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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 7:16 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Versteeg back in Panthers lineup

Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg, who hasn't played since a Feb. 12 game against the Washington Capitals, returned to the lineup Friday for a home game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Versteeg's return was confirmed by the team's Twitter page. The team's third-leading scorer last season missed the past 12 games with an upper-body injury, which he is believed to have sustained while being hit from behind by Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 6:40 PM

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

CISCO NHL Live: Matt Calvert

Fresh off scoring the overtime game winning goal on Thursday. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert joins CISCO NHL Live.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 6:03 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blackhawks, Avalanche

DENVER – Here are the projected lineups for Friday night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Blackhawks right wing Patrick Sharp will miss between three and four weeks with what coach Joel Quenneville said is an upper-body injury suffered in Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche. Kane won’t need surgery, Quenneville said. Right wing Marian Hossa will play after missing Wednesday’s game with an upper-body injury.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 5:50 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Richards returning to Rangers lineup; Lundqvist starts

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Brad Richards will return to the lineup Friday after missing two games with back and neck stiffness stemming from a hit by Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta on Sunday.

Richards returned to that game but had yet to practice since the hit that earned Kaleta a five-game suspension.

Richards tried to participate in the Rangers' morning skate Tuesday, but left the ice immediately. Rangers coach John Tortorella said Richards skated Friday afternoon to test his injuries and felt good enough to play.

The Rangers face the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. ET.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 4:55 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Johnson to make return tonight for Avalanche

Defenseman Erik Johnson, who hasn't played since Feb. 11, will return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Johnson, who missed 11 games with a head injury sustained during that Feb. 11 game against the Phoenix Coyotes, had been skating and traveling with the team for the past 10 days, appearing on the ice in an orange non-contact jersey.

Friday morning, coach Joe Sacco announced that the 24-year-old would be back in the lineup.

"We're excited to have EJ back in the lineup," Sacco said. "Big-body guy for us back there. Puck-moving guy who can get up in the play for us. As far as expectations go for EJ tonight, just play hard, keep it simple. Don't try to do too much right away."

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 4:17 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hossa, Shaw, Frolik in for Blackhawks

After getting tough news on Patrick Sharp, who will miss 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury, there was a bit of good for the Chicago Blackhawks, who announced forwards Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw and Michael Frolik will be available for Friday's game against the Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Hossa was a late scratch from Wednesday's game against the Avalanche due to an upper-body injury, but told the Chicago Tribune it was not concussion related.

"It was something else," Hossa said following the Blackhawks' morning skate. "Right now I feel much better and sometimes only two days just not practicing [and] taking off helps. I feel much better [Friday] in the morning skate and I should be ready to play."

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau mock-winced when asked about his team's profound dominance against the Calgary Flames.

Perhaps it was out of superstition, but Boudreau is aware of the history even though he only has been in Anaheim since 2011. The gist: Anaheim has won 15 straight at home against Calgary, which last won a regular-season game at Honda Center on Jan. 19, 2004.

That breaks down to an 0-10-5 record going into Friday's game. The past eight meetings have been decided by one goal, with two in overtime and three by shootout.

"Every game we play Calgary is a one-goal game, and [with] them finally getting above .500, I think this will be the toughest game of the bunch," Boudreau said.

Here's how the teams could line up Friday:

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 Trade Deadline blog

Getzlaf signing brings Perry's future into question

There was a strong argument to be made that before Friday, the top two potential talents in the unrestricted free agent Class of 2013 were members of the Anaheim Ducks.

Now it is just the top potential UFA in July who plies his trade for the Ducks after center Ryan Getzlaf agreed to an eight-year, $66 million contract Friday, and the future of his friend and linemate Corey Perry becomes one of the most interesting storylines in the NHL.

To be clear, the Ducks are one of the great stories of the 2012-13 season, as coach Bruce Boudreau has Anaheim in first place in the Pacific Division and second only to the juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL standings. The chances of anything happening with any pending UFA on the Ducks, let alone a franchise-type player like Perry, are extremely remote because Anaheim clearly is a Stanley Cup contender until proven otherwise.

Still, there will be plenty of attention focused on Perry, and any discussions about a contract extension for the 2011 Hart Trophy winner and speculation about a new destination for him won't completely subside until he signs a new deal or does find a new home.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 2:34 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharp to miss at least 3 weeks with injury

The Chicago Blackhawks announced forward Patrick Sharp would miss 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in Wednesday's game against the Colorado Avalanche

TSN's James Duthie reported that Sharp has a separated shoulder, posting on his official Twitter account that Sharp has "a fairly severe AC joint shoulder separation."

In 24 games this season, Sharp has five goals and 18 points.

The Blackhawks meet the Avalanche again Friday at Pepsi Center (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), trying to extend their point streak to 25 games to start this season, and 31 stretching to the end of the 2011-12 regular season.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 2:28 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharks recall goalie Heemskerk from ECHL

The San Jose Sharks on Friday called up goaltender Thomas Heemskerk from the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL.

The 22-year-old is 13-17-3 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .904 save percentage in 37 ECHL games this season.

To make room, the Sharks sent forward Bracken Kearns to Worcester of the American Hockey League.

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Quote of the Day

This is a great day for me. This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. This is a great opportunity that the St. Louis Blues organization, (owner) Tom Stillman and Doug Armstrong are giving me and trusting me in doing...This is going to be a great challenge for me.

— Martin Brodeur, after announcing his retirement as an NHL player and becoming a senior adviser with the Blues on Thursday