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NHL Insider

Coyotes' honor is humbling for Roenick

Friday, 02.10.2012 / 5:45 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Jeremy Roenick says he rarely gets humbled by anything, but the honor that will be bestowed on him on Saturday in Glendale, Ariz., is one of those rare moments that can bring even the most confident star to tears.

Roenick will watch his No. 97 go up to the rafters of Arena as he becomes the seventh player to be inducted into the Coyotes Ring of Honor. He will join Wayne Gretzky (99), Bobby Hull (9), Thomas Steen (25), Dale Hawerchuk (10), Teppo Numminen (27) and Keith Tkachuk in the exclusive fraternity.

"When an honor like this is bestowed on you, when they're actually putting your jersey up in the rafters, that is special," Roenick told Friday from the Bellagio, where he is taking part in Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp. "I don't think it has hit me yet that they're doing this for me. The ultimate goal is the Hall of Fame, and I think the second best honor you can be given is for what you have done for a team. It's great that the Coyotes are doing this for me."

Healthy, refocused Coyotes on another February roll

Friday, 02.10.2012 / 3:45 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Who looks forward to the month of February on the calendar more than florists, candy confectioners and greeting card companies?

It could be the Phoenix Coyotes.

In the past few years, no NHL team is annually happier to see the shadow of Groundhog Day and the feeling of romance in the air more than the Coyotes. Two years ago, Phoenix wrapped up a run of eight wins in nine games before the Olympic break to position themselves for a franchise-record 50 wins. Last year, the Coyotes won eight straight from Feb. 5-22, collecting 16 points in 17 days and putting them back in the playoff hunt.

It's happening again.

Habs excited to see Gomez break goal drought

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 11:57 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Scott Gomez has played alongside far too many legendary players in his career to not know how to carry himself when things aren't going well.

Some may have been just a tad melancholy going 368 days without a goal. But when you spent your early days in the National Hockey League learning from the likes of Scott Stevens, Joe Nieuwendyk and Martin Brodeur, you know it's more important to put the team ahead of any personal struggles.

That's what Gomez has done in Montreal during the past year. That's why he's earned the admiration of his teammates -- the ones who went ballistic on the bench when Gomez fired a rebound from the right circle past Evgeni Nabokov at 9:50 of the third period in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-2 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night.

Gretzky likes what he sees with franchises he played for

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 6:21 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Wayne Gretzky is enjoying life as a hockey fan. The Great One watches games from his home in Los Angeles, and admires the players, the skill, and the parity in the National Hockey League.

"I think the hockey has been so good, and the players have been getting so good," Gretzky told Thursday morning from the Bellagio, where he is hosting his 10th annual Fantasy Camp. "When you can have 20 teams that can legitimately say they have a chance to win, some tougher than others, that's great. I think the hockey is very good right now."

Gretzky, though, keeps an especially watchful eye on four teams in particular. Yes, they are the four teams he played for in his illustrious career.

Zetterberg looks for answers to his goal drought

Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 7:26 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Henrik Zetterberg isn't ignoring the obvious, nor is he ducking questions about it.
Henrik Zetterberg
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 40
SOG: 168 | +/-: 6

The Detroit Red Wings forward now has just ten goals through 56 games after finding the back of the net Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers, and the whispers about it are getting louder outside the locker room. More often, fans and media alike have the same question in mind: What's wrong with Zetterberg?

The truth is, he wants to know too.

"I'm way past the frustration part or the thinking part," Zetterberg told after Wednesday's morning skate. "Now, I've just got to play. I've got to go out and play every game and not look at the stats and think, 'Oh, what if I do this or what if I do that? Maybe I will have a good year again.' You just go out and play the best you can."

In Penticton, 'Vee' stands for victory

Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 5:51 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Penticton Vees coach and general manager Fred Harbinson can say, with earnest, that he's now played a part in two of the most extraordinary winning streaks set in the British Columbia Hockey League.

The Vees, North America's No. 1-ranked Junior A hockey program, broke a 22-year-old league record on Tuesday when it notched its 30th straight win. It was a moment the fifth-year coach will always remember, particular since Harbinson played against the team that had held the previous mark of 29 consecutive triumphs -- the 1989-90 New Westminster Royals.

"I was playing for the Calgary Canucks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League in that 1989-90 season and remember going up against New West and losing and it's something, as an athlete, that you always look back on and it sticks with you," Harbinson told "When we started climbing and people began asking what the record was, I knew all along. I knew the team that had it and, as we got closer, our whole organization and our town got excited.

Avs seek points against similarly struggling Hawks

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 5:58 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Something has to give Tuesday night when two slumping teams, the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche, meet at the Pepsi Center.

The Blackhawks, playing the fourth game in a nine-game road trip, have been outscored 22-10 in a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) and have been outscored 30-17 during a seven-game road winless streak (0-5-2) since a 4-3 shootout victory at Minnesota on Dec. 14.

The Avalanche, playing the third game of a four-game homestand, have been outscored 12-8 in a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) and outscored 34-21 during a 3-7-2 slide since a 4-0 victory in Chicago on Jan. 6 that capped a streak in which the team won nine of 10 games.

Playoff atmosphere surrounds Panthers' visit to Caps

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 3:32 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- After his team's practice Monday, Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter said Tuesday's night game against the Florida Panthers was going to be "a playoff game."
After his team's morning skate Tuesday, Hunter made the same statement. It may have seemed incredibly unlikely six months ago, but the Panthers and Capitals will battle at Verizon Center in early February and first place in the Southeast Division will be on the line.

"I've got a veteran lineup. I've got guys that can count and read the paper," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "They know what the deal is. It's very simple. You look at our situation and we can talk and we can build up about tonight's game, but it is going to be the same thing Thursday and the same thing Saturday and Sunday. We're in a situation where every game has a large level of importance."

The Panthers have a one-point lead on the Capitals, and Florida also has a game in hand. They have also had an extra day to rest, with Washington losing Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center to Boston.

Washington has a collection of banners in this building to signify its dominance over the rest of the Southeast in the past four years. Florida hasn't made a postseason appearance since defenseman Erik Gudbranson was 8 years old.

Devils go for fifth straight in first trip to MSG

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 1:30 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Of all the things that have Martin Brodeur excited about his first game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden this season, the renovated visiting locker room is what's piquing his interest the most.

Before the Rangers' home arena was upgraded during the offseason, the visiting room was notoriously dingy, so much so that it wasn't uncommon to see a cockroach or mouse slithering along the floor.

"It wasn't the best place before," said Brodeur, who will be in net Tuesday night against the Rangers as the Devils look for their fifth straight win since the All-Star break. "It'll be nice to see how they worked it out. It's got to be better. It's hard to make it worse."

The remodeling of MSG that bled into late October coupled with a scheduling quirk has the Devils making their first trip across the Hudson River later in the season than usual. The Devils began their four-game winning streak with a stirring 4-3 home win against the Rangers last Tuesday, sparked by a game-tying goal by David Clarkson off a lucky bounce in the final seconds of regulation and capped with an Ilya Kovalchuk goal in the shootout.

Western Canada struggles highlight Hawks problems

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The natural beauty of Western Canada might be quite the tourist attraction, but it is safe to say that the Chicago Blackhawks aren't looking forward to their next visit there.

Chicago has dipped to the sixth spot in the Western Conference and fourth in the Central Division after going five straight games without a win. And, for the second time this season, Western Canadian teams are at the root of the problem.

The Hawks have gone just 1-4-1 in two three-game road trips to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames and were blown out twice by the sub-.500 Oilers at Rexall Place. The most recent undressing came in an 8-4 loss there last week, with Edmonton's Sam Gagner adding salt to the wound by making a name for himself with 4 goals and 4 assists for a jaw-dropping 8-point night.
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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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