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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:28 PM

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

Blackburn giving star performance

Dan Blackburn didn't have a long career in the NHL, and in the second period here he's looking like he's making up for some missed opportunities.

Blackburn just made a sprawling kick save on a one-timer from Jeremy Roenick. He went from his left to right, went down on his left hip, kicked up his right leg and kep the puck out of the net.

Minutes later, Blackburn read the pass from John Leclair to Mark Recchi on a 2-on-1, and he came across, this time from his right to left, to make another tremendous pad save.

Blackburtn is swimming all over his crease, but the Flyers can't seem to beat him. He's the only reason the Rangers alumni aren't getting blown out here.

It's still 2-0. Blackburn gets a star by his name.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:20 PM

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

Kypreos needs some penalty shot practice

The second period started much like the first, with the Rangers owning the territorial advantage. Except, this time there was no Bernie Parent to be the story.

Rangers goalie Dan Blackburn was instead the story early with a big-time split save with the left pad on Ken Linseman, who is wearing goggles for glasses, a new fashion statement that probably won't catch on in today's NHL.

Kerry Fraser whistled for a slashing penalty on Eric Lindros, who whacked Nick Kypreos' stick in the corner. Instead of getting a power play, Kypreos got a penalty shot opportunity, but Mark LaForest was up to the task, making a pad save to preserve the Flyers 2-0 lead with more than 15 minutes left in the period.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:04 PM

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

Czech Republic and Finland prepare for puck drop

EDMONTON - The Czech Republic and Finland are prepared to do battle in what is a pretty big hockey game today at Rexall Place.

The winner will earn the second seed in the Group B pool. Finland currently has two wins and one loss for 6 points and Czech has two victories and one loss with 6 points. The Czech Republic scratches for the game include Vancouver Giants defenseman David Musil.

Finland lineups
G-Samie Aittolkallio
Mikael Granlund-Markus Granlund-Pulkkinen (Hakanpaa-Makinen)
Donskoi-Salomaki-Armia (Pokka-Hovinen)
Barkov-Aaltonen-Ruuttu (Ristolainen-Riikola)

Czech lineups
G-Petr Mrazek
Sekac-Jaskin-Holik (Riha-Krejci)
Uher-Filippi-Nosek (Mozik-Jank)
Straka-Hertl-Pribyl (Hrbas-Zamorsky)

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:51 PM

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

Make it 2-0 Flyers, Keenan must be steaming

The Flyers grabbed a 2-0 lead on a goal by Shjon Podein at 12:15 of the first period.

Rick Tocchet came in almost alone, but he fanned on his backhand. The puck was loose in the slot and Podein cleaned it up.

The FLyers are getting outshot, 14-4, but they've got the 2-0 lead with 5:54 to play in the first period.

Ron Duguay has to still be kicking himself. Seriously, he couldn't score on a breakaway against a 66-year-old goalie.

Word is Mike Keenan is planning a bag skate for tomorrow's practice.

Or, at least he would be if there was a practice.






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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:48 PM

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

It's Doomsday again for Rangers

The Rangers felt the Doom again.

Eric Lindros and John Leclair teamed up to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 9:40 of the first period.

Mark Recchi freed up the break down the right side by knocking Darius Kasparaitis out of the play. Lindros then got around another Ranger and went in for a 2-on-1 with Leclair.

Lindros waited until he was almost through the right circle before feathering a pass over to Leclair. He tapped it into the net to give the Flyers the lead.

The fans, as you can imagine, went nuts. But, how many of them were wishing it was Mikael Renberg and not Recchi on the ice?

That's no offense to Recchi, it's just with Renberg the Legion of Doom would be complete. Renberg is tending to other obligations and couldn't be here.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:42 PM

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

LaForest is no slouch either

Bernie Parent's replacement, Mark LaForest, made a quick impact with two pretty fantastic saves, especially for a guy who is 49 years old.

He made a kick save on Mark Messier and a snapping glove save on Darren Turcotte.

The game is 8:02 old and is in its first TV timeout. It's scoreless, but the Rangers are leading 9-2 in shots.

The Flyers, though, are leading in memorable moments thanks to Parent.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:36 PM

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

Parent has still got it

It took less than a minute for Bernie Parent to face his first test. He had to sprawl his not-so-limber 66-year-old body out to make a save.

Then, just over two minutes into the game, Ron Duguay, broke loose on a breakaway, but Parent came up with a pad save. He didn't have to go down to the ice for that one.

The fans loved it. Parent has still got it.

And, four minutes into the game, Parent said he had had enough. He took himself out and was replaced by Mark LaForest.

Parent took a quick twirl in front of the bench as if he was the game's first star. You know what, in a way he is already. The guy made five saves, including stoning Duguay on that breakaway.

Duguay will never live that one down.



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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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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp