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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 5:02 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Red Wings tinker with look of power play

CHICAGO -- The Detroit Red Wings might tweak the look of their power play for Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

During their morning skate, the Red Wings practiced the power play using somewhat of an umbrella scheme, with only defenseman Niklas Kronwall at the point. Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen were on the flanks with Justin Abdelkader in front of the net and Henrik Zetterberg roaming.

"We tried it out in practice," Abdelkader said. "We'll see what happens in the game, if it stays or not, but if it does we've just got to shoot pucks and get second chances, second rebounds and break them down. Power plays always start with a shot, so we've got to make sure we're shooting, getting pucks back and taking them to the net."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 4:46 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Panthers want player who can contribute immediately

TORONTO -- Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is at the NHL Scouting Combine this week with an open mind as to who his team will select with the second pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. Though he wasn't going to divulge publicly whom he and his scouting staff have on top of their list, there is one thing Tallon hopes that player can do, and that's step into the NHL lineup immediately.

"We're hopeful," Tallon told NHL.com. "We're going to be a young team. It's going to be a necessary part of our puzzle moving forward. I would hope the guy we select can play for us next year."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 4:10 PM

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

NHL pledges 1,600 trees to The Nature Conservancy

In the 2012-13 regular season, players from around the NHL tallied 32 hat tricks, including two apiece from Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, and Toronto’s Nazem Kadri.

Inspired by Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, NHL Green launched Hat Tricks for Trees™ in January.  The initiative assists The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. NHL Green pledged to donate 50 trees to TNC’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign for every hat trick scored throughout the regular season.

Thanks to the League’s highest scoring players, NHL’s contribution this year totals 1,600 trees, helping to restore and rebuild the Atlantic Forest and its irreplaceable part in our global ecosystem. TNC has set a lofty and admirable goal of planting one billion trees in the Atlantic Forest by 2015, which has the potential to remove four million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

Read on to learn more about Brazil's Atlantic Forest, why it's health is important for all of us, and how you can help.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 3:01 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bartkowski looking forward to facing hometown team

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien is not worried about defenseman Matt Bartkowski collapsing under the pressure of facing his hometown team in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Bartkowski, who grew up in Mount Lebanon, Pa., loved the Pittsburgh Penguins as a kid. Now he might get to face the Penguins in the Stanley Cup semifinals starting Saturday.

"He seems pretty excited. He's looking forward to it," Julien said after practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday. "I think at the end of the day he knows who he's playing for and he wants to do well for his team. And the better he does, the better he looks in everybody's eyes, whether it's his hometown that's rooting for the other team or whether it's us. So I don't see an issue with that. I think if anything it's a positive, it's exciting, and you know for sure that he's going to be ready to play."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins considering multiple options on defense

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- There are so many variables affecting what the Boston Bruins' defense corps will look like when the Eastern Conference Finals begin Saturday night.

If everyone is healthy, the Bruins could try to defend the Pittsburgh Penguins with the same top four defensemen who won the Stanley Cup in 2011: Zdeno Chara paired with Dennis Seidenberg, and Andrew Ference coupled with Johnny Boychuk.

Rookie Matt Bartkowski could be in the mix to play top-four minutes, and Chara and Seidenberg could be split up. With so many days to prepare before facing the Penguins, the Bruins are trying out different scenarios. One drill at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday featured everyone rotating in and playing with different partners every shift.

Anything is possible prior to Game 1, and coach Claude Julien told the media he hasn't ruled out any and every defensive combination

"It's good, because you saw us during the season, we mixed and matched. And you guys kept asking a lot of questions about that and I said, 'You know what? It's important that we do that because at some point they’re all going to have to play with each other,'" Julien said. "And guys can play right that are left shots, or vice versa. And even during the game we still mix and match pairs sometimes. It's not necessarily set pairs that you see on the ice all the time. So that's not going to change."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 2:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Parade a unique backdrop for Fucale's 18th birthday

TORONTO -- When was the last time more than 4,000 fans sang "Happy Birthday" to you?

It happened to Halifax Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale on Tuesday during a parade for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

Fucale, who turned 18, said it was one of the most memorable moments of his life.

"The parade was cool, and it's amazing that it fell on my birthday," Fucale told NHL.com. "There were like 5,000 people in the streets, yelling and everything. During the little ceremony we had, there were 5,000 people singing [for] my birthday. Can you believe that?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Remparts prospect reminisces about Roy's mentoring

TORONTO -- It has to be a bittersweet moment this week for the four players invited to the NHL Scouting Combine from the Quebec Remparts.

That's because Remparts coach Patrick Roy recently was hired as coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Roy, who also served as general manager for eight seasons, and is a part-owner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, was introduced to the Colorado media Tuesday during a press conference.

Remparts center Kurt Etchegary, No. 72 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters, considered it an honor to be coached by a legend.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:43 PM

By Nick Baptiste -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Nick Baptiste Draft blog

Baptiste set for NHL Combine experience

Nick Baptiste, No. 61 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America, concluded his second season with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot, 189-pound right wing produced 21 goals and 48 points in 66 games for the Wolves. He also won a gold medal for Team Canada at the World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia, in April, collecting three goals, eight points and a plus-6 rating in seven tourney games. Baptiste has agreed to take the time and maintain a blog for NHL.com during his stay at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto this week.

Hi everyone!

So after a month of preparation and many hours in the gym, it's hard to believe the Combine is just a day away [for me]. I've only watched the Combine on television, so I'm not completely sure what to expect. My trainer, Scott Heffernan, has prepared me well for the many skill tests, including the VO2 bike test that I will be required to complete at the Combine.

After much training and many massage sessions, I feel confident that I'll be able to perform well. I'm pretty excited to get started.

Coming off of a strong second half in Sudbury and a gold medal victory in Sochi, Russia with Team Canada, I'm looking forward to meeting with NHL teams and running through the various tests. I'm also looking forward to catching up with buddies, teammates and other players that I've met over the years.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Red Wings scout looking forward to NHL Draft

TORONTO -- One reason the Detroit Red Wings have been a perennial contender is the organization's knack for finding premier players in the NHL Draft.

It's one thing to find a future all-star in the first round, but to pinpoint one in the later rounds takes a tremendous amount of foresight and vision. Hakan Andersson, who began scouting for the Red Wings in 1990 on a recommendation and is now the director of European scouting for the club, saw that potential in Tomas Holmstrom (No. 257 in 1994), Pavel Datsyuk (No. 171 in '98), Henrik Zetterberg (No. 210 in '99), Niklas Kronwall (No. 29 in 2000), Jiri Hudler (No. 58 in '02), Valtteri Filppula (No. 95 in '02), Jonathan Ericsson (No. 291 in '02) and Johan Franzen (No. 97 in '04).

More recently, right wing Gustav Nyquist (No. 121 in '08) has burst upon the scene.

Joe McDonnell, Detroit's director of amateur scouting with the Red Wings, is armed with a pick in each of the seven rounds for the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J., on June 30. It's a situation he's extremely pleased about.

"I think it's real deep draft," McDonnell told NHL.com. "We just finished up our year-end meetings [on May 26] and know we're going to get a player if we're picking in the 18th spot or lower. We think we're going to get a real good player no matter where we're picking in the first round."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Comrie benefits from visit by Carey Price

TORONTO -- When Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made a surprise visit to his former junior hockey team during the work stoppage last year, top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Eric Comrie was front and center.

Comrie, ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American goaltenders, finished 20-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in an injury-shortened season for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Though Comrie (6-foot, 167 pounds) is quick to credit Tri-City goalie coach Lyle Mast for much of his progress and success, he also was impressed with Price in the short visit he made with the team. The Canadiens goalie spent four seasons in Tri-City from 2003-07.

"He came to Tri-City and it was an unbelievable experience," Comrie told NHL.com. "He came back and practiced with us and shared his knowledge with me, and it was the most fun I've ever had in some time. Just being around him … he showed you how hard you have to work. It was amazing how humble he was."

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Quote of the Day

I loved being in the jerseys again and they worked some magic for us. It was weird in warm-ups, seeing No. 22 in that jersey and thinking he’s [Mike Gartner], and No. 8 reminds you of Danny Briere … every number had me thinking back to the guys who wore them and smiling.

— Coyotes captain Shane Doan on wearing Kachina-style throwback jerseys in a 3-2 victory against the Canucks on Thursday