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NHL Insider

Gretzky talks hockey -- yesterday and today

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 6:09 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- The Great One still has a great passion for hockey and follows the NHL as closely as ever, watching as a fan from his home in Southern California. Wayne Gretzky may not be directly involved in the NHL at the moment, but his ties are still everywhere, his hooks still very much connected and his words still magnified more than most, if not all.

This week, at his ninth annual Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas, we had the opportunity to chat with Gretzky about a number of different hot topics inside the game today. Our discussions ranged from concussions and head hits to the trade deadline, playoffs, the upcoming Tim Horton's Heritage Classic and why he thinks there may never be another dynasty like the 1980s Edmonton Oilers.

Gretzky, gracious as always, offered his opinions on all of these topics for NHL.com's State of the Game Q&A with 99.

Oilers willingly donate hair to raise money for charity

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 5:13 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Having already been thrust into the spotlight in their first season with the Edmonton Oilers, rookies Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi took on a new shine when they put their heads where their hearts are in the name of charity Friday.

Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi, along with Theo Peckham, Jeff Petry, Linus Omark and Steve MacIntyre, endured scissors and shears as part of the Hair Massacure, a fund-raiser supporting The Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation, Make-a-Wish Northern Alberta and Ronald McDonald House of Northern Alberta.

High and tight doesn't begin to describe it.

Sharks having fun on their trip east

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Hockey players can be notoriously light travelers.
For short road trips it is not uncommon for NHL players to pack very little, and for a one-day trip a bag might not even be involved. That wasn't the case for the San Jose Sharks on their current seven-game trek to the eastern United States that will span nearly two weeks.
"Yeah, we've got the extra bag this time," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We usually pack pretty light, but you need the extra bag on this one."
The Sharks will face the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday and then fly to South Florida for a game Sunday against the Panthers. Friday's game is the fourth on a trip that has included stops in Boston, Washington and Columbus and will finish with contests against Florida and Nashville before heading back to California.


Around the West: Feaster's approach good for Sutter

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 10:08 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The list of reasons for Calgary's turnaround from bottom feeder to playoff contender over the last month and a half is long. Their team defense has improved, their goaltending is much better and their offense has more continuity and balance, so as a result the Flames have gone from last in the conference to eighth entering the weekend.

But as NHL Network analyst Craig Button notes, the change in the Flames' front office from former GM Darryl Sutter to acting GM Jay Feaster should not be undersold, either. Button, himself a former Flames' GM who still lives in the city, told NHL.com that Feaster has brought a different perspective that may very well be helping coach Brent Sutter.

Feaster took over for the fired Sutter on Dec. 28 and the Flames are 12-3-4 since. They're 8-0-1 over their last nine games.

"Darryl was a darn good coach, but as a GM I think he looked at the game through a coaching lens," said Button. "Jay has not been a coach and doesn't have to enter the discussion with Brent looking through that lens. He can bring different perspectives and it allows Brent to perhaps take those and apply them. Sometimes the same things seen different and expressed from a very different perspective can have a very positive result. I believe that has occurred in Calgary."


Hull sees similarities between himself and Stamkos

Thursday, 02.10.2011 / 6:21 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- The whip you see in his stick, the accuracy and power with which he shoots, and the uncanny way Steven Stamkos always seems to find the open patch of ice reminds us of what we used to see from Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull.

Hull agrees. He sees the similarities and buys into the comparisons, too.

"Absolutely," Hull told NHL.com Thursday morning from Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp. "He goes to the same areas of the ice. He's very patient. He's really developed that aspect of the game. I think in that aspect he's the best in the League by far."

Hull used to be. His one-timer was regarded as a lethal weapon -- and it helped him score 741 goals in 1,269 NHL games.

Isles will look to play physical against Habs

Thursday, 02.10.2011 / 2:19 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

"When you prepare for a team, you want to look at every avenue that you can exploit. When you go against Montreal, it's no secret you want to get physical with them." -- Zenon Kenopka

MONTREAL -- The battered and bruised Montreal Canadiens have little time to lick their wounds after the 8-6 beating they took at the hands of the Bruins in Boston, getting right back on the ice Thursday night against the well-rested New York Islanders.

Benoit Pouliot was probably the only member of the Canadiens that came out on the winning end of the six fights Wednesday in Boston. He was pretty frank when it came to Montreal's chances in games where toughness is a bigger factor than speed or skill.


Crosby confident he'll play again this season

Thursday, 02.10.2011 / 1:55 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Yes, it's scary, Sidney Crosby said, and how could it not be? A concussion is sidelining him from the game he loves, and neither Crosby nor his doctors know exactly when he'll be able to play again.

During a 10-minute session with reporters, the Pittsburgh Penguins star said Thursday there is no timetable for his return -- either to practice or games. He only can wait, rest and hope he gets better sooner rather than later.

Crosby is confident he'll be able to return to the Penguins at some point this season -- "Geez, I hope so," he said -- although he acknowledges there is a chance he won't.

The uncertainty, Crosby said, is one of the most difficult aspects of his injury.

Bruins to sit down Seguin against Canadiens

Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 2:55 PM / NHL Insider


Boston Bruins rookie forward Tyler Seguin, the second pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, will be a healthy scratch on Wednesday night when the Bruins play host to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed the report to James Murphy of ESPNBoston.com following the team's practice. Seguin, who has 8 goals and 17 points in 51 games this season, has connected just once in his last 11 contests.

"I don't think we can overanalyze this, guys," Julien told Murphy. "We have to sit somebody out and I know who he is, I know where he was drafted and I know all that stuff. I think right now we've got (Jordan) Caron, who we feel is a good fit on that fourth line, and (Zach) Hamill is here to have a look at. Here's a guy who's a third-year pro and he needs to have a look, too. Right now that's the choice we've made."

Habs hope Wisniewski's return invigorates power play

Tuesday, 02.08.2011 / 8:25 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. -- The Montreal Canadiens are starting to get healthy -- or at least healthier.

Defensemen Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges remain out for the season with knee injuries, but power-play quarterback James Wisniewski was at practice Tuesday after missing two games with a bout of strep throat and he'll be in uniform against the rival Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).

Coach Jacques Martin also announced that injured sniper Michael Cammalleri -- out since Jan. 18 with a shoulder injury -- should be back practicing with the club by the end of the week.

Their returns can't come too soon for the Canadiens as both are key members of a Montreal power play mired in an 0-for-22 drought over the past five games.

Just bringing Wisniewski and his booming shot from the point back for Wednesday's key divisional matchup in Boston should help.

Emery excited to have a chance to play again

Tuesday, 02.08.2011 / 2:19 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

"I'm just excited to be back playing again. I realize I had a tough operation and have been away from the game for a while. I felt Anaheim and heir organization was a good spot for me to come back. They seemed interested. I'm just lucky to be back and to be able to play some games in the American League and go from there."
-- Ray Emery

No one has looked forward to spending February in Syracuse, N.Y. more than Ray Emery.

The goaltender, who signed a two-way contract with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, cleared waivers Tuesday and was sent to the Syracuse Crunch, the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate, where he'll attempt to come back from a major hip injury.

Emery had surgery in April to repair avascular necrosis in his right hip, a condition which saw the near-complete degradation of the top of the ball in his hip joint. It's the same condition that led to the end of the athletic career of two-sport star Bo Jackson.

"I'm just excited to be back playing again," said Emery. "I realize I had a tough operation and have been away from the game for a while. I felt Anaheim and their organization was a good spot for me to come back. They seemed interested. I'm just lucky to be back and to be able to play some games in the American League and go from there."

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday