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Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 11:14 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hurricanes activate Ruutu from injured reserve

The Carolina Hurricanes activated forward Tuomo Ruutu from injured reserve, president and general manager Jim Rutherford announced Sunday.

Ruutu was placed on IR on Sept. 29, retroactive to Sept. 21, with a lower-body injury and has missed the Hurricanes' first five games of the regular season. He will play Sunday at PNC Arena against the Phoenix Coyotes on the fourth line in place of Kevin Westgarth.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 8:22 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

USHL defenseman released from hospital

Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Dylan Chanter was released from an area hospital early Sunday morning after sustaining a head and shoulder injury in the second period of his team’s game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a United States Hockey League matchup on Saturday at Cedar Rapids Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The injury was severe enough at the time that the Office of the USHL Commissioner and management of both teams agreed to suspend the contest after the incident at the 11:58 mark of the second. Details for a rescheduled date of the game will be announced at a later time.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 12:20 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

USHL game suspended following injury

The United States Hockey League on Saturday suspended play in the second period of a game involving the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders following an injury to Dubuque defenseman Dylan Chanter at Cedar Rapids Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Chanter (6-foot-3.25, 213 pounds) was injured 11:58 into the second when he fell to the ice following a fight. The 2014 draft-eligible native of Armstrong, B.C., who is committed to the University of New Hampshire in the fall of 2014, was conscious while being attended to by trainers and medical staff at the arena. He was transported to a local hospital for additional evaluation and testing.


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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 6:30 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks set to give Pirri another look

CHICAGO – Brandon Pirri will get a look for the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night against the winless Buffalo Sabres at United Center, but it might be another brief stay in the League for the 22-year old playmaking center.

Pirri will replace veteran Michal Handzus and likely center the fourth line against the Sabres, giving Handzus a night off on the last half of a back-to-back set this weekend. Pirri was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League following Chicago’s 3-2 win at home against the New York Islanders. Jimmy Hayes was sent down to clear a spot.

“We felt Jimmy would play more down there and at the same time Brandon is a fit at center ice for us with Handzus not playing tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll give him a rest in back-to-back games. That was some of the thought process. We’ll see, he’s here now and hopefully he takes advantage of it.”


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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 4:58 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Spezza returns to Ottawa lineup

SAN JOSE -- Captain Jason Spezza will return to the lineup after missing one game with a groin injury, and backup goaltender Robin Lehner will make his first start of the season Saturday night when the Ottawa Senators face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Spezza, who sat out Ottawa's 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Kings, centered the top line with Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan during the Senators morning skate. He skated Thursday and practiced with the team in San Jose on Friday.

"I've had two really good practice days," Spezza said. "We skated pretty hard on the off day then had a good practice day yesterday. No ill effects, so I imagine hopefully it will be somewhat smooth sailing from here on in.

"I feel like it's behind me, but I'll feel better after getting through the first game. Then you get some confidence in it, but we've skated hard on it, so I'm pretty confident that it's all gone."

Spezza has more goals (229), assists (393) and points (622) than any other current Senator. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said Spezza has been "one of the best players in the League for a while" and his return makes the Senators a "much better team, a much deeper team and a more dangerous team."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 4:33 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Gallagher excited for Vancouver homecoming

VANCOUVER -- The Montreal Canadiens won't have captain Brian Gionta against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, but you won't have to look far for fellow undersized forward Brendan Gallagher.

While Gionta is back in Montreal for family reasons, Gallagher plans to be where Vancouver fans grew used to seeing him during his junior career with the nearby Giants of the Western Hockey League: in front of the net causing havoc.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 3:46 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers' Eakins has Toronto homecoming against Leafs

Dallas Eakins is only four games into his tenure as coach of the Edmonton Oilers. That short time in Edmonton will make his return to Toronto Saturday even more special, as his Oilers face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Saturday night.

A former Maple Leafs player and assistant, Eakins spent four seasons coaching the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, before being hired by Edmonton. That familiarity with the Maple Leafs organization is what will make Saturday night a special affair for Eakins.

"I think I know everybody that works in this building, from the ushers to the Zamboni guy to the staff," Eakins said following the morning skate. "I have a history with a lot of the players. It's always good when it's something familiar. I'm grateful for the time that I spent here."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 2:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks want to fix PK woes against Sabres

CHICAGO – It was the backbone of their memorable 2013 championship run, but the Chicago Blackhawks have struggled to kill penalties in the first four games of their Stanley Cup title defense.

The penalty-killing effort looked a little better in a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Friday night at United Center, not allowing a goal against a pair of man-advantages, but there is still quote a lot of room to improve.

"We had a zero night tonight … that's progress," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll take baby steps and progress from there."

After finishing third in the NHL for both the regular season and the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (87.2 percent success rate, followed by 90.8 percent in the postseason), Chicago now ranks last in the League (54.6 percent).

The Blackhawks have allowed five power-play goals in 11 times shorthanded thus far, including three on six chances in a 6-5 win against the Washington Capitals on opening night followed by two goals allowed on three combined chances in the next two games – a shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss on Wednesday to the rival St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

Heading into a game Saturday night at United Center against the Buffalo Sabres (8 p.m., NHLN), they're hoping to build off a Friday night effort against a team that's only score two power-play goals in 18 chances (11.1 percent).

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Adam Vingan -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Former teammates Varlamov, Neuvirth face off

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Like the nylon mesh enclosing the goals that they strive to protect, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov and Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth are intertwined.

Selected 11 picks apart by Washington in the 2006 NHL Draft, the two were heralded as the future of the Capitals' crease. They made their respective League debuts nearly two months apart during the 2008-09 season, both allowing one goal in victories. Varlamov wowed with acrobatic saves, explosiveness that Neuvirth balanced with a more conservative approach.

In the summer of 2011, following a season where Neuvirth earned 27 victories while Varlamov spent most of his time languishing on injured reserve, the Capitals traded Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for a first-round draft pick and a conditional second-round pick.

Varlamov and Neuvirth stood at opposite sides of the ice countless times during practice, but for the first time the two will do so in a meaningful game as they will start against one another when the Capitals host the Avalanche Saturday at Verizon Center.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Veteran backups to play in goal for Stars, Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Both the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars will start their veteran backups in goal Saturday when the new Central Division rivals play at Xcel Energy Center.

Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen left Friday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets early in the second period, stopping all 21 shots he faced to that point. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said the injury is day-to-day.

With Lehtonen unavailable, the Stars called up Jack Campbell from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. He will back up Dan Ellis tonight against the Wild.

"Encouraging that [Lehtonen] could be back at practice [Sunday]," Ruff said.

Ellis made his first appearance of the season Friday against the Jets and allowed one goal on 23 shots.

Minnesota will go with its own backup goaltender for the second straight game in Josh Harding. Niklas Backstrom, injured Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators, practiced Friday and took part in the morning skate Saturday, but is still unavailable. He is expected to join the Wild on a seven-day, four-game Eastern Conference road trip starting Monday at the Buffalo Sabres.

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Quote of the Day

I'm here to develop a winning culture and a winning team. There is a bright future ahead of this team.  A lot of young, great hockey players here and on the way … a fan base that's passionate about the game of hockey.

— Dan Bylsma after being introduced as new coach of the Buffalo Sabres