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NHL Insider

Oilers putting rough road trip behind them

Wednesday, 11.17.2010 / 2:25 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- After winning just once and being outscored 26-10 on a five-game road trip, the Edmonton Oilers are looking to snap a four-game winless streak when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place on Wednesday.

The Oilers started their trip with a 2-1 win in Chicago on Nov. 7, then dropped the next four, including a 7-1 drubbing in Carolina and an 8-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

"We can use a big one," captain Shawn Horcoff said. "You don't have a choice. You have to put those games behind you. It wasn't just one. There were three or four (games) that were not acceptable."

While the Oilers have talked about putting the road trip in the rear-view mirror since getting home Sunday, the best way to do it, and regain some confidence, is with a third straight win this season against Chicago. They also beat the Hawks 7-4 in Chicago on Oct. 29.


Caps shuffle lines in search of more consistency

Wednesday, 11.17.2010 / 1:55 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Eight days ago Marcus Johansson was playing against the Charlotte Checkers, a newly relocated team in the American Hockey League.

When he lines up for his first faceoff Wednesday, he will look to his left and see Alex Ovechkin. Johansson, a 20-year-old rookie who was a 2009 first-round pick, will skate on the team's top line against the Buffalo Sabres at Verizon Center as coach Bruce Boudreau continues to shuffle his lines after a couple of uneven performances.

"I played a period with him before and I think it is fun," Johansson said. "You get to play with someone who creates something all the time and can make things happen. It is fun to play offensive hockey and with Alex it is a great chance for some offensive hockey. It is a big chance for me and it is going to be fun."

Isles hope for a new beginning under new coach

Tuesday, 11.16.2010 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

On his first full day as coach of the New York Islanders, Jack Capuano had a simple message for his players: It's time for a fresh start.
"We have to put the past behind us now," Capuano said Tuesday after practice at the Nassau Coliseum. "It's a fresh slate for everybody here."
The Islanders would be glad to take a mulligan for the first five-plus weeks of the season. After a 4-1-2 start, they've dropped 10 consecutive games -- nine in regulation -- including all three on a California trip last week, costing third-year coach Scott Gordon his job.
Capuano, who was coaching the Isles' AHL team in Bridgeport, was named interim coach -- he said he hasn't talked to GM Garth Snow about his long-term future. He is familiar with most of the players either through coaching them in the minors or during his time as an assistant with the big club, and said that familiarity should speed up the transition.


Hamrlik steps in for Habs with Markov on shelf

Tuesday, 11.16.2010 / 1:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. -- The Montreal Canadiens have put Roman Hamrlik on their top power-play unit in the absence of injured quarterback Andrei Markov, and they will need to be sharp Tuesday night if they hope to strike against a hot Philadelphia Flyers club.

In addition to the fact the Flyers have scored 18 goals in their last three games, most recently an easy 5-1 win at home against the Ottawa Senators on Monday, Philadelphia has been very stingy on defense with only four goals allowed in those three games.

The Flyers' penalty kill has been perfect over that span on seven chances, while the Canadiens power play is 6-for-15 over their last three games. But when Markov missed the first 10 games of this season, the Canadiens went 3-for-34.


McPhee demands better effort from East-best Caps

Tuesday, 11.16.2010 / 1:08 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Washington General Manager George McPhee insists he's not being too hard on his first-place team when he says, "We're all happy with our record, but not with the way we're playing."

"We've only played a few complete games," McPhee told NHL.com, "games where we played three real solid periods."

While there are managers elsewhere (say Newark, Long Island, Edmonton, Toronto) who likely would scoff at McPhee's hard approach with his team -- which has won seven of its last eight games and leads the NHL with 13 wins and 27 points -- you have to understand where McPhee is coming from.

He doesn't want his team to be content with just winning games; he wants his players to understand how you win games now could define what kind of success you have later in the season, when the stakes are much higher.


Ovechkin helps launch new DVD

Tuesday, 11.16.2010 / 12:09 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTONAlex Ovechkin has become one of the most famous people in the world in his profession – a genuine celebrity on multiple continents.

For all of the superstar's accomplishments on the ice with the Washington Capitals and for his native Russia, much of Ovechkin's life away from hockey and this city has been an unknown entity. A new 60-minute documentary entitled "Alex Ovechkin: The Gr8" will fill in some of those blanks, and Ovechkin was on hand Monday night at a local restaurant for a VIP launch party.

"I think fans know about me as a hockey player, but they don't know about me and my life and how I'm growing up," Ovechkin said. "They know I'm from Moscow, but they never see my school or my home and my family. They're going to see it and I think they're going to enjoy it."

Rangers show cohesiveness in win over Pens

Monday, 11.15.2010 / 11:39 PM / NHL Insider

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Most players and coaches will tell you that consistency is what separates contenders from pretenders throughout the course of an 82-game NHL regular season.

For the New York Rangers, that philosophy was put to test Monday night when they took on the Pittsburgh Penguins in an Atlantic Division clash at the Consol Energy Center.

On the line was the chance not only to gain ground in the chase for Eastern Conference supremacy but, more importantly, the chance to improve on a two-game winning streak.

Despite Markov's injury, Habs remain confident

Monday, 11.15.2010 / 4:52 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

"It's a big loss for our team. He's probably one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League. Other teams are probably happy about it because we'll need some other guy to step up and play. With our defense, I think we've played pretty solid all season long." -- Jaroslav Spacek

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens gave no update Monday on the status of star defenseman Andrei Markov, stating more tests need to be done to determine the extent of what the team is calling a lower-body injury suffered Saturday in a collision with Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Markov appeared to hurt his right knee on the play, the same one he had surgery on to repair a torn ACL last May. That injury kept Markov out of action for nearly five months.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past where a long-term injury to Markov would mean the Canadiens' chances for success would plummet. As recently as last season, when Markov missed 35 regular-season games with a lacerated tendon in his foot and another two with an undisclosed injury, the Canadiens barely kept their heads above water, going 14-20-3.

Avalanche hoping to establish hometown dominance

Monday, 11.15.2010 / 3:58 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

"We've been up and down at home so far in the short amount of time that we've been here. It's important that we establish ourselves and that we get our record back to .500 tonight and don't look back." -- Joe Sacco

DENVER -- With two home losses in the past three games and a 3-4-0 record in seven home games this season, the Colorado Avalanche need to re-establish the Pepsi Center as a difficult place for visiting teams.

The team hopes to do that starting Monday, when the Avs start a three-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2).

"We've been up and down at home so far in the short amount of time that we've been here," coach Joe Sacco said following Monday's morning practice. "It's important that we establish ourselves and that we get our record back to .500 tonight and don't look back."


Hat tricks coming at a fairly frequent pace

Monday, 11.15.2010 / 3:12 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

If there are more bare heads at NHL games this season, it's because the number of hat tricks this season has skyrocketed.

Through the first 247 games this season, there have been 20 players putting together three-goal games, the most at this point in a season since 1994-95, when there were 22. At this point last season there were just 11 hat tricks.

Nineteen different players have had hat tricks this season, including a pair by Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin. He had 3 goals against the Thrashers in a 4-3 overtime victory Oct. 23, and had 3 goals -- including the game-winner, as well as 2 assists -- in 6-3 win against the Lightning on Nov. 11.

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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie