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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 12:26 PM

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

Maple Leafs give Liles four-year extension

John-Michael Liles hasn't played for the Toronto Maple Leafs since Dec. 22 due to a concussion, but when the defenseman does return to the lineup it will come with the security of a four-year contract extension.

TSN reports the extension, announced by the team on Wednesday, is worth $15.5 million total.

Liles, an eight-year NHL veteran in his first season with the Maple Leafs, had 4 goals, 21 points and a plus-2 rating through 34 games before suffering the concussion.

A fifth-round pick by Colorado in the 2000 Entry Draft, Liles has career totals of 72 goals and 296 points in 557 games with the Avalanche and Maple Leafs. Nearly half of those goals (35) have come on the power play. He also has 4 goals and 11 assists in 36 playoff games.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 11:17 AM

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

Melrose Place - Second Half Guarantee

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 11:14 AM

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

Melrose: Best Save, Goal, Coach before All-Star break

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 11:10 AM

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

USA Hockey names Bowman to advisory committee

USA Hockey announced Wednesday that Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been added to the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group, which is charged with leading the selection of players for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship.

"We're excited to have Stan join our advisory group," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey. "His experience evaluating players and his passion for international hockey will be a great asset."

Bowman, in his third season as Blackhawks GM, was at the helm in 2010 when Chicago won the Stanley Cup to end a 49-year championship drought.

"I'm honored for the opportunity to contribute to this group, and to the continued success of the U.S. Men’s National Team on the international stage," Bowman said. "Thanks to the efforts of NHL teams in their local markets, and USA Hockey on a national level, the game has never been stronger in this country."

Bowman will join Brian Burke (Toronto Maple Leafs), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia Flyers), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles Kings), David Poile (Nashville Predators), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh Penguins), Dale Tallon (Florida Panthers) and Don Waddell on the advisory committee.

The 2012 World Championship will take place from May 4-20, in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 10:42 AM

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

Roenick: All-Star Game will be great, but needs Ovi

NHL analyst and former All-Star Jeremy Roenick is penning a weekly blog for NHL.com this season. Look for new entries from, "World According to JR," every Wednesday. Roenick offers sharp, can't-miss opinions on What's Clicking and What's Missing in the National Hockey League.

All-Star Weekend is upon us, so naturally this blog entry has to do with all things All-Star related. There is so much to appreciate at this time of the year, but there's also one storyline this week that really disappointed me:

What's clicking?

It is really cool that with Ottawa hosting the All-Star Game, the fans there really got behind their players by voting and getting four of them onto the rosters. That shows a lot of commitment and a lot of loyalty from the fans to their players, and you can tell that they're really excited about having the All-Star Game come to their city.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 10:02 AM

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

Grigorenko returns to form with Remparts

Top draft prospect Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has left little doubt that he remains an extremely viable draft option despite missing some time with an ankle injury this season.

Since returning to Remparts lineup two games ago on Jan. 21, Grigorenko has responded with two goals. On Tuesday, he scored in regulation and then connected for the decisive goal in the third round of a shootout to lead Quebec over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens at the Georges Centre in Chicoutimi.

Grigorenko scored both his goals against Chicoutimi's Christopher Gibson, a second-round (No. 49) draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings last June. A player many expect to be drafted among the top three choices at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh on June 22, Grigorenko took two shots on goal and won 7 of 18 face-offs in Tuesday's win.



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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 9:51 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

TOR @ NYI - 2:06 of Overtime

At 2:06 of overtime in the Maple Leafs/Islanders game, video review conclusively determined that Clarke MacArthur's shot completely crossed the goal line. Good Goal Toronto.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 8:14 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PHA @ FLA - 10:34 of the First Period

At 10:34 of the first period in the Flyers/Panthers game, video review was used to determine if the net came off the pegs prior to Brayden Schenn's shot crossing the goal line. The video review was inconclusive, therefore the call on the ice stands. Good Goal Philadelphia.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 5:49 PM

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

Melrose: Who I like in the All-Star Skills Competition

With All-Star Weekend coming up in Ottawa there are so many great events we'll get to watch. One of the best is the annual NHL All-Star Skills Competition, which will happen Saturday night at Scotiabank Place. Because the captains haven't drafted their teams yet, it's hard to predict who will win each event, but for the more individual competitions, I know who I like.

Here are the people I expect to shine Saturday night:

Hardest shot: There are a lot of people who can slap the puck pretty hard, but to me there are just two guys that matter in this competition: Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara. It came down to those two last year and it was Chara that took it all, breaking his own record for the win at 105.9 miles per hour. This time around though, I like Weber to win the rematch, and I'll take him in the hardest shot competition.

Fastest skater: There are plenty of guys to watch out for here, but I know who I like and it's the local boy, Erik Karlsson from the Senators. This kid can fly, and kid might be the key word there. With these events, a lot of older guys don't want to do it, so I'm leaning toward the younger guys. If Marian Gaborik was in it, I would think he'd be one of the guys that would be right there, as would someone like Marian Hossa or Brian Campbell. But I think the younger guys are the ones who will get the spotlight -- after all, last year's final round was between Michael Grabner and Taylor Hall. I could see someone like Tyler Seguin getting in the mix, too, but I think it's Karlsson in this one.

Shooting Accuracy: I really like this event. I think it's more of a hockey contest than just some made-up drill, because you have to catch the pass, shoot the puck, and your timing is definitely involved, too. For this one I'm going to go out on a little bit of a limb and say Jason Pominville. I don't think anyone is talking about Buffalo unless we're talking about negative stuff, but Pominville is definitely one of the bright lights for the Sabres. If you watch his goals, they all go at an area. They're upstairs and they're rockets over the goalie's shoulder. Guys who can shoot like that are the ones who do well here -- guys like Jarome Iginla or Claude Giroux. I like Pominville this time around.

The Breakaway Challenge and Elimination Shootout are hard events to predict, but if I was going to pick a forward to watch in those I think my first guy would be Patrick Kane. He's just awesome. I know he's not scoring goals like he normally does this season, but if you saw that move he made on Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom in the shootout recently, you know he's still got it. That was tremendous. He might be the most dangerous guy on a breakaway in the League. I like the moves Tyler Seguin has, too, and of course Pavel Datsyuk has to be in the mix, but if I really wanted to pick one guy to look out for it would be Patrick Kane.

As for the Challenge Relay, without knowing who is on Team Alfredsson and who is on Team Chara, it's impossible to know who can win, but the guys I would look for in those events are the quick, smaller guys. Bigger players like Chara are mobile, but sometimes their mass is just too large and they can't turn quick enough to make a difference. The smaller, shorter guys who have a low center of gravity and not as big an area to turn are the ones to look out for, and I really think Phil Kessel is a guy who would be great in this kind of event. Datsyuk and Kane are also players to look out for in an event like this, but for a guy his size with those skills and the way he's playing this season, I think Kessel will be a huge factor.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 5:26 PM

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

Toews will be missed in faceoff circle as well

CHICAGO -- Not having Jonathan Toews will definitely be a challenge on Tuesday night for the Chicago Blackhawks, but for more reasons than just his outstanding leadership and offensive skill.

Toews also leads the League in winning faceoffs (61.1 percent) and usually takes the most important draws on a nightly basis. So, how will the Hawks cope in the faceoff circle without him against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night?

For starters, there likely will be more responsibility placed on the wingers to get to pucks off the draw first.

"I think you've got to tie up the puck, tie up the centermen and look for help," said Jamal Mayers, Chicago's veteran fourth-line center who's won 55.6 of the draws he's taken this year. "(Toews) is the best in the League for a reason, because he works at it. He's committed to starting with the puck. It's better to start with it than to chase it and I think that obviously it's going to be a group effort to win those draws tonight."

Thanks largely to Toews' efforts, the Hawks are the third-ranked team in the NHL in faceoff percentage (52.1 percent), while the Predators are 20th with a success rate of 49.5 percent.
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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares