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(Page 239 of 259)
NHL Insider

Capitals see Hannan as missing part in Cup run

Tuesday, 11.30.2010 / 4:11 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

There has been talk for the past 3-4 years that the Washington Capitals needed a rugged, stay-at-home defenseman to help balance their flashy, offensive ways.

After the Caps acquired defenseman Scott Hannan from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for center Tomas Fleischmann on Tuesday, Caps GM George McPhee offered an honest answer when asked how long he had been trying to get a defensive defenseman like Hannan.

"Oh, three or four years," McPhee deadpanned.

Hannan, who has been among the Avs' leaders in blocked shots and hits during his three-plus seasons with the team, should provide an immediate dose of grit and toughness to the Caps. With an average of 3:21 of shorthanded ice time per game, Hannan was the Avs' most relied upon penalty killer, something else that made him attractive to the Capitals.

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Penguins waiting on more production from 'Geno'

Tuesday, 11.30.2010 / 3:20 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With so many positive streaks going on in Pittsburgh right now, Evgeni Malkin's lack of offense hasn't been an issue. The Penguins have won seven in a row and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games despite not getting much off the stick of their Russian superstar since his hat trick in Atlanta on Nov. 13.

But as coach Dan Bylsma pointed out prior to the Penguins' 3-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Monday, "Geno" is doing plenty to help the team's cause over this last stretch despite scoring only 1 goal and dishing out 5 assists in the eight games since he lit up the Thrashers in a 4-2 Penguins victory.

"I think we'd all like to see him put up bigger numbers and have the type of season he had two seasons ago, but I see him doing a lot of things better in his game this year than last year," Bylsma said. "The consistency in which he works on the defensive side of the puck is much better. He's a guy we count on in the defensive zone to play against other teams' good players right now as a centerman."

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Hawks dealing with life minus Hossa again

Tuesday, 11.30.2010 / 3:09 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa just can't seem to stay healthy for the Chicago Blackhawks, who again are without an impact player for an extended period.
 
For the second time this season and third time in the past two years, Hossa is injured seriously enough to keep him out for several weeks. This time, it's a lower-body injury that he hurt on Monday in practice colliding with Nick Boynton.
 
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Tuesday's morning skate that Hossa is likely out 2-3 weeks after injuring what appeared to be his right leg.
 
"Things happen like that," said Quenneville, who missed that practice while in Montreal attending the funeral of coaching legend Pat Burns. "It can happen away from the game, too. It's all part of it and you deal with it."
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Bryzgalov has been key to Coyotes' rise

Saturday, 11.27.2010 / 12:15 AM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Three years ago last week, the Phoenix Coyotes had Alex Auld, Dave Aebischer and Mikael Tellqvist battling – mostly, unsuccessfully – for their starting goaltender spot.

That was when Anaheim general manger Brian Burke made good on a promise to a talented young goaltender and put Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers. With Stanley Cup winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere entrenched as the starter and prospect Jonas Hiller waiting in the wings, Burke was willing to honor a commitment and give Bryzgalov the chance achieve his dream of being a No. 1 goalie.

That took exactly 24 hours to happen. With fingers crossed that three teams with poorer records would pass on Bryzgalov, the Phoenix Coyotes had Bryzgalov -- and the answer to their goalie woes.
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Several surprises among first-quarter storylines

Thursday, 11.25.2010 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Twenty games does not make a season, but it does serve as a good sample size to examine trends across the League.

So, with a quarter of the season in the history books, it's time to look at seven of the most surprising story lines in the NHL so far this season.

1. Tim Thomas is practically unstoppable

What a difference a year makes.

Goaltender Tim Thomas was left for dead last season. After winning the Vezina Trophy in 2009, his game fell apart. It led to Tuukka Rask taking the starting the job with the Bruins and carrying them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Fully recovered, Pavelec is fueling Thrashers' surge

Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 11:54 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

DULUTH, Ga. --  For most of the Atlanta Thrashers, the NHL season started on Oct. 8.

For goalie Ondrej Pavelec, it didn't really start in earnest until 22 days later. Almost a month after he completed his first start, he's gathering steam to the point where his statistics rank him among the League's top goalies, as he ranked second in save percentage at .942 and in goals-against average at 1.84 after Wednesday's 5-1 victory against Detroit.

The unanticipated delay to Pavelec's season came because of his well-publicized fainting spell two minutes into the season opener. It left him with a concussion, along with the need for him to be hospitalized for several days until doctors determined the cause of the incident.

But now the 23-year-old Czech says that when the puck drops, his fainting spell is the furthest thing from his mind. It shows. In his 12 appearances this season, he has allowed four goals only once, three goals another time and in every other appearance he has allowed two goals or fewer, giving the Thrashers a chance to win almost every night.
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Sutter enjoyed time with Devils

Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 2:09 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"At the end of the day there are things and life that is bigger than the game of hockey and that's why I chose to do what I did. Home is home for me."
-- Brent Sutter

NEWARK, N.J. -- It wasn't until Tuesday's bus ride across the river from Manhattan into Newark that Calgary Flames coach Brent Sutter started to reflect on his two seasons as coach of the New Jersey Devils.

"I guess things become familiar with you when you're coming in from the city to here," Sutter said Monday morning, hours before he was going to stand on the visitor's bench for the first time at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m., TSN). "When you're in the coaching world, it's your own world a lot. You're so concerned about the group that you have and your mindset, that's where it is all the time. But to come in the building and see a lot of familiar faces, that's exciting."
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Montreal inserts Darche as power-play solution

Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 1:04 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. -- Mathieu Darche will be going from the press box straight to the No. 1 power-play unit when the Montreal Canadiens host the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Darche was a healthy scratch the past two games – a 2-0 win against Toronto and Monday's 3-2 loss in Philadelphia – but he is being looked upon to help revive a power play that has gone dormant.

The Canadiens power play started the season on a 3-for-47 slide before righting itself with a 8-for-23 run during a four-game winning streak. But, it is just 1-for-9 as Montreal has lost two of its past three games.

That one goal came after Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek made a tape-to-tape pass right on the stick of Canadiens sniper Michael Cammalleri in front, something you can't particularly count on happening every game.
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Friendship for Del Zotto, Stamkos began in Markham

Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 12:59 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Toronto suburb of Markham, Ont., isn't much different than other small towns across Canada. It has its own town hockey system, which grooms generation after generation of Canadian hockey youth.
 
Markham is remarkably successful in developing young players -- a fact the rest of the hockey world has seen while watching two of its most recent graduates come of age in the NHL.

Steven Stamkos, who played his youth hockey in Markham, was the first pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. In his short career, he's already won a Rocket Richard Trophy and currently leads the NHL with 20 goals and 35 points.

Not long after the Lightning picked Stamkos, the New York Rangers drafted another Markham graduate, defenseman Michael Del Zotto at No. 20. After playing one extra season in junior, he played 80 games with the Rangers last season, totaling 9 goals and 37 points. He led all Rangers defensemen and finished second among all rookie blueliners in goals, assists (28) and points. He has 2 goals and 6 points in 22 games this season, while playing 22:13 per game, a four-minute per game increase from last season.

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Niemi to start for Sharks against former mates

Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 12:43 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said Tuesday that if he had to face former teammate Antti Niemi on Wednesday when the Hawks play the San Jose Sharks, he'd know just where to shoot.

He'll get the chance tonight, when Niemi starts in goal against the team he won the 2010 Stanley Cup with.

Niemi was the first goaltender off the ice at Wednesday's morning skate, a move that typically signifies who that night's starter will be.

Last week, Niemi talked about how much playing the Blackhawks meant to him.

"It's been in the back of my head," he told the San Jose Mercury News. "Not the thing I've been thinking of every day, but knowing it's going to come and thinking a little bit how it's going to feel, so of course it's big."
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Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh