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NHL Insider

Around the East: Hannan enjoying spotlight

Monday, 12.20.2010 / 10:38 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Little did Scott Hannan realize what he was walking into when he was traded from Colorado to Washington.

Hello spotlight. Hello microscope.

"The west coast seems to have a smaller following in terms of media, and to get here and have '24/7' come through, it is a little bit different," said Hannan, who became a Capital on Nov. 30. "The '24/7' thing was definitely not something you're used to as far as cameras in the room, in meetings, wherever. It's been different, but at the same time it's good, it's exciting."

Hannan's timing couldn't have been any better, or any worse.

The defenseman arrived in D.C. just in time for the Capitals to start an eight-game winless streak that finally ended Sunday in Ottawa. He also arrived in D.C. just in time for HBO's camera crews to begin capturing the Capitals in their daily lives as a lead-up to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Capitals' spirits lifted after snapping lengthy skid

Monday, 12.20.2010 / 4:33 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Members of the Washington Capitals woke up Monday morning and were reminded how much fun it is to go to work the day after winning a hockey game.

It had been too long for the Capitals -- 19 days, to be exact -- since they defeated St. Louis to push their record to 18-6-2. Eight losses later, Washington had fallen from the top not only of the NHL standings, but the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division, as well.

A 3-2 victory in Ottawa has the team at least temporarily back in front of a crowded Southeast, but more importantly could help propel the Capitals back toward their typical level of play.

"You see the coaches walking around and George (McPhee, GM) walking around and you can look them in the eye and think, 'Yeah, we won and we battled hard,' instead of just putting your head down and feeling shame," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "We've tried our best but we've had some bad results. It was really tough to handle."


Flyers have no plans on taking foot off the gas

Monday, 12.20.2010 / 2:21 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have no intention of lowering their guard in their final game before a seven-day break for the holidays.
The Flyers, riding a five-game win streak and sitting atop the NHL with 49 points, host the Florida Panthers on Monday here at Wells Fargo Center.
"If we do (lower our guard), we'll lose," coach Peter Laviolette told the media following his team's morning skate. "We have to be ready to play a hard-working team."
For the Flyers and Laviolette, being regarded as the best team in the League is new territory. Not until the final game of the 2009-10 regular season -- a shootout victory against the New York Rangers -- did Philadelphia begin its surge, peaking at the right time prior to the start of a long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even then, they qualified only by the slightest of margins.


Pronger confident Flyers will be OK without him

Saturday, 12.18.2010 / 3:14 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Chris Pronger doesn't anticipate a letdown in his absence.

Pronger, who has become the backbone of Philadelphia’s defensive corps since his arrival via trade in the summer of 2009, will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his right foot. But he’s pretty confident the team will carry on and maintain its consistency in the back end without him.

"I think this is one of the exact reasons and instances why we made the moves we did in the offseason -- to have more through our defense corps," Pronger explained during a conference call on Saturday morning. "When Homer (GM Paul Holmgren) made these moves, he talked about our top four defensemen missed a total of two or four games, something silly that most teams don't go through."

Isles to start rookie goalie vs. Coyotes

Saturday, 12.18.2010 / 1:15 PM / NHL Insider

The New York Islanders recalled goaltender Nathan Lawson from their AHL farm team in Bridgeport on an emergency basis on Saturday. The 27-year-old will make his NHL debut Saturday night when the Islanders host Phoenix.

Lawson is getting his opportunity because starter Rick DiPietro has a swollen knee. DiPietro took part in the morning skate, but the Islanders opted to take no chances with a player who missed most of the last two seasons with knee and hip problems.

"It's one of those things where it's day-to-day," DiPietro said. "It's been awesome so far, but there's always good days and bad days when you come back from an injury like this. It's been a tough two years and it's just a point where I'm trying to be as smart as possible. You keep telling yourself that there's a lot of season left."


Rookie Lindback standing tall in Predators' net

Saturday, 12.18.2010 / 12:24 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- At 6-foot-6, goalie Anders Lindback holds the distinct honor of being the tallest player ever drafted by the Nashville Predators.
But don't think for a second the 22-year-old doesn't exhibit the little things necessary to becoming an effective thorn in the side of opposing shooters.
"I always talk about two different kinds of goalies," Predators goalie coach Mitch Korn told "Years ago, the small goalies were quick and agile and the big goalies were, in general, slower and more awkward. But what we're seeing now in goalies like Anders and Pekka (Rinne, who's 6-foot-5) is that the bigger goalies are just as agile as the small guys were and are. That's why we're seeing more big guys in goal today. It's still about skill, but Anders' got little-guy's skill with a big body. When you put those two together, it's pretty special."
Indeed, the left-handed Lindback, a seventh-round gem from the 2008 Entry Draft, has certainly taken the League by storm. It's tough to even tell that the native of Gavle, Sweden, is in his first North American season following two seasons as a starter in the Swedish Elite League.

Chelios hears some boos as he's honored by Hawks

Friday, 12.17.2010 / 10:43 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGOChris Chelios might have spent 10 seasons playing for the Detroit Red Wings and still live in the Motor City, but the Chicagoan inside him knew the boos were coming from Chicago Blackhawks fans.
On Friday night at the United Center, Chelios donned a red Blackhawks sweater for the first time since the Hawks traded him in 1999 to Detroit -- where he spent the next nine seasons and won two Stanley Cups.
The Blackhawks honored him before taking on the visiting Red Wings with "Chris Chelios Heritage Night," but that didn't stop a number of bitter Hawks fans from voicing their displeasure with him for staying so long in the rival Midwest city they so love to hate. Even Chelios once remarked during his time playing for the Hawks that he'd never play for the Red Wings – something Chicago fans have never let him live down.

Bissonnette carving his own path through Twitter

Friday, 12.17.2010 / 7:21 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Bissonnette's name isn't going to come up in discussions of the League's top players, but when judged by one factor, he might be the most popular player in the NHL.

If the handle @BizNasty2point0 means anything to you, then you're one of the 27,000-plus people who follow the Phoenix Coyotes left wing on Twitter, or the many, many more who have checked out his Twitter feed to see what all the fuss is all about.

Bissonnette, who has 3 goals in 69 NHL games with the Penguins and Coyotes -- and no points in 13 games this season -- still has managed to become a social media sensation.

Stastny out after rough fall Wednesday vs. Hawks

Friday, 12.17.2010 / 6:57 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Losing a player and gaining one has been a frequent pattern for the Colorado Avalanche this season.

The Avalanche will welcome back TJ Galiardi for Friday's game against the Ottawa Senators at the Pepsi Center, but won't have leading scorer Paul Stastny, who suffered upper back and neck injuries late in the third period of Wednesday's 4-3 win in Chicago.

Galiardi, sidelined with a broken right wrist since Nov. 9, was playing left wing but could take Stastny's place at center on a line with Kevin Porter and Brandon Yip.

"It's crazy, but we're a resilient team," Galiardi said Friday morning of the injury bug that continues to curse the team.

Caps try to learn to balance offense and defense

Friday, 12.17.2010 / 12:17 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals are a team in flux, and it may very well be a result of their own doing.

Critics across the hockey world were screaming after the Capitals were wiped out of the playoffs in seven games by the eighth-seeded Canadiens last spring. Everyone with a keyboard or a microphone let it be known that there was no way Washington would win in the spring unless it changed the way it played in the fall and winter.

Could it be that the Capitals are listening? Could it be that they've made a conscious decision to tweak their system to put more emphasis on keeping the opposition's chances down? Could their seven-game losing streak be associated with the unavoidable growing pains that come with that?

Opinions vary inside the Capitals' dressing room, but Wednesday night's performance against Anaheim suggests Bruce Boudreau and his assistants are at least attempting to balance out one the League's notoriously potent offensive teams.

"It was a pretty different game," Alex Ovechkin admitted.
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The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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