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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 11:13 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Halifax forward Martin Frk has regained confidence

After sitting out the first 29 games of the regular season and missing the 2012 World Junior Championships with concussion-like symptoms, Halifax Mooseheads right wing Martin Frk has regained his confidence.

Frk, who has 10 goals and 17 points in 24 matches with the Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is ranked No. 25 on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top draft eligible North American skaters.

He had 22 goals and 50 points in 62 games as a QMJHL rookie last season and 4 goals and 2 assists in three pre-season games in August before his injury.

First-year Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme, who might very well have the best draft-eligible prospect for 2013 on his roster in rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon, said Frk has been symptom-free since his return to the lineup.  

"I think we should see the best of him in the playoffs," Ducharme told NHL.com. "That's where we're going to see him playing at 100 percent. I don't think his injury is playing any role in his head though.

"He's not tentative and not playing in a way not to get hit. He's 100 percent back from his concussion and he's showing no signs that it bothers him physically."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 11:02 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lightning's Lecavalier out with fractured hand

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier will be out with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand, the team learned Tuesday.

Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman later updated that report with a text to the Tampa Bay Times' Damian Cristodero, saying Lecavalier is "day-to-day." But RDS reported Tuesday night that Lecavalier is expected to miss 3-5 weeks.

Tuesday's game against the visiting Anaheim Ducks will be the first one he misses this season.

Lecavalier left Monday's practice early for an MRI. Lightning coach Guy Boucher told the Tampa Bay Times that the injury "popped up" during Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals.

While not revealing the specific nature of the injury, Lecavalier told reporters Tuesday that he does not need surgery.

Lecavalier has 21 goals and 25 assists in 58 games.

The Lightning enter Tuesday's games 11th in the Eastern Conference, six points behind eighth-place Toronto.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 10:03 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Nail Yakupov heating up for Sarnia

There's no question Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater, has scored plenty of highlight-reel goals in his two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.

But Sunday's marker in a 6-2 victory over the Canadian Hockey League's top team, the London Knights, may have surpassed all others.

With Sarnia holding a 4-2 lead midway through the third period, Yakupov collected the puck at his own blueline, curled London forward Andreas Athanasiou before speeding up ice and bringing a crowd of 5,100 to the edge of their seats in anticipation.

It was Yakupov's first home game since Dec. 11, as he had been sidelined by a knee and wrist injuries suffered at various points throughout the season.
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Posted On Monday, 02.20.2012 / 1:05 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Caps' Green ready for more ice time

Defenseman Mike Green played his first game Saturday night since undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia Jan. 17. By itself, the injury didn't knock him out of the lineup, but he could tell he wasn't the same player.

"For the longest time before the surgery, even though I wasn't sore, I didn't have my skating stride," Green said. "I couldn't skate as well as I used to."

He said he could feel the improvement immediately after the surgery. Green played 14:14 in a 2-1 loss Saturday to Tampa Bay. Now he wants more ice time.

"Fourteen minutes felt like four minutes for me," he said. "I told (coach Dale Hunter) I want to play more, that I feel good, so we'll see."

With Green back in the lineup, Hunter said he will consider dressing seven defenseman against Carolina.

Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game:

WASHINGTON

Alexander Ovechkin – Mathieu Perreault - Troy Brouwer
Matt Hendricks - Brooks LaichMike Knuble
Jason ChimeraMarcus JohanssonAlexander Semin
Jay BeagleJeff HalpernJoel Ward

Karl AlznerJohn Carlson
Jeff Schultz – Denis Wideman
Roman HamrlikMike Green

Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth

CAROLINA

Justin Peters will get the start in goal for the Hurricanes, after Cam Ward tweaked a lower-body injury Saturday night and had to leave the game against the New York Islanders. Mike Murphy, who appeared in his first two NHL games in December, was called up from Charlotte to serve as the backup. Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller described Ward's status as day-to-day.

Jiri TlustyEric StaalJerome Samson
Drayson BowmanJeff SkinnerJussi Jokinen
Andres Nodl – Brandon SutterPatrick Dwyer
Anthony StewartTim BrentDerek Joslin

Tim GleasonBryan Allen
Jay HarrisonJustin Faulk
Jaroslav SpacekJamie McBain

Justin Peters
Mike Murphy
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Posted On Monday, 02.20.2012 / 10:43 AM

By Pat LaFontaine -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Pat LaFontaine discusses the rise of Dylan Holze

In this week's 'Making of a Royal' blog, head coach Pat LaFontaine discusses the meteoric rise of center Dylan Holze (5-foot-9, 150 pounds) of Lynbrook, N.Y. Holze, who is playing a huge role for the Long Island Royals this season, is currently fourth on the team in scoring with 39 points. LaFontaine has coached Holze five out of his eight seasons with the team.
 
Dylan Holze is kind of an unsung hero. He does everything really well, but I think his strongest attribute is his really strong hockey sense. He's a hard worker and his game has elevated over the course of a season.
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Posted On Monday, 02.20.2012 / 9:00 AM

NHL.com - Melrose Minute

My take on the first big trades before the deadline

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline doesn't hit for another week, but a few teams fired their first shots over the bow this week. Here is my take on what the moves of the last week mean and how they helped their respective teams.

Dominic Moore
Center - SJS
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 20
SOG: 78 | +/-: -10
Dominic Moore, San Jose Sharks: The big quesiton with this, and I hear it all the time, is why is this guy traded all the time? It seems like he's traded every deadline, and I think it just shows that he's wanted at every deadline. If you watched the San Jose game Sunday, he played a lot and was on the ice during the last minute of the game. He's a solid hockey player all around -- great on draws, a guy that can score, he's very committed defensively and he blocks shots. He's the type of guy that's very in demand this time of year when the checking gets tighter, the going gets tougher and draws get more important. In addition, most lines only have one guy that can take a draw, but Moore plays on the wing, too. That means he gives teams two guys that can take a draw on one line in the final minute of a close game. That's a very important thing this time of year. A team that's going to be playing a lot of hard-fought, close-checking games can use someone like Moore. He becomes a pretty valuable guy. That's why you see him moving this time of year so often.

Moore is the type of a gritty guy you go after to push your team to that next level this time of year. Obviously, you'd go for an elite goal scorer if you could, but the price tag on one of those is pretty high. If you look at teams that win Cups, the gritty guys become more important because the elite scorers get checked tighter. Those third and fourth-line types are the ones that become important. If you look at Boston last year, players like Shawn Thornton were scoring big goals. Dominic Moore fits that kind of mold.

Hal Gill
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 8
SOG: 34 | +/-: -5
Hal Gill, Nashville Predators: I like this move, but the minute I saw it, two things came to my mind. The first is that Nashville is definitely taking a run at the Cup. This gives them a very deep defense and Hal Gill has been excellent in the playoffs. When he has an assignment, and it's usually been to shut down the team's top line, he plays very well. Getting him can also free up Ryan Suter or Shea Weber from that role of shutting down the other team's top line, allowing them to use their offensive weapons as well. The other thing that went through my mind though, was 'Did they do this because they're going to give up Suter at the deadline?' Nashville is saying they aren't going to give him up and they're taking a run at the Cup, but this is solid insurance if they decide to get rid of him to make sure they get something in return for developing a player they expect to leave.

If they know Suter is likely to be gone on July 1, they have to trade him. It's a bad decision to lose all the assets you could get back for nothing. This is a guy who could bring really high-end prospects or a boatload of draft picks back in return.

Having those three guys together though, Weber, Suter and now Gill, gives them a top three defensemen that might be unmatched talent-wise in the West. Vancouver, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles all have talented defenses, but it's hard to beat a top three like these. Gill might get lost in the shuffle, but if you look back at what he did alongside Rob Scuderi in 2009 in Pittsburgh, he went against every team's top line every night and he always shut them down.

Nicklas Grossman
Defense - PHI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 5
SOG: 38 | +/-: 1
Pavel Kubina and Niklas Grossman, Philadelphia Flyers: Obviously, the overriding theme here is size. These are two gigantic defensemen, and they're both good defensemen. They're not top-pair guys. They're more like third and fourth defensemen, but they've got big bodies and they skate well for guys that size. Kubina has already won a Stanley Cup which gives the dressing room another experienced guy, but all of the sudden, a defense that wasn't very big after Braydon Coburn now gets a very nice addition of size, which in the Eastern Conference will be key when they have to grind it out against teams like the Rangers and Bruins. I think these are both solid moves and they add to the depth of that team in a big way considering how much is missing with the absence of Chris Pronger.

I don't think they're in the discussion for top teams in the East because their goaltending still isn't on par with teams like New York or Pittsburgh. The goaltending is definitely the Flyers' Achilles heel, but their defense now looks much better than it did a week ago.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 9:48 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

VAN @ EDM - 19:15 of the First Period



At 19:15 of the first period in the Canucks/Oilers game, video review determined that Manny Malhotra kicked the puck into the net with his right 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 Vancouver.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 8:21 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NSH @ DAL - 9:52 of the Second Period



At 9:52 of the second period in the Predators/Stars game, video review determined that Matt Halischuk batted the puck into the net with his right glove. According to rule 67.6 "a goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck with his hand into the net".  No Goal Nashville.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 7:47 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NSH @ DAL - 19:59 of the First Period



At 19:59 of the first period in the Predators/Stars game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Shea Weber's shot crossed the goal line with 0.2 seconds remaining in the first period. Good Goal Nashville.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 6:53 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blue Jackets, Rangers

NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist is back in net for the Rangers, but that's the only lineup change they'll have for Sunday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.

Ruslan Fedotenko, out since leaving a Feb. 9 game against the Lightning due to an illegal hit from Dominic Moore, who has since been dealt to the Sharks, skated in Greenburgh, N.Y. during the day, but coach John Tortorella offered no update on his winger's status.

The Rangers have yet to disclose the injury but have said it's not a concussion. Fedotenko tried riding a bike the day after the Moore hit but didn't feel well, so the Rangers shut him down. He took part in the team's morning skate Tuesday, but was held out of the lineup for that night's game in Boston and Thursday's home contest against the Blackhawks.

RANGERS
Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Michael Rupp - John Mitchell - Stu Bickel

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Marc Staal - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

The Jackets' lineup is more guesswork. Interim coach Todd Richards said Saturday following a home loss to the Blackhawks that the plan was to start Steve Mason in net. Rookie Ryan Johansen has been a healthy scratch of late, but he could possibly find himself in the lineup.

Here's what Columbus used Saturday:

BLUE JACKETS
R.J. Umberger - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal - Mark Letestu - Jeff Carter
Antoine Vermette - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Colton Gillies - Derek Mackenzie - Ryan Russell
 
John Moore - James Wisniewski
Aaron Johnson - Fedor Tyutin
Brett Lebda - David Savard

Steve Mason
Allen York

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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