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NHL Insider

Cumiskey excited to finally return

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 4:22 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

"I'm excited to get back out there. It's a little boring to be sitting around for that long a time. You see your team playing and you want to be out there to help. You get down a bit and it gets really frustrating, but I tried to stay as positive as I could." -- Kyle Cumiskey

DENVER -- Kyle Cumiskey had plenty of company while recovering from a concussion that prevented him from playing for the Colorado Avalanche for nearly three months.

Half a dozen teammates also were injured when the speedy 24-year-old defenseman was on the sidelines after getting hurt in an Oct. 30 game against Columbus.

"I wasn't too lonely. There were a lot of guys keeping me company," Cumiskey said with a smile Thursday morning at the Pepsi Center.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder will play his first game since the injury Thursday night when the Avalanche take on the Nashville Predators in the teams' initial meeting of the season.

Horcoff set to return to Oilers lineup

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 1:48 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers will have captain Shawn Horcoff back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 7 when they face the red-hot Dallas Stars at Rexall Place on Thursday night.

Horcoff, who missed 18 games with a sprained MCL of the right knee, will play between rookie Taylor Hall, who moves back to left wing after spending six games at center, and Dustin Penner.

Ovi: Caps must show more of a nose for the net

Wednesday, 01.19.2011 / 3:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Alex Ovechkin is calling for his team to crash the net and play angrier, but even he admitted Wednesday that it's not easy to instinctively want to get your nose dirty in front of the blue paint when you're not accustomed to it.

"Sometimes you just think maybe there's going to be a rebound and I'm going to stay outside of the net because I don't want to go there, be in that position where I'll get hit in the neck or an elbow in the face," Ovechkin said after practice at Wells Fargo Center. "You think the puck is going to bounce right to your stick. It happens sometimes, but most of the time you have to go there and fight for that puck."

Coyotes could be thin on blue line vs. Predators

Tuesday, 01.18.2011 / 4:40 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The NHL is handing out suspensions as quickly as it can, but the Phoenix Coyotes are running out of defensemen in a hurry.

Just three days after the Coyotes lost Ed Jovanovski on a hit that cost Toronto's Mike Brown a three-game suspension, blueliner David Schlemko left Monday's 4-2 loss to San Jose with a head injury after a hit by Scott Nichol of the Sharks. Tuesday, the NHL suspended Nichol for four games.

The Coyotes aren't certain if Jovanovski or Schlemko will be available for tonight's big game with Nashville at Jobing.com Arena. And Michal Rozsival still hasn't suited up for a game with Phoenix since being acquired from the Rangers eight days ago because of a lingering pulled muscle in the ribcage area.

Goal-strapped Caps face test in East-leading Flyers

Tuesday, 01.18.2011 / 2:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Alex Ovechkin called it "a huge test for us," and Nicklas Backstrom nodded his head in agreement when asked if Tuesday night's game against the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers is a statement game for the Washington Capitals.

"We had a good challenge against Vancouver Friday night and this is another big game," Backstrom told NHL.com Tuesday morning. "We're playing a great team tonight and we have to be on top of our game to get two points."

He's right, but it's safe to say that the Capitals can't be on the top of their game until Ovechkin and Backstrom start scoring.

Ovechkin has 5 goals in the last 20 games and a pedestrian (by his standards) 15 in 46 games this season. Backstrom has been even quieter with no goals in the last 20 games and just 11 in the same 46 games this season.


Oilers hope to end power outage on man advantage

Tuesday, 01.18.2011 / 2:28 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers will try to snap a franchise record of 11 straight games without a power-play goal when they open a three-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild tonight.

Scoreless in five attempts in a 3-2 loss to Anaheim Sunday, the Oilers face the Wild without a power-play goal in their last 38 attempts dating back to Dec. 23 -- a stretch that has seen them slip to 29th in power-play production at 12.7 percent.

"If we want to win some games we have to get better on the power play," forward Ales Hemsky said. "We have to get more shots, more traffic and just play harder. It's not two minutes' rest. We have to work harder for the goals."

The plummet in the rankings has coincided with the loss of defenseman Ryan Whitney, who led the Oilers in scoring with 27 points when he suffered a right ankle injury against Buffalo on Dec. 28.


Pronger out Tuesday, but nearing return

Tuesday, 01.18.2011 / 2:09 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Pronger was the first of the Flyers on the ice Tuesday morning. The towering defenseman sported a big smile and shortly into the quick pre-game workout you could tell that his surgically repaired right foot doesn't seem to be bothering him one bit.

Pronger will miss his 13th straight game Tuesday night since breaking his foot Dec. 15 at Montreal, but chances are he could be back in the lineup Thursday when the Flyers host Ottawa.

"I've got a doctor's appointment (Wednesday) and we'll see what happens," Pronger said. "You can go play a game whenever. Is it medically right to go do that? Am I going to risk hurting it if I do that? Maybe. I don't know. That's why we have doctors and we follow their protocol."

The Flyers have gone 8-4 without Pronger, who resumed skating last week. They're 9-4-1 without Pronger in the lineup this season.

Around the East: Pens' Staal happy for extra time

Tuesday, 01.18.2011 / 10:43 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ready or not, Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal had to start playing his normal 20-22 minutes per game as soon as Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion.
After taking a couple of games to get his timing back, Staal is not just playing the minutes, he's earning them.
Staal, who missed the first 39 games of the season after foot and hand surgeries, has 2 goals and 3 assists in the last two games. It's not a coincidence that his production has equated to Penguins' victories, their first two with Crosby out of the lineup.
"I've been jumping into 20-minute games, which I obviously love," Staal told NHL.com on Monday after the team's workout in preparation for Tuesday's game against Detroit. "The more ice time the better. With Sid out, I'm definitely used more on the power play, more offensively. It's tough because you can never replace a player like Sid, but our team, different players have stepped up in the last couple of games."


Devils take it a game at a time

Monday, 01.17.2011 / 8:44 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The New Jersey Devils spent the first half of the season falling into the kind of hole the franchise hasn't seen for two decades. They're going to spend the second half trying to dig their way out.
A 14th consecutive playoff berth may be more than the Devils can manage. For now, they're taking it one game at a time -- and making a little bit of headway.
Monday's 5-2 victory against the New York Islanders was the Devils' third win, along with an overtime loss, in their last four games. Not a huge spurt by any means – but it's their longest unbeaten streak in regulation this season, and a huge improvement after a dreadful first half in which they went 10-29-2, dropping them to the bottom of the overall standings.

Langenbrunner makes 1,000th appearance vs. Kings

Monday, 01.17.2011 / 6:55 PM / NHL Insider


Nearly 18 years after being drafted by the club, Dallas Stars right wing Jamie Langenbrunner will play his 1,000th career NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at the American Airlines Center on Monday night.

Langenbrunner, 35, has played 435 games for Dallas and 564 games for the New Jersey Devils. Langenbrunner won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and again with the Devils in 2003 after being traded to New Jersey in 2002. He is the 260th player to reach this milestone following San Jose's Patrick Marleau, who played his 1,000th game on Monday afternoon in Phoenix.

The Stars will hold a pre-game ceremony to recognize Jamie prior to the puck drop Monday night.
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Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions