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NHL Insider

Caps, Pens unite to benefit Lokomotiv families

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 3:44 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin knew he had to do something.
As soon as the Pittsburgh Penguins' star learned about the devastating plane crash in his native Russia on Sept. 7 that killed 44 people, including most of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the Kontinental Hockey League, he was determined to help the families of those who lost their lives.
In Washington, Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin had exactly the same thought.
Both Malkin and Ovechkin have played with members of the Lokomotiv team, and knew some of their wives and family members. While both players contacted those they knew to express their sympathies -- "I told them I would be there for them," Malkin said -- they also wanted to do something for all of those involved.
As a result, two of the NHL's biggest rivals, the Capitals and Penguins, will team up Thursday night during their game at Consol Energy Center to raise money for the crash victims' families. The teams will wear commemorative Lokomotiv patches on their jerseys, which will be autographed and auctioned on The auction will run from Oct. 13-27.

Home opener vs. Canucks another test for Flyers

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 2:14 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- If it's true that to be the best a team has to beat the best, then the Philadelphia Flyers are getting a terrific opportunity early in the season to see where they rank among the League's elite teams.

The Flyers will host the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RIS) in their home opener. The matchup against the defending Presidents' Trophy winner and Western Conference champion comes on the heels of last week's season-opener at the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

That night, the Flyers scored twice in the final minute of the first period to win 2-1 and ruin the Bruins' banner-raising celebration.

"I guess that's a positive," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of the schedule. "You play good teams, you hope to do well and like the way you played. I don't know if it necessarily translates to meaning you're going to have a great year. You have to do a lot of work, and any team can beat anybody on any given night. It's always fun when you play good teams and have success."

College student fills in for Mason at Jets' practice

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 7:10 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG – Distance, admonishment, light-hearted relief and a goaltender missing geography class served as the ingredients at work for the Winnipeg Jets' recovery on Tuesday.

After a 5-1 season-opening loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, the Jets stayed away from the rink Monday. The off-day allowed the players and coaching staff to spend the Canadian Thanksgiving with their families. It also allowed the team to recover from the non-stop frenzy that has surrounded the club since players trickled into town for informal workouts in late-August.

But Tuesday's arrival brought the Jets back to the ice, and coach Claude Noel unleashed a spirited admonishment to his club after seeing what he considered to be sloppy execution from his young club.

Early on, Habs being tested by injuries again

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 5:13 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. -- All through training camp, the Montreal Canadiens players consistently said that if there was one thing that needed to change for them to have some success this season, it would be their collective health.

Just two games into the regular season, though, the Canadiens have already lost three regulars in defensemen Chris Campoli and Jaroslav Spacek and top-line left wing Michael Cammalleri.

When you add the continued absence of defenseman Andrei Markov recovering from ACL surgery he underwent 10 months ago, Jacques Martin's team is limping pretty significantly heading into its home opener against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

"We hit the injury bug a little bit early, but that's OK. We've got guys that can step up and play hard," defenseman P.K. Subban said after practice Tuesday. "We've been through this sort of thing before. Guys have to step up."

Pens without Malkin; Crosby to see doctors this week

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 2:31 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 3 | +/-: -1
PITTSBURGH -- This is becoming uncomfortably familiar to the Pittsburgh Penguins -- no Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin, who is recovering from season-ending knee surgery in February, will sit out the Penguins' home opener Tuesday against the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN2) with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He was held out of Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss in Edmonton with the same problem, one coach Dan Bylsma said is not related to the knee injury.
Rather, Bylsma said Malkin is having "soreness," and it isn't a major worry, but it's obvious the Penguins don't want to take any chances with a player who tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee just eight months ago.

Wild back in Ottawa for first time since fire

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 1:39 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

With the Minnesota Wild just hours from playing a game in Ottawa on Tuesday night, they can already call this visit a bigger success than the previous one they had two years ago.

The Wild put forth a lackluster effort in a 4-1 loss at Scotiabank Place on Dec. 18, 2009. You can forgive the players, though, considering they lost about 95 percent of their equipment in a truck fire about 24 hours prior to the game.

The fire was caused by a blowtorch that ignited in one of the equipment bags, something that the team made sure to avoid this time around before they flew from Long Island to Ottawa over the weekend.

"I called the truck driver and told him, 'We won't need a torch in the truck for this pickup, so leave it at the rink,'" Wild equipment manager Tony DaCosta said jokingly to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "As an equipment manager, that would be your worst nightmare. I've seen where you can lose a bag and make that work. But you lose the whole team, or 95 percent of it, when you think back, it's amazing we actually played the game and the League made us play the game."

Jets' Ladd: 'We were just sloppy'

Sunday, 10.09.2011 / 10:09 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

WINNIPEG -- Jets captain Andrew Ladd was just 11 years old when the original team left Winnipeg at the end of the 1995-96 campaign.
He remembers watching the finale against the Detroit Red Wings, but could never truly piece together what it was about the team that was so endearing to the city. Well, if he didn't get that sense in the preseason at MTS Centre, he did on Sunday.
And to think, his team was on the short end of a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
"Just the whole atmosphere … it was great," Ladd said. "At the end of the game, we were losing 5-1 and they're still standing up and cheering, which was pretty impressive with the performance we put on. So the fans, in general, is something I'll remember most about this game."

Mistakes prove costly for Jets

Sunday, 10.09.2011 / 9:55 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG – In case any Winnipeg Jets fans had forgotten over the past 15 years, the NHL game is one that punishes mistakes severely.

The Montreal Canadiens reintroduced the concept to Winnipeg on Sunday in throttling the Jets, 5-1, in front of a raucous crowd celebrating the city's NHL return after a 15-year absence. It will be a lesson that Jets coach Claude Noel will be able to direct the attention of his young toward this week as the club regroups from its season-opening loss.

Montreal, a club looking to collect its first win of the season after an opening-night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, shrugged aside the loud environment, relied on exceptional special-teams play and punished nearly every Jets' miscue in splitting a one-goal game wide open in the third period.

Avalanche face daunting early-season road trip

Sunday, 10.09.2011 / 4:21 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Coming off an opening-night loss at home, the Colorado Avalanche have the daunting task of hitting the road for five games in an eight-day span. Overall, the Avs will play seven of the next eight games on the road, where last season they posted a 14-23-4 record, tied for 28th in the NHL.

Could it be make-or-break time for the league's second-youngest team already?

Not according to Avalanche coach Joe Sacco, whose club opens its five-game excursion with a Monday matinee against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Boston Bruins.

The Avalanche will also visit Columbus, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto before its next home game, Oct. 20 against Chicago.

"We still have 76 games when we get back," Sacco said after practice Sunday. "We have a lot of hockey when we get back. I look at it as an opportunity for the guys to bond, to form some good team chemistry, because that's what you do on the road. You spend a lot of time together. You're with your roommate and your teammates almost 24-7. We need to use those games and those days as a time for our team to get some closeness, to get tight together.

Jets captain carries some extra burdens

Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 11:06 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Andrew Ladd is about to learn about life in the fishbowl that goes with being the captain of a Canadian-based NHL team.

Captaining any of the League's 30 member clubs is an immense honor for a player, but doing so in Canada brings additional scrutiny and demands. In Winnipeg, there will be nowhere to hide.

"We are learning that very quickly," Ladd said. "But that is the trade-off for having a full building every night."

Ladd officially joins that group of Canada-based NHL captains on Sunday when the Jets mark the NHL's return to Winnipeg after a 15-year absence by hosting the Montreal Canadiens at the MTS Centre (5 p.m. ET; NHL Network-US, CBC, RDS).
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Quote of the Day

I was going nuts and I saw [Subban], he was going crazy, and the ref had no idea where to go. [Subban] was skating to me, and I was skating to him and the ref was right in between us and I don't know, I kind of hit him pretty hard, I thought, but those were some emotions and I'm pretty sure he understands that.

— Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk on the celebration following his OT goal against Ottawa in Game 2