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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 12:33 PM

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

Bylsma only sees talent, not opponents' records

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are not treating their matchup with the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) differently than any previous game.

The Penguins have built a 6-1-0 record while facing five sub-.500 teams -- four who have won one game or fewer -- but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said teams' records this early in the season are not indicative of their skill level.

"Early in the season I don't give a lot of credit to the record and where they're at in the standings," Bylsma said after Pittsburgh's Friday practice. "The Flyers were a win away from being six points behind us in the standings, which isn't that far and a lot can be said for their start or lack of their start. But that game [Thursday] would've put them within four or six points.

"It's tough to give those records credence. We're playing a Vancouver team that is good in a lot of areas, good with their top skill and are a good team and that's what we're looking at, at a John Tortorella team."

Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 12:16 PM

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

Capitals shuffle lineup in hopes of creating offense

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals will sport a vastly different look when they take the ice Saturday at Verizon Center against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After only scoring eight even-strength goals through seven games and losing three of four during a season-long five-game homestand, coach Adam Oates, who had been patient despite his team's offensive struggles, rearranged his forward lines and defensive pairings.

"I know we talk a lot about chemistry and that's important," Oates said following practice Friday. "I just felt that a couple guys weren't playing good enough for the minutes they're getting, and they need to know that."

The first line of Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin remains intact, but the other three lines have undergone some sort of makeover.

Martin Erat will see his first top-six action of the season after averaging less than nine minutes per game on the fourth line, joining the second line with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer. Mikhail Grabovski will center the third line and Eric Fehr will play in the middle on the fourth line. 

Aaron Volpatti will make his season debut, replacing Jay Beagle on the fourth line, with Fehr and Tom Wilson.

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

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

E.J. Hradek Game Picks Friday October 18th:

St. Louis Blues vs Winnipeg Jets - Jets

Phoenix Coyotes vs Anaheim Ducks - Coyotes

E.J.'s Season Record: 49-24-4

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 3:49 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks' Fasth sitting out as a precaution

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau had an easy decision on his starting goaltender for his team's game Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes after Viktor Fasth tweaked something at the end of practice Thursday.

Fasth has a lower-body injury, according to the team. Boudreau indicated it wasn't serious, but the Ducks recalled Frederik Andersen from Norfolk of the American Hockey League to back up Jonas Hiller on Friday. Emergency goalie Rob Laurie, 43, took Fasth's place at the morning skate.

"It's just day-to-day," Boudreau said. "Everything's precautionary in this world."

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 3:46 PM

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

College hockey report, Friday previews on NHL Live

It's a hockey Friday and NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get you ready for the two games on tap as well as your hockey weekend. NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose will be on the show to talk the Metropolitan Division and give his Mullet of the Week.

We'll also be joined by the coach of the Boston University Terriers, David Quinn, for this week's college hockey report. BU is off to a strong 2-0 start and will face RPI and Wisconsin this weekend.

Plus, we'll preview the two NHL games Friday. The St. Louis Blues are in Winnipeg to take on the Jets. Alexander Steen, a Winnipeg native, returns to the town where his dad Thomas spent 14 seasons as a Jet and played 950 games. In another divisional matchup, the Anaheim Ducks look for their sixth straight win as they meet the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix has won four of its last five games against Anaheim.

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.

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 3:00 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets determined to dictate game's pace

WINNIPEG -- The losses and the pressure are mounting for the Winnipeg Jets, and a date Friday with the St. Louis Blues does not seem like much relief.

"The competitive nature of the [Western Conference] is fierce right now," Jets coach Claude Noel said.

The Jets (3-4-0) are in the middle of a six-game homestand but have lost four of their past five games. Winnipeg faces a difficult 10-game stretch that begins Friday, and Noel's team needs points to keep pace in the Central Division.

Winnipeg will meet the Blues for the first time since realignment put the clubs in the same division. The Blues (5-1-0) arrived in Winnipeg early Friday morning from Chicago, where they had beaten the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout Thursday. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock did not schedule a morning skate for his team.

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 12:44 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets expect to have Kane in lineup against Blues

Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel anticipates forward Evander Kane will be in the lineup Friday against the St. Louis Blues, the team announced through its official Twitter account.

Kane suffered an apparent leg injury in practice on Wednesday and his status had been in question.

Kane will take the pregame warm-up and the team then will make a final decision on his status for the game; however, Kane said he's ready to play.

"I wouldn't say it's 100 percent by any means, but [it is] good enough to play," said Kane, who said the injury is not knee-related. "As long as I can stand up out there I'll play."

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 12:21 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Oilers' Arcobello could be of assistance

When one of Wayne Gretzky's records is broken, it's only natural for fantasy owners to take notice of everyone involved.

Edmonton Oilers wing Taylor Hall scored two goals in eight seconds on Thursday against the New York Islanders, besting Gretzky's team mark of two in nine seconds from 1981. Oilers center Mark Arcobello was lucky enough to be a part of Hall's milestone by association.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially from a fantasy standpoint. And it turns out Arcobello's performance sheds some light on a diamond-in-the-rough fantasy asset worth an investment.

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 10:06 AM

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

Top QMJHL prospect Barbashev out at least 10 days

Moncton Wildcats left wing Ivan Barbashev, NHL Central Scouting's only "A"-rated player on the list of top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible players in its preliminary players to watch list for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will be sidelined at least 10 days after sustaining a lower-body injury on Wednesday.

Barbashev was injured while taking a faceoff in a game against the Saint John Sea Dogs when he attempted to kick the puck but instead caught his skate in a rut. Wildcats coach Darren Rumble said Barbashev "tweaked it a little bit."

"It's a huge loss to be missing him for a couple of days, but that's what happens when somebody goes down," Rumble told "It's an opportunity for someone else to step up."

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst / - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: My take on new goalies, 'Hertl power'

In a busy summer packed with big trades, two of the biggest deals involved goalies moving from the Western Conference to the East. As a goaltender myself, I couldn't help but take a long look at Cory Schneider and Jonathan Bernier.

Both of these guys are high-quality goalies and they're great people. I've gotten to know both of them quite well. One of the things I like about both of them is that they put their time in. They went to the American Hockey League and became dominant there, and they've earned the right to be in the National Hockey League. They've also both been patient. Bernier sat behind Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles and Schneider sat behind Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. Now Bernier is with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Schneider is with the New Jersey Devils, two teams going in opposite directions so far in 2013-14.

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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process