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Posted On Tuesday, 01.22.2013 / 10:35 AM

By NHL Green -  /NHL.com - NHL Green Slapshots™

NHL Green launches Hat Tricks for Trees™

NHL Green today announces the launch of Hat Tricks for Trees™, an initiative assisting The Nature Conservancy’s effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. The National Hockey League Foundation, through NHL Green’s Hat Tricks for Trees™, will donate 50 trees for every hat trick scored throughout the 2012-13 regular season and NHL Playoffs.

The initiative grew out of a recent online exchange between Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and the Bruin’s community blog Stanley Cup of Chowder. Initially, the blog pledged to donate 50 trees for every goal scored by Ference this season. The Boston blueliner then delivered his own pledge, a commitment to plant 50 trees for every goal scored by teammate Tyler Seguin.

All contributions will support TNC’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign, a major restoration initiative launched by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2008 to restore Brazil's Atlantic Forest. The campaign aims to restore one million acres of land by helping plant one billion trees by 2015. The effort has the potential to remove four million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.

According to TNC, “tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, storing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in a never-ending cycle of life. The Atlantic Forest – one of the biggest tropical forests in the world – helps stabilize the global climate and fight global warming.” Warming temperatures threaten the existence of the frozen pond where, over the years, many men and women of all skill levels learned to play hockey. The League is committed to preserving the conditions that fostered the game and protecting this rich tradition for the next generation.

In line with this mission, the NHL actively pursues more environmentally responsible measures of forest-product sourcing, is developing more robust post-consumer recycling practices, is promoting responsible forest management and is providing funds to aid in forest restoration.

At home, in 2012, NHL Green introduced a legacy tree project in Pittsburgh for the NHL Draft. In cooperation with the Pittsburgh Penguins and local non-profit Tree Pittsburgh, the League planted mature trees up the block from the CONSOL Energy Center, along the perimeter of the Hill House Association, an institution providing an array of health, welfare, recreation and other community programs. The tree-lined streets, parks and hillsides of Pittsburgh are not only a point of community pride, but they also offer substantial benefits to residents -- helping to conserve and reduce energy use, reducing local carbon dioxide levels, improving air quality and mitigating storm water runoff.

Through NHL Green’s Hat Tricks for Trees™, the League will continue to support initiatives – both local and global – that aim to restore both urban and tropical forests.

Throughout the season, we encourage fans to follow us on twitter to receive notifications of when hat tricks are scored. Fans can contribute to the initiative by visiting the NHL Green microsite on nature.org and making a donation.

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 11:12 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

ANA @ CGY - 4:02 of the Third Period

At 4:02 of the third period in the Ducks/Flames game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Anaheim forward Daniel Winnik's right skate and into the net. According to rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good goal Anaheim.

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 10:49 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

DET @ CBJ - Shootout

In the first shot of the Blue Jackets/Red Wings shootout, video review determined that Columbus forward Cam Atkinson shot the puck twice with his stick on his shootout attempt that crossed the goal line. According to rule 24.2 "No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind (an exception being the puck off the goal post or crossbar, then the goalkeeper and then directly into the goal), and any time the puck crosses the goal line or comes to a complete stop, the shot shall be considered complete." No goal Columbus.

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 10:11 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

BUF @ TOR - 18:43 of the Third Period

At 18:43 of the third period in the Sabres/Maple Leafs game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul directed the puck into the net with his left glove. According to rule 67.6 "a goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck with his hand into the net." No goal Toronto.

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 9:27 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

ANA @ CGY - 7:23 of the First Period

At 7:23 of the first period in the Ducks/Flames game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Anaheim forward Saku Koivu's shot hit the upper part of the inside of the net crossing the goal line. Good goal Anaheim.

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 7:34 PM

NHL.com - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live - Josh Harding

Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding joins CISCO NHL Live to talk about the team's fast start and dealing with multiple sclerosis

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 4:53 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: My take on start of 2012-13 NHL season

At long last we are back, and we're back in style, too. This season kicked off with a fantastic weekend of great games and great performances, and I think we can all agree that it feels good to be watching hockey again. In all of the games we saw there was plenty to take note of, plenty of players that impressed and plenty of reasons to feel good -- or feel worried -- about your team.

Here's my take on the major things I noticed during the 2012-13 NHL season's opening weekend.

The game isn't the only thing that's back

The first thing that jumped out at me Saturday night was how the fans have come back in droves. Every interview I did before the lockout ended, everyone was saying, "They won't come back, there will be demonstrations and buildings will be empty. People are going to send a message to the NHL." That was entirely the opposite of what we saw Saturday. We had record crowds, buildings that aren't usually packed were packed and the atmosphere was electric. The people have come back bigger and better than ever, so that was the one thing that really grabbed me opening night: the love affair between these fans and the NHL.

I think it maybe caught everybody by surprise. We knew Toronto would be packed and we knew Boston would be packed, but Tampa was packed, Florida was packed and Philly set a record for its biggest crowd ever. We could see this even before the season openers when we looked at attendance at training camp scrimmages. Minnesota had 13,000 people in the building for theirs. The way the fans have come back and showed their loyalty and their passion for our sport is just amazing.

Don't worry about the Kings … yet

Los Angeles was supposed to come out and celebrate raising its first Stanley Cup banner in style, but that didn't really happen thanks to the Chicago Blackhawks. That said, while the score was lopsided, this is one you just have to write off, and that's exactly what Darryl Sutter will do. Coaches hate that banner raising. It's emotional and a bit of a distraction, which makes winning your home opener after winning the Cup that much harder -- and the numbers bear it out. Of the last 10 Stanley Cup champions including the Kings, only three of them (and just one in the last five) has won the night it raised its championship banner.

Sutter will just write that off, but L.A. had better be good in its second game. Sutter won't be writing that one off.

Here come the Hawks

I think that opener in L.A. said more about Chicago than it did L.A. -- the Blackhawks looked great all night. Marian Hossa was not just back and healthy, but he looked unbelievable. He had the puck all night long, and so did Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who were all over the ice.

That said, Corey Crawford is the big unknown with Chicago, and he looked OK against the Kings. You know Chicago is going to score and move the puck. If Crawford and Ray Emery -- who looked shaky but got the win against Phoenix on Sunday -- can give the Blackhawks adequate goaltending, that team could be at the top of the Western Conference standings.

Broadway blues

The Rangers are staking an early claim for the most disappointing start to the season. In their opener they had very little going five-on-five against Boston, which looked like the better team Saturday by a mile. That was a game in which the 3-1 final score almost flattered the Rangers with how they played. Things didn't get much better in New York's home opener on Sunday when the Rangers got beaten by a very strong Pittsburgh team.

In that opener against Boston there were some things that could be chalked up to it being early in the season, like sloppy line changes, but Henrik Lundqvist was the best player on the ice for the Rangers by far, and that isn't supposed to be the case for the Rangers this year. Lundqvist wasn't going to have to win games 1-0 or 2-1, but if you watched the opener, that's exactly what happened. I thought Rick Nash has looked OK so far, but with all of the offense this team is supposed to have, I'm expecting much more than what they showed this weekend.

Trouble in Vancouver

If anyone has been more disappointing than the Rangers through two games, it's probably the Canucks. Cory Schneider is going to take some heat after a poor first performance, particularly since Roberto Luongo came in and looked a heck of a lot better, and was solid in a start against Edmonton the next night as well. Add into that that Vancouver's offense didn't create a lot of chances or a lot of pressure and there is definite cause for concern. People also forget that David Booth and Ryan Kesler aren't playing for Vancouver right now, either. Those guys are big, physical forwards that Vancouver is counting on for a lot of points.

I think a little of the problem with Vancouver was that with the talk of the goaltending situation, they may not have been mentally prepared. If a goaltending controversy really gets sparked that could hinder the Canucks' preparation significantly. Schneider will get a couple of games before he completely loses the job, but it will be interesting. It's very different being the lead dog than being the backup. Usually when you come in as the backup the game is over, there's no pressure on you and you go out and stand on your head and everyone says, "This is great." When you're the No. 1 goaltender and it's your job to go win games, it's an entirely different mindset and an entirely different way of playing.

Schneider flunked his first test. That was his opportunity to put an exclamation point on the situation. All he did was get people thinking the Canucks can't trade Luongo. One game means nothing at this point, but Schneider missed a great opportunity to make it clear he was the No. 1 goalie in Vancouver.

Feeling Minnesota

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are the big names in Minnesota now, but Dany Heatley was the guy who stole the attention Saturday night with two goals in the Wild's opener. That's a sign that this could be a special season in Minnesota, and the Wild's win Sunday night only adds to it. What happened in the Wild's first two games is exactly what I've been talking about. Parise is going to make those forwards better. He'll make Heatley better, he'll make Devin Setoguchi better and he'll make Mikko Koivu better. People forget that Minnesota was the first team to 20 wins last year and then they ran into an unbelievable amount of injury problems.

They also forget that Koivu is probably the best player in the NHL no one knows about. When I coached Tampa Bay and we played Minnesota he was the most dominant player on the ice. He can do that and he's done that at times when he's healthy. Then you throw in Mikael Granlund to give them a new weapon. Then you look at what Suter is going to do to make that young defensive corps better. Here's a guy that's going to be on the ice basically half the game, and that takes a lot of pressure off the young defensemen they've got there. Also, Backstrom is a heck of a goaltender.

I think Minnesota, with Parise and Suter, when you look at the West, they're as good as any team in the West. When you look at what they've done so far in their first two games I have to say I feel pretty good about my Stanley Cup pick so far.

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Fowler makes debut for Ducks in Calgary

CALGARY -- Fresh off a 7-3 season-opening win against the Vancouver Canucks, the Anaheim Ducks aren't expected to make many changes to their lineup for Monday's game against the Calgary Flames.

"You win and coaches have a tendency to keep the same lineup," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The only expected change to Anaheim's roster will feature Cam Fowler joining the lineup after missing Saturday's game with the flu. He is expected to take the place of Jordan Hendry.

Here is the lineup the Ducks likely will use Monday night:

Kyle Palmieri - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Bobby Ryan - Nick Bonino - Teemu Selanne

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Daniel Winnik

Matt Beleskey - Rickard Rakell - Devante Smith-Pelly

Francois Beauchemin - Toni Lydman

Cam Fowler - Bryan Allen

Luca Sbisa - Sheldon Souray

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Injured: Sami Vatanen

Scratched: Jordan Hendry, Peter Holland, Brad Staubitz

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 4:07 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jones, Brodie expected to make season debut

CALGARY -- Blair Jones and TJ Brodie are expected to make their season debut as the Calgary Flames host the Anaheim Ducks Monday.

Both players were healthy scratches in Calgary's home opener, a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

"I've been looking forward to the start of the season for a long time so for me, personally, it's a big deal," Jones said.

Jones, who had four points in 21 games for the Flames after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade in January, was disappointed to sit out Sunday.

"It's a pretty tough pill to swallow but it's really out of my control," he said. "I'm just going to worry about what I can do and that's play a hard game tonight."

Here’s how the Flames' lineup will likely look Monday night:

Curtis Glencross - Alex Tanguay - Jarome Iginla

Sven Baertschi - Mikael Backlund - Mike Cammalleri

Roman Horak - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

Blake Comeau - Blair Jones - Tim Jackman

Mark Giordano - Jay Bouwmeester

Chris Butler - Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff

Leland Irving

Injured: Anton Babchuk, Roman Cervenka

Scratched: Steve Begin, Derek Smith

Bereavement: Jiri Hudler

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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 2:47 PM

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

Five unnoticed opening weekend fantasy storylines

Two days of games are already in the books, so it's appropriate to quickly reflect on a few storylines following an eventful opening weekend in the NHL.

While mainstream players (Martin St. Louis, Jaromir Jagr, Marian Hossa, Patrick Marleau, etc.) and highly-touted prospects (Vladimir Tarasenko, Jonathan Huberdeau, etc.) stole headlines by kicking their seasons off with a bang, here are five developments on the fantasy front that may have gone unnoticed:

Vokoun should be valued as the short season rolls on -- especially by fantasy owners who drafted Marc-Andre Fleury. (Photo: Getty Images)

-- Three teams (Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins) are off to 2-0 starts, with each riding backup netminders to wins Sunday. Josh Harding (owned in 35 percent of Yahoo! leagues), in his first appearance since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, stopped all 24 shots to blank the Dallas Stars. Tomas Vokoun (38 percent), who gave Marc-Andre Fleury a breather, held the New York Rangers in check by making 31 saves on 34 shots. Ray Emery (6 percent) was far from perfect against Phoenix (25 SV on 29 SOG), but still earned a victory as the Blackhawks scored five-plus goals for the second straight day.

These are small sample sizes, but this pattern indicates that backups are worth storing on your bench for these situations. Owners who drafted Fleury, Corey Crawford and Niklas Backstrom would be wise to snag their backups off the waiver wire, as this strategy can brace your team for potential injuries while also ensuring your maximum goalie starts each week.

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season