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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 2:54 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Wings won't overlook struggling Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Two Original Six teams with gloried histories will meet tonight, but that is just about the only similarity you could find between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Red Wings have been the NHL’s model franchise for years, a team with stable management that has followed a well-thought-out plan to produce consistent contenders. The Canadiens once were in that position but haven't been there for quite some time, and currently are enduring a franchise-record Stanley Cup drought of 18 years that in all likelihood will be extended this season.

On paper the game between the League's first-place team and one that sits 24th in the standings should be no contest. And that is exactly what Red Wings coach Mike Babcock does not want his players to be thinking.

"I sure hope not," Babcock said after the Red Wings' morning skate. "I think this team has good players, I know their goaltender's outstanding. They seem to play a tight, organized system. I know they did under Jacques (Martin, former coach), and I know Randy (Cunneyworth) from coaching against him in the minors, so I don't think they'll be any different. It's going to be a tough test for us. I think we understand that each and every night."

Babcock said people should not let the Red Wings' current seven-game win streak fool them into thinking his club simply is steamrolling over the League.

"You know, when you win games, game after game after game, some people on the outside think you're winning them all by a touchdown," he said. "They’re 3-2 and 2-1 every night, it's tight every night. It's a shootout, it's overtime -- it's a grind."

Babcock isn't joking, as four of the Red Wings' wins in their current streak came via the shootout while another came in overtime.

Detroit's last loss was Jan. 10 on Long Island, a situation that is somewhat similar to the one the Red Wings will face tonight in Montreal -- facing an Eastern Conference team sitting near the bottom of the standings.

"The Islanders beat us like a rented mule. It wasn't even fair," said Babcock. "We thought they were the '68 Habs. I'm not trying to take anything away from them, but we weren't ready to go. Sometimes those things happen, it's an 82-game schedule. Yet we've been a pretty consistent team that's found ways to play well without the puck and score enough goals to win most nights."

Star center Henrik Zetterberg said the players want to correct what has been their only fault this season, and that's a 13-13-0 record on the road.

He said playing in the charged atmosphere of the Bell Centre should help the Red Wings.

"We haven't been as good as we wanted on the road, even though we've won a few games lately," said Zetterberg. "I don't think we're playing to the standard that we want. Especially coming into this building, you kind of circle this date early in the year. We're looking forward to this. It's great fans, it's real loud -- we're going to be fired up to play here."
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 12:50 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lidstrom's status in question as Wings visit Habs

MONTREAL -- There is some intrigue regarding tonight's lone game on the NHL schedule, the Detroit Red Wings versus the Montreal Canadiens.

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom left the morning skate early and was announced as a game-time decision due to illness.

Should Lidstrom be unable to go, it would snap his team-best streak of 213 straight games played.

On the Canadiens side, Travis Moen and Petteri Nokelainen are both out with upper-body injuries, meaning Randy Cunneyworth will dress seven defensemen and AHL call-up Andreas Engqvist will be in the lineup.

The goaltending matchup will be no surprise as fellow All-Stars Carey Price and Jimmy Howard will be in the nets.

Here are the expected lineups, and we're going on the assumption Lidstrom will dress:

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

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

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec - Scott Gomez
Andrei Kostitsyn - Lars Eller - Michael Blunden
Mathieu Darche - Andreas Engqvist

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin - Raphael Diaz
Hal Gill - Tomas Kaberle
Chris Campoli

Carey Price
Peter Budaj
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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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