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NHL Insider

Both sides criticize Anisimov goal celebration

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 11:24 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- It's not too often in the NHL when a player crosses a line during a game or breaks an unwritten rule and both teams chastise the action. Usually, one team will defend its player, the other will tell you how wrong he was.

On Thursday, everyone was in agreement that a celebration by Rangers forward Artem Anisimov went too far.

Following his shorthanded goal at 13:23 of the second period that gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 23-year-old Anisimov skated back toward the blue line, spun around toward the Lightning net, held his stick as if it was a rifle, and pretended to fire shots toward the Lightning players.

It set off a brawl as Lightning players angrily chased Anisimov, who received two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct. There were 38 minutes in penalties assessed to both sides, but Anisimov's antics left the Rangers down two men for 34 seconds.

Snider discusses Flyers, realignment on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 6:56 PM / NHL Insider

Appearing as a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman," Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider touched on a variety of topics including realignment, the current state of his team and his upcoming induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Snider brought the Flyers into the League in 1967-68 as part of the first expansion, which brought an end to the Original Six era. Within seven years they were Stanley Cup champions, and repeated the following year in 1975.

The Flyers started out in the West Division before moving into the newly-created Patrick Division for the 1974-75 season, and they have been part of the Atlantic Division since its inception for the 1993-94 campaign.

Panthers not surprised success has come this quick

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:48 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- During his time with Toronto and Philadelphia, Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg was involved in some heated grudge matches with the Boston Bruins.

A Bruins' fifth-round draft pick in 2004, Versteeg takes extra satisfaction in battling against, and sometimes beating, Boston. The circumstances of his arrival Thursday at the TD Garden were little different now that he's not wearing the sweater of one of Boston's archrivals. But with Florida's renaissance this season, there's potential for a new rivalry to spark.

Blues' Arnott set to play in 1,200th NHL game

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:19 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The landscape of the NHL has changed so much for Blues center Jason Arnott, that his own teammates were taking playful jabs at him Thursday morning.

"I think he fell off his dinosaur when I was born," defenseman Barret Jackman said of Arnott. Jackman is 30, Arnott is 37.

To which a laughing Arnott said, "I'm sure there are a lot of jokes going on here about that."

It's playful because Arnott will reach another milestone tonight when the Blues (15-9-3) host the Anaheim Ducks (8-14-5).

Tonight marks Arnott's 1,200th game in the NHL, making him the 89th player in League history to reach such a milestone and sixth active player behind Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom (1,520), Washington's Roman Hamrlik (1,334), Philadelphia's Jaromir Jagr (1,295), Anaheim's Teemu Selanne (1,286) and the New York Islanders' Brian Rolston (1,209).

Yzerman: Bolts 'need better play from our whole team'

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 1:34 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning bring a five-game losing streak into Thursday's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The same team that took the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals six-and-a-half months ago is now stuck in 13th place due to an outbreak of problems that got worse Thursday when Martin St. Louis left the ice bleeding after taking a Dominic Moore shot to his eye.

St. Louis, who was taken to the hospital for evaluation, will likely miss Thursday's game. It would have been his 500th consecutive game played.

Rookie goalies make different kinds of history

Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 11:27 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Two goalies made their NHL debuts Tuesday night in unexpected fashion. Neither allowed a goal, and while one of them earned a win, the other earned a unique place in NHL history.

The Carolina Hurricanes' Mike Murphy and the Minnesota Wild's Matt Hackett combined to stop all 36 shots they faced in their teams' games Tuesday.

Hackett, 21, the Wild's 2009 third-round pick, replaced starter Josh Harding just 1:11 into Tuesday's game against the San Jose Sharks when Harding suffered an upper-body injury after being hit by teammate Nick Schultz. He earned the win when his team rallied for a 2-1 victory.

Islanders improved, but still have a long way to go

Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 10:04 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Less than two weeks after it looked like their playoff hopes were left by the wayside, the New York Islanders have found some life.
The Isles were shut out for the fifth time at home this season when the New Jersey Devils came into the Nassau Coliseum on the day after Thanksgiving and blanked them 1-0. At that point, they were last in the Eastern Conference standings -- and last by a considerable margin in scoring. With a four-game road trip beginning the next day in New Jersey, it looked like this season would be a repeat of 2010-11, when a horrible November doomed the Islanders to their fourth consecutive non-playoff season.
Instead, the Islanders started finding the net -- and the win column. A 3-2 win at New Jersey was followed by a 2-1 victory at Buffalo. The Isles lost 5-4 in a shootout at Chicago on Friday, and then matched their season-high in goals in a 5-4 win at Dallas the next night. They did it again Tuesday when they routed the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1. That's 19 goals in a five-game stretch, by far their best of the season. 

Stars vs. Wild rivalry revived by realignment

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 7:26 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild were each out for the same equitable solution in the NHL's realignment discussions.

In getting the geographical map they were looking for through Monday's vote at the Board of Governors meetings, the Stars and Wild might have also added fuel to a rivalry that already has a link that dates back 18 years, to when Norm Green moved the old North Stars to Texas.

Under the NHL's new four-conference alignment that it plans to install  next season, the Wild and Stars will play in the same conference, along with fellow Midwestern franchises Detroit, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg and Nashville.

It'll be the first time that the Wild and Stars will play within the same small grouping of teams. Despite the almost 1,000 miles between the markets, there is an expectation that the rivalry will intensify in both markets, especially for the fans -- even those not old enough to remember when Green shifted the team from Minnesota to Dallas 18 years ago.

Rivalries, balanced schedule among high points

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 7:20 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- With realignment approved by the Board of Governors on Monday, Tuesday became a day of revisiting the decision and dissecting some of the finer points of the four-conference system the NHL intends to implement for the 2012-13 season.

Here are five items from the radical realignment plan that deserve a closer look:

1. Intensifying rivalries
The Stanley Cup Playoff format in the four-conference alignment is set up to create new rivalries and add energy to traditional ones.

Since the first two rounds of the playoffs will be played within the conference, the teams that battle each other for the majority of the regular-season games will be the teams faced in the early playoff rounds.

Realignment rekindles some old-school rivalries

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 6:49 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Dick Patrick has been part of the Washington Capitals organization for 27 years. His arrival coincided with a string of postseason appearances in the 1980s and early 1990s when the NHL had a divisional playoff format for the first two rounds.

Consider Patrick among the members of the NHL Board of Governors excited to see the League return to a similar format after the Board voted Monday in favor of a realignment plan that includes a four-conference setup, with the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to be played within those conferences.

"Playing within your division or conference in the first two rounds really solidifies these rivalries," Patrick told "That's why we have such great rivalries with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It is from those (divisional) years, and when those teams come to town the fans get all excited. They are really special games."

The first playoff series victory in Washington franchise history came against the Flyers in 1984. The most famous goal in franchise history -- Dale Hunter's playoff overtime tally -- came against Philadelphia in 1988. 
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