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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:16 PM

By Matt Cubeta -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: The impact of Jamie Benn

With hockey talk surrounding key injuries to Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartenll, fantasy owners finally received some relieving news: Forward Jamie Benn agreed to a five-year deal with the Dallas Stars.

Drafted on average with the 79th overall pick in Yahoo! Leagues, Benn will be a welcome sight for his owners after he had an extremely productive and well-rounded 2011-12 season -- 26 goals, 63 points, plus-15, 55 penalty minutes, 10 power play points and 203 shots on goal in 71 games.

Benn, center and left wing eligible in Yahoo! Leagues, is not expected to make his season debut until Monday, where he'll likely center the team's top line with Jaromir Jagr and Loui Eriksson as his wings. That's an extremely talented group of forwards and it could turn Benn into an elite fantasy player for the remainder of this condensed season.

The 23-year-old forward has all the tools to become one of fantasy hockey's most dominant players -- he has size and grit and plays a physical game, which will result in solid penalty minutes; he will see more power play time this season after averaging 2:17 last year; he has a quality team around him which will result in a good plus/minus; he has unbelievable hands which should result in plenty of points (just check out this goal from last season, and how about this pass?); and he has improved his stats every year he's been in the NHL (22 G, 41 points as a rookie in 2009-10, 22 G, 56 points in 2010-11, 26 G, 63 points last season). There's literally no flaw in his game from a fantasy standpoint.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:16 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning start long homestand against hot Senators

TAMPA, Fla. -- This is the first of five straight home games for the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the team's longest homestand of the season.

“For us, this is one game. [Friday night], we are playing the Ottawa Senators,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “That’s all I’m focusing on. This game. Period.”

Vincent Lecavalier will be honored before the game for playing in his 1,000th NHL game Monday night in Uniondale against the New York Islanders. This will be the first home game since Lecavalier reached his milestone.

The Lightning will hold an eight-minute ceremony prior to the game during which his teammates will present gifts and the team will honor him with the traditional inscribed silver stick. Lecavalier is expecting 35 friends and family members to be in attendance.

The Senators are undefeated after three games and have yielded two goals, but will have a slightly different look against the Lightning. Coach Paul MacLean announced after the team's skate Friday that forward Kaspars Daugavins and defenseman Mark Borowiecki will replace Guillaume Latendresse and Patrick Wiercioch in the lineup. Latendresse reportedly has a minor injury, while Wiercioch appears to be a healthy scratch.

Ottawa goaltender Ben Bishop will get the call in net, his first start of the season. Bishop collected his first win with the Senators against the Lightning, a 7-3 victory on March 6, 2012.

“That’s got to help,” Bishop said. “It’s a good memory.”

LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis – Steven StamkosRyan Malone

Cory ConacherVincent LecavalierTeddy Purcell

Nate ThompsonAdam HallB.J. Crombeen

Tom PyattBenoit Pouliot

Eric Brewer – Matt Carle

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Brian LeeMarc-Andre Bergeron

Keith Aulie

Anders Lindback

Mathieu Garon

Scratched: Dana Tyrell, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Brendan Mikkelson

NOTE: Tampa Bay will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

MacLean told reporters he wasn't sure how the Senators' lineup would shake out because of the two changes. Latendresse had been skating on Ottawa's second line with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson, while Wiercioch had been part of the team's third defense pairing with Andre Benoit.

SENATORS

Milan MichalekJason SpezzaJakob Silfverberg

Kaspars DaugavinsKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson

Colin GreeningZack SmithChris Neil

Peter Regin – Jim O’Brien – Erik Condra

Erik KarlssonMarc Methot

Sergei GoncharChris Phillips

Andre BenoitMark Borowiecki

Ben Bishop

Craig Anderson

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:54 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live looks back at fantastic finishes

We are almost done with the opening week of the 2012-13 National Hockey League season, and we had some fantastic finishes last night in the NHL. Cisco NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will review and preview with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek. Nail Yakupov's fantastic goal celebration got EJ thinking of his Top 5 celebrations. We will have them in his signature segment, The EJ5.

 

We'll also go live to Detroit, on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam, to preview the Red Wings vs. the Wild, which airs tonight 7:30 ET on the NHL Network. NBC Sports analyst Eddie Olczyk, Jeremy Roenick and NHL Network's Barry Melrose will all stop by the program to give their opinions on some of the great starts to the season.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Friday.

NAIL YAKUPOV - SLIDING CELEBRATION VS. KINGS

THEO FLEURY - SLIDING CELEBRATION VS. OILERS

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Capitals aiming to avoid an 0-4 start

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Washington Capitals conducted an optional skate Friday afternoon at Prudential Center in the wake of their third straight loss to open the 2012-13 season to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Verizon Center.

Washington coach Adam Oates will look to avoid an 0-4 start against the New Jersey Devils, for whom he served as an assistant under Peter DeBoer in 2011-12. The Capitals are winless in their first three games for the first time since 1993-94.

Capitals defenseman Mike Green is glad the team will be right back on the ice following Thursday's disappointing 4-1 loss on home ice.

"It's good to get right back after it, especially after a loss like that [against Montreal]," Green told NHL.com. "The way the last three games have gone, you can put it in the past right away and not dwell on it. This will be a good test for us. [The Devils] are playing well and we play similar systems, so it'll be a battle of attrition out there until the end."

The Capitals are the only team remaining in the NHL without a point and have been outscored 14-6. They've led for 2:32 in three games or 180 minutes, are 2-for-12 (16.6 percent) on the power play and have allowed seven power-play goals in 18 times short (61.1 percent penalty kill).

"You have to make your own opportunities ... we have to earn it," Green said. "I don't think we've earned it yet. For whatever reason, and there could be a lot of excuses with the season starting in January, but there's no excuse. We have to earn everything we get and it starts against New Jersey."

On top of the losing streak, Alex Ovechkin, who was inserted on right wing for the first time in Thursday's loss, has also struggled. The Capitals captain has taken a team-high 11 shots, but has one assist and a minus-1 rating for the season.

It appears as though Michal Neuvirth, who made 18 saves in the loss to Montreal on Thursday, will get his second straight start for Washington. New Jersey will counter with Martin Brodeur (2-0-0, 0.50 goals-against average, .977 save percentage).

Here are the possible line combinations for the Capitals:

Wojtek WolskiNicklas BackstromAlex Ovechkin

Matt HendricksMike RibeiroTroy Brouwer

Jason ChimeraJay BeagleJoel Ward

Marcus JohanssonMathieu PerreaultJoey Crabb

Karl AlznerJohn Carlson

Tom PotiMike Green

Roman HamrlikTomas Kundratek

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:36 PM

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

Ruff says Leino doesn't need surgery -- yet

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino has not played this season due to a hip injury. He was placed on injured reserve before Thursday night’s game at the Carolina Hurricanes, but Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said he does not anticipate Leino needing surgery.

"There's no talk about surgery right now. We might as well just squash that," Ruff said. "Maybe down the road it happens; I don't know. Right now, there are some other treatment options that are possible."

Leino took the ice this morning at First Niagara Center in an optional skate with Cody McCormick, who also is on injured reserve, and anticipated healthy scratches Matt Ellis, TJ Brennan and Mike Weber. The Sabres and Hurricanes face each other in the second game of a back-to-back home-and-home series tonight at 7 p.m. Carolina won last night’s contest, 6-3.

Ruff told the media after this morning’s team meeting that Leino has been re-examined and had an MRI eaxam. The MRI looked “OK.” Among other treatments, they’ve tried giving Leino some rest.

"These hip things are things that can go in a lot of different directions," Ruff said. "We've had one player last year that had the same treatment Ville's going through and has been good ever since."

Leino skated for 20 minutes today before his hip started to tighten up again, according to Ruff. No timetable has been set as to when he will return to the lineup.

"We're going to do everything we possibly can to get him healthy," Ruff said. "We're just going to see where it goes."

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:32 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Seidenberg could return for Bruins

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg might make his return to the lineup Friday when his team hosts the New York Islanders on Friday at TD Garden.

Seidenberg has missed the Bruins' last two games due to a lower-body injury. He skated Friday morning and has been on the ice a couple times between games this week.

"Something like that can happen to a guy that's in the best shape of his life," Seidenberg, who was one of 12 Bruins to play overseas during the lockout, said. "So it's not anything you could've prevented. So you've just got to deal with it and try to get back."

With the Islanders playing the second half of back-to-back games, coach Jack Capuano has decided to give Rick DiPietro the start in goal in his hometown after Evgeni Nabokov beat Toronto on Thursday. It will be DiPietro's first start since Dec. 3, 2011.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin

Chris Bourque - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton

Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Aaron Johnson, Lane MacDermid

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Brad Boyes

David Ullstrom - Keith Aucoin - Colin McDonald

Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Casey Cizikas

Mark Streit - Brian Strait

Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic

Joe Finley - Matt Carkner

Rick DiPietro

Evgeni Nabokov

Scratched: Radek Martinek, Eric Boulton, Thomas Hickey

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:23 PM

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

Red Wings getting healthy bodies back in lineup

Here is the lineup the Detroit Red Wings likely will use when they host the Minnesota Wild Friday. The roster should include forwards Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi, as well as defenseman Jakub Kindl, who all will be making their season debuts.

Johan Franzen - Henrik Zetterberg - Damien Brunner

Valtteri Filppula - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi

Daniel Cleary - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo

Niklas Kronwall - Brian Lashoff

Kyle Quincey - Brendan Smith

Kent Huskins - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Tom McCollum

Scratched: Patrick Eaves

Injured: Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo, Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson, Jonas Gustavsson

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Henrique joins Devils for morning skate

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils received a pleasant surprise at their morning skate Friday in preparation for their game with the winless Washington Capitals at Prudential Center.

Adam Henrique, who is recovering from Nov. 29 surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, joined his teammates for the first time on the ice since suffering the injury. Though Henrique remains seven to 10 days away from returning to the lineup, he said it was nice to be skating with his teammates again.

"It's a big morale boost for me just to be around the guys," Henrique said. "I think a lot of other guys would say the same thing when they're hurt. It's tough watching games."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer doesn't expect Henrique to make the trip with the team to play the Montreal Canadiens (Sunday) and Boston Bruins (Tuesday). The 2012 Calder Trophy finalist said he's still not shooting at full strength, something he'll need to do before participating in a regular-season contest.

Still, Henrique is excited that the Devils (2-0-0) have opened the season with two successive victories.

"It's great to see that … I felt the guys played a solid game throughout [against the New York Islanders on Saturday]," he said. "There's always areas to improve and it was a big win against Philadelphia [on Tuesday]; those are always huge games. The guys look good and with the shortened season you need a good start and push, and hopefully by the time I get back I can help."

Henrique said he's not going to pinpoint a certain game on the schedule to make his return; rather, he'll take it day by day.

"I need to get the strength in there for shooting and handling the puck on the ice," he said. "It's different from going to skating with no pucks to handling the puck and then getting back to practice with the guys. We're on the right track and on schedule to where we've expected things to be."

Henrique skated with fourth-liners Krystofer Barch, who will make his Devils' debut against the Capitals, and Cam Janssen, who will be a healthy scratch.

Henrique was injured while playing for the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany on Nov. 25 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He resumed skating last Wednesday, but this was his first time on the ice with the team.

"It was great to see him back," DeBoer said. "He's a big part of our team and our lineup. It just allows you, assuming you stay healthy, to put guys in better positions for success."

DeBoer will make a few line adjustments against the Capitals. Mattias Tedenby will move up to left wing on the top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, while Dainius Zubrus, who skated with Zajac and Kovalchuk in the first two games, will be with Patrik Elias and David Clarkson.

Barch, a healthy scratch the first two games, will take Janssen’s place on the fourth line with Stefan Matteau and Jacob Josefson. Matteau has moved to the right wing, though, and Barch is skating at left wing.

Barch, who signed with the Devils as an unrestricted free agent last summer, is looking forward to his season debut.

"He's a guy with no exhibition game and I haven't really seen him up close so I want to get him in a game and see what he could do," DeBoer said. "I'm sure he'll bring energy, speed and physicality."

The Devils will be looking to start a season with three straight wins for the first time since 2002-03.

Here's what the Devils lineup should look like against the Capitals:

Mattias Tedenby - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Stefan Matteau - Jacob Josefson - Krystofer Barch

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky

Henrik Tallinder - Anton Volchenkov

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Injured: Adam Henrique

Scratched: Adam Larsson, Peter Harrold, Cam Janssen

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:00 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Grabner among sizzling waiver options

Many fantasy owners have already reaped the benefits of waiver wire pickups less than a week into the young season. With injuries piling up (Scott Hartnell, Joffrey Lupul, etc.) and a jam-packed Thursday night of NHL action now in the books, here are three forwards that fantasy owners should be conscious of based on their consistent production during the opening week of the NHL season.

ALEXANDER STEEN (C/LW, St. Louis Blues)

Alexander Steen
Left Wing - STL
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 4
SOG: 14 | +/-: 4
The offensive clinic that rookie Vladimir Tarasenko and Andy McDonald have put on in the early going can be attributed to the stellar play of Steen (owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues), St. Louis' second-line center. Through four games, Steen has assisted on four goals and seen nearly two and a half minutes per game on the man advantage (1 PPP). He also sports a plus-4 rating and is second on the team in shots on goal (14), behind only Tarasenko (16). After playing in only 43 games last season for the Blues due to recovering from a concussion, the dual-eligible forward has returned to form in a hurry -- a trend that fantasy owners searching for offense should latch onto.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:37 AM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

Edmonton Disallowed Goal - 18:55 3rd Period

At the General Managers direction (March 13, 2012) a procedural change was requested to ensure that all available information at ice level is exchanged prior to the awarding of a goal. Following the scoring of a goal where there was traffic and action in the area of the crease and goalie interference may come into play all four officials are to come together in the referees crease. Once in the crease the team is to communicate all possible information in determining the validity of the goal. The down low ref is still to make a goal or no goal signal on the play and then meet with his colleagues if there was contact and action involving the goalie to discuss the play.

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Quote of the Day

You've got to focus on playing good hockey. When we do that we give ourselves a chance to win games. Win games and then maybe we''ll have a chance at the end. You can't worry about something like (the division title) when we're not playing our best hockey down the stretch. We'll figure things out together the way we always do and get back on the right page.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after loss to Flyers on Wednesday left them five points out of first place in Central Division
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