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NHL Insider

Lee, Commodore excited to make Lightning debuts

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 3:08 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

TAMPA, Fla. -- "Defensemen aren't easy to find," Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said Monday, so he was pleased when he was able to obtain three of them at the trade deadline.

Keith Aulie, obtained from the Toronto Maple Leafs, is still awaiting a visa, but the other two newcomers, Brian Lee from the Ottawa Senators and veteran Mike Commodore from the Detroit Red Wings, will be playing Tuesday night and were just as happy to be joining the Lightning as Yzerman was to get them.


Players that could alter playoff races down stretch

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 2:16 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

The NHL Trade Deadline has thankfully -- for everyone involved -- passed, and we can now focus on the drive toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There are a plethora of teams on the cusp of the playoffs and others trying to climb into a top-four spot during the final 20 games or so. There are some individuals who have the ability to have a major impact on what happens during the final push, and these six will have a big say in the fates of their teams:

Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche -- The 23-year-old hasn't exactly lived up to his billing after he was acquired during the summer from the Caps for first- and second-round picks. But he's won three straight entering March, stopping 87 of 89 shots to push the Avs into serious playoff contention. If Varlamov can heat up during the final six weeks, the No. 8 seed is realistic for Colorado. Some food for thought: Varlamov has allowed just seven even-strength goals in his past seven games.

Jeff Carter, F, Los Angeles Kings -- There's no team on the cusp of the playoffs more in need of scoring, and Carter could be the difference between the Kings reaching the playoffs and clearing out their lockers in early April. The perennial 30-goal scorer was acquired before the deadline from Columbus and has yet to score in two games with his new club. If the former Flyer doesn't find any magic reunited with Mike Richards, the Kings are in trouble.

Shanahan explains no-suspension ruling on Turris

Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 5:04 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The hearing process Sunday morning gave Ottawa forward Kyle Turris the ability to tell his side of the story regarding his boarding infraction on Boston defenseman Joe Corvo during Saturday's game. The NHL's Department of Player Safety was satisfied with his comments, which is why Turris is playing Sunday night against the New York Islanders.
To Brendan Shanahan, the League's Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations, that's exactly how the system is supposed to work.

Bishop excited for new opportunity in Ottawa

Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 2:14 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

As expected, the St. Louis Blues have traded goaltender Ben Bishop, sending the native St. Louisan to the Ottawa Senators in exchange a 2013 second-round pick.

The Senators, in need of a netminder after the strange hand injury recently suffered by starter Craig Anderson, are expected to sign the 6-foot-7 Bishop to a one-year, one-way contract, according to reports, largely because of the stipulations that would kick in for Bishop had he not played in at least 30 minutes of 17 NHL games this season.

The Blues were faced with the same situation, as Bishop would have become a Group VI unrestricted free agent at season's end and felt they couldn't allow Bishop, 25, to walk for nothing after getting noticed around the NHL for his stellar play with the team's AHL affiliate in Peoria.

"I've kind of had in my head the last month that it was going to happen," Bishop said Sunday morning. "I'm excited now that it's over and I can go back to focusing just on playing hockey. I've heard a bunch of good things about (Ottawa) and they've got a great young team coming up. So I'm excited to be part of the organization."

Installation begins on Lemieux statue

Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 1:19 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Installation work has begun on the Mario Lemieux statue that will be unveiled outside Consol Energy Center before the Maple Leafs-Penguins game on Wednesday, March 7.
Scaffolding is now in place at the statue site, which is located in the plaza of the Trib Total Media gate along Centre Avenue and across the street from the Civic Arena. That arena, which is being demolished, was the site of many of Lemieux's memorable games during his Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1984-2006.
The statue unveiling, scheduled for noon ET, will be open to the public free of charge. Highlights of the unveiling will be shown that night during telecasts of the Maple Leafs-Penguins game on the NBC Sports Network in the United States and TSN in Canada.
No images of the statue have been released by the team. The statue is called "Le Magnifique," reflecting Lemieux's French Canadian heritage, and was funded privately by the Penguins' ownership group, labor organizations in the Pittsburgh area and members of Pittsburgh's business community.

Palmieri ready for fresh start in Minnesota

Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 1:10 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL -- It could be a season-defining day here at Xcel Energy Center.

With Minnesota five points back of Dallas, Los Angeles and Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot in the west, and just 24 hours before the NHL trading deadline, a win or loss tonight against San Jose may decide the fate of the Wild from a competitive standpoint.

A win tonight keeps the Wild's fading playoff hopes alive and General Manager Chuck Fletcher may choose to keep some veterans with expiring contracts around in hopes of one final playoff push. A loss could mean selling those pieces and building for the future.

Fletcher made a move Thursday that could be seen as both, moving defenseman Marek Zidlicky to New Jersey for former Wild players Kurtis Foster and Stephane Veilleux as well as a second round draft pick in this year's draft and a condition third rounder in 2013 should the Devils reach the Eastern Conference Finals this spring.

The other piece the Wild got in return, and perhaps the most intriguing, is winger Nick Palmieri. At 6-3 and 220 lbs, and just 22 years old, Palmieri fell out of favor with the Devils but has a new opportunity to shine in Minnesota. 

Pavelec, offensive surge spark Jets to division lead

Friday, 02.24.2012 / 7:11 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Since May 31, Winnipeg Jets fans have relished membership as an NHL city once again.

Now those same fans will have an opportunity to experience the day-to-day rollercoaster that is an NHL playoff race. With a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, their Jets (30-26-7) not only rejoined the top-eight playoff mix, but also finally took over first place in the Southeast Division and third place in the Eastern Conference for the first time this season.

"We should be excited," Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien said of his club that holds a one-point edge on the Florida Panthers. "It's a lot of fun to be in the playoffs. We should come to the rink everyday with smiles on our faces and be ready to go to work."

Red Wings' new energy line scoring and grinding

Friday, 02.24.2012 / 5:17 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- They might not have the four Stanley Cups of the original "Grind Line" in Detroit, but there's no mistaking the impact the Red Wings' third line "energy group" has had this season.

The Red Wings are still known and led by their European-born superstars, but their North American-born "grinders" on the third line are also making their presence felt.

The unit is currently comprised of Drew Miller on the left wing, Darren Helm at center and Justin Abdelkader on the right side, but features Danny Cleary at right wing when injuries don't bump him up to the second line. Regardless, Detroit's third forward group has become much more than just an "energy line," as the trio that played on Thursday night proved in a 4-3 shootout loss to Vancouver -- which ended the Wings' NHL record winning streak at an amazing 23 games.


David Poile talks trade deadline on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 7:49 PM / NHL Insider

With nearly three decades as an NHL general manager -- first for 15 years with the Washington Capitals and then with the Nashville Predators since they came into the League for the 1998-99 season -- David Poile is surpassed in tenure by only four men: Jack Adams, Art Ross, Glen Sather and Conn Smythe.

Poile's contract was extended by the Predators earlier this week through the 2014-15 season, at which point he will have passed Ross and Smythe and moved into third place on the all-time list in years of service as a GM.

Arnott travels memory lane in visit to Nashville

Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 3:06 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Maybe the hockey gods didn't have it scripted for Jason Arnott to make his return to Nashville in a visiting uniform for the first time since being traded in 2010. But as the St. Louis Blues visit Music City for the third, and final, time in the regular season, it looks like a third time's going to be a charm.

Arnott will make his belated return Thursday night when the Blues and Nashville Predators square off in a key Central Division showdown here at Bridgestone Arena.

The 37-year-old missed out on his first opportunity because he was suffering from the flue when the Blues were first here Dec. 17. He also missed the last visit here 19 days ago after injuring his left shoulder the previous night in a home game against the Los Angeles Kings.

"It's always a little weird, but you always have great memories being here," said Arnott, who spent four seasons from 2006-10 with the Predators, three of them as captain. "I loved playing here, great city to be in. The game's changed so much in the past year with all the new faces over there, I don't know half of them. It's crazy how things change."
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Quote of the Day

Hockey means everything to people here [Winnipeg]. They take their team's success to heart. We've had an incredible year and they've given us incredible support.

— Jets center Mathieu Perreault after losing to the Ducks in Game 3 of their playoff series on Monday