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(Page 175 of 254)
NHL Insider

Crosby unlikely to be cleared during road trip

Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:15 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby doesn't expect to be cleared for contact during the Pittsburgh Penguins' season-opening road trip.
 
Crosby, out with a concussion since Jan. 6, accompanied the Penguins on Tuesday as they left to open the season Thursday night in Vancouver. The Penguins also stop in Calgary and Edmonton, and Crosby plans to take part in all three scheduled game-day skates and two practices during the trip.
 
Because Crosby won't be seeing any of his doctors until the Penguins return home, it isn't likely he'll switch his white practice helmet -- which signifies no contact -- to the team's regular black helmet.
 
"I'm happy to be out there, and when the time comes (for contact) I'll make sure I'm ready," Crosby said after practicing Tuesday. "To be honest, I'm just happy to be out there and working hard. It was a long time I wasn't able to do that. It's nice to be out there and go hard."
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NBC Sports Group's broadcasters set for season

Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 11:03 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

"The caliber of play in the League -- it's just amazing to see where the young players have taken the game, how it improves and evolves." -- Pierre McGuire

The top broadcast team assembled by NBC Sports Group -- Mike "Doc" Emrick and Eddie Olczyk in the booth, with Pierre McGuire between the benches and Mike Milbury in studio -- is about to embark on a strenuous journey that begins Thursday with opening night in Boston and won't end until the 2012 Stanley Cup champion is crowned in June.

And to listen to Emrick speak on a conference call Monday, they all can't wait to get started.

"It's exciting to have our group back together," the Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer said. "The 10 minutes we spent on the phone before the conference call started were hilarious, and I anticipate a lot of that being on the air, too. I'm glad Eddie Olczyk didn't sing at Wrigley Field when he was out there for the seventh inning stretch -- it saves him to do a duet if (famed Bruins anthem singer) Rene Rancourt wants him. Pierre's stitch reward is up to $500 a stitch this season, and now that Andy Rooney has cut back we have the resident curmudgeon in Mike Milbury."
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NBC's Olczyk likes Kings, curious about Flyers

Monday, 10.03.2011 / 2:50 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Eddie Olczyk has never been shy about giving his opinion, especially in his current position as an analyst for NBC, Versus and CSN Chicago, the network that broadcasts Blackhawks games locally.

On Monday, Olczyk dropped by the NHL.com offices to talk about a host of topics, including the job NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan has done in doling out suspensions during the preseason, the goaltending situation of the Washington Capitals, the remodeling of the Philadelphia Flyers and what will happen with potential free agents Zach Parise and Shea Weber.
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Ovechkin latest entry to Madame Tussauds' museum

Monday, 10.03.2011 / 10:50 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's little doubt that when the heat is on this season, the new Alex Ovechkin will melt before our eyes.

It's a guarantee that if this Ovechkin takes the ice, he will disappoint many Washington Capitals fans with his lack of mobility and inability to fire his deadly shot.

This Ovechkin clearly won't be speaking to the media or fans all season.

A Stanley Cup? There's no chance the Capitals even will come close to that goal as long as this stiff Ovechkin with zero personality becomes the team's focal point.
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Habs' Swiss import Diaz hopes to make team

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 7:37 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. -- Raphael Diaz looks to be beating the odds at Montreal Canadiens training camp.

When he was signed as a 25-year-old free agent out of Zug, it was widely assumed the reigning defenseman of the year in the Swiss League was pegged for the American Hockey League to learn the nuances of the North American game.

But with the Canadiens playing their final preseason game Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Quebec City, it looks as though Diaz has played himself into a top-six role, at least to start the season.
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Suspended Wing feels 'terrible' about illegal hit

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 6:28 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Ben Smith and Brendan Smith aren't related, but now they share something other than a last name thanks to an illegal hit the latter delivered to the former in a preseason game earlier this week.

The Chicago Blackhawks' Ben Smith is still dealing with the physical ramifications of the shoulder-to-head blow at 5:26 of the third period in Wednesday's 4-3 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile, the Red Wings' Brendan Smith is dealing with the punitive aftereffects of the collision -- not to mention his own remorse over what happened.

Brendan Smith, a top prospect, was suspended on Friday morning by NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan for the rest of Detroit's preseason games and five regular-season games, without pay. The hit he delivered landed his right shoulder directly to Ben Smith's head, which left the Chicago forward sprawled on the ice for a couple of minutes.
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Kings to welcome Doughty with open arms

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 5:04 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A big sigh of relief came over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday -- depending on who you asked.

While players said they never really were concerned about the absence of star defenseman Drew Doughty, coach Terry Murray conceded the obvious when asked about Doughty agreeing to an eight-year contract worth a reported $56 million late Thursday.

"It was in the front of my mind the whole training camp," Murray said. "He's a very important player. You know everybody's working very hard toward getting it resolved and that's the most important thing that you can hope for."
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Where's the beef? On Colorado's blue line

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 4:57 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

"If you look at a team like the Boston Bruins, they were Stanley Cup champs last year, and they had a lot of size and grit on the back end. If you can have size and still have guys who can skate and move the puck and get it to the forwards, I think it's a good recipe for success." -- Shane O'Brien

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- At 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, Kyle Quincey was one of the beefier members of the Colorado Avalanche defense corps last season. That's hardly the case now.

When the Avalanche open the 2011-12 season on Oct. 8 against Detroit, the roster will include four defensemen who weigh 230-plus pounds.

"We're not going to be pushed around on the back end," Quincey told NHL.com. "That's a great thing."

Quincey was recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery on Feb. 18 when the Avalanche acquired 6-4, 232-pound Erik Johnson from St. Louis in a blockbuster trade that included four players and two draft picks. Exactly one month before Quincey was injured in a game against Washington, the Avalanche brought in Ryan O'Byrne (6-5, 234) from Montreal in exchange for prospect Michael Bournival.
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Sharp healing, eyeing opening-night return

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 3:09 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- If it were up to him, Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Sharp would lace up his skates for Friday's home preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Instead, he'll settle for participating in his first official team practice of the new season -- which he did Friday morning at the United Center. Sharp still is recovering from an emergency appendectomy performed Sept. 12, a few days before the start of training camp.

He still has stitches from the procedure, but told reporters after his post-practice conditioning work that he keeps healing steadily.
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Who are the best Americans on Canadian teams?

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 1:04 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the recent retirement of Mike Modano, the NHL lost its greatest American-born player. Having put up 1,374 points in 1,499 regular-season games and 146 points in 176 playoff games, it's hard to argue that the seven-time All-Star and 1999 Stanley Cup champion is anything less than the best.

Of course, that leads many to wonder who the best active American-born player now is. That's the obvious discussion to have after Modano hung up the skates, but the last thing I enjoy is things that are obvious. What I want to know -- and this relates in no way to anything you just read about Modano -- is who is the best American-born player currently on a Canadian franchise.

There aren't many from which to choose, but that doesn't mean there aren't talented Americans lurking in the Great White North, scraping mayonnaise off their sandwiches and trying to figure out why Pink Panther movies are constantly on the French-language channels.

Here is one humble American's ranking of the six best U.S.-born players on Canadian franchises today:
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Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis