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NHL Insider

McGuire had major impact during time with Flyers

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 5:14 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

EJ McGuire is most closely associated with NHL Central Scouting, which he ran for six years.
McGuire's entry into the NHL, however, came with the Philadelphia Flyers, as an assistant coach under Mike Keenan from 1984-88. He returned to work on Bill Barber's staff midway through the 2000-01 season and stayed through the end of the 2001-02 season.
During his four seasons on Keenan's staff, the team went to the Stanley Cup Final in 1985 and 1987, losing to the Edmonton Oilers both times.
"On behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers, I would like to personally extend my condolences to EJ's wife, Terry, and their daughters, Jacqueline and Erin," said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman and Flyers founder Ed Snider. "EJ was a close, personal friend of mine who loved hockey as much as he loved life. I always enjoyed spending time with him. We would often talk about our team, the game, and our families. He always had great insights and that's something I'm going to miss. He was one of the most knowledgeable men our sport has ever known. It's a sad day for the Flyers and a sad day for hockey."

As retirement nears, Foote draws plenty of praise

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 3:14 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- Adam Foote isn't with the Colorado Avalanche in Dallas for their game Thursday night with the Stars, but the veteran defenseman's presence is definitely being felt with his impending retirement announcement Friday morning in Denver.

Foote is expected to retire after a stellar 19-year run in the NHL where he played on a pair of Stanley Cup-winning clubs in Colorado and earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest defensemen in the League.

He's a player that Dallas coach Marc Crawford knows very well from coaching him in Quebec and Colorado for four seasons (1994-98).

"I just so appreciated how hard Adam played," Crawford said. "He was a huge part of our shutdown defense pair of him and [Alexei] Gusarov. They could play against anybody. What I always liked about Adam was his foot speed. He could stay with anybody. As the years have waned on, it's been encouraging to see his competitiveness has remained the same."


Stars need better result against Avalanche

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 2:49 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- There is no doubt the Dallas Stars have had their troubles against the Colorado Avalanche during the past three seasons, but they need a reversal of fortunes Thursday night with a critical contest at American Airlines Center.

Colorado is 7-1-2 against Dallas in the past 10 meetings, including a pair of victories this season. The Stars currently have 91 points and are four behind Chicago, which holds the eighth position in the West standings. A loss to Colorado would deal a near-critical blow to their hopes of ending a two-year playoff drought.

These teams haven't seen each other since late November, when Colorado beat Dallas 4-3 in a shootout here. That win came just two weeks after the Avalanche won 5-0 in Denver. 

Briere likely to play; Pronger channels Dr. Seuss

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- There was a packed house on the ice here at Virtua Flyers Skate Zone, as three goalies and every skater except for two took part in Thursday's practice.
Two of those skaters were Danny Briere and Blair Betts, both of whom are questionable for Friday's game in Buffalo due to lower-body injuries.
"I thought they both skated well," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "As far as what was on the ice, they looked good."
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren issued a statement that said Briere is possible for Friday with a lower-body injury, but Briere said as good as he felt during Thursday's on-ice session, he was very positive about getting into Friday's game. Briere was scratched about two hours before Sunday's game against the New York Rangers with his injury and sat out Tuesday's game in Ottawa. They're the only games he's missed for injury or illness all season.


Canucks feel they're now equipped to win a title

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 12:58 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

"The only difference in the dressing room is that we have a better team from top to bottom. The players that the management brought in this summer has made us a lot better, and that's the only difference from the years past."
-- Henrik Sedin

For 39 seasons the Vancouver Canucks have tried to bring the Stanley Cup back to British Columbia for the first time since 1925.

Their quest in the franchise's 40th season will be a little different -- because this time, the Canucks are the favorites. Not only is Vancouver the top seed in its conference for the first time, the Canucks have clinched the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history and will have home ice throughout the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Collecting a franchise-record 113 points (with the potential for four more) should raise the expectation level for most NHL teams, but Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin doesn't see it that way.

Cup visit from Ovi would be thrilling for Russia

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 12:53 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"The Washington Capitals are still building their history and Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin are a big part of it and how popular they are. The success of any Russian players, especially a big name like Ovechkin, would bring a lot of attention to the Stanley Cup and hockey itself." -- Slava Fetisov

NEW YORK -- Russia is rooting for a Stanley Cup visit this summer. If it happens to be Alex Ovechkin who brings the trophy home, well that might just be the sweetest gift yet.

"I'm going to tell you, all of Russia is rooting for Alex," Hockey Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Slava Fetisov told on Thursday. "The popularity when Alex Ovechkin comes to Moscow is pretty big."

Fetisov spoke to from inside the League's main headquarters in midtown Manhattan. He was here accompanying 18 Russian youth hockey players, nine boys and nine girls, as well as some Russian coaches and representatives from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


After long wait, Niittymaki gets his chance

Wednesday, 04.06.2011 / 4:13 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Antti Niemi finally can exhale.

The San Jose Sharks goalie will get a breather Wednesday when the Sharks insert Antero Niittymaki into the lineup against Anaheim at Honda Center.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said it simply was time to get Niittymaki into a game as San Jose has just three regular-season games remaining. Niemi has started 34 consecutive games, while Niittymaki's last start was Jan.13.

"It's more than a long stretch," Niittymaki said. "It's been three months or something?"

Told the exact date, Niittymaki was even more surprised. His only other game action since then was 33 minutes in relief of Niemi on March 14 against Chicago.


Blues would enjoy spoiling Hawks' chances

Wednesday, 04.06.2011 / 3:35 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"It's a heated rivalry. For us, obviously we wish there was more to play for, but what better thing to play for than to help them stumble a little bit and put the pressure on them a little more? We don't want to be in the position we're at, on the outside looking in, but at the same time it could be some real positive reinforcement for us -- knowing that if we help them stumble and at the end of it they're on the outside looking in, we were the cause of it" -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo

CHICAGO -- Maybe the St. Louis Blues just aren't as nice as the Detroit Red Wings when it comes to their rivalry against the Chicago Blackhawks.
While the Red Wings sidestepped questions last week about getting satisfaction from possibly knocking the Hawks out of the playoffs, the Blues aren't dancing around anything. St. Louis wraps up its season series against Chicago at the United Center Wednesday night (8 p.m., Versus) and the Blues would love to elicit boos with a win.
"It's a heated rivalry," Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo told at St. Louis' optional morning skate. "For us, obviously we wish there was more to play for, but what better thing to play for than to help them stumble a little bit and put the pressure on them a little more? We don't want to be in the position we're at, on the outside looking in, but at the same time it could be some real positive reinforcement for us -- knowing that if we help them stumble and at the end of it they're on the outside looking in, we were the cause of it."

Hawks hoping to avoid history

Wednesday, 04.06.2011 / 10:59 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Martin Brodeur gave a 22-word quote shortly after New Jersey was eliminated from playoff contention in 1996 that pretty well summed up how the Devils were feeling one year after winning the Stanley Cup.

"It was really hard to explain when we won it," Brodeur said, "and now it's really hard to explain when we're not in it."

Jonathan Toews does not want to be saying the same thing Sunday. The Chicago Blackhawks do not want to feel how the Devils felt in 1996, how the Hurricanes felt in 2007, how the Canadiens felt in 1970 and how the Maple Leafs felt in 1968.


Win puts Habs in; Leafs need win to stay alive

Tuesday, 04.05.2011 / 5:08 PM / NHL Insider

It's been a struggle recently for the Montreal Canadiens, but they can push all the bad feelings away with 60 minutes of good hockey Tuesday.

If the Canadiens can beat the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, they'll clinch a playoff spot for the fourth straight season.

Montreal has won just five of its last 12 games (5-7-0), and is looking to win consecutive games for the first time since its five-game win streak ended March 8.

However, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks will be a desperate squad. Entering the night eighth in the Western Conference, they're just a point ahead of ninth-place Calgary and three ahead of 10th-place Dallas.
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Quote of the Day

I think everyone left it out there. Every game this season, regular season and playoffs, we played as hard as we could. We're not out of the playoffs right now because of lack of effort, and that's all that we can ask of each other.

— Predators defenseman Seth Jones after Nashville was eliminated by Chicago in Game 6 on Saturday