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Posted On Friday, 10.04.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst / - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: Teams needing fast starts; breakout players

After all the waiting through the summer and training camp, the 2013-14 NHL season is finally here. And while many fans are just happy to have meaningful hockey to watch, the first week of the season can actually be pivotal for certain teams and players.

If you get off to a good start, you're feeling good about your team. It's just the vibe, just a feeling. Any athlete will tell you, especially one in a team sport, that there's nothing like getting on the plane or bus after a victory. Taking that feeling early, knowing how you got that victory, makes all the difference in the world going forward.

Enjoying that feeling right out of the gate is important.

This holds especially true for the New York Rangers, who are going to play their first nine games on the road during the last stage of the renovation at Madison Square Garden. That's going to be a huge challenge, but it's possible for them to enjoy great success on that brutal trip. Just look at the Chicago Blackhawks last year.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 8:30 PM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

CGY @ WSH - 1:02 of the Second Period

At 1:02 of the second period in the Flames/Capitals game, video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that the puck never crossed the goal line between the posts. No goal Washington.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 8:27 PM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

LAK @ MIN - 1:04 of the First Period

At 1:04 of the first period in the Kings/Wild game, video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that Kyle Brodziak's shot deflected off Matt Cooke's skate and into the net in a legal fashion. The determining factor was that the speed of the puck propelled it into the net and that Cooke's skate only redirected it. According to Rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good goal Minnesota.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 7:08 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning's Salo scratched with upper-body injury

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo was scratched against the Boston Bruins on Thursday because of an upper-body injury.

Salo, 39, took part in the morning skate but did not warm up with the team. He was tied for second on the Lightning last season with a plus-5 rating.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 6:39 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Morrow, with visa, will play in Blues opener

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will have veteran left wing Brenden Morrow in the lineup when they face the Nashville Predators on thursday in the season opener for each team.

Morrow's status for the game was in question because he was having issues completing the proper paperwork for his working visa. The Carlyle, Saskatechewan native signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Blues on Sept. 23 but could not gain access to a working visa until he had a signed contract.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 4:30 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks hope any mistakes are "over-aggressive"

SAN JOSE -- The Vancouver Canucks have had less than a month to learn new coach John Tortorella's systems and adjust to his demands for a faster, more aggressive style of play.

Ready or not, the new-look Canucks will face their first real test Thursday against the San Jose Sharks (10 p.m. ET, TSN), the team that swept them out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round last season.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 4:28 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Demers thrilled to be paired with Hannan

SAN JOSE -- Brad Stuart has been practicing but won't be ready to play when the San Jose Sharks open their season with a home game against the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET, TSN).

With Stuart out, Jason Demers will be paired with Scott Hannan.

"I love playing with him," Demers said of Hannan. "I like his style. He makes the right play, and I always know where he is. He looks to keep it loose out there like me. We have a nice chemistry."

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 3:37 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes aim to rediscover consistency

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the Phoenix Coyotes, the 2012-13 hurry-up-and-get-ready shortened season was a nightmare scenario for a team that relies on system play and good goaltending.

But in 2013-14, the Coyotes not only have had a full training camp to get veterans ready and see young players step into the lineup, they are one of the last teams to open the regular season, as they host the New York Rangers on Thursday at Arena.

"We have to be a real consistent team and we've had a good chance to build those habits in camp," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Our last preseason game [a win against San Jose last Friday] was a good example of where we need to be and a good blueprint for how we need to play. That was a shortcoming last year and we're aware of how it affected us. We don't want to miss the playoffs again."

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 2:46 PM

By Steve Mears -  NHL Live host / - NHL Live blog

Wingels talks Canucks-Sharks on NHL Live

Eight games are on the NHL slate Thursday night and NHL Live will have a complete rundown of each at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network. We'll go out to Boston to check on the defending Eastern Conference champions and talk to NHL Network's Darren Pang about the intriguing goalie matchups around the NHL.

We'll also be joined by Tommy Wingels of the San Jose Sharks for a preview of their home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. Wingels, who had an excellent training camp, is expected to skate on a line with Joe Pavelski and Long Beach, Calif., native Matt Nieto. At age 20, Nieto will make his NHL debut along with former first-round pick Tomas Hertl. The Sharks defeated the Canucks seven times last year, including their four-game sweep in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions all season long to @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and join the conversation on Twitter as we ask your opinion on some hot topics around the NHL.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 2:22 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings get Mitchell back, Brown also expected to play

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild enter their game Thursday at Xcel Energy Center relatively healthy.

Kings captain Dustin Brown, who sustained a hamstring injury early in training camp, has skated better in recent days and is expected to play on a line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis.

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who missed all of last season after a pair of knee surgeries following the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, will return to the lineup in a familiar place -- against the Wild, a team he spent parts of five seasons with.

Jonathan Quick will start in goal for the Kings.

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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