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NHL Insider

Lack of contact in practice delaying Crosby’s return

Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 2:06 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby will know when it's time to start playing again -- and the time isn't now.

The star center participated in the Pittsburgh Penguins' morning skate before their game Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils, 10 days after being cleared for full contact in practice. But with the Penguins playing at a more than every-other-day pace -- the game against the Devils was their 10th in 17 days -- there hasn't been much contact for anyone during their few practices. Not even for the player who needs it the most.

"I think I need to get in some contact, more than just one bump in a morning skate," said Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 5 because of a concussion. "I think it's got to be a few days of that. So whenever we can get some of those days together, and hopefully I respond well to that, then I'll be much closer than I am right now."

Red Wings' Lidstrom ready for game No. 1,500

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 5:51 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- There may be a few more wrinkles in his face and maybe there's just a little less hair up top than there used to be.

Maybe legendary Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom really is 41 years old, and the end of his illustrious hockey career is closer than most realize -- or, more accurately, want to accept.

You really have to look closely at Lidstrom these days to tell that he's aging -- and even then you aren't entirely sure that he isn't some sort of Swedish-engineered robot the Red Wings just recharge every night before storing in a crate for safekeeping.

He's not, by the way, but it sometimes feels that way.

Habs feel fixing PP could help restore confidence

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 5:10 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Tomas Plekanec
Center - MTL
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 4
SOG: 24 | +/-: -2
BROSSARD, Que. -- The Montreal Canadiens would do well to shut the blinds, turn off the radio and not even think of turning on a television or going anywhere near a computer.

With their city in a frothy panic over the team's worst start to a season in 16 years, the Canadiens' struggles have taken a front row seat in the hearts and minds of Montreal's residents.

And it's only October.

But while the Canadiens understand why their fans feel this way about their 1-4-1 record, they have an even better understanding of why it is important to shut that constant chatter out of their minds.

Hard hats, shovels, fedoras mark signs of respect

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

What do a jacket, a hat, a belt and a shovel have in common? No, they aren't what you need to be fashionable while doing some digging. They are actually symbols of respect bestowed upon hockey players following an excellent performance.

The Boston Bruins had their famous vintage Starter jacket that was given out to a worthy player following victories during their run to the Stanley Cup last season. After Nathan Horton was knocked out of the Final by a hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome during Game 3, the Bruins went on to win. The jacket hung in Horton's locker following the game.

It culminated during the team's home opener this season, when Mark Recchi, who retired during the offseason, wore the jacket on the ice during the celebration. It would be the last time the jacket would be used by the Bruins.

Red Wings are anxious to get back in action

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings are screaming uncle.

"They want to play games and I want to watch them play games," Babcock told Wednesday. "It just gets old."

Detroit has a 4-0-0 record so Babcock is at least happy with the early-season results, but the schedule has been frustrating.

The Red Wings opened with a back-to-back against Ottawa and at Colorado before going four consecutive days without a game. They're now in the middle of a five-day stretch between games, but they have a back-to-back this weekend against Columbus and at Washington, and another next weekend against San Jose and at Minnesota.

They have nine back-to-back sets before Jan. 1. They had six in the same span of time last season. 

Bruins keep lid on Kessel again

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 2:26 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

Phil Kessel went into Thursday night's game against the Bruins with seven goals and 12 points, but was held to just one shot on net by his former team. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOSTON – It didn't take long after the Bruins' morning skate Thursday for a television reporter to ask Claude Julien if he thinks the whole Phil Kessel/Tyler Seguin story will ever go away.

The Bruins' coach quickly turned the tables on that inquisitor.

"That's up to you guys. It's certainly not created by us," he said. "It's you guys that create the story all the time. We don't. We've turned the page, and I'm sure they have. Everybody wants to move on, but you guys control that. So I should be asking you that question, ‘Are you ever going to let that story die?'"

The latest chapter of the Boston-Toronto rivalry in the post-Kessel-trade era was another victory for the Bruins, who beat the Maple Leafs 6-2 at TD Garden on Thursday night. The Bruins are now 7-3-3 against Toronto since they traded Kessel to the Leafs in the fall of 2009 for a package of draft picks. One of those picks turned into Seguin as the No. 2 overall selection in the 2010 draft.


Gretzky not ready to return to hockey

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 10:37 PM / NHL Insider

Wayne Gretzky may be hockey's most famous free agent -- and he plans to stay that way.

Gretzky, now 50, hasn't been connected with the NHL or any of its teams since he severed ties with the Phoenix Coyotes prior to the 2009-10 season. He told TSN's Darren Dreger that while some teams have approached him about an executive role, he's not ready right now.

"Edmonton and Los Angeles have been really great to me and I have a nice relationship with both Kevin [Lowe] and the Oilers and obviously Dean Lombardi and the Kings, and I'm really honest with them. Right now, it's not the time for me to jump back into the game," explained Gretzky.


Lidstrom excited by Scandinavian TV deal

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 7:26 PM / NHL Insider

Count Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom among the European players excited by Thursday's announcement that the National Hockey League finalized a broadcast rights deal with Modern Times Group (MTG) that allows access across Scandinavia to every NHL game live via television, mobile and broadband for the next five seasons.

"I know my dad is very happy -- he's been calling me there the last few weeks and asking, 'We can't find our hockey games.' He follows all our games, even though they start sometimes in the middle of the night. They'll get up and watch the games," Lidstrom said while appearing as a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman."


Commodore patiently awaits his turn with Wings

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 7:13 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- There is a word Mike Commodore is using these days that admittedly didn’t enter his vocabulary much a few years ago.

“Patience is the key word,” said Commodore, a 31-year old free-agent addition by the Detroit Red Wings who’s recovering from a preseason knee sprain. “It’s not a bad situation for me. I just need to stay patient and make sure I’m ready when the opportunity comes.”

That’s because the situation in Detroit has changed since the time Commodore left a game at the United Center in the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks. At the time, it looked like he had the inside track over 24-year-old Jakub Kindl for the role of sixth defenseman.

Since Commodore’s been out, Kindl has thrived while teamed with 27-year old Jonathan Ericsson as the Wings’ third D-pairing. Detroit now appears to have one of the deepest defense corps in the League from top to bottom despite Brian Rafalski’s retirement and not bringing in a high-priced free agent. 

Big day for Stewart family as brothers finally face off

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 6:45 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The day Anthony Stewart came back home from his Ontario Hockey League team, the Kingston Frontenacs, and watched his 6-foot-2, 260-pound brother Chris playing a pickup hockey game, he immediately knew he had to take an initiative.

It was Anthony Stewart, the oldest of Norman and Susan Stewart's seven children, who felt like he needed to push younger brother Chris to the ice and away from the gridiron, even though Chris excelled in football. It was Chris Stewart, a multitalented athlete growing up, who made the choice of walking away from the ice when he was 14. Anthony guided his little brother toward what turned out to be a career choice when Chris was just 16.

"He was a natural athlete," Anthony said of Chris. "He was just a little heavy and was playing football. He had a couple offers for collegiate football. But I watched a pickup game of his and he had really good hands and he was actually really fast. 
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Quote of the Day

I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there.

— Likely No. 1 pick Connor McDavid after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday