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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:58 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Clowe doesn't plan on giving up any of his intensity

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe has had a day to cool off since his meltdown Sunday night against the Vancouver Canucks when he drew eight penalties, including a game misconduct late in the second period.

Just don't expect to see a kinder, gentler Clowe on Tuesday night when the 5-0-0 Sharks play the 3-1-0 Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion.

"There's no secret how I play," Clowe said. "I'm an intense guy and an emotional guy. I try to play on the edge. Sometimes I go over. I don't make any apologies for that.

"I don't like taking those penalties and that extra penalty where you hurt your team. Obviously that wasn't my plan, but I don't make any apologies for going over the edge."

Clowe tied the franchise single-game record with his eight penalties. Four of them came rapid-fire and ended his night. He was sent to the box for high-sticking at 19:33 of the second period but quickly earned two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct when he protested the call. At that point, an infuriated Clowe started smashing his stick in the box, drawing a 10-minute misconduct, then a game misconduct.

Clowe had been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct even before the puck dropped Sunday when he got into a confrontation with Alexandre Burrows. In the first period he received a five-minute major for fighting after a long bout with Zack Kassian and two minutes for holding the stick. In the second, he was penalized for tripping.

Clowe only took serious issue with the high-sticking penalty.

"I was just going up the middle of the ice," he said. "It was a stupid call. I tried to finish a guy. He just skated out of trouble. I don't even know if I got a piece of him. The guy gives me a high sticking. The other two calls before that I didn't say anything. ... It was just a constant march to the penalty box that game. It got frustrating."

Clowe made team history when he went to the box before the puck dropped. The Sharks had never before opened a game skating 4-on-4.

"I don't know what happened," Clowe said. "Burrows and (Logan) Couture got into it a little bit. I just stepped in there. I don't know why we got penalties. It always gets riled up when we play those guys."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:51 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks' Lack out six months after hip surgery

The Vancouver Canucks announced Tuesday that goaltending prospect Eddie Lack will be out at least six months following hip surgery.

"After consultation with our team physicians, it was deemed that Eddie Lack would require a procedure on his hip," Mike Gillis said in a statement. "We expect Eddie to make a complete recovery and continue his professional career after a successful rehabilitation program."

Lack went 7-4-1 in 13 games this season with the Canucks' American Hockey League team, the Chicago Wolves, but hasn't played since Nov. 24.

Lack, 25, signed a new two-year contract with the organization during the offseason, and was expected to slide into the backup role behind Cory Schneider if a long-rumored trade involving Roberto Luongo ever happened.

Should the Canucks still deal Luongo, the only other goaltender currently under contract to the Canucks is Joe Cannata, a sixth-round pick in 2009 who began this season in the ECHL before joining the Wolves when Lack was hurt. The current starter for the Wolves is Matt Climie, who has split time with Lack in the AHL in 2011-12 and at the start of this campaign, but who is not currently signed to an NHL contract.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:33 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

San Jose holds special place in Etem's heart

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Growing up in the Southern California city of Long Beach, Anaheim Ducks rookie forward Emerson Etem played a junior hockey tournament in San Jose and had a chance to watch the Sharks play the Minnesota Wild at HP Pavilion.

Tuesday night, Etem will make his NHL debut at the Shark Tank when Anaheim faces San Jose.

"I grew up watching the Sharks and all the rest of the California teams," Etem said after Anaheim's morning skate. "I went to a Minnesota Wild-San Jose game, maybe in the early 2000s, just on a hockey trip, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I'm finally here and I'm going to be playing in the same building where I watched back in the day. It's just going to be exciting."

Etem said he'll skate on the fourth line with Rickard Rakell and Kyle Palmieri.

"A good line," he said. "Hopefully we build some chemistry early on. We felt good out there today. It's going to be exciting."

Anaheim selected Etem with the 29th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. Last season he had 107 points in 65 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League, scoring 61 goals and adding 46 assists. This season he had 12 goals and two assists in 40 games for the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who talked to reporters before Etem revealed he would be in the lineup, said his rookie had "a great camp" this year.

"He was the last cut," Boudreau said. "With a lot of those guys in five days, they were pretty close together, so we're just rotating so they keep playing. If he does play tonight, what you're going to see is a really strong skater and an NHL body. He's got a man's body for a 20-year-old (6-foot-1, 210 pounds). I thought that was really evident in training camp. He's probably very raw as far as a lot of things go, like all young guys are experience-wise, but he's definitely got all the attributes to be a good NHL player in the future."

Etem said he played in a few NHL preseason games last season, including one at San Jose.

"Obviously the NHL regular-season pace is a huge notch above that," said Etem, who hopes to have his parents make the trip from Southern California for Tuesday night's game. "I got a little bit of experience, and I played in this barn last year in an exhibition game. I know a little bit about what it's all about. I just have to go out there and make sure I play a simple game, take it all in and enjoy the moment. Work hard and take advantage of the opportunity I'm given."

Here's how the lineups could look as the Sharks face the Ducks at HP Pavilion:

DUCKS

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Bobby Ryan - Nick Bonino - Teemu Selanne

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Daniel Winnik

Kyle Palmieri - Rickard Rakell - Emerson Etem

Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Bryan Allen

Luca Sbisa - Toni Lydman

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Injuries: None

Scratches: Devante Smith-Pelly, Sami Vatanen, Brad Staubitz

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Martin Havlat - Logan Couture - Ryane Clowe

Tommy Wingels - Michal Handzus - TJ Galiardi

Andrew Desjardins - Scott Gomez - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brad Stuart

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Brent Burns, Jason Demers

Scratched: James Sheppard, Nick Petrecki, Frazer McLaren

Boyle, who's battling a cold, missed the morning skate, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he'll definitely be in the lineup. Demers (wrist) and Burns (lower body) took part in the skate. McLellan said Demers is getting very close to being healthy enough to play. Asked if he was encouraged by his progress, Burns said, "I wouldn't use that word. ... I'm doing everything I can. I'm working."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:24 PM

By Jason Bull -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Bull: First game at camp is memory of a lifetime

Jason Bull is a 37-year-old police officer from Perth, Australia, but this week he is a rookie at the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp. Bull will be blogging about his experiences from the Gretzky camp for NHL.com throughout the week:

LAS VEGAS -- Well, my first game at the Gretzky Camp is in the books and despite the 5-2 loss to a team that included guys like Cliff Ronning and Kelly Chase, the experience is one that will sit in my memory bank forever.

I didn't score, but I did come close to getting a few and nearly set up some goals as well. A goal or an assist would have been nice, but there are more games still to come.

I was even thinking about dropping the gloves with Chase since he kept tugging at my jersey and my arms to slow me down. But, yeah, I thought better of it and decided for my own self-preservation and the fact that I want to play in the games Wednesday that I'd better keep my mitts on.

Chase thought it was wise, too.

"It's your fantasy," he told me.

No, no, it's not.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:13 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Subban return only a matter of time

With contract negotiations finally in his rearview mirror, P.K. Subban is gearing up for his long-awaited return to the Montreal Canadiens' lineup -- something that brings music to the ears of his fantasy owners.

And remember, this isn't just any young defenseman with fantasy potential. After scoring 14 goals as a rookie in 2010-11, Subban still provided his owners with rare category coverage despite falling into a so-called "sophomore slump" when the Habs missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs a season ago.

P.K. Subban is gearing up for his return to the Montreal Canadiens' lineup -- something that brings music to the ears of his fantasy owners. (Photo: Getty Images)

Last year, Subban finished with 36 points (T-26th among defenseman), 205 shots on goal (7th), 119 PIMs (1st) & 14 power-play points (T-20th), but never truly found his groove offensively. This season, Subban finds himself in a promising situation upon his return, as the Canadiens are off to a 3-1-0 start riding the hot hand of blueliner Andrei Markov (4G, 1A, plus-2, 5 PPP in 4 games). If Subban meshes well with Markov, we could be talking about the younger of the two being a top-10 fantasy defenseman when it's all said and done.

But on the flip side, what will happen to Subban's value if he disrupts the flow of a power-play unit currently tied for the sixth-best conversion rate in the NHL? What if it takes a while for him to acclimate himself to new coach Michel Therrien's system at both ends of the ice?

These are valid areas of concern for fantasy owners, but the most important thing to note is that Subban will be back on the ice in the near future -- something that was far from a given for the past few weeks.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 3:55 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Gretzky gives new Blues owner thrill of a lifetime

LAS VEGAS -- St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman initially thought a friend was playing a joke on him, but he knew that couldn't be the case because the name and number that came up on his phone was one that he had saved in his contacts folder.

Wayne Gretzky.

The Great One was indeed calling the new owner of the Blues to invite him to be his guest at the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp.

"It's maybe the most surreal experience I've had since I got involved with the Blues," Stillman told NHL.com Tuesday morning before playing in his first game at the Fantasy Camp. "Really, I can remember times when people used to leave phone messages for me saying it was Wayne Gretzky, ha ha, but it was him and he was asking me to come to the event, saying that they were planning to wear Blues uniforms this year so they'd like me to come.

"When the Great One calls, what are you going to do? You're going to go. This is the hockey fantasy camp of fantasy camps."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Chelios catching the coaching bug with Red Wings

LAS VEGAS -- Chris Chelios calls his role with the Detroit Red Wings an internship.

"Basically, I'm learning how to coach," Chelios told NHL.com Tuesday from the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp.

Chelios, who turned 51 last week, works primarily with the defensemen for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate. His title is Advisor to Hockey Operations, but he sees himself as an on-ice coach, a helping hand to first-year coach Jeff Blashill.

"I spend three or four days a week there, go on the ice with them, work with the young defensemen," Chelios said. "It's been great. I'm really enjoying it.

"It's one thing to play and it's another to get behind the bench and coach. There's a lot to it. It's been a great experience for me."

Chelios has been working for the Red Wings since he officially retired from the National Hockey League on Aug. 31, 2010. He spent the 2010-11 season mentoring under general manager Ken Holland and assistant general manager Jim Nill, but quickly learned he didn't belong in the front office.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hamonic good to go; Joensuu out 5-7 weeks

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Hamonic acknowledges that he "couldn't move" when he first sustained an ankle injury Sunday. Two days later, though, the New York Islanders defenseman declared himself "ready to play" in Tuesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hamonic, the 22-year-old who is averaging more than 24 minutes of ice time per game, participated in the morning skate at Consol Energy Center two days after "rolling over" his foot during the third period of an overtime loss at the Winnipeg Jets.

Hamonic was in the lineup when the Islanders took the ice Tuesday night.

"I wouldn't be putting myself in a situation like that if I didn't feel ready to play," Hamonic said after the morning skate. "Obviously, (Pittsburgh) has a lot of skill up front and a lot of power and a lot of speed, more than anything, and I wouldn't want to be putting myself at risk physically and also don't want to be a liability out there for the guys. If (health) was an issue I wouldn't even be (taking part in the morning skate), so it's a dead issue."

Hamonic is expected to play with regular partner Andrew MacDonald. Capuano said Thomas Hickey will remain in the lineup after making his NHL debut Sunday at the Winnipeg Jets. Joe Finley will be the odd man out.

Casey Cizikas reclaimed his spot on the fourth line, with Eric Boulton a healthy scratch.

The Islanders also announced that forward Jesse Joensuu will miss the next 5-7 weeks after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. Joensuu has not played for New York yet this season and is suspended because his injury was sustained while playing in Finland during the lockout.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Despres to replace injured Niskanen next to Letang

PITTSBURGH -- In part because of the outstanding organizational depth at the position, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been carrying eight defensemen.

Now that the first injury of the season has hit the team, the fruits of that depth will begin to be realized.

Matt Niskanen will be out for two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury sustained early in the Penguins' 2-1 shootout win Sunday at Ottawa. In the immediate future, that means rookie Simon Despres regains his spot in the lineup. The former first-round pick will be paired with Kris Letang to open the game Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

"He's an exceptionally good defenseman -- he talks a lot out there, he's easy to play with," Despres said of Letang. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Despres, 21, spent the early part of the abbreviated training camp paired with Letang, whom many pundits view as a Norris Trophy candidate. But when the season opened, it was Niskanen who was to the left of Letang.

Despres did, however, make the team in what was a somewhat surprising move only because he did not need to clear waivers to be sent back down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Ironically, the player who lost out on the Penguins' decision to keep Despres in the NHL, Brian Strait, was claimed by the Islanders, is taking a regular shift next to captain Mark Streit and will face his former team Tuesday.

A favorite of coach Dan Bylsma for obvious reasons -- Despres' pure skating and puckhandling skills are surpassed only by Letang among Penguins defensemen -- Despres averaged almost 10 minutes of ice time through Pittsburgh's first three games. However, he was a healthy scratch in the Penguins' two most recent contests in favor of more stay-at-home Ben Lovejoy.

"[Despres] played well for us; he did some good things when he was in the lineup," Bylsma said. "He wasn't reprimanded when he got out -- 'You're not playing well.' There was just some consistency in his game and decision-making that would make him better at both ends of the rink, defending and offensively. That's part of his maturation process."

A left-handed shot, Despres will play on the left side with right-handed Letang on the right. Niskanen, a righty, liked taking one-timers from Letang when he played on Letang's left side. Letang shrugged off any suggestion of a readjustment period to a new defense partner.

"It's a different partner, but we all play the same system, so it's going to be the same," Letang said.

"I think (Despres) did pretty well [in the first three games he played]. He just needs to focus on his defensive game. Everybody knows he's got great abilities and got great skills and has got a good shot and can skate really well. I think he just needs to get better defensively and learning the game better."

Bylsma said Despres can fill Niskanen's void at the point of the Penguins' second power-play unit. Still, even if he is usually paired Tuesday with Letang, Despres doesn't expect Letang-like minutes.

Letang played 29:10 Sunday in Ottawa, and veterans Brooks Orpik (28:28) and Paul Martin (31:06) also logged considerable time. Though the ice time numbers probably won't be that gaudy, expect the trend of those three playing significantly more than Despres, Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland to continue.

"We've got a lot of good defensemen on this team," Despres said. "We've got to get ice time to a lot of people."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Leetch talks Rangers' scoring issues, Cup pressure

LAS VEGAS -- Despite the instant success of the New York Rangers' top line of Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, ex-Ranger Brian Leetch is not convinced that trio has to stay together in order for the team to win.

"I like the way they had it split up to start with, Nash and Richards together, Gaborik and [Derek] Stepan with [Ryan] Callahan," Leetch, a part-time Rangers' analyst on the MSG Network, told NHL.com on Tuesday. "I really liked that. But when you're having trouble scoring and everyone isn't firing on all cylinders, it's a pretty good luxury to throw those three guys together.

"The fact that they had some immediate success also helps, but I liked the first set up. I think that's ideal. Obviously, [Chris] Kreider is a wild card there."

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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares