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(Page 208 of 255)
NHL Insider

Johnson filling key role for Hawks

Saturday, 03.05.2011 / 1:20 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO – Those who follow the Chicago Blackhawks should know who Ryan Johnson is by now.
 
The 34-year old center might have been an afterthought when the Hawks signed him in mid-December, but there's no overlooking what the shot-blocking, faceoff-winning veteran is doing for Chicago now.
 
After scoring his first goal as a Blackhawk and winning 14 of 19 draws in Friday night's 5-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Johnson is starting to fill the role that John Madden filled in last season's Stanley Cup championship.
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Maple Leafs feel they have a miracle run in them

Saturday, 03.05.2011 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the many teams that watched the Philadelphia Flyers wait until the last shot of the 2009-10 regular season -- literally -- to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and then followed their miraculous run to the Stanley Cup Final.
 
What the Flyers' run showed is that if a team can just get into the playoffs, anything can happen.
 
The Leafs were in the place where all the magic happened Thursday -- the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia was where Brian Boucher stopped the Rangers' Olli Jokinen to clinch the final-day shootout win -- and turned in a bit of magic of their own, stealing a 3-2 victory from the Flyers.

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Pens will push forward with what they've got

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 3:35 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

"As soon as that deadline is over it kind of creates more of a bond between the guys. We know this is it and if we're going to win, it is going to be us pulling together. You know you're not looking for help anywhere else. That's something we can cling to and become a tighter team for it." -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Mike Rupp

NEWARK, N.J. -- There had been plenty of speculation about roster changes for the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins in the weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline, and both teams made deals to alter their lineups.

Now that the deadline has passed, these two teams have objectives at hand and a better idea of who is going to be around to help reach them.

"As soon as that deadline is over it kind of creates more of a bond between the guys," Penguins forward Mike Rupp said. "We know this is it and if we're going to win, it is going to be us pulling together. You know you're not looking for help anywhere else. That's something we can cling to and become a tighter team for it."

The Penguins added forwards James Neal and Alex Kovalev and defenseman Matt Niskanen at the deadline while subtracting defenseman Alex Goligoski. Pittsburgh's roster issues come from a rash of injuries that has sidelined captain Sidney Crosby and several other top players.
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Hawks' top line always pushing for more

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It might be a little dry, but nobody can say that Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews doesn't have a sense of humor.
 
Following Wednesday's 6-4 win against the Calgary Flames, it was suggested to Toews that the top line he centers should probably have a catchy nickname considering how much impact it's had in the Hawks' six-game win streak -- which they'll try to extend on Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
 
"Yeah?" Toews deadpanned. "Well, let's not push it."
 
The response drew laughs, mostly for its impeccable timing, but it was also Toews' way of saying there's still a long way to go before the Hawks can breathe easy in the pressure-packed Western Conference playoff chase. Case in point: Toews and linemate Patrick Sharp both missed Wednesday's morning skate at the United Center and NHL.com learned that Toews was feeling a little ill.

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Cup perks continue: Hawks to visit White House

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 1:08 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"It'll be a fun experience for all of us, a great day with family and friends there as well. It should be special." -- Chicago coach Joel Quenneville

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane says his overtime, Stanley Cup-winning goal hasn't changed him, except for the fact that two days later he got a call from the President of the United States and next Friday he'll be shaking hands with Barack Obama himself as the Blackhawks visit the White House.

Oh sure, he's just like everybody else.

"I'll probably bring my flip cam, take it all in and get some good memories," Kane said Friday before the Blackhawks took on the Carolina Hurricanes at United Center.

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Around the West: Injuries shaping Western race

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 10:18 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

During the  first five months of the season, Around the West has been dedicated to each team in the Western Conference. Now with the playoff race absolutely on fire and probably the most interesting on-ice story in the NHL now, the focus is being narrowed to some of the biggest newsmakers, the teams you should be watching as the  conclusion to the regular season approaches.

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Rangers goal: Get more goals

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 9:53 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The Rangers have one goal right now -- get some more goals.

Scoring has been a problem for the Rangers during a 4-10-1 stretch that has turned their once-promising playoff chances into a major question mark. The Rangers were in fifth place in the Eastern Conference on Jan. 25, seven points clear of the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes.

But with just 35 goals in 15 games, the Rangers have plummeted to eighth place in the East, just two points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres, who have three games in hand.

"We just have to find a way to put a few of our chances in the back of the net," said forward Brandon Dubinsky, who has just three goals in his past 23 games. "I am relied upon. I definitely have to feel the pressure. I have to find a way to use that pressure to get excited and elevate my game rather than let it wear on me."

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High ratings for often unnoticed Nielsen

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

It's a measure of Frans Nielsen's high standards that he didn't feel a performance good enough to earn him second star honors on Wednesday night was one of his better games.
 
Nielsen sent two writers into gales of laughter when he told them "I thought I played like (crap)" after setting up three goals to help the Islanders beat Minnesota 4-1, putting a crimp into the Wild's playoff hopes.
 
Jack Capuano, the Isles' interim coach, wasn't complaining.
 
"Maybe that's a good thing," he said. "The coaches think he played pretty good."
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Rob Blake discusses transition on NHL Hour

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 7:44 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

At this time last year, Rob Blake was in his 20th season as an NHL defenseman and gearing up for another run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

Fast-forward 12 months and Blake is still very much involved in the game -- but now instead of scoring goals and dishing out big hits, he's part of the League's Hockey Operations department. Hired on Jan. 27, the veteran of 1,270 regular-season games for the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and Sharks, whose career highlights include winning the Stanley Cup and Olympic gold, works with Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell and his staff on all aspects of the game, including the All-Star Game and the NHL's summer Research and Development Camp.

"The transition's been good and (I'm) welcoming the change," Blake told Stan Fischler, guest-hosting during Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman."
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Defending champions rounding into form

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 5:33 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Has the unbeatable attitude that spread like wildfire through the Blackhawks' dressing room last spring finally returned?

"The one thing I talked to our guys about and our coaches earlier in the year was it doesn't happen overnight. As much as you'd like to have these things sorted out back in the fall, when you have a new group like we had this year it takes time before everyone really settles into what they can do to help the team."
-- Chicago GM Stan Bowman

Admitting it publically is too difficult, especially when they closely study how the final 20 minutes of their last two games unfolded with Minnesota and Calgary creating some scary moments for the Hawks and their fans. Believing it is different, and albeit in a very quiet way, that's definitely what is at least now starting to happen.

Chicago has won six straight games and is 8-1-2 in the last 11 to climb from 11th to fourth in the Western Conference.

"We've been looking for a run like this all season long," Patrick Sharp said following Chicago's latest win, 6-4 against Calgary on Wednesday.
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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie