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NHL Insider

Martin's tenure in Montreal had highs, lows

Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 1:16 PM / NHL Insider

Here's a look at the Jacques Martin era in Montreal, which lasted two-plus eventful seasons:

June 1, 2009 – Montreal names Jacques Martin as the 26
th coach in franchise history. One year after earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens fired Guy Carbonneau before the end of the 2008-09 season and finished as the No. 8 seed before being swept by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

April 10, 2010 – The Canadiens clinched a playoff spot in the final game of their season with a 4-3 overtime loss against Toronto. They ended up with the No. 8 seed after Philadelphia defeated the New York Rangers in a shootout to claim in the No. 7 seed.

April 28, 2010 – Jaroslav Halak made 37 saves to help the Canadiens complete one of the most improbable upsets in NHL postseason history with a 2-1 win against the top-seeded Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the opening round at Verizon Center. Not only did the Canadiens defeat the Presidents' Trophy winners, they rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to do so. 

Playing, coach experiences could help Cunneyworth

Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 11:45 AM / NHL Insider

MONTREAL - Randy Cunneyworth spent 20 years as a player in the NHL building a reputation as a tough, grinding forward with great leadership abilities.

He says he coaches the exact same way.

"If I were to self-evaluate myself, I would say my coaching style is similar to the way I played," Cunneyworth said after being named the 27th head coach in Montreal Canadiens history Saturday morning. "I felt for the most part I played very hard, and I like to think I coach very hard. I compete."

Cunneyworth will have the interim tag, but general manager Pierre Gauthier said he will be in charge for the remainder of this season and a re-evaluation will be done in the offseason.  Cunneyworth has been a coach for 11 seasons, most of them as a head man in the American Hockey League.

He spent seven seasons at the helm of the Rochester Americans, the Buffalo Sabres minor league affiliate. He led the team to six playoff berths, two 100-point seasons and reached the conference finals in 2003-04.

Cunneyworth earned his first experience as a coach in the NHL during two seasons as an assistant with the Atlanta Thrashers before being named the head coach Montreal's AHL affiliate the Hamilton Bulldogs last season.

Devils retire Scott Niedermayer's No. 27

Friday, 12.16.2011 / 8:01 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Scott Niedermayer spoke with the same type of grace with which he played.

On a night in New Jersey that belonged to him and his No. 27, Niedermayer took several minutes out of his speech to thank so many people, including many from the Devils organization, both alive and deceased, to the training staff, former teammates, ex-coaches, the evening's MC, Mike Emrick -- and his family, even the one that housed him when he first came to New Jersey in 1991 as an 18-year-old.

At the same time, the Devils did all they could to thank Niedermayer, making Friday night at Prudential Center all his as they sent his No. 27 up to the rafters to join Scott Stevens' No. 4 and Ken Daneyko's No. 3 --  not to mention the Stanley Cup championship banners from 1995, 2000 and 2003 that the three of them helped to win.

Talbot, Flyers look for solutions without Pronger

Friday, 12.16.2011 / 2:52 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"When Sid went down, our younger guys were coming from the [American Hockey League] and playing a big role for us. It's tough because you lose your captain … you're missing leadership. But at the same time, everyone needs to give a little bit more. You can't just stop playing. It's unfortunate and you can't say it enough because he's a huge part of the team, but we need to keep on playing." -- Max Talbot

Philadelphia Flyers forward Maxime Talbot has once before experienced the trials and tribulations of losing his captain for a large portion of the season.

It happened last year when Talbot was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and star center Sidney Crosby missed the final 41 regular-season games and the playoffs because of symptoms stemming from a concussion.

The 27-year-old Talbot must feel a bit snake-bitten these days. On Thursday, one of the newest members of the Flyers learned defenseman Chris Pronger would be sidelined the remainder of the regular season and playoffs with a similar diagnosis.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren met with the media Friday at The Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., to discuss Pronger's condition and his team's future. He admitted Pronger was devastated when told he would not play again this season.

Niedermayer's number to join mentors in N.J. rafters

Friday, 12.16.2011 / 2:31 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Twenty years have passed since Scott Niedermayer showed up in West Orange, N.J. for his first training camp as a member of the New Jersey Devils. He walked into the dressing room that first morning at South Mountain Arena and was greeted by fellow defensemen Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko, veterans who by then had played in a combined 1,116 NHL games.

Friday night, Niedermayer's No. 27 will join Daneyko's No. 3 and Stevens' No. 4 in the rafters at Prudential Center. It's a reality that even Niedermayer is having trouble wrapping his head around.

"I came in here with very little expectation or pressure," Niedermayer recalled Friday afternoon. "There were guys out there handling all the heavy lifting; I just got to enjoy the ride and learn a lot from these guys. They were great teammates. They had each other's backs and they had my back. I was never afraid to go on the ice when those guys were out there. It's a real honor for me to join those two guys."

Devils set to honor blueliner who was a class above

Friday, 12.16.2011 / 10:36 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Considering the number of possible answers, the question certainly seemed loaded.
What, in your opinion, was Scott Niedermayer's greatest moment as a Devil?
Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey's longstanding general manager, didn't even hesitate to answer. He didn't stammer or even stumble over a single word. The answer came as easily to him as skating the puck up the ice came to Niedermayer.
"It's the goal in Detroit, in the Stanley Cup Final. That comes right to mind without even thinking," Lamoriello told on Thursday afternoon. "He went from one end of the rink to the other end, shot the puck and it missed the net, the rebound came out and he put it in. That was probably the turning point of the Stanley Cup win for us."

Neuvirth throws Caps goalie situation into flux

Friday, 12.16.2011 / 12:50 AM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG – It is far too early to call the Washington Capitals' goaltending situation a controversy.

But the Capitals certainly do have a goaltending competition going on between veteran Tomas Vokoun and his understudy and fellow Czech, Michal Neuvirth.

Neuvirth played his 12th game of the season on Thursday night against Winnipeg and shut down a Jets team that had established an offensive presence on home ice over the past month. In Neuvirth's last appearance at the MTS Centre four weeks earlier, the Jets had pinned four goals on the goalie on 31 shots.

Flyers prepare for a season without Pronger

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 11:42 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Chris Pronger
Defense - PHI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 12
SOG: 23 | +/-: 1
MONTREAL -- The Philadelphia Flyers came off the ice after a 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night feeling pretty good about themselves -- until the media walked in the dressing room and informed the players that their captain, Chris Pronger, would miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs with a concussion.

The team made the announcement during the first period of the game and coach Peter Laviolette was informed of the news just prior to the opening faceoff, but the players had no idea and were somewhat shocked to hear it from reporters.

Niedermayer discusses a career success on "NHL Hour"

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 7:36 PM / NHL Insider

Success followed Scott Niedermayer throughout his hockey career -- including, but hardly limited to, the four Stanley Cups he won as a member of the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks.

Niedermayer won every major North American and international hockey championship out there, beginning with a gold medal for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in 1991 and including the Memorial Cup with Kamloops a year later, an IIHF World Championship as well as the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and Olympic gold for Canada in 2002 and 2010.

On the eve of having his No. 27 retired by the Devils, the smooth-skating defenseman appeared on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman" to talk about that unprecedented achievement.

Flames GM Feaster makes return to Tampa

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 7:25 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Jay Feaster, the architect of the Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning of 2004, returned to the scene of his – and the Lightning's – greatest triumph on Thursday. It was Feaster's first trip to the St. Pete Times Forum since becoming the general manager of the Calgary Flames a year ago.

Feaster took the reigns as the general manger of the Lightning in 2002 and led the Lightning to the franchise's only championship two years later. He resigned in 2008 with three years remaining on his contract, citing difficulties co-existing with then-Lightning owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules.

"What the people inside the organization went through in those two years, I don't wish that on my worst enemy," Feaster said. "That was, for me, the toughest part; to see what it did to the people."

The current ownership and management, however, drew raves from Feaster.
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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract