morning with fellow healthy scratch John Erskine and backup goalie Michal Neuvirth.

"We know that he's a team leader," Hunter said. "He worked hard out here [this morning] and that's what leadership is all about, but we wanted to add more team speed and he's the odd-man out."

Hunter said he expects Beagle to play just more than 10 minutes against Winnipeg, including ice time on the Caps' penalty kill.

Beagle will skate on the fourth line alongside Keith Aucoin and Brooks Laich. Aucoin will play in his fourth straight game since being recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League last week, while Laich remains limited after suffering a left knee injury Sunday.

Laich skated a season-low 9:28 in a 4-0 win Tuesday against Florida.
Here are the Capitals' and Jets' projected lineups for a key Southeast Division meeting at Verizon Center:
Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward
Brooks Laich - Keith Aucoin - Jay Beagle
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Roman Hamrlik
Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman
Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Nik Antropov - Eric Fehr
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Alexander Burmistrov - Aaron Gagnon - Antti Miettinen
Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey - Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart - Johnny Oduya
Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 10:52 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Making good on dad's dying wish

LAS VEGAS -- Even in a group that includes Hall of Fame players like Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Bobby Hull, Brian Leetch and Grant Fuhr, the best stories can still sometimes come from two brothers from Linwood, Ont. named Scott and Kevin Basler.

Scott and Kevin are here at Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Hockey Camp because it represents one of their father's dying wishes.

When Joe Basler got sick 16 months ago, he told his boys that if he were to die, they need to do something fun, a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing, with their inheritance money. He didn't want them to pay their taxes or pay off their cars or any debts they had; he wanted them to experience one of their dreams.

So, they each paid the $11,999 freight to come to Gretzky's camp with their wives and have the time of their lives.

"We used to joke around and kept asking to come to this camp as a Christmas present," Kevin said Wednesday night from the hospitality suite at the Bellagio, where the teams for this year's camp were revealed. "Our mom, Bernice, died in '02 and dad went and bought himself a Harley. He said you only live once. Well, this is our one-shot deal. That's why we're here."

Scott is in the furniture moving business and Kevin is a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician as well as a huge New York Rangers fan. Scott is a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

They were put on a team that will be coached by Cap Raeder and Bobby Hull. Denis Savard and Guy Carbonneau are the former pros that they will be playing with, though Kevin would have fulfilled another one of his dreams to land on the same team as Brian Leetch.

The next best thing is getting to know Leetch and all the other former pros here.

Dad would be happy.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 10:02 PM

By Derek Mori -  Special to / - Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Mori: Gretzky's Fantasy Camp a dream come true

Derek Mori has been attending Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp since 2006, when his wife sprung the trip on him as a 40th birthday gift. He is here for a seventh straight year and has agreed to blog his experiences for

Derek, who lives in Oakville, Ont. with his wife, Anita, and twin boys, says he's certainly not an ex-pro, but he's not a beginner either. He's been on the team that has won the Gretzky Fantasy Camp Cup four out of the six years he's been here, and he intends to do it again.

Read on to learn more about Derek's experience and what No. 99's camp is all about:

LAS VEGAS -- This is my seventh year coming to Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp, and it never gets old.

What started as a surprise 40th birthday gift from my wife, Anita, to me has turned into an annual experience that has given me a new fraternity of hockey buddies. That is why I keep coming back -- the camaraderie, the friendships, and the fun time we all have together.

The hockey, if you can believe it, has become the bonus. Although, when you come here, it's like you're a kid again playing hockey on a road trip, only we're adults now and we can pretty much do whatever the heck we want. No curfews for us.

I was born and raised in Scarborough, Ont. and currently live in Oakville. I am a nuclear engineer, which sounds a lot grander than it is, and I have been playing hockey since I was five years old. I'm a huge fan, to the point where my wife jokes with me that I know too many useless things.

What sprung her interest in getting me to this camp back in 2006 was my admiration for Wayne Gretzky. I followed his career closely, so she gave me this great gift to go to Phoenix for his camp. Now, I will say that I am a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan and always have been. I bleed blue, even though we as fans have been bleeding for far too long now.

I love this game, and I love this camp because of the great friends I made. It's only once a year, but it's easy to reacquaint yourself with everyone. That's what we've been doing, letting our hair down and getting to know one another again. We swap our own hockey stories all the time.

For the first couple of camps it really felt as though I was living out my fantasy. You go through the dressing room, see all the pros that you used to watch and admire on Hockey Night in Canada, and it becomes like you've won your own Stanley Cup and this is the reward.

That's an irreplaceable feeling and certainly it hasn't worn off, but now I also enjoy talking to the guys, the campers, who are here for the first time and telling them my experiences. They always want to know what to expect and I'm able to tell them. I enjoy it, socializing with them and making more hockey friends. That's why I come back. It's a great time, bottom line.

Most of us got here Tuesday afternoon and our week started by getting ourselves registered. That's when we get all of our new gear, all the outer equipment -- helmets, gloves, sticks, jerseys, pants, socks, bags. It's pretty much everything you can think of except your under garments and under equipment. You also get fitted with all kinds of hats, gloves, sweat suits, sweatshirts, etc.

Everything has Wayne's logo on it. You name it, he's got it. I have six years' worth of stuff that I share now with my twin brother, Darren. I'm not complaining about it, and neither is he.

Tuesday night we had a light reception so we could all get reacquainted and get to know the new guys as well as meet Wayne again. One of the more memorable things for me every year is he always remembers me. He must meet thousands of people, but he remembers me.

I remember my first year at the camp, we were in Phoenix at the time, and you know you're going to get to play with Wayne. Well, there he goes setting me up on two breakaways. I scored on one of them, and it's all on video. What a fantastic feeling, Wayne Gretzky set me up for a breakaway goal.

Well, I come the next year and Wayne says to me, 'Hey, you're the breakaway guy.' That's what I became known as for a while, but later on he remembered my name.

Everyone went out for a late night Tuesday. It's a great time because you get to know a lot more about the other players in such a relaxed, social setting. Then, today, Wednesday, was our first day on the ice in sort of a training camp where the coaches evaluate you so they can rate us and make even teams.

All the guys you were out with the night before, you can't remember all of their names because there are so many different guys, but you get to know them well and then you get to play with them.

But, really, the on the ice portion of this is the bonus. You play hockey and party, have a great time. It's really almost the perfect day.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 7:47 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Keenan talks current state of the Rangers

LAS VEGAS -- Ex-Rangers coach Mike Keenan envisions his old team as being a tough out come playoff time because they're built to withstand the rigors of a physical series.

"That's the way they're built," Keenan told Wednesday from the Las Vegas Ice Center, where he was scouting players he will wind up coaching at Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Hockey Camp. "You can't be running out, waving a flag and declaring that this is a dynasty. But, their work ethic, goaltending and their team defensive posture has done it for them."

Keenan, who is a part-time analyst for Rangers' broadcasts on the MSG Network, isn't ready to plan the victory parade down the Canyon of Heroes just yet, but he appreciates the team philosophy and dynamic coach John Tortorella has crafted in New York.

"Early in the season, at least by November, I picked up the fact that they were one of the hardest working teams in the League and hard to play against," Keenan said. "John has them playing a defensive style and a physical style. They are a competitive group. They work well together. They have defensive posture and are willing to sacrifice for each other. And, they play a real demanding, physical style based on the players they have."

The last part is important to note because with the trade deadline quickly approaching (3 p.m. ET on Feb. 27), Keenan is wondering what, if anything, the Rangers will do? He noted that they're not among the top teams in scoring this season (13th entering play Wednesday) and that both Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle are having down years offensively based on what they did a season ago.

Dubinsky had 24 goals last season, but only six so far this season. Boyle had 21 goals last season, but only four so far this season.

Keenan said the key is for teams such as the Rangers, who are in first place in the Eastern Conference, to not be afraid to pull the trigger on a deal.

"The New York Rangers were in first place at the trading deadline in 1994 and we made very significant trades to improve the team," Keenan said. "People said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Well, through my experience, I have already been to the Cup Final three times and have a pretty good handle on what the ingredients are for success in the playoffs.' There is an ingredient that you know and understand that you need. John Tortorella and Glen Sather both won the Cup so they know what the ingredients are. If they can find that ingredient that they don't have, then they should do that."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 7:41 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Henrik Sedin in walking boot, sits out practice

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault split identical twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin for parts of the last three games, a rare move designed to spark both the brothers and the team. Vigneault may not have that option Thursday night against the Wild in Minnesota.

Henrik Sedin
Center - VAN
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 46 | PTS: 57
SOG: 76 | +/-: 16
Captain Henrik Sedin missed practice Wednesday and was scheduled to have a CT scan after taking a slap shot off the outside of his right ankle early during Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win in Nashville. Multiple media reports said Sedin was seen limping around in a large walking boot at the team's hotel in St. Paul.

"They did an x-ray and couldn't tell from the x-ray and he was just obviously in a lot of pain so just doing a follow up," Vigneault told reporters after practice Wednesday.

Sedin dropped to the ice after blocking the shot and could barely skate off on his own -- but was back after a few minutes in the locker room and had two assists later in the period. Despite not having any extra forwards, they had not called up anyone from their Chicago of the American Hockey League as of yet.

Henrik leads the League with 46 assists and is fifth in NHL scoring with 57 points. He is also second to only Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester with an ironman streak of 552 consecutive games played and hasn't missed a game in more than six seasons.

"It just shows how effective and durable and demanding Hank is on himself and hopefully the streak will continue tomorrow," Vigneault said.

The last time one of the Sedin twins missed an extended period was two seasons ago, when Daniel's left foot was broken by a teammate's shot early in the season. Henrik responded by stepping out of his comfort zone as a pass-first setup center, scoring 10 goals in the 18 games his brother missed en route to an NHL-leading 112 points and the Hart Trophy as League MVP.

Vancouver forward Dale Weise was also having a CT scan Wednesday after blocking a shot and needing stiches the night before, and the Canucks were already missing top-six winger Chris Higgins, who is struggling with the draining effects of medication to help with recurring staph infections.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 5:48 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Flames' Kiprusoff goes for 300th win

SAN JOSE - As a team fighting for its playoff life, the Calgary Flames will have plenty of motivation Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks. But the Flames should have an extra boost with goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff going for his 300th career victory -- against his former team.

The Sharks took Kiprusoff with the 116th pick in the 1995 NHL Draft. But with an overload of talent in goal, they traded him to Calgary in November 2003 for a 2005 second-rounder they used to draft defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

"It would be huge," said Calgary defenseman Scott Hannan, a former Shark. "He's a great goalie. Everybody knows what he's done for the franchise and how special a player this year he's been for us. He's been huge in every game that we've needed him to be in. He gives us a chance every night, which is more than you can ask of a goalie. To get him a win here would be great."

Kiprusoff has a career record of 299-194-62 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. This year he's 23-17-4 with a 2.29 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

"He's a hell of a goaltender," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after his team's optional skate Wednesday morning at HP Pavilion. "Fans, not only in San Jose early in his career, but obviously in Calgary for most of it, appreciate his talent and what he brings to the rink every night. I think it's probably fair to say when their players walk into the locker room in Calgary and see his number or name circled, they get a pretty good feeling. And that's a true sign of a goaltender that can carry a team, and he's been that for many years there."

Kiprusoff is 13-12-3 against the Sharks overall, but he's 0-1-1 this season despite playing well both games. The Sharks beat Kiprusoff and the Flames 2-1 in a shootout at HP Pavilion then 1-0 at Calgary.

San Jose's Antti Niemi, a fellow Finn, got both wins, improving to 8-1-0 lifetime against Calgary. Niemi said facing a countryman always gives him an extra dose of motivation.

"Playing Finnish guys, just the veteran goalies who have been in the League for a long time who you remember from a long, long time ago," Niemi said. "So of course you get a little extra energy playing against those guys.''

Based on the past two games, goals should be at a premium Wednesday night. What's more, the Flames have allowed a total of 12 goals over their past seven games as they've turned up the defensive pressure.

"We're certainly playing better defensively that we were earlier," coach Brent Sutter said. "I think it's just more consistent now. It's a commitment that you have to have from every individual inside your dressing room. I understand that guys in the room, or any dressing room, are goal scorers, but when you get into the final third of the season everybody's got to be committed to doing it the right way, back checking like they can and making sure they're doing it the right way in their own zone. You want to have the puck. You've got to be able to play with the puck to win games, and you've got to be able to get it back from your opposition. The only way that happens is by playing a good team game."

Flames forward Blair Jones said the improved defense is "just kind of in direct relation to where we are in the standings and the time" in the season. "It's time to tighten up and start playing good hockey every game. There's no excuses for the next 28, 29 games we have left. It's got to be the same way every night. Just try to pay attention to details and bring a good defensive effort every game."

Sharks forward Ryane Clowe expects another hard-fought, low-scoring game.

"I think if we can get three goals, we've got a good chance. I think we can hold them under three goals," Clowe said. "Lately all their games have been pretty low scoring -- 2-1, 2-0, that sort of game. So if we can put three on the board, I like our chances."

With 55 points, the Flames are in 12th place in the Western Conference standings, but they're just three points behind Minnesota and Phoenix, who are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot. Just as a reminder of how tight the race is and how important each game is, the conference standings were posted in Flames' dressing room at HP on a grease board.

"It's a learning curve from the start of the season until now," Hannan said. "At times in games when we've lost it's been that little mental break. That's just something to reaffirm in our minds how important every shift is, how important every play is in the game. You never know what's going to break the other team or in essence break you in that game. I think that's just a reminder of how important that is."

The Flames won't have defenseman Derek Smith against San Jose - he's still recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered Dec. 29 against the Islanders - but Calgary locked him up for the next two seasons Wednesday with a new deal worth $1.5 million.

Smith initially signed this season with the Flames as a free agent after playing nine games with Ottawa and 71 games with Binghamton of the AHL last season.

"He's a 27-year-old player that came to training camp wanting an opportunity, and he earned that throughout camp," Sutter said. "He came in and did everything we wanted from him. He just has grown. You look at it, when he got hurt he was arguably our best defenseman at that point in time. We've missed him, but it's good both from an organizational standpoint and his standpoint that they can get something worked out. It's a commitment made by both sides and it's great to see that Smitty can be a Calgary Flame for the next two years and not worry about losing him because he is an important part of our defense."

Smith, who did not travel with the team on its road trip, has two goals and eight assists in 32 games this season.

"Derek came to training camp this year on a two-way contract and played his way into our starting lineup," GM Jay Feaster said in a statement. "When Mark Giordano went down with his hamstring injury, Smitty stepped up and shouldered an increased workload and did so in excellent fashion."

Here's how the lineups could look Wednesday night when the San Jose Sharks face the Calgary Flames at HP Pavilion:


Benn Ferriero - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Ryane Clowe

Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell

Brad Winchester - Andrew Desjardins - John McCarthy

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Brent Burns

Colin White - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss


Alex Tanguay - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla

Michael Cammalleri - Blair Jones - Blake Comeau

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Krys Kolanos

Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler

Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan

T.J. Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff

Leland Irving

Joe Pavelski will play his 400th NHL game Wednesday night, all as a Shark. McLellan hinted that he was going to shuffle his lines. Andrew Desjardins will likely move from first-line winger to fourth-line center, where he's spent most of the season. Benn Ferriero will likely return to the top line. One day after announcing his retirement, Owen Nolan will drop the puck during a pre-game ceremony. Nolan played for both San Jose and Calgary during his 18 NHL seasons.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 5:17 PM

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

Roenick: Birthday wishes to an elite young scorer

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick pens a weekly blog for "World According to JR" appears every Wednesday and includes Roenick's sharp, can't-miss opinions on What's Clicking and What's Missing in the National Hockey League.

Wishing happy birthday to a young superstar in Tampa and hoping that the officials in the NHL can receive some help in the future to make one of the judgment calls there is to make in the game. Read on to find out who and what I'm talking about:

What's clicking?

Steven Stamkos is just lighting it up this season and he's probably going to be the only 50-goal scorer in the NHL. He should get to that 50-goal mark and regain the Rocket Richard Trophy.

It couldn't go to a better guy.

Steven Stamkos
Center - TBL
GOALS: 35 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 58
SOG: 184 | +/-: 5
It was Stamkos' 22nd birthday on Tuesday and we saw players on his team chasing him around, trying to stuff one of those shaving cream pies in his face. You can tell how much these guys love to be with Stamkos.

Everybody around the League should sit down in front of a television set to watch him play. Just watch his demeanor, how he conducts himself, how he treats others -- he's truly a treat to be around and he's one of the great ambassadors for the NHL.

He's also one of the most dynamic players in the League and one of the most talented goal scorers we've seen in a long time. When you put a guy like that with Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, you're going to have something special.

It's great to see that as of late the Lightning have been winning some games and trying to get back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. They work so hard, but unfortunately the team's defensive liabilities take away from the offensive ability it has, an offensive ability that Stamkos leads the way on.

So, this is a happy birthday blog for Stamkos, a guy I love to watch play. He should get to 50 goals again this season, but no matter how many he scores, his personality doesn't change. He's humble and fun to be around. He's a treat, and he deserves to be recognized for it.

What's missing?

After seeing what happened in New York on Tuesday, when Marian Gaborik was called for goalie interference, negating a game-tying goal with only seconds remaining in the third period, I think it's time that the League allow the officials to go to video review to determine such plays.

This happens a lot, especially late in games, when guys are going to the net and defensemen are valiantly trying to keep them away. But a lot of the times the goaltender interference happens as a result of the defending team's actions. The Gaborik incident was an example of that.
On the play, it appears that Gaborik is trying to stop when Anton Volchenkov pushes him into his own goalie, and the goal is disallowed. If the officials had the opportunity to go to a video review of that play, it's possible the goal would have been allowed and that game would have gone to overtime. The officials would have had the opportunity to review if Gaborik was trying to stop and if Volchenkov created the contact between Gaborik and Martin Brodeur.

At the very least, the officials would have been allowed to take what is a split-second decision amid chaos and further analyze it before coming to a better judgment.

The officials have an incredibly hard job and they do it quite well, but it wouldn't hurt for them to have a little help on plays such as the Gaborik interference. It also wouldn't take very long for them to determine with 100 percent certainty, or as close to it as there is in this game, that they are making the right call.

It is such a reviewable circumstance because goals are so hard to come by in this League, especially late in a game when a team is going for the tying goal to get it to overtime.

I know the goalies are being protected, and they should be, but a lot of times it is the defenseman's fault that they're getting contact. And who's to say it is not the defenseman's strategy or tactic to push or ride an attacking player into his goalie, especially when he knows he's likely going to get the call to go in his favor.

There has been so much talk about protecting the goaltenders and using the instant replay for goals to find out if pucks are in the net, but these plays are also critically important and the officials should be allowed to have every piece of technology available to make sure they get it right.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 1226 | 1227 | 1228 | 1229 | 1230 | 1231 | 1232-1237 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday