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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 6:14 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Leafs will have Gardiner in lineup vs. Penguins

Jake Gardiner has said he has felt well enough to play for a couple days now. Wednesday, he got the official green light from the doctor -- and from his coach.

Gardiner, the gifted young Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman who has been out since Dec. 8 with a concussion, is expected to make his season debut in the Pittsburgh Penguins' home opener Wednesday, the Leafs said on their website.

"I feel good," Gardiner said after the morning skate but before he received medical clearance to play. "Excited to be back with the Leafs."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 5:57 PM

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

Avalanche forward Downie out for season

Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Downie will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, the team announced Wednesday.

Downie, who will have surgery, was injured in the second period of Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center.

The 25-year-old had an assist in two games this season. He had 13 points (11 assists) in 20 games for Colorado last season after he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 5:10 PM

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

Gardiner back in the lineup for Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have activated defenseman Jake Gardiner from injured reserve and will have him in the lineup Wednesday when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center.

Gardiner hasn't played since sustaining a concussion during a game Dec. 8 while playing for the Leafs' American Hockey League team, the Toronto Marlies. In 22 AHL games, he had nine goals and eight assists.

The 6-foot-2, 184-pound blueliner had 30 points in 75 games as a rookie with the Maple Leafs last season.

The move likely means defenseman Korbinian Holzer will be sent to the AHL.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 4:35 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flames, Hartley still figuring each other out

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Calgary Flames admittedly have struggled trying to adjust to a new coach and system after an abbreviated training camp, bordering between moments of brilliance and monumental breakdowns while losing their first two games.

So switching up all four lines for the third game, against Vancouver on Wednesday, may seem somewhat counterintuitive.

For new coach Bob Hartley, however, it's all about a learning curve that goes both ways -- players learning where to go and what to do in his system, while he also learns what to expect from them.

"I met them many times, I have talked to them over the phone and I watched many game tapes, but right now we are in game situations and just trying to find the best fit for all of them," Hartley said. "Just a matter of trying to get the best possible lines to generate good offense and at the same time be reliable in the three zones."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 3:45 PM

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

Gomez signs one-year deal with Sharks

Forward Scott Gomez has signed with the San Jose Sharks, reportedly a one-year, $700,000 contract.

After Gomez's contract was bought out by the Montreal Canadiens last week, he joined the Sharks for practices. Gomez traveled with the Sharks to Sunday's game at the Calgary Flames.

"Everyone who plays in the NHL, you challenge yourself every day and you want to prove that you can contribute," Gomez told the Mercury News on Wednesday. "But the main things is I want to come here, I want to help out and I want to win another Stanley Cup."

The Sharks, who will play the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday, also signed forward Tim Kennedy to a one-year contract. The 26-year-old center was the leading scorer for their American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester this season, posting 12 goals and 30 points in 31 games.

Gomez, 33, ended a disappointing three-year stint with the Canadiens when the final two years of his contract were bought out by general manager Marc Bergevin, who originally intended to have Gomez sit out this season in order to avoid injury and allow a buyout to happen in the offseason.

In 196 games with the Canadiens, Gomez had 21 goals and 87 assists.

The deal with San Jose will reunite Gomez with Sharks assistant coach Larry Robinson, who coached Gomez for parts of four seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 2:59 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Burrows in the middle for new-look Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- So much for Alain Vigneault’s theory about sticking with things that worked in the past as a way to overcome a short training camp.

The Vancouver Canucks coach has abandoned that philosophy after an 0-1-1 start, with the team calling up small, speedy center Jordan Schroeder from the American Hockey League for his first NHL game, and throwing his lines in a blender as Vancouver tries to record its first win against the winless Calgary Flames (0-2-0).

The biggest change is Alexandre Burrows moving from his spot alongside top-line twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin to center a new second line, between Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen.

Burrows has played the middle a handful of times in the past, and said his defensive responsibilities won't change much from playing with the Sedins, where he often was the first forward back and assumed down-low coverage in his end.

"A little bit more skating, less board work, and maybe a little more responsible making sure no one gets caught deep and we're not giving up any odd-man rushes, but there’s not a whole lot," Burrows said of the move to the middle. "I don't overthink things, still go out and put work boots on."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 2:27 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blue Jackets, Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are the projected lineups for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes when the teams meet Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena.

BLUE JACKETS

Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Vinny Prospal

RJ Umberger - Derick Brassard - Derek Dorsett

Matt Calvert - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - James Wisniewski

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin

John Moore - Adrian Aucoin

Steve Mason

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Derek MacKenzie

Letestu makes his first start of the season, in place of MacKenzie as the fourth line center. Atkinson jumps to the first line alongside Dubinsky and Anisimov, with Dorsett moving to a line with Umberger and Brassard.

COYOTES

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Matthew Lombardi - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Alexandre Bolduc, Michael Stone

Suspended: Raffi Torres

Smith stays in net as the Coyotes try to avoid a 0-3 start. The Phoenix offense has been fine (3.5 goals a game), but Smith and the turnover-prone Phoenix defense have allowed 10 goals in the first two games and has been the focus of coach Dave Tippett's practices the last two days. Tippett singled out defenseman Yandle for allowing three breakaways in Sunday's 6-4 loss to Chicago.

Hanzal, Sullivan and Klesla did not practice Tuesday. Sullivan was hit in the first period, and while he played in the second, he sat out the third. Tippett said there might be some game-time decisions, but was non-committal at the skate.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 1:28 PM

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

Blues activate defenseman Redden

The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Wade Redden, making the veteran blueliner a possibility for their next game, Thursday against the Nashville Predators.

Redden signed a one-year contract with the Blues on Sunday after his contract was bought out by the New York Rangers.

To make room on the roster, the Blues sent defenseman Ian Cole to their American Hockey League team, the Peoria Rivermen. Cole had one assist and two penalty minutes in three games this season.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs, Penguins

Here are the projected lineups for Wednesday night's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins:

MAPLE LEAFS
Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk – Mikhail Grabovski – Nikolai Kulemin
Clarke MacArthur – Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
Mike Brown – Jay McClement – Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf – Michael Kostka
Carl Gunnarsson – Mike Komisarek
John-Michael Liles – Jake Gardiner

James Reimer
Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Cody Franson, Mark Fraser, David Steckel

Gardiner will make his season debut after being cleared by the Leafs' medical staff and activated by the Leafs. He hasn't played since suffering a concussion while playing for the Leafs' AHL farm team, the Toronto Marlies, on Dec. 8. He bumped Franson from the lineup.


PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Matt Cooke – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams

Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Simon Despres – Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury
Tomas Vokoun

Injured: None
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Dustin Jeffrey, Ben Lovejoy

As is his custom, coach Dan Bylsma did not reveal his lineup, but there is a chance that Bortuzzo makes his season debut in place of Despres against the Leafs. While praising Despres' overall talent level, Bylsma was lukewarm when discussing the 21-year-old's play in season-opening wins at Philadelphia and the New York Rangers this past weekend.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 12:57 PM

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

Commodore released from P.T.O. by Bulldogs

The Hamilton Bulldogs announced Wednesday they have released veteran defenseman Mike Commodore from his Professional Try-Out Contract with the team.

The 33-year-old has played for seven teams over 11 NHL seasons, including the 2011-12 campaign, which he split between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning.

In 17 games with the Bulldogs, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, Commodore registered two assists and 26 penalty minutes. He was invited to Canadiens training camp last week, where he said his wish was to "Come here, move my feet, play well in the intersquad scrimmage and see where it goes."

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