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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 5:50 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kearns ready for Sharks' debut in his hometown

VANCOUVER -- This week just keeps getting better and better for Bracken Kearns.

First he got the call from the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, saying he'd been called up from the American Hockey League after veteran forward Martin Havlat was hurt on Saturday. Then he checked the schedule and saw the Sharks' next game was in his hometown of Vancouver against a Canucks team that his father, Dennis, played more than a decade for. Then he got put on San Jose's top line with Joe Thornton and Logan Couture.

For a late bloomer with just five NHL games in eight professional seasons, it may even top playing his first NHL game with the Florida Panthers on Oct. 20, 2011.

"That was a big deal for me," Kearns said of his NHL debut, "But coming here and getting to play with Thornton and Couture, it's just incredible. I checked the schedule and I couldn't believe it, so I am pretty pumped."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 5:22 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ballard back in Canucks lineup after being scratch

VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Keith Ballard wasn’t happy watching the Vancouver Canucks' past two games from the press box as a healthy scratch, something that has happened more often than he’d like over his three seasons with the team.

Ballard does not, however, want to be traded out of Vancouver, speculation that began when his agent was quoted as planning to talk to the team. The beleaguered blueliner still prefers fighting for ice time on a good team to playing a lot more on a bad one, something he knows all too well from spending his first five NHL seasons out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes.

“First five years, I played 25 minutes, up by one, down by one, PP, PK, over the boards every other shift,” Ballard said. “We finished 26th, 27th, 29th, and whatever in the League, and it’s not fun. It’s fun playing a lot. It’s fun getting those opportunities. It’s fun taking the one-timer on the 5-on-3, but it [stinks] losing. Regardless of what happens here, or how long I’m here, I like it here because of that fact (it’s a winning team). It’s a good group.”

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 4:54 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils sticking with Hedberg against Lightning

New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg will get his sixth consecutive start when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

There had been some speculation rookie Keith Kinkaid could make his NHL debut after Hedberg gave up four goals on 23 shots in a 4-2 loss Monday at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 4:45 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs sign Holzer to two-year extension

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday announced a two-year contract extension for defenseman Korbinian Holzer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Holzer, 25, has played 16 games for the Leafs this season scoring two goals and registering 19 minutes in penalties. He recorded his first NHL goal, which was also the game-winner, in the Leafs' 3-2 win at Washington on Feb. 5

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound defenseman is tied for third on the team in blocked shots with 37. He has also skated in 34 games for the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies in 2012-13 collecting a goal, eight points and 28 penalty minutes.

Holzer, a native of Munich, Germany, has represented his country at several international tournaments including the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the 2010 and 2011 IIHF World Championship, and the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 4:42 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Report: Devils recall Janssen

The New Jersey Devils have recalled right wing Cam Janssen from Albany of the American Hockey League, according to The (Bergen) Record.

Janssen was a minus-1 in three games with the Devils this season prior to be placed on waivers Jan. 31 and reassigned to Albany. In 14 AHL games, he has two assists and 37 penalty minutes.

In 311 NHL games with the Devils and St. Louis Blues, Janssen has 11 points and 750 penalty minutes.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 4:34 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins sign Kostopoulos to two-way deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed right wing Tom Kostopoulos to a one-year, two-way contract.

The deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level. Kostopoulos will be placed on waivers at noon ET on Tuesday, and if he clears will be assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks' Bieksa to sit out vs. Sharks

VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Kevin Bieksa remains out of the Vancouver Canucks lineup for a second straight game Tuesday after aggravating a groin injury in his return from the same injury Saturday.

Bieksa, who averages 21:32 of ice time and plays on the power play and penalty kill for the Canucks, missed two games before coming back to play against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. He finished that game, but did not play Sunday on the road against the Calgary Flames, and was not back on the ice for the game-day skate Tuesday morning ahead of Tuesday night's game against the San Jose Sharks.

"He's day to day," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "Everybody that watched that game, he was quick, he was strong 1-on-1, and then towards the end of the game, one hit, one push, and he felt it again. He finished the game and didn't think anything of it. Next day [he] got up and was real stiff."

Bieksa is expected to join the team on a three-game road trip that starts Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here are the rest of the projected lines and defense pairings for Tuesday's game between the Sharks and Canucks at Rogers Arena:

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 3:58 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blues insert Cole back in lineup, look at Arnott

LOS ANGELES -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock knows full well what's in store when he plays the Los Angeles Kings: a lot of big bodies flying around.

That's largely why Hitchcock will insert Ian Cole back on defense when St. Louis plays L.A. on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Cole will be needed against some of the Kings' big forwards such as Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown.

"The opponent dictates that," Hitchcock said. "They've got a big lineup and Ian's played OK against them. ... I think just from getting bounced around standpoint, when you play L.A. you're going to get bounced around. You've just got to fight through it.

"They're a big team, but they're a big, smart team. I mean, there's a difference. There's lots of big teams in the League, but they're a big, smart team, which I think makes a big difference."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 3:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Senators' Michalek set to return Wednesday

Ottawa Senators forward Milan Michalek told reporters after practice Tuesday that he's ready to return to the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Michalek, who had a career-best 35 goals last season, has been out since injuring his knee during pregame warm-ups prior to a game at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 13.

"I'm ready," Michalek said. "I practiced today and I'm excited for tomorrow."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 3:43 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live sets up Blackhawks-Wild battle

The Chicago Blackhawks put their record point streak on the line Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, and Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will get you a live preview from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam. We'll also talk to NHL Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman about this historic run for the Hawks and how it compares to his 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens.

With 10 other games on the schedule we'll get live pre-game updates from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in New Jersey for the Devils-Lightning tilt, Washington for the Capitals-Bruins matchup and New York for the rivalry game between the Flyers and Rangers. NHL Network analyst Darren Pang will drop by the show to talk about the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings game and the rash of goalie injuries around the league.

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, play along with our Slapshots, and stick around for the Shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Tuesday.

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens