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NHL Insider

Pegula: Sabres plagued by 'injury problem'

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 1:06 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Terry Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres last February, he promised to bring a Stanley Cup to the team he long rooted for.

At this point, it looks like that championship decree won't be coming in the 2011-12 season.

The Sabres enter Friday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with two wins in their last 10 games and 11th in Eastern Conference, five points behind eighth-place Washington.

However, Pegula has not given up hope, and believes injuries are the main reason for his team's poor record.
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Wings' loss was Hawks' gain when it came to Hossa

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 12:44 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

Marian Hossa
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 29 | PTS: 46
SOG: 149 | +/-: 23
CHICAGO -- They are questions that aren't asked very much because Marian Hossa is already in his third season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

They're also an afterthought because nearly every team in the League has lost a talented player or two to salary-cap issues -- including Hossa's Blackhawks after winning the 2010 Stanley Cup.

Still, what if the Detroit Red Wings had been able to keep Hossa after a memorable one-year run in 2009 instead of letting him walk? What if that bitter defeat to his former Pittsburgh Penguins teammates in the 2009 Cup Final was merely the beginning of Hossa's stay in Motown?
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Flames surprised by Cammalleri-Bourque trade

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 1:39 AM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY – As the Calgary Flames were locked in a scoreless battle with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night, suspended forward Rene Bourque was leaving the Scotiabank Saddledome as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Flames were unaware that their teammate of the last 3 1/2 seasons had been dealt to the Canadiens during the 1-0 overtime victory -- they weren't notified of the trade that sent Bourque to the Canadiens in exchange for former Flame Michael Cammalleri until after the game. Bourque was at the Saddledome but not in uniform -- he was sitting out the fourth of a five-game suspension for elbowing Washington's Nicklas Backstrom in the head eight days earlier.
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Gauthier: Trade was in the works for weeks

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 12:17 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- While on the surface it might look like the Montreal Canadiens traded Michael Cammalleri because of the controversy he caused with his post-practice comments about ice time and his team's attitude Wednesday, general manager Pierre Gauthier said Thursday night that the deal was mostly about his team's lack of size.

During the second intermission of Montreal's 2-1 loss to Boston at the TD Garden, Gauthier completed a deal to send Cammalleri, the rights to European goaltender Karri Ramo and a fifth-round pick in 2012 to Calgary in exchange for Rene Bourque, prospect Patrick Holland and a second-round pick in 2013.

Cammalleri played 9:02 in the first two periods before being removed from the game.

Bourque, a 6-foot-2, 211-pound left wing, has 13 goals and 16 points in 38 games this season after getting 27 in each of the past two. 
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Doug Wilson shares Winnipeg memories on NHL Hour

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 7:38 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

With the San Jose Sharks making their first trip to Manitoba since the mid-1990s to face the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night, Doug Wilson, their general manager, shared some of his memories of playing at the old Winnipeg Arena during his 16-year NHL career as a defenseman.

Wilson, who spent his final two seasons as the first captain in Sharks franchise history, recalled scoring goals there and getting injured. But there was one moment in particular that stood out, he said during his appearance Thursday on "NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman."

"They used to have this huge portrait of the Queen at one end of the rink," Wilson said. "I remember one game where I shot a puck and it actually was deflected and I think I hit her right in the cheek."
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Penguins' Shero: 'We're making the playoffs'

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 3:38 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

"We're making the playoffs, put it that way. Anything less is unacceptable. … Just making the playoffs is never our goal." -- Ray Shero

His team is banged up and slumping, but Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ray Shero’s confidence has not wavered, to say the least.

"We're making the playoffs, put it that way," Shero told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday. "Anything less is unacceptable. … Just making the playoffs is never our goal."

The Penguins have lost six games in a row and currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are without captain Sidney Crosby, defenseman Kris Letang and center Jordan Staal because of injuries.
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Bounce-back seasons, youth lifting Senators

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 11:51 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

To say the Ottawa Senators are exceeding expectations this season wouldn't be entirely true.
After a 74-point campaign in 2010-11 that triggered a rebuilding process, players came into 2011-12 with a unique set of expectations.

None.

"It's one of those things. I don’t think we had any expectations," said defenseman Matt Carkner, who has been with the Senators since 2008. "Obviously it's great right now. We know what we're capable of now, so it's kind of expected to perform the way we are now. It's a big bonus that we're putting ourselves in a good position.

"I think everyone was a little harsh on us to judge us so early."

The standings prove Carkner is correct about that.

The Senators are 23-15-6, good for 52 points and fifth place in the Eastern Conference heading into a showdown with the League-leading New York Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Ottawa has won six of its last seven, including a 5-1 victory in Pittsburgh on Tuesday that started a 10-game stretch in which nine of the games will be played on the road.
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Big test for Blues as Canucks come to town

Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 6:33 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- It would have been hard to predict in October what January would bring, but suffice it to say that nobody could have guessed that when the Blues and Vancouver Canucks clash on Thursday, the top slot in the Western Conference would be up for grabs.

Obviously there's still a long way to go, but when the Blues (25-12-5) play host to the Canucks (27-14-3) at 8 p.m. ET, it's a chance for the home team to grab the top spot in the conference with a regulation win -- and that's something no one could have expected not all that long ago.

For the Canucks, the defending Western Conference champions, battling for the top spot is no surprise. But for the Blues, who have just one playoff appearance since the NHL work stoppage in 2004-05, it's uncharted territory -- especially considering the fact that they were 6-7-0 and languishing in 14th place before changing coaches just over two months ago.

Now they have a chance to prove they belong against a team that is 9-3-1 in its last 13 games. The Canucks come to Scottrade Center with 57 points, two more than the Blues -- though St. Louis has played two fewer games.
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Habs' Cammalleri admits lack of ice time troublesome

Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 5:31 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. – The passionate Montreal Canadiens fan base was on full display Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

At one end of the ice, a departed hero from the team's miraculous 2010 run to the Eastern Conference Finals was given a standing ovation after shutting out the home team.

At the other end of the ice, another hero from that same playoff run who is still on the Canadiens was being booed in the waning moments of a 3-0 win by St. Louis.

While Jaroslav Halak most definitely played an integral part during that magical spring two years ago, Michael Cammalleri's role should not be discounted.
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This time, Caps, Pens battling just to get in playoffs

Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 12:37 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner couldn't quite believe what he was hearing.

Yes, it is true that with a regulation win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the Capitals will jump into the top eight in the Eastern Conference and the Penguins will fall out. As it stands now, the Penguins, losers of five straight, are clinging to eighth place while the Capitals have dropped to 10th after losing both of their recent games in California by identical 5-2 scores.

It wasn't long ago that these two bitter rivals were fighting for Eastern Conference supremacy and battling in an epic playoff series.

"Yes, it does (surprise me), just because the last few years we've both been toward the top of the Eastern Conference and the League," Alzner said. "Having to be in this position, that every game you lose is so huge right now, just thinking about that is an eye-opener for sure. We need to have these points."
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Quote of the Day

We never really stopped believing in ourselves. We were hearing a lot of things about our team in the regular season. Seems like we put things back together at the right time and we're back in the finals with this group. We know what we have in this room, we believe in each other, we believe in the organization and it really matter what other people say.

— Patrick Sharp after Blackhawks clinched Western Conference title with Game 7 win vs. Ducks