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(Page 152 of 269)
NHL Insider

Rangers will face tough battle for first place

Monday, 01.30.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Rangers and Bruins are separated by two points at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. The Penguins are streaking and the Flyers are right in the mix as well. Washington and Florida are in a tough battle for first in the Southeast Division and third in the conference. Ottawa is still looking good despite a three-game losing streak. Several teams are fighting for the final few playoff spots.

Here's an analysis of each team in the Eastern Conference in order of where they are in the standings coming out of the All-Star break, complete with all the pertinent details:


The Rangers have won three of their last four games, including a 3-2 overtime win Jan. 21 against the Bruins. (Photo: Getty Images)
1. Rangers (66 points)

Record: 31-12-4
Non-shootout wins: 29
Games remaining: 35 (19 home, 16 away)
Significant injuries: Michael Sauer (concussion), Steve Eminger (shoulder)

The Rangers carry a two-game winning streak out of the All-Star break. They've won three of their last four games, including a 3-2 overtime win Jan. 21 against the Bruins. They open their post-break schedule at New Jersey and then head to Buffalo for a game Thursday. They then return home to play three in a row. February won't be easy as they play the Flyers twice within a week, then the Bruins, Capitals and Blackhawks in consecutive games. They also play the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
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Leafs' legend Bower predicts Leafs playoff berth

Sunday, 01.29.2012 / 5:23 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Among Maple Leafs' fans, there are few former players more revered than Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bower.

The iconic goaltender and World War II veteran was a key part of a Leafs dynasty that won three straight Stanley Cups from 1962 to 64. Since retiring in 1970, he's been a prominent presence at Maple Leafs games, but it's this year's team that has the 87-year-old legend particularly excited. So much so that he made a bold prediction to NHL.com.

"I think they're going to get into the playoffs this year," Bower told NHL.com. "They're a young hockey team and they're very entertaining. It looks pretty good. I certainly hope they keep them together without making any trades. But I'm just a bystander there. I don't know what [Toronto general manager Brian] Burke is going to do, but he's done a great job with the team."

That team, which currently features two of the League's highest-scoring players in Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, has Bower thrilled at the prospect of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which would be Toronto's first since 2004. But while the team's high-scoring offense has paced the Leafs this season, the former goaltender has been keenly following Toronto's situation in net.

With Jonas Gustavsson appearing to have wrestled the starting crease spot from James Reimer, goaltending will likely be key if the Leafs hope to make good on Bower's bold prediction.
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Center depth at heart of Chicago's trade for Morrison

Saturday, 01.28.2012 / 3:21 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

Brendan Morrison came at the right price tag for the Chicago Blackhawks and could potentially add the something the hopeful Stanley Cup contenders believe they are lacking.

Morrison, who was dealt to Chicago by the Calgary Flames on Friday night, is a proven NHL center who's not making a lot of money and could fill a glaring void in the middle of a star-studded second line.  He was acquired for a 25-year old defenseman playing in the American Hockey League.

Proven NHL centers already occupy three of Chicago's four lines. Captain Jonathan Toews centers the first line, Dave Bolland occupies the middle of the checking line and free agent pick-up Jamal Mayers anchors the fourth line.
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Jackets' owner: Howson safe, but changes are coming

Friday, 01.27.2012 / 11:38 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Columbus Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell says he's as upset and disappointed as anyone by his team's place in the NHL standings.

It was a season that was filled with great promise, as the Blue Jackets spent big in the summer to trade for All-Star center Jeff Carter and sign defenseman James Wisniewski. Talk of the second Stanley Cup Playoff berth in franchise history was frequent.

"Everybody was looking forward to this season, myself included," McConnell told the Columbus Dispatch in an interview published Friday morning. "I think that makes the fall even worse."
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Gretzky shares All-Star memories on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 7:53 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Just about every hockey fan knows Wayne Gretzky by his nickname, "The Great One," and is well aware of the fact there was no more prolific goal-scorer or point-producer in the history of the National Hockey League.

But in addition to being a nine-time Hart Trophy winner and a two-time Conn Smythe winner while lifting the Stanley Cup four times during his illustrious career, Gretzky also appeared in the All-Star Game in all 20 of his NHL seasons.

Gretzky, who's celebrating his 51st birthday on Thursday, reminisced about some of those experiences as a call-in guest on the "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman."
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Alfredsson discusses draft strategy on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 7:34 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Daniel Alfredsson has won the Calder Trophy, appeared in a Stanley Cup Final and scored more than 400 goals in his NHL career -- all of it spent with the Ottawa Senators, and most of it as their captain.

Thursday night presents a unique experience for Alfredsson, though, as he's responsible for putting together his own team for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, set to take place Sunday in his home arena, Scotiabank Place.

Hours before the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft got under way, Alfredsson appeared on "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman" to discuss his draft strategy as he goes head to head with Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, a former teammate and the captain of the team he'll be opposing.
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Unzipping the Jackets, Part I

Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 2:47 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com's Corey Masisak spent a week in Columbus with the Blue Jackets, reporting the inside story on a team with high expectations at the start of the 2011-12 regular season. Here is the first installment of his two-part report:

COLUMBUS -- Derick Brassard looked skyward, and the collective groan of fans -- the sound of anticipated elation quickly muted by frustration -- filled Nationwide Arena.
 
It was a familiar sound, a manifestation of feelings felt far too often here this season. The Columbus Blue Jackets, a franchise that entered 2011-12 desperate for success and fresh off a "this-is-finally-going-to-be-our-year" summer, were trailing the Nashville Predators by two goals on a recent Saturday when Brassard had one of the team’s best chances of the night to solve goaltender Pekka Rinne.
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Habs' Subban still going through maturation process

Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 11:56 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. – P.K. Subban has the visibility of a 10-year veteran, not the 22-year-old that he is.

Subban has already found himself in so many headlines and the topic of conversation on so many talk shows, it is easy to forget the defenseman is only in his second full season with the Montreal Canadiens.

Like most young players, Subban continues to go through some growing pains – a process that is further in the spotlight because the Canadiens are struggling as a team, as well. 
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Lightning hit hard by injury bug

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 7:17 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA, Fla. -- At their practice facility on Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning's locker room was festooned with red jerseys, which indicate "no contact" for that particular player.

A new red jersey was hung in Ryan Malone's stall, as he and Dana Tyrell joined the roster of walking wounded that now numbers nine players.

Tuesday night, the Lightning will face the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and although Tampa Bay is riding a three-game winning streak, the home ice advantage is of little interest to coach Guy Boucher.
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Blues continue to focus on big picture

Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 4:46 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- They woke up Tuesday morning sitting atop the NHL perch, but when the St. Louis Blues continue their season-long trek Monday night with a huge road tilt in Detroit against the team that's ahead of them today, it's the big picture that they'll continue to focus on.

And in order to do that, it's looking forward to the next game.

"It's so tight at the top right now," said winger T.J. Oshie, whose lone goal in a 1-0 win over Dallas enabled the Blues to catch Chicago and the New York Rangers momentarily for most points in the league with 60. "I think our biggest focus should be just getting ready for our next game, keep getting better each night and focusing on the little things that maybe we didn't do well (last Monday) night and sharpen them up."
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Quote of the Day

I got a chance to play a thousand games and that's pretty special to me. To get a thousand [points], it's a great accomplishment. I'm not going to hide my feelings, I'm proud of that. To do it on a win, do it on a goal, I think it makes it special.

— New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis after scoring his 1000th NHL point on Friday
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