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NHL Insider

A look at the NHL's All-Patrick team

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 11:00 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in honor of the man who, as legend has it, drove the snakes out of the country.

In Montreal, "St. Patrick" had a whole different meaning -- rather than casting out snakes, Patrick Roy's specialty was keeping pucks out of the Canadiens' net. Roy is the starting goaltender on's "All-Patrick Team," a group made up of the League's best players with the given name or surname of Patrick.

Roy is one of the two modern-day Hockey Hall of Famers with the first name Patrick -- the other is longtime Islander and Sabre Pat LaFontaine, the big gun on our all-Patrick club.

On the surname side, the Patricks -- Lester, Frank, Muzz, Lynn, Glenn and Craig -- are one of hockey's first families. Two other Patricks, James and Steve, aren't related to the others but made their own mark on the NHL.

Fleury underappreciated, except by his teammates

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 8:25 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

NEWARK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are the hottest team in the NHL, and many pundits have anointed them as one of the favorites to claim the Stanley Cup.

There are plenty of reasons for this kind of optimism. Evgeni Malkin is the favorite to win the Hart Trophy as League MVP. The team won nine games in a row and had the fourth-most points in the NHL -- and that was before Sidney Crosby returned after missing 3 1/2 months and No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang came back after missing five games. Both were key contributors in the Penguins' 10th straight win -- a 5-2 victory against the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers in New York on Thursday.

If there is one guy who probably isn't getting enough of the credit for the march of the Penguins, it is the one star on the team who hasn't missed a lot of time because of injury -- goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Rangers are part of rehab for Yanks' Chamberlain

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 7:36 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Believe it or not, New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain is a rabid hockey fan.
He appreciates the strategy involved, the finesse and the rough stuff that makes the game so entertaining. In fact, listening to him for five minutes, you kind of get the feeling the 6-foot-2, 240-pound right-hander missed his calling.
The guy would probably suit up for the New York Rangers in a heartbeat.

Crosby ready for Penguins' busy weekend

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 6:24 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Sidney Crosby had another point added to his total hours after Pittsburgh's 5-2 victory at Madison Square Garden against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers on Thursday night.

More important for him and for the Penguins, he participated in practice Friday at Prudential Center -- and expects to play in both of Pittsburgh's games this weekend. Crosby played Thursday for the first time in 3 1/2 months, the second celebrated return from concussion symptoms stemming from a pair of hits in early January 2010.

The Penguins collected an important victory in the race for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, and they have two more critical contests Saturday against the New Jersey Devils and Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, NHLN-Canada, RDSI).

Bergeron and Bruins seek answers for slump

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 5:49 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. – The Boston Bruins' first four-game losing streak in two years has been painful for all, but it's been extra damaging to center Patrice Bergeron.

In both of the first two games of the Bruins' recent win-less three-game road trip, Bergeron was hit in the left leg with wicked slap shots (including one from teammate Johnny Boychuk). Yet Bergeron has battled through, and he even logged 17:50 in the 6-2 trip-finale loss at Florida on Thursday.

The Bruins chartered home from South Florida on Friday morning, but coach Claude Julien didn't let his team spend much time licking its wounds. He decided to put his charges through an up-tempo, hour-long practice at the team's Ristuccia Arena practice rink to get them ready for Saturday's visit from the Philadelphia Flyers (1 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Crosby's return a success on all levels

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 12:05 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The sequel rarely holds up next to the original. In Sidney Crosby's case, it didn't have to: The sequel was good enough.

"You could see skill that speaks for itself," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told

Crosby played exactly 16 minutes over 18 shifts Thursday at Madison Square Garden in his first game since Dec. 5 and only his 11th game in the last 14 1/2 months. He contributed to the Penguins' 5-2 victory over the Rangers with an assist and a plus-3 rating.

Toews' return uncertain after possible setback

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 3:29 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Just when it was starting to look like Jonathan Toews might be getting ready to return, the Chicago Blackhawks captain could be dealing with a setback in his recovery from an upper-body injury, which has been widely speculated to be a concussion.

Toews, who didn't practice Thursday and only briefly got on the ice Wednesday, had skated hard four days in a row after an extended absence from on-ice work. He then started this week by not skating for two straight days, including a morning skate Tuesday at United Center in preparation for a 4-3 shootout win later that night against the St. Louis Blues.

Last weekend, Toews was hopeful about playing against St. Louis, but heading into this weekend his return is again cloudy. He won't make the trip to play the Dallas Stars on Friday, which will run his games-missed total to 12.

Fitting Crosby in for surging Penguins not a problem

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 2:23 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"Everyone wants to get Sidney Crosby back in our lineup. Everyone wants to get Sidney Crosby back on our power play. There is going to be some adjustment in lines and playing time and the power play will look different, but there is a significant amount of time to (make) some of those adjustments."
-- Dan Bylsma

NEW YORK -- The question seems so ludicrous, even borderline insane to ask.

How difficult will it be for Penguins coach Dan Bylsma to work Sidney Crosby back into the lineup of a team that has won nine in a row?

"I've laughed pretty hard over some of the speculation and asking that question, how do you fit him in?" Bylsma said Thursday morning from Madison Square Garden, hours before Crosby was set to make his second celebrated return to the Penguins lineup this season. "Everyone wants to get Sidney Crosby back in our lineup. Everyone wants to get Sidney Crosby back on our power play. There is going to be some adjustment in lines and playing time and the power play will look different, but there is a significant amount of time to (make) some of those adjustments.

In return, Sid will make rare appearance on PP point

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 2:20 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Sidney Crosby hasn't played the point on the power play since he was with Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. That will change Thursday night against the New York Rangers, provided the Pittsburgh Penguins get a power-play opportunity at Madison Square Garden.
Crosby has been working on the strong-side point of the Penguins first power-play unit for the past few practices. He is playing opposite Kris Letang with Evgeni Malkin on the strong-side wall, James Neal down low, and Steve Sullivan on the weak-side wall.
"I played point in juniors so the comfort level is there," Crosby said. "As far as seeing the things you want to see and getting little habits that you get used to (when you're) playing a certain spot, that's going to take time. But, I have a comfort level there."

Calder candidates Henrique, Landeskog prove mettle

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 10:45 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- There's no denying that Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils and Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche are frontrunners in the Calder Trophy race for NHL rookie of the year.
Even though Henrique has played 10 fewer games, he is tied with Landeskog atop the rookie scoring race with 46 points apiece. On Wednesday, Landeskog scored once to overtake Philadelphia's Matt Read for the NHL rookie lead in goals with 20 -- five more than Henrique.
They'll meet for the second time this season on Thursday when the Avs pay a visit to the Prudential Center. Each player notched an assist in the Nov. 30 matchup won by Colorado, 6-1.
Landeskog has proven to be quite the physical specimen, doling out a team-leading 198 hits. Henrique is certainly no stranger to contact, with 74 hits and 50 blocked shots -- two more than Landeskog.
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Jamie improves every game and every year. I've only been with him for two years, but as a player and as a person it seems like every week he's getting stronger and better, and becoming a better leader and better captain. He wants the team to be so successful that he's making himself better as a player.

— Stars forward Tyler Seguin on teammate Jamie Benn, the '14-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
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