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NHL Insider

Kings eager to return home

Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 11:41 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The long and winding road finally is about to lead the Los Angeles Kings back to their home kingdom.

A road trip that started in Las Vegas and wound through two European countries and multiple time zones ended with a 3-2 overtime victory in Philadelphia on Saturday.

"It'll be a nice flight," said Kings forward Justin Williams. "There'll be talking on the plane. That'll be nice."

The Kings haven't played a game in Los Angeles since a Sept. 25 preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks, and haven't slept in their own beds since Sept. 29, the night before a road game at the nearby Honda Center.

Doan ready to face Jets for first time

Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 6:18 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shane Doan has never been traded, never been waived, never turned down a contract offer from the team that drafted him 16 years ago. But Saturday night, he's facing his old team.

The Phoenix Coyotes, who arrived from Winnipeg in 1996, tonight welcome the new Jets – not the same as the old Jets – in a weird situation when the Jets who came from Atlanta this year face the Coyotes, who still have a few old Jets like Doan, equipment chief Stan Wilson and Director of Public Relations Rich Nairn in the organization now with firmly entrenched lives in the Arizona desert.

Doan, who had seven goals and 17 points in his first and only season in Manitoba, said he was "incredibly glad" to see a team back in Winnipeg. But he's also glad that team didn't come from Arizona, where the ownership situation remains in flux, the team continues to bleed red ink and the future remains uncertain.

Richards' return 'déjà vu' for Gagne

Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 2:48 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Seeing Mike Richards make his first tentative steps in the visitor's locker room here at the Wells Fargo Center, Simon Gagne knew exactly what was going through his teammate's mind.

Richards, who spent six seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and expected to spend many more in black and orange, was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in June. Now, just four games into his stint with his new team, he was back in the building where he had so much success.

Gagne was in a similar situation almost exactly a year ago. Like Richards he was a Flyers first-round draft pick, and like Richards he was a long-time Flyer -- he spent his first 10 NHL seasons in Philadelphia. But not long after helping Richards guide Philadelphia to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, Gagne was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

And also like Richards, he played his first game back in Philadelphia early in his tenure with his new team.

Doan nears 300 goals, still seeks elusive hat trick

Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 11:04 AM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes advertising slogan for this season is "Hockey the Hard Way," and there is no better description for captain Shane Doan's 16-year march to 300 career goals.

Steady and sturdy, consistent but unspectacular, Doan has done it the hard way.

Off to an uncharacteristically fast start offensively, Doan scored his third goal of the season and No. 299 of his career into an empty net to cap Thursday's 5-2 win in Nashville. With five points in three games, he opened the season with two goals in a 6-3 loss in San Jose, the 38th time he's scored twice in an NHL game.

It's also the most he's ever scored in a game since entering the NHL in 1995. Doan has never had an NHL hat trick. Yup, not a single one.

Penguins, Capitals hoping for playoff rematch

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 6:12 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- The anticipation for the first Stanley Cup Playoff showdown between Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby began years ago, when they squared off at the junior-hockey level.

It began to swell when the two hockey supernovas were drafted by franchises with plenty of postseason history already in place. As they rose to the top of their profession and brought their respective teams with them, the expectations for that first meeting seemed almost impossible to meet.

Then it finally happened and for two weeks during the spring of 2009, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins collided in one of the greatest playoff series in NHL history that didn't involve awarding the Stanley Cup at the end. If it was possible, the expectations not only were met but exceeded.

Past two Cup champs different defense approaches

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 2:56 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

When it comes to how a franchise goes about defending the Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks are a study in contrasting styles and situations.

Those teams -- winners of the past two Cups -- will meet in what should be an entertaining contest Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) at the United Center. But it's fair to say there's very little, if anything, the defending-champion Bruins can learn from what the Blackhawks went through last season after winning the Cup in 2010.

Vokoun's strong game huge in Caps' win

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 9:57 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Worrying about an NHL veteran goaltender with a resume like Tomas Vokoun’s after one game probably is a bad idea, but he didn't need long to put a sub-par debut with the Washington Capitals behind him.

Vokoun turned aside 39 of 41 shots Thursday to help the Capitals defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center. It was a big improvement from his first game in a Washington uniform, when he yielded five goals in a 6-5 shootout win Monday against Tampa Bay.

"After the last game I said I didn’t have a good game and the guys had an unbelievable game and pulled me through and won the game,” Vokoun said. "Today, hopefully, I helped hold them to stay in the game. This is what a team is all about. It is not always going to be perfect."

Road-weary Rangers used trip as bonding exercise

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"That's one thing I think we can take out of this. We've been with each other 24/7 the past two weeks, so we've definitely bonded as a team. We got to know the new guys better and they definitely got to know the rest of the guys on the team better. We can take that out of it, and that's good for the experience."
-- Ryan Callahan

The trip was 13 nights if you include taxiing into Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport at 3 o'clock Sunday morning.

The New York Rangers boarded their gigantic Delta 767 charter plane six times, including twice on Oct. 2, the day they woke up in Sweden, played in Slovakia and went to bed in Switzerland.

They visited four countries, including Sweden twice, during 12 full days.

They traveled approximately 10,800 miles, or 17,350 kilometers, starting with their trip to Philadelphia on Sept. 26.

The Rangers didn't win either of their two games in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere, but at least they gained two points in the standings and an experience that will never be forgotten.

Malkin's Return Encourages Penguins

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 12:17 AM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 4
SOG: 5 | +/-: 0
PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin probably felt like words weren't necessary to describe a game he wasn't certain he would play, only to play it far better than anyone might have expected.
Malkin, held out of Pittsburgh's previous two games with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, returned at full speed Thursday night and was the best player on the ice for much of the Capitals-Penguins game. All that were missing was a Malkin goal – and a Penguins victory.
"Geno came back and he was flying," said linemate James Neal, who scored twice on Malkin-created goals.

Quick earns road-weary Kings a point

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 11:15 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Playing their first game after a week-long stay in Europe and a five-day break that included three days in Maryland, the Los Angeles Kings had differing opinions on their energy level during a 2-1 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Anze Kopitar didn't think the Kings were sluggish at all, that they generated enough consistent pressure. Coach Terry Murray saw it another way, saying his team started strong but "hit a bit of a wall" during the final two periods.

Something on which they both agreed, however, was that goaltender Jonathan Quick was the reason the Kings left Prudential Center with a consolation point. He made 36 saves, including 15 during the third period and overtime, to prevent his road-weary team from leaving empty-handed. 
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