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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:

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 1:33 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Staal, Clowe, Powe sit out Rangers practice

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- If practice Wednesday is any indication, the New York Rangers will start the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS) without Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe and Darroll Powe.

None of the three injured Rangers participated in practice Wednesday.

Powe was hurt early in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals after a collision with Joel Ward along the boards. Powe didn't return to the series.

Clowe left in the first period of Game 5 after he was boarded by Jason Chimera and his head slammed off the glass. Clowe also did not return to the series.

Staal has been dealing with issues related to his right eye injury sustained March 5. He played 17:17 in Game 3 against Washington but sat out the rest of the series. He had been practicing with the team.

The Rangers' forward lines and defense pairs from Game 7 against Washington stayed intact for practice Wednesday:

Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 4:54 PM

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

Teams to take advantage of extra days off

Neither team plans to stick around long after the first and third games of a Western Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.

The series starts Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) and the Red Wings plan to fly back to Detroit prior to Game 2 on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC) in the same arena.

Two days off between games combined with a short flight was too good for the Red Wings to pass up -- regardless how much coach Mike Babcock talked up the great places to eat in Chicago following Detroit's upset of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series Sunday night.

"It's a little different," Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard told reporters following a Tuesday practice in Detroit. "I wasn't expecting all of this time off, but we'll definitely use it to our advantage of not really hanging out in Chicago and coming back here. The comfortability is a lot more."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 4:27 PM

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

Stalberg could find himself watching start of series

CHICAGO -- Viktor Stalberg has practiced outside of the top four lines, in a white jersey, for each of the three practices the Chicago Blackhawks have held since winning their Western Conference Quarterfinal series last week.

That's usually a designation for a player who is injured -- meaning it's a non-contact jersey -- or for those who aren't being considered for the active lineup. The Blackhawks open their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) and Stalberg isn’t injured.

So that can mean only one thing: He’s in coach Joel Quenneville's doghouse for some reason, likely based on his play in the first round against the Minnesota Wild. The only way to get out is to wait for another chance to impress, after finishing the first series with one assist.

"Stay ready," Quenneville said Tuesday when asked what Stalberg can do to get himself back on his usual spot at right wing of the third line. "Nobody said he's out of the lineup (for Game 1), but … make decisions tough on us."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 3:07 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose: What went wrong with the Leafs

Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 2:48 PM

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

Senators to focus on their strengths

PITTSBURGH -- The raw numbers are striking -- and strikingly simple.

The Pittsburgh Penguins led the NHL in goals during the regular season; the Ottawa Senators were the Eastern Conference's best team at preventing them.

So the seventh-seeded Senators know what style of play they will turn to in hopes of succeeding in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 1 is Tuesday ((7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN) here at Consol Energy Center.

"Giving them odd-man rushes, with their skill, is not going to work to our favor," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "So we want to play a disciplined game -- but also not just play a passive game. We want to get engaged and get the forecheck going. That's how we're going to generate our chances."

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— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL