We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
SHARE
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 5:00 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Crosby addresses Milbury comments

BOSTON -- After the Pittsburgh Penguins' morning skate Tuesday at TD Garden, star center Sidney Crosby was asked if he wanted to respond to recent comments NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury made about the perennial All-Star in the aftermath of Sunday's Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game.

Milbury used comments in a Monday morning radio interview to describe Crosby's play as dishonest. Milbury has since apologized for those comments.

"I reached out to (Pittsburgh president) David Morehouse and the Penguins about the comments I made yesterday on Philadelphia radio," Milbury said. "In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans."

Crosby offered the following on Tuesday:

"No, not really. I don't really have to get into that," Crosby said." I don't what he's looking for, if he's looking for attention or what it is. I don't have much to say there. I really don't know where that came from. You can really twist something a certain way, and he's obviously showing he's more than capable of doing that. He's pretty good at twisting stuff around, that's for sure."

Crosby and the Penguins face the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, looking to hold off the Flyers, who are one point behind Pittsburgh in the race for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage that comes with that seeding.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 4:12 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Suspension up, Keith eager to rejoin Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have a couple of injured players who may or may not be ready to return on Thursday in Minnesota, but one of them isn't star defenseman Duncan Keith.

Keith's return from a five-game suspension against the Wild is a sure thing after sitting out for elbowing Vancouver's Daniel Sedin in the head during Chicago's 2-1 overtime win on March 21 at the United Center.

"It's been awhile, five games, but it's gone by quick, too," Keith said after Tuesday's practice. "I'm looking forward to getting back and helping the team here in the last couple games and the playoffs."

Quenneville said that Keith will slide back into his usual spot on the top pairing with Brent Seabrook, while Niklas Hjalmarsson will likely go back to the third pair with rookie Dylan Olsen after playing well in Keith's absence.

"It was tough," Keith said of sitting out. "Obviously you want to be out there playing and helping the guys. They did a great job and played well. We've been playing well for a long time now, I think. I just want to help out and keep it going."

Keith declined to comment on Sedin's condition -- which is said to be concussion-related -- or about the incident itself.

Chicago went 2-1-2 in the games Keith missed, but it might turn out to actually help the speedy, puck-moving defenseman for the playoffs. Keith, the 2010 Norris Trophy winner,  usually logs the most minutes in the League each season and is again right at the top at 26:53 -- behind only former Hawks teammate Brian Campbell (26:55).

It was suggested that fatigue from all that skating might've caught up with Keith last season and even stretching into this one, but he's always denied it. However, Keith didn't downplay the potential importance of the time off he just received -- which, per the current collective bargaining agreement, also cost him $149,688.15 in foreited salary to the Player's Emergency Assistance Fund.

"I don't think taking a suspension is ever a good thing, but you know, I think if you're looking at it and trying to look for the positives ... I guess getting some rest at this time of year would probably be beneficial in that regard," Keith said. "I didn't feel like I needed rest. I've been able to play a lot of games every year, so I don't feel that's a reason or anything why I need rest. I feel good and I feel stronger than I was before, so hopefully it pays off."

Meanwhile, he had quite a bit of unexpected down time the past couple weeks. What did Keith do with it all?

"I just worked out and not a whole lot (else)," he said. "I walked the dogs a lot."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 3:00 PM

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

Versteeg starting to rediscover his offensive game

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Versteeg is still looking to end his scoring drought, but he's been creating chances in recent games and his overall play has picked up.

The Florida Panthers right wing clearly is not "brutal" anymore.

Versteeg has used that term to describe his play a couple of times this season, most recently after a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton on March 23.

That was one of the nine scoreless games Versteeg has played since returning from a lower-body injury that caused him to miss nine games. Versteeg also went scoreless the six games before the injury, meaning he's on a 15-game goal-less streak.

But after going eight games without even a point, Versteeg picked up an assist in each of Florida's last two games and he's also come close to scoring on a couple of occasions.

"Last four games it's been a lot better and feeling better out there, too," he said. "You come back and you want to be a big part right away and everyone is firing on all cylinders. You've got to, I guess, get back in the game and get back into the swing of things. When you're hard on yourself, it's tough, but I definitely feel the last four games it's been going better, and I expect better every game."

Versteeg led the Panthers in scoring most of the season before just recently being overtaken by both Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss.

There's no question the Panthers could use some more offense from Versteeg, starting with Tuesday's game against Winnipeg.

"Steeger is a guy that cares a lot and when things don't work out ... he's not a guy that hides his emotions," coach Kevin Dineen said. "When things are not going the right way, he is extremely hard on himself. When you take a breath and you regroup and you go out and start doing little things, even if the points aren't coming, you still feel like you're contributing. He realizes his importance to the team and, as always, when his focus is in the right place, he's a top-end player for us."

Versteeg, acquired last summer in a trade with Philadelphia, said he may have been trying to do too much after returning from his injury.

His last goal came Feb. 12 in a 4-1 road victory against the New York Islanders, but he's not concerned about the goal-less streak.

"I'm not worried about it," he said. "It was more so frustration about trying to do stuff when maybe my body couldn't at the time or my mind couldn't at the time because you're trying to get back into it. Now, I'm starting to feel [better] and these last four games are a good step."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:48 PM

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

Jets give Cormier another look with Wellwood out

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Forward Patrice Cormier, one of the players acquired from New Jersey in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, is getting another look with the Winnipeg Jets.

Cormier has been recalled from the St. John's IceCaps to replace Kyle Wellwood, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

It's the fourth call-up this season for Cormier, who didn't record a point in his first six games. Cormier had 17 goals and 14 assists in 54 games with St. John's.

Wellwood, for his part, ended his season with a career-high 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists). Wellwood, who is fourth on the team in scoring, was injured in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Tampa Bay when he was hit by a slapshot from teammate Grant Clitsome.

The Jets' third-leading scorer, defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, will remain in the lineup despite being hampered by a lower-body bone bruise. There had been some thought he might be shut down because Winnipeg is out of playoff contention, but coach Claude Noel said Byfuglien would be in the lineup Tuesday night against Florida.

"Buff is going to play the games," Noel said. "Nothing has changed with him. He still has the same issue and he'll have it the rest of the year. It's something we deal with. He'll be in the lineup."

The Panthers, for their part, have no apparent injury issues beyond their two players on injured reserve -- forwards Matt Bradley and Jack Skille.

Based on the lines at the morning skate, it appears forwards Jerred Smithson, Krystofer Barch and Mike Santorelli will be healthy scratches.

Here are the projected lines:

JETS
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Antti Miettinen
Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Spencer Machacek
Patrice Cormier - Tim Stapleton - Nik Antropov

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey - Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart - Grant Clitsome

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Scottie Upshall - Shawn Matthias - Wojtek Wolski
Marco Sturm - John Madden - Tomas Kopecky

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:40 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Peters expected back in Wild lineup

NASHVILLE -- Warren Peters was expected to return to the Wild lineup on Tuesday against the Predators after missing one game with an upper-body injury.
 
The Wild had recalled Cody Almond from Houston (AHL) to fill in for Peters, and then sent him down on Tuesday. Almond, 22, who has played in 10 games this season, totaling 1 goal and a minus-5 rating, only played 7:37 in a 5-4 overtime win over Chicago on Sunday, but was even and had two shots. Wild coach Mike Yeo said he liked what he saw.
 
"I really liked what Cody did last game," Yeo said. "I thought that that was a real good game for him but, obviously, Petey coming in now and we're off emergency, but that was a really good performance by Cody, I thought."
 
Projected lineups:
 
Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck
Jason Zucker - Erik Christensen - Nick Johnson
Stephane Veilleux - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer
 
Clayton Stoner - Tom Gilbert
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser
Marco Scandella - Kurtis Foster
 
Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:28 PM

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

Spoiler role aside, Jets just want to finish strong

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Winnipeg Jets are back in action Tuesday night for the first time since being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

But they say they're not concerning themselves with playing the role of spoilers against the Florida Panthers.

"We look at it more as a situation where we want to try to play well and win," coach Claude Noel said after the morning skate. "With our road record being what it is, we'd like to continue getting points and hopefully getting two points and getting a win out of here would be good for us. We talked about finishing out on a positive note and that's what we want to do."

In their first year in Winnipeg after moving from Atlanta, the Jets saw their playoff hopes officially terminated in a 3-2 overtime loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

The Jets found themselves only two points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference after beating Washington 4-3 in overtime on March 23, but have gone 2-5-1 since.

"Obviously, we're disappointed with how our season ended up and being on the outside of the playoff picture," captain Andrew Ladd said. "It's something that as a player, it's the time of year you want to be playing. It's where the fun starts. We've still got some work to do to make sure it doesn't happen next year."

It was fitting that the Jets' playoff hopes would end on the road because that's where the team really struggled this season.

Winnipeg has only 31 points in 39 road games to rank 28th in the League. The Jets' last road game will be Thursday against the New York Islanders before they close the season at home against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

That means the Jets will play a game with playoff implications for the last time Tuesday.

"We should be on the same page, everybody, to finish hard, to finish the season with three wins," goalie Ondrej Pavelec said. "Of course, it's disappointing we didn't make the playoffs, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop playing. The fans, everybody deserves for us to play as hard as we can and we'll see how everything is going to go.

"I think it's going to be pretty exciting tonight. Florida is battling for a playoff spot. It should be a great game. It's going to be a big chance. We expect the three wins and finishing strong and having fun."

The Panthers certainly don't expect the Jets to let them clinch the division title without a fight.

"We know Winnipeg is a well-coached team," defenseman Ed Jovanovski said. "They respect the game, so they're going to play hard. We've got to be on our toes early."

Ladd is familiar with several Panthers players, having played in Chicago with Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and John Madden when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

After being traded to Atlanta last season, Ladd once again is playing out the end of the regular season with nothing at stake.

"It's tough," he said. "They mean pretty much absolutely nothing now. At the same time, we owe it to ourselves and to our fans to show up and work and see where the chips fall. It's all part of creating a culture where you show up and you work every day. This is part of it."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:12 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lindback starts as Predators give Rinne a break

NASHVILLE -- Goalie Anders Lindback will play on Tuesday for the first time in two weeks for the Predators, which, by Lindback's standards, is not so long.
 
Nashville is gearing up for the playoffs and intends to get some rest for No. 1 Pekka Rinne. With three games remaining, Rinne, the League's leader in wins, has played in 71 games. Lindback, by contrast, has made 14 appearances.
 
The last time Lindack played was in relief of Rinne, giving him playing time in two straight games (March 18 and 20). Not bad, considering that Lindback played in only one game between Jan. 19 and Feb. 27.
 
That was not the plan for Rinne coming into the season, Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
 
"No, I think going into it, I looked at it as more of a 65, probably, as a number going into the season," Trotz said. "He's probably best around that number. So it's a little higher…. I think we went into a little bit of a roll right before the All-Star break. We knew the teams in the West are so close and we wanted to get some separation. We rode him hard into the All-Star break."
 
Trotz said that the Preds have been careful of Rinne's rest and recovery time since the All-Star break. To that end, on Tuesday Nashville recalled goalie Chet Pickard, a first-round pick in 2008, from Cincinnati (ECHL), whose season has ended.
 
Trotz said that in trying to take some shots off of Rinne, at times they will shorten his practices and will need Pickard for practice. Rinne did not participate in the team's morning skate and Trotz said that if he did not back up on Tuesday, then Pickard would.
 
For his part, Lindback, 23, was looking forward to the start. He said watching has been helpful in his development process.
 
"You pick up a lot of things, too, watching Pekka play," he said. "Tendencies every team's got. You try to pick it up and put it all together."
 
He was asked what in particular he has learned from watching Rinne.
 
"Just the way he handles the puck around the net and uses his glove," he said. "He prevents so many rebounds. He saves us a lot of shots. Really helps out for the (defensemen)…. It's fun to watch him play and really educational."
 
Projected lineup:
 
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Alexander Radulov
Gabriel Bourque - Nick Spaling - Patric Hornqvist
Matt Halischuk - Paul Gaustad - Brandon Yip
 
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Roman Josi
Francis Bouillon - Kevin Klein
 
Anders Lindback
Chet Pickard/Pekka Rinne
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:08 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Tortorella hopes to see improved power play

About the only place the Rangers have struggled this season is on the power play, and coach John Tortorella said he's hoping to see that area of his team's game improve when it plays the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

He has reason to expect his team to get better in that category against the Flyers. In five meetings this season, the Rangers are 5-for-19 with the extra man, a 26.3-percent efficiency that dwarfs their regular-season average of 15.1 percent.

In Sunday's loss to the Bruins, though, the Rangers went 0-for-3, including a 22-second 5-on-3 advantage.

"We want to go into the playoffs with our special teams consistent at both ends," Tortorella told reporters. "I think our power play is coming. Our penalty killing has been consistent all year long. If you have those two, it gives you a foundation, it gives you an advantage of trying to find your way."

Tortorella said one way of helping solidify things is putting center Derek Stepan on the point.

"The biggest thing that has helped our power play having Step there is having him have the puck," Tortorella said. "He sees the ice well and he does bring a certain amount of patience to it to where we have the puck under control more."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK



Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:02 PM

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

Panthers' Weiss chasing very special birthday gift

SUNRISE, Fla. -- It's almost like deja vu for Stephen Weiss.

Ten years ago on this day, Weiss celebrated his 19th birthday by playing in his first NHL game and scoring his first goal in a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh.

The Florida Panthers center turned 29 on Tuesday, with the possibility of clinching his first NHL playoff berth looming as an even better birthday present.

"I think [I'm] more excited today, more nervous back then," Weiss said when asked to compare the emotions of both days. "But it's cool that it falls on the same day. My mom's in town, so it's nice. Hopefully we'll have something fun to talk about after the game."

Earlier this season, Weiss became Florida's all-time leader in games played. But he has yet to play a game in the postseason.

That's likely to change this year, with Florida's magic number down to two to clinch a playoff berth and the Southeast Division title. That means a victory over Winnipeg on Tuesday will give the Panthers the first division title in franchise history.

"We've got to win," Weiss said. "We know what's at stake. The key is not to think about it, just go through your normal routine that you usually do. Saying that, we've got to have a little extra bite tonight, for sure. We don't want to keep this thing going. We want to finish it off tonight, and we're playing a good hockey club, so we'll have our hands full."

Weiss actually got an early birthday present Monday night from Steven Stamkos, a fellow Ontario native with whom he often trains in the summer.

It was Stamkos' two late goals, including the game-winner with 1:03 left in regulation, that gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 victory over Washington on Monday night and put the Panthers on the brink of clinching the division title.

"Stammer came through for us at the end," Weiss said. "Gave Stammer a little text there, told him I love him, there at the end of the game. It was big for us, obviously.

"I'm rooting for him to get 60 [goals] obviously. That was a big goal for him and for us, so I thought I'd just give him a little text."

With Stamkos having done his part, Weiss and his teammates now have the chance to make it a truly memorable birthday.

"It's got the makings to be a good day," Weiss said. "We'll put all that aside for now and just focus on going through our routine and our process and playing hard for 60 minutes, and see what happens."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 1:56 PM

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

Sharks anticipate better effort from Stars in rematch

DALLAS -- On Saturday night, the San Jose Sharks dispatched the Dallas Sharks at HP Pavilion, blanking them 3-0, a game where Dallas was clearly feeling the effects of being on the second night of a back-to-back.

These Pacific Division rivals meet for a sixth and final time this regular season on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center, and while Sharks coach Todd McLellan would like to see an effort from his club similar to what they delivered just three days ago in the Bay Area, he also knows they will see a different Stars team this time around.

"I think we'll see a better effort on their behalf," McLellan said. "They won't be playing back-to-back. They won't be at the back end of a four-game road trip. They've had two days off. Think they'll get some healthy people back into the lineup. That should just make us elevate our game a little bit more as well.

"I liked our game in San Jose. I liked a lot of the things that we did. We have to take it to another level now in this building and be fully prepared to play."

San Jose (40-29-10, 90 points) has taken four of five meetings from Dallas this season, with the lone exception being a 4-3 shootout loss during its last trip to the Lone Star State back on March 8.

And there's no escaping that the Sharks seem to be one team the Stars have more than a little trouble matching up with on the ice.

"It's just those types of games where they've got players who get under your skin and I think they fire us up," San Jose center Logan Couture said. "I think we rise to the occasion. They're obviously a good team. We enjoy playing against them."

The Sharks currently sit eighth in the Western Conference standings with 90 points, just one point ahead of the Stars, who are currently ninth with 89. The Avalanche are one point behind Dallas in 10th with 88 points, which makes Tuesday's game even more crucial.

"We're sitting in eighth place and it's going to be a battle down to the end. Treat this like a playoff game, so it's a big one tonight," Couture said.

Of course, it might sound cliché to say treating their final three games all like playoff games is an absolute no-brainer, but that's exactly how San Jose is treating the final week of the regular season.

"We've passed the first test. If we're looking at a four-game series to finish the year to get into the playoffs, we've passed the first test with some pretty good results," McLellan said. "Now we're out on the road. We'll find out a little bit about ourselves tonight here in a hostile environment with some pressure that's put on us based on where we are in the standings."

San Jose is now almost completely healthy. Defenseman Douglas Murray, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, did skate on Tuesday morning, but according to McLellan is a game-time decision.



Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 811 | 812 | 813 | 814 | 815 | 816 | 817-822 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley