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Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 4:28 PM

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

New-look Predators pose challenges for Kings

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter admits he has a healthy respect for Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz. Both men are among the longest-tenured and most-respected bench bosses in the NHL, having each coached in over 1,000 games. A picture of consistency since being named Nashville's first head coach in 1998, Trotz has proven himself a formidable foe, even for a Stanley Cup-winning coach like Sutter.

That chess match between these two should be on full display as the Kings visit Nashville Thursday night.

"I don't like coaching against him. He's a good coach," Sutter said Thursday. "Part of the challenge in this League is there are probably about seven, eight really experienced guys that are pretty successful guys, and he's one of them."


Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:59 PM

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

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

E.J. Hradek Game Picks Thursday October 17th:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers - Penguins

Vancouver Canucks vs Buffalo Sabres - Canucks

Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs - Maple Leafs

Edmonton Oilers vs New York Islanders - Islanders

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Montreal Canadiens - Blue Jackets

New Jersey Devils vs Ottawa Senators - Senators

Minnesota Wild vs Tampa Bay Lightning - Lightning

Boston Bruins vs Florida Panthers - Bruins

St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks - Blackhawks

Los Angeles Kings vs Nashville Predators - Predators

San Jose Sharks vs Dallas Stars - Sharks

Detroit Red Wings vs Colorado Avalanche - Avalanche

E.J.'s Season Record: 43-21-1

Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:42 PM

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

Injuries force Maple Leafs to rely on young players

It may be early in the 2013-14 season, but Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle already is no stranger to being pressed into shaking up his lineup.

Forward Nikolai Kulemin and defenseman Mark Fraser already were nursing injuries when top-line forward James van Riemsdyk encountered back spasms that forced him from the lineup for the Leafs' game Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.

That back issue again will keep van Riemsdyk out of the game Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes

It's forced Carlyle to be inventive from week to week with his lineup.
Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:16 PM

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

Blues' Morrow good to go, Paajarvi set to debut

CHICAGO -- After taking a hit from behind and getting a scare Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues left wing Brenden Morrow is well enough to play Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Morrow, 34, took a shot from the Sharks' Brent Burns that sent him crashing into the boards and he left for a stretch in the first period but returned to finish the game. Morrow sat out practice Wednesday in St. Louis but was on the ice Thursday morning and gave the thumbs-up after testing his neck area.

"Yeah, I was just out, moved around a little bit and made sure everything was working properly and where it should be," Morrow said. "I've had some neck problems and I've put in a lot of time [rehabilitating]. I'm trying to keep it healthy and it freaked me out a little bit and got a burner going. It's just letting it settle down. That nerve gets a little irritated at times and it was just about letting it settle down and I think it's run its course."

Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:10 PM

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

NHL Live previews Flyers-Penguins, Thursday action

Twelve games on the Thursday schedule and NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get you ready for the Metropolitan Division battle between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins on the NHL Network. We'll also get a live update from the Florida Arena Cam from Boston Bruins analyst Andy Brickley, as Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas faces his old team. Lastly, Eddie Olcyzk will join us from Chicago as the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks square off.

Also joining us from the Dallas Arena Cam are Dallas Stars rookie Alex Chiasson and San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun to talk about the big Western Conference matchup.

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 Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 2:28 PM

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

Senators' Spezza ready for home opener

OTTAWA -- With six road games under his belt, Jason Spezza has had an opportunity to get used to wearing the captain's "C" on his white Ottawa Senators jersey.

On Thursday he gets to trot out his red home jersey as fans at Canadian Tire Centre begin to experience life after longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson when the Senators finally play their home opener, against the New Jersey Devils.

"It'll be special, for sure," said Spezza, who scored a natural hat trick Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime win at the Phoenix Coyotes. "It's the home opener and the first time being announced as captain here so I'm looking forward to it. Like I've said all along, it's a big honor and I'm excited to be able to finally play a home game with the 'C.'"


Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stuart in for Sharks, Nichushkin back for Stars

DALLAS -- When the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars hit the ice at American Airlines Center on Thursday for the first of three meetings this season, each team will do so with several changes to their lineup.

For the Sharks, who at 6-0-0 are one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the NHL along with the Colorado Avalanche, it means Brad Stuart will slide into Dan Boyle's spot on the blue line alongside Matt Irwin.

Stuart, who hasn't played since Oct. 8 against the New York Rangers, has finished serving a three-game suspension for delivering an illegal hit to the head of New York's Rick Nash in that game. He replaces Boyle, who sustained an upper-body injury in the first period of a 6-2 road win against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday after St. Louis' Maxim Lapierre checked him into the boards from behind.

"We would love to have Dan. He means so much to our group, but he's not available and we feel good about [Stuart] going in," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Brad needs to play. He's only played one game in the last three or four weeks and he needs the ice time. He needs to get his game going and [we] feel good about playing him."


Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 1:56 PM

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

Panthers aiming for strong start to homestand

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After stumbling to a 2-5-0 start, the Florida Panthers are hoping their longest homestand of the season can help turn things around.

After playing five of their first seven games on the road, the Panthers' game Thursday against the Boston Bruins will be their first of six straight at BB&T Center.

The homestand also includes visits by the Minnesota Wild (Oct. 19), Chicago Blackhawks (Oct. 22), Buffalo Sabres (Oct. 25), Tampa Bay Lightning (Oct. 27) and St. Louis Blues (Nov. 1).

"This is a good test for us," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "It's a quality hockey team. We look at this, it's a window. We want to play at home, we want to be here and get things going in the right direction. Nothing better than a good, stiff challenge like Boston."


Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 1:20 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Pacioretty out for Canadiens, maybe Bourque as well

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens will be without left wing Max Pacioretty and perhaps left wing Rene Bourque as well when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bell Centre on Thursday.

Pacioretty left the Canadiens' 3-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday in the first period with a lower-body injury. He had to be helped off the ice and was unable to put weight on his left leg.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said the team still was awaiting the results of an MRI taken Wednesday night amid rampant speculation in Montreal about the severity of Pacioretty’s injury. When he said the team did not have the results of the MRI as of early Thursday afternoon, a few reporters chuckled.

"What are you laughing at? We don't know yet," Therrien said. "I'm as eager to know as you are. Maybe even a little more eager than you are."

Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 1:18 PM

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

Dubnyk returns to Oilers net

After sitting out the past two games, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk will return as the team's starter Thursday against the New York Islanders.

Edmonton has gone 0-2-1 to start its season-long, six-game road trip, and Dubnyk has come under fire for his lack of stability in the crease.

"He hasn't played as well as we'd hoped," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said Thursday. "I talked to him this morning and he's ready to go out and battle."

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