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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:45 PM

By NHL Green -  / - NHL Green Slapshots™

Kings' Mitchell fights for fish

When most fans think of Willie Mitchell, they picture the star Los Angeles Kings defenseman and Stanley Cup champion fearlessly protecting his goaltender.  Most may be unaware the physical blueliner doubles as an eco-warrior.

While Mitchell remains off the ice due to an injury, he remains in battle, fighting for the future of wild Pacific salmon. Mitchell, an avid outdoorsman and fisherman from coastal Port McNeill, British Columbia, is passionate about conserving this threatened species and preserving the health of our oceans.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:42 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Toews, Datsyuk great admirers of each other

CHICAGO -- Ask Jonathan Toews about Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk and his eyes light up a little bit.

The Chicago Blackhawks captain usually tries to fight back a smile, knowing he's talking about a rival team's top player, but it's usually futile. Toews envies Datsyuk's two-way game quite a bit -- making him a lot like the rest of the hockey world -- and 34-year old Datsyuk said he's been impressed by the two-way force 25-year old Toews has grown into in Chicago.

That's why it was somewhat fitting to see each of their names listed Wednesday, along with Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, as Selke Award finalists. The award is given to the NHL's top defensive forward as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Senators series blog

With extra off day between games, Penguins rest up

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't do much on Wednesday, the morning after a convincing 4-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The players who did not play in the game -- the Black Aces -- took part in a short, but crisp practice. They were joined by defenseman Deryk Engelland, who returned to the defensive rotation in Game 1, and Craig Adams, the fourth-line center. Evgeni Malkin also took a quick twirl, but did not wear full pads.

However, that doesn't mean the Penguins didn't get anything done.

Most importantly, said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, the team got a chance to rest a bit by staying off the ice. Instead, the team met in the morning, watched a little video and talked about points they want to stress in Game 2 on Friday.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:59 PM

By Chris Adamski - Correspondent / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators have options on defense if Gryba can't go

PITTSBURGH -- While not flatly ruling hulking defenseman Eric Grybe out for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators coach coach Paul MacLean said the team has contingency plans for who might take Gryba's place.

"If Gryba's not available, [Mike] Lundin and [Andre] Benoit are here with us," MacLean said after an optional practice Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. "[Patrick] Wiercioch, right now, I'd say is not available with a lower-body injury, but we'll have discussions on that."

Gryba left the ice after a collision with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik late during the second period of Pittsburgh's 4-1 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday. The Senators said he has an upper-body injury that will be evaluated.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Cammarata receives multiple USHL accolades

Forward Taylor Cammarata of the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League on Wednesday was named USHL Forward of the Year and Player of the Year as determined by league coaches and general managers.

The 5-foot-7, 156-pound left-handed shot, who is No. 193 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American players, led the USHL with 93 points (38 goals, 55 assists) in 59 regular-season games.

"His smarts and creativity make him a good prospect," Central Scouting's David Gregory told

Cammarata's point total was the second-highest in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), following the 104 points (54 goals) produced by Kevin Roy of the Lincoln Stars in 2011-12.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:01 PM

By Staff -  / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators' Spezza ruled out for Game 2

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean on Wednesday said center Jason Spezza would not play in Game 2 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Spezza has not played since having back surgery Feb. 1 to repair a herniated disc but has been skating with the team's extra players since May 10.
Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 2:47 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Emmerton added to Red Wings lineup

CHICAGO -- Cory Emmerton will be back in the Detroit Red Wings lineup centering the fourth line when they face off against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at United Center in the first game of their Western Conference Semifinal series.

Emmerton was scratched for Game 7 of Detroit's Western Conference Quarterfinal against the Anaheim Ducks and was replaced by veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson, who has been plagued by injuries all season.

Samuelsson, who missed 41 games with a pair of injuries, hopes to play in this series but had another recent flare-up of an upper-body ailment that initially occurred in a 7-1 loss to Chicago on March 31 at Joe Louis Arena. He played 4:20 in the series-deciding game against the Ducks before apparently reaggravating the injury.

Emmerton said he got the message loud and clear from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock's decision.

"You don't want to watch ever. I got to watch and it wasn't a lot of fun," he said following Detroit's Wednesday morning skate. "I'll do my best to not get in that situation again. Everything's a learning lesson as you go along in your career. You do what you can do, move forward and keep getting better."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Jagr compares Bergeron to Hall of Fame ex-teammate

BOSTON -- If earning status as a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward wasn't enough of a compliment for Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, teammate Jaromir Jagr paid Bergeron another one after practice at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Bergeron, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks were announced Wednesday as finalists for the award.

"I think Ronnie Francis was the same way," Jagr said of Bergeron. "He wasn't very flashy. He scored a lot of goals but not the highlights goals. And he did everything perfect, especially defensively. The GMs and the coaches, they know. And it doesn't mean the media doesn't talk about him much. People who are close to hockey and understand hockey, they know how special he is. So it's all right."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Stalberg finds himself a healthy scratch for opener

CHICAGO -- Instead of manning the right wing on the third line for the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at United Center, speedy forward Viktor Stalberg will be in street clothes when the puck is dropped.

Stalberg will be a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks play host to the Detroit Red Wings in the opener of a highly anticipated Western Conference Semifinal series between the Original Six rivals (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

He's not injured, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville termed it a coach's decision when asked if there was something other than Stalberg's play factoring into the somewhat curious call to scratch their fastest skater against a fast-paced team like Detroit.

"He's out tonight," Quenneville said. "Coach's decision. I had a conversation with him, so he knows how it stands and [what] the situation is, but we'll leave it at that."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 1:48 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Three Bruins blueliners missing from practice

BOSTON -- With a little more than 24 hours before the start of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the New York Rangers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), the Boston Bruins practiced without three of their regular defensemen Wednesday at TD Garden.

Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, who were scratched prior to Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, and Dennis Seidenberg, who played two shifts of the Bruins' dramatic win, all missed the session.

Coach Claude Julien said there was no update on any of the three veterans and said he might not know his lineup until pretty close to the start of Game 1 Thursday.

Even without three key members of their blue line, the Bruins had seven defensemen on the ice, including rookie Torey Krug, who was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

All of Boston's forwards were healthy and on the ice. Here's a look at the Bruins' forward lines and defense pairings from practice:

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Quote of the Day

He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.

— Coyotes GM Don Maloney on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson