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NHL Insider

Avs hope new linemates help Duchene shake funk

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 6:18 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Colorado Avalanche coach Joe Sacco is banking on new linemates to help rejuvenate Matt Duchene, who has gotten off to his customary slow start.

The third-year center skated with left wing Joakim Lindstrom and right wing Chuck Kobasew at practice on Tuesday. The trio will be together Wednesday night when the Avalanche visits Calgary for its first Northwest Division game.

"I just think it's going to be an effective line for us," Sacco said. "I think it's an opportunity for that line to mesh together. We're going to try that line and see how it goes."

Carlyle making sure he has his Ducks in order

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:35 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The season might just be seven games old for the Anaheim Ducks, but that isn't too early to hold some team meetings.

After dropping back-to-back home games on Friday and Sunday against Pacific Division foes, the Ducks want to make sure they're all on the same page heading into Tuesday night's game at the United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-2).

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle held pre-practice meetings with the Ducks' defensemen followed by a separate meeting with the forwards and then a third meeting with the entire team following Tuesday's morning skate. The main emphasis?

"I met with the two groups and we just went over some of the things that have been transpiring in the last couple games," said Carlyle, who will be coaching his 500th NHL game -- all with the Ducks. "Some of the things are things that ail us as a hockey club and we won't have a chance for success unless we correct them. That's just a matter of fact." 

Decision time looms for 2011 picks playing in NHL

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:27 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers rookie center Sean Couturier said he isn't crossing days off his calendar, but for him and four other players taken in the 2011 Entry Draft still playing in the NHL, they're entering the most crucial week of their young NHL careers.

All five players -- Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, New Jersey's Adam Larsson, Ottawa's Mika Zibanejad and Couturier -- are scheduled to play their ninth games this week, meaning their new bosses are approaching deadline time.

Teams can return their teenage prospects to their junior teams at any time, but doing so before they play in their 10th game delays the start of their entry-level contract. The last player to skate in more than nine games and still be returned to his junior club was defenseman Luca Sbisa, the 19th pick of the 2008 draft, who played 39 games with the Flyers before being sent back to the WHL. If a player skates in more than 40 games, he accrues one season toward free agency.

As roster overhaul continues, Cats finding chemistry

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The massive chemistry experiment that is the Florida Panthers added a new ingredient Monday.

Marco Sturm practiced with his new team for the first time ahead of the Panthers' game against the reeling Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

With the departure of David Booth for Vancouver in Saturday's trade that brought in Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson, the Panthers now have just eight players who were on the team prior to last season's trade deadline: Stephen Weiss, Keaton Ellerby, Dmitry Kulikov, Jack Skille, Shawn Matthias, Mike Weaver, Jason Garrison and Mike Santorelli.

Family loyalties divided as Schenn brothers square off

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 1:51 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- In the Schenn family draft, the first pick went to 10-year-old Macy, the youngest of Jeff and Rita Schenn's four children.

Without hesitation, she picked oldest brother Luke, so she'll be wearing a blue Leafs No. 2 jersey Monday night. Sister Madison, 14, will be decked out in an orange No. 10 jersey just like the one her other brother, Brayden, will be wearing.

However, Madison told that just because she'll be wearing Flyers orange doesn't mean she'll only be cheering for the home team Monday when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

She said she'll be happy if the Flyers score, but added, "If the Leafs do something I'm going to jump up, too."

For the Schenn family, they're in the unique position of having a stake in both sides of Monday's game, as brothers Luke and Brayden Schenn will face off as NHL regular-season opponents for the first time.

Schenns set to become latest brothers to battle

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 12:17 PM / NHL Insider

When the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers get together Monday night at Wells Fargo Center, it will be the latest installment in the NHL's rich history of brothers facing off against each other.

Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn will try to shut down Flyers forward and younger brother Brayden Schenn, and the two will likely be on the ice together at times. But that's nothing new in the League, as dozens of brothers have lined up across from each other or as teammates.

In today's NHL, there are brothers everywhere. There are the Staals -- Eric of the Hurricanes, Marc of the Rangers and Jordan of the Penguins. The Sedins, Henrik and Daniel, have been teammates throughout their careers with the Canucks. Chris Stewart is with the Blues while older brother Anthony is with the Hurricanes. Jonathan Toews and younger brother David are with the Blackhawks organization, but David currently with the farm club after the two played together during the preseason.

Vokoun leads goalie brigade starring in new places

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee entered this past summer pretty happy with his goaltending.

And then Tomas Vokoun landed in his lap.

"Bringing in the veteran experience feels very valuable right now," McPhee told "Nothing seems to bother him. He's a good pro. He practices well, he practices hard. He seems to have a calming influence on the people around him.

Caps excited about historic start

Sunday, 10.23.2011 / 6:57 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

Troy Brouwer
Right Wing - WSH
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 7 | +/-: 3
George McPhee's diligence during the offseason is paying early dividends for the scorching-hot Washington Capitals.

The Caps GM has to be all smiles as his summer additions -- including goaltender Tomas Vokoun and forwards Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer -- have helped Washington get off to a 7-0-0 start, the best in franchise history. The Capitals made it seven straight on Saturday night, when they crushed the Detroit Red Wings by a 7-1 score at the Verizon Center.

"I think we've stepped up to the challenges … this was a big week for us and we knew that coming into it," said Green, who had 2 goals and 2 assists Saturday. "We're definitely happy where we are, but we still have a lot of work to do." 

Statues for Mikita, Hull unveiled at United Center

Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 10:11 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – They forged their fame just across Madison Street in a fabled old barn that people around here now refer to as the "Old Chicago Stadium."

Years later, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull – the Chicago Blackhawks' greatest players – are now  permanently linked to the team's current home, the United Center. Their life-sized bronze statues were unveiled on Saturday night before the Hawks took on the Colorado Avalanche, as the famed Michael Jordan statue located not too far away picked up a couple of neighbors wearing hockey skates.

"It's a great night," Hull told reporters. "The only thing I can say is that it is likely, without argument, the greatest evening of my life. To have a bronze [statue] depicting me here where hundreds of thousands of people will walk by and say, 'Yeah, I remember him. Yeah, he could play a little bit,' … it's good to be something. This a wonderful tribute to both Stan and I."

Lack of contact in practice delaying Crosby’s return

Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 2:06 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby will know when it's time to start playing again -- and the time isn't now.

The star center participated in the Pittsburgh Penguins' morning skate before their game Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils, 10 days after being cleared for full contact in practice. But with the Penguins playing at a more than every-other-day pace -- the game against the Devils was their 10th in 17 days -- there hasn't been much contact for anyone during their few practices. Not even for the player who needs it the most.

"I think I need to get in some contact, more than just one bump in a morning skate," said Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 5 because of a concussion. "I think it's got to be a few days of that. So whenever we can get some of those days together, and hopefully I respond well to that, then I'll be much closer than I am right now."
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It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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