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Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 2:28 PM

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

Monday highlights, previews and Emrick on NHL Live

An afternoon treat on Columbus Day, as the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings face off in an Atlantic Division game. NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will have full highlights and get you ready for the other two games tonight between the Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres.

Also, the great Doc Emrick will be joining us for a preview of the Sabres and Wild on NBCSN. Back in my days as a student at Bowling Green State University, I once stumbled upon his lengthy doctoral dissertation at Jerome Library profiling all of the broadcasters in Major League Baseball in 1973. The nearly two-inch thick hard-bound book was covered in dust, but had the feel of finding a buried treasure. With that fine work as a doctoral student of BGSU, the "Doc" nickname was officially born. On Monday, the Wild begin a four-game road trip against the winless Sabres.

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 Monday, 10.14.2013 / 2:18 PM

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

Sabres to implement lineup changes against Wild

BUFFALO -- Jason Pominville's return to his former home to play against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, will get all the attention Monday, but both teams have some notable moves to be made in their lineups.

One player returning for Buffalo is defenseman Henrik Tallinder, and he offered a unique perspective on Pominville's return to Buffalo as an opponent.

"I think we all go through it at some point in our career," Tallinder said. "I think it's more him getting back to his old building where he has played for so many years. I remember when I got back here [as a member of the New Jersey Devils], it's always like a boost or you get a little bit more jacked up because it's your old building.

"He's a good player, he's a great player. It's always going tough to play against him, but after you practice against him for so long you learn his weakness and what his strong suit is," Tallinder said with a smile.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 1:59 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Avalanche for real, Blues are elite

Out in the Western Conference this season we see the usual suspects like the Chicago Blackhawks, the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues among the leaders in the standings. But through five games there's one surprise team that's right there with them, and it's the Colorado Avalanche. After struggling the last few seasons this kind of 5-0-0 start is unexpected, but I think they're for real.

If you look at their goaltending, Semyon Varlamov's numbers have been fantastic, but even when he gets a night off Jean-Sebastien Giguere comes in to play one game and is awesome. The Avalanche have a backup goaltender that's won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Not many teams have that in hockey. Then you look at their defense. This was supposed to be their weakest link, but it's been very good so far. Everyone knew Colorado's forwards would score, but the defense and goaltending were expected to be weaknesses and they've actually been their strengths. Add that to their sheer talent up front after all the high draft picks they've had, and throw in what Patrick Roy has brought to the team as coach, and you've got a 5-0-0 record.

The Avalanche can score, but if it's a low-scoring game, they've now got the goaltending to compete and defensively they're committed. When you've drafted as high as the Avs have for as long as they have, you know you've got talent on your team. Next to the Edmonton Oilers, the Avs have had the highest picks in the NHL over the past five years and now that roster has Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog on it, and don't forget Erik Johnson was a No. 1 pick by St. Louis. This team was always going to be talented, but it takes someone to bring that talent out. That's where Roy has come in. Roy has done a great job and you've got to give him the credit for this turnaround. When you look at this team vs. who was on the roster a year ago, the only real difference aside from drafting Nathan MacKinnon is Roy. He's come in and demanded work ethic, he's demanded preparation, he's demanded commitment to winning and he's getting all those things.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 1:42 PM

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

Oates' approach with Capitals: Teach, not yell

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Adam Oates did not want to be yelled at.

Throughout his Hall-of-Fame playing career, the Washington Capitals coach preferred to be taught, not berated after poor performances, a philosophy that has carried over to his coaching career.

"If I showed up for work and we lose, I don't want to be yelled at. I want to be coached," Oates said Sunday. "Tell me the truth. If you think I played a bad game, that's fine, but tell me the truth. Don't make something up because then I lose faith in you.

"I don't want to be that guy. I do not want to tell them a lie. I'll tell them when I think they make mistakes, but I'm not going to lie to them, no way, because I think guys see through that too. Maybe they come in expecting to be yelled at because we lost; it's just not my style."

Considering Washington's uninspiring 1-4-0 start, Oates would not have been criticized -- perhaps he would have been lauded -- for chastising his players, but that simply is not who he is.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 1:22 PM

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

Gustavsson in net for Red Wings

Jonas Gustavsson is in goal Monday for the Detroit Red Wings against the Boston Bruins, making his season debut in place of Jimmy Howard.

According to, Howard injured his hand making a save during the Red Wings' 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Gustavsson sustained a groin injury late in training camp that kept him out until Oct. 11, when he was activated off injured reserve.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 1:02 PM

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

Oilers will sit Yakupov again against Capitals

Nail Yakupov, the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game, Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said Monday, ahead of his team's game against the Washington Capitals.

"I really liked our group of forwards last game," Eakins told reporters in Washington. "There was absolutely nobody there that deserves to come out. So we'll stick with the same group and that's the challenge of the player. Not just for [Yakupov], for all of our guys. It's such a privilege to play in this League and you want to give everything you have every night so you never end up like Wally Pipp."

Pipp was a first baseman for the New York Yankees who famously missed a game and was replaced by Lou Gehrig in the starting lineup. Gehrig went on to set a record for consecutive games played.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 12:55 PM

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

Wild recall Kuemper from AHL Iowa

The Minnesota Wild on Monday recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper from Iowa of the American Hockey League for the second time in the past four days.

With No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom ailing due to a knee strain, Kuemper was recalled Oct. 10 and served as Josh Harding's backup in a 5-1 defeat of the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

Kuemper was then returned to Iowa, but with Backstrom apparently still not ready to dress for the Wild's game Monday against the Buffalo Sabres, the 23-year-old is back again. He was 1-2-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in six games last season.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 12:35 PM

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

Capitals focusing on better start against Oilers

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals are not off to the start they expected or would have liked as they enter their game Monday against the Edmonton Oilers with a 1-4-0 record.

There are several reasons for the Capitals' struggles, a lack of even-strength offensive production from the top six and unsteady goaltending chief among them, but another area where they are in dire need of improvement is their starts.

Washington has allowed eight first-period goals through five games, second only to Edmonton's nine. In fact, the Capitals have allowed their opponents to score within their first four shots in all but one game this season, a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 10.

Juxtapose that with just three first-period goals all season, third-fewest in the NHL, and the Capitals' woes from the opening faceoff are magnified.

Posted On Monday, 10.14.2013 / 11:02 AM

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

Enroth likely in goal for Sabres

Jhonas Enroth was the first Buffalo Sabres goaltender off the ice during the team's morning skate, making it likely he will start for the team Monday against the Minnesota Wild (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

In two games this season Enroth is 0-1-1 with a 2.95 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

The decision to play Enroth Monday likely means Ryan Miller will start Tuesday at the New York Islanders.

Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 4:04 PM

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

Maintenance day for Sharks' Hertl, Burns

San Jose Sharks forwards Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns sat out practice on Sunday, but what's good news for the Sharks is that both players were walking around the dressing room and coach Todd McLellan told reporters it was a maintenance day for both.

Hertl suffered an apparent shoulder injury Saturday with just over two minutes left in the second period following a collision with Ottawa Senators forward Clarke MacArthur, two days after he was hit in the head by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. He was helped to the dressing room and did not return.

Playing in his first NHL season, Hertl has become an instant sensation with a League-leading seven goals, four of which came last Tuesday against the New York Rangers that included a highlight-reel, between-the-legs-goal.

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Quote of the Day

It's obviously not fun to not know, but on the other hand, I'm not in a rush. I'm going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing. I'm not going to play on 90 percent.

— Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom in an interview with Washington Post about whether he will be able to play in 2015-16 opener