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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Smith-Hart kick it off

The now famous version of "God Bless America" featuring Lauren Hart singing live and Kate Smith on the scoreboard from 1974 kicked off the alumni game here.

The fans, as expected, went bonkers when Smith was shown on the scoreboard singing the second stanza of the song. Hart stood patiently on the stage built over top home plate, waiting for her second part.

The opening faceoff was taken between Mark Messier and Bob Clarke. Clarke won the draw, and the alumni game started.

Remember, three 20-minute periods with running time and two 12-minute intermissions.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:24 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Players are introduced, Lindros gets huge ovation

They just showed a video montage with The Wallflowers "They Can Be Heroes" dubbed in. The fans here cheered when they saw all their favorite Flyers, and most loudly when they saw Eric Lindros.

A pair of drum cores are now banging away on the outfield stages built to resemble hockey sticks. One group is wearing Flyers jerseys while the other is in Rangers jerseys.

They've also brought out banners with the images of all the alumni playing in the game and more than two dozen people are holding them over the auxiliary rink. They then turned over the banners and revealed a sign that reads, "WE'RE BACK FOR YOU."

There are also roughly 20 flag bearers in front of each dugout.

Philadelphia native and ex-Rangers goalie Mike Richter was welcomed as an assistant coach with Mike Keenan. After Dan Blackburn was announced, Bernie Parent was welcomed by a huge ovation and the chants of "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie."

Brian Leetch came out of the visiting dugout after John Vanbiesbrouck, and he was summarily booed.

The rest of the introductions continued with Mark Howe, Chris Therrien, Bill Barber, Brad Marsh and Mark Recchi coming out before a rousing ovation for John Leclair.

There hasn't been much love for the Rangers here (the place, after all, is covered in orange), but Mark Messier got a nice welcome.

The Watson brothers, Joe and Jim, were introduced together. How sweet.

Bob Clarke got a loud ovation, but it seemed that the one Bernie Parent got had more volume to it.

Rick Tocchet, who has also become a TV celebrity in Philadelphia, as well as Brian Propp, Orest Kindrachuk, Reggie Leach, and Kjell Samuelsson.

Paul Broten was the last Ranger to be introduced, but there were still six more Flyers.

The loudest ovation was saved for the last second to last guy, Mr. Eric Lindros, No. 88. He got the longest and loudest welcome back to Philly of all his alumni teammates.

NHL.com blogger Jeremy Roenick had to wait in the dugout for Lindros' ovation to end before he could be called out to the ice.

Flyers owner, the only one they'v ever had, Ed Snider, dropped the ceremonial first puck between Clarke and Messier.

Time for the anthems and the game.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Canadian defenseman Murray proving he belongs

As the youngest player on the Canadian National Junior Team roster, Everett Silvertips captain Ryan Murray has certainly had a lot on his mind the last month.

Despite that fact, the 2012 draft eligible defenseman just so happens to be playing like a seasoned veteran alongside Scott Harrington for the unbeaten Canadians. Murray told NHL.com that he believes his role along the blueline for Canada coach Don Hay has changed a bit.

"I think so," Murray said. "They want me to be a shutdown guy here, which I kind of what I do in Everett too. They want me to keep things extremely simple. If I can chip in offensively, that's great, but that's not my job. My job is to shut down other teams' top line."

Murray has two assists and is tied for the team lead with a sizzling plus-8 rating in three games for the Team Canada.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:49 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Here's the game format

We just got word that the alumni will play three 20-minute periods with running time. There will be two 12-minute intermissions.

The warmups just ended here and the teams have left the ice. The ice crew is back on the sheet now, shoveling up and down the ice in unison.

It's like watching synchronized skating with shovels. They will not be bringing out the Zamboni machines to clean the surface before the start of the game.

Bob Clarke happened to be the last Flyers alumni leaving the ice and he got a rousing ovation as he stepped into the home dugout.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:37 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Rangers, Flyers alumni hit the ice for warmups

The Rangers alumni hit the ice at 2:30 on the nose to a chorus of boos. For those tracking at home, John Vanbiesbrouck led the team onto the ice, so he'll be getting the start from coach Mike Keenan.

The Flyers came on right after and as you can imagine, the cheers were quite audible.

This place is filling up and it's basically a sea of orange. Then again, so is the ice as the Flyers have 29 players while the Rangers have 22.

The in-house camera found Bernie Parent and his face went on the scoreboard above the left field stands, causing another huge ovation here.

It's pretty amazing that this is all for an alumni game. Seriously, can half of these guys even skate anymore to do this? Parent, who is 66, isn't bending down to stop any shots.

Today's NHL goaltending coaches wouldn't know what to do with this guy. He'd be shipped back to the ECHL.

Then there are guys like Mark Recchi, who is wearing No. 8 for the Flyers. The guy won the Stanley Cup in June. Is it fair that he's playing?

Heck yeah it is. This ought to be pretty fun.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:29 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars' Ryder ready to face Bruins

DALLAS -- The last time the Dallas Stars faced the Boston Bruins, it was on Feb. 3 in Boston and the Bruins came away with a 6-3 win. That defeat was a costly one for Dallas as they lost three players to injuries and the Stars went 1-6-1 in the eight games after the setback.

Dallas winger Adam Burish was one of the players who left that game injured, but he won’t go so far as to say there is any lingering bad blood from he and his teammates directed toward the reigning Stanley Cup champion Bruins.

“I guess the thing I remember most [about that game] is we got spanked. It just wasn’t even a close hockey game. We never really had a chance,” Burish said. “I think we got within two goals one time but they scored three pretty quick.”

Bruins center Gregory Campbell agrees there isn’t any bad blood left over from last season’s match-up or from any of the clubs’ previous meetings.

“Honestly, I don’t think too many guys have put too much thought into what happened last year. Two of the guys that were involved in that are not even on the team anymore,” Campbell said. “For us and for them, I think the most important thing is winning the game.”

Stars captain Brenden Morrow adopted a different approach when asked what he remembered from his club’s last meeting with Boston, issuing a simple, two-word, deadpan response of “We lost.”

Dallas has dropped two straight while the Bruins head into the contest tonight on a seven-game winning streak, a run where they have outscored their opponents 32-8 and Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan knows what to expect from the reigning champs in tonight’s contest.

“They’re a solid team. You look at their goals against. You look at their penalty kill. You look at their 5-on-5 game. You look at their team toughness and team speed. They’ve got everything,” Gulutzan said. “That’s why they won last year. I think it’s a really good measure for us as a team that’s trying to develop an identity.

For Stars winger Michael Ryder, who was with the Bruins for the last three seasons before coming to Dallas last summer as a free agent, facing his former club figures to be an interesting experience for the 31-year-old forward. Ryder signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Stars in July after winning the Cup with the Bruins.

“It’s going to be a little different, playing against these guys but it’s just another hockey game,” Ryder said. “It’s going to be odd playing against them but I’m here now and we’re trying to get the win.”

But whether there is bad blood between these teams or not, the contest tonight will be played in front of a packed American Airlines Center, a big plus for the Dallas players.

“I think the energy that will come from the game tonight will come from playing against the Stanley Cup champs. They embarrassed us last year. They beat the hell out of us last year,” Burish said. “We’ve got a full building tonight. It’s New Year’s Eve. That’s more of where the excitement’s going to come from rather than let’s get revenge. This is the Cup champs, sold-out building New Year’s Eve. Let’s have a good one.”

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:18 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

EDM @ NYI -13:15 of the First Period

At 13:15 of the first period in the Oilers / Islanders game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Matt Moulson kicked the puck into the net. No goal Islanders.

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."
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Winter Classic tale of the tape


Rangers -- 23-9-4, 50 points (1st in Atlantic, 1st in Eastern Conference)

Flyers -- 22-10-4, 48 points (2nd in Atlantic, 4th in Eastern Conference)

Last 10

Rangers -- 7-3-0

Flyers -- 6-3-1

All-time record vs. opponent

Rangers: 112-107-37-7

Flyers: 114-105-37-7

Head coach

Rangers -- John Tortorella (378-315-37-64 career record; 117-82-22 with Rangers)

Flyers --
Peter Laviolette (341-241-25-55 career record; 97-57-21 with Flyers)

Most points

Rangers -- Marian Gaborik, 33

Flyers -- Claude Giroux, 45 (tied for 1st in NHL)

Most goals

Rangers -- Marian Gaborik, 22

Flyers -- Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, 17

Power play

Rangers -- 15.2 percent (21st in League)

Flyers -- 19.3 percent (8th in League)

Penalty kill

Rangers -- 86.0 percent (6th in League)

Flyers -- 82.4 percent (15th in League)

Best in what period

Rangers -- 2nd period (plus-18 goal differential, 44-26)

Flyers -- 1st period (plus-7 goal differential, 42-35)

Active players under 30

Rangers -- 17

Flyers -- 16

First-round draft picks

Rangers -- 9 (Martin Biron, Michael Del Zotto, Jeff Woywitka, Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal, Brian Boyle, Ryan McDonagh, Steve Eminger, Wojtek Wolski)

Flyers -- 11 (Braydon Cobun, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Scott Hartnell, Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux, Andrei Mezsaros, Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr, Jakub Voracek)

Rookies on active roster

Rangers -- 2 (Carl Hagelin, Stu Bickel)

Flyers -- 6 (Matt Read, Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo, Harry Zolnierczyk, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Brayden Schenn)

Winter Classic experience

Rangers -- Two players (Mike Rupp, Erik Christensen)

Flyers -- Nine players (Danny Briere, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Maxime Talbot, Kimmo Timonen, James van Riemsdyk, Matt Walker)
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Ballpark filling up for some old-time hockey

The kids have been playing shinny on the auxiliary rink since just before 1 p.m. Citizens Bank Park started filling up with fans about a half-hour later. The band playing outside in Spectator Plaza has been heard loud and clear inside the ballpark since noon. Right now they're belting out some Pearl Jam.

It's quite the scene here at the Phillies home park. After nearly two weeks of non-stop construction, the place is finally filling up for a hockey game.

The Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game is set to begin in about an hour, and it is expected to be played in front of roughly 47,000 fans. Yes it's an exhibition and supposed to be fun, but try telling that to the fans here in Philly and the ones who came down from New York.

These are their old heroes battling their old enemies, and to them this is real.

Jeremy Roenick is doing his best to fuel the fire over Twitter. Roenick, whose Twitter name is @Jeremey_Roenick, tweeted, "Steph Matteau is in my sights.. Heads up today. Who else needs to get hit..." just after noon. He also mentioned how great it is that Eric Lindros is "lacin' them up today."

Lindros is here and ready to reunite with old Legion of Doom linemate John Leclair. The LCB line of Reggie Leach, Bob Clarke and Bill Barber will be together again.

Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Glenn Anderson, Stephane Matteau, Nick Kypreos -- members of New York's '94 Cup-winning team -- are all back together again. Mike Keenan and Colin Campbell will be joined on the bench by the legendary Emile Francis.

Dan Craig and his crew are pulling the insulated tarps off the ice and the sun has almost faded completed into the distance. You know the Alumni Game is going to start soon because this is the live blog for it, and now we're live.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:08 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

U.S. capt. Jason Zucker clarifies 'guarantee' win

EDMONTON -- There are times when your emotions get the best of you.

That might have been the case with U.S. National Junior Team captain Jason Zucker following his team's disheartening 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday at Rexall Place.

Zucker was one of the first players available to the media after the loss. The U.S. would later learn that they would be eliminated from medal contention for the first time since 1999.

When asked about his team's chances against Team Canada in the New Year's Eve clash on Saturday, Zucker responded:

"We're going to beat them," he said. "That's what we're going to do. We're going to try our best and we're going to go out there and we're not going to change anything we do. We're going to play."

Zucker was again asked about his comment Saturday morning:

"There is no guarantee, you can't guarantee a win in this tournament, but we're going to come out and play like we're going to win and that's what I was saying," Zucker said. "We're going to give it everything we have and, in our mind, we're going to win this game.

"It's a huge rivalry and you have to come out and give a good fight."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players