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Posted On Friday, 11.29.2013 / 10:12 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals' Laich sidelined with lower-body injury

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich won't play Friday against the Montreal Canadiens due to a lower-body injury.

Laich, who had played in all 25 games for the Capitals this season, has four goals and two assists. He scored in the Capitals' 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

"He had a little tightness the other day [and] he played," coach Adam Oates said. "He felt pretty good [Thursday] morning, and then last night, it was just a little tight. Hopefully, just precautionary and nothing major there."

Jay Beagle will take Laich's place in the lineup.

Posted On Friday, 11.29.2013 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Young talent playing way into Olympic consideration

As you've probably noticed, NHL.com has spent the week projecting the rosters for the top teams at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The invitations sent out over the summer give some idea as to who will be on these impressive teams. But some players overlooked during the summer have been playing their way into consideration for Sochi.

I think Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins has definitely played himself into the conversation for the United States. Look at what he has done on a back end that features Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid. You can argue that Boston has the best blue line right now in the Eastern Conference. And Krug has stepped in and hasn't missed a beat from the way he was playing at Michigan State and at Providence in the American Hockey League. More importantly, he hasn't missed a beat from how he played in the postseason with Boston last season, when he scored four goals in his first run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a Czech Republic team that will be relying heavily on veterans, Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks deserves a shot. For him to be as young as he is, doing what he is doing on a top line with a future Hall of Famer in Joe Thornton and an X-factor in Brent Burns, it's beyond phenomenal. We've all seen what he can do and the Czechs could definitely use his blend of size and skill.

Posted On Thursday, 11.28.2013 / 5:04 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Senators to scratch Cowen against Canucks

OTTAWA - Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen will be out of the lineup for the first time this season for a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

"I think Jared has struggled at times this year, and I think that it's time for him to watch a game and see if he can settle himself down and get himself back playing the way that we need him to play," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said.

Cowen had hip surgery last November and missed most of last season after he was injured while playing for Binghamton of the American Hockey League during the lockout.

Posted On Thursday, 11.28.2013 / 1:50 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Penguins' Neal as good as advertised

Let's face it: James Neal has feasted on opponents when healthy for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just ask his fantasy owners. They're thankful to have him along for the ride this holiday season.

Neal continued his recent surge with his fifth-consecutive multi-point game Wednesday, adding a season-high 10 shots on goal in Pittsburgh's 6-5 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 9:26 PM

NHL.com - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

OTT @ WSH - 6:05 of the Third Period

At 6:05 of the third period in the Senators/Capitals game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that Jason Spezza's shot deflected off Mika Zibanejad and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good goal Ottawa.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 9:12 PM

NHL.com - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

TOR @ PIT - 9:50 of the Second Period

At 9:50 of the second period in the Maple Leafs/Penguins game, video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that Evgeni Malkin's stick was above the height of the crossbar when he deflected the puck off Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier and into the net. According to Rule 80.3 "When an attacking player causes the puck to enter the opponent's goal by contacting the puck above the height of the crossbar, either directly or deflected off any player or official, the goal shall not be allowed." No goal Pittsburgh.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 9:08 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Duchene in, Stastny out for Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who missed three games because of an oblique injury, is playing Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center.

Forward Paul Stastny is scratched due to back spasms.

Duchene, who leads the Avalanche in scoring with 12 goals and 20 points in 19 games, was injured Nov. 16 against the Florida Panthers.

"It's been torture," he said. "I feel like I've been out a month. I can't believe it's only been nine or 10 days. It feels like it's been a lot longer. I got better really quick and I thought I was going to be able to play on our (recent two-game) road trip and it was a whole different story. Four days went by and it stayed about the same and the last few days I've taken a good step and started to feel better. I'm really pleased with the way I am now."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 6:55 PM

NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Cam Neely, Mike Richter talk Thanksgiving Showdown

Former Boston Bruins forward Cam Neely and former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter were guests of NHL Live in studio to discuss the 2013 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.

To help promote the game between the Rangers and Bruins on Friday, the duo will also appear on a float as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Neely is a "cagey" veteran having rode on one two years ago, so Richter the rookie will be after a few pointers.

"Cam's giving me all the intel," Richter said."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 6:45 PM

NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Canucks' Bieksa talks Heritage Classic, Tortorella

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa joined NHL Live to discuss his team's season to date and the hype surrounding the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic.

Bieksa attended a B.C. Lions game a few weeks ago and the staff of BC Place was already talking about it.

"For us as players it's going to be a great experience to play in front of that many fans outdoors," Bieksa said. It kind of brings you back to your childhood a little bit."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Irwin returns to Sharks lineup, determined to stay

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin was a near constant in the lineup last season as a rookie, skating with veteran Dan Boyle. Irwin scored six goals, had six assists and earned a two-year contract for his impressive play.

This season Irwin hit the first nasty speed bump of his young career. After going without a goal in the Sharks' first 13 games, he was a healthy scratch for three straight, returned for one game, then sat the past six.

Irwin will return to the lineup Wednesday when the Sharks face the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center and will be paired with Boyle.

"It's been a while since I've played," Irwin said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I've been chomping at the bit the get back out there, obviously, and help the team. Now that I've got my opportunity, I've got to seize the moment and keep it simple and play my game."

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He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter