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NHL Insider

Shootout success isn't limited to stars

Saturday, 07.21.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

It's hard to believe, but the shootout has been with us for seven seasons. The breakaway competition was adopted in 2005 as a way to settle NHL games that were tied after overtime. It has turned into must-see TV -- how many times have you been flicking through the channels and stopped to watch when you saw teams heading to the shootout?

Some teams and players have fared far better than others -- and the most successful players aren't always the biggest names. Dany Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer, and 2011 Art Ross Trophy winner Daniel Sedin have lifetime percentages of 18.2 in the shootout -- well below the all-time League average of 32.72 percent. Marian Gaborik, a three-time 40-goal scorer, is 6-for-26 (23.1 percent). But Frans Nielsen and Erik Christensen, who've never been big-time scorers during regulation and overtime, are among the most successful in the tiebreaker.

Shootout retrospective: Seven year history

Saturday, 07.21.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

It's hard to believe, but the shootout is now seven years old -- and it's been used to decide more than 13 percent of NHL regular-season games (1,138 of 8,610) since the tiebreaker was adopted in 2005.

The stakes can be high: The Philadelphia Flyers' run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final never would have happened if they hadn't beaten the New York Rangers in a shootout on the final day of the regular season. The New York Islanders made the postseason in 2006-07 by beating the New Jersey Devils in a shootout in their season finale. Last season, San Jose, Los Angeles and Calgary all had 34 non-shootout wins -- but the Sharks (nine shootout wins) and Kings (six) made the playoffs while the Flames, who went 3-9 in the tiebreaker, stayed home.

Hawks star Kane sorry for 'embarrassing' photos

Friday, 07.20.2012 / 9:49 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane stepped to the podium on Friday afternoon and knew he would face questions about an incident from earlier this spring.

Patrick Kane
Center - CHI
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 66
SOG: 253 | +/-: 7
The 23-year old forward for the Chicago Blackhawks hadn't yet spoken publicly about an offseason incident in Wisconsin that resulted in a series of unflattering photographs and stories circulating across the Internet about his partying there on May 5.

"We all saw the photos. They were pretty embarrassing," Kane said. "And that's probably the biggest thing. Nothing illegal ever happened and I guess it was the offseason and you're trying to have a good time, but you've got to realize the spotlight you're in no matter where you are. For me, the situation I'm in now, you've always got to act like someone's watching you no matter what you do and it's going to be put out there on the Internet or news blogs. That's the standpoint I'm taking."

Hossa working hard for return to Blackhawks

Friday, 07.20.2012 / 7:45 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa continues to show progress in his recovery from a concussion that knocked him out of the Chicago Blackhawks' loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Marian Hossa
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 48 | PTS: 77
SOG: 248 | +/-: 18
Meeting with reporters in person for the first time since a hit by Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in Game 3 of the series, Hossa said he's been working out hard off the ice for about a month and showing no symptoms.

"Lots of time has passed by and that helped me," Hossa said Friday afternoon at a media function prior to the start of the Hawks' annual fan convention this weekend at the Chicago Hilton. "I didn't have to rush anything and that was most important thing. After (it was decided) that I couldn't fly home to Slovakia, I just basically didn't do anything. I just relaxed and (at) some point I decided to try to do something, start working out. Things right now are on a level where I want to be and I'm happy where I am so far."

10 candidates for bounce-back seasons

Friday, 07.20.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

Disappointing seasons happen to almost everyone. Sometimes they're due to injuries; sometimes they're just bad luck, and other times they are a combination of circumstances.

Here are 10 players who, for a variety of reasons, didn't have their best season in 2011-12 -- but are good candidates to bounce back in 2012-13:

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks -- Getzlaf averaged more than a point per game from 2007-08 through 2010-11, but his scoring touch inexplicably vanished last season when he managed 11 goals and 57 points while averaging 21:35 of ice time in 82 games. Not surprisingly, the Ducks missed the playoffs. It was the worst full-season offensive showing of the forward's career. For the Ducks to get back into the playoffs, Getzlaf has to return to being the player who was among the NHL's best centers in the previous four seasons.

In offer sheet, Holmgren again makes bold move

Thursday, 07.19.2012 / 2:06 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Only two compensation-eligible free agents in the last 15 years have switched teams. That fact, however, didn't stop Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren from signing Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet.

The reported 14-year, $100 million-plus deal, announced by the Flyers on Thursday, is just the latest in a litany of aggressive moves that have marked Holmgren's tenure in Philadelphia.

Holmgren's fearlessness can be traced to his first day on the job, Oct. 22, 2006, when he fired Stanley Cup-champion coach Ken Hitchcock and replaced him with first-year NHL assistant John Stevens.

DeBoer prepares to move on without Parise

Thursday, 07.19.2012 / 1:53 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- While the loss of captain Zach Parise via free agency was tough to take, New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer is confident his group can pick up where it left off last season.

The Minneapolis-born Parise agreed to a 13-year, $98 million deal with the Minnesota Wild on July 4. The contract will keep the 27-year-old in his home state until age 40. He had spent his first seven seasons in the League with the Devils.

Who are the best at doing the little things?

Thursday, 07.19.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

Guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos are stars because of their offensive skills -- after all, the basic premise of hockey is that you have to put the puck in the net more than the other guy, and they're better at making that happen (for themselves or their teammates) than just about anyone else.

But there's more to winning hockey games than just scoring goals, and not even those aforementioned superstars can do everything. Doing the dirty work and excelling at the little things play a big role in winning games as well.

Here's a look at some of the NHL's best players in four of hockey's lesser celebrated categories:


Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit

The numbers say Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly was the NHL leader in takeaways last season with 101, just ahead of runner-up John Tavares of the Islanders (99). But just about any survey of players and coaches will tell you that Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk is still the NHL's top puck thief.

St. Louis takes in Yankees game, prepares for season

Wednesday, 07.18.2012 / 1:11 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- After coming within one win of the Stanley Cup Final last year, this summer turned out to be longer than expected for Martin St. Louis and the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the Bolts missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years this past seasons. But with some offseason changes in Tampa and teammate Steven Stamkos coming off a 60-goal season, the six-time All Star is looking forward to an opportunity to get back to the conference final.

"Just been training, golfing, started skating a bit. Obviously taking care of the kids is a thing I do too during the summer," St. Louis told Tuesday as he enjoyed a baseball game at Yankee Stadium with his family.

With his offseason training intensifying as the summer goes along, St. Louis also expressed excitement over the moves Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman made following a disappointing 2011-12 season that saw the Lightning finish eight points out of a playoff spot. After acquiring goaltender Anders Lindback from Nashville on June 15, the club signed forward Benoit Pouliot and defensemen Sami Salo and Matt Carle, adding depth to the roster, especially on the blue line.

Sabres, Lightning potential new East playoff teams

Wednesday, 07.18.2012 / 11:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Summer may be the most enjoyable time of the year for many; but when it comes to NHL teams, they want to put off the start of the summer vacation for as long as possible.

But for the seven Eastern Conference teams that missed out on the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff party, their goal since the second week of April has been figuring out how to extend their seasons into May -- or even June, like conference champion New Jersey Devils.

So how can the teams that missed the fun turn into postseason hits during the upcoming season? With about a month until training camp opens, examines why fans of the unlucky seven can harbor playoff hopes for 2012-13:


Last season: 39-32-11, 89 points, three points out of eighth place

How it ended: A five-game win streak had the Sabres in a playoff spot March 28, but they lost three of their next four to finish outside the top eight.

Offseason changes: After a noisy offseason last year, the Sabres were a bit quieter this summer. Their big move was trading center Derek Roy to the Dallas Stars for forward Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy. Along with the addition of rugged defenseman John Scott, the Sabres became a far tougher team to play.

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