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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:39 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 12:47 PM

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

Report: Markstrom to start for Panthers

Jacob Markstrom will be in net for the Florida Panthers when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, according to a report by Miami Herald reporter George Richards.

Richards also reports that Tim Thomas worked out on the ice Thursday, but coach Kevin Dineen said the veteran goalie is unlikely to be ready for the team's home opener Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Thomas started the Panthers' first three games but left in the first period Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers with a groin injury. Markstrom relieved and stopped all 25 shots he faced in a 2-1 loss.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 12:34 PM

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

Tootoo, Gustavsson close to returning to Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock isn't making too many changes to a lineup that suffered a humbling road loss Saturday against the Boston Bruins.

Detroit was tied with Boston 1-1 after 20 minutes despite being outshot 14-5 in the opening period. But the Bruins scored three unanswered goals to close out a 4-1 win and hand the Red Wings their first loss of the 2013-14 season.

In response, Babcock is only making one marginal lineup change, sitting 22-year-old Tomas Tatar in favor of veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson on the team's fourth line. Tatar made his season debut Saturday in Boston and his 9:08 of ice time ranked last among Red Wings players.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 12:24 PM

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

Oates feels Capitals' even-strength play will improve

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates would not have been criticized -- perhaps even lauded -- if he shuffled his forward lines after his team's slow offensive start at even strength.

Through three games, Washington's offense has been buoyed by its NHL-leading power play, which has accounted for six of its nine goals this season. That leaves just three goals scored at 5-on-5, tied for the third-fewest in the NHL.

Yet after three consecutive days of practice, the Capitals' forward lines, minus one change to the fourth line ahead of their game Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, remain intact.

"I'm a very patient guy when it comes to that," Oates said earlier this week. "You've got to give a guy a fair amount of time to let everything happen."

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.09.2013 / 4:10 PM

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

Blackhawks, Blues looking to heat up rivalry

ST. LOUIS -- Maxim Lapierre has seen the rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks from a different perspective as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

Blackhawks fans might consider the Detroit Red Wings their main rival. But from a players' perspective, it was the Canucks. And the hatred was clear from both sides.

Now playing for the Blues after signing a two-year contract over the summer, Lapierre feels like he could be witnessing the rebirth of the St. Louis-Chicago rivalry.

The two Central Division foes will renew acquaintances tonight when the Blues host the Blackhawks at 8 p.m. ET as NBCSN's featured "Wednesday Night Rivalry" matchup.

Lapierre knows all about rivalries with Chicago.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.09.2013 / 4:08 PM

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

Senators' Spezza will sit out against Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Jason Spezza appeared fine in the morning skate Wednesday, a day after he went through a full practice. So it was with slight surprise that the Ottawa Senators captain said he wouldn't play Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings because of his sore groin.

"We're going to err on the side of caution. Just to make sure, I guess," Spezza said. "They're worried that by taking the extra game [Wednesday] it gives me a few extra days and hopefully I'll never have to talk about my groin ever again."

Spezza smiled when asked if he had to be talked into sitting out. Ottawa doesn't play again until Saturday at the San Jose Sharks.

"We had some good discussions this morning, and just decided it's the best move for the team," Spezza said. "It's the best move to make sure this gets healed, goes away. It's gotten better. It's improved. We're trying to make sure it's a non-subject moving forward."

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Quote of the Day

We have to develop into a good team. We have to develop the pieces now that are a little more evident and in place to become a good team. It's not there yet.

— Sabres coach Dan Bylsma on new Buffalo players working together