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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 12:32 PM

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

Struggling Capitals turn back to Holtby

The Washington Capitals, stuck at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and desperately in need of a win, will turn back to Braden Holtby as their starting goaltender for Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

After leading the Capitals to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers last spring, Holtby started Washington's first two games this season. He allowed 10 goals on 73 shots and has not seen action since, with Michal Neuvirth starting the next five games.

"It'll be good, obviously. I'm looking forward to playing again," Holtby told reporters. "We need a big win and I think we all know that. I believe our group is just taking it like another game, trying to keep our emotions down to do the right things."

After blowing a third-period lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Capitals are 1-5-1 this season. Holtby, whose prior start came Jan. 22 against Winnipeg, has an 0-2 record with a 5.04 goals-against average and .863 save percentage.

"It's different not playing for a while, but I don't think that'll affect anything right now," he said. "We need a win and all that other stuff doesn't matter, how many days between starts, how we played before. Right now I have to focus on giving our team the best chance we can to win and see where it takes us."

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 12:18 PM

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

Mikkelson doing well after scary injury at practice

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Brendan Mikkelson dodged serious injury at Thursday's practice, but not before putting a good scare into everyone watching.

Mikkelson lost an edge and went flying headfirst into the boards. He briefly lost consciousness and was removed on a gurney to Tampa General Hospital, where he was treated and released.

"I'm sore today," Mikkelson said. "I was hustling after the puck because Steven Stamkos was right behind me, and I just blew a tire. No headaches, nothing on the CAT scans, I just have never had anything like that happen to me before. I'm pretty stiff and sore today."

Mikkelson will sit out on a day-to-day basis until he is cleared to play.

"I don't have a timetable for his return," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said, "but I feel real fortunate because it wasn't pretty yesterday at practice. Headfirst into the boards, his shoulder, and he wasn't moving. It wasn't looking good, but we got lucky there."

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 12:04 PM

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

Jets' Byfuglien to miss second straight game

TAMPA, Fla. -- Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel said defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will sit out Firday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to an undisclosed lower-body injury.

This will be the second straight game Byfuglien has missed. He also sat out Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers.

In six games, he has three goals and four assists.

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 11:47 AM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Leading scorer Vanek on Friday's Cisco NHL Live


Cisco NHL Live with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will get you ready for your hockey weekend. On Friday's show we have NBC Sports analyst Eddie Olczyk along with our own Barry Melrose to give their expert opinions on teams with hot and cold starts. Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek, whose 15 points lead the League in scoring, will also join us.

Tomorrow we celebrate Groundhogs Day. While we wait to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow, EJ will take a look at players around the League who need to come out of hibernation. Plus, Super Bowl weekend is upon us! Players may love their ice time but they're football fans, too. Find our who is rooting for which teams.

EJ is back from the Gretzky Fantasy Camp and so is his signature segment, the EJ5. 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.

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 11:34 AM

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

Concussion to sideline Thornton for 7-10 days

Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton will miss the next 7-10 days with a concussion, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced in a statement released by the team.

Thornton was injured during a fight with Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott at the 2:53 mark of the first period Thursday night. It was the only shift Thornton played in the game.

Thornton has played in all seven games for Boston this season and has one goal and 25 penalty minutes.

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 11:30 AM

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

Wings will have Zetterberg in lineup vs. Blues

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg told that he will be in the lineup when his team hosts the St. Louis Blues on Friday (7:30 p.m., NHLN-US).

Zetterberg reported that he had a sore throat and a fever Thursday, but felt well enough to play Friday.

Zetterberg is second on the Red Wings with two goals and seven points.

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 1:06 AM

By Jason Bull -  Special to / - Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Bull: Gretzky Camp memories

LAS VEGAS -- For my final blog entry I wanted to first take you through today and then go through my top five moments from one of the greatest weeks of my life.

First off, let's talk about today, the day my team got to the championship game and fell a shootout goal short of winning the Gretzky Cup. We lost it 4-3 in the shootout, but a couple of my new friends were playing for the other team so I was excited that they were able to win.

There were no pros playing in the championship game, so it was a little harder, faster and more physical. We had to bear down a little bit more and we did, but we just couldn't finish the job in the shootout.

However, Wayne Gretzky played with my team in the semifinal game, the early game of the day, and that was unbelievable. Seeing Gretzky coming down my left wing and send the puck out to him, that's just crazy. We ended up getting a goal out of that, too, which made an already special moment even better.

Now, for my top five moments of the week; to be honest, narrowing them down to five is tough, but here goes:

1. Meeting Gretzky

I was on the phone with my family back home when Gretzky and his dad, Walter, came walking up toward me. One of the guys from the camp recognized me from the registration day so while I was on the phone I got to shake Gretzky's hand for the first time. That was quite a moment.

2. Seeing Gretzky on the ice for the first time

Getting out on the ice with all the pros was amazing, but seeing Gretzky jump on the ice with us during the first day, when the pros weren't skating and we were just basically practicing, showing our skills so they could divide us into teams, was unreal. He skated right past me and I said to the guy next to me, "Well, you don't see that every day." Unless, of course, you're here.

3. Being on Gretzky's line

I mentioned this one before. It happened today. We created a goal together. Enough said.

4. Hanging out at the Bellagio

You walk into a sports bar to sit down, have a beer and watch a hockey game and you find Denis Savard, Mike Keenan, Mike Barnett and Brian Leetch. Just listening to them tell all these fantastic stories from their careers was thrilling. Those stories, I'll take them back home with me and tell all my brothers and my hockey teammates. Unbelievable.

5. My new Gretzky jersey

Winning the Gretzky jersey Wednesday night and then having The Great One sign it for me is easily a highlight. I held on to that thing for the rest of the night, praying that nobody would spill anything on it, stain it in anyway. That's a prized possession for me. I know I got some great treatment here because I came all the way from Australia, but I would recommend this camp to anyone and tell them they need to get out here to experience it.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 10:05 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

WPG @ FLA - 15:29 of the Third Period

At 15:29 of the Third Period in the Jets/Panthers game video review determined Jonathan Huberdeau's shot went of a Jets player and across the goal line before the net came of it's pegs. Good Goal Florida.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 8:35 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

BUF @ BOS - 16:45 of the Second Period

At 16:46 of the Second Period in the Sabres/Bruins game video review determined the puck deflected of the blade of Thomas Vanek's stick and across the goal line. Good Goal Buffalo.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 7:35 PM

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

Jets scratch Byfuglien vs. Panthers

Dustin Byfuglien
Defense - WPG
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 25 | +/-: 0
SUNRISE, Fla. - Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was scratched from the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Florida Panthers.

After Byfuglien did not take part in the morning skate, coach Claude Noel said a determination on Byfuglien's status would be made later, but the defenseman did not take part in pregame warmups.

"He aggravated something previous to the morning skate," Noel said.

Byfuglien played a team-high 28:26 of ice time in the Jets' 4-3 loss at Montreal on Tuesday. The Jets did not practice on Wednesday.

Byfuglien is tied for the team scoring lead with Evander Kane and

Tobias Enstrom with seven points.

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Quote of the Day

We have to develop into a good team. We have to develop the pieces now that are a little more evident and in place to become a good team. It's not there yet.

— Sabres coach Dan Bylsma on new Buffalo players working together