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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:18 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wolski to top line, Neuvirth to start for Caps

WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals will have a different look Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens, with Michal Neuvirth making his season debut and Wojtek Wolski expected to see time on Washington’s No.1 line.

The Capitals are 0-2-0 for the first time since Oct. 1996.

“I feel cold, but, you know, this is job I picked and I’ve got to handle it,” said Neuvirth, who dressed as Braden Holtby’s backup for the first two games this season.

“I’m trying to stay positive and happy. I felt good during practice… and I’m ready to go.”

Neuvirth played in 24 games for HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic this fall, and appeared in 38 games for the Capitals last season. He has a 4-0-1 lifetime record against Montreal with a .939 save percentage, 1.82 goals-against-average and a shutout.

“Obviously I’ve just coached against him and I know that’s a very good goalie,” Oates said after Thursday’s morning skate. “I’ll like seeing him wearing my sweater.”

Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Canadiens:

CAPITALS

Wojtek WolskiNicklas BackstromAlex Ovechkin

Matt HendricksMike RibeiroTroy Brouwer

Jason ChimeraJay BeagleJoel Ward

Marcus JohanssonMathieu PerreaultJoey Crabb

Karl AlznerJohn Carlson

Tom PotiMike Green

Roman HamrlikTomas Kundratek

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

CANADIENS

Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisErik Cole

Rene BourqueTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta

Brandon PrustAlex GalchenyukBrendan Gallagher

Travis MoenRyan WhiteColby Armstrong

Andrei MarkovAlexei Emelin

Josh Gorges – Tomas Kaberle

Francis BouillonRaphael Diaz

Carey Price

Peter Budaj

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 11:26 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Ekman-Larsson on track to elite fantasy d-man status

The Phoenix Coyotes already sport a top-15 fantasy defenseman in Keith Yandle, but could soon see another one of their blueliners join the elite ranks at the position as early as this season.

The Coyotes already sport a top-15 fantasy d-man in Keith Yandle, but could soon see Oliver Ekman-Larsson also join the elite ranks at the position. (Photo: Getty Images)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Swedish blueliner who burst onto the scene last season with 13 goals (5th among NHL defensemen) made an early statement on Wednesday night in the Coyotes' first win of 2012-13. The 21-year-old exploded with a well-rounded stat line (2 G, 1 A, plus-3, 2 PIM, 1 PPP, 6 SOG) against the Columbus Blue Jackets, proving he can serve as a remedy for Phoenix's often inconsistent offense on any given night.

Through three games, Ekman-Larsson (3:59 PP TOI/G) has even logged more time with the man advantage than Yandle (3:42), a significant upgrade after the youngster saw just over two minutes per game in such situations last year. This may only be an early trend, but the fact that Ekman-Larsson is being given such valuable minutes indicates Dave Tippett has big plans for the d-man moving forward.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 10:13 AM

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

Wild recall defense prospect Brodin

The Minnesota Wild have recalled one of their top defense prospects, Jonas Brodin.

The 19-year-old was the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. He was a member of Sweden's gold-medal winning team at the 2012 World Junior Championship and had been playing in Sweden until joining Minnesota's American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, for the 2012-13 season.

Brodin suffered a broken clavicle in a Nov. 2 game against Oklahoma City and returned to action Wednesday night.

It's possible Brodin could made his NHL debut Friday when the Wild visit the Detroit Red Wings. In a blog Thursday, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo speculated that would depend on the health of Jared Spurgeon as well as what the Wild want to do with fellow prospect Mathew Dumba, who is still with the team but hasn't played in any of Minnesota's first three games.

Star Tribune reporter Rachel Blount reported Brodin was paired with Clayton Stoner at practice on Thursday.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 9:46 AM

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

Pens reshuffle minor-league depth with pair of deals

The Pittsburgh Penguins spent Thursday morning reshaping their depth with a pair of trades involving minor leaguers.

In the first, the Penguins obtained Chad Kolarik from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Benn Ferriero. In the second, Pittsburgh moved defenseman Carl Sneep to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick.

Kolarik, who turns 27 later this week, is the second-leading scorer on the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, putting up 16 goals and 35 points in 41 games. Selected by the Phoenix Coyotes (No. 199) in the 2004 NHL Draft, Kolarik has made six NHL appearances, going without a point in two games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and registering an assist in four games with the Rangers in 2010-11. He missed the 2011-12 season with a knee injury.

Ferriero, 25, had four goals and 18 points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. He has played in 92 NHL games, all with the San Jose Sharks between the 2009-10 season and the 2011-12 season.

Sneep, 25, started the 2012-13 season in Wheeling of the ECHL, scoring three goals and 15 points in 29 games. He also played one game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before the trade. Sneep, a second-round choice of the Penguins in 2006, has made one NHL appearance, registering an assist in that game.

The Penguins will receive the Stars' seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft if Sneep plays 10 or more regular-season games with Dallas. It is also conditional on Sneep passing a physical by Friday.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 9:16 AM

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

Avs' O'Reilly, Russian team mutually part ways

Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly, a restricted free agent, has left Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk after the player and Kontinental Hockey League team mutually agreed to terminate his contract Thursday.

The news comes jhours after Avalanche forward Steve Downie was ruled out for the season because of a knee injury that will require surgery.

According to rsport.ru, the club released O'Reilly from the deal because of fears he would return to North America at some point after the KHL signing window closes on Jan. 31. O'Reilly signed a two-year deal with Metallurg last month, but it contained an out clause allowing him to leave if offered more money by a NHL franchise, according to the report.

“Ryan did not rule out the possibility of a new contract overseas during February and he understood that this course of events would affect Metallurg’s preparations for the playoffs,” Metallurg said in a website statement.

In fact, according to rsport.ru, Metallurg already has a replacement lined up for O'Reilly.

"Ryan behaved honorably in allowing us to find another player to replace him," team vice president Gennady Velichkin told R-Sport. "We've been looking for a player to replace O'Reilly for a long time and we've already found him."

O’Reilly had five goals and four assists in 12 games for Metallurg, but reportedly reaggravated a foot injury in a game against Traktor Chelyabinsk on Wednesday.

Now, the focus turns to O'Reilly's future in Colorado.

With the injury to Downie, the Avalanche could use some more firepower on the forward lines, and the team's leading scorer from last season would certainly provide that.

O'Reilly, 21, had 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games last season, more than doubling the 26-point campaigns he put up in each of his first two seasons in the NHL.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Ian McCoshen -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ian McCoshen Draft blog

McCoshen talks USHL prospects game win

Ian McCoshen is in his third season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2.5, 207-pound defenseman, No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, has six goals, 22 points and a plus-23 rating in 27 games this season.

On Wednesday, McCoshen participated in his second straight USHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Muskegon, Mich. He didn't register a point but did deliver some big hits and had three shots on goal. After the game, McCoshen submitted his monthly blog for NHL.com recapping the event.

Hello, hockey fans!

It was nice to come away with a big win in the USHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday, 2-1. After getting to Michigan on Tuesday, it was nice to just get acquainted with my teammates and then get on the ice for practice to kind of sort things out.

In the locker room prior to the game, our coaches reminded us that we were at the game for a reason, and that this was a time to prove it. We wanted to be loose, but it's also pretty intense because it's kind of a pressure situation for some of the guys.

I think, compared to last year when some guys looked at this as kind of an all-star type of game, this year had a different feel to it. I felt you had to be on your toes or else something was going to be created off a turnover. So, it was a good game overall.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 9:59 PM

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

Hanzal, Klesla out with injuries for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes were without center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla for Wednesday's game with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Coyotes said both players are out with lower-body injuries.

Both players sat out Tuesday's practice following Sunday's 6-4 loss to Chicago, but both skated on Wednesday morning. Hanzal had a goal and two points in the first two games of the season. Klesla was scoreless and minus-3 in the two games.

Alexandre Bolduc replaced Hanzal, while Michael Stone made his season debut in place of Klesla. Phoenix is looking to avoid an 0-3-0 start against the Blue Jackets, who are 1-0-1 after two games.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 7:11 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bruins without Seidenberg against Rangers

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is not in the lineup Wednesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden due to a lower-body injury. Seidenberg also missed Monday's game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who was considered questionable Wednesday morning, is in the lineup and will take his usual spot on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin to start the game.

Aaron Johnson will again play for Seidenberg. He will be paired with Adam McQuaid to start the game.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 7:09 PM

NHL.com - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live: Cory Conacher

Undrafted out of Canisius College, this 5'8'' rookie is lighting up the score sheet early this season for the Lightning. Cisco NHL Live talks with Lightning rookie forward Cory Conacher.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 6:39 PM

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

Asham injury forces Rangers to shuffle lineup

NEW YORK – The New York Rangers will shuffle their lineup Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins as a groin injury will relegate forward Arron Asham to spectator status.

Coach John Tortorella announced that defenseman Stu Bickel will move into Asham’s position up front and Steve Eminger will make his season debut on the blue line.

Asham suffered the injury during the Rangers' 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night. Asham fought Tanner Glass two seconds after the opening faceoff and played just 5:53. Tortorella said Asham did not suffer the injury during the fight.

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It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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