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Posted On Sunday, 02.05.2012 / 11:07 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Eminger still waiting for return

NEW YORK -- Despite being medically cleared to play, Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger will not make his return against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

"I just wanted to give Emmy another few days," coach John Tortorella said. "It gives him a chance to have a few more days here until he starts getting into the quickness of the game."

Eminger has been out with a separated shoulder since Dec. 17. His next chance to get back into the lineup will be Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.

When Eminger does play, he will likely replace rookie defenseman Stu Bickel. The 25-year-old was called up right after Eminger suffered his injury in Phoenix and has acquitted himself well in his first taste of the NHL. But Bickel hasn't played more than 7 minutes in any of the Rangers' last seven games.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 11:00 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

DET @ EDM - 19:59 of the First Period



At 19:59 of the third period in the Red Wings/Oilers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Sam Gagner deflected Ryan Smyth's shot into the net with three tenths of a second to go in the first period. Good Goal Edmonton.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 10:30 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

DET @ EDM - 5:41 of the First Period



At 5:41 of the first period in the Red Wings/Oilers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Jordan Eberle's shot crossed the goal line before the net being dislodged. Good Goal Edmonton.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 10:06 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

SJ @ PHX - 8:03 of the Third Period



At 8:03 of the third period in the Sharks/Coyotes game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Boyd Gordon's pass deflected off Lauri Korpikoski's left shin pad and into the net. According to rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good Goal Phoenix.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 6:45 PM

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

With Morrow out, Stars shuffle lines

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars put captain Brenden Morrow on injured reserve Friday with a combination neck and shoulder issue, which means Glen Gulutzan's team will be without their captain for at least the next week.

"I don't have much on Brenden. His neck was bothering him again, shoulder. He's going to go see the doctor here today and go from there," Gulutzan said before Saturday's game against Minnesota. "That's all I know."

With a vacancy on Dallas' second line alongside center Mike Ribeiro and left winger Loui Eriksson, a 2011 NHL All-Star, it looks like third-line winger Eric Nystrom will be the one to move up as a fill-in for Morrow.

It's a challenge his coach feels he's ready for.

"He's a worker and I think that's going to help (Ribeiro) there too a little bit. With our captain being out, we've got to have other guys step in and do things," Gulutzan said. "When you get injuries, you've got to mix and match and put guys in places that you think they can succeed."


When asked about skating with two new linemates for tonight's game against Minnesota, Nystrom, who spent last season with the Wild, admits it's an opportunity he welcomes. His 15 goals currently rank third on the Stars.

"I'm just excited. It'll be fun. It's a good opportunity to play with a guy like that (Ribeiro). He really loves to dish," Nystrom said. "I've just got to make sure my game stays the same-staying around the net, getting in on the forecheck, playing physical and creating space for (Ribeiro) to do his thing."


Dallas also recalled center Tomas Vincour, who has played 18 games in the NHL this season, from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to fill the open roster spot. Vincour will fill Nystrom's spot on the third line alongside Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.


"He's just going to work," Gulutzan said of Vincour. "It's an opportunity for him to get on a line that likes to work and grind. It's an opportunity for him to play some good, significant minutes."


Tonight's game comes just 13 days after these clubs met at the Xcel Energy Center, a game the Wild won 5-2 by scoring three goals in less than a minute. Dallas expects a similar effort from Minnesota tonight in its building.

"Extremely hard-working team, good defensive team and they're well coached for sure," was how Gulutzan characterized the Wild. "They're going to bring energy into this building that's for sure. They come to work every night and that's the key for us. We're coming to work too."

Dallas forward Michael Ryder, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and will skate in the 600th game of his career tonight, remembers that loss in the Twin Cities well but expects a much better effort this time around at American Airlines Center.


"It was a tough game and we definitely don't forget that. It's getting to the point in the season where we need to get on a little roll and get some points every night. We can't wait until the end of the year. We need to do it right now," Ryder said.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 3:06 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hitchcock sticks with hot Halak in net

NASHVILLE – The St. Louis Blues have an All-Star goalie in Brian Elliott, but it is Jaroslav Halak who is going to get the start in goal on Saturday for the second time in two nights.

Halak made 22 saves in a 1-0 win on Friday over Los Angeles for his fourth shutout in the last seven games so coach Ken Hitchcock elected to go with the hot hand for the key Central Division match-up with the Predators. Nashville trails second-place St. Louis by one point in the division.

Hitchcock also said he was setting up the rotation so that Elliott, a former Senator, would start play against his old team on Tuesday when the Blues visit Ottawa. Ottawa traded Elliott to Colorado for Craig Anderson on Feb. 18 of last year. St. Louis signed Elliott as a free agent.

“Easy decision, the shutout, obviously, and then we want to play Ells in Ottawa, so it works out good,” Hitchcock said. “He was really good yesterday, really good in the third period when we needed him the most, so we’re going to need great goaltending tonight to win.”

In other news, Hitchock said that center Jason Arnott would be a game-time decision. Arnott hurt his shoulder late in Friday’s game. Arnott is the former captain of Nashville and has yet to play a game back in Bridgestone Arena as an opponent. Nashville traded him after the 2009-10 season and awarded Shea Weber the captaincy.

Arnott was injured earlier this season when the Blues visited and did not return last season as a New Jersey Devil or Washington Capital.

Forwards Alex Steen and Andy McDonald also are currently out for St. Louis with injuries.

Here is the Blues’ projected lineup:

Vladimir Sobotka - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Matt D’Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Chris Porter/Ryan Reeves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:56 PM

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

Projected lineups for Wild-Stars

DALLAS – Here are the projected lineups for a game tonight between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

WILD

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Erik Christensen - Carson McMillan
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Nick Schultz - Jared Spurgeon
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser
Greg Zanon - Clayton Stoner

Nicklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Scratches: Mike Lundin, Brad Staubitz, Marek Zidlicky.
Injuries: Clayton Stoner (lower body), Mikko Koivu (shoulder), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), Jarod Palmer (concussion).

NOTES: Minnesota is 0-10-4 at American Airlines Center since 2003. These clubs met on Jan. 21 at the Xcel Energy Center and it was the Wild who took the first meeting of the season by a 5-2 margin. The Wild come into this one on a winning note after a 1-0 victory at Colorado on Thursday night. Mike Yeo’s club is 12-12-4 on the road this season. Saturday figures to mark the Minnesota debut of center Erik Christensen, who was acquired in a trade with the Rangers on Friday.

STARS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Tomas Vincour - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body).

NOTES:  Dallas placed captain Brenden Morrow on injured reserve on Friday and he is expected to miss about a week. Morrow has been recently bothered by a neck and shoulder issue and didn’t play in the final game before the All-Star break against Anaheim on Jan. 24. Center Tomas Vincour has been recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to give Glen Gulutzan a full roster. The Stars split their two-game road trip to Anaheim and San Jose earlier this week, beating the Ducks 6-2 on Wednesday but falling 5-2 to the Sharks on Thursday, keeping them winless on the tail end of back-to-backs so far this season.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:41 PM

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

Panthers, looking for third straight win, face Lightning

TAMPA - The Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers visit the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday night to complete their six-game season series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning hold the edge, three wins to two, but the Panthers, with the chance of post-season play after 10 seasons, have come out of the All-Star break with two wins and can equal a season-high three-game win streak with a victory against the Lightning.

Tampa Bay, nine points from a playoff berth, will look to close that gap after having a season-long five-game winning streak halted Thursday when the Winnipeg Jets beat them in overtime, 2-1.

Just prior to the start of that game, rookie Brett Connolly was informed that he would be scratched. Connolly, Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2010, made the roster out of training camp and began the season with lots of fanfare.  Initially, Connolly made that decision look like a good one as he collected four goals and two assists in his first 18 games, including back-to-back goals Nov. 1 against Carolina and Nov. 4 against Chicago while routinely logging 15 minutes or more of ice time.

Connolly missed 11 NHL games while playing with Team Canada in the World Juniors and scored five goals and six points en route to a bronze medal, but since his return on Jan. 7, he hasn’t had a point in 10 games and has seen his time-on-ice shrink to less than eight minutes per game.

“I found out (about being scratched) right after warm-ups,” Connolly said. “It’s the first time ever in my life anywhere that I’ve been scratched. It’s a learning experience.”

And a learning experience that Connolly has apparently taken to heart.

“I have to work even harder now and make it tough for them to take me out of the lineup,” he said. “I want to push the older guys and I’ve got to be better every day.”

Connolly cited his defensive lapses as the main reason he sat out, but Lightning coach Guy Boucher, who started 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Jets, then took a different approach to sitting Connolly.

“One, he was expecting it,” Boucher said, “and, two, he understands it. What effect will this have on his confidence? Well, look at Stamkos who lived the same thing as a rookie and is looking pretty good. These are moments that they have as a 19-year-old that they have to go through and learn and take a breather sometimes, like last game.

“I told him not to necessarily change his game now, we just needed a bigger body in the line-up, like (Pierre-Cedric) Labrie and (Ryan) Shannon had played well the previous game and I didn’t want to take him out. Sometimes it’s not necessarily about the player himself, it’s the fact that there are other players out there that are doing well.”

Florida arrived in Tampa after defeating Winnipeg 2-1 in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday night and had an optional skate Saturday morning. As a result, more of the players kicked a soccer ball around below the stands than actually took the ice. Scott Clemmensen gets the call in net for Florida, and he will become the first Panther goalie to start on consecutive nights this season.

NOTE: Just prior to the All-Star break, while the Lightning were mired in a seven-game losing streak which threatened to ruin their season, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos asked a long-time Lightning employee, Tom Gilbert, to give then a pep-talk after the morning skate. Gilbert’s words of encouragement had the desired effect, as Tampa Bay put a halt to their skid with a 5-3 win against the Boston Bruins, with Stamkos scoring a goal and St. Louis picking up an assist.

A ritual was born and Gilbert, who collects audio sound bites for the team’s website, was called on to address the entire club after the morning skate during the next two home games, which the Lightning won. Gilbert, who cited Rocky Balboa running down the beach and other inspirational images, also spoke before the Winnipeg game on Thursday, which Tampa lost in overtime.
But when the magic is gone, it’s gone, and Gilbert was nowhere to be seen after Saturday’s morning skate.

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Tomas Kopecky - Shawn Matthias - Mike Santorelli
Krystofer Barch - John Madden - Matt Bradley

Jason Garrison - Mike Weaver
Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson
Keaton Ellerby - Tyson Strachan

Scott Clemmensen
Brian Foster

LIGHTNING

Tom Pyatt - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis
Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Ryan Shannon - Dominic Moore - JT Wyman
Nate Thompson - Brett Connolly

Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman
Pavel Kubina - Matt Gilroy
Bruno Gervais - Brendan Mikkelson
Matt Gilroy

Mathieu Garon
Dwayne Roloson
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:39 PM

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

Nystrom expected to replace injured Morrow for Stars

DALLAS – On Friday night, the Dallas Stars (26-22-2, 54 points) announced they had put Brenden Morrow on injured reserve with a neck and shoulder issue, which means Glen Gulutzan's team will be without their captain for at least the next week.

"I don't have much on Brenden. His neck was bothering him again, shoulder. He's going to go see the doctor here today and go from there," Gulutzan said. "That's all I know."

And with a vacancy on Dallas' second line alongside center Mike Ribeiro and All-Star left wing Loui Eriksson, it looks like third-line winger Eric Nystrom will be the one to move up as a fill-in for Morrow.

It's a challenge his coach feels he's ready for.

"He's a worker and I think that's going to help (Ribeiro) there too a little bit. With our captain being out, we've got to have other guys step in and do things," Gulutzan said. "When you get injuries, you've got to mix and match and put guys in places that you think they can succeed."

When asked about skating with two new linemates for tonight's game with Minnesota (25-19-7, 57 points), Nystrom, who spent last season with the Wild, admits it's an opportunity he welcomes. His 15 goals currently rank third on the Stars.

"I'm just excited. It'll be fun. It's a good opportunity to play with a guy like that (Ribeiro). He really loves to dish," Nystrom said. "I've just got to make sure my game stays the same-staying around the net, getting in on the forecheck, playing physical and creating space for (Ribeiro) to do his thing."

Dallas also recalled center Tomas Vincour, who has played 18 games in the NHL this season, from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to fill the open roster spot. Vincour will fill Nystrom's spot on the third line alongside Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.

"He's just going to work," Gulutzan said of Vincour. "It's an opportunity for him to get on a line that likes to work and grind. It's an opportunity for him to play some good, significant minutes."

This game comes just 13 days after these clubs met at the Xcel Energy Center, a game the Wild won 5-2 after scoring three goals in less than a minute. Dallas expects a similar effort from Minnesota tonight in their building.

"Extremely hard-working team, good defensive team and they're well coached for sure," is how Gulutzan characterized the Wild. "They're going to bring energy into this building that's for sure. They come to work every night and that's the key for us. We're coming to work too."

Stars right winger Michael Ryder, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and will skate in the 600th game of his career tonight, remembers that loss in the Twin Cities well but expects a much better effort this time around at American Airlines Center.

"It was a tough game and we definitely don't forget that. It's getting to the point in the season where we need to get on a little roll and get some points every night. We can't wait until the end of the year. We need to do it right now," Ryder said.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:11 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Nashville's Trotz juggling crowded forward group

NASHVILLE – On Tuesday, Predators forward Brandon Yip posted a goal and an assist, finished plus-two in a 5-4 win against Minnesota and yet found himself a healthy scratch in his team’s next game on Thursday.

Such is life these days for the Nashville Predators. With 14 healthy forwards, coach Barry Trotz has juggled his lineup on a regular basis since picking up Yip via a waiver claim on Jan. 19.

Almost like an NFL coach assembling his game-day roster of 45 players from a 53-man roster with a specific game plan in mind, Trotz said he is now picking his 12 forwards based on the specific opponent. Entering Nashville’s 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday, the Predators had won 13 of 15.

“I look at our individual opponent and say, ‘I think this is our best lineup for this individual opponent,’” Trotz said. “It’s not about who’s playing good, who’s playing bad right now because everyone’s playing OK.”

Trotz said the extra players have been both a “blessing and a curse.” Matt Halischuk was scratched initially to make room for Yip on Jan. 21 but since returning he has a four-game points streak (two goals, three assists). Jerred Smithson, another player who has had to sit out, is one of Nashville’s best faceoff men and penalty killers.

“There hasn’t been any passengers at all,” Trotz said. “Everybody’s bringing their ‘A’ game in their roles. Right now, my biggest challenge is to continue winning and to keep everybody sharp.”

Nonetheless, that message is not easy for a player like Yip when he has to sit out. Trotz said it’s best just to be honest with the player.

“But he understood the reason he was going in was because I wanted to integrate him before the (All-Star) break there,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a balancing act.”

Trotz did not say whether Yip is going back on for a key Central Division game Saturday with St. Louis, but it’s possible as the Blues have a big lineup and Yip is 6 feet 1, 195 pounds. Nashville is just a point behind the second-place Blues.

Here is Nashville’s projected lineup for Saturday night:

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patrick Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Matt Halischuk - Craig Smith - Brandon Yip

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

Out: Brian McGrattan, Jerred Smithson, Jack Hillen
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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players