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NHL Insider

Vinik credits 'world-class' people for turnaround

Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 7:32 PM / NHL Insider

First-year owner Jeff Vinik had an analogy ready when asked on Thursday night's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman" about the meteoric rise of his Tampa Bay Lightning from a non-playoff team each of the past three seasons to their current position tied at one win apiece in the Eastern Conference Finals, with Game 3 taking place later in the evening at St. Pete Times Forum.

"My day job is in the stock market, and I buy a stock because obviously I think it's going to go up over time," Vinik said. "And I never quite know how far it's going to go up or when … I re-evaluate it every day. So if you look at this hockey team, I go into the season thinking we can be a good or very good hockey team. I'm a fan, just like the other 20,000 people who are in this building tonight, and I let (General Manager) Steve (Yzerman) and (coach) Guy (Boucher) do their jobs. But I thought we had a good team coming into the season, and obviously I couldn't be more pleased about the regular season and certainly the playoffs. And just like the players say and Guy says, it's one day at a time and one game at a time. I didn't expect to be here, but let's keep going."

Isles-Kings games tense for brothers-in-law

Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 11:41 AM / NHL Insider

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

"It's better off only having to face him once or twice a year. Because there's a lot of tension going into those two games." -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on facing brother-in-law, Matt Moulson

When Matt Moulson scored two goals against the Kings last season to propel the Islanders to a 3-0 win on Feb. 19, the New York forward experienced an emotion besides elation.

While Moulson was happy to lead the Islanders to victory, he also sympathized with Los Angeles' goaltender, Jonathan Quick.

That's because to Moulson, Quick is more than just an opposing goalie. He's also his brother-in-law.

And Moulson, New York's 27-year-old rising star, knows that Quick was about to be the brunt of most jokes at the next family dinner.

Moulson feels future is bright for Islanders

Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

Matt Moulson can't even count the number of times he's heard the question.

It seems that after Moulson, the Islanders' 27-year-old left wing, signed a three-year, $9.45 million extension with the team in the middle of last season, everyone wanted to know one thing: Why was a rising young star so adamant about staying on Long Island?

The answer is something Moulson can explain, but doesn't think people understand unless they're in the organization. They can listen, but they won't truly get it unless they're at practices, in meetings or around the team on a daily basis.

"More often than not, the people who asked me that question are people outside of the organization," Moulson said. "Sometimes the Islanders get a bad rep. The organization isn't as successful as they want it to be, or how it has been in the past. But that's fine with us. We know we have a lot of potential to do well, and I think we have a real bright future."get there."

Lightning owner Jeff Vinik on NHL Hour

Wednesday, 05.18.2011 / 8:35 PM / NHL Insider

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will be Thursday's guest on “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on” and Sirius XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.  The show, live from Tampa, will be hosted by Eddie Olczyk and Phil Esposito.

Vinik bought the Lightning in February 2010 and has presided over the rebirth of the franchise under GM Steve Yzerman and coach Guy Boucher. The Lightning, who missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons from 2008-10, not only returned to the playoffs this season but beat Pittsburgh in seven games and swept Washington in four to make the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since winning it all in 2004.

"NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman" broadcasts live on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 92 and on Sirius Channel 207 as part of the "Best of XM" programming package) and The show will re-air on Sirius XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on

Niederreiter hopes to take next step with Isles

Monday, 05.16.2011 / 8:05 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

Nino Niederreiter will still be only 18 years old when he reports to his second NHL training camp this September.

But after the season he just enjoyed -- his second in North America -- the highest Swiss player ever selected at the NHL Entry Draft (No. 5, 2010) one has to think Niederreiter is already ahead of the game.

After beginning the 2010-11 season in the NHL, Niederreiter was returned to the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. In 55 regular-season games, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound left wing had 41 goals, 29 assists, 67 penalty minutes and a plus-28 rating. But it was Niederreiter's postseason that has to have Isles GM Garth Snow downright giddy.

Fans, family pay tribute to Boogaard in Minnesota

Monday, 05.16.2011 / 1:51 AM / NHL Insider

Relatives and fans of New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard shed tears Sunday as they remembered the former NHL enforcer as a "teddy bear" who was as generous and kind as he was burly and tough, a somber end to a weekend during which his distraught family agreed to donate his brain to medical researchers.

The 28-year-old Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday. Boogaard's agent and a spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine confirmed Sunday that his brain will be examined.

"It's an amazing thing he did and his family did. Hopefully, that'll bring some information," agent Ron Salcer said.

Wings optimistic about their future

Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 4:42 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- In some ways, there is more to feel positive about for the Detroit Red Wings than there was a year ago at this time.

Instead of bowing out to San Jose in five games in their Western Conference Semifinal series, as they did in 2010, the Red Wings fought back against the Sharks in 2011 -- coming all the way back from a 3-0 deficit only to fall short with Thursday's 3-2 loss in Game 7 at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

This team also showed more grit, more heart and more desire to make another Stanley Cup run together. Then there was the solid playoff performance by second-year goalie Jimmy Howard, who made the two-year contract extension he signed during the regular season look like a great decision by General Manager Ken Holland.

Lidstrom mulls whether to play next season

Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 3:45 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The group of reporters and TV cameramen huddled around Nicklas Lidstrom's locker on Saturday had to be thinking the same basic thing: After posing for the team photo at Joe Louis Arena to cap the 2011 season, was the Detroit Red Wings' captain and legendary 41-year old defenseman peeling off his winged wheel uniform for the last time?

The answer will come in the next few weeks -- "before July 1," he said -- after Lidstrom mulls over whether to retire or sign another one-year contract with the only NHL team he's ever played for.

"I'm sure it's going to be the same process as last year, I don't think it'll be that big of a difference," said Lidstrom, who finished the regular season as a finalist to win his seventh Norris Trophy with 16 goals and 62 points before scoring 4 goals and 8 points in two playoff series. "You take everything into account. How you feel. Motivation. Family situation. Take everything into account before you make a decision."

If he takes his teammates' thoughts into account, that's got to be good news for those hoping Lidstrom comes back for another season.

Berglund giving Swedes’ rivals the Blues

Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 1:33 PM / NHL Insider

Bill Meltzer - Correspondent

No one has ever doubted the ability of St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund to be an impact player at any level of competition. Consistency has always the main issue for the 22-year-old native of Vasteras, Sweden. Coming off a 22-goal, 52-point season for the Blues, Berglund has spread his wings at the World Championships in Slovakia.

Berglund's performance is a major reason the Swedes will play for the gold medal on Sunday against Finland. His size has created matchup problems for opposing teams, and his soaring confidence has made him almost impossible to take off the puck. With 8 goals in eight games, he is tied with Finland's Jarkko Immonen for the tournament lead. Berglund's 10 points rank second, one behind Immonen.

Finns look to replicate 1995 glory against Sweden

Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 12:49 PM / NHL Insider

Bill Meltzer - Correspondent

When Team Finland takes to the ice on Sunday to play Sweden for the gold medal at the 2011 World Championships, it will be carrying the hopes of an entire nation on its shoulders. It has been 16 years since Finland won its first -- and only -- gold medal in a major, senior-level international tournament. In many ways, Finland's gold medal at the 1995 Worlds marked the start of a new chapter in the country's hockey history and stands to this day as an enduring symbol of national pride that goes far beyond the rink.

The Finns' gold medal in 1995, won at Stockholm's Globe Arena at the expense of Sweden, left an indelible mark on every member of the current squad. Just as the Miracle on Ice squad is venerated in the United States, the members of Finland's gold medal winning squad and the memories of the culminating effort against Sweden will forever be held in the highest esteem among Finns.
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It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

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