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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:47 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blues, Coyotes getting healthy before matchup

ST. LOUIS -- Both the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues are expected to get injured players back into their lineups when they meet Thursday at Scottrade Center.

For the Coyotes, defenseman David Schlemko returns after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury suffered early in a Feb. 4 game against the Minnesota Wild.

"It's been a long five-and-a-half weeks, I think," Schlemko said after the Coyotes' morning skate. "I'm definitely excited to get back in there. I think you bag-skate for three weeks straight ... reminds you how much you love the game. It'll be exciting. Probably a little bit of nerves the first couple shifts. It'll be fun to be back in there."

The Coyotes, who have won back-to-back games since losing 6-3 to the Blues one week ago, also could get center Matthew Lombardi (upper-body) back Thursday.

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets look to overtake Rangers for eighth in East

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets look to overtake the New York Rangers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference when the clubs meet Thursday at MTS Centre.

The Jets (13-11-2) will face the Rangers with a pair of tweaks to their lineup after a 5-2 home win Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winnipeg recalled center Patrice Cormier from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Wednesday to replace Jim Slater on the fourth line. Slater departed the game Tuesday with an apparent hand injury.

It also appears that center Alexander Burmistrov will be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. Noel termed Burmistrov a game-time decision, but Burmistrov remained on the ice after the club's morning skate.

Winnipeg also recalled goaltender Edward Pasquale early Thursday to replace backup goaltender Al Montoya, who Noel said has aggravated a lower-body injury. Pasquale will dress in Montoya's place against the Rangers.

Here is what the Jets' lineup could look like Thursday:

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Commissioner Gary Bettman joins Cisco NHL Live

Thursday at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network we'll kick of Cisco NHL Live with a special guest. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will join Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek to discuss the new realignment plan that was just approved by the Board of Governors. We will also talk to Columbus Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson, as they move from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference.

Division rivals square off in Carolina on the NHL Network on Thursday night, and we'll get a live update from Hurricanes radio voice Chuck Kaiton, who will call the game. With 10 other games on the ice we'll hit all of them and even give you a live look at warm-ups via our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in our Ice Pass.

Don't forget to submit your ideas for new division names on Twitter and Facebook, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all 11 games being played on Thursday.

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:12 PM

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

Projected lineups for Stars, Ducks

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.


Bobby RyanRyan GetzlafTeemu Selanne

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Matt BeleskeyBrandon McMillanEmerson Etem

Patrick MaroonPeter HollandKyle Palmieri

Sheldon SourayFrancois Beauchemin

Bryan AllenCam Fowler

Luca Sbisa- Toni Lydman

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Ben Lovejoy.

Injured: Nick Bonino (lower body), Corey Perry (suspended), Brad Staubitz (facial cut).

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:08 PM

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

Knee surgery ends Versteeg's season

BOSTON -- The Florida Panthers will take the ice Thursday against the Boston Bruins with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and a four-game losing streak.

Now here's the bad news:

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen announced after his team's morning skate at TD Garden that forward Kris Versteeg will have season-ending knee surgery. Versteeg, Florida's third-leading scorer last season, he has played in 10 games this season. He was playing his third game back from a prior injury when he was hit by Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Versteeg left the game and did not return.

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 12:54 PM

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

Lecavalier heading to IR with lower-body injury

TAMPA -- As if it weren't enough that the Tampa Bay Lightning have lost seven of their past nine games, Thursday morning they also lost captain Vincent Lecavalier.

Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve as a result of a hit he sustained in the third period of Tampa Bay's 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Although the injured-reserve status puts Lecavalier out of action for a minimum of seven days (retroactive to Tuesday), Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he expects Lecavalier will be sidelined longer than that.

"Lecavalier plays a lot of minutes," Yzerman said. "It's a big hole in our lineup. He's one of our key faceoff guys and power-play guys. It's a difficult hole to fill, but we have to try to look at something positive. Someone's going to come down from Syracuse (American Hockey League) and get an opportunity."

That someone will be Tyler Johnson, an undrafted center who leads the AHL with 32 goals and leads the Lightning affiliate with 58 points. Johnson will make his NHL debut Thursday night when Tampa Bay hosts the New York Islanders.

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 12:45 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blackhawks, Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets will look to extend their eight-game point streak (5-0-3) when they face the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at Nationwide Arena.

Aiding in their effort will be Artem Anisimov, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury. He's second on the team with six goals.

For the Blackhawks, Jimmy Hayes will slide into the spot vacated by injured Patrick Sharp. Hayes, playing for Rockford of the American Hockey League, is tied for the team lead with 22 goals

"He brings a presence," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Hayes. "He's got some size to him and he's been on a tear down in the minors there, producing at a real good rate. [He] gets to the net well and I think he's got a real nice set of hands at the net."

The Blackhawks announced Corey Crawford would start in goal, and forward Rostislav Olesz, who has not played this season, has been assigned to Rockford.

Here is how the teams could look when they take the ice Thursday:

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 12:41 PM

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

McQuaid added to Bruins' injury list for Thursday

BOSTON -- Already without center Chris Kelly, the Boston Bruins also will be missing defenseman Adam McQuaid on Thursday when they host the Florida Panthers.

McQuaid is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien. McQuaid blocked a shot with his hand Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he returned to play the third period.

Although he didn't skate with his teammates at TD Garden, McQuaid took the ice after the Bruins' morning skate.

Here's a look at the Bruins' projected lineup:

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 9:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon stars in return

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon clearly wasn't interested in easing his way back into the lineup after missing over a month due to injury.

On Wednesday, in his first game since Feb. 8, when he tweaked his knee and spent the next 14 games out of action, MacKinnon had two goals and two assists to lead the Mooseheads to a 6-2 victory against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

MacKinnon wasted little time, scoring just 35 seconds into the first period.

"We wanted to wait until he was 100 percent before he came back so he was really ready to go," Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme told The Chronicle Herald. "He was excited to be coming back. He played with energy and it was great to see how he handled it."

MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, has a point in 11 straight games, dating to Jan. 12, and has totaled eight goals and 21 points in that span. In addition to his offensive output Wednesday, MacKinnon also generated a team-high six shots on goal, delivered one hit and won 10 of 18 faceoffs.

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