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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference practicing with Bruins, but status uncertain

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference practiced with his teammates Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

The veteran has been out of game action since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 5. He missed all of the conference semifinals against the New York Rangers and only just recently started skating with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides.

As for Ference's availability in the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the blueliner's status is up in the air.

"It's a good sign that he's practicing with us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team followed two days off with an hour-long practice. "I don't know, it's a medical issue that unless the trainers say it's a go -- and sometimes he may be ready but could be risky kind of ready -- I've got to wait and see what the trainers see and also how Andrew feels as well before I make a decision on him."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Functional Movement Screening set to be unveiled

TORONTO -- More than a dozen prospects Tuesday will undergo the newest element added to the NHL Scouting Combine this year, the Functional Movement Screening (FMS).

The list of players includes all 14 of the top European skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking and the top European goalie, Juuse Saros. The only North American player performing the test, which will be given beginning at 7 p.m. ET and in groups of four, will be defenseman Mirco Mueller of the Everett Silvertips. Mueller is No. 9 on Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters.

The FMS is a ranking and grading system in which players perform seven specific joint tests which document movement patterns. The test could help reveal imbalances and symmetry deficiencies in the various fundamental movement patterns of the body.

"If there's a range imbalance or if one side of the body is stronger or weaker than the other, this test will help determine that," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "A majority of NHL teams utilize FMS in some form and the NFL has been performing this screening as part of the medical process for their combine for a number of years.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 12:37 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Despite loss, Red Wings excited for Game 7

The Detroit Red Wings have failed twice to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks.

Coach Mike Babcock is very much looking forward to the third try.

"If I would have told our whole team before this series, if I would have told Detroit, Michigan before this series, that we were going to be playing Chicago in Game 7, I think everyone would have been pretty excited about that," Babcock said Monday night, after it was made necessary. "I love Game 7s. I'm excited about it. We've got a chance to push them out of the playoffs -- should be a lot of fun."

Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinal between the Red Wings and Blackhawks will be played Wednesday at United Center in Chicago (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Blackhawks survived Game 6, winning 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, where the Red Wings took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

The Red Wings had won three straight to build a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Now they must play their second Game 7 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs; they won their first against the Anaheim Ducks to end round one.

"We just have to go to Chicago and play a good game," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg told Fox Sports Detroit. "As I said before, in the first series, it's not often you have a chance to play in Game 7. We're going to regroup here, we're going to stick together, we're going to come out and play a good game, and it's going to be a lot of fun."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 9:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

'Smallish' Saros stands tall as only European goalie

TORONTO -- Juuse Saros might be the only European goaltender invited to the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week, but he's determined to make the best of it.

"Of course, it's nice to see that NHL scouts have seen me play and have invited me and I'm proud of that," Saros told NHL.com. "But I'm just taking it day by day and not thinking too far ahead."

Saros, who has 15 interviews with NHL scouts and general managers scheduled through Thursday before taking part in the fitness portion of the Combine on Saturday, said he's been asked most about his size. That doesn't come as a shock to the 5-foot-10.25, 178-pound goaltender.

"I just have to keep good position, move well and read the plays," he said. "Everyone is asking me about my strengths and weaknesses, and almost every team asks about my size and how I compensate."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top Halifax players to arrive after celebration

TORONTO -- Those scouts and general managers at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine anticipating an interview with Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin and goalie Zachary Fucale will have to wait.

That's because Halifax will be holding a short procession and rally at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

According to Halifax general manager Cam Russell, the three standout prospects will be traveling to the Combine early Wednesday morning following festivities Tuesday.

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:26 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

CHI @ DET - 3:53 of the First Period

At 3:53 of the first period in the Blackhawks/Red Wings game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Marian Hossa shot the puck into the net prior to the net being displaced. Good Goal Chicago.

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Defenseman Nurse recovering from finger surgery

TORONTO -- Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse said he was just as surprised as everyone else when informed he would need surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left ring finger at the end of the season.

Nurse said he was playing with his injured finger throughout most of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. Following his team's six-game series loss to the Owen Sound Attack in the opening round, during which Nurse had one goal, four points and six penalty minutes, he was advised to have surgery performed.

"I was playing in the playoffs with it and all of sudden the season was over and I couldn't play for Canada at the World Under-18 Championship because I needed surgery," Nurse told NHL.com. "It was disappointing because I wanted to keep playing hockey whether with the Greyhounds or the U-18's. But now I'm almost at the point where I'm at 100 percent, and I looked at it as better to get it done now before it gets any worse."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 7:25 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks' Gomez getting ready for his 10th Game 7

There will be plenty of players with lots of big-game experience competing when the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings face off Tuesday in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN)

Each team features players who have enjoyed Stanley Cup victories and Olympic gold.

But no one in this game, likely no one in the NHL, can rival Sharks forward Scott Gomez, who will be participating in the 10th Game 7 of his career.

"It means I'm getting old, I guess," Gomez said after practice Monday. "Someone brought that up the other day and I started thinking about all of them. I couldn't remember most of them."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 7:21 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Blackhawks unite fans of Cubs, White Sox

CHICAGO -- It's almost like a holiday in the Windy City whenever the White Sox and Cubs face each other, especially if you like your holidays spiced with bitterness, jealously and downright hatred.

In this city, fans are typically either White Sox black or Cubby blue with no exceptions made -- or love lost -- on either side. Monday night at the White Sox's U.S. Cellular Field, however, the "neutral" colors were red and black, the main color scheme of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks.

Thanks to Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Blackhawks and rival Detroit Red Wings starting at 7 p.m. Central -- a potential elimination game for Chicago -- the opening game of the annual Cubs-Sox rivalry was forced to share the spotlight.

How much baseball watching will be going on at the ballpark?

"Uh, not a lot," said Tim Light, of Burr Ridge, Ill., who attended the game with his Cubs-fan wife, Debby and proudly wore a Jonathan Toews alternate Blackhawks jersey. "As soon as 7 o'clock comes around, I'll be watching the hockey game."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 6:46 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks' experience could prove pivotal in Game 7

San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle knows all about big games. Playing for Canada, he won a gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver with a 3-2 overtime win over the United States. Five-and-a-half years earlier, as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he won the Stanley Cup with a 2-1, Game 7 victory against the Calgary Flames.

Having played in every conceivable big-game scenario, Boyle said the Sharks will just need to stay loose heading into Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

That laid-back attitude served the Sharks well Sunday, when they forced the winner-take-all contest with a 2-1 win at HP Pavilion.

"If you get too uptight, not just in hockey but any sport, that can backfire. Definitely we had a loose locker room yesterday," Boyle said following San Jose's practice Monday. "Drawing from my experience, whether it's the Olympic gold-medal game or Stanley Cup Final, you have to be somewhat loose or the nerves will get to you a little bit."

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract