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NHL Insider

Tortorella: Thornton's comments uncalled for

Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 12:36 AM / NHL Insider

After having several hours to digest what transpired Monday night, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is none too pleased with San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton.

Moments after the Rangers ended the Sharks' five-game winning streak -- all on the road -- with a 5-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, Thornton labeled the Blueshirts as, "probably the softest team we played on the trip. We should have had these two points."

When informed of Thornton's comments after the game, Tortorella was brief.

"Joe said that? Wonderful," was the Rangers coach's response.

Flames duo hope November ignites offense

Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 5:47 PM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

You can forgive Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla if he doesn’t mind seeing the calendar turn from October to November.

He’s never been a big fan of the month.

Traditionally a slow starter, Iginla -- who has just 2 goals through the club’s first nine games this season -- is hoping that a new month brings increased offense for himself and the Flames.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't," said Iginla, who also has 2 assists. "I wouldn't say it’s been a great start to the season. I haven’t felt great in too many games. I’ve been through it before and have been through different games and different stretches. Sometimes you get your hot stretches early and sometimes you get your hot stretches late and sometimes the opposite of that is the cold month."

Greatest European scorer of all-time: Jagr vs. Selanne

Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 3:52 PM / NHL Insider

Michael Langr - Correspondent

Teemu Selanne was creeping up on Jaromir Jagr.

With Jagr struggling to score at the beginning of the season in his return to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers and Selanne netting a pair of goals in a mid-October game between his Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks, the Finnish Flash moved closer to the Czech legend in the record books, just seven goals shy of Jagr's career total.

But by the end of October, Jagr was on a scoring streak, picking up two goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, another against the Montreal Canadiens and two more against the Carolina Hurricanes. Suddenly Jagr was heating up again, while Selanne was the one who seemed snakebit. Selanne has scored only once in the last six games, and the distance between the two European greats has grown back to 11 goals -- 651 for Jagr to 640 for Selanne.

Loss of Green affecting Capitals in multiple ways

Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 3:04 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Mike Green
Defense - WSH
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 17 | +/-: 2
ARLINGTON, Va. -- This season the Washington Capitals have their deepest and most talented defense corps since the early 1990s, when Kevin Hatcher, Al Iafrate and Calle Johansson were lighting up opposing goaltenders, and maybe the best group since three future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Rod Langway, Scott Stevens and Larry Murphy played together in the 1980s.

Still, if there was any takeaway from Washington's recent trip to Western Canada, it was a reminder of just how valuable Mike Green remains to this club. Green missed both games on the trip -- a 2-1 loss at Edmonton and a 7-4 defeat in Vancouver -- and the Capitals' perfect start to the 2010-11 season was over.

Hiller crystalizes Movember's message in mask design

Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 10:51 AM / NHL Insider

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

A goalie's mask is not just a vital piece of protective equipment. It's not just a piece of art, either.

A goalie's mask is a powerful weapon that can spread special messages. Through illustrations, it can tell legendary tales, honor historic people and promote important causes.

Anaheim's Jonas Hiller has created just such a masterpiece with his special-edition "Movember" mask, which he's expected to debut after Halloween to help kick off the second year of Movember, a month-long campaign to promote awareness of cancers that affect men through the growing of mustaches, which has been widely supported by NHL players.

Hiller's mask, although it has yet to make its debut, has already gone viral after debuting exclusively on the Goalie Guild website last week.

The one-of-a-kind mask, which was custom painted by Alec Voggel of goalie-mask design company Airxess, remains unique on a landscape known for out-of-the-box designs. It is the first one to not only promote the "Movember" movement, but it is the first one to feature all of a goalie's teammates as well. Each player is depicted by a mug shot and each has a different style mustache airbrushed onto the mug shot.

Rangers hope to have Avery back Thursday

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 5:45 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Sean Avery could be back with the Rangers in time for Thursday's home game against the Anaheim Ducks, and coach John Tortorella can't wait to have him.

The Rangers put Avery on re-entry waivers Monday at noon, less than a month after he was banished to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL before the season. Avery will stay on waivers for 24 hours, giving every team in the League a chance to claim him. If he goes unclaimed, he'll replace the injured Michael Rupp, whose long-term health is in question due to a nagging knee injury, on the Rangers' fourth line.

"Rupper has a lot to do with this. We're concerned about that," Tortorella said. "This is the right decision. It's the right hockey decision now and it was the right hockey decision when we sent Sean down. That's where it's at."

Rupp met with doctors Monday at about 3 p.m., according to Tortorella, who had not received word of Rupp's prognosis when he spoke with the media at about 5 p.m. 

From Europe to Winnipeg, a memorable first month

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 4:51 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Halloween brings us ghosts, goblins, jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treaters and, of course, candy. On the East Coast, it also brought the first signs of winter.

However, Halloween also signifies the end to the first month hockey.

So as you get dressed as witches, werewolves, or whatever your heart desires, come with us on a trip down memory lane to rehash some of the best moments in October.

Sid practicing at 'high level,' no return date targeted

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 4:37 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

CANONSBURG, Pa. -- Sidney Crosby's return to the NHL won't come until at least Nov. 11, and even that is not a targeted date.
The day to look for? Crosby still isn't offering even a hint.

Crosby, speaking to reporters for the first time in more than a week, said Monday he won't play during the Pittsburgh Penguins' two-game California road trip that begins Thursday at San Jose and wraps up Saturday in Los Angeles.
After that, the Penguins -- who have played an NHL-leading 13 games to date -- take a five-day break before facing Dallas at Consol Energy Center on Nov. 11.
With four practices scheduled this week, and as many as four more next week, Crosby finally may get the required contact he needs to be cleared to play for the first time since he sustained a concussion during the first week of January.

Hawks have personnel, but not seeing PP results

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 2:21 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Looking at all the stars on their roster, it would be easy to assume the Chicago Blackhawks have a dangerous power play.

Each time they get the man advantage, coach Joel Quenneville rolls out a combination of highly-skilled star forwards like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Andrew Brunette plus talented defensemen like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook -- not to mention up-and-coming youngster Nick Leddy.

After 10 games, however, the results are a bit perplexing.

Heading into Monday night's home game against the Nashville Predators (8:30 p.m.), Chicago's power play is ranked 27th in the League and has converted just four of 38 power-play opportunities into goals (10.5 percent) -- including an 0-for-5 performance in a 5-2 win this past Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Even more stunning is the fact Chicago's League-best penalty-kill units have produced three shorthanded goals already while the power play has actually been on the ice for a pair of goals against.

No shortage of surprise teams in season's first month

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 1:56 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Don't worry, hockey fans. You're not holding your newspapers upside down, and there's nothing wrong with your computer.

The NHL standings heading into the final day of the first month of the season are correct.

Odd-looking, certainly, but correct nonetheless.

Yes, that's the Toronto Maple Leafs, out of the playoffs since 2004, sitting atop the Northeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference.

Yes, the Ottawa Senators, who finished 13th in the East last season, are one point behind the Leafs and fifth in the conference.

That's right, last season's Stanley Cup finalists would be home for the playoffs if the season ended today. While Vancouver has the same 11 points as eighth-place Nashville, they're 10th in the conference. And Boston, the defending Cup champion, is 15th in the East and 29th in the League.
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Quote of the Day

I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL