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Posted On Thursday, 02.02.2012 / 3:25 AM

By Matt Dumba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Matt Dumba draft blog

Dumba enjoyed full Top Prospects Game experience

Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

KELOWNA, B.C. -- It was a fun final day for me here in Kelowna.

It started in the morning with the pre-game skate, which was a lot of fun. Get the power play down pat -- just a good pre-game skate. Then we had pictures and stuff like that, went back to the hotel for a little bit of media. Got a good nap in before the game and got prepared.

One of the real highlights was getting to work with our coaches, Mark Recchi and Ryan Huska. Both those guys are so experienced, lots of knowledge. You can really learn from those guys. It was great to have them behind the bench.

Recchi actually showed off his three Stanley Cup rings. It was pretty amazing to see his first one, and then last year, the difference in the rings. He's wearing that one and it's weighting down his hand, it was so big. It was pretty cool to see.

When the game started, I wanted to make sure I had a good first shift, really wanted to get the legs moving. I had a pretty strong first shift, and just kept it solid and tried to improve my game from there.

The first period was really tight. I just wanted to have a good, solid period and not many mistakes and move the puck clean and get out. Go out there and work hard and battle and compete.

In the third period I got a chance for a big hit. I'm not sure I got. He was just coming down the boards and the puck was rolling on him, which made him look down at the puck. He was going wide and I got an opportunity to step up on him.

Bussieres came in and we bumped together and we both looked at each other. He told me we're going, so I dropped them.

Fighting wasn't something I was completely thinking about all game or wanted to do in a game like tonight but I knew if I was going to make a big hit, there could be a possibility a guy could jump in. But it was fun.

Overall it was a great experience, with great people. Off the ice it's really easy to get along and talk to the guys. We all have the same common goal and it's to get to the NHL. There's a lot of talk. It's fun being around the boys and it was a really fun game, as well.

For sure, I'll remember this one for a long time.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.02.2012 / 3:07 AM

By Ryan Murray -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Murray draft blog

Everett's Ryan Murray recaps Top Prospects week

Defenseman Ryan Murray is captain of the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot, 182-pound native of Saskatchewan was recently named captain for Team Cherry at the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Kelowna, B.C. He took second place in 'Hardest Shot' at the Top Prospects Skills Competition with a blast of 94.3 mph. He recently won a bronze medal playing for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship. Despite the busy schedule, Murray continues to provide a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Well, it's all over in Kelowna.

Our team [Team Cherry] lost, 2-1. It was a good game and everyone was working really hard; it was pretty intense out there and I thought all the guys played really great. There were a lot of nervous skaters in the first period but, after that, everyone kind of settled in.

In the end, it's unfortunate [I took a penalty that led to their winning goal]. I didn't think that would be a [slashing] penalty to tell you the truth, but I can't blame it on the refs. It's too bad it ended that way.

There were chances out there and I thought goalie Matt Murray played extremely well for us. He made a couple of huge saves to keep us in it and so did the other goalies. I guess it's a little bit weird playing with guys you never played with before because you have to get use to them in a very short amount of time. But I thought we had our chances but the goalies were coming up big out there.

It was great that a guy like [Mark] Recchi could come to an event like this and you can really learn from a guy like that who has done so much in his career and it's great that he's already starting to give back to the game after his career. It's great he can come out here and coach and the same goes for [Ryan Huska]. He helped out here in his home city so it was good.

So now that the Top Prospects Game is over, I have to keep playing hard. We're in a playoff stretch here and that's the thing I'm most focused on now, is trying to help [the Everett Silvertips] make the playoffs and if I can do that then everything else will fall into place.

Thanks for reading about my experiences at the Top Prospects Game this week everyone. Check back next month for a new update.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.02.2012 / 2:42 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Samuelsson returning to form

If your fantasy squad is in the thick of a playoff push and in need of a spark on the wing, Mikael Samuelsson is knocking on your door.

Mikael Samuelsson
Right Wing - FLA
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 13
SOG: 51 | +/-: 1
The Swedish-born forward reeled off two goals on Wednesday as the Florida Panthers held off the Washington Capitals to move into first place in the Southeast Division. With three goals and an assist in his last five games, Samuelsson is finally healthy and producing for a team that appears to be in the postseason hunt with just over two months to go in the regular season.

During a time when injuries are decimating fantasy teams around the world, this 35-year-old is skating on the second line for the Panthers and making a sizable impact after an injury-plagued first half of his own. With Kris Versteeg out with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday, Samuelsson (5 goals, 8 assists, plus-1, 10 PIM, 5 PPP, 51 SOG) notched a power-play goal and will be a sure-fire contributor moving forward as the Panthers continue to play meaningful hockey.

Samuelsson was in the midst of a six-game goalless drought from Jan. 9 to Jan. 21, but has responded nicely and has compiled four goals and six assists overall in 16 games since being traded to Florida. With Samuelsson owned in only seven percent of Yahoo! leagues, he is certainly worth taking a chance on. His 30-goal, 53-point season in 2009-10 is evidence that he has the capability of producing points at a high level.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 11:56 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at CHL Top Prospects Game

2 periods down, Orr leads 1-0

KELOWNA, B.C. -- There was a bit of everything in the second period, including the game's only goal.

Team Orr's Griffin Reinhart picked up a puck in the left circle and fired a wrister that found a tiny gap between the goal post and Brandon Whitney's blocker at 2:46 of the period.

The other highlight of the period was the game's first fight. Team Cherry's Thomas Wilson decked Orr's Lukas Sutter with a big hit not long after Sutter left the penalty box. Sutter's teammate Dalton Thrower -- perfect name for this occasion -- jumped to his friend and teammate's defense and engaged Wilson in a spirited fight. At 6-foot-3.5 and 203 pounds, Wilson had the size advantage on the 5-11.5, 189-pound Thrower, but it was a long, even battle.

Not only are Sutter and Thrower teammates here, they're also teammates and close friends on the Saskatoon Blades.

Also notable in the period were a pair of penalty kills by Team Orr. Not only did they shut down Team Cherry's man-advantage opportunities, they barely allowed them any scoring chances.

We'll be back with more after the game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 10:59 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at CHL Top Prospects Game

Scoreless after one period

KELOWNA, B.C. -- Most of the top players for the 2012 NHL Draft are defensemen, so it shouldn't be a surprise that a defensive battle has broken out here at the 2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

Team Cherry leads Team Orr in shots, 10-9, but neither team created much in the way of offensive chances, thanks to tight checking by both teams.

While there hasn't been much offense, there's been more than a few nice, hard hits. Team Cherry forward Thomas Wilson and Team Orr defenseman Gianluca Curcuruto took turns throwing big hits on each other early in the first, and Team Orr's Lukas Sutter did a nice job agitating a few players on Team Cherry.

The only penalty of the period came with 13 seconds left, as Team Orr captain Colten Sissons -- also captain of the host Kelowna Rockets -- was sent off for tripping, so the second period will start with Team Cherry on a power play for 1:47.

We'll be back with more following the second period.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 10:21 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

WSH @ FLA - of the Third Period

At 9:52 of the third period in the Capitals/Panthers game, video review determined that the puck deflected off Stephen Weiss shoulder and into the net in a legal fashion. 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 Florida.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 9:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at CHL Top Prospects Game

Official lineups for Top Prospects Game

KELOWNA, B.C. -- Coaches Pat Quinn and Mark Recchi have submitted their lineup cards for tonight's Top Prospects Game (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet), and they include full line combinations.

They're not much different than what the teams used at practice this morning, with one exception -- Windsor defenseman Nick Ebert will play for Team Cherry. He was sick with a stomach bug last night and into today and skipped the morning practice.

Here are the full lineups for each team:

TEAM ORR
Francis Beauvillier - Colton Sissons - Branden Troock
Chandler Stephenson - Mikhail Grigorenko - Tomas Hyka
Raphael Bussieres - Radek Faksa - Scott Kosmachuk
Andreas Athanasiou - Lukas Sutter - Tanner Pearson

Griffin Reinhart - Derrick Pouliot
Adam Pelech - Matthew Finn
Gianluca Curcuruto - Dalton Thrower

Chris Driedger starts in goal, with Francois Tremblay to play the second half of the game.

TEAM CHERRY
Daniil Zharkov - Brendan Gaunce - Andrew Ryan
Tim Bozon - Gemel Smith - Thomas Wilson
Coda Gordon - Mike Winther - Martin Frk
Dominik Volek - Dane Fox - Scott Laughton

Brett Kulak - Damon Severson
Ryan Murray - Mathew Dumba
Dillon Fournier - Nick Ebert

Brandon Whitney starts in goal, with Matthew Murray to play the second half of the game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 8:39 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PIT @ TOR - 1:17 of the Second Period

At 1:17 of the second period in the Penguins/Maple Leafs game, video review conclusively determined that Chris Kunitz kicked the puck into the net with his left skate. According to rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No Goal Pittsburgh.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 7:11 PM

By Neil Acharya -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Pens go for sweep of Leafs

After overcoming a 4-1 third-period deficit to beat Toronto 5-4 in a shootout on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins will go for a sweep of the Leafs at Air Canada Centre in the second half of a back-to-back series.

"We're very fortunate, we feel - to have gotten the two points," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said late Wednesday afternoon. Pittsburgh was down by three goals in the third but managed to erase the deficit in regulation on Evgeni Malkin's late goal in the dying seconds, he scored the only goal of the shootout to win it.

"We certainly tap out goalie on the pads for a number of the big saves he made throughout the game, especially in the third..."

After making 35 saves last night, Marc-Andre Fleury will get a rest; backup Brent Johnson gets his first start since Jan. 10, when he was pulled in a loss two the Senators. Defenseman, Ben Lovejoy will also play tonight -- his first game since Jan. 17. Deryk Engelland will have the night off.

James Reimer will get the start in goal for Toronto. While he has not started in two weeks, he has used his time backing up Jonas Gustavsson to absorb as much as he can. "In every situation there is a chance to learn, when you are on the bench you get to see the game from a difference perspective," he said. "Overall, when you watch the really successful goalies, they play with a lot of intensity and they do anything to stop the puck, maybe that is something I will try to put more into my game."

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 6:24 PM

NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Penguins-Leafs lineups

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley