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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 3:06 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Canucks show flashes, search for consistency

The Vancouver Canucks will try to bring the final period of a six-game road trip home with them – and leave the period that preceded it in the rear-view mirror for good – when they play host to the struggling New York Islanders on Sunday night.

Vancouver showed how dominant it could still be while outshooting Anaheim 22-2 and scoring three times in the third period to make things interesting Friday. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the defensive collapse that spotted the Ducks a four-goal lead, resulting in a 4-3 loss to finish the recent trip with a 3-3-0 record.

In a lot of ways, those final two periods have been a microcosm of a Canucks’ season that is stuck at .500 and yet to meet the expectations set a year ago. There have been stretches where they look like the team that won the President’s Trophy and came within a game of adding the Stanley Cup. But too often they have been undone by a lack of either of execution or intensity as several key players try to rediscover their form.

"When we've been at our best, we've shown we're a better team,” captain Henrik Sedin said after a morning skate Sunday. “You've got to show up for 60 minutes each game and we haven't done that. There have been games where we've been good for 50 minutes, but those 10 minutes where we haven't played our best have hurt us.”

Coach Alain Vigneault said the inconsistency comes down to half a dozen shifts, and is, "all abot being a professional."

"You look at the at road trip and in my mind we should have won five out of six games," Vigneault said. "But there is five or six percent of those games where for whatever reason we are not making the right plays and when we don't make the right plays the puck ends up in the back of our net. We’re not that far off, but we’re five or six per cent off and that's six, seven shifts in a game that are hurting us right now."

Given how things finished in Anaheim, it should be no surprise that the Canucks are expected to start with a similar lineup against the Islanders, even if some might be surprised to see Jannik Hansen alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin in place of Alex Burrows.

Hansen scored twice in the final frame, and three of his four goals this season have come on the right side of the Sedins, including one in Chicago three games ago.

“There’s a good chance that’s what we’re going to do,” coach Alain Vigneault said of leaving Friday’s third-period lines intact. “We came on real strong there.”

Here are the rest of those lines from the end of the Anaheim game, though it’s still possible David Booth could move back onto the second line with Ryan Kesler, with Chris Higgins dropping back and moving across to the right side of the third:
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Alex Burrows
Manny Malhotra - Cody Hodgson - David Booth
Aaron Volpatti - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise

Vancouver’s defensive pairings will again include Aaron Rome, who was not suspended after receiving a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for elbowing after Friday’s high hit on Anaheim forward Devante Smith-Pelley. Rome got a call from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and said the conversation will help in the future.

"Those calls are good to let you know where you stand and what you can and can't do so there's not a grey area. It was good in that sense,” said Rome, who was suspended for the final four games of the Stanley Cup Finals for a late hit on Boston’s Nathan Horton. “We had a good conversation. He let me know what I can and can't do. He let me know the decision process and where the league is coming from and wants the players to have a sense of what's legal and what's not. … It was close.”

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Aaron Rome

Roberto Luongo will be back in goal for the Canucks Sunday after getting pulled after four goals on 10 shots in the second period in Anaheim.
POSTED ON Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 2:59 PM

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

Carcillo on the mend after taking puck to his face

CHICAGO – One of the better talkers inside the Blackhawks locker room is forward Daniel Carcillo, but he’s currently having a little trouble speaking because of stitches left behind from oral surgery to repair a bottom tooth plus cuts to his upper and lower lips.

Carcillo was accidentally hit with a puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets this past Thursday after Grant Clitsome hit him square in the mouth with a clearing attempt behind the net. Carcillo didn’t have time to get out of the way and the puck knocked out a tooth – which was his third lost since he started playing hockey.

The other two are the front upper teeth, which were knocked out by a stick back when he used to play for the Phoenix Coyotes.

“It happens (playing pro hockey),” Carcillo said of getting hit in the face with the puck. “I’ve never had it happen to me until now, but obviously we’re not wearing shields and it’s a fast game. If someone shoots a puck at your face and you’re two feet away, there’s really not much you can do.”

Carcillo said he had surgery Saturday to install the post for an artificial tooth but didn’t know the number of stitches it took to close the cuts. Carcillo, who will be in the lineup Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers, said that Clitsome apologized for what happened.
POSTED ON Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 1:19 PM

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

Eager back in lineup, faces old friends

Following Edmonton’s Sunday skate at the United Center, Oilers coach Tom Renney said that former Blackhawks forward Ben Eager – who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010 – will return to the lineup against his former team (7 p.m. ET)

Eager was a healthy scratch Friday night in Detroit. Renney, however, hasn’t made his mind up about who will come out of the lineup to make room. The thinking among Edmonton reporters is that Lennart Petrell will be the odd man out, but after two straight losses it could by a number of guys.

Renney said he will think about it Sunday afternoon and make a game-time decision. Eager played against the Boston this past Thursday, but Renney said it wasn’t anything he did in that 6-3 loss that prompted his exit from the lineup against the Red Wings the next night.

“I don’t want guys out too long,” Renney said. “We’ve got a young team here and players have to play. It might not be what they’re not doing out on the ice (when they get scratched). It’s who’s out and who needs to get back in.”

The Oilers are looking forward to wrapping up this six-game road trip and hoping to end their two-game losing streak. They’ve dropped three of the first five on the trip.

“Our last really, really good game from start to finish for us was (vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 3),” Renney said. “That was because nobody really cared, other than making sure we all played off the same page and just did a really good job of everything together. We need to get back to that.”

Since that game, Edmonton has averaged just two goals a game and won just once in four outings. Simplifying things against the Blackhawks is what the Oilers are hoping will get them back on track.

“Sometimes when you’re squeezing the stick, whether you’re young or old or a forward or D-man … even a goaltender, you go a little outside of yourself and outside of what’s required of you within the team concept to have success,” Renney said. “That can be damaging.”

Here's the projected lineup for the Oilers tonight:

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle or Alex Hemsky
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Alex Hemsky or Jordan Eberle
Ryan Jones - Sam Gagner - Eric Belanger
Ben EagerAnton LanderLennart Petrell or Magnus Paajarvi

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Corey Potter - Andy Sutton
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk
POSTED ON Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 12:05 PM

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

Bolland still out for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Center Dave Bolland will miss his third straight game for Chicago with a foot injury that he hurt while blocking a shot against the St. Louis Blues last week.

Bolland will make the Hawks' annual upcoming six-game "circus trip" to the West coast and Western Canada, with the hope of making his return at some point on that venture.

"He's going to be on the trip," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said following Chicago's optional skate at United Center on Sunday. "Hopefully he gets to play in one of the first two games."

Here is the Blackhawks’ projected lineup for their game Saturday game against the Edmonton Oilers:

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Daniel Carcillo - Patrick Kane - Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell - Marcus Kruger - Michael Frolik
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers - Rostislav Olesz

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Nick Leddy
Steve Montador - John Scott

Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks and Ray Emery will back him up.
POSTED ON Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 11:32 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CGY @ COL - 13:16 of the Second Period

At 13:16 of the second period in the Flames/Avalanche game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that on Milan Hejduk's shot the puck hit a Calgary Flames stick on the way into the net. Good goal Colorado.

POSTED ON Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 7:50 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

MTL @ NSH - 13:49 of the First Period

At 13:49 of the the first period in the Canadiens/Predators game, video review looked at whether the puck was batted in or was kicked in, however, the replay upheld referee Brad Watson's call on the ice that Canadiens forward David Desharnais scored in a legal fashion.  Good goal Montreal.

POSTED ON Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 7:31 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Inductees honored prior to Sens-Leafs showdown

TORONTO -- Hockey Hall of Fame Weekend is officially under way.

The four player inductees -- Doug Gilmour, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mark Howe -- were honored Saturday night at Air Canada Centre prior to the Maple Leafs-Senators game.

The night started with a video tribute that showed several members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, including Gilmour and Nieuwendyk in their Maple Leaf blue. Gilmour got the first of what will be several ovations over the next three days.

After introducing 15 members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, including Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, the Class of 2011 got their due.

Since Gordie Howe was the final of the 15 introduced, it was only natural that Mark Howe was the first of the incoming Hall of Fame class to greet the crowd. He walked the line and ended with an embrace with his dad.

How cool is that?

Nieuwendyk was the next up and he received a standing ovation. Nieuwendyk spent the 2003-04 season in Toronto and became a fan favorite. He also received an ovation for winning the gold medal with Team Canada in 2002.

Belfour was up next, and keeping with his natural quirkiness (some call it individuality) he was not dressed the part. While everyone else was wearing a suit, Belfour was wearing a leather jacket and did not have on a tie.

Finally, the ultimate fan favorite here in Toronto, Gilmour got his introduction. The fans stood and applauded and cheered almost the entire time as the P.A. announcer read his biography.

Gilmour, Nieuwendyk, Belfour and Howe stood beside the Toronto Maple Leafs logo on the carpet draped over top center ice as the Leafs and Senators came onto the ice and assembled on their respective blue lines.

Gilmour brought the puck out for the ceremonial faceoff and he dropped it between Dion Phaneuf and Daniel Alfredsson. Soon enough, the legends stepped off center stage, the blue carpets were rolled up, the anthem was performed by Beverley Mahood and the game got under way.

The Hall of Famers will be back here at Air Canada Centre for the annual Legend's Game, where they will be honored again and receive their Hall of Fame jackets.

Now it's time for a hockey game.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

POSTED ON Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 4:19 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Button remembers how much Belfour cared

Craig Button worked in the Dallas Stars organization when Ed Belfour was serving as the team's star goalie in the mid-to-late 1990s. Button stayed around the team a lot and spoke to Belfour quite often.

Here Button tells NHL.com a story that he believes helps define the type of private, quirky, and yet caring guy Belfour is, and the type of hard-driving, emotional teammate he was:

"I remember one day in training camp talking to him, and he was like, 'You know what, these guys have to work harder. They have to understand that there is more to this,' " Button recalled during a wide-ranging phone interview. "He cared. He cared about the young players and he understood from where he had come in his career that these were important elements. He wanted to impress upon me that this is what these guys have to do and they have to understand it. He might not have been comfortable telling people about that, but he was always that guy that was doing those things to prepare himself and make sure he gave himself the best chance to perform.

"You'd like to say, 'Ed, you go tell them.' But, you have to understand Ed's personality. So, that is where you took the information from him and tried to impart that onto the younger players. That was good. It becomes part of teamwork in a different way."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
POSTED ON Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 4:11 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kings captain Brown praises Murray for milestone

Terry Murray’s 1,000th game as an NHL coach is Saturday night, and he has done a good job of deflecting the attention.

He reiterated that the focus should be on the game, but captain Dustin Brown acknowledged that 1,000 games is a “big milestone.” Brown also said that Murray’s calm demeanor was the ideal match for a team that made a lot of mistakes when Murray arrived in Los Angeles in 2008.

“I’ve played for all sorts of coaches, and having him especially the last few years, we were a growing team,” Brown said. “He didn’t come in and yell at a lot of young guys. We had a lot of young guys in here making mistakes, (and) now I think it’s benefited some of these young guys.”

That carries over into a more mature team today that doesn’t need many closed-door meetings with Murray as in the past.

“We’ve won one or two games out of the last seven or whatever it is,” Brown said. “Guys are aware of it, (but) he doesn’t even have to come in. It’s the type of team we have.”

Latendresse out: Minnesota will play its first game since Guillaume Latendresse suffered a concussion Thursday.
Cal Clutterbuck could take Latendresse’s place at top line wing and Warren Peters will be inserted into the lineup, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Josh Harding is expected in goal, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Here is the projected lineup for Saturday night:


Cal Clutterbuck - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Devin Setoguchi - Matt Cullen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Nick Johnson - Kyle Brodziak - Darroll Powe
Colton Gillies - Warren Peters - Brad Staubitz

Nick Schultz - Marek Zidlicky
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser

Josh Harding
Niklas Backstrom


Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Brad Richardson - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Trevor Lewis - Colin Fraser - Ethan Moreau

Drew Doughty - Willie Mitchell
Jack Johnson - Rob Scuderi
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
POSTED ON Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 4:07 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Roberts dishes on ex-teammate and ex-neighbor

We'll open our 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame blog with a funny story from Gary Roberts about Doug Gilmour. Roberts talked to me about his relationship with Joe Nieuwendyk for this story, but he also played with Gilmour in Calgary and Ed Belfour in Toronto.

Here goes:

When St. Louis shipped Doug Gilmour to the Flames, he bought ex-NHLer Craig Berube's house that was located just down the street in the same South Calgary development as where Gary Roberts lived.

Roberts and Gilmour became immediate friends and carpool mates, even if it meant Gilmour had to wait for the younger Roberts a few times.

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday