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NHL Insider

Blues' Arnott set to play in 1,200th NHL game

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:19 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The landscape of the NHL has changed so much for Blues center Jason Arnott, that his own teammates were taking playful jabs at him Thursday morning.

"I think he fell off his dinosaur when I was born," defenseman Barret Jackman said of Arnott. Jackman is 30, Arnott is 37.

To which a laughing Arnott said, "I'm sure there are a lot of jokes going on here about that."

It's playful because Arnott will reach another milestone tonight when the Blues (15-9-3) host the Anaheim Ducks (8-14-5).

Tonight marks Arnott's 1,200th game in the NHL, making him the 89th player in League history to reach such a milestone and sixth active player behind Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom (1,520), Washington's Roman Hamrlik (1,334), Philadelphia's Jaromir Jagr (1,295), Anaheim's Teemu Selanne (1,286) and the New York Islanders' Brian Rolston (1,209).

Yzerman: Bolts 'need better play from our whole team'

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 1:34 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning bring a five-game losing streak into Thursday's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The same team that took the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals six-and-a-half months ago is now stuck in 13th place due to an outbreak of problems that got worse Thursday when Martin St. Louis left the ice bleeding after taking a Dominic Moore shot to his eye.

St. Louis, who was taken to the hospital for evaluation, will likely miss Thursday's game. It would have been his 500th consecutive game played.

Rookie goalies make different kinds of history

Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 11:27 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Two goalies made their NHL debuts Tuesday night in unexpected fashion. Neither allowed a goal, and while one of them earned a win, the other earned a unique place in NHL history.

The Carolina Hurricanes' Mike Murphy and the Minnesota Wild's Matt Hackett combined to stop all 36 shots they faced in their teams' games Tuesday.

Hackett, 21, the Wild's 2009 third-round pick, replaced starter Josh Harding just 1:11 into Tuesday's game against the San Jose Sharks when Harding suffered an upper-body injury after being hit by teammate Nick Schultz. He earned the win when his team rallied for a 2-1 victory.

Islanders improved, but still have a long way to go

Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 10:04 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Less than two weeks after it looked like their playoff hopes were left by the wayside, the New York Islanders have found some life.
The Isles were shut out for the fifth time at home this season when the New Jersey Devils came into the Nassau Coliseum on the day after Thanksgiving and blanked them 1-0. At that point, they were last in the Eastern Conference standings -- and last by a considerable margin in scoring. With a four-game road trip beginning the next day in New Jersey, it looked like this season would be a repeat of 2010-11, when a horrible November doomed the Islanders to their fourth consecutive non-playoff season.
Instead, the Islanders started finding the net -- and the win column. A 3-2 win at New Jersey was followed by a 2-1 victory at Buffalo. The Isles lost 5-4 in a shootout at Chicago on Friday, and then matched their season-high in goals in a 5-4 win at Dallas the next night. They did it again Tuesday when they routed the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1. That's 19 goals in a five-game stretch, by far their best of the season. 

Stars vs. Wild rivalry revived by realignment

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 7:26 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild were each out for the same equitable solution in the NHL's realignment discussions.

In getting the geographical map they were looking for through Monday's vote at the Board of Governors meetings, the Stars and Wild might have also added fuel to a rivalry that already has a link that dates back 18 years, to when Norm Green moved the old North Stars to Texas.

Under the NHL's new four-conference alignment that it plans to install  next season, the Wild and Stars will play in the same conference, along with fellow Midwestern franchises Detroit, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg and Nashville.

It'll be the first time that the Wild and Stars will play within the same small grouping of teams. Despite the almost 1,000 miles between the markets, there is an expectation that the rivalry will intensify in both markets, especially for the fans -- even those not old enough to remember when Green shifted the team from Minnesota to Dallas 18 years ago.

Rivalries, balanced schedule among high points

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 7:20 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- With realignment approved by the Board of Governors on Monday, Tuesday became a day of revisiting the decision and dissecting some of the finer points of the four-conference system the NHL intends to implement for the 2012-13 season.

Here are five items from the radical realignment plan that deserve a closer look:

1. Intensifying rivalries
The Stanley Cup Playoff format in the four-conference alignment is set up to create new rivalries and add energy to traditional ones.

Since the first two rounds of the playoffs will be played within the conference, the teams that battle each other for the majority of the regular-season games will be the teams faced in the early playoff rounds.


Realignment rekindles some old-school rivalries

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 6:49 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Dick Patrick has been part of the Washington Capitals organization for 27 years. His arrival coincided with a string of postseason appearances in the 1980s and early 1990s when the NHL had a divisional playoff format for the first two rounds.

Consider Patrick among the members of the NHL Board of Governors excited to see the League return to a similar format after the Board voted Monday in favor of a realignment plan that includes a four-conference setup, with the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to be played within those conferences.

"Playing within your division or conference in the first two rounds really solidifies these rivalries," Patrick told "That's why we have such great rivalries with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It is from those (divisional) years, and when those teams come to town the fans get all excited. They are really special games."

The first playoff series victory in Washington franchise history came against the Flyers in 1984. The most famous goal in franchise history -- Dale Hunter's playoff overtime tally -- came against Philadelphia in 1988. 

Daly foresees few realignment issues with PA

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 5:21 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. --While the Board of Governors has given Commissioner Gary Bettman the authority to realign the NHL into four conferences based primarily on geography, the intention is still for the League to get the consent of the National Hockey League Players' Association before creating a schedule for the 2012-13 season.

Realignment can be viewed as a rule change, which would require a discussion with the PA, said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday after the two-day Board of Governors gathering adjourned.
Daly stressed, though, that the League does not anticipate any push back from the NHLPA and the intention remains for the new alignment and balanced schedule to be in place for the start of the 2012-13 season.

Blue Jackets pleased with realignment

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 3:36 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The Columbus Blue Jackets were one of a handful of teams the NHL was trying to satisfy with its radical realignment proposal that was approved by the Board of Governors Monday.

Judging by some of the reactions of coach Scott Arniel and the Blue Jackets players on Tuesday, it would appear that mission was accomplished.

"Obviously for us, anything that reduces our travel would be good," Arniel said. "Having to go to the west coast as much as we do, even Mountain Time, has been very difficult. Coming home we're either losing two or three hours. For us being in the central (time zone) will be real good for us.

"Not everybody will be happy, but I think that the League has looked at a lot of different situations and this one is probably the one most people are satisfied with."

The Blue Jackets and Red Wings are currently the only two teams in the Western Conference who are in the Eastern time zone, making it more difficult for their fans to watch a lot of their road games and also adding a burden on the players.

League's precincts check in with realignment reaction

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Big changes are coming to the National Hockey League with conference realignment being approved at this week's Board of Governors meetings. These changes are expected to take place for the 2012-13 season.

All 30 teams will be affected, playing some opponents more often than they have in the past and some others not as much. Beyond that, hundreds of players -- a majority of whom have known nothing but the two-conference, six-division format introduced prior to the 1998-99 season -- will have to get used to a new system of Stanley Cup Playoff qualification in which finishing in the top four of your conference is imperative.

Here's a sampling of some of the early reaction and thoughts from players, coaches and executives around the League about realignment:

"This is a fantastic night for the Blue Jackets. This is what's right for the League, but it's also something that will make a big, big difference for our franchise, both on the ice and off the ice. This is huge." -- Columbus president Mike Priest, in the Columbus Dispatch

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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