Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - Blues-Kings series blog

Hitchcock opts for experience in Game 1

ST. LOUIS -- Ken Hitchcock wouldn't play his card Monday. He did Tuesday: T.J. Oshie will return to the St. Louis Blues lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings.

Who will Oshie replace? It was assumed one of the fourth-line players would be taken out, with Adam Cracknell at the top of the list. But Hitchcock will instead sit rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, at least for the first game.

"I've always believed that the first kick at the can in playoffs is for veteran players," Hitchcock said. "You give them a go. Tarasenko, [Dmitrij] Jaskin will probably get some time during the playoffs, but you want to give the veterans a chance to prove -- unless they've really underperformed -- they want to take the ball and run with it. That's what we're going to do. If somebody under performs, then we won't hesitate to replace and move from there."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild's Pominville out for Game 1 vs. Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville will not play against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday at United Center in Game 1 of the teams' Western Conference Quarterfinals series (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

Pominville has an upper-body injury that stems from an illegal hit to the head by Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown during a game April 23 at Xcel Energy Center. Brown was suspended two games for the hit, and Pominville hasn't played since.

He was able to practice at left wing on the third line Monday, but Pominville didn't get the clearance to play in Game 1.

"[He's] just not quite ready," Wild coach Mike Yeo said following Minnesota's morning skate. "This is a big game, but you've got to look at the big picture and we've got to make sure that when we get him back in, we get him back in for good."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 1:35 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Gretzky on Cisco NHL Live as playoffs get started

The puck drops on the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night and Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get you ready for the first night of action. We'll talk to "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky, as the Los Angeles Kings get set to defend the Cup against the St. Louis Blues. We'll also get a live preview of the game on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam with Darren Pang.

The Presidents' Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks begin their Stanley Cup journey vs. the Minnesota Wild, and we'll be joined by Pierre McGuire from inside the United Center to break down the matchup. We'll also get an update from the West Coast when Ducks analyst Brian Hayward joins us to discuss Game 1 between Anaheim and Detroit.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all three playoff games being played Tuesday night.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

First-round Stanley Cup Playoffs predictions

All right, folks. After 720 regular season games, it's finally time for what we've all been waiting for -- the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There were some surprises as for who made it to the postseason this year, but the one thing that won't surprise me is how much fun the next two months are going to be. There are some tremendous first-round matchups this spring, and as the playoffs move forward it's sure to only get better.

In the Eastern Conference we've got some great physical matchups like the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs and some exciting rematches like the New York Rangers against the Washington Capitals, and the Western Conference has some doozies as well. I won't waste any of your time here, though. Let's get to what you're all waiting for.

Here are my picks for the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 12:31 PM

By Staff -  / - Blues-Kings series blog

Oshie in, Tarasenko out for Blues

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters forward T.J. Oshie will be in the lineup for Game 1 of his team's Stanley Cup Playoff series Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings (8 p.m. ET, CBNC, CBC).

Oshie missed the final 15 regular-season games following an injury to his left ankle during a March 28 game against the Kings. He had surgery April 16.

To open a spot, Hitchcock said rookie forward Vladimir Tarasenko will be a healthy scratch.

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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 7:07 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live: Jim Nill

The new General Manager of the Dallas Stars, Jim Nill, joins CISCO NHL Live.

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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 3:33 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Cisco NHL Live previews playoffs, talks to Nill

It's the eve of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Cisco NHL Live at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network will get you ready for all the matchups.

New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron will stop by the the set to talk about Round 1 against the

Washington Capitals. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has all the latest on Sidney Crosby and his possible return to action.

In the Western Conference, newly-appointed Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill will share some of his offseason plans. Plus, Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards joins us to recap his team's unexpected playoff run.

If your team isn't in the postseason, you'll want to keep your eye on Monday night's 2013 Scotiabank NHL Draft Lottery. NHL Network insider Bob McKenzie will break down the lottery and what it all means.

Plus our favorite resident coach, NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose, picks the teams that could end Stanley Cup droughts.

Don't forget to join Steve Mears and EJ Hradek at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network to count down to the playoffs!

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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 3:09 PM

By Staff -  / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild get Pominville back at practice

The Minnesota Wild received some good news on the eve of Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks: the return of forward Jason Pominville.

Pominville, who missed the last two regular-season games with a head injury, returned to practice Monday morning on a line with Kyle Brodziak and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Pominville took a hit to the head from Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown on April 23 and had been sidelined since.

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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:51 PM

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

Lamoriello: Devils keeping 2013 first-round pick

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday the organization has decided to retain its first-round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, which the Devils are hosting at Prudential Center on June 30.

In September 2010, the NHL fined the Devils $3 million and took away two high draft picks over the next four years for signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract two months earlier that circumvented the League's salary cap.

The Devils forfeited a 2011 third-round pick and were told they needed to forfeit a first-rounder at some point over the next four years following the penalty.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 8:41 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

MIN @ COL - 4:05 of the Second Period

At 4:05 of the second period in the Wild/Avalanche game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Colorado forward Chuck Kobasew used his right skate to kick the puck into the net. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No Goal Colorado.

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Quote of the Day

For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday