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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 6:28 PM

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

Tortorella wants more from Gaborik and Richards

NEW YORK - Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards need to improve their "battle level," according to New York Rangers coach John Tortorella -- hence the reason for moving captain Ryan Callahan onto their line for Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders.

Tortorella was frank about the play of his two of his biggest stars this season, especially the skating of Gaborik.

"He needs to help them get the puck because I don't think those two guys are doing a good enough job getting the puck," Tortorella said. "It certainly doesn't take the onus off of them, but I just want to see what that looks like.

"They need to play better."

Tortorella said he didn't like Callahan with Richards last season, but the two played together for a lengthy stretch in 2011-12. In Gaborik's case, Tortorella wants to see him emulate another speedy winger on his club - Carl Hagelin.

"It's a huge part of his game," Tortorella said of Gaborik's speed. "You look at Hagelin. He's second on our team - we keep this stat offensively and defensively and you have a plus/minus, basically (with scoring chances for and against) - he's second behind [Rick] Nash as far as his plus/minus. Hags is at like plus-27, Nash is at plus-31, and Hags hasn't made a whole lot of passes. I'm not criticizing him -- he's done it with his legs. He creates havoc with his legs.

"I just don't understand why Gabby can't do that. I know they're a little different-type players. But Gabby needs to bring that into his game. And he will."

It should also be noted that Tortorella referred to Derek Stepan as the team's first-line center, and his 25:14 of ice time in Tuesday's 4-3 shootout victory in Boston backs up that sentiment; Richards played 19:19.

Tortorella also said making Chris Kreider a healthy scratch and bringing Brian Boyle back into the lineup after sitting him for three games wasn't because Kreider played poorly, but he hadn't done enough good things of late. Rookie J.T. Miller will be moved to the wing with Boyle centering the third line in an effort to lessen the responsibilities on the 19-year-old in his own zone.

Here's what the Rangers' lines will look like as they go for their fourth win in a row.

Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan

J.T. Miller - Brian Boyle - Taylor Pyatt

Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Michael Del Zotto - Matt Gilroy

Martin Biron

Henrik Lundqvist

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 4:00 PM

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

Canucks' Kesler medically cleared to play

The Vancouver Canucks have announced that center Ryan Kesler has been medically cleared to return to playing.

"All indications are that Kesler is ready to go," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said, according to the team's official Twitter feed.

Kesler practiced with the team Thursday, skating on a line with Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian.

"It's a line that can bring good size with physical presence and good puck pursuit," Vigneault said.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 3:39 PM

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

Schneider back in net as Canucks go for seven

Cory Schneider will start for the third time in four games when the surging Vancouver Canucks host the Dallas Stars on Friday.

Schneider allowed one goal in each of his previous two starts, Feb. 7 against the Minnesota Wild and Feb. 9 against the Calgary Flames, before Roberto Luongo got the start and won his fourth straight, also allowing a single goal in Tuesday's win over the Wild.

Vancouver has won six in a row.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 3:34 PM

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

Stars send Oleksiak back to AHL

The Dallas Stars have returned defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to their American Hockey League team, the Texas Stars.

In six games with the Stars, Oleksiak had one assist while averaging 15:40 of ice time per game.

The 14th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, Oleksiak led the Texas Stars with 20 assists and also had 23 points in 43 games. He also played in the 2013 AHL All-Star Game.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 3:16 PM

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

Zubrus wrist surgery successful, out 4-6 weeks

New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus underwent successful wrist surgery Thursday and will miss 4-6 weeks, the team announced.

Zubrus had one goal and four points in nine games this season.

In his absence, rookie Stefan Matteau has been playing on the top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk. The team also reacquired forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a pair of draft picks.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 1:58 PM

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

Wild return Coyle to AHL

The Minnesota Wild have returned top prospect Charlie Coyle to their American Hockey League team, the Houston Aeros.

Coyle played right wing on the team's top line the past five games, but did not have any points, had six shots on goal and was a minus-1.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 1:51 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avalanche, Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight's Northwest Division contest between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center:

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinn - Matt Duchene - PA Parenteau

Aaron Palushaj - Paul Stastny - David Jones

Cody McLeod - Michael Sgarbossa - Milan Hejduk

Chuck Kobasew - Mark Olver - Patrick Bordeleau

Ryan O'Byrne - Jan Hejda

Matt Hunwick - Tyson Barrie

Greg Zanon - Shane O'Brien

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

WILD

Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Zach Parise

Mikael Granlund - Kyle Brodziak - Devin Setoguchi

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Matt Cullen - Cal Clutterbuck

Torrey Mitchell - Zenon Konopka - Mike Rupp

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Tom Gilbert - Clayton Stoner

Jared Spurgeon - Justin Falk

Niklas Backstrom

Darcy Kuemper

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Brunette retires, takes job in Wild front office

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Former National Hockey League forward Andrew Brunette officially retired as a player Thursday, but he won't be out of the game for long.

Brunette was named Hockey Operations Advisor for the Minnesota Wild, an all-encompassing role that will allow Brunette to work directly with Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant GM Brent Flahr, Houston Aeros GM Jim Mill as well as the coaching staffs in Minnesota and Houston.

"It may be a bittersweet day for Andrew Brunette, but it's a great day for our franchise," Fletcher said. "To add someone with his experience and his intelligence to our hockey operations department … who knows where this takes him? I think he has unlimited potential to do what he wants to do in this game."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 1:37 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Garon to start for Lightning in place of Lindback

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to break a five-game winless streak when they meet the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and coach Guy Boucher will be going to the back-up goaltender to get matters turned around.

But not because he wants to; because he has to.

Anders Lindback, who has started seven of the past nine games for Tampa Bay, is out ill, so Mathieu Garon gets the call in net. As to the extent of Lindback's illness, Boucher sounded as in the dark as anyone.

"I don't know how sick he is," Boucher said. "I have no clue. I don't know if he'll dress tonight. He's home right now and I have no clue. They're going to call him back and see how he's doing later; it might just be a one- or two-hour thing, but right now we're going with Garon in net. That's what I control; the rest -- it's somebody else's business right now.”

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Pitkanen out, Gleason also ailing for Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes will be without defenseman Joni Pitkanen for Thursday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pitkanen is expected to miss several days after leaving Tuesday's 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils with an injury.

Fellow blueliner Tim Gleason also could be out. He is nursing a lower-body injury after playing 20:07 against the Devils.

Carolina has recalled defenseman Michal Jordan from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He has yet to make his NHL debut.

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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