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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 2:45 PM

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

Canucks send Kassian on conditioning assignment

Vancouver Canucks center Zack Kassian, acquired at last year's trade deadline for Cody Hodgson, was sent to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL on a conditioning assignment Sunday.

The Canucks also reassigned forward Andrew Gordon and recalled forwards Nicklas Jensen and Bill Sweatt.

Kassian, 22, has appeared in one game since March 14. He has five goals and eight points in 27 games this season. Hodgson, meanwhile, has 12 goals and 28 points in 35 games this season for the Buffalo Sabres.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 1:29 PM

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

Vanek will miss third straight game; Enroth may start

BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres will be without leading scorer Thomas Vanek for a third straight game.

Vanek took the ice along with forward John Scott and goaltender Ryan Miller following a team meeting Sunday morning. After the skate, Vanek told reporters that he would not be able to play Sunday night when the Sabres host the Boston Bruins.

“Today went a lot better than yesterday, but [I’m] still not where I would like it to be, so I just have to be patient, which is obviously a tough thing to do in the position we’re at,” Vanek said.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 12:34 PM

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

Zetterberg out for Blackhawks game with groin injury

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will not play against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday due to a groin injury.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Zetterberg is day-to-day. Forward Jordin Tootoo, originally expected to be a healthy scratch, was inserted into the lineup.

In 34 games this season, Zetterberg has eight goals and 32 points.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 12:26 PM

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

Projected lineups for Kings, Stars

DALLAS - Here are the projected lineups for Sunday afternoon’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

KINGS

Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Dwight KingJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Mike RichardsTyler ToffoliJeff Carter

Kyle CliffordColin FraserJordan Nolan

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Keaton EllerbyAlec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Davis Drewiske, Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson.

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Willie Mitchell (knee).

Notes: Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter did not speak to the press after Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. So it’s unclear whether he goes with Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier in net on Sunday against the Dallas Stars.

STARS

Eric NystromJamie BennJaromir Jagr

Ray WhitneyDerek RoyLoui Eriksson

Reilly SmithCody EakinErik Cole

Toby Petersen - Antoine Roussel - Tomas Vincour

Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Aaron RomePhilip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Jordie Benn.

Injured: Vernon Fiddler (charley horse), Ryan Garbutt (hand).

Notes: Fourth-line center Vernon Fiddler is day-to-day after leaving Friday’s 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild in the first period after crashing into a goalpost. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan termed Fiddler’s injury a charley horse after the game. He did not practice on Saturday.

With Fiddler’s status uncertain for Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas recalled wing Toby Petersen from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Saturday. Petersen spent all of last season in the NHL and had 23 points (7-16-23) in 65 games in the AHL this season. He skated on the left side of the Stars’ fourth line in practice on Saturday, with Antoine Roussel at center and Tomas Vincour on the right side.

Center Ryan Garbutt, who has missed the past seven games with a hand injury, skated again on Saturday but Gulutzan said he’s still a few days away from returning. That likely means Garbutt will travel with the Stars on their three-game road trip that will see them face the Anaheim Ducks in consecutive games before ending the trek against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at HP Pavilion.

Kari Lehtonen will make a 14th straight start in goal for Dallas.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 10:20 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Howard not thinking about extension, just games

DETROIT – Jimmy Howard will become an unrestricted free agent this summer if the Detroit Red Wings don’t reach a contract extension with him, but he does know what he wants to happen.

“I want to play here a long time,” Howard said. “It’s been hard to think about anything [other than playing games] because we’ve been playing so much, but it’s something I’d like to get worked out.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told NHL.com earlier this week that reaching a deal on a contract extension with Howard is his plan, so what’s left is actually negotiating the deal. Whether that happens during the season or afterward remains to be seen, but there might not be a lot of time for it to happen after the season ends if the Red Wings qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and go on any sort of extended run.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 2:54 AM

NHL.com - 2013 Trade Deadline blog

Report: Blackhawks interested in Isles' Nielsen

The Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders reportedly are talking trade.

Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald reports a source has confirmed that the teams have held discussions, with the centerpiece of the deal being Islanders center Frans Nielsen. He would not be a rental -- the Danish center is signed through 2015-16 with a cap hit $2.75 million.

Sassone said the Blackhawks are also interested in acquiring a defenseman because of the struggles of Johnny Oduya on the second pairing -- he's minus-8 in the past four games paired with Niklas Hjalmarsson, and the Blackhawks have lost three of the four games. New York re-signed Lubomir Visnovsky on Friday night, but veteran Mark Streit, the Islanders' captain, is in the final season of his contract.

The Islanders reportedly covet are interested in defenseman Dylan Olsen, the Blackhawks' first-round draft pick in 2009, and perhaps forward Jeremy Morin. Olsen is playing with Chicago's AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs; Morin was recalled from Rockford on Saturday when Marian Hossa was placed on injured reserve retroactive to March 19.

The Blackhawks are first in the Western Conference entering Sunday's game at Detroit (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, NHLN-Canada). The Islanders are battling for the final playoff berth in the East.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 11:33 PM

NHL.com - 2013 Trade Deadline blog

Sharks may be near deal to trade Clowe

The San Jose Sharks may be moving closer towards trading left wing Ryane Clowe.

A source has informed CSN-California.com that the Sharks have approached Clowe's agent about the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause, and that a deal could happen as soon as Sunday.

The most likely suitors appear to be Boston, Montreal and the New York Rangers, according to CSN-California. Sharks director of pro scouting John Ferguson Jr. was in Philadelphia for the Bruins-Flyers game on Saturday afternoon. He flew to Montreal for the Canadiens-Rangers game later that day, according to Renaud Lavoie of RDS.

Ferguson also attended the Bruins' home game with Montreal on Wednesday.

It's been a disappointing season for Clowe, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound power forward. He entered Saturday with no goals and 11 assists, along with a team-high 77 penalty minutes, in 27 games. Clowe's 62 shots are the most by any player who hasn't scored a goal this season.

Clowe is in the final season of a four-year, $14.5 million contract, and is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Bruins could be interested in Clowe after seeing Jarome Iginla dealt to Pittsburgh earlier this week.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 8:08 PM

By Chris Ryndak -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013 Trade Deadline blog

Regier: Nobody on Sabres is untouchable

BUFFALO – No one on the Buffalo Sabres is untouchable.

With the Sabres in 13th place in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals and the trade deadline on Wednesday, Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier indicated that the team will be looking to improve with a focus on the future and that any player could be involved in trade discussions.

Earlier in the day, Regier traded veteran defenseman and upcoming unrestricted free agent Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues for a second-round and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft that could turn into a fourth-round if the Blues win a playoff round. Depending on how trade talks go over the next few days, the Sabres may not be done making moves.


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Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 4:55 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Burns could move back to defense for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers has been ruled out for Saturday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes, likely forcing the return of Brent Burns to the blue line.

"He's not going to play tonight," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Demers. "Not feeling good today."

Demers took a hard shoulder-to-head hit from Detroit Red Wings center Cory Emmerton in the first period Thursday night. Although Demers finished the game, that hit raises obvious questions about a potential concussion. McClellan was asked whether Demers is out because of the Emmerton hit.

"He's not going to play tonight," McLellan repeated. "He's not feeling good today."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Zuccarello to debut for desperate Rangers team

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers sounded very much like a desperate hockey team Saturday morning as they prepared to play the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Coach John Tortorella was still lamenting his team’s effort in a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, citing it as a glaring example of a problem that has plagued the Rangers all season long.

Tortorella said he was happy with the way the Rangers played in a 5-2 victory at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. But his disappointment that it didn’t carry over to Thursday’s game was compounded by the fact the season is racing toward its completion.

“There is time here, but we’re running out of it as far as our consistency,” Tortorella said. “That’s been the tough one for us as a group. We see glimpses but then we take a step backwards.”

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Quote of the Day

I definitely think going back down helped me, I had a lot of confidence down there, I played a lot of minutes and I think that helped me a lot. With the 37 games up here, that gave me experience as well. I know what it takes to play in the NHL and now it's time for me to show that I'm capable of being a full-time NHL player.

— Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on finishing the 2014-15 season in juniors after playing 37 games with Edmonton to begin the season