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NHL Insider

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.

Sweden's new-look hockey model paying dividends

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 9:36 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

A change in education, coaching -- and, most important, attitude -- at an early age has played a vital role in the tremendous rise in good fortune for Sweden, the premier hockey-producing country in Europe.

It wasn't too long ago the Swedish Ice Hockey Association was forced to come to grips with the fact its educational and developmental methods had become outdated. Between 1997 and 2002, the Swedish Under-20 junior national team was deemed a failure -- finishing fourth twice and fifth or worst four other times.

Ramsay ready for 'emotional' matchup with Winnipeg

Sunday, 10.30.2011 / 4:05 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

Craig Ramsay has been in the NHL for so long and worked for so many organizations, whether as a coach or a player, that numerous games have special meaning for him.

Add to that list Monday's game when Ramsay's Florida Panthers, where he is an assistant coach to Kevin Dineen, host the Winnipeg Jets.

Ramsay served as head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers last season and when that franchise relocated to Winnipeg in the offseason, Ramsay was not retained. On Monday, he will face a roster in which 18 of the 23 active players played for him last season and a lot of special relationships were forged.

"In all honesty, now, since I've bounced around from one team to another, I have a whole bunch of those teams where you have special meaning for the game and you have to try to set that aside," Ramsay said. "I'd like to say there's no extra emotion, but there is… There is emotion there, but I really try not to let it affect the way I do my job and what I have to accomplish.

Jagr providing great chemistry with Giroux, Hartnell

Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 11:15 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The way Jaromir Jagr tells it, he and Claude Giroux go together like oil in water.

Jaromir Jagr
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 11
SOG: 35 | +/-: 3
"Don't forget, the age difference between me and G, it's like 20 years," said Jagr, who is really only 16 years older than Giroux. "And, how I play hockey and how he plays hockey, it's totally different hockey. You know, hockey in 20 years has changed a lot."

Maybe so, but when Jagr and Giroux add Scott Hartnell to the mix, the chemistry experiment produces completely different lab results, such as a combined 23 points on 11 goals and 12 assists over the past four games between the three of them.

Pronger recovering slowly from eye injury

Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 8:15 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers captain Chris Pronger says he feels lucky that his eye injury isn't as bad as it could have been, but he won't go into detail on his thoughts about wearing a visor when he returns to the ice or if his stance on them has changed.

It should be noted, however, that Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren said Pronger wouldn't be cleared to play unless he agrees to wear a visor.

"That's getting a little ahead of ourselves," Pronger said Saturday night in his first public comments since getting struck in the right eye by Mikhail Grabovski's stick during the first period of last Monday's game against Toronto. "I have to get back on the ice first."
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Quote of the Day

We don't know how long Carey will be out, but for us, it's business as usual.

— Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on goaltender Carey Price, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury
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