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NHL Insider

Stastny out after rough fall Wednesday vs. Hawks

Friday, 12.17.2010 / 6:57 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Losing a player and gaining one has been a frequent pattern for the Colorado Avalanche this season.

The Avalanche will welcome back TJ Galiardi for Friday's game against the Ottawa Senators at the Pepsi Center, but won't have leading scorer Paul Stastny, who suffered upper back and neck injuries late in the third period of Wednesday's 4-3 win in Chicago.

Galiardi, sidelined with a broken right wrist since Nov. 9, was playing left wing but could take Stastny's place at center on a line with Kevin Porter and Brandon Yip.

"It's crazy, but we're a resilient team," Galiardi said Friday morning of the injury bug that continues to curse the team.

Caps try to learn to balance offense and defense

Friday, 12.17.2010 / 12:17 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals are a team in flux, and it may very well be a result of their own doing.

Critics across the hockey world were screaming after the Capitals were wiped out of the playoffs in seven games by the eighth-seeded Canadiens last spring. Everyone with a keyboard or a microphone let it be known that there was no way Washington would win in the spring unless it changed the way it played in the fall and winter.

Could it be that the Capitals are listening? Could it be that they've made a conscious decision to tweak their system to put more emphasis on keeping the opposition's chances down? Could their seven-game losing streak be associated with the unavoidable growing pains that come with that?

Opinions vary inside the Capitals' dressing room, but Wednesday night's performance against Anaheim suggests Bruce Boudreau and his assistants are at least attempting to balance out one the League's notoriously potent offensive teams.

"It was a pretty different game," Alex Ovechkin admitted.

Fenton goes from college office to Coyotes net

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 11:24 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- When Tom Fenton went to get a haircut Thursday afternoon in Purchase, N.Y., at the forefront of his mind was a Friday trip home to visit his family in Sarnia, Ont., for the holidays.

Those thoughts fell by the way side not long after he left his barber.

The Phoenix Coyotes called Fenton to let him know they wanted to sign him to a one-game contract because Ilya Bryzgalov was sick with the flu. There wasn't enough time to get a goalie from their minor-league affiliate in San Antonio, so the Coyotes tracked down Fenton for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

It was a life-changing phone call for the 26-year-old, who spent four years playing goalie at American International College.

Phaneuf enjoying return to Calgary

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 4:37 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"It's exciting to be back. I had a lot of real good times here. I started my career with this organization. I've got nothing but good things to say about the organization." -- Dion Phaneuf

Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke was pretty succinct when asked what kind of reaction Dion Phaneuf should expect from the crowd at Scotiabank Saddledome when the defenseman returns to his former home arena.

"It should be applause," Burke said. "He didn't ask for a trade out of Calgary. Calgary thought they could make their team better."

Whether either team has gotten better since last season's trade is debatable, but the fact remains that Phaneuf's return to Calgary is big news in Alberta.

Omark, Paajarvi get first chance to skate together

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers will feature a Swedish connection when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rexall Place on Thursday as coach Tom Renney has rookie forwards Linus Omark and Magnus Paajarvi on a line with centre Ryan O'Marra.

It marks a first for Omark, who hails from Overtornea, and Paajarvi, who is from Norrkoping. They have been teammates on various Swedish national teams in the past, but never have been linemates.

"He's a skilled player, so skate hard, create your own ice and the puck will be there," Paajarvi said of Omark.


Seguin ready to put lessons learned to use vs. Habs

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 2:26 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

"I'm taking the positives out of it. It was a new experience, a new perspective on the game. I'm ready to get back in the lineup when I get back in."                        -- Tyler Seguin

MONTREAL -- The irony of the situation was not lost on Tyler Seguin.

The Boston Bruins rookie was sitting in the press box Tuesday as a healthy scratch for the first time in his young career, watching his teammates lose to 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabres.

As Seguin looked around HSBC Arena, he saw all the preparations for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship that begins a day after Christmas, a tournament he was eligible to play in for his native Canada, and a tournament he missed last year when he was cut as a 17-year-old.

It also happened to be the same day Canada announced its roster for this year's event.

Lidstrom's trick latest example of his skill

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 12:33 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"We talk about this every single year. We think he's the best defenseman in the game and obviously he's an elite talent. But he's an elite person and he's a great leader. He sets the tone for this hockey club structurally, work-ethic wise, how he handles himself as a pro, how you practice and the way you play. He models. You've got to give the guy a lot of credit." -- Mike Babcock

Nicklas Lidstrom's Hall of Fame resume is pretty much set, and has been for quite a while.

Six Norris trophies, four Stanley Cups, nine times on the NHL First All-Star Team, appearances in 10 NHL All-Stars Games -- with No. 11 likely to come next month -- his status as the only European-born and -trained player to captain a team to a Stanley Cup … the list of superlatives goes on and on.

But just when you thought Lidstrom had accomplished everything a legend could, he managed to amaze once again.

Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues, in career game No. 1,442, Lidstrom managed a personal first -- an NHL hat trick.

His slap shot from just above the left circle opened the scoring 4:02 into the second period, his slapper from the point 2:46 into the third made it 4-1, and he closed the game with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left in the third. The shot, a slapper from the left point, went through four Blues players with chances to block it. 

Isles' Hamonic adjusting well to life in NHL

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 5:04 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The wind chill on Long Island this week has temperatures dipping into the single digits, but New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic is practically ready to hit Jones Beach.

"This is almost T-shirt weather," the Manitoba native joked Wednesday morning. "I almost wore a muscle shirt today. Talking to everyone back home, it's been really cold. It's been snowing for a while. It's actually nice to see some snow on the ground here. It feels a little familiar now."

Hamonic is a little familiar with the NHL these days, too. It's been almost a month since he made his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thanksgiving Eve. Since then, his ice time and responsibilities have only increased. The 20-year-old is now averaging more than 20 minutes per game and is playing in all situations.

Extremely tight West race could leave Hawks in cold

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 4:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- If the Stanley Cup Playoffs had started on Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks wouldn't even get a chance to defend their championship from last season.
Before Wednesday's games, the Hawks found themselves in ninth place in the Western Conference -- on the outside of the playoff field with 35 points. Los Angeles and San Jose would both qualify with 35 points, while Phoenix (34 points), Columbus (34 points) and St. Louis (33 points) would also be left out.

It's not a position the Hawks figured they'd find themselves in after 32 games as they try to repeat as Cup champions, but it's the cold, hard reality of their situation regardless.
"I'd say right now, there's 13 teams (in the Western Conference) that think they're going to be in and maybe even 14," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's probably how it's going to play out all year long. Certainly, the final picture, who knows how it's going to be? It can unfold later on where maybe it becomes clear, but right now we've got to believe (making the playoffs) is our objective and that's our goal and we've got some work to do."


Kane a possibility for Friday vs. Red Wings

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 3:35 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Good news for the Chicago Blackhawks has been a relative term this season.
In fact, the Hawks' perception of good news often has come in relation to injured players and the speed at which they are recovering. That being the case, there was a little more good news following Chicago's morning skate at the United Center on Wednesday, as they prepared to face the Colorado Avalanche for the second time in three days.
Injured forwards Patrick Kane (lower body) and Fernando Pisani (upper body) skated with the team, while injured forward Marian Hossa (lower body) did off-ice exercises after skating on his own Monday and Tuesday. None will play against the Avs, but it was encouraging for the Hawks to see a couple of them back in practice mode.

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