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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 5:17 PM

By Jeremy Roenick -  NHL Network Contributor /NHL.com - World According to JR

Roenick: Birthday wishes to an elite young scorer

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick pens a weekly blog for NHL.com. "World According to JR" appears every Wednesday and includes Roenick's sharp, can't-miss opinions on What's Clicking and What's Missing in the National Hockey League.

Wishing happy birthday to a young superstar in Tampa and hoping that the officials in the NHL can receive some help in the future to make one of the judgment calls there is to make in the game. Read on to find out who and what I'm talking about:

What's clicking?

Steven Stamkos is just lighting it up this season and he's probably going to be the only 50-goal scorer in the NHL. He should get to that 50-goal mark and regain the Rocket Richard Trophy.

It couldn't go to a better guy.

Steven Stamkos
Center - TBL
GOALS: 35 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 58
SOG: 184 | +/-: 5
It was Stamkos' 22nd birthday on Tuesday and we saw players on his team chasing him around, trying to stuff one of those shaving cream pies in his face. You can tell how much these guys love to be with Stamkos.

Everybody around the League should sit down in front of a television set to watch him play. Just watch his demeanor, how he conducts himself, how he treats others -- he's truly a treat to be around and he's one of the great ambassadors for the NHL.

He's also one of the most dynamic players in the League and one of the most talented goal scorers we've seen in a long time. When you put a guy like that with Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, you're going to have something special.

It's great to see that as of late the Lightning have been winning some games and trying to get back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. They work so hard, but unfortunately the team's defensive liabilities take away from the offensive ability it has, an offensive ability that Stamkos leads the way on.

So, this is a happy birthday blog for Stamkos, a guy I love to watch play. He should get to 50 goals again this season, but no matter how many he scores, his personality doesn't change. He's humble and fun to be around. He's a treat, and he deserves to be recognized for it.

What's missing?

After seeing what happened in New York on Tuesday, when Marian Gaborik was called for goalie interference, negating a game-tying goal with only seconds remaining in the third period, I think it's time that the League allow the officials to go to video review to determine such plays.

This happens a lot, especially late in games, when guys are going to the net and defensemen are valiantly trying to keep them away. But a lot of the times the goaltender interference happens as a result of the defending team's actions. The Gaborik incident was an example of that.
 
On the play, it appears that Gaborik is trying to stop when Anton Volchenkov pushes him into his own goalie, and the goal is disallowed. If the officials had the opportunity to go to a video review of that play, it's possible the goal would have been allowed and that game would have gone to overtime. The officials would have had the opportunity to review if Gaborik was trying to stop and if Volchenkov created the contact between Gaborik and Martin Brodeur.

At the very least, the officials would have been allowed to take what is a split-second decision amid chaos and further analyze it before coming to a better judgment.

The officials have an incredibly hard job and they do it quite well, but it wouldn't hurt for them to have a little help on plays such as the Gaborik interference. It also wouldn't take very long for them to determine with 100 percent certainty, or as close to it as there is in this game, that they are making the right call.

It is such a reviewable circumstance because goals are so hard to come by in this League, especially late in a game when a team is going for the tying goal to get it to overtime.

I know the goalies are being protected, and they should be, but a lot of times it is the defenseman's fault that they're getting contact. And who's to say it is not the defenseman's strategy or tactic to push or ride an attacking player into his goalie, especially when he knows he's likely going to get the call to go in his favor.

There has been so much talk about protecting the goaltenders and using the instant replay for goals to find out if pucks are in the net, but these plays are also critically important and the officials should be allowed to have every piece of technology available to make sure they get it right.
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 4:51 PM

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

Reports: Henrik Sedin seen wearing walking boot

Several tweets indicate that Canucks captain Henrik Sedin was seen wearing a walking a boot at the team hotel with Vancouver paying a visit to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

Sedin blocked a shot in the Canucks' 4-3 shootout win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night and did not return. He wasn't on the ice for practice at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday.
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 4:28 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Place: NHL Trade Deadline

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 4:27 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Roenick ready for first crack at Gretzky camp

LAS VEGAS -- The always gregarious Jeremy Roenick will arrive here Thursday morning to take part in his first Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp, and he told NHL.com on Wednesday that he can't wait for it.

"Just to be invited by Gretz was awesome," Roenick said. "I love that."

But, more to the point, Roenick is looking forward to getting on the ice and getting to hang out with the guys who will be known as campers this week.

"To be around other people, all these fans, that get to pay and hang out with us, get on the ice with us -- I love fan interaction," he said. "It's one of my favorite things about being a professional hockey player, so I'm looking forward to meeting some of the guys, the people that supported me for so long, getting on the ice with them and maybe getting to teach them a couple of things."

He's also interested in getting a chance to catch up with some of his old colleagues and teammates that will join him as the former players in camp.

"There will be some storytelling," Roenick said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 4:24 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Place: Coaches Injuries

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 3:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Trying seasons for captains Getzlaf, Staal

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ryan Getzlaf and Eric Staal probably didn't envision their paths following this kind of trajectory.

Two years after both helped Team Canada win gold in the Winter Olympics, their teams are struggling and both captains have had trying seasons.

Both are desperately trying to help their teams cling to dim postseason hopes, and they stand in each other's way when the Anaheim Ducks host the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

"Both teams have been through a lot this year," Staal said. "(We've had) tough starts and obviously going through a coaching change. Some good players on both teams that probably didn't have the start they wanted, but they're feeling good, are starting to feel some confidence. It's going to be a good game. We obviously know they've been playing very well lately."

Staal has come under scrutiny for his minus-24 rating, worst in the League. Getzlaf said he identifies with Staal and the pressure he's under.

"Staalsy's been through a lot of criticism as well," Getzlaf said. "He's dealt with it. The amount that I do know him, I think he dealt with it fairly well and brought himself back to where he wants to be."

Getzlaf has 1 goal in his past 13 games and has scored only twice since Dec. 6. He's coming off one of his better games, though, with an assist, plus-1 rating and three hits against Calgary.

Staal also knows what Getzlaf is going through.

"He's obviously a tremendous player," Staal said. "He's a player that obviously got off to a difficult start, but he's really coming on better now. We're very similar in how the years have went for both of us -- tough starts, but feeling better lately. He's a good player no matter what. You've got to be aware of him on the ice."
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 3:34 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Hurricanes, Ducks

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center:

HURRICANES
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Drayson Bowman - Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen
Andreas Nodl - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Chad LaRose - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Jaroslav Spacek - Jamie McBain

Cam Ward
Justin Peters

DUCKS

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Niklas Hagman - Rod Pelley - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Iiro Tarkki
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 3:21 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Back in Vegas with No. 99

LAS VEGAS -- We're back in the glitziest town in the U.S.A. for the Great One's Fantasy Camp.

Wayne Gretzky has again allowed NHL.com to go behind the scenes at his annual camp that gives regular house league heroes the opportunity to skate and play both with and against No. 99 and some of his buddies on the ice at a rink a short distance away from the famous Las Vegas Boulevard.

Talk about a welcome break from trade rumors.

The list of former players that are scheduled to attend is a who's who, including Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Grant Fuhr, Guy Carbonneau, Marty McSorley, Jeremy Roenick, Curtis Joseph, Rick Tocchet, Russ Courtnall and Geoff Courtnall. Bobby Hull and Mike Keenan are also on the list, though Keenan is scheduled to be a coach along with Cap Roeder.

The international group of "campers" here are from all walks of life. They're doctors, dentists, attorneys, businessmen, whatever -- but for a few brief days they pay to play against and party with some of their hockey heroes, including Gretzky himself.

Our own E.J. Hradek, who will be shooting segments for NHL Live from the Bellagio, is one of the guys that will get on the ice and test his skills against some of the best to ever lace 'em up in the NHL. I'll promise not to rip on E.J. too much in this blog before I depart Vegas on a red-eye flight late Friday night, but promises can be broken.

It's all on you to perform, E.J.

Really, though, this blog is here to serve you, the reader that is not here in Vegas.

What does Leetch think of the Rangers' chances to do what the New York Giants just did and what he did back in 1994, parade down the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan?

What does Brett Hull think of the job his old coach, Ken Hitchcock, is doing with the Blues this season?

Does Fuhr have some opinions on the game's best goaltenders?

What does Keenan have to say about the job John Tortorella is doing with the Rangers?

Does McSorley have an opinion on the best fighters and antagonists in the NHL today?

Do Tocchet and Carbonneau want to coach again?

And, most important of all, what does Gretzky think of all of the above and more?

The goal from now until that red-eye takes off is to have answers to all of those questions and more right here in this blog.

Stay tuned.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 2:48 PM

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

Renney plans to be back behind Oilers' bench tonight

DETROIT -- In case you're wondering whether coaches have to undergo the same kind of baseline testing for concussions that players do, ask Edmonton Oilers bench boss Tom Renney.

"Yes, they do," said Renney, who missed Monday's game in Toronto with concussion-like symptoms after he accidentally was hit in the head with a puck during the Oilers' morning skate. "Failed it twice. It’s a good thing they had the Coke machine in Toronto or I would not have known who we played last."

Renney was back on the ice for the Oilers' skate on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena and plans to coach from the bench when they face the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. Missing Monday's game was tough to accept, but he had no choice in the matter based on how he was doing physically.

"I didn't want to," Renney said. "I'm having a hard time. My blood pressure's rising right now as we speak and I'm feeling light-headed. I couldn't have coached, quite honestly."

He was in good enough shape on Wednesday to joke around about the incident with reporters, but said if things take a turn for the worse between the skate and game time, he won't hesitate to let associate coach Ralph Krueger run the bench for a second straight game.

"I'll be fine … if I don’t yell," said Renney, who estimated that it took about 12 stitches to close the wound. "Good luck for me, eh? No, I'm good. I'll give it a good go here tonight. If I have to step back, I will."

It was suggested by a reporter that it might've been for the best that he missed Monday's 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, mainly because he probably would've given his vocal chords a workout.

"I know I would've," Renney said, smiling. "I might've been throwing water bottles."

On a more serious note, Renney said he won't start wearing a helmet for protection in practices but did think it was a subject worth debating -- especially at lower levels of the sport.

"It's tough to answer, because in amateur sports [coaches] should be [wearing helmets]," Renney said. "We have to protect those people who have other occupations other than coaching hockey. So, in order to do that I think people should be protected. I wouldn't do it myself … although there's an argument to be made."

There is also a personal, firsthand experience that can be used for educational purposes. Renney said he learned a lot about rehabbing knee injuries while going through the process himself last summer, and now has experienced what it’s like for hockey players who get similar head injuries.

"I [injured] my knee this summer and went through a long rehab with that and that gave me a great appreciation for our training staff -- who deserved the gift certificates for meals I gave them -- and certainly for the players who have to go through rehab," he said. "Certainly with the head, it's a whole new ballgame. [It's] good to experience that and have an appreciation for what they go through."

Renney also got an interesting text from a fellow member of the coaching fraternity who was also injured in a practice on Monday. Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff had three ribs cracked when he was accidentally run into by Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold.

"He texted me," Renney said of Ruff. "He said, 'It was a rough day for coaches. I just snapped three ribs.'"
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 2:20 PM

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

Status quo as Howard recovers from broken finger


DETROIT -- Status quo is the term of the day for Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who will miss a third consecutive game with a broken index finger when his team faces the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

It's been seven days since Howard broke the finger stopping a shot against the Vancouver Canucks, but a visit with the doctor on Wednesday morning didn't really reveal anything new in his recovery or shed light on a timeline for returning to action.

"It's pretty much the same news as before," Howard said after the Red Wings' morning skate, which he dressed for, but did not take shots. "It's just going to take a little while to heal."

It could potentially be a couple more games, if not longer. Howard said the main issue is pain tolerance and how much he can withstand and still be effective in net. As for the next step in his recovery -- facing live shots from teammates in practice -- Howard said he'd like to get in a couple of solid practice sessions before coming back.

"It's been seven days now, so the timing can go a little bit," he said. "I've missed seven days worth of shots, so I'd like to get a couple of practices in before I come back. It all depends on how it feels. This whole thing, with it obviously being broken, is just going to be basically how the finger feels out there. We'll work on (adjusting the equipment) but there's no guarantee it's going to work."

Replacing Howard will be Joey MacDonald, who will get his second straight start in net for the Wings. Detroit has won 17 straight home games, but all of them came with Howard starting. In fact, Howard has started all 23 home games for Detroit and posted a sterling 20-2-1 mark.

That, in itself, makes sitting out even tougher to swallow.

"It's frustrating just because I want to be out there with the guys," said Howard, who still leads the League with 32 wins and was on pace to break Martin Brodeur's single-season NHL record of 48 victories prior to getting injured. "I enjoy being out there. I love the competition and the downfall is not being able to be out there."

Howard said he's not concerned about the interruption throwing him off-kilter for the remaining portion of the season, but he's still working hard off the ice on conditioning drills to keep his legs strong for whenever he can return.

Meanwhile, it's just assessing how much pain the finger is causing him. The doctor told Howard that it'd be hard to do more damage by playing, so his ultimate return will be based on how confident he feels in his abilities while playing with a fractured bone in a finger on his blocker hand.

"It's just all going to depend on pain threshold and what I can and cannot withstand out there," Howard said. "Every single day the finger's getting better. I'm just trying to keep on top of things here with doing skating drills and keep my legs under me, so when I'm able to come back hopefully I can pick up where I left off."

In other Red Wings news, forward Danny Cleary will likely play despite lingering knee soreness that might need to be relieved with an injection at some point. Defenseman Brad Stuart is also healthy enough to play against the Oilers -- who called up Magnus Paajarvi on Tuesday to replace injured star rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder).

Also, Edmonton coach Tom Renney said he plans on coaching the game after missing Monday night's contest in Toronto with concussion-like symptoms after being hit in the head with a puck at the morning skate and needing stitches.

Here is how Edmonton and Detroit could line up on Wednesday night:

OILERS

Magnus Paajarvi - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth - Eric Belanger - Ryan Jones
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Ryan Whitney - Jeff Petry
Andy Sutton - Corey Potter

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk

RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl

Joey MacDonald
Ty Conklin
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