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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:52 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Boychuk making progress toward return

BOSTON -- Although he's been ruled out of tonight's home game against New Jersey, Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk today continued to make progress toward a return to the lineup.

Boychuk, who suffered a concussion last Saturday in Ottawa, skated on his own before the Bruins' practice Wednesday. Today he took part in an optional morning skate with his teammates and increased his heart rate both during the skate and after it, as he stayed on longer than most of the other players.

"I'm feeling pretty good. Just got out there, got a skate in and we'll see how I feel. Just going day by day, I guess," Boychuk said.

It was Ottawa forward Chris Neil's big hit on the forecheck that knocked out Boychuk in Saturday's third period. Boychuk compared it to being "run over by a train," but he also stressed that it was a clean hit.

If Boychuk continues to feel well, he'll practice again with the team Friday and then could make his return to the lineup over the weekend. Given that teammate Nathan Horton hasn't skated for several weeks after his initial attempt to get back on the ice after a concussion, Boychuk knows these types of injuries can be tough to predict. However, he's not fretting over that.

"You can’t really be nervous," he said. "You go out there, you see how you feel. If you feel good, then you feel good. If you don't, then you get off."


Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:46 PM

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

Callahan out, Scott in for Rangers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan will miss Thursday's game with an injured foot. Coach John Tortorella said no decision has been made on who will take his spot on Brad Richards' line.

Forward John Scott will make his Rangers debut after being acquired from Chicago ahead of Monday's trade deadline.

Martin Biron gets the start in goal for the Rangers.

We had the Hurricanes lineup earlier; here's what the Rangers likely will counter with:

Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ruslan Fedotenko
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
John Scott - John Mitchell - Mike Rupp

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Marc Staal - Stu Bickel

Martin Biron will start in goal, with Henrik Lundqvist the backup.
Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:45 PM

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

Marc Staal faces Eric for first time since big hit

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thursday's game between the Rangers and Hurricanes will be the first time Hurricanes forward Eric Staal and his brother, Rangers defensemen Marc Staal, have played against each other since Eric's big hit put Marc out of the lineup last February with a concussion.

"I enjoy competing against him," said Eric. "I enjoy the fact that I'm playing a game I love and he is, too. He wasn't (playing) last time (in New York), so that was difficult for me."

Then Staal quickly added with a laugh, "And the fact that I got booed every time I touched (the puck) -- that was different. It will be good to put this game behind us and focus on our teams."
Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:36 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

New Jersey gets latest crack at defending champs

BOSTON -- The New Jersey Devils will try to snap a three-game losing streak, and also try to defeat the Boston Bruins for the first time in four tries this season, tonight at the TD Garden.

Although this is the Devils' final meeting with the Bruins in the regular season, they could run into the defending champs in the postseason. If the season ended today, second-seeded Boston and seventh-seeded New Jersey would meet.

Nonetheless, the Devils aren't looking at this game as any type of playoff preview. They're looking at it more like a chance to start playing better. They had won four in a row before their current slide.

"I think more so for ourselves, just to get back on track, try to get back in the winning column. We've been playing well, we've been playing some good hockey, we just need to do a better job of generating some more offense,"  captain Zach Parise said after the Devils' morning skate. "But I think this is definitely a team that's going to be there at the end of the year, so we definitely want to make sure we play a good game against them."

In an effort to jostle his team's offense, New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer has juggled his forward lines, including moving Dainius Zubrus from third-line center to second-line right wing with Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias.

Here’s how the Devils' lineup should look tonight against the Bruins:

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg


Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:32 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Zanon will make Bruins' debut against Devils

BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed that defenseman Greg Zanon will make his debut with the team tonight when Boston hosts the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden.

Zanon was acquired in a trade from Minnesota on Monday and arrived in the Boston area late Tuesday night morning. He practiced with the team Wednesday and took part in an optional morning skate today.

"Obviously, every system has it's little adjustments. But hockey's hockey in the end, and you just go out there and play," Zanon said. "You just have to make sure you keep things in mind. It's a defensive style, so it's pretty easy for me just to fall into my spot and allow the rush to come to me and let the play happen. I'm not too much of an on-attack defenseman, so I'll wait for my opportunities, and when I get my opportunities to make a play, make a hit, I'm stepping up to do what I can."

Julien said that Mike Mottau, who was also traded to Boston on Monday, would be the healthy scratch against the Devils.

Here's the Bruins' projected lineup:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - David Krejci
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Brian Rolston - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Greg Zanon
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask



Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 11:51 AM

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

Rangers' Callahan out vs. Hurricanes

The New York Rangers announced that captain Ryan Callahan will miss Thursday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with a bruised foot.

Callahan, who is considered day-to-day, suffered the injury Monday night against the New Jersey Devils, but was not forced to leave the game. Newly acquired John Scott will take his place in the lineup.

Callahan has 25 goals this season, second-most on the team.
Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 9:47 AM

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

Melrose Place: Best non moves of the deadline

Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 9:46 AM

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

Melrose Matchup: Panthers at Jets

Posted On Wednesday, 02.29.2012 / 8:02 PM

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

Kane, Hawks look forward to next meeting with Nashville

CHICAGO -- Barry Trotz was just doing what he does when asked a question, which is giving his honest opinion about the subject.

Still, the Nashville Predators' coach seems to have caught the attention of the Central Division rival Chicago Blackhawks -- Patrick Kane in particular -- by offering his thoughts on the nine-game losing streak in February that caused the Hawks to slip from the top of the Western Conference to sixth.

Trotz was asked about it while Nashville was preparing to play the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 17 in the Motor City -- three days after the Preds beat the Hawks 3-2 in Nashville and one day after Chicago ended its skid by beating the New York Rangers 4-2 in Madison Square Garden.

Trotz told reporters he thought a big part of the Hawks' woes stemmed from too many forwards "cheating" to create offense and not playing a 200-foot game. He said "forwards" several times, but did single out Kane as one example.

"Kane had no speed, and thank God because when he gets rolling he's hard to stop," Trotz said. "I was actually happy that he was cheating [against us]. [Marian Hossa] was the one guy who was sort of playing a complete game and he ended up being the most dangerous guy all night -- and [Jonathan Toews] was the real deal. He was really trying to will that team that night. Some of the other guys were cheating too much - trying to do the right thing, but doing the wrong thing, if you know what I mean."

Kane, it turns out, did know what he meant -- but still wasn't thrilled to hear it coming from the coach of a division rival.

"I think for me personally, you take offense to it for sure," Kane told NHL.com on Wednesday at the United Center after Chicago's morning skate. "It's one of those things that ... I'll be excited to play those guys again."

Kane, who has 14 goals and 36 assists in 64 games, compared the criticism to critical comments made in 2009 by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell -- then a Vancouver Canuck. Mitchell was quoted as saying that Kane "couldn't play five-on-five" when the Canucks and Hawks met in the 2009 Western Conference semifinals.

Kane wound up torching the Canucks for a hat trick in the deciding Game 6 of the series against Roberto Luongo.

"I know different things like that kind of pump me up a little bit, whether it was Willie Mitchell saying it in the playoffs a couple years ago or Trotz," Kane said. "[I'm] excited to play them again. That's for sure."

Does Kane feel there was any validity to what Trotz was talking about?

"Sometimes it catches your [attention] to hear that," Kane said. "He's probably been living real high this year with the way their team's been playing and the way their team's shaping up a little bit, but I don't know ... we've had a good team in the past and our team's done well, so it's kind of tough to criticize a team that's had some success in the past. That's where I think it kind of ticks you off. But I'm sure all of us will be ready to play that game."

The Hawks and Preds only have one more regular-season game left this season, on March 31 in Nashville, but there's always the possibility they could meet in the postseason -- if so, it would be a rematch of an intense first-round series in 2010 that preceded Chicago winning the Stanley Cup.

Kane, however, did say he's been doing some things differently on the ice since Chicago's losing streak.

"I'm trying to take more pucks to the net and make more plays," he said. "Speed's a big part of my game, so I'm definitely trying to incorporate that."
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