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NHL Insider

Blues honor World Series champs

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 9:57 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa and Chris Carpenter have been here before. David Freese is living the life these days.

This is how World Series champions live these days.

La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals' manager for 16 seasons before announcing his retirement, brought the World Series trophy with him prior to the St. Louis Blues' game against the Vancouver Canucks.

La Russa was joined by National League Championship Series and World Series MVP Freese, along with ace pitcher Chris Carpenter, a Blues season ticket-holder. Carpenter's son Sam also joined the trio and dropped the puck for the ceremonial first faceoff -- one week after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in seven games to win the World Series.

Despite dubious streak, Red Wings not panicking

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The place people call "Hockeytown" hasn't seen anything like this in a long time.

The Detroit Red Wings have had some losing streaks in the past couple of decades, but combining it with the inability to score goals is just dumbfounding. They are currently on a six-game losing streak and averaging just a goal a game in that skid.

The Wings (5-5-1) are also sitting 13th in the Western Conference prior to Friday night's slate of games. Just looking at the conference standings on a dry-erase board inside the Detroit locker room is an exercise in the bizarre. 

Caps hope less time for stars now means more later

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:30 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

A lot was made of Alex Ovechkin's reaction to being left on the bench for the final 87 seconds of regulation as the Washington Capitals came back with a late goal to send the game against the Anaheim Ducks to overtime Tuesday night -- but what about the other 35 minutes and 46 seconds?

That's how much less time Ovechkin spent on the ice -- and how much more often he was on the bench -- through the Capitals' first 10 games compared to the start of last season. Based on his current average, that's almost two full games worth of ice time in the first 10 alone.

With an average ice time of 18:36, Ovechkin is playing almost three minutes less per game then he did last season, and a whopping five minutes fewer than during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaigns, when he was logging more than 23 minutes a night.

Habs rested as they eye fourth straight vs. Sens

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:27 PM / NHL Insider

Erin Nicks - Correspondent

KANATA, Ont. -- With five days of rest and a three-game winning streak on the line, the Montreal Canadiens (4-5-2) are set to get back in action against the Ottawa Senators (7-6-0) at Scotiabank Place. Whether the break served as a pro or a con will be determined Friday night.

The Senators, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped with a 5-3 loss Tuesday to Boston, are anxious to get back into the win column. Goaltender Craig Anderson thinks the Habs will provide the right opportunity. 

Predators relish Rinne's impressive glove work

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:07 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Pekka Rinne was trending on Twitter in Canada on Thursday after Nashville locked up its Vezina Trophy finalist to a seven-year, $49 million contract. But if there was anyone still wondering what made the Predators' puck stopper worth such a commitment, they should look back at trends from last spring's playoffs.

Among the most entertaining hashtags on Twitter was #ThingsinRinnesGlove.

The list of responses included everything from "Jimmy Hoffa" to "Charlie Sheen's dignity." But as Rinne celebrated his 29th birthday with a contract extension almost six months later, nobody was making jokes involving his glove hand.

Stars look to avoid rust, Avs' road success

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 1:29 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- By the time the Dallas Stars hit the ice on Friday night at the American Airlines Center, six days will have passed since their last game, a 3-1 win over the Devils last Saturday night.

After having two straight days off following the win over New Jersey, the Stars had a productive week of practice but are now ready to begin the month of November in positive fashion as they face the Colorado Avalanche.

"When you're on a good roll, you kind of want to keep things rolling," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. "In a perfect world we may have been playing another game a night or two later, but rest is a good thing too. We've had a couple of days of good practice here with pace. Hopefully that's got us sharp for the opening faceoff tonight."

Boucher expects better from Bolts against Blackhawks

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:57 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

TAMPA, Fla -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher didn't bother to hide his dismay over the effort his team produced over the first two periods Tuesday night en route to a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

In response to what Boucher called "lackadaisical play," he put the Lightning through an unusually intense practice session on Wednesday, designed to drive home a point to the players.

"We didn't play the first two periods in Carolina, so we had them play those periods over," Boucher said. "We did specific things that relate to what we didn't do well. The work ethic wasn't there and the competitiveness wasn't there. So, we did the first two periods over. If you count the number of minutes we were on the ice, it was exactly 40 minutes, broken by a three-on-five power play. (Tampa Bay failed to convert on such a power play against the Hurricanes.)

Talent level, history suggests Wings turn it around

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 10:07 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"You have to think positive and believe in yourself and tell yourselves you are good players. You know, because we are good players. We just got to go out and score some goals." -- Henrik Zetterberg

DETROIT -- In case anybody is subscribing to the theory that opposing defenses and goaltending are the biggest problems for the Detroit Red Wings’ sputtering offense, allow Ken Holland to crumple that notion up and chuck it into the nearest trash can for you.

Detroit's general manager is willing to give credit where it's due for his team's meager six-goal output during its current six-game winless skid (0-5-1), but only to a certain extent. When presented with a version of the "good goalies" theory after Thursday's 4-1 loss to Calgary at Joe Louis Arena, Holland quickly shot it down.

Kovalchuk leaves with pulled muscle

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 11:38 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA --- The New Jersey Devils lost forward Ilya Kovalchuk late in the third period of Thursday's 4-3 shootout victory against the Philadelphia Flyers with what the star forward told reporters is a pulled muscle in his leg.

Kovalchuk, who had a pair of assists, two shots on goal and a plus-2 rating -- he set up both New Jersey goals in the second period -- left the ice for the final time with 1:35 left in the third period. He sat out all of overtime and was unavailable for the shootout, which the Devils won on goals by Zach Parise and Patrik Elias.

Cardinal ace Carpenter tries his luck on skates

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 4:55 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Six days after pitching the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11th World Series title, Chris Carpenter was spending time reliving memories of another sport that he mastered quite well in high school.

Instead of lacing up his cleats, Carpenter was lacing up his skates and sharpening the blades. He was on the ice with the St. Louis Blues for the team's practice Thursday morning at St. Louis Mills, putting his 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame through some light drills.

The 36-year-old Carpenter, who won Games 1 and 7 to help the Cardinals down the Texas Rangers in seven games in the World Series, was having a blast. He was taking shots, parking himself in the slot area and making saucer passes to Blues players, who were loving every moment spending time with one of the other pro athletes in town.

"It's awesome," said Carpenter. "For these guys to even give up some of their time to allow me to come in here, I know what it's like ... I just wanted to get out of everybody's way, just watch really, and then they invited me to come out here and skate a little bit. 
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Quote of the Day

It's about enjoying the moment. It's pretty cool to get that many people together and that excited about hockey to the point they really want you to mess up. They've got a ton of red jerseys and you have to sit back and appreciate people love hockey that much and you are the one out there who gets to play the game. Just try and stick with that respect for the game and also the mentality that for me it's just about entering the fight and seeing how long I can stay in it.

— Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on what he expects from the fans in Calgary for Game 6