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(Page 171 of 274)
NHL Insider

League's precincts check in with realignment reaction

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Big changes are coming to the National Hockey League with conference realignment being approved at this week's Board of Governors meetings. These changes are expected to take place for the 2012-13 season.

All 30 teams will be affected, playing some opponents more often than they have in the past and some others not as much. Beyond that, hundreds of players -- a majority of whom have known nothing but the two-conference, six-division format introduced prior to the 1998-99 season -- will have to get used to a new system of Stanley Cup Playoff qualification in which finishing in the top four of your conference is imperative.

Here's a sampling of some of the early reaction and thoughts from players, coaches and executives around the League about realignment:

"This is a fantastic night for the Blue Jackets. This is what's right for the League, but it's also something that will make a big, big difference for our franchise, both on the ice and off the ice. This is huge." -- Columbus president Mike Priest, in the Columbus Dispatch


Red Wings, Blues excited by idea of less travel

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 1:25 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- From the perspectives of the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings on NHL realignment, there's one common denominator that has both teams excited.

Particularly for the Red Wings, who have to play out of the Eastern time zone, cutting down on travel is something that really excites them.

"The initial reaction is I like the format," defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It's going to be a lot less travel for the team. That part I like."

A hypothetical glance at realignment changes

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 11:39 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Starting next season, the NHL will be transformed from a league with six divisions to one with four conferences, pending approval from the players' association. There will be two conferences with eight teams and two conferences with seven teams, which is similar to what the NHL landscape looked like before the 1993-94 season.

The top-four teams from each conference will make the playoffs. The concept of finishing in the top 8 has gone by the way side. Instead, beating the six or seven other teams within your conference and cracking the top 4 within that group becomes paramount.

Solid road trip has Islanders back in hunt

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 12:58 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It's amazing how a solid road trip can change your outlook on things.

The New York Islanders, who secured only three victories between Oct. 15 and Nov. 17, are suddenly back in the mix after going 3-0-1 on a four-game road trip. New York picked up wins in New Jersey, Buffalo and Dallas and suffered a shootout loss at Chicago to earn 7 of a possible 8 points.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the Isles' recent surge? They didn't receive a single goal from No. 1 center John Tavares, who hasn't scored since an empty-net tally against Washington on Nov. 5. However, the first pick from the 2009 NHL Draft does have 5 assists over the last two games.

"It can be frustrating, but it's a lot more fun when we're winning and that's the ultimate goal for everybody," said Tavares, who last beat a goaltender on Oct. 29 against San Jose. "As much as I want to contribute that way, I think it's good to see us get back on track. Hopefully we can take advantage of these few games at home and build off of last week."  

Realignment proved best option for multiple teams

Monday, 12.05.2011 / 11:30 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- There was a "simple" option for NHL realignment discussed during the first day of the League's Board of Governors meetings, but as Commissioner Gary Bettman noted, "Simple may have not been so simple."

So instead of just shuffling Winnipeg to the Central Division and either Detroit or Columbus to the Southeast, the Board approved a more dramatic change, but also one that helps ease the concerns of more franchises. The new four-conference format is expected to help most teams, either with lessened travel, more games in the local time zone or more games against the League's marquee opponents -- or all of the above.

On first glance, Crosby likes realignment plan

Monday, 12.05.2011 / 10:56 PM / NHL Insider

Sidney Crosby didn't have much time to digest a complicated realignment plan passed by the NHL Board of Governors on Monday night.

But, his initial take, just moments after his Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center, was a positive one.

"I think that's pretty much what we're used to except we're adding a couple of teams," Crosby said. "I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think everyone's probably happy with that. Washington's a pretty good rival... I don't see anyone being disappointed about this."

Leafs happy with potential realignment

Monday, 12.05.2011 / 10:48 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson's initial reaction to the news that the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning would be joining his division next season was met with enthusiasm.

Maybe it was for the wrong reasons, though.

"That's good," Wilson said following the Leafs' 4-2 win against the Rangers. "I'm a golfer ... and good weather."

First-place Panthers excited for big game vs. Caps

Monday, 12.05.2011 / 2:02 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The upstart Florida Panthers have a chance to make a statement when they play host to the Washington Capitals on Monday night. More importantly, they're looking at a great opportunity to increase their lead atop the Southeast Division.

But for the most part, Panthers players are looking at this as just another in a series of big games.

"I think every game is a big game," center Stephen Weiss said. "We just played three huge games on the road. It's a big game, sure, but they all are right now in the position that we're in. We're looking forward to it."

Weiss has been with the Panthers longer than any other player on the roster, and he finds himself on a first-place team for the first time since he came into the NHL in 2002.

Fact is, Florida hasn't held first place this late in a season since March of 2000.

Perron impresses Hitchcock in his return

Sunday, 12.04.2011 / 5:24 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues Ken Hitchcock has seen a lot of NHL hockey during his 15-year coaching career, but what he saw from a guy that hadn't seen game action in over a year impressed the 59-year-old as much as anything he's seen.

"He's really going to help us. Holy smokes," said Hitchcock about winger David Perron. "He's really a good player. He's going to really help this team.

"About four more like him, we'll be fine."

Perron made his return to the NHL Saturday night after a 97-game layoff following a concussion last season. He scored the first goal of the game against the Chicago Blackhawks, but in the end, it was not the happy ending -- or result -- that Perron and the Blues were looking for in a 5-2 loss.

But Perron was on the money with a sharp-angle goal, he was deft with the puck and showed little or no signs of missing more than a year of competition.

Ex-Avs excited about first game back in Denver

Friday, 12.02.2011 / 6:09 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Two familiar faces were in unfamiliar territory this morning when Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart strolled into the visiting locker room with their St. Louis Blues teammates at the Pepsi Center.

It was the first appearance in town for the pair since they were traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Blues in a blockbuster deal on Feb. 18. The Blues received Shattenkirk, Stewart and a second-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, while the Avalanche got defenseman Erik Johnson, center Jay McClement and a first-round pick.

Shattenkirk and Stewart played against the Avalanche four days later in a 4-3 loss in St. Louis and will meet their former team for the first time in their old stomping grounds tonight.
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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins