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NHL Insider

Boucher expects better from Bolts against Blackhawks

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:57 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

TAMPA, Fla -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher didn't bother to hide his dismay over the effort his team produced over the first two periods Tuesday night en route to a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

In response to what Boucher called "lackadaisical play," he put the Lightning through an unusually intense practice session on Wednesday, designed to drive home a point to the players.

"We didn't play the first two periods in Carolina, so we had them play those periods over," Boucher said. "We did specific things that relate to what we didn't do well. The work ethic wasn't there and the competitiveness wasn't there. So, we did the first two periods over. If you count the number of minutes we were on the ice, it was exactly 40 minutes, broken by a three-on-five power play. (Tampa Bay failed to convert on such a power play against the Hurricanes.)

Talent level, history suggests Wings turn it around

Friday, 11.04.2011 / 10:07 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"You have to think positive and believe in yourself and tell yourselves you are good players. You know, because we are good players. We just got to go out and score some goals." -- Henrik Zetterberg

DETROIT -- In case anybody is subscribing to the theory that opposing defenses and goaltending are the biggest problems for the Detroit Red Wings’ sputtering offense, allow Ken Holland to crumple that notion up and chuck it into the nearest trash can for you.

Detroit's general manager is willing to give credit where it's due for his team's meager six-goal output during its current six-game winless skid (0-5-1), but only to a certain extent. When presented with a version of the "good goalies" theory after Thursday's 4-1 loss to Calgary at Joe Louis Arena, Holland quickly shot it down.

Kovalchuk leaves with pulled muscle

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 11:38 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA --- The New Jersey Devils lost forward Ilya Kovalchuk late in the third period of Thursday's 4-3 shootout victory against the Philadelphia Flyers with what the star forward told reporters is a pulled muscle in his leg.

Kovalchuk, who had a pair of assists, two shots on goal and a plus-2 rating -- he set up both New Jersey goals in the second period -- left the ice for the final time with 1:35 left in the third period. He sat out all of overtime and was unavailable for the shootout, which the Devils won on goals by Zach Parise and Patrik Elias.

Cardinal ace Carpenter tries his luck on skates

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 4:55 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Six days after pitching the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11th World Series title, Chris Carpenter was spending time reliving memories of another sport that he mastered quite well in high school.

Instead of lacing up his cleats, Carpenter was lacing up his skates and sharpening the blades. He was on the ice with the St. Louis Blues for the team's practice Thursday morning at St. Louis Mills, putting his 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame through some light drills.

The 36-year-old Carpenter, who won Games 1 and 7 to help the Cardinals down the Texas Rangers in seven games in the World Series, was having a blast. He was taking shots, parking himself in the slot area and making saucer passes to Blues players, who were loving every moment spending time with one of the other pro athletes in town.

"It's awesome," said Carpenter. "For these guys to even give up some of their time to allow me to come in here, I know what it's like ... I just wanted to get out of everybody's way, just watch really, and then they invited me to come out here and skate a little bit. 

No guarantees, but Messier is set for first marathon

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 3:30 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"I wish I was 35 or 40 years old running it and not 50, but I think in the end it's challenging yourself to do something and get outside your comfort zone. In that regard I'm really challenging myself to do the best I can personally, and I think that's what running really is, it's about your own personal journey."
-- Mark Messier

NEW YORK -- Mark Messier doesn't have a guarantee this time.

"I would have absolutely no idea what I'm going to be able to accomplish in 26 miles," Messier said Thursday in Central Park at a press conference for Sunday's ING New York City Marathon. "If I was able to do it anywhere around four and a half hours that would probably be a success. I guess a success would be finishing it, but I don't really know."

When Messier issued his guarantee prior to Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, he did so as a five-time Stanley Cup champion and the captain of the New York Rangers. He at least had a clue about what he was guaranteeing.

Seeking spark, Wings split up Datsyuk, Zetterberg

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 2:27 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- They've been paired together before and they've also been split up.

So, once again being broken up onto different lines is nothing new for Detroit Red Wings star forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg -- who will each center a line in Thursday night's home game against the Calgary Flames (7:30 p.m.)

After starting the season against the Ottawa Senators on separate lines, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock decided to put the dynamic duo back together on the top line for the next nine games.

When they play together, Zetterberg technically moves to left wing and Datsyuk stays in the middle, but both share center responsibilities. Everything was going great until Detroit hit a rough patch after winning its first five games. The Wings (5-4-1) suddenly stopped scoring goals in bunches and are now riding a five-game winless streak that has them sitting 12th in the Western Conference.

Florida contingent of ex-Hawks set to face them

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 2:24 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg did their best Thursday morning to talk about Thursday night's game against Chicago as just another game.

Clearly, it's not.

Campbell and Versteeg both were important parts of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup title team, and they'll be facing their former teammates for the first time as members of the Florida Panthers.

"It's always good, it's a game that you kind of see and look at," Campbell said after Thursday's morning skate. "Obviously it's a big game, but there's a lot at stake for any team in every game. It'll be fun, some good memories and some good guys over there."

Campbell was traded to the Panthers in the offseason in exchange for forward Rostislav Olesz.

Punchless Wings must find way to score goals

Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 4:07 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Before the season, the Detroit Red Wings installed more environment-friendly LED bulbs in the goal lights at each end of the rink at Joe Louis Arena.

The thought was to save a little energy while also making the lights a little flashier with LED technology. Based on the past five games, it's starting to look like Red Wings players are doing the same thing by merely lighting the lamps a lot less than normal.

In fact, with just five goals scored in a five-game winless streak, the usually-flashy Wings look like their bulbs are either burned out or short-circuited. They're searching for answers to explain it as much as those outside the locker room and talking about keeping their confidence up.

Hasek pursuing various interests, thinking comeback

Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 2:53 PM / NHL Insider

Michael Langr - Correspondent

Don't be surprised if you see in the news one day that Dominik Hasek climbed Mt. Everest.

While he's currently stepped away from his hockey career, the veteran goalie has been pursuing a variety of interesting activities.
He played beach volleyball, skied on a glacier in the Alps with Czech Olympic downhill skiing medalist Sarka Zahrobska, crossed Albania by bike (he even thought about cycling through Kamchatka), and in the last weekend he competed with professional drivers while racing at the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Race in Barcelona.

Brodeur declares himself ready, will face Leafs

Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 11:53 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur will return after missing nearly three weeks with a shoulder injury to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at Prudential Center.
Brodeur suffered the injury on Oct. 13 while making a diving save in the first period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings and missed six games. Following practice Wednesday morning, the future Hall-of-Fame goaltender declared himself fit to start.
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