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NHL Insider

Around the West: Hard work, discipline define Ducks

Friday, 01.14.2011 / 11:45 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle has been talking about forging an identity as a team since training camp. Now, in the middle of January, it appears the Ducks finally have one.

They work, skate, compete, stay disciplined and rely on great goaltending.

We're not talking about anything earth shattering here, because if you ask any coach in the League, he'd want his team to have all five of those traits. But the fact that it's taken the Ducks this long to get to this point is interesting because now is when a team fighting for a playoff berth wants to start peaking, and it appears they are.

The Ducks have won six of seven since a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles on Dec. 26 and they just finished a six-game homestand with a 5-1-0 record. They entered Friday's games sixth in the Western Conference with 52 points despite not having captain Ryan Getzlaf (facial injuries) since Dec. 28.


'Canes GM excited as All-Star Game approaches

Thursday, 01.13.2011 / 7:37 PM / NHL Insider


It's an exciting time to be Jim Rutherford, the president and general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes.

For one thing, his team was on a 6-0-2 run heading into Thursday night's game in Buffalo, looking to close within one point of eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Then there's also the matter of the upcoming 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover, to be played Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. Among the representatives will be Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, goaltender Cam Ward and rookie Jeff Skinner, one of 12 first-year players who will take part in the Honda SuperSkills competition during All-Star Weekend.

Rutherford, a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman" addressed the Hurricanes' season to this point.

All-Star snub disappoints Coyotes

Thursday, 01.13.2011 / 7:12 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes won 50 games and set a franchise record with 107 points last season. With 2010-11 now into the second half, the Coyotes again hold a playoff spot in the Western Conference, just a point out of fourth place heading into the start of a four-game homestand against Toronto on Thursday night.

But those achievements didn't impress the selection committee for the All-Star Game. Not one Coyote was among the 42 players invited to this year's game in Raleigh, N.C. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who will take part in the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition the night before the game, was the only Phoenix representative on the list released earlier this week.

Some of the reasons are obvious. Until last week, no one on the all-for-one Coyotes had reached the 10-goal mark and there is no room on a team currently being run by the NHL for a superstar's salary. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, a Vezina Trophy candidate last season, has been slowed by injury for the last month and his numbers are down.

Bieksa sees his team ready for Cup run

Thursday, 01.13.2011 / 10:35 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"There are a lot of selfless players on our roster ... I think, to a man, if you asked the guys, they would rather win a game 1-0 than lose a game and get a hat trick. That's the type of guys we have in our room and that's the type of player you need to be successful."
-- Kevin Bieksa

Kevin Bieksa said he believes the Vancouver Canucks deserved a better fate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons.

Back-to-back six-game losses in the Western Conference semifinals, courtesy the Chicago Blackhawks, will do that to one's psyche. While the results haven't sat well with the defenseman, Bieksa also feels lessons learned in those losses only will strengthen the group in its pursuit of the big trophy this season.

"Losing when you think you deserve better is a tough thing," Bieksa told NHL.com.

In Bieksa's first playoff run with the Canucks, in 2007, the club defeated Dallas in seven games before suffering a five-game setback to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the conference semifinals.

Sitdown with Sedins reveals subtle differences

Wednesday, 01.12.2011 / 3:53 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

You know them as players, but do you really know Vancouver's Sedin twins when the skates come off and the sticks get stashed away?

Can you even tell them apart?

The answer to both questions is most likely no, and that's where we come in.

We're not able to draw you a picture or give you ways to tell the most famous identical twin hockey players apart, but on Wednesday we did fire questions at Henrik and Daniel aimed to give both you and us insight into their lives and their thoughts on each other.


Sid not symptom-free yet, no timetable on return

Wednesday, 01.12.2011 / 3:17 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Sidney Crosby is still feeling the effects of his concussion, and until those go away there is no point discussing his possible return, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday.

"I believe he's getting tested again this week, and he's getting better," Bylsma told reporters at the Bell Centre in advance of Wednesday night's match-up against the Montreal Canadiens. "But we're not going to progress forward until the symptoms subside."

Bylsma first announced Crosby's concussion in this very same building last Thursday, at which point he said Crosby would be out at least a week.

It appears now that it could be some time longer than that, with games looming in Boston on Saturday and at home to the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings next Tuesday.

Poti's return to health a bonus for Capitals

Wednesday, 01.12.2011 / 1:30 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

"He's very calm with the puck and makes good decisions -- nice and simple. Playing with him is very easy. It is always nice having him in there in a little bit of a leadership role and he's so good on the penalty kill." -- Jeff Schultz on fellow defenseman Tom Poti

WASHINGTON -- A couple of the Washington Capitals knew their injuries would keep them out of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic well in advance of the event at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on New Year's Day.

Tom Poti had to wait to see if the symptoms from a concussion he suffered in his team's meeting with the Pittsburgh Penguins nine days prior to the Winter Classic would subside in time for him to play. The ability to hope ended up making it more difficult when the final decision to skip the game had to be made.

"It was pretty close. I was waking up every day and hoping I would feel a little bit better and be able to play," Poti said. "It was just a tough situation. We knew the conditions with the ice weren't going to be great, so I think it was a smarter move not to play, obviously. It was very hard to watch, but it was the smart thing to do.

Sawchuk, Messier jersey leaders on 1-11-11

Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 1:05 PM / NHL Insider


Prior to the start of the 2010-11 season, NHL.com columnist John Kreiser wrote a series of articles detailing the top players in the League's history by jersey number, from 00 all the way to 99.

In honor of today's date -- 1-11-11 -- here's a look back at Kreiser's top No. 1 and No. 11 along with runner-up and some of the other notable NHL players to wear those numbers.

The complete lists were broken down from 00-33, 34-66 and 67-99.

1 -- Terry Sawchuk
The owner of the NHL records for wins and shutouts until Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur came along wins a close race with a number of Hall of Famers. Sawchuk wore No. 1 from the time he broke into the League with Detroit in 1949-50 until he went to Toronto in 1964-65 and took No. 30 because his old number was owned by Johnny Bower.

Runner-up: Jacques Plante
Also in the mix: Georges Vezina, Glenn Hall, Johnny Bower, Ed Giacomin, Bernie Parent

Around the East: Rangers' Stepan getting smarter

Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 10:12 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Derek Stepan needed to get about 30 games in before he started to understand how to maintain consistency through the NHL grind. The Rangers' 20-year-old center is hoping to spend the second half of his rookie season proving he can do it for the long haul.

"I think that at this point my body is in good shape, I'm not too banged up and I'm playing with a good amount of confidence," Stepan told NHL.com Monday. "I'm still learning, still a rookie and I'm still going to make mistakes, but I feel good."

He should. Stepan has been earning his steady ice time.

Stepan closed the 2010 calendar year with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) over the final 22 games of the year. He went pointless in his first four games of 2011, but he said they were some of his best games of the season. He finally was rewarded last Saturday with a goal in a 2-1 win at St. Louis.


Caps trying to change their identity

Monday, 01.10.2011 / 7:11 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – Something very odd happened to the Washington Capitals in the first period Saturday night against the Florida Panthers.

A team that has been defined by its offensive prowess since Bruce Boudreau became the coach forgot to play offense. The Capitals are in the midst of an identity shift – they are focused on becoming a better defensive team – and the first period against Florida showed Washington is still working on finding the right balance.

The process has produced immediate results, but it hasn't been a transition without some hiccups along the way. During the first intermission against the Panthers, Boudreau reminded his players they still needed to forecheck and create offensive chances and they did enough to claim a 3-2 victory after a pretty ugly first 20 minutes.
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They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.

— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets