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NHL Insider

Wings want to see a more simple game at home

Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 2:30 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- In order to halt an ugly trend of sub-par play at home, the Detroit Red Wings think they need to stop being so pretty.
"I don't think it's a matter of being too comfortable," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said after Detroit's Wednesday morning skate. "I think it's a matter of forcing things and trying to make plays when they're not there. We're more simple on the road and don't have to make that extra pass to make it look pretty. That's what we've been guilty of (at home)."
The Red Wings have gone a meager 7-9-2 at Joe Louis Arena in their previous 18 home games – including back-to-back losses to the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars the last time they were in town. Detroit is 17-10-4 overall at home and ranks 15th in the League in home record. The Wings are also tied in home points earned (38) with the Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes.
They've been a lot better in other cities. The Red Wings are 22-9-4 on the road and are tied with the Boston Bruins for the most road points earned (48). The reason is literally simple -- or simplicity.


Lemaire believes Josefson's time will come

Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 10:32 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"This kid has it, there's no doubt. He just turned 20 (March 2), and he's a good player right now. If you look at his stats, his stats are not that great, but as a hockey player, you want him on your team." -- Jacques Lemaire

It's only a matter of time before New Jersey Devils rookie center Jacob Josefson is awarded his first NHL goal.
He notched his first assist Sunday on a nifty drop pass to Ilya Kovalchuk during a victory against the New York Islanders. He came close Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators, but his deflection in front was ruled to have been played with a high stick.
Josefson appears to be gaining more confidence with each start under coach Jacques Lemaire, who has always had a knack for turning young skaters into productive players. In 12 games, the 20-year-old Swede has only 15 shots while averaging 12:15 of ice time, but he's also won 31 of 68 faceoffs (45.6 percent). 

Youth line provides important spark to 'Yotes

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Three days after posting their most thrilling win of the season, the Phoenix Coyotes have to face the team that handed then their most embarrassing loss.

Down 4-1 to Detroit after two periods, the Coyotes rallied for three goals in the third period and pulled out a 5-4 win when Radim Vrbata scored the only goal of the shootout. The win snapped a five-game losing streak and the play of Phoenix's young forwards -- Mikkel Boedker, Kyle Turris and Brett MacLean -- played a key role in the win, producing 2 goals, 2 assists and lots of energy from their line.

The trio prefers an up-tempo game and they will be asked to provide more of the same Tuesday when the NHL's best team, the Vancouver Canucks, return to Jobing.com Arena. Vancouver last came to town on Feb. 2 and handed the Coyotes their lunch in a 6-0 loss that was a low point in Phoenix's season.

Refreshed Flyers hope to regroup against Edmonton

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 3:02 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- There were two vibes coming out of the Philadelphia Flyers' locker room Tuesday morning -- confidence and anger.

After ordering the players away from the rink Monday, the team was back on the ice Tuesday for a spirited morning skate that left mostly smiles on the faces of the players.

"I think it was good for everybody to get away from the rink for a day," forward Danny Briere said. "Come back re-energized, get ready to get back to work. Hopefully put this little bad stretch behind us and start moving on."

The "bad little stretch" Briere speaks of is a season-high four game losing streak, capped by a 7-0 shellacking Sunday by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

That loss -- called a "beat down and a half" Sunday by captain Mike Richards -- still is eating at a bunch that despite their struggles enters the game Tuesday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers atop the Eastern Conference standings.


Plenty on the line as Habs face rival Bruins

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 2:46 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Both the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday continued to lay blame at the skates of the other team for the brawls that marred a wild 8-6 Bruins victory when the teams met almost a month ago.

"I think it's important we play with an edge, we're a much better team when we play with that physical edge and we establish that presence. But we have to be smart, we can't spend the whole game in the penalty box." -- Milan Lucic

The Bruins have maintained during the past month that the reason the last game in Boston degenerated into a slugfest was because the Canadiens started it. Montreal's fans and media, on the other hand, have been accusing the Bruins of goon tactics.

While a consensus is not ever likely to be reached on this topic between the NHL's version of the Hatfields and McCoys, the sides readily agreed on another topic.

Tuesday night's game at the Bell Centre is huge; bigger than any notions of payback or revenge.

Senators seeing results since turning to rookies

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 2:26 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- It appears the future is now for the Ottawa Senators.
With only 17 games remaining in the regular season, the Senators are currently sitting last in the NHL with 22 wins and 53 points. It's certainly not the scenario General Manager Bryan Murray, coach Cory Clouston and veteran center Jason Spezza envisioned.
"We want to win a lot of games down the stretch and try to make ourselves better," Spezza said. "We're not going to watch the standings and sweat over what is going on around us. We're worried about ourselves and playing as well as we can every night. But you don't want to be in last place, so as players, we want to win as many games as we can."


Sabres have been re-energized under Pegula

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 2:10 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

Team owners in professional sports rarely attend all of their team's games. If the Buffalo Sabres keep this up, look for Terry Pegula to be an exception.

Since Pegula bought the Sabres from Tom Golisano last month, his new team is 5-0-2 -- with Pegula in attendance for all seven games. He'll make it No. 8 when the Sabres play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, with Pegula expected to watch from a seat in the stands rather than from a private box.

Pegula wants to know what the fans are saying, what they're feeling, and he believes he gets a better idea of that when he's surrounded by ticket holders.  So far, it's obvious he's liked what he's heard -- and what he's seen.

What he won't see Tuesday night is Sabres leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who was ruled out with the flu after missing the pregame skate. Vanek has 23 goals and 32 assists for 55 points in 65 games. 

Around the East: Bruins making move for top spot

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 10:46 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The playoff chase in the Eastern Conference changes rapidly as the days click off the calendar. There are tight races for first overall, for first in the three divisions and, of course, for eighth in the Conference as the Devils and Maple Leafs add their hats into an already crowded field around the periphery of the playoff field.
Around the East this week focuses on the races that will leave you trying to catch your breath:

Hot on Philly's heels: For months, it appeared the Flyers were a lock for the top spot in the Eastern Conference; but those days are long gone. The Bruins, Penguins and Capitals are nipping ever so close with 84 points apiece.
Boston, in fact, could take over first in the Conference on Tuesday. The Bruins would have to beat Montreal at Bell Centre and the Flyers would have to lose to Edmonton in regulation on their home ice. Boston would own the tiebreaker aginst the Flyers because it has more points in the season series.
Philadelphia has lost four straight for the first time this season, and is coming off a 7-0 loss to the Rangers that prompted captain Mike Richards to say the players are not just on a different page, but "different chapters, maybe."


Button, Weekes believe Devils can pull off miracle

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 12:11 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

While the numbers still don't look great for the New Jersey Devils, there may be reason to believe their miracle could come true.

"I would say with (Sunday's) win and looking at their next five games, with 12 games left in the season New Jersey could be in great position to hunt down the teams in front of them," NHL Network analyst Craig Button told NHL.com. "Remember, they still have three games in hand on the Rangers. They play the Rangers (April 9) and that could be a massive game for both teams."

The Devils are 20-2-2 since Jan. 9 and still sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, eight points out of a playoff spot, but that's the bad news. The good news is that each of their next five games will be against teams (Ottawa, Atlanta, the Islanders) that, like them, are also outside of the top eight.

O'Byrne knows he was lucky on skate to face

Monday, 03.07.2011 / 5:23 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Ryan O'Byrne realizes how fortunate he is, even after needing three hours of surgery and about 100 stitches to repair the left side of his face and mouth after getting sliced with a razor-sharp skate.

If the Colorado Avalanche defenseman had been struck a few inches higher or lower, the injury could have been far worse.

"Absolutely," O'Byrne said Monday after practicing while wearing a full protective cage at the South Suburban Family Sports Center. "They said there's a nerve there, and (the skate) just missed it. It kind of cut right through, but the nerve was intact. It would have been pretty tough. I would have had kind of a droopy look. It could have hit me in the eye or in the neck. A hundred stitches still, but it could have been worse, for sure."
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Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead