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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 2:01 PM

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

Toews unlikely to join Hawks on road trip

KANATA, Ont. -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday that he doubts team captain Jonathan Toews will join the team at any point during its road trip, which after Friday's game in Ottawa goes to Detroit and St. Louis.

Toews will miss his sixth straight game Friday with an upper-body injury. He's back in Chicago taking part in off-ice workouts, but has yet to skate.

"Right now I don't want to get anyone excited," Quenneville said. "We'll just say, 'We'll see.' We're hopeful. To give you a better idea, until we get him on the ice, we'll know more."
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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 1:44 PM

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

Quincey back in for Wings

DETROIT -- While the Detroit Red Wings won't have Nicklas Lidstrom for at least two more games, they will get one veteran defenseman back in the lineup.

Kyle Quincey, who sat out Tuesday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a sore groin, said after the team's morning skate Friday that he feels good enough to play against Minnesota.  That prompted the Wings to send defenseman Doug Janik back to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Friday afternoon.

Quincey will play with Ian White. Nicklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart will be another pairing, while rookie Brendan Smith and 25-year old Jakub Kindl – playing his 100th NHL game -- will form Detroit's third defense pair.
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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 1:37 PM

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

Wings' Lidstrom to sit out weekend games

DETROIT -- Nicklas Lidstrom was hoping he could get back on the ice by now, at least to test out his sore ankle, which has a deep bone bruise after getting hit with a slap shot a week ago.

Instead, the 41-year old Detroit Red Wings defenseman and captain, who sat out Tuesday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, will miss Friday's game against the Minnesota Wild and Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, and then he and the team will re-evaluate the ankle on Monday.

"I've had it X-rayed twice, so we'll see what they want me to do on Monday," said Lidstrom, who has missed a total of 38 games out of a possible 1,850 regular season and playoff games in his NHL career. "Right now just ... I can ride the bike. Not pushing off with my toe, but I can still ride the bike and work out that way."

The longest period of time Lidstrom has missed is six games in 2007-08, when he had a knee sprain. Is he concerned this current injury might require a longer time to heal, especially with just 18 games left in the regular season?

"A little bit, especially when it's been almost a week now and it's still sore," Lidstrom said after Detroit's morning skate Friday. "I was hoping it was going to be a couple of days and I'd miss one game and be back at it, but this is lingering longer than I was hoping for."

Lidstrom was struck on the outside of the ankle by a slap shot during a 4-3 home loss Feb. 25 to the Colorado Avalanche. A week prior, Lidstrom was struck on the inside of the same foot by a Mike Fisher wrist shot early in the third period of Detroit's game against the Nashville Predators.

He played through the Fisher shot, which caused some soreness but wasn't as severe. Lidstrom even felt strong enough to assist on the game-winning goal.

"I got hit a few weeks ago on the inside," Lidstrom said. "That was different. It wasn't as bad. It wasn't as sore as this one is. (This one) just hit me right in that spot where, even though the skate is protected, it's still going to hurt ... and I think it hit right in that spot."

The good news for Lidstrom is the swelling has subsided from a few days ago and he can get his foot in his skate thanks to some alterations made to it. The problem is when he ties it tight enough to skate.

"It was just too sore once I tied the skate, too sore to push off," said Lidstrom, who has 10 goals, 21 and a plus-25 rating in 62 games. "When you're skating, you kind of push off with your toes and I just couldn't push off. That's the problem with it."

Lidstrom isn't used to missing games, and with the uncertainty surrounding his current ailment, he's getting frustrated.

"I don't like it, really," said Lidstrom, whose skate has already been fitted with a protective outer shell to absorb impact whenever he is able to return. "I'd rather be on the ice or on the bench being part of the game. It's a lot harder sitting on the side and watching rather than being part of the game."

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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 12:53 PM

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

Coyotes sign WHL top scorer Shinnimin

The Phoenix Coyotes on Friday signed free-agent Tri-City Americans center Brendan Shinnimin to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The undrafted Shinnimin leads the Western Hockey League with 117 points. His 52 goals are tied for second and his 65 assists are third.

"Brendan attended our 2011 training camp last September and has had a terrific season to date," said Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney. "His offensive statistics are impressive, yet it is his character, work ethic and competitive level we are excited to add to our organization."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Shinnimin was named the Canadian Hockey League's Player of the Month for February, when he had 20 goals and 43 points in just 14 games. The 21-year-old had 11 multi-point games last month, helping lead the Americans to a 10-3-0-1 record.

In 258 career games, spanning four seasons with the Americans, the Winnipeg native has 125 goals and 316 points.
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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 12:46 PM

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

Potential lineups for Senators, Blackhawks

KANATA, Ont. – Here are the projected lineups for Friday's game between the Ottawa Senators and the Chicago Blackhawks at Scotiabank Place:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Bobby Butler
Colin Greening - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Jim O’Brien - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Zack Smith - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar

Robin Lehner will start in goal, with Alex Auld the backup.

Goalie Craig Anderson, out with a hand injury, spoke to the media on Thursday but did not offer any timeline for his return.

Kaspars Daugavins and Matt Carkner will be healthy scratches.

Andrew Brunette - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig - Jamal Mayers - Jimmy Hayes

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Johnny Oduya
Sami Lepisto - Dylan Olsen

Ray Emery will start in goal, with Corey Crawford the backup. It will be Emery's first start in Ottawa since he was bought out of his contract by the Senators following the 2007-08 season.

"It's exciting -- I have good memories of being here," Emery said following the Hawks' morning skate. "That said, it's an important time of year for the team. We've got 17 games left here and it's a real fight in the West. I want to stay focused and win the game. You always get motivation from playing your old teams, especially when you see the success they've had here."

Defenseman Nicklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) is day-to-day, as is Jonathan Toews (upper body).

Sean O’Donnell, Brendan Morrison and Michael Frolik will be healthy scratches.
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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 12:22 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Caps focused on having big weekend

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals seek a return to the top eight in the Eastern Conference on Friday as they continue their season-long five-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils.

After consecutive wins against the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders, the competition gets stiffer this weekend with the Devils' visit tonight and the Philadelphia Flyers in town Sunday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

"It’s a challenge for us," Capitals forward Joel Ward said of the weekend ahead. "Obviously if you win outright, you can advance and move up in the standings as much as you can. We've had some success at home, so we just have to keep building on that."

The Caps have the second-best home record in the Eastern Conference (21-7-2), but they enter play tonight in ninth place in the conference, one point behind eighth-place Winnipeg and six points behind seventh place New Jersey.

Washington also is within three points of the Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers.

The Devils will look to snap a four-game winless streak (0-3-1), following last night's 4-3 overtime loss in Boston. The last time New Jersey went winless in five straight was a six-game skid from Dec. 17-29, 2011.

Michal Neuvirth (9-9-3) will make his fourth straight start for the Capitals while Johan Hedberg (13-7-2) is expected to start for the Devils. Martin Brodeur played last night in Boston, his ninth straight start.

"They had an overtime loss last night," Caps forward Matt Hendricks said of the Devils, "so they're going to try to take it to us early and then play defense for the rest of the game. So we need to get on them, force them into penalties and not allow them many chances."

The Devils did not skate this morning while all but four Capitals (Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Dennis Wideman) took part in an optional skate.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter said all four players will play tonight. Veterans Roman Hamrlik and Mike Knuble will be healthy scratches for the fifth and fourth straight games respectively.

Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game:

Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Keith Aucoin
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jay Beagle - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov - Dennis Wideman

Michal Neuvirth will start in goal, with Tomas Vokoun the backup.

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrick Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier

Mark Fayne - Andy Greene
Marek Zidlicky - Anton Volchenkov
Adam Larsson - Bryce Salvador

Johan Hedberg will get the start in goal, with Martin Brodeur the backup.

Sykora will play his 999th NHL game tonight.
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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 12:13 AM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

BUF @ SJ - 18:25 of the Third Period

At 18:25 of the second period in the Sabres/Sharks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Ryane Clowe's shot never crossed the goal line. No Goal San Jose.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 5:04 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flames' Moss to play first game since November

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Calgary Flames will welcome David Moss back to the lineup Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. It will be his game since suffering a broken ankle Nov. 12. His return allows the Flames to juggle their top six forwards.

Moss will play right wing alongside Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen, while Jarome Iginla moves alongside Alex Tanguay, and Mike Cammalleri, with Blake Comeau dropping to the third line. Left wing Guillaume Desbiens is the odd-man out of the lineup Thursday.

The Flames are 0-2-2 in their last four games and 4-2-4 in the last 10 -- which includes an overtime loss and a shootout loss to the Coyotes in that span. The Coyotes have won six straight and eight of the last 10 against Calgary.

We had the Coyotes lineup earlier; here's the lineup the Flames will use in hopes of breaking their slide.

Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Alex Tanguay - Mike Cammalleri - Jarome Iginla
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman

Derek Smith - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal, with Henrik Karlsson the backup.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 4:57 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Coyotes, Smith look to extend winning streaks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will look to stay unbeaten in regulation for the 13th straight game Thursday when they host the Calgary Flames.

The franchise record is 14 (12-0-2), set in 1998 by a Coyotes team that featured Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Nikolai Khabibulin.

After starting the season with a 7-8-2 record at Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes have turned things around. Since Dec. 26, Phoenix is 10-2-2 in the last 14 games on home ice, outscoring opponents by a margin of 43-27 during that stretch.

The Coyotes still have five regulars, including three defensemen (Rostislav Klesla, Derek Morris and David Schlemko) on the injured list and none of those players are expected back before next week. But coach Dave Tippett has been impressed by the play of rookies Chris Summers and Michael Stone during this run -- the Coyotes are unbeaten (5-0-0) with them in the lineup -- and could have some difficult decisions once the sidelined blueliners return.

Mike Smith will make his 51st start of the season and shoot for his 12th consecutive win. The League’s First Star of the Month was 11-0-0 in February with a 1.42 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. He already owns the franchise record for consecutive wins, and a victory Thursday would gave him the longest streak in the League this year. A win also would give him 30 in a season for the first time in his career.

Here's the lineup the Coyotes likely will use tonight:

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Michael Stone - Chris Summers

Mike Smith will start in net, with Jason LaBarbera the backup.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 4:42 PM

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

Sharks minus coach again, could get Couture back

SAN JOSE -- San Jose forward Dominic Moore will return to the lineup Thursday night against Buffalo after missing four games with a lower-body injury, but injured forward Logan Couture will be a game-time decision, and Sharks coach Todd McLellan will definitely miss his second straight game.

McLellan is still suffering concussion-like symptoms after being struck in the head Sunday by the stick of Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella in a freak accident after Scandella was checked into the boards in front of San Jose's bench.

Sharks assistant coaches Matt Shaw and Jay Woodcroft will again share the coaching duties Thursday night, as they did Tuesday night during a 1-0 win against Philadelphia. Woodcroft, though, said McLellan remains "very involved" in the game planning and preparation.

"He's getting better each and every day," Woodcroft said after the Sharks' morning skate. "He's feeling better, and both Matt and I consult him every day. We're in touch with him. He's coming into the building and being a big part of our game plan.

"He's getting better, so that's the primary concern of not only Matt and myself, but the whole organization, is to get Todd better. He's getting better, which is very positive. I think you saw our team's response in the last game. They knew we were missing our leader, but our leadership group in terms of players really stepped up. Bottom line is we're in a playoff hunt, and every two points is important. You saw that against Philadelphia, and we're definitely going to bring the same attitude tonight."

Sharks coach Joe Thornton said many players on the team understand first-hand what McLellan is going through as he recovers from a blow to the head.

"He's going to come back when he feels comfortable behind the bench," Thornton said. "I'm sure the lights still give him problems and the sounds. A lot of guys in here have gone through concussions, and you never know how long they're going to last. We just hope he gets back quick."

After coming to the Sharks on Feb. 16 from Tampa Bay in a trade, Moore played just three games before being sidelined.

Moore said he's "feeling good" and is ready to return to the lineup after a "very frustrating" stint off the ice.

"You never want to be missing time, and you want to be helping the team as much as you can," Moore said. "It was very tough, but I'm excited to be back, back in action."

Couture, San Jose's leading goal scorer, missed the Philadelphia game with a lower-body injury he suffered Sunday at Minnesota, where he took three hard hits. He skated briefly with his teammates Thursday morning before heading to the dressing room.

"Logan made some progress today, felt a lot better," Woodcroft said. "It will be a game-time decision today."

Two other injured Sharks -- forward Martin Havlat and defenseman Douglas Murray -- practiced with the full team for the first time since being injured. Havlat suffered a partially torn hamstring tendon on Dec. 17 against Edmonton and underwent surgery. Murray took a puck to his Adam's apple on Feb. 16 against Tampa Bay.

Havlat and Murray are both making strides, but neither one knows when he'll return to action. Havlat, though, said he definitely wants to log some games before the playoffs.

"The more the better. I have to get used to everything again," Havlat said. "It's like getting ready for a new season. Same situation I was in when I was coming back after the shoulder injury. I want to play as many games as I can to get ready, physically and timing-wise, too."

Havlat said he faces some challenges before he's game-ready.

"I've got to get stronger and get used to the movements on the ice, all those quick movements and the stop and starts, that's the most important during the game and that's (what) I have to work on," he said.

Murray has been skating hard, but has yet to be cleared to play by doctors. The No. 1 concern is that he might experience swelling that would affect his breathing.

"It felt good, but you know how it goes when it comes to your head or breathing," Murray said. "They're a lot more careful. … It's day to day, and hopefully I'll be out there soon."

Murray wore extra padding to protect his throat during the morning skate and expects to wear it when he returns to action.

"I've worn worse things that bother me a lot more than this to protect from injuries," Murray said. "It's not a problem."
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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense