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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:20 PM

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

Gudbranson ready for Panthers, pairs with Jovanovski

MONTREAL -- Erik Gudbranson will return to the Florida Panthers' lineup Monday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Gudbranson missed Florida's previous five games because of a broken orbital bone. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound defenseman had surgery after sustaining the injury on Dec. 20 when he was struck in the face by a puck in a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

He wore a full-face cage on his helmet at the Panthers' morning skate at Bell Centre.

"I was told it was a two-, three-week recovery, so it's two weeks [Monday]," Gudbranson said. "I feel ready to go, so it's fun to play. I'm excited to play. If I was worried, I wouldn't play. Obviously I'm wearing that cage for a reason. It's for safety and that'll certainly help me out. That'll ease my mind with it, but going out and playing my game shouldn't be an issue."

Gudbranson, who turns 22 on Tuesday, was partnered with Florida captain Ed Jovanovski, who made his season debut Saturday in a 5-4 shootout win against the Nashville Predators.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Kings' Kopitar only NHL player on Slovenian roster

As expected, Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar headlines the 25-man Olympic roster, which was announced Monday.

Kopitar is the only Slovenian playing in the NHL. The national team is coached by his father, Matjaz. Anze Kopitar's brother, Gasper, did not make the Olympic team.

The rest of the team is comprised of players that play throughout Europe and the majority of the roster named to the Olympics is identical to the one that helped the country qualify for the Olympics for the first time.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 1:44 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets begin crucial stretch against Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Columbus Blue Jackets received some great news Monday. Franchise goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will start against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden after missing 14 games with a groin injury. And his return couldn't have come at a better time.

Columbus sits seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 44 points but trail the third-place Washington Capitals by six points and the fifth-place Rangers by four. Bobrovsky returns at the beginning of a crucial stretch that will see Columbus play four of its next five games against divisional opponents and nine of its next 13 at home.

"This would be huge. These are the games you're going to look back at the end of the season. We know that," said forward Nick Foligno, who couldn't help but smile when asked about Bobrovsky's return. "It's great. He's worked hard to get himself healthy. He's a big part of this team, a great goaltender. We're excited to get him back. It's a big boost for our team."

The Blue Jackets should have some confidence heading into their game at MSG. The last time they played there on Dec. 12, they raced out to a 3-0 first-period lead and chased Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist before winning 4-2 despite playing without Bobrovsky and losing starter Curtis McElhinney to an injury. That one-sided win will likely motivate both teams heading into the game Monday.

"It's a divisional game and we're looking up at them in the standings," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "We were just here and had some success. I think that's something we can build off of, but they're probably using that for motivation."

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 12:56 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars to have Gonchar back, possibly Daley as well

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Dallas Stars will get one veteran defenseman back in the lineup Monday night at Nassau Coliseum and coach Lindy Ruff left open the possibility of another one returning as well.

Sergei Gonchar will play against the New York Islanders after missing the past six games with a concussion. Ruff said Trevor Daley, who has missed 14 straight games with an ankle injury, will be a game-time decision.

"I'll try to start with short shifts to pick up the tempo, get in a rhythm and then you slowly get back into it," Gonchar said. "That's the only way to do it. It doesn't matter if you're older or younger, you have to be smart about it. Obviously being out for so long and playing against a fast team like the Islanders, you have to make sure that you're ready and you're doing things right from the beginning."

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 12:45 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bobrovsky returns for Blue Jackets against Rangers

NEW YORK -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will start Monday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden after missing 14 games with a groin injury.

The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner's return couldn't have come at a better time. Columbus begins a stretch Monday in which it plays four of its next five games against teams from the Metropolitan Division, where six points separate the third-place Washington Capitals from the seventh-place Blue Jackets.

In light of this crucial stretch of games, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said he was willing to ride his franchise goaltender.

"Bob is in the lineup because he's 100 percent healthy. To be 100 percent means he's just like he was prior to the injury," Richards said. "If we need to play Bob in back-to-back games, we believe he's healthy and capable enough to do that.".

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 12:42 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Islanders' Okposo game-time decision; Bailey returns

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo will be a game-time decision Monday because his wife, Danielle, was at the hospital and due to give birth to the couple's first child.

Peter Regin is expected to play on the Islanders' top line with John Tavares and Thomas Vanek if Okposo is unable to go against the Dallas Stars at Nassau Coliseum.

Okposo went to the hospital Sunday night and was still there Monday morning.

"We'll know a little bit more here in a couple of hours," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said after the morning skate. "We knew going in what time she was going to go in. We knew he'd be there all night. Now it just depends on this morning, if things work out well, knock on wood, he gets his proper rest and he can play tonight."

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 11:00 AM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

Ducks' Hiller guests on Monday's NHL Live

NHL Live with Bill Pidto and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will welcome in Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, who was just named to the Swiss team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and will discuss the stellar first half enjoyed by his team.

We'll go Behind the Bench with analyst and former coach Barry Melrose, who will address the best and worst coaching moves of the week.

We're one day from Hockey Canada announcing its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and E.J. looks at some inside projections as to who will make the team.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 10:53 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Eight NHL players highlight Swiss Olympic roster

Switzerland named its roster Monday afternoon for the 2014 Sochi Olympics during a press conference in Zurich. The 25-man roster features eight players from the NHL.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and Calgary Flames netminder Reto Berra headline the selections, and they are joined by defensemen Raphael Diaz (Montreal Canadiens), Roman Josi (Nashville Presdators). Mark Streit (Philadelphia Flyers) and Yannick Weber (Vancouver Canucks), as well as forwards Damien Brunner (New Jersey Devils) and Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota Wild).

The majority of the rest of the roster comes from the Swiss domestic league, including defenseman Mathias Seger, who was named the team's captain.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 10:57 PM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

VAN @ ANA - 4:59 of Overtime

At 4:59 of overtime in the Canucks/Ducks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Corey Perry's shot crossed the goal line with 1.3 seconds remaining on the clock. Good goal Anaheim.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 10:10 PM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

TBL @ EDM - 2:31 of the Third Period

At 2:31 of the third period in the Lightning/Oilers game, video review determined that Ales Hemsky's shot hit the crossbar and did not enter the net. No goal Edmonton.

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