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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.

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.

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.

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.


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."

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.”

Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 1:50 PM

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

Projected lineups for Kings, Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Here are the projected lineups for Saturday's game between the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center:

Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 1:27 PM

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

Markstrom goes against former coach DeBoer

SUNRISE, Fla. — Things have come full circle for Florida Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

The talented Swede made his NHL debut in a relief appearance against the New Jersey Devils Jan. 23, 2011. His coach at the time was Pete DeBoer.

Now Markstrom is set to face his former coach when the Panthers play host to the New Jersey Devils Saturday night at BB&T Center.

Markstrom’s appearance in the 2011 game, when he replaced Scott Clemmensen after the first period of a 5-2 loss, was his only NHL action that season. After bouncing back and forth between Florida and San Antonio of the American Hockey League the past two seasons, Markstrom has become the Panthers’ starting goalie.

He’ll make his sixth start in the past seven games and had allowed only six goals in four starts before four deflections got by him in Thursday’s 5-4 shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres.

Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 1:21 PM

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

Vanek out for Sabres against Capitals

BUFFALO -- Thomas Vanek will miss his second straight game with an upper-body injury when the Buffalo Sabres take on the Washington Capitals at First Niagara Center on Saturday.

Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said Vanek possibly could return on Sunday for Buffalo’s home game against the Boston Bruins.

Vanek, Buffalo's leading scorer, took part in the team’s optional skate Saturday morning.

“He was out there today and moving, but he’s not where he needs to be,” Rolston said.

Washington defenseman Jeff Schultz will return to its lineup after sitting out the past four games as a healthy scratch.

“Sometimes you ask a guy to step back and re-evaluate themselves. We’ve got two games in two nights and we need him,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “We need his size and he need him to be a force. Hopefully it [was] a little bit of a wake-up call.”

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for Buffalo against Braden Holtby. Each team plays three games in the next four nights.

Here are the projected lineups for Saturday:

Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 12:57 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs, Senators

OTTAWA – Here are the projected lineups for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators for Saturday night's matchup at Scotiabank Place:

MAPLE LEAFS

James Van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

Joffrey LupulNazem KadriNikolai Kulemin

Jay McClementMikhail GrabovskiMatt Frattin

Colton OrrRyan HamiltonFrazer McLaren

Carl GunnarssonDion Phaneuf

John-Michael LilesMichael Kostka

Mark FraserCody Franson

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Injured: Clarke MacArthur (upper body), Leo Komarov (upper body)

Scratches: Jake Gardiner

SENATORS

Mike HoffmanKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson

Guillaume LatendresseMika ZibanejadJakob Silfverberg

Colin Greening – Jim O’Brien – Chris Neil

Matt KassianZack SmithErik Condra

Marc MethotEric Gryba

Patrick WierciochSergei Gonchar

Chris PhillipsAndre Benoit

Ben Bishop

Robin Lehner

Injured: Jared Cowen (hip surgery), Milan Michalek (knee), Jason Spezza (back surgery), Erik Karlsson (Achilles surgery), Craig Anderson (ankle)

Scratches: Peter Regin, Mike Lundin

Note: Chris Neil was injured against the New York Rangers on Thursday when a skate blade cut his leg. He returned to finish the game but left practice early on Saturday. Coach Paul MacLean said Neil would be a game-time decision.

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In respect to the organization and my teammates, it was the best move. When I look back at my career and all the different things I had to overcome, I have no regrets. It was great.

— Devils captain Bryce Salvador on retiring from the National Hockey League Wednesday
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