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NHL Insider

Crosby hungry for NHL action -- and solid food

Monday, 04.08.2013 / 2:48 PM / NHL Insider

When Sidney Crosby first returned from his concussion issues last season, he said one of the things he was concerned about was the 10 pounds he put on while unable to do much in the way of exercise.

Now he's got the opposite problem.

Crosby spoke with reporters Monday while recovering from a broken jaw sustained during a game against the New York Islanders on March 30. He said while his mouth is healing, he's still restricted to a liquid diet, making it difficult for him to maintain the 200 pounds he's listed at.

"It's been shakes," he said. "Hasn't been too enjoyable that way. Maybe next week I'll be able to [eat solid food]. Milkshakes early on, but trying to keep it a bit more healthy now. It's pretty much impossible to keep weight on right now. I'll be excited when I can eat, for sure."

Schultz not concerned by return to Anaheim

Monday, 04.08.2013 / 11:28 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

LAKEWOOD, Calif. -- Irony surrounded Justin Schultz when he stepped outside a local practice rink to talk to reporters.

The facility is owned and operated by the Anaheim Ducks, and their webbed-D logo is evident. As Schultz talked, his Edmonton Oilers equipment bag was being loaded into a truck adorned with that Ducks logo, headed toward Honda Center.

That's where Schultz will be public enemy No. 1 Monday, when he plays in Anaheim for the first time since he spurned the Ducks -- the team that drafted him with the 43rd pick of the 2008 NHL Draft -- and signed with Edmonton this past summer. Schultz almost chuckled and was coy when asked what reception he'll receive.

"I don't know," he said. "We'll see when game time comes. Whatever happens, it is what it is."

Having it come this late in the season might make it easier because he's played in opposing NHL buildings for months now. Schultz heard it in the American Hockey League when his Oklahoma City Barons played at Abbotsford, the affiliate of the rival Calgary Flames.

Heading into final quarter, plenty of faces to watch

Monday, 04.08.2013 / 10:30 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Twenty days remain in the 2012-13 NHL season and so much is still up in the air.

The final quarter of the season is here, which means the sprint to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is on. The field is full; only a handful of teams can say they don't have a chance.

But how will it end? Which teams will cross the finish line knowing there are more games to play in May? Who will we be talking about once it's all said and done?

Here are 14 people who will shape the final weeks of the regular season:

Maple Leafs' patience with Kadri paying off

Monday, 04.08.2013 / 9:57 AM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The local reaction to Nazem Kadri's breakout NHL season for the Toronto Maple Leafs has varied, ranging from, "What took you so long?" to "Wow, I thought you'd have to be traded to finally make it here."

The reality, though, is after a few false starts, the 22-year-old is proving beyond any reasonable doubt he belongs in the NHL. Entering their game Monday against the New York Rangers, Kadri leads the Maple Leafs with 17 goals, and his team-best 39 points place him 11th in the League. There have been times in the past few weeks when he has been comfortably inside the top 10, and it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest he ultimately will finish there.

Not bad for someone who, only a few months ago, was a healthy scratch with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. While Kadri has not yet earned the role of No. 1 center on a team trying to make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004 -- that spot belongs to Tyler Bozak, who skates between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk -- he has become a main cog in Toronto's blossoming offense. When Kadri and left wing Joffrey Lupul are in the lineup together, they have shown signs of becoming a dynamic duo.

"He has always had the potential and skill to be a phenomenal player, but I am a little surprised because he seems to have exceeded everyone's expectations … perhaps even his own," said Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser, who played with Kadri on the Marlies last season and again during the NHL lockout this season. "I have no doubt that he believed he could do this in the NHL, but to do it in your first full season is pretty impressive."

Blues rediscover their style to fashion win streak

Sunday, 04.07.2013 / 7:37 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The St. Louis Blues understand it's a new season, but getting back their game that was so successful a season ago would bode well for a team trying to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

That means winning tough, gritty and sometimes even ugly games -- but with plenty of character.

Count Sunday's 1-0 victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena as one of those tough, gritty, character wins.

Of the Blues' 49 victories in 2011-12, many were of this variety.

"It's not always pretty," said Blues left wing Chris Porter, who had the goal Sunday. "We would like to play better in certain situations, but that's the game of hockey. Four [wins] in a row is great, but we can't look too far ahead."

Bruins getting used to skating with legendary Jagr

Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 2:15 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL – It's not every day a player gets a chance to skate with a living hockey legend, unless said player happens to be Boston Bruins forwards Tyler Seguin or Brad Marchand.

Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand have accomplished a lot in their brief NHL careers, but even they were star struck when coach Claude Julien put new acquisition Jaromir Jagr on their line. (Photo: NHLI via Getty Images)

They were the lucky pair chosen by coach Claude Julien to play with Jaromir Jagr when the likely future  member of the Hockey Hall of Fame was acquired by the Bruins from the Dallas Stars before the NHL Trade Deadline.

If you combined the ages of Marchand (24 years old) and Seguin (21), they would be four years older than 41-year-old Jagr.

"I was pretty nervous the first time we skated together [at practice]," Marchand said after the Bruins' morning skate to prepare for a game Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. "I felt like every time I got [the puck] I had to give it to him and let him play with it. Guys were yelling at me because we'd be on a 2-on-1 and the defenseman would just stand by him and I had a breakaway but I would still give it to him."

Forsberg key for Predators' future, not present

Friday, 04.05.2013 / 6:15 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- When the Nashville Predators dealt right wing Martin Erat at the NHL's Trade Deadline on Wednesday without getting a roster player in return, it signified something of a sea change.

From Predators management and the coaching staff on down to the players, no one claimed to be giving up on trying to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- even minus a first-line player who was tied for the team lead in points.

"He's definitely a guy you're going to miss," captain Shea Weber said, "but we've got guys in here that are going to need to step up and I think that's the case all the time."

Another elite Panthers prospect, Bjugstad, to debut

Friday, 04.05.2013 / 2:12 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- As Florida Panthers players stood in a line at practice Friday morning, one of the big pieces of their promising future towered over most of his teammates.

One week after Nick Bjugstad's college career came to a sudden end when Minnesota lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Yale nine seconds into overtime, the center took part in his first practice as an NHL player.

Bjugstad was signed to a three-year entry-level contract Wednesday and he'll make his NHL debut Saturday night when the Panthers take on the Washington Capitals at BB&T Center.

"It's pretty wild," Bjugstad said after practice. "A couple of years ago I never would have expected to be here. On draft day, I didn't know how long it was going to take or what it was going to take. I'm very fortunate to be here. A lot of people helped me get here. I'm very happy."

Wiser Jagr embraces complementary role with Bruins

Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 1:58 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- With Mark Recchi's 43rd birthday just a couple months past in the spring of 2011, he famously told his Boston Bruins teammates that if the team ended its Stanley Cup championship drought he would retire.

That June, Recchi made good on his promise.

Now, 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr, another left-shooting right wing whose plaque will someday wind up on the wall of the Hall of Fame in Toronto, is not about to make any such proclamations in the Bruins dressing room.

To be fair, Recchi was in his third season with Boston when he declared his intentions, and Jagr had been property of the Bruins two days when he was asked Thursday if this is his last shot at playing in the NHL and again raising the Cup.

More focus required for Penguins after blowout losses

Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 1:05 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Panic is a strong word in sports, far too strong to describe the emotional state of the Pittsburgh Penguins right now.

Alarmed works. Startled, anxious and worried all fit as well.

Though one forgettable, streak-busting blowout loss was almost expected after a perfect March, a second straight no-show 24 hours later at Madison Square Garden means it is look-in-the-mirror time for the Penguins.

"Everybody is telling us we're good and we're going to win, maybe it got to our head a little bit," Penguins wing Pascal Dupuis said following the 6-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday at the Garden.

The Penguins have been outscored 10-2 by the Sabres and Rangers this week. They gave up nine goals in the 11 games before that.

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It's a big milestone for me and I'm happy to help my team with lots of good teammates. It's fun.

— Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who on Wednesday became the ninth Russian-born player, and ninth Red Wings player, to score 300 NHL goals
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