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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 8:31 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NSH @ STL - 8:54 of the First Period

At 8:54 of the first period in the Nashville / St. Louis game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that David Legwand kicked the puck into the net. No goal Nashville.

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 Friday, 12.30.2011 / 8:01 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CGY @ OTT - 3:40 of the First Period

At 3:40 of the first  period in the Calgary / Ottawa game, video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that  Olli Jokinen's shot did not cross the goal line. No goal.

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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 7:05 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Vasilevski overshadowed by Kuznetsov's performance

It's not hard to go overlooked when your teammate puts up 9 points in one game.

But that doesn't mean the goaltending of Andrei Vasilevski thus far at the 2012 World Junior Championship has gone unnoticed by his fellow Russians.

Though it was Yevgeni Kuznetsov recording 9 points in Russia's 14-0 rout of Latvia Thursday, the game also marked the second of back-to-back shutouts for Vasilevski.

Vasilevski, who has started two of Russia's three games in the tournament, has yet to allow a goal at the World Juniors, turning aside 70 straight shots en route to a pair of blankings against both Switzerland and Latvia.

The fact that a puck still hasn't gotten by Vasilevski hasn't been lost on his teammates.

"It's good for us," said Alexander Khokhlachev, who has 3 goals and three games for Russia. "When we come here we have some questions about goaltenders but he's played great for us. He's a young guy and he has two games, two shutouts."

Only two goaltenders – Latvia’s Kristers Gudlevskis (85) and Denmark’s Sebastian Feuk (122) have faced more shots than Vasilevski, who has yet to show a blemish on the scoresheet.

"We kept high hopes for our goalie," Kuznetsov said through a translator. "He's a young guy, so hopefully it'll continue that way."

It hasn't been the quantity of saves from Vasilevski, but the timeliness of his stops that has coach Valeri Bragin beaming about his goaltender.

"It's most important in the moments where you need your goalie to play well and he played well," Bragin said through a translator. "He played good when he needed to play good."

Vasilevski's next test will come against Sweden on New Year's Eve. He will need to be equally as good for Russia with the potential of first place in Group A on the line.
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 6:32 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Power-play woes have stalled Rangers' momentum

SUNRISE, Fla. -- With the New York Rangers' power play slumping, Coach John Tortorella tried some different combinations at practice on Thursday.

He's hoping for better results starting with Friday night's game at Florida, although that doesn't necessarily mean more goals with the man advantage.

"The biggest thing with our power play that's frustrated me right now is, let alone not scoring goals, it's been the last little while here, the last few games, it's slowed our momentum down," Tortorella said. "We haven't even gained momentum off our power play. That's very important.

"You're not going to score on your power play all the time. You look at the percentages, it's 20 percent. It's not a high percentage. But you need to try to gain some momentum and we've gone the other way with it. I thought in practice yesterday it went really well, I'm hoping that we get some sort of momentum and that we get some goals out of it."

The Rangers have gone 1-for-16 on the power play over the last five games, the only goal coming from captain Ryan Callahan in the 4-2 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 23.

New York also could use more overall production from center Brad Richards, whose only point in the last eight games came on his last-second game-winning goal at Phoenix on Dec. 17.

Tortorella said he would start Friday night's game with the same line combinations he had in Washington, but didn't rule out switching things around at some point.

That, however, does not include the line of Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik, which Tortorella says will remain intact.

Tortorella also confirmed that Henrik Lundqvist would be in net against Florida.
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 6:18 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Rangers staying in the moment as Classic nears

SUNRISE, Fla. -- A couple of hours before his team's final game before the highly-publicized Winter Classic, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella said he didn't have to tell his players to stay in the moment.

In fact, he said he hasn't done that once since HBO cameras started following the team for the series "24/7," a behind-the-scenes look at the Rangers and the Flyers heading into Monday's Winter Classic between the teams at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

"We haven't even talked about it," Tortorella said. "We have other things to talk about regarding last game as far as within our play. I'm not concerned about that at all. I haven't been all year long. I think our team is mature enough. We've gone through a lot of different things at the beginning of the year, we've handled them. So that hasn't even been in the discussion."

Tortorella said the focus before Friday night's game was making sure his team understood and learned from the mistakes made in its last outing, a 4-1 loss at Washington on Wednesday night.

That the Winter Classic is next for the Rangers is irrelevant, as far as Tortorella is concerned.

"I don't care what the Philadelphia ... Philadelphia is next on our schedule ... after this game," Tortorella said. "Listen, I know it's the Winter Classic and all this and all that, but we don't approach it that way. This is an important game for us to try to answer (for) a game I thought our decision-making was poor and I don't think we played hard enough. So this is an important game for us to try to get it back on the tracks."
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 6:07 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Memories of Mike Keenan run deep for Ranger alum

PHILADELPHIA -- When he was coaching in the NHL, there weren't many who came with a scarier reputation than Mike Keenan.

His toughness earned him the nickname "Iron Mike," but his savvy brought the New York Rangers a Stanley Cup in 1994, their first since 1940 and only championship in the past 71 years.

The 62-year-old Keenan will be behind the Rangers bench once again, but only for the 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

On Thursday, former Rangers Darren Turcotte and Paul Broten, who will be on the ice for the alumni game at Citizens Bank Park, talked about the potential fireworks that could come with Keenan as their coach once again.

"Now I can just turn around and say whatever," said Broten, who played under Keenan with the St. Louis Blues but not for the Rangers. "I'm not being paid. I can say whatever I want. He can go a fly a kite. It was different when I was being paid to play. He can't trade me."

Turcotte only spent 13 games with the Rangers before he was dealt to the Hartford Whalers, causing him to miss out on the Stanley Cup run. His experience with Keenan was limited, but he still left an impression.

"I played for some pretty tough coaches growing up," Turcotte said. "I played for my dad, who was known as one of the toughest coaches in northern Ontario. I played for Bud Templeton in North Bay for four years. Fortunately, for me, I was prepared for Mike Keenan's style. He also did some things that were a little bit…you look back, and we won our first four games of the season, and we lost to Anaheim at home in Game 5. Even though we started 4-1, we got to the rink the next day and there were no pucks on the ice. We skated for about 45 minutes straight.

"Then he preceded to kick everybody off the ice. He was sitting in the dressing room waiting for us with our five-game bonus checks. He made sure everyone came over and took them personally and shook our hands and congratulated us after drilling us into the ice for 45 minutes.

"Mike had his way of motivating. For me, I was just going to work as hard as I could because I wanted to be a Ranger."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 6:05 PM

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

Wings ready to roll with rookie fourth line

CHICAGO -- The label people like to put on the Detroit Red Wings is "aging," as a number of their star players are getting into the latter stages of their careers.

However, the Wings' average age will drop for Friday night's game against the rival Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center (8:30 p.m.) thanks to an all-rookie fourth line.

Regular third-line center Darren Helm and fourth-line right wing Tomas Holmstrom are out with groin injuries, so Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is ready to go with Gustav Nyquist, Cory Emmerton and Joakim Andersson as his fourth line on Friday night.

That makes the 23-year old Emmerton the veteran of the trio -- as both Nyquist and Andersson will be playing just their second NHL games.

"They're good hockey players, but I'll just try to calm them down the first couple of shifts," Emmerton said after Detroit's morning skate on Friday. "I'm still young, so I'll try to do the same thing for myself. But I'm the oldest guy and I've got the most games played. It's a weird feeling, but I think we’ll be fine."

It could also be fun for them, trying to prove they belong in a heated rivalry game against the League's top team.

"Chicago's a great team, so it's going to be a real good test for us," said Emmerton, who has just 28 NHL games under his belt. "It's kind of fun for there to be a young line to just go out there and do what we can and help the team. It's one of those games it's pretty easy to get excited for."

Nyquist, who's from Sweden, is thrilled for a couple of reasons.

It's a second chance to try and impress Babcock after not making much of an impression in his NHL debut against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 1, but it's also going to happen in front of his parents and brother -- who'd planned to see him play in Grand Rapids and celebrate New Year's with him this weekend. Now they'll see him in the Windy City on Friday night.

"My parents and my brother are in town, so it will be a great time for them up in the stands," he said. "They were here for three days in Chicago and drove back to Grand Rapids to see me over New Year's. Right after practice I got called up, so I went right back with them to Chicago."

The decision to play all the rookies on the fourth line means that Justin Abdelkader -- who'd been centering the fourth line -- moves up to take Helm's spot in the middle of the third line between Drew Miller and Danny Cleary.

"He'll do good," said Helm, who made the trip despite the groin issue and having 20-stitches in his lip after getting hit in the face with a puck during the warm-up for Tuesday's game against St. Louis. "He's played in a lot of different situations and a lot of different spots and he's always done really good. He's a good player and when he gets a chance with those two guys he'll be able to jump right in there and contribute."

The Wings will miss Helm, though. He's not only the fastest skater on the team, but he's become a pest on the penalty kill and regularly gets breakaway chances off his work on that unit.

"It’s a loss all over," Babcock said. "Helmer's a tenacious, hard-working, great player for us and him and Cleary have given us a line a lot like what (Dave Bolland) does for (Chicago). It gives you a third group that’s really good and it wears on the other team. That's an opportunity for Abby. I've never met a player that wanted to play less. Here's an opportunity for Abby here tonight. Grab hold of it and do something with it."
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 5:16 PM

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

Mrazek standing tall for Czechs in 2-2 tie

EDMONTON -- Two periods in the books here at Rexall Place and Czech Republic goalie Petr Mrazek is standing tall.
 
The U.S., which needs to win in regulation if it is to have any chance at reaching the medal round, is currently in a 2-2 tie with the Czech Republic after two periods.
 
Despite allowing the United States six power-play opportunities, the Czechs can thank their lucky stars that the Detroit Red Wings prospect is manning the cage. Mrazek has turned aside 31 shots as the Czechs, while attempting to play a physical game, are getting penalized time and again for being overly aggressive.

The U.S. opened a 2-1 lead on its second power-play goal of the game in the second period when Bill Arnold cleaned up a rebound to Mrazek's right at the 11:50 mark. Jason Zucker took the initial shot from the low in the right circle that deflected off the pads of Mrazek and onto the stick of a well-positioned Arnold.

The lead was short-lived, however, as U.S. forward T.J. Tynan made an ill-advised pass from the his own corner towards the middle of the ice that was easily picked off by Tomas Hertl. Goalie Jack Campbell had retrieved the puck and fed to Tynan to begin a transition. After intercepting the pass, Hertl skated in and deposited a nifty backhand to goalie Jack Campbell's long side.

The Czechs survived an offensive barrage by the U.S. in the first to enter the intermission in a 1-1 deadlock.

U.S. goalie Jack Campbell, making his first start since the tournament opener against Denmark, has stopped 17 shots.

The U.S. was given an extended power-play just 2:21 into the game when Czech forward Petr Straka was issued a five-minute boarding penalty and game misconduct. Straka leveled U.S. defenseman Derek Forbort along the boards at center ice. Forbort remained on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice by teammates. He did not receive another shift in the period -- shortening the U.S. blue line to six players.

T.J. Tynan made the Czechs pay when he converted a picturesque feed from J.T. Miller from in tight at the 5:14 mark to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. The Czechs did a marvelous job killing off the remainder of the penalty, however, and even killed off a later two-minor minor before Tomas Filippi knotted the score at the 12:05 mark. Filippi's initial shot from low in the right circle was initially stopped by Campbell, before he jammed in the rebound when the goalie couldn't control the rebound while opened the five-hole.

The U.S. closed out the period with a four-minute power-play after Petr Zamorsky was whistled for a double minor for high sticking. Mrazek was his usual sharp self between the pipes, making several big stop, including a juicy rebound off the stick of Miller with 38.9 seconds remaining.


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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 4:37 PM

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

USA, Czechs tied after one period

EDMONTON - The Czech Republic survived an offensive barrage by the U.S. National Junior Team in the first period on Friday in Group B preliminary round play at the 2012 World Junior Championship to enter the intermission in a 1-1 stalemate.
 
Despite allowing the American nine minutes in power-play time, Czech goalie Petr Mrazek was able to turn aside 17 shots to keep his team even. U.S. goalie Jack Campbell, making his first start since the tournament opener against Denmark, needed to make just five saves.
 
The U.S. was given an extended power-play just 2:21 into the game when Czech forward Petr Straka was issued a five-minute boarding penalty and game misconduct. Straka leveled U.S. defenseman Derek Forbort along the boards at center ice. Forbort remained on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice by teammates. He did not receive another shift in the period -- leaving the United States with just six defensemen.
 
T.J. Tynan made the Czechs pay when he converted a picturesque feed from J.T. Miller from in tight at the 5:14 mark to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. The Czechs did a marvelous job killing off the remainder of the penalty, however, and even killed off a two-minor minor that followed before Tomas Filippi knotted the score at the 12:05 mark. Filippi's initial shot from low in the right circle was stopped by Campbell, but the rebound was jammed home.
 
The U.S. closed out the period with a four-minute power-play after Petr Zamorsky was whistled for a double minor for high sticking. Mrazek was his usual sharp self between the pipes, making several big stops, including a juicy rebound off the stick of Miller with 38.9 seconds remaining.
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 3:38 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Predators-Blues probable lineups

The probable lineups for tonight's Nashville Predators game at St. Louis Blues:

Blues

David Perron - David Backes - Chris Stewart

Evgeny Grachev - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie

Matt D'Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner

Vladimir Sobotka - Scott Nichol - B.J. Crombeen

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Roman Polak

Ian Cole - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

The Blues are without Alex Steen (concussion-like symptoms), Andy McDonald (concussion), defensemen Kent Huskins (ankle) and Kris Russell (groin), along with winger Ryan Reaves (hip). The likely scratches for tonight would be Adam Cracknell and Chris Porter, although Grachev could be scratched in favor of Porter. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was unsure this morning.
Predators

Martin Erat-David Legwand-Craig Smith

Sergei Kostitsyn-Mike Fisher-Patric Hornqvist

Colin WIlson-Nick Spaling-Jordin Tootoo

Gabriel Bourque-Jerred Smithson-Matt Halischuk

Ryan Suter-Roman Josi

Francis Bouillon-Jonathon Blum

Jack Hillen-Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Anders Lindback

Defenseman Kevin Klein (flu) will miss tonight's game. They will scratch winger Brian McGratton.
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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential