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(Page 227 of 280)
NHL Insider

Flames running out of time in hunt for playoff spot

Monday, 03.21.2011 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

In the jam-packed Western Conference, where holding onto a playoff spot near the cut-off point has been about as easy as securing hold of a greased pig, the Calgary Flames look like a team about to let their season slip away.

The Flames used a 22-6-6 run that started at the end of December to climb from 14th to fifth in the conference as recently as March 9. But they're now in the middle of a 1-3-1 stretch as they enter Monday's pivotal game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET, GCL) in 10th place in the West with 84 points, one point out of eighth.

Working against the Flames is the fact that after Monday's game, they will have played three more games than the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks, the two teams right in front of them in the standings. The Flames will play their 75th game of the season Monday, which will be either three or two more than every team that is ahead of them by two points or fewer in the standings.


'Nagging injury' means Ovi to sit one game

Monday, 03.21.2011 / 3:05 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The news on Alex Ovechkin came early Monday, before the first whistle blew at either the Kettler Capitals Iceplex or the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone. The Capitals announced on their website that Ovechkin was battling a nagging injury and would not be making the trip to Philadelphia for Tuesday's nationally televised game (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2).

It will be the first game Ovechkin will miss this season, and the surprising news obviously gave way to questions.

How long has his injury been bothering him? When will he be able to play again? How serious are we talking here?


Wings' injuries will force Salei back into action

Monday, 03.21.2011 / 2:36 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Ruslan Salei initially thought he'd sit out Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I haven't heard one player in all my years complain (about) too much ice time. We've got enough players."
-- Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

Instead, the Detroit Red Wings veteran defenseman will be pressed into action at Joe Louis Arena against the Penguins (7:30 p.m. Versus, TSN2, RIS) after missing a week to be with his wife in California for the birth of their third child.
The reason: minor injuries to forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body soreness), Johan Franzen (groin) and Jiri Hudler (upper body soreness). Veteran goalie Chris Osgood (groin surgery) also isn't ready to be Jimmy Howard's back-up yet, which leaves Detroit with a financial conundrum considering their limited space under the League's hard salary cap.
Joey MacDonald is currently backing up Howard, which means there's no further room under the cap to call anyone up from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to replace the injured forwards. Therefore, Salei will be pressed into action in his first day back, possibly logging time at defense and forward on the fourth line with Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader.

Capitals never stopped believing in Boudreau

Monday, 03.21.2011 / 10:09 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

"Bluntly, coaches get fired because they've lost their team. To a man, the players like playing for Bruce and respect him as a hockey person. When it was going bad and he changed the system and get buy-in of it, you didn't hear any of the players really whining or complaining. They just believed. To me, that was an unbelievably positive sign. Now we're bearing the fruit of that."
-- Ted Leonsis

For the better part of three years, Bruce Boudreau was revered in the Washington, D.C., area for his part in molding the Washington Capitals into one of the NHL's elite teams.

Hockey fans in and around the District loved Boudreau for his attacking philosophy, candor and folksy charm, manifested in a series of humorous commercials. Most importantly, he won. In a sports town with three other struggling professional franchises, Boudreau made the Capitals extremely successful on the ice and at the box office.

With that success, however, has come increased expectations, and when his team struggled in the middle of this season, Boudreau faced negativity from the fan base he largely was responsible for building to such impressive numbers.

Desire to win hasn't gone from Oilers, Avalanche

Saturday, 03.19.2011 / 4:48 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- While nobody is going to mistake Saturday's game between the 30th-place Edmonton Oilers and 29th-place Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place as a meeting of powerhouses, don't tell the players or the coaches there isn't anything at stake.

"We'll let the people who want to discuss that do that," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "That's their privilege. We're going to go try and win a hockey game.

Grossman back with familiar company for Stars

Saturday, 03.19.2011 / 2:48 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

Frisco, Texas -- The nearly 15,000 fans at American Airlines Center on Thursday night for were not only treated to one of Dallas' best wins of the season (a 5-0 decision against Chicago), but they also saw Nicklas Grossman playing alongside Stephane Robidas as the club's top defensive pairing for the first time in 17 games.

Grossman had missed 11 games with a lower-body injury suffered early in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on Feb. 13 but returned to the lineup March 11 with an assist and a plus-2 rating in a 4-0 win against Minnesota.

Rangers, Penguins see improved health equal wins

Saturday, 03.19.2011 / 1:16 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins have been saddled with a myriad of injuries this season, but both teams have welcomed back healthy bodies and are among the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference because of it.

These two Atlantic Division rivals will look to continue their positive momentum when they clash in a Sunday matinee at CONSOL Energy Center in NBC Sports' NHL Game of the Week (12:30 EDT).

The Rangers have won five of six games to open some space between them and the teams chasing Buffalo for the eighth spot in the conference. Several key forwards have missed time for New York, but everyone who the Rangers expect to have back this season is healthy.

McPhee says GMs worked to balance hitting and safety

Thursday, 03.17.2011 / 8:06 PM / NHL Insider

The 30 NHL general managers had a lot on their plate when they held their annual meetings in Florida earlier this week, but by far the biggest issue was a continuing look at concussions, how they're occurring in the game today and what can be done to increase player safety without negatively impacting the sport's appeal to fans.

Washington Capitals GM George McPhee, appearing as a guest Thursday on "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman," came away impressed with what the general managers were able to accomplish as a group. A new protocol was established for treating a player who may have suffered a concussion, a crackdown on charging and boarding calls was mandated and more severe discipline for players injuring an opponent under such circumstances as well as repeat offenders also received support.

Elias, Brodeur have notable St. Patrick's history

Thursday, 03.17.2011 / 5:10 PM / NHL Insider

St. Patrick's Day may be in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, but a different Patrik seems to have made the day his own in recent years.

New Jersey's Patrik Elias has scored seven goals in eight career games played on the annual celebration of everything Irish, tied for most among active players with Detroit's Mike Modano.

Elias hasn't simply produced on St. Patrick's Day; the holiday holds a particular place in his career and the history of the New Jersey Devils, the only franchise he's played for in his 13 full seasons. It was on St. Patrick's Day two years ago that Elias notched an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks to make him the leading scorer in Devils history. Elias may have been overshadowed that night however, as Devils goalie Martin Brodeur picked up his 552nd win that night, breaking Patrick Roy's mark as the winningest goaltender in history.

St. Patrick's Day was an appropriate night for Brodeur to break the mark. The future Hall of Famer is expected to make his 11th appearance on St. Patrick's Day with a start tonight in Ottawa, which will give him the most among active players.

Maple Leafs, Devils pushing hard for playoff spot

Thursday, 03.17.2011 / 3:30 PM / NHL Insider

The Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils will attempt Thursday to inch closer to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

With the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres (76 points) and ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes (74) two of only eight teams idle, the Maple Leafs (72) and Devils (70) want to continue picking up points.

Toronto, fresh off a 3-1 win in Carolina on Wednesday, plays in Florida. The Leafs have picked up 11 points in their last 10 games (4-3-3) and currently occupy the 10th seed.

New Jersey, meanwhile, is in Ottawa to face a young Senators team that dealt the Devils their last loss, 2-1 at the Prudential Center on March 8. The Devils are in 11th, but have gone 23-3-2 in their last 28 games.

They also play Friday, returning home to face Washington. With Buffalo off again, the Devils could close to within two points of eighth if they win their next two games, though the Hurricanes also play Friday against the Islanders and could tie the Sabres for eighth with a win.

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Quote of the Day

This is a great day for me. This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. This is a great opportunity that the St. Louis Blues organization, (owner) Tom Stillman and Doug Armstrong are giving me and trusting me in doing...This is going to be a great challenge for me.

— Martin Brodeur, after announcing his retirement as an NHL player and becoming a senior adviser with the Blues on Thursday