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NHL Insider

After surgery, Weiss, Panthers have big decision

Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 1:29 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Stephen Weiss admits the thought has crossed his mind.

Weiss has been a cornerstone for the Florida Panthers for a decade, but there's a possibility he has played his last game with the organization.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Weiss will undergo season-ending surgery on his right wrist in Cleveland on Tuesday.

"Yes, it has [crossed my mind]," Weiss told reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning. "It's definitely not the way I would have written it if that is the case. It kind of burns at me that this is the way it could be going out, but you know what, that's life sometimes. You've got to deal with the cards you're dealt."

Losing streak set stage for Chicago's run to history

Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - Staff Writer

In sports, losing often forms the attributes needed to be a winner.

The Chicago Blackhawks may be the latest example of the cliché that the experience of painful losses is often a precursor to finding a way to win consistently. Yes, the Blackhawks have pocketed at least a point in 22 straight games -- an almost unheard of streak of success amid the parity that presently exists in the National Hockey League -- but they are not that far removed from the team that endured a dispiriting nine-game losing streak that altered the outcome of its 2011-12 season.

There, seemingly, is proof of the cliché.

"I think that's something that we've definitely thought about," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said in St. Louis last week. "I think it was in our mind the rest of that season and even this year, we were quick to forget some of the things we went through as a team last year, and maybe not only that nine-game losing streak but what didn't click for us as a team as the season went along and how we lost in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. We've understood what we had to change and the details of our game. And here we are.

"All those things that make us successful as a team we weren't doing at that point of the season last year. We've all seemed to learn from that."

Flyers reach halfway point unhappy with results

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 11:45 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Ilya Bryzgalov was asked to summarize the first half of the Philadelphia Flyers' season following a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, one that dropped his team to a game below .500 and out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

The goalie took a deep breath and exhaled as he looked to the ceiling of the visitors locker room at Madison Square Garden, as if the answer was written up there in invisible ink.

Perhaps unable to think of a diplomatic response, he instead gave a short, blunt one.

"Not good," Bryzgalov said. "We're not good."

Struggling Panthers ready for Markstrom era

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 2:13 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Jacob Markstrom era has arrived for the Florida Panthers.

Long touted as one of the best goalie prospects around, Markstrom should be in line for his first extended action in the NHL with veteran Jose Theodore out 5-6 weeks with a leg injury.

Jacob Markstrom
Goalie - FLA
RECORD: 0-2-0
GAA: 3.05 | SVP: 0.915
Even Panthers general manager Dale Tallon acknowledged that Markstrom's time has come.

"You'd have to say yes," Tallon said Tuesday morning. "We've got a lot of confidence in the young man and he's got a lot of confidence in his abilities. He's big and strong. We were hoping to hold off a little bit, but let's go. Let's see if he can do it, and I'm very confident that he can."

With both Theodore and veteran backup Scott Clemmensen struggling, Markstrom was called up from San Antonio of the American Hockey League and started against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 22 and the Boston Bruins two days later.

Even though Florida lost both games, Markstrom acquitted himself quite well, stopping 59 of 65 shots. His save percentage of .915 in those two games was much better than those compiled this season by Theodore (.893) and Clemmensen (.859).

Wild excited for challenge of facing Blackhawks

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 12:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Occasionally in the regular season the excitement of taking on a unique challenge can motivate a team far more than simply thinking about the obvious opportunity to secure two more points.

Case in point -- the Minnesota Wild and what they're up against Tuesday night at United Center.

The Wild are the next challenger that will attempt to hand the Chicago Blackhawks their first regulation loss of the season. Oh sure, the Wild would take a win in overtime or a shootout because, first and foremost, they want the points, but the opportunity to snap Chicago's record-setting streak of 22 consecutive games to start a season with a point is the motivation now, the challenge they want to overcome.

Crosby, Stamkos wowing everyone -- even each other

Monday, 03.04.2013 / 2:58 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Steven Stamkos smiled sheepishly, a blush almost apparent. The affable Tampa Bay Lightning star was seemingly embarrassed he's being asked to weigh his game against that of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby.

"To be compared in the same sentence to him is pretty special for me," the Tampa Bay Lightning sniper said. "I think I still have a long way to go and a lot of things to work on before you get mentioned with a guy like that."

When it comes to this season's National Hockey League scoring race, there aren't any other players more worthy of mentioning.

Blackhawks' streak draws admiration from Red Wings

Sunday, 03.03.2013 / 8:04 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- It takes one to truly appreciate one.

The Detroit Red Wings, who last season set the NHL record with 23 straight home victories, are the latest stunned admirers of the Chicago Blackhawks, who on Sunday again found a way to continue their tear through the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks' come-from-behind 2-1 shootout victory was 2:02 away from being their first regulation loss in 22 games (19-0-3), the longest such stretch to open a season in NHL history, but Patrick Kane's power-play goal assured the visitors of at least one more game with the run intact.

Kane also gave the Blackhawks a second point by scoring the deciding goal of the shootout and improving his team’s record in one-goal games to 12-0-3.

The Red Wings, like many other opponents this season, just shook their collective head about it afterward.

Goalie tandem key to Blackhawks' point streak

Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

It was supposed to be the biggest question mark for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Instead, the combined goaltending of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery is one of the biggest reasons Chicago (18-0-3) still hasn't lost in regulation, starting the season with 21 games with at least a point, the longest such stretch in NHL history.

The Blackhawks have the League's best goaltending numbers heading into Sunday afternoon's game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC), with Emery and Crawford combining for a 1.71 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.

Stamkos calls loss to Rangers 'embarrassing'

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 11:36 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Steven Stamkos' frustrations were already building before he got to New York City. The effort he witnessed from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden sent him over the edge.

Stamkos pulled no punches with his comments about the way his team played in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers, its third straight defeat, fourth in the past five games and ninth in regulation over the past 13 games.

The Lightning were outshot 20-3 in the first period, 35-11 after two and 42-25 overall.

"It's embarrassing, the first 20 minutes," Stamkos told seconds after tossing the final scoresheet out of his hands. "I mean, 20-3 in shots, we need to wake up. There's really nothing else. Our goalie kept us in the game, thank God, but it's embarrassing."

Staal felt he traded one 'brother' for another

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 4:13 PM / NHL Insider

Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent

Jordan Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 15
SOG: 46 | +/-: -3

RALEIGH, N.C. -- When Jordan Staal and Brandon Sutter were traded for one another in June, it was Staal who drew most of the attention.

After all, the Pittsburgh Penguins center was about to join his brother, Eric, with the Carolina Hurricanes, setting up a solid one-two punch down the middle of the lineup. The trade also occurred on Jordan's wedding day, adding a bit of the surreal to an exciting story line.

Sutter's move to Pittsburgh, on the other hand, didn't cause quite so many ripples. It became a secondary story played out quietly. But while Eric was thrilled to welcome his brother to Carolina, he was disappointed it came at the expense of his "other" brother.

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