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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:07 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Capitals' Laich feeling better physically, mentally

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals welcomed a familiar face back to practice Tuesday when injured forward Brooks Laich skated with his teammates for the first time since Feb. 16.

Laich has missed the entire season with a strained groin muscle suffered in Switzerland during the lockout. There still is no time frame for his return.

"It's been a lot of work," Laich said ahead of the Capitals' game Tuesday against the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. "It's been the hardest thing I've ever gone through. Physically it's a lot of work, but mentally probably even more draining. But hopefully it's all for good. We have a great medical staff that's really helped me and pushed me in the right direction. Hopefully I'll be back out soon."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:48 PM

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

Central Scouting upgrades four players

          Laurent Dauphin, Chicoutimi, QMJHL

NHL Central Scouting has advised all NHL personnel to keep an eye on four 2013 draft-eligible players shooting up the ranks for the month of March.

In addition to profiling many of the top prospects on the radar, it's always interesting to learn of those performers improving to the point of getting special attention, as is the case each month when Central Scouting provides team scouts and GMs a cheat sheet of such performers.

This month, Central Scouting has targeted right wing Zach Nastasiuk of the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League, center Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and center Nicolas Petan of the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Dillon Heatherington of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League.

Nastasiuk, Dauphin and Heatherington, who were regarded as 'B skaters' in February, were upgraded to 'A skaters' this month. Petan jumped from a 'C' rating to 'A'.


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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:48 PM

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

Mikko Koivu celebrates birthday with brother Saku

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The busy travel and game schedule of National Hockey League players typically means things like birthdays and holidays with friends and family are missed.

That's why it was extra special for Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu to spend the eve of his 30th birthday with older brother Saku Koivu of the Anaheim Ducks.

"There's a lot of times where when we come here or they come to California, it's a back-to-back game or you don't really have time to enjoy it, so it was fun," Saku said. "Obviously it's a big day for him, 30th birthday; just goes to show how time flies. It feels like he just came over here and now it's already 10 years."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Whitney in for Stars; Benn, Morrow likely out

DALLAS -- After missing 16 games with a broken bone in his foot, Ray Whitney will return to the ice for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center. It will be Whitney's first game since Feb. 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"It [the process] has been long. It's the first time I've had a broken bone, so it's been longer than expected, but I've had enough of riding the bike," Whitney said. "I'm excited to get back on the ice and see if we can't get a good push here in the last half."

However, the news isn't quite as favorable when it comes to Dallas center Jamie Benn (wrist) and captain Brenden Morrow (groin), both of whom are unlikely to play against the Predators.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:36 PM

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

Wild send struggling Granlund back to AHL

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have sent top prospect Mikael Granlund back to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.

Granlund, the Wild's first-round pick (No. 9) in the 2010 NHL Draft, is playing his first professional season in North America after starring in his native Finland the past three seasons. Adjusting to the speed and size of the ice sheet in the NHL has been an issue for Granlund, as well as playing against bigger and more physical competition.

The highly skilled center has played in 19 games this season, scoring one goal and assisting on five, but has been a healthy scratch each of the past two games and in four of Minnesota's last eight overall.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:35 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Cisco NHL Live: Scintillating shootout moves

 

After watching Ottawa Senators Kaspars Daugavins crazy, yet unsuccessful shootout attempt last night vs. the Boston Bruins, Cisco NHL Live asks the fans to vote for the best shootout goal since the tiebreaker was introduced to the NHL. We've narrowed the list to these five beauties:

November 11, 2005

New York Rangers defenseman Marek Malik goes between his legs for the shootout winner vs. Washington Capitals Olaf Kolzig.

April 9, 2009

Mike Ribiero, then with the Dallas Stars, goes backward between his legs to beat Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj.

December 10, 2010

Edmonton Oilers Linus Omark gives a spin-o-rama look for the game-winning shootout goal vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

January 17, 2010

Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk goes "Datsyukian Deke" on then Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi for the shootout goal.

December 14, 2010

Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane shows off his stickhandling with a shootout goal vs. Minnesota Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:31 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Quenneville a Tuesday guest on Cisco NHL Live

With 11 games on Tuesday's schedule, Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will preview them all and give you a look at pre-game skates in our Ice Pass. We'll also have bench boss of the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel Quenneville, on the show to talk about their great streak to start the season.

We'lll also get live pre-game updates from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Pittsburgh for the big Eastern Conference matchup between the Penguins and Bruins, Washington for the Capitals-Hurricanes division rivalry, and Minnesota to preview the Ducks-Wild. NHL Network analyst Darren Pang will drop by the show to talk about the Blues-Sharks rematch and if he would have been able to stop Kasper Daugavins' shootout attempt.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, keep an eye on this Senior Reporter's dance moves in his EJ5, with a shootout theme, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all 11 games being played on Tuesday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:14 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning add Gudas for extra physicality on defense

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Defenseman Radko Gudas, called up by the Tampa Bay Lightning from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Monday, will make his NHL debut Tuesday when the Lightning visit the Florida Panthers.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he was hoping Gudas would bring a physical presence to the Tampa Bay lineup -- he's fourth in the AHL with 207 penalty minutes, along with leading the league with a plus-32 rating.

"He's got a major upside in terms of his physicality," Boucher said. "He's one of those guys that will be compared to [former New York Islanders defenseman Darius] Kasparaitis, if you remember him. He's a major menace and threat on the ice. He hits guys extremely hard at moments they don't expect. He's a warrior. What's good, too, is that the last two years he's made his game a little calmer in the sense that he chooses those moments now a lot better than he used to."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:10 PM

By Chris Ryndak -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Enroth to start again for Sabres

BUFFALO Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday against the New York Rangers as Ryan Miller deals with a sinus infection. Miller will serve as the backup.

It will be Enroth’s fourth start this season. He most recently got the nod on Thursday against the New Jersey Devils but left the game after cramping up late in the third period.

Miller had started 14 straight games before Thursday night.

Enroth is 0-2-0 this season with a 3.94 goals-against average and an .871 save percentage. He made 27 saves in New Jersey but had to be helped off the ice after allowing the game-tying goal with 1:06 left in regulation.

“We’d certainly like him to build off of that last game because I know that was one of the best games that I’ve seen him play since I’ve been in the organization,” Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said of Enroth following the team’s optional morning skate.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lindback, Markstrom take long-time friendship to NHL

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Anders Lindback and Jacob Markstrom grew up as buddies in the small town of Gavle, Sweden, and Tuesday the two goalies will face each other in the NHL for the first time when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.

Markstrom was the first goalie off the ice when the Panthers had their morning skate, and Lightning coach Guy Boucher confirmed Lindback would be his goalie after he sat out a 4-3 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

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Quote of the Day

I was going nuts and I saw [Subban], he was going crazy, and the ref had no idea where to go. [Subban] was skating to me, and I was skating to him and the ref was right in between us and I don't know, I kind of hit him pretty hard, I thought, but those were some emotions and I'm pretty sure he understands that.

— Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk on the celebration following his OT goal against Ottawa in Game 2