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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 9:03 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

SJS @ TB - 1:44 of the Second Period

At 1:44 of the second period in the Lightning/Sharks game, video review was initiated because Michal Handzus shot entered the net after the post was dislodged.

The referee, however, awarded the goal on the basis of rule 63.6 "In the event that the goalpost is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal."  Good Goal San Jose.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 8:47 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CHI @ NYR - 14:48 of the Second Period

At 14:48 of the second period in the Blackhawks/Rangers game, the situation room in Toronto initiated a review of a play. Brad Richards' shot was stopped by Corey Crawford before completely crossing the goal line. The referee then blew the whistle ending the play with the puck still not completely over the goal line. No Goal New York.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 7:45 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

Rule Clarification - CHI/NYR

At 5:18 of the first period in the Blackhawks/Rangers game, the Blackhawks were assessed 2 minor penalties, 1 to Andrew Shaw for holding and 1 to John Scott for boarding. In this case Rule 19 (Table 17) applied and  Chicago's captain has the choice to play one player short-handed for four minutes or two players shorthanded for two minutes.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 4:44 PM

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

Eaves may not return to Wings' lineup this season

DETROIT -- Patrick Eaves' fractured jaw is healed, but he still has lingering concussion symptoms from getting hit in the right side of the head by a slap shot in late November that might keep the Detroit Red Wings forward out the rest of the season.

Eaves needed surgery to repair the broken jaw that he suffered on Nov. 26 at Joe Louis Arena late in a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators. He was struck while blocking a slap shot at close range by Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi. It appeared to hit Eaves square in the ear hole of his helmet as he positioned his body to block the blast.

Eaves, who skated on his own without equipment on Thursday and does light conditioning work off the ice, immediately went down. He was carried off by a stretcher and taken to a local hospital for further treatment. The good news is the bone has healed after surgery to fix the jaw, but the bad news is that painful headaches and other concussion-like symptoms remain.

"I'm dealing with a lot of headaches right now, but yeah, it's getting better, slowly," Eaves told Bill Roose, managing editor of DetroitRedwings.com, on Thursday morning. "I have [a headache] pretty much all of the time."

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said on Thursday that he's going ahead with plans for the rest of this season thinking Eaves won't be in the playing group until next season.

"He's had concussion-like symptoms, probably had a concussion," Holland said. "He's feeling better every day. He doesn't want to push it. He'll wake up [Friday] and see how he feels. I'm going to plan that he's not going to be ready to play this year, but I'm hoping he does play this year."

Detroit hosts Nashville on Friday night in the midst of an NHL record 21-game home winning streak and the Preds haven't been back since the game Eaves got injured.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 4:27 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL.com Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

Ducks, Oilers make minor deal

The Anaheim Ducks acquired Ryan O’Marra from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Bryan Rodney, both teams announced Thursday.

O’Marra played seven games for the Oilers this season, and has one goal and seven points in 31 career NHL games. He was a first-round pick by the New York Islanders in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Rodney has spent the entire 2011-12 season with Syracuse in the American Hockey League. He has five goals and 20 points in 41 games for the Crunch this season. Rodney has one goal and 13 points in 33 career NHL games – all with the Carolina Hurricanes.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:36 PM

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

Blues look to get back to basics against Islanders

ST. LOUIS -- It's been more than three months since Ken Hitchcock took over the reigns of the St. Louis Blues, but winger T.J. Oshie remembers a specific point of emphasis.

"When Hitch came in, step one was getting pucks to the net and funneling pucks to the net," Oshie said. "That's the very first thing he said, 'We're shooting pucks every chance we get.' And we've gotten away from that. I think that's the biggest part, getting back to that ... then after that, guys are going to be getting more scoring opportunities."

Following a disturbing 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, owners of the worst record in the NHL, on Tuesday night, the Blues (34-15-7), who entertain the rising New York Islanders (24-24-8) tonight, have gotten back to it the last couple days. And the message is funnel pucks to the net, specifically off the goalie's pads.

"It was nothing that was too technical out there," defenseman Barret Jackman said of practice. "It was a lot of straightforward 3-on-2 rushes, 5-on-5 play, getting the pucks on net, battling in front of the net. That's the way our team should play ... very simple, very direct. Getting that work ethic back mentally is a good sign."

And why did things need to be reiterated?

"I think we were trying to move a lot of pucks sideways (Tuesday) instead of just putting the puck on net and letting those guys drive the net and getting rebounds and getting the dirty goals," Jackman said. "I think we were trying to maybe make plays above the d-men where they can get sticks on it or their trackers could come back and be effective. I think it's tough for a d-man when a shot goes in behind you off the pads, you've got to turn around, find it and box a guy out. That's what you need to do.

"Collectively, I think it's the worst game we've played all year. I don't think we played a strong team game, I don't think we won many battles and won clean draws that turned into scoring chances. Our defensive play was not there."

The loss Tuesday thwarted the the Blues' fifth chance at a five-game winning streak this season. They've had a handful of four-game winning streaks and been good at nipping prolonged losing skids in the bud.

The Blues have a neighbor roughly 300 miles north in Chicago that is currently living a nightmarish 0-8-1 skid. Things can snowball on you quickly, and the Blues have gone no more than three straight games with a loss (only once, when they were 0-2-1).

"I think they realize that good teams can go through bad stretches, and you have to recognize it right away," Hitchcock said. "First, know that there's a problem and you're willing to look at the problem right square in the eye and then deal with it.

"I was impressed with the way guys dealt with it (Wednesday). The response at practice was good. It was competitive, guys had fun competing against each other, it was a lot like game-like situations. A lot of competitive scoring and guys really dug in and did a good job. I'm impressed by that. Now it's all about the response. We want to get back on the bike (tonight) and start to play well again."

Added Oshie: "It's been tough on (Chicago) and we talked about that. That's not where we want to be. This could be a step in that direction but hopefully we save it, hopefully everyone bears down. ... (Tonight) is a huge game for us ... character-wise as a team, if we can bounce back from a tough loss."


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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:31 PM

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

Blues need to get more out of Stewart

ST. LOUIS -- What seems like an ever-lasting time zone in which St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is trying to light a candle under underachieving power forward Chris Stewart was on full display Wednesday at practice.

Stewart, a top-six forward by nature, was skating on the Blues' fourth line with Scott Nichol, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves, in an effort to find that spark plug that has mysteriously been hidden from a player coming off back-to-back 28-goal seasons.

"It's a working foundation," Hitchcock said. "You couldn't get a better worker than Scott Nichol. Before you can think about scoring goals, you've got to start to work. So we need a working foundation so we can get to the next end. Whether it's for one period, one shift, one game, 10 games ... who knows. We need the working foundation here.

"We need a working foundation. When the work is there, the reward will be there.

Is this something Hitchcock has considered for a while?

"Yes," he quickly replied.

Stewart, who has 11 goals and 22 points in 53 games this season, was one of the Blues' best skaters and performers in a full-scale practice Wednesday following a bad 2-1 loss at NHL-worst Columbus on Tuesday night.

"It's obviously a message ... message loud and clear," Stewart said. "I've been in this position before ... just got to get back to work. Obviously not contributing offensively and something had to be done. They feel like that's the right approach and I'll just go from there.

"It is what it is. I can't really do anything about it now. Come out tomorrow and put together a good first period and hopefully get back up there. Just take it one game at a time."

There have been rumblings as to whether Hitchcock would consider sitting Stewart a game or two to get the message across.

"No, but we need to see more," Hitchcock said. "We need to see more work, more second and third effort so his skill can take over.

"He's got elite skill. We just need to see more. Your skill can't come out until the work foundation's in place."

Stewart said it's not from a lack of trying.

"Yeah. I mean, I'm obviously out there trying, giving it my all every night," he said. "But at the end of the day, if they don't feel that's good enough, then I've got to show more. It's up to them to give me the job description and up to me to do it. The good thing about this game is we've got another game tomorrow, come out and give it my best."
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:26 PM

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

Mutual respect between Tavares, Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS -- Count Blues coach Ken Hitchcock as a fan of Islanders sensation John Tavares, the No. 1 pick of the 2009 Entry Draft.

Tavares, who has 22 goals and 55 points in 56 games this season, played for Hitchcock last summer for Team Canada at the World Championship in Slovakia. He led Canada with 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points in seven games.

"I think Tavares is an elite player in the League right now. I really liked him as a player in the World Championships," Hitchcock said. "He was arguably our best player by the end of the tournament. I think as good a player he is, I think he's still an underrated player.

"Everybody said, 'Not sure if he can help you here, blah, blah, blah.' They were worried about his speed on the big surface, which was not relevant at all. They were worried about his quickness ... he pulled away on guys. And he is really strong on the puck. To me, he's Jonathan Toews-strong on the puck. He's a heck of a player and he has puck patience like not very many players do. He's got strength and puck patience where he's able to protect the puck ... I don't think there's maybe five guys in the League that can play like that."

Tavares said he learned a lot under Hitchcock.

"He was very thorough," Tavares said. "For young players, that can be really helpful understanding parts of the game. He understood managing the game. Coaching the game, you could tell what he expected from you and how we wanted to approach every game and what he expected out of us. He pushed the right buttons at the right times and did the right things in giving us a chance to win. It's good to see him doing well now.

"When I go to a tournament like that representing my country, it's a chance for me to learn from not only my teammates, but a guy like him that's got so much knowledge and experience in the game. I definitely tried to learn from him and find some things that can make me a great player."

Tavares' play in Slovakia certainly has carried over to his third season in the NHL.

"I just think it's the overall mindset of the player, a player that wants to be an All-Star, that wants to put the team on his back," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "How do you do that? It starts in the summer, starts with his training, his preparation, how he prepares for the season. He's finding his way through this League now.

"He is an elite player. He's going to continue to get better. He's a lot stronger on the puck now, playing with more confidence and the ability to make some plays."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:12 PM

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

Reasoner, Weight looking forward to facing Blues

ST. LOUIS -- When No. 16 of the Islanders steps out onto the ice tonight, there may not be many Blues fans that remember, but Marty Reasoner was the franchise's No. 1 pick (No. 14) way back in the 1996 Entry Draft.

Reasoner, who played parts of three seasons with the Blues totaling 95 games (17 goals, 30 assists), is on his sixth franchise after signing a one-year deal to play on Long Island this past summer.

"It's a story of survival, trying to hang on," Reasoner said. "When I came in coming out of college, I was scoring a lot of points. I was an offensive guy. Even here, I was put in that role a little bit on and off. I had short spurts of success. It was definitely a big learning experience, learning to become a pro and how to play. It's that evolution of a player: you start out one way and you get chewed up and spit out totally different. I look at myself now and that was like I was a different person."

Reasoner credited current Blues director of hockey operations Al MacInnis and team color analyst Kelly Chase as being most influential on his career, and mentioned players like current assistant coach Scott Mellanby, Pierre Turgeon and Scott Young as players he enjoyed here.

"Starting as a young guy, it was an exciting time," Reasoner said. "We had some pretty good teams and some pretty good memories. I learned a lot as a player. At times it seems like a long time, but other times it seems like it was yesterday. It was definitely a fun time, and it's good to see this organization come full circle and back to its winning ways. It's definitely a great sports town.

"There's a lot of range of emotions as far as it being your first team, good memories. It's definitely a special place. It's always fun to come back and play and relive old times. There's not much of that team left. There's been a lot of turnover. I don't know if that's just me being around too long, or there's been that much turnover. It was definitely a great time, played with some great players and learned a lot from some very good players in this League."

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Sticking with the Blues reunion theme, current Islanders senior advisor to the general manager and assistant coach Doug Weight is back in St. Louis as well.

Weight, who spent parts of six seasons and two stints with the Blues, playing in 364 of his 1,238 games (75 goals, 220 assists), retired after the 2010-11 season, his 19th in the game.

"It's been fun, it's been educational, and I've learned a lot in helping (general manager) Garth (Snow) on the managerial side and certainly being on the bench. These coaches have been good to me, and it's been very educational," Weight said. "To be around the game, and what we're trying to build here, it's exhilarating. It's never going to feel like when you're walking out of the tunnel, going on the ice and competing, but certainly the next best thing."

Weight was traded twice by the Blues, once to Carolina near the trade deadline in 2006 before resigning here in the offseason, and again in 2007 to Anaheim, netting the Blues Andy McDonald.

"They seemed to have found their ground and the way they have to play," Weight said of the Blues. "Of course they've had some great goaltending and that's been a key for them. But they're battling and they're committed ... it's going to be great to see the fans and it's going to be a great atmosphere tonight."

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The Islanders, eight points in back of Toronto in the Eastern Conference, know their challenge is great tonight despite a 4-0-1 run in their last five on the road.

The Blues are tied with Detroit for most home wins (24) and are 16-0-3 in their last 19 games at Scottrade Center. Their last regulation home loss was Dec. 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We're up against a real good hockey team tonight," coach Jack Capuano said. "We're going to have to be at our best.

"It's a challenge and it's a good challenge. It gives us a chance for our team to see where we're at to play against a big, physical team. A team that's got good size, good goaltending, special teams. They've really done well on home ice. They're a stingy team, there's no question. They play solid defensively. The territorial edge will be key in tonight's game for sure."
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:11 PM

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

Grigorenko compared to two big legends

The closer we get to the 2012 NHL Draft, the more fans will want to know which Russian forward will be the first off the board -- Sarnia's Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League or Quebec's Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

While the odds are squarely in the corner of Yakupov, NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau wouldn't at all be surprised if Grigorenko gets the nod. Many draft pundits have compared Grigorenko with Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin, but Bordeleau offered another interesting take.

"Mikhail doesn't possess the speed of Malkin, but do you remember Alexander Yakushev, the big center on the Russian team from the 1972 Summit Series?" Bordeleau asked.

Yakushev, nicknamed 'The Big Yak', led the Soviets in scoring against Team Canada in the famous '72 Summit Series with 7 goals and 11 points. His goal total tied him with Canada's Phil Esposito and Paul Henderson for the tournament lead.

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Quote of the Day

I'm sure [my father] was going crazy up there. I hope all of my friends were celebrating in the crowd. Coming back here and all of my friends and family are here, getting a goal in front of them is special.

— Blues forward Ryan Reaves on scoring the game-winning goal Sunday against the Jets in his hometown of Winnipeg
2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series