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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 3:14 PM

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

Canucks brace for Hertl, rest of red-hot Sharks

VANCOUVER -- As if the Vancouver Canucks weren't already having enough trouble handling the San Jose Sharks, now they have to deal with the hottest player in the NHL, rookie Tomas Hertl.

San Jose has already beaten the Canucks eight straight, including a first-round sweep in last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs and the season opener for both teams Oct. 3.

The Sharks will be without defenseman Brad Stuart, who begins a three-game suspension for an illegal hit on New York Rangers forward Rick Nash. But Stuart was also out with a lower-body injury when the Sharks handed the Canucks a 4-1 loss to start the season in San Jose.


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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 2:56 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Franson reminisces on time with Weber, Predators

NASHVILLE -- Like a lot of former players who got their start with the Nashville Predators, Cody Franson spoke fondly Thursday of the team that selected him in the third round in the 2005 NHL Draft (No. 79) and with which he began his NHL career.

The 26-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman shares a special bond not only with the organization, but with its captain, Shea Weber. Weber and Franson grew up three houses apart in Sicamous, British Columbia, and have been close ever since.

"He was always a guy that I looked up to," Franson said of Weber. "He was doing what I wanted to do. He played for the [Kelowna] Rockets when I wanted to play in the [Western Hockey League]. He played in the World Junior [Championship] when I wanted to play in the World Juniors. He was a guy who was always doing the exact same things I wanted to do and he was always a guy I could talk to when it came time for me to be able to do that kind of stuff.

"He's always been there for me. He's a great friend. He took me under his wing when I first started and I can't thank him enough for that."

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 2:53 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stalberg could make Predators debut Saturday

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz told reporters Thursday that injured forward Viktor Stalberg could play Saturday against the New York Islanders.

Stalberg took part in the team's morning skate Thursday ahead of its game against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, but isn't quite ready yet to make his regular-season debut with the team. He has been on injured reserve since Sept. 29, about a week after he sustained an injury to his right shoulder during training camp.

Stalberg signed a four-year, $12 million contract with the Predators during the summer.

Here are the lineups the teams will use Thursday:

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 2:42 PM

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

Coyotes shake up lineup after consecutive losses

After losing the first two games of a season-long five-game road trip by a combined score of 10-2, the Phoenix Coyotes are shaking up their lineup just three games into the 2013-14 season.

That will happen when you start a road trip with losses of 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks and 6-1 to the New York Islanders.

The shakeup started Wednesday, when the team announced prior to their practice that rookie forwards Chris Brown and Lucas Lessio had been assigned to the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Portland. To take their places on the roster, Phoenix called up the veteran pair of Tim Kennedy and Brandon Yip.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:55 PM

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

Wild juggle lines in search of offense, balance

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's only a three-game sample size, but it's enough for Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo to know his team needs more offense.

Through three games, the Wild have scored just seven goals -- including only two playing 5-on-5. With the top-line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville generating a vast majority of the team's quality chances, Yeo has decided to move some parts around in the hopes of balancing his lineup and getting his second line going offensively as his team hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

The most prominent change comes on that top line, where right wing Pominville has been moved to the second line and replaced with Nino Niederreiter.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:39 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning look to get more consistency out of Panik

TAMPA -- With Tom Pyatt out with a broken collar bone suffered during the Tampa Bay Lightning's win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, coach Jon Cooper is turning to Richard Panik to fill the gap.

Panik made the team out of training camp but did not look effective in the first two games and was a healthy scratch against the Sabres. He is a player Cooper knows well, having played for the coach previously in the American Hockey League.

"Richard is a high-end talent and he’s just got to -- he knows it, we've talked about this -- whether you are new to the League or old, you have to bring it every single night," Cooper said, "and there are times he's been exceptional for us and times he hasn't. He's just growing as a young player. It's not to the point where he doesn't belong in the League. Maybe for one night he didn't belong in the lineup.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Miller back in net for Sabres

BUFFALO -- After missing the past two games, Ryan Miller will be back in goal Thursday for the Buffalo Sabres when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets. Miller had sat out with a lower-body injury.

That won't be the only change in Buffalo's lineup, as a pair of rookies will be changing places. Forward Johan Larsson will start on the third line in place of Mikhail Grigorenko. Larsson said he's ready to go after being a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I just have to go out there and play my game and do the hard work and do the small details good and then we'll see from there," he said.


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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Capitals facing tough decisions with Wilson, Carrick

ARLINGTON, Va. -- It is a conversation routinely revisited across all levels of the Washington Capitals organization, from general manager George McPhee and coach Adam Oates to, in a more casual context, right wing Tom Wilson and his father: How does a team balance the developmental needs of its prospects with organizational expectations?

In Wilson and defenseman Connor Carrick, 19-year-old rookies who are just beginning their NHL careers, Washington is set up for a promising future. But whether that future is near or still a ways away is a decision the Capitals still are wrangling with.

Through three games, results have been mixed.


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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:10 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avs' Roy excited to coach against Julien, Bruins

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins, who are 2-0-0 on the season, haven't played since they beat the Detroit Red Wings at home last Saturday.

That's given the players some time to practice and make community appearances, and it freed up some time for coach Claude Julien to prepare for a visit by the Colorado Avalanche -- in more ways than one.

Julien was asked Thursday after his team's morning skate if the time off gave him a chance to think about the Olympics. Julien is scheduled to be an assistant coach for Team Canada.

"Yeah, the Olympics," he said. "And then I spent the last couple of days solidifying the glass between the benches."


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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 12:55 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning vs. Panthers reunites Cooper, Dineen

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning open their home season Thursday after playing their first three games on the road. The Lightning (2-1-0) host a team probably as road-weary as they are in the Florida Panthers. Florida (1-2-0) has yet to see its home ice, and this will be the fourth consecutive road game for the club.

The matchup reunites two friendly rivals from their American Hockey League days: Jon Cooper, in his first full season as coach of the Lightning, and Kevin Dineen, beginning his third season behind the bench for the Panthers.

"We have mutual friends," Cooper said, "and before we got to know each other, he was coaching in Portland and I was coaching in Norfolk and we were going to meet after a game and they had a 3-0 lead on us and we stormed back in the third to eventually win in overtime and we had to walk across the ice and I remember we were going to meet on the ice and then I thought, nah, and I just let him go. We met an hour later.

"He's a really competitive guy and above his competitiveness he's a great guy and I got a lot of time for him. We have kind of an inter-rivalry dating back to the AHL, but it will never come to a problem. I enjoy his company, and I'll enjoy it more when we beat him tonight."

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract