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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 4:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Canada WJC coaches to lead Super Series teams

Canada's coaching staff for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will have a big hand in the next step in the selection process for the team that will go to Malmo, Sweden for this year's tournament.

Brent Sutter, who will coach the team as it looks to return to the medal stand after finishing fourth at the 2013 WJC, will serve as coach for the two games the Western Hockey League stars will play against Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series.

Sutter, who coaches the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, will lead the team in games Nov. 27 in Red Deer, Alberta, and Nov. 28 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Serving as Sutter's assistant coach in those games will be Kootenay Ice coach Ryan McGill, who also will be on Sutter's staff for the WJC.


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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 3:39 PM

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

Banged-up Hurricanes to start Peters vs. Avalanche

DENVER -- The Carolina Hurricanes will hobble into Pepsi Center on Friday to play the Colorado Avalanche with two goalies who began the season in the American Hockey League.

Justin Peters, who replaced injured Cam Ward early in the first period against the Minnesota Wild in a 3-1 loss Thursday, will start in goal against the Avalanche.

Ward sustained a lower-body injury when he kicked out his right leg in an attempt to stop a shot by Mikael Granlund that went wide. Ward has been placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

Peters, who stopped 19 of 21 shots Thursday, had been recalled from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on Oct. 14 after backup goalie Anton Khudobin sustained a lower-body injury in an Oct. 13 game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Hurricanes called up Mike Murphy from Charlotte on an emergency basis Friday to dress as Peters' backup against the Avalanche. A sixth-round pick (No. 165) in the 2008 NHL Draft, Murphy is 1-2-0 with a 3.81 goals-against average in three AHL games this season.

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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 3:20 PM

By Steve Mears -  NHL Live host /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

NHL Live looks at returns of Letang, Clarkson

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and Toronto Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson are returning Friday night and NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will have live updates from Pittsburgh and Columbus from our Arena Cam. We'll also have a look at a #FlashbackFriday as the Ottawa Senators' Bobby Ryan is back facing his old team on NHL Network.

Plus, we'll have our first edition of the "Face-Off" as EJ and Barry Melrose debate three interesting topics: Best Team, Best Defenseman to Build Around, and Who's to Blame for the struggles in Buffalo.

Also, it's a fairly busy Friday night with six games in the NHL and it's even busier for eight of the 12 teams as they play the first or second of back-to-back games. Vancouver concludes a seven-game trip in St. Louis against a Blues team that hasn't played in a week. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes play the last of a four-game road swing in Colorado after being in Minnesota last night. The Avalanche have been off since Monday.

Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and join the conversation on twitter as we ask you to pick the game of the night.

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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

NHL Live: E.J. Hradek's Friday game picks

E.J. Hradek Game Picks Friday October 25th:

New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins - Penguins

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus Blue Jackets - Maple Leafs

Anaheim Ducks vs Ottawa Senators - Senators

Buffalo Sabres vs Florida Panthers - Panthers

Vancouver Canucks vs St. Louis Blues - Blues

Carolina Hurricanes vs Colorado Avalanche - Avalanche

E.J.'s Season Record: 64-30-5

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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Clarkson ready for long-awaited Maple Leafs debut

COLUMBUS -- Toronto Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson spent extra time after practices skating … and skating.

Now he's ready put those conditioning drills -- necessitated by a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to join an altercation during a preseason game -- to use Friday when he makes his Maple Leafs debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Nationwide Arena.

"I'm ready to go right away," he said following the morning skate. "I'm the best I've felt throughout this whole camp.

"It's exciting to be back and a part of something and [back] in the locker room. It's the little things you miss not being around the guys. It's been good."

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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers' Bergenheim eager to finally get back on ice

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Almost 18 months after his last game with the Florida Panthers, forward Sean Bergenheim will make his long-awaited return Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.

Bergenheim hasn't played in an NHL game since Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Panthers and New Jersey Devils, missing all of last season and the first 10 games this season because of abdomen, groin and hip issues.

"It's been a while, but I don't feel that it's been that long," Bergenheim said after the Panthers' morning skate. "When I look at how many months it's been since I played, I don't feel that on the ice. I don't feel it's been that long. I'm really happy to be back. For sure, I missed this.

"I'm not nervous right now, but I'm sure I'll get some butterflies before the game here. … [I'm] just feeling really good and ready. That's the feeling I have right now."


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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 1:46 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues hope team-bonding trip pays off

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have gone a full week without playing a game while the rest of the NHL is flying past them in games played.

Other than the New York Rangers (eight games), everyone else in the League has played at least two more games than the seven by the Blues, who got an unusual early quirk in the schedule.

So instead of practicing and lounging around St. Louis and having some training camp-type practices, the team was able to get away for a few days for some rest, relaxation and a few workouts on the eastern coast of Charleston, S.C.

A little bit of everything was involved, from golfing to fishing, guys getting away to see a movie, shopping at some of Charleston's finest stores and good old-fashioned team bonding.

As the Blues (5-1-1) get set to play in back-to-back games this weekend (Friday against the Vancouver Canucks and Saturday at the Nashville Predators), players said the time spent together was beneficial.


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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 1:00 PM

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

Senators look for better showing against Ducks

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators have recent momentum on their side as they get ready to complete their season series against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Senators came up with their strongest effort to date in a 6-1 win Wednesday at the Detroit Red Wings in their first game against former captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Ottawa has won three of its past four games, but the Senators were at low tide when they faced the Ducks on Oct. 13, losing 4-1 in Bobby Ryan's first game back in Anaheim to drop their record to 1-2-2 on their season-opening six-game road trip.

"They took advantage of us not being very sharp," said captain Jason Spezza, who scored twice Wednesday. "We know they lost [Thursday] so they're going to come with a bit of a burr [Friday] too. They're too good a team and good teams always talk about not losing two in a row, so we know they're going to give a good effort, but we feel like we have much better to show them and we hope we can give them a better game [Friday]."

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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 12:32 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Penguins' Letang to make season debut

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins enter the weekend owners of the NHL's sixth-best defense, allowing 2.22 goals per game. Pittsburgh will look to improve its defense further by adding All-Star defenseman Kris Letang to its lineup Friday.

Letang will make his season debut Friday against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center after missing the Penguins' first nine games with a lower-body injury. He will skate on Pittsburgh's top defensive pairing with Rob Scuderi and its top power-play unit.

"Rob is a stay-at-home defenseman. He has a good first pass," Letang said. "He reads the play really well, defends against the best player every year and has done a pretty good job at it, so it's going to be fun for me to play with him."

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Posted On Friday, 10.25.2013 / 12:06 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Clarkson's return can boost your team

David Clarkson's 10-game suspension has been served. Now, he can go back to serving fantasy owners with top-notch category coverage.

The Toronto Maple Leafs power forward will be in the lineup Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets in what will be his first regular-season game with his new team. Clarkson, who signed a seven-year contract with the Maple Leafs in free agency, can finally put the preseason incident that led to his suspension behind him.

If you were one of the wise fantasy owners to select Clarkson in the late rounds of your draft and store him on your bench, this 29-year-old should give your team an immediate lift. On the flip side, if you chose to play it safe and leave Clarkson on the waiver wire, the clock is ticking.

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final