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NHL Insider

Flyers ready to step up in Giroux's absence

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 3:18 PM / NHL Insider

Ben Raby - Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Already without top defenseman Chris Pronger due to concussion-like symptoms, the Philadelphia Flyers announced Tuesday that top-line center Claude Giroux will be out indefinitely with a concussion.

Giroux entered Tuesday's games as the NHL's leading scorer with 39 points in 28 games. He also leads the Flyers with 16 goals and 23 points.

The 5-foot-11 forward left Saturday's game against Tampa Bay in the second period and did not return after being hit in the head by the knee of teammate Wayne Simmonds.

Neal stepping up as Penguins' go-to scorer

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 2:50 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins traded for forward James Neal last season mostly to add a reliable goal scorer to star Sidney Crosby's line.
As it turns out, it is Neal's ability to score without Crosby in the lineup that is proving to be a major asset.
As the Penguins began this season under a cloud of uncertainty about when Crosby would return from a concussion that had sidelined him since early January, Neal carried them by scoring 9 goals in the first 13 games. Even without the NHL's marquee player, the Penguins went 8-3-2.

An unlikely group has Wild atop NHL

Sunday, 12.11.2011 / 12:24 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While the rest of the hockey world waits for the Minnesota Wild to start acting like the team predicted to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs by a country mile, the best team in the NHL is waiting to see just how good it can be.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that on a team with offensive stars like Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and Mikko Koivu, grinding center Kyle Brodziak would have about as much of a chance of leading Minnesota in goals as the Wild would have of winning 17 out of 21 games. But after 30 games, both parts of that equation amazingly hold weight.

In Saturday's 4-1 win against Phoenix,  Brodziak scored his ninth and 10th goals, giving the Wild their seventh win in a row,  their seventh-straight road win and win No. 20 of the season – just 30 games into an improbable season for the State of Hockey.

Minnesota went to bed early Sunday morning with 43 points – four more than any team in the League and five more than any team in the West. The Wild are the first team to 20 wins – evenly split between home and road – and fun is following them wherever they go.

Habs hope fresh start revives Kaberle, their power play

Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 5:43 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Calling it an exciting new challenge for him, new Canadiens defenseman Tomas Kaberle figures he knows exactly what he's up against in Montreal.

After all, the Habs are Kaberle's third Original Six team, and his second in Canada.

"It's a Canadian city and everybody loves hockey," Kaberle said Saturday morning, roughly 90 minutes before he made his Habs debut a success with two assists in a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils. "At the same time, there's going to be lots of pressure on me. But, I like the challenge and hopefully it's going to be good."

The pressure is definitely on as Kaberle comes to the Habs amid questions about the direction of his career path.

Panthers enjoy change of pace with outdoor practice

Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 4:32 PM / NHL Insider

Deborah Francisco - Staff Writer

It was a perfect day for outdoor hockey as the Florida Panthers took to the ice Saturday afternoon at Central Park's Lasker Rink for a little bit of classic pond hockey.

"It was unbelievable," rookie Erik Gudbranson told, "Sometimes (outdoors), this is where you have the most fun playing hockey so it was awesome."

The Florida Panthers skate for a practice outside at Central Park's Lasker Rink. (Photo courtesy of Kate Cochran)
The Southeast-Division leading Panthers, who play Sunday evening against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, opted to hold their practice at Central Park as a treat for the players after playing in back-to-back road games Thursday and Friday night.

"We felt that there's no place more special to be than New York City around the Christmas holidays and we wanted to do something special so we came out here to Central Park," coach Kevin Dineen said. "You can just tell how much fun the guys are having; we're having a tough time getting them off the ice."

Rather than hold a typical mid-season practice, Dineen organized a round-robin, three-on-three tournament for the team. The rink was split into three sections with four-foot wide goals made of cones at each end. Panther netminders Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen skated out with the rest of the players as no goalies were allowed in the tournament. Coaches even joined in the fun as members of the three-on-three teams.

Spacek makes quick impression on new team

Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 2:11 AM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

Jaroslav Spacek
Defense - CAR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 5
SOG: 6 | +/-: 3
WINNIPEG -- Jaroslav Spacek began his day with the Montreal Canadiens and ended it by skating 19:15 and collecting two assists for the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes acquired the 37-year-old Spacek from Montreal for defenseman Tomas Kaberle on Friday morning prior to their 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Spacek had only two hours after receiving notice of the deal to board a Winnipeg-bound flight and arrive in time for the contest.

"It was crazy all day," Spacek said.

Canadiens bring in Kaberle to boost power play

Friday, 12.09.2011 / 5:52 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier and coach Jacques Martin both were adamant Friday that the one thing keeping their team from excelling this season is a power play ranked near the bottom of the NHL.

Both feel Friday's acquisition of defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes will help remedy that problem.

With power-play quarterback Andrei Markov still recovering from knee surgery and not expected back before late January, Gauthier decided he couldn't wait any longer and pulled the trigger on a trade that sent impending free-agent defenseman Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina in a 1-for-1 swap of Czech blueliners.

Kaberle-for-Spacek deal latest change in Carolina

Friday, 12.09.2011 / 2:56 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The changes continue for the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes traded defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday morning for fellow Czech defenseman Jaroslav Spacek. The Hurricanes expect to have Spacek available for tonight's game against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.

Carolina made Kaberle a key piece of its offseason makeover by signing the 33-year-old defenseman to a three-year, $12.75 million contract. However, Kaberle struggled under former Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice and his minus-12 rating ranked third-worst on the Hurricanes. Kaberle played 29 games and gathered 9 assists for the Hurricanes after spending last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Kaberle picked up a pair of assists in each of his last two games prior to being traded.

Remorseful Anisimov vows: 'No more shooting'

Friday, 12.09.2011 / 2:48 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

A remorseful Artem Anisimov met the New York media on Friday, one day after his controversial gun-shooting goal celebration at Madison Square Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning put him in the spotlight.

Anisimov apologized to the Lightning for his celebration and vowed to never do it again.

"It's a good lesson for me," he said, according to "No more shooting."

After scoring a shorthanded goal 13:23 into the second period to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead, Anisimov skated back toward the blue line, spun to face the Lightning net, held his stick as if it was a rifle, and pretended to fire shots. Ansimov said his intent was to aim at the net, but Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, who was standing between the Rangers' forward and the net, took offense at the celebration.

Flyers' Hall of Famer Parent is a fan of Bryzgalov

Friday, 12.09.2011 / 11:21 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Some fans in Philadelphia might not be behind Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, but he's got at least one invested observer solidly in his corner.

"I like the way he plays," said Hockey Hall of Famer and Flyers goaltending legend Bernie Parent. "Is there room for improvement? Of course, you never graduate as a goalie, but I really like what I see."

Parent said this Thursday afternoon, prior to seeing Bryzgalov's 25-save performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Bryzgalov's fourth straight win and lowered his goals-against average to 2.84.
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Jamie improves every game and every year. I've only been with him for two years, but as a player and as a person it seems like every week he's getting stronger and better, and becoming a better leader and better captain. He wants the team to be so successful that he's making himself better as a player.

— Stars forward Tyler Seguin on teammate Jamie Benn, the '14-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
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