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NHL Insider

Ducks' Koivu preparing for emotional return to Montreal

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 6:43 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Saku Koivu has had more than his share of emotional moments at the Bell Centre, his triumphant return from cancer to play for the Montreal Canadiens in 2002 probably tops among them.

But Friday afternoon, the Anaheim Ducks center touched down in the city and walked into the building again for the first time since he left for the beaches of California as a free agent after the 2008-09 season, and Koivu came as close as he's come to breaking down emotionally in public.

"It's a really unique and special bond between me and the city of Montreal and the people here," Koivu said to close an opening statement to a room packed with reporters. "That doesn't happen very often. The way they made us feel and what they gave us here, we'll never forget that. I want to thank the people here for that. That was really amazing."

Hawks hope to retain momentum as break nears

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 12:48 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews is bucking the trend this week and for once he's refusing to abide by the same "one game at a time" cliché heard too often from professional athletes.

The Blackhawks start a stretch of six straight road games coming out of the All-Star break, so Toews is looking at their games coming up -- Saturday at Detroit, Sunday vs. Philadelphia and Tuesday vs. Minnesota -- as a mini three-game series.

Chicago has won four of its last five games and Toews said the team is now starting to realize its potential, that the Hawks have been playing their best hockey of the season. Blowing that momentum now would eliminate the championship vibe that has returned to the Hawks dressing room.

"We're playing well right now and we know there is another break coming up, so it's time to empty your tank, put everything you can into these games," Toews told Thursday. "Everyone says you take it one game at a time, but it's kind of like a little series and we want to set a high standard for ourselves, not let these games get away from us."


Blackhawks beginning to feel like winners again

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 12:02 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

They've established consistency in their forward lines and defense pairs. Their goaltenders are giving them a chance in every game. Their coaches have confidence in the role players, all of them no-names to start the season.

Chicago is hoping to celebrate a conference championship in a different sport this weekend, but that Bears buzz has leaked into the Blackhawks' dressing room and the reigning champs in the Windy City, in the NHL, are starting to play like winners again.

The Blackhawks have won four of their last five games, picking up nine out of a possible 10 points during the stretch and 11 out of a possible 16 points in January.


University goalie serves as Sharks' emergency backup

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 3:12 AM / NHL Insider

Nolan Kelly - Special to

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Jordan White is usually an avid fan of the Vancouver Canucks. Just not on Thursday night.

The 22-year-old goaltender for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds found himself on the San Jose Sharks' bench at Vancouver's Rogers Arena after signing a one-day amateur tryout contract. The Sharks needed a goaltender in a hurry when Antero Niittymaki went down with a lower-body injury during the morning skate -- too late to get a backup goaltender from their AHL farm team, the Worcester Sharks, in time for the game against the Canucks.

Enter White, the starting goaltender for UBC's Thunderbirds. He wore No. 35 in white and teal as he stepped onto the ice in front of a sellout crowd that included his parents and several friends. White took shots during the warmup, but he didn’t see any action in San Jose's 2-1 shootout victory.

Kane not thinking about Cup-winner vs. Flyers

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 8:37 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

This may be hard to believe, but Patrick Kane actually said that when the Philadelphia Flyers come to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks this Sunday, the goal that no one in either city will ever forget will not be at the forefront of his mind.

Kane, of course, is referring to his overtime Stanley Cup-winner in Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center last June. Or, you know, just the most important goal he has ever scored in his life and maybe will score in his career.

"I really don't know if I will (think about it)," Kane modestly told on Thursday. "I guess you think of the Flyers, the last time we played them that happened, I scored the overtime goal and we won the Stanley Cup, but I guess I'll have to see what the feeling is like. It'll definitely bring back memories from the series."

Flyers have something to prove vs. Hawks

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 7:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Summer without Stanley felt the same as any other for Mike Richards.

"I have done it the last six years, so I'm used to it now, unfortunately," the Flyers' captain told

But never before did Richards get so close, so wonderfully close that he could actually play a game with the Stanley Cup in the building as he did on June 9, 2010.

It was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the night the Cinderella slippers finally slid off the Flyers' skates.

GM Holmgren talks Flyers on NHL Hour

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 7:39 PM / NHL Insider

It took until the final day of the 2009-10 regular season for the Philadelphia Flyers to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- by winning a shootout over the rival new York Rangers, no less -- but once they got there everything came together and the magic carpet ride didn't end until an overtime loss in Game 6 of the Final.

This season the Flyers have picked right up where they left off -- entering Thursday's action, they led the NHL with 30 wins and had the most points in the Eastern Conference with 65, tying them with the Canucks for first in the League.

So it came as little surprise earlier this week when GM Paul Holmgren was given a three-year contract extension. Holmgren took over as interim GM in November 2006 and quickly got the job full-time. The Flyers finished last in the NHL in 2006-07, but he wasted little time rebuilding them into an elite team -- and completing a cycle that has seen him play, coach and work in the front office in Philadelphia.

Cumiskey excited to finally return

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 4:22 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

"I'm excited to get back out there. It's a little boring to be sitting around for that long a time. You see your team playing and you want to be out there to help. You get down a bit and it gets really frustrating, but I tried to stay as positive as I could." -- Kyle Cumiskey

DENVER -- Kyle Cumiskey had plenty of company while recovering from a concussion that prevented him from playing for the Colorado Avalanche for nearly three months.

Half a dozen teammates also were injured when the speedy 24-year-old defenseman was on the sidelines after getting hurt in an Oct. 30 game against Columbus.

"I wasn't too lonely. There were a lot of guys keeping me company," Cumiskey said with a smile Thursday morning at the Pepsi Center.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder will play his first game since the injury Thursday night when the Avalanche take on the Nashville Predators in the teams' initial meeting of the season.

Horcoff set to return to Oilers lineup

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 1:48 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers will have captain Shawn Horcoff back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 7 when they face the red-hot Dallas Stars at Rexall Place on Thursday night.

Horcoff, who missed 18 games with a sprained MCL of the right knee, will play between rookie Taylor Hall, who moves back to left wing after spending six games at center, and Dustin Penner.

Ovi: Caps must show more of a nose for the net

Wednesday, 01.19.2011 / 3:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Alex Ovechkin is calling for his team to crash the net and play angrier, but even he admitted Wednesday that it's not easy to instinctively want to get your nose dirty in front of the blue paint when you're not accustomed to it.

"Sometimes you just think maybe there's going to be a rebound and I'm going to stay outside of the net because I don't want to go there, be in that position where I'll get hit in the neck or an elbow in the face," Ovechkin said after practice at Wells Fargo Center. "You think the puck is going to bounce right to your stick. It happens sometimes, but most of the time you have to go there and fight for that puck."
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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday