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NHL Insider

NHL-leading Rangers want to rectify choppy play

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 2:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"It's not acceptable to have a stretch of bad games. You're not going to play every game perfect. You have to find a way to bounce back, and right away without digging a hole." -- Brandon Dubinsky

NEW YORK -- Save for a period of three days, the New York Rangers have sat atop the NHL standings since Jan. 3, a place they occupy heading into Tuesday night's game against the Nashville Predators.

The Rangers have led the Eastern Conference since the calendar flipped to 2012, the latest they've held that spot since the 1995-96 season.

Yet, there isn't an air of confidence around the club as they prepare to face the Predators (7:30 ET, NBCSP) at Madison Square Garden. Instead, there's more of a concern about rectifying their choppy play of late that has seen them drop two of three, including a truly lackluster showing in a 4-1 loss in Montreal on Sunday night.

Miller talks frustrating season, state of the Sabres

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 11:16 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Ryan Miller
Goalie - BUF
RECORD: 11-13-2
GAA: 3.12 | SVP: 0.898
DETROIT -- The term "interesting" probably best describes the day that Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller had in his homecoming to Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

Frustrating and forgettable might work, as well.

After spending a great day on Sunday catching up with family and friends -- including younger brother Drew Miller, a Detroit Red Wings forward -- Miller started his day on Monday with a pre-game skate at Joe Louis Arena followed by a chat with the media for nearly 20 minutes.

He covered a lot of topics, too. Miller gave his thoughts on everything from dealing with a concussion that kept him out for about three weeks and what kind of things he's doing to guard against further concussions to why he thinks the Sabres are struggling to his feelings about Drew's increased role with Detroit to his own struggles in net.

Sabres look for answers after 5-0 loss

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:27 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT – There couldn't have been two more starkly different emotions on display at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night following the Detroit Red Wings' 5-0 pasting of the Buffalo Sabres.

While the Red Wings celebrated setting a franchise record with their 15th straight home win this season – besting the 14 that Detroit strung together in 1965 – the Sabres were down the hall fielding questions about another mistake-filled, lackluster effort that had Buffalo reporters pressing for answers afterward.

Prior to reporters being let into the Buffalo locker room, Sabres owner Terry Pegula and other team executives walked directly into the room as players dressed while trying to wrap their minds around the fact they've got just 43 points and have a steep mountain to climb if they even want to get into the playoffs.

Future is now, as Jackets' Johansen adjusts to NHL

Monday, 01.16.2012 / 4:17 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- There is enough facial hair just below the bottom lip of Ryan Johansen to qualify as a solid effort growing a soul patch, but certainly not enough to mask his status as the youngest guy in Columbus Blue Jackets' dressing room.

He was 19 years old when his rookie season began, and he's got another six months to go as a teenager. Johansen represents hope in Columbus for a franchise that thought 2011-12 would be the big breakthrough. It hasn't worked out that way, but the broad-shouldered kid from British Columbia has done enough in his first NHL campaign to get people excited about what he should accomplish in the seasons to come.

"You can tell he's a talented player," Blue Jackets forward Antoine Vermette said. "He makes good plays. For a player of that age to show that composure the ways he shows at some points, it is pretty impressive in the League."

Johansen was the fourth pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. If that didn't bestow enough expectations on him, he was named to the all-star team at the 2011 World Junior Championship after collecting 3 goals and 9 points in the tournament.

Couturier starting to display his offensive flash

Monday, 01.16.2012 / 2:21 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- During his last two seasons of junior hockey with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, seeing Sean Couturier's name on the score sheet was a normal occurrence, thanks to back-to-back 96-point seasons.

It hasn't happened quite that often during his rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers, but with goals in four straight games, Couturier is starting to make an impact on the offensive side of the ice.

Couturier, one of 12 rookies picked to participate in All-Star Weekend, has earned most of his recognition this season thanks to his outstanding defensive play. He's second among all rookie forwards in shorthanded ice time per game at 2:42, he's won 46.2 percent of his faceoffs and coach Peter Laviolette has shown willingness to use the 19-year-old in all situations.

Now, however, it appears he's starting to bring some of that offense to go with his defensive play.

"I think what's been impressive about his last few games is his shot in general," Laviolette said. "The goals that he's scored, they're goal-scorers' goals. He's showed poise and patience and then when he released it, he released it on the money."

Jets confident they'll overcome adversity

Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 8:27 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel is maintaining a stiff upper lip, even as the setbacks pile up for his club.

"We'll get through it," Noel said after Saturday afternoon's 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the MTS Centre, the Jets' third consecutive loss. "I think we are all disappointed in the result. I'm certainly not going to beat up on my team. I'm happy with the way the guys played and responded."

Kostopoulos ready for Cammalleri's return

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 10:19 PM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- From the moment he heard former teammate Michael Cammalleri would be coming back to Calgary, Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos went to work on a housewarming present.

Little did Cammalleri know a footstool, complete with his No. 93, would be waiting for him upon his arrival, a subtle shot at the 5-foot-9 forward's height – or lack thereof. It's just one of many ways Kostopoulos plans on welcoming the Flames' newest acquisition back into the fold.  

"There's too many things to give it to him about,” Kostopoulos said before Cammalleri's arrival in Calgary on Friday night. "His height, the size of his head. It goes on and on. He's a good guy. Everyone's looking forward to seeing him.”

Weary Cammalleri glad to be back in Calgary

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 10:13 PM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Emotionally and physically drained, the newest Flame flickered to life upon arriving to the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Returning to the rink for the first time as a member of the Flames since 2009, Mike Cammalleri was all smiles as he walked into his new, old dressing room grinning from ear to ear while holding up a Calgary jersey.

He took a moment to acclimatize himself to the familiar surroundings before gleefully discussing his return to the organization.

"It's exciting to be back," Cammalleri said. "It's been a whirlwind, but it's nice to get here, get into the locker room and get ready to play hockey again. (It's been) pretty wild. I haven't had much sleep at all and it's been a lot of travel and phone calls and messages and things of that nature."

Needless to say, the last day or two have been a blur for Cammalleri.

Brent Sutter plays down coaching match vs. brother

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 9:01 PM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Kings is just another two points the Flames need to capture against an opponent ahead of them in the standings, according to Calgary coach Brent Sutter.

Not that everyone agrees.

The game marks the return of former Flames coach and GM Darryl Sutter to Calgary after being hired by the Kings last month -- and will be the first time he and brother Brent will go head-to-head as coaches in the NHL.

But you wouldn't know the game was anything special by talking to Brent.

Hartnell and Timonen return to their roots in Nashville

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 8:22 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- After he came off the ice following practice on Friday, Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz spent a good few minutes chatting – most of them laughing -- with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, an original Predator who was selected to the 2012 Tim Horton's NHL All-Star Game the day before.

Flyers forward Scott Hartnell later walked across the short hallway separating the teams' two locker rooms at Bridgestone Arena, looking for Predators defenseman Shea Weber. When he learned that Weber had already left the building, he seemed slightly disappointed before quickly breaking into an affectionate embrace with one of the Predators' equipment managers.

"It actually feels like coming home," Timonen said of visiting Nashville." I have so many good memories from this rink and this team and coaching staff and everything."
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