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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."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 4:04 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks goalie Raanta set for first NHL start

CALGARY -- Antti Raanta knew well in advance he'd be making his first career NHL start against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, but that didn't stop the 24-year-old goalie from getting a good night's sleep.

It won't spoil his pregame nap either.

Told Tuesday he'd get the call against the Flames, Raanta has prepared for the start like the day was any other.

"It was like a normal day [Tuesday]," he said. "The night went good. Of course it's a big day for me. I don't want to start thinking too much that I start taking too much pressure. If I do that, I will see it on the scoreboard and that's not the plan, what I want to do.

"I'll try to get a good game day nap like a normal routine going on and not think about it too much because it's not going to go too well. I just have to be enjoying the moment and try to show everything what I have. This is a big day."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 3:56 PM

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

Duchene game-time decision for Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who has missed three games because of an oblique injury, took part in the morning skate and might play Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center.

Duchene and coach Patrick Roy said it will be a game-time decision.

"We'll see," Duchene said. "I'm going to prepare like I am [playing] and we'll see what happens."

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 / 2:45 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning give Bishop rest; Lindback faces Flyers

TAMPA -- Despite producing a 37-save shutout against the New York Rangers on Monday, Ben Bishop will take a seat on the bench and Anders Lindback will start in net for the Tampa Bay Lightning when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"Ben has been exceptional for us," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "At this rate, if you do the math, Bishop will play more games potentially this year than he has played in his NHL career total. Part of it is just managing his minutes.

"On the other hand, Lindback is extremely capable and he needs games. This is just part of the plan."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 2:34 PM

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

Islanders look to step up defensively against Jets

The New York Islanders and their depleted defense received good news in advance of their game Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Colisuem.

Thomas Hickey, who bruised his ankle when blocking a shot during a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, will play against the Jets. The Islanders defense is already missing Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Brian Strait (upper body), so Hickey's presence will only help their quest to end a 2-8-0 slump that's resulted in a fall to last place in the Metropolitan Division and tied for 14th in the Eastern Conference.

"It's definitely fair to say we haven't been at our best," Hickey said. "I think if the whole team can pick up its play, we'll come out looking a little better. In our zone it's not just the two D. It's all six guys and we all have to be better."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 2:20 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings sign Ericsson to six-year extension

DETROIT -- Jonathan Ericsson was the ultimate "Mr. Irrelevant" when he was selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the 291st pick in the 2002 NHL Draft.

Now, the 29-year old defenseman is anything but irrelevant in his role on the right side of Detroit's top defense pairing with Swedish countryman Niklas Kronwall. The Red Wings confirmed it Wednesday morning by announcing a six-year contract extension for Ericsson worth a reported $25.5 million.

Ericsson, who's missed 10 games with a shoulder injury, has one goal and four assists with a plus-3 rating in 15 games heading into a "Wednesday Night Rivalry" game against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).

"When I got drafted this was a longshot for me," Ericsson said following Detroit's morning skate. "Just being able to maybe one day to play for the Red Wings, that's one thing. But to be able to play here for, I don't know how many years it's going to be now, it's an amazing feeling. Being a part of this top-ranked organization for my whole career is great."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 2:00 PM

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

Injured Parise skates, won't play for Wild vs. Coyotes

Zach Parise was a surprise participant at the Minnesota Wild morning skate Wednesday one day after the team announced he would miss 2-3 weeks with a foot injury.

Wild coach Mike Yeo told reporters after the morning workout Parise will not play against the Phoenix Coyotes, but it was obviously encouraging to see him on the ice two days after hurting his foot while blocking a shot. Parise has a contusion on his foot after an X-ray was negative.

Parise told Michael Russo of the (Minneapolis) Star-Tribune he hopes to play soon, but he experienced more pain as the morning skate progressed after initially thinking he could play Wednesday.

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Quote of the Day

He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.

— Coyotes GM Don Maloney on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson