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NHL Insider

Crosby joins non-contact practice, still hopes to play

Friday, 02.17.2012 / 3:14 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby remains hopeful of returning this season, although he still is experiencing concussion-like symptoms that vary from day to day.
For only the second time since he last practiced Dec. 7, Crosby skated with the Penguins on Friday at their suburban Iceoplex at Southpointe rink. Crosby did so because he couldn't find available ice time elsewhere.
All of the drills were contact-free -- Crosby has not yet been cleared to practice fully or to experience contact -- but they gave Crosby an idea of where he is at in his recovery.
"I'm trying to get back," the 24-year-old Crosby said. "I'm hoping to get back as soon as possible. I'm not going to pretend I know when that is. I won't say I'll be ready in a month or two weeks or a week. I wouldn't be going through of all of this if I didn't want to play as soon as possible. That's all I'm worried about."

Craig Patrick reveling in new role with Blue Jackets

Friday, 02.17.2012 / 1:35 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Hall of Famer Craig Patrick is smiling a lot these days.

And with a new job that fits his lifestyle perfectly, why wouldn't he be happy?

Patrick was hired as a senior advisor by Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson on Dec. 7, and has enjoyed his first taste of life back in the NHL since being fired as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006.

"It's great," Patrick told during a stop in Philadelphia on a scouting trip. "It's great to be back in the game. I missed it a lot. It's good to be back doing what I like to do."

Wings 'grind'-ing way to another successful season

Friday, 02.17.2012 / 11:17 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"You always see guys working out, before or after practice and sometimes after games. That's just part of what we do. It's the approach we've had for a long period of time, not just this season but going back to the 1990s." -- Nicklas Lidstrom

DETROIT -- It went virtually unnoticed, just as it does after every game at Joe Louis Arena.

Not far from where a contingent of media and others milled about in a victorious home locker room, a number of Detroit Red Wings grinded through tough, post-game workouts. If you'd just walked in without seeing the game they'd just won or knowing its historical significance, you probably would have thought it was just like any other victory for Red Wings -- winners of four Stanley Cups in the past 15 years.

It wasn't.

This time, they'd beaten the Dallas Stars to set an NHL record with 21 straight home victories in one season. The previous high of 20 games, which the Wings had tied two days prior, had been set by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and matched only by 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers.

Hawks feeling good after skid-snapping victory

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 10:54 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The sound blared out of the Blackhawks dressing room. Flo-rida's "Good Feeling" reverberated out into the halls.

Indeed it was.

The start was better than Chicago could have scripted Thursday at Madison Square Garden. A penalty shot, a one-timer through the biggest screen on the ice, and a pair of breakaways. The Hawks went 4-for-4 in less than 10 minutes, including 3-for-3 in exactly four.

Losing streak over, emphatically.

Holland discusses Wings' streak on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 8:03 PM / NHL Insider

February is shaping up to be an eventful month for the Detroit Red Wings.

A franchise accustomed to playing deep into the spring and competing for the Stanley Cup has given its fan base plenty of thrills already with the recent announcement of the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and the setting of a new League record for consecutive home wins. On top of that, Detroit is prepared to be active as the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaches.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland appeared as a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman" to talk about all the excitement, including the 21-game run at Joe Louis Arena that the team will take into Friday night's Central Division matchup with the Nashville Predators.

Blackhawks try to stay positive through winless skid

Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 4:47 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Soon after finishing his media responsibilities Wednesday afternoon at Chelsea Piers, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp went down the long row of benches looking for John Scott's shoes.

"Something's got to give. Something's got to go our way eventually. They say if you keep doing the right things the hockey gods are going to reward you and we're hoping that's going to happen soon." -- Jonathan Toews

It was time for a practical joke.

Sharp, smiling like a mischievous prankster, found the big guy's footwear, snagged them from off the rubber-matted floor, walked back down the row of benches, and placed them in an equipment bag. He then had a good laugh with captain Jonathan Toews as the rest of the Blackhawks started to come off the ice at Sky Rink and prepare for the bus ride back to Madison Square Garden, where they would change.

"Scott's going back without shoes on," Sharp quietly quipped as he dropped the pair of Reebok sneakers in the bag.

The Blackhawks are winless in nine straight (0-8-1), including seven in a row on the road, heading into Thursday's showdown at the Garden against the League-best Rangers. They've fallen to sixth in the Western Conference after being in first three and a half weeks ago, when they last won a game.

Back in NHL, turning 40, Jagr remains a force

Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When Jaromir Jagr burst on the NHL scene at age 18, he skated like the wind, scored at will and seemed like 80 percent of his body weight was contained in his lustrous, jet-black mullet.

Twenty-two years later, the mullet is long gone, the hair is thinner and tinged with a few stray grays, and there's 240 pounds packed onto his 6-foot-3 frame.

But what hasn't changed is the joy and sublime skills he brings to the rink every day.

"I don't act like I'm 40 years old," Jagr, who celebrates his 40th birthday on Feb. 15, told "Sometimes I can act like them (the young guys)."

Clean living and hard work secrets to Jagr's success

Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

What's allowed Philadelphia Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr to remain an effective player in the NHL as he reaches his 40th birthday?

Clean living, he says -- no smoking or drinking alcohol -- but he does admit to one vice.

"I like Diet Coke," he says with a laugh. "I even drink it during a game. I like Diet Coke. No vitamins, nothing ... Diet Coke."

Oh, if it were only that easy.

40 for 40: Memories of Jagr as he turns 40 years old

Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Growing up in the Czech Republic in the 1990s, Jakub Voracek was like most of the kids he knew. They were all big hockey fans, and they almost all shared the same favorite player -- Jaromir Jagr.

"He was the best player in the world, from the Czech Republic, from my hometown (Kladno), so every young kid had his poster on the wall," Voracek told

Voracek doesn't keep the posters on the wall now, considering he can look across the Philadelphia Flyers locker room every day and see the real Jagr as his teammate.

As the future Hall of Fame member prepares to celebrate his 40th birthday on Feb. 15, talked to 40 players, coaches, broadcasters and media members who have chronicled Jagr's career for their favorite moments of a career that eventually will end with a Hall of Fame ceremony in Toronto:

Rangers think they can be even better

Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 11:11 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Here's a scary thought for teams around the League -- the New York Rangers, who are the NHL's top team based on points percentage, have the potential to be better than they were against the Bruins on Tuesday night.

That's the stance coach John Tortorella and some players took following the team's 3-0 victory, a win that gave the Rangers a nine-point lead on Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I wouldn't pay for the start of that game," said Tortorella, whose team scored twice in the first period. "I thought we played better in the second half of the first period, but then on, we end up with a 2-0 lead, but I don't think we mounted much from there. I thought we defended really well, but that's all we did."

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Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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