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NHL Insider

Lidstrom's trick latest example of his skill

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 12:33 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"We talk about this every single year. We think he's the best defenseman in the game and obviously he's an elite talent. But he's an elite person and he's a great leader. He sets the tone for this hockey club structurally, work-ethic wise, how he handles himself as a pro, how you practice and the way you play. He models. You've got to give the guy a lot of credit." -- Mike Babcock

Nicklas Lidstrom's Hall of Fame resume is pretty much set, and has been for quite a while.

Six Norris trophies, four Stanley Cups, nine times on the NHL First All-Star Team, appearances in 10 NHL All-Stars Games -- with No. 11 likely to come next month -- his status as the only European-born and -trained player to captain a team to a Stanley Cup … the list of superlatives goes on and on.

But just when you thought Lidstrom had accomplished everything a legend could, he managed to amaze once again.

Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues, in career game No. 1,442, Lidstrom managed a personal first -- an NHL hat trick.

His slap shot from just above the left circle opened the scoring 4:02 into the second period, his slapper from the point 2:46 into the third made it 4-1, and he closed the game with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left in the third. The shot, a slapper from the left point, went through four Blues players with chances to block it. 

Isles' Hamonic adjusting well to life in NHL

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 5:04 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The wind chill on Long Island this week has temperatures dipping into the single digits, but New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic is practically ready to hit Jones Beach.

"This is almost T-shirt weather," the Manitoba native joked Wednesday morning. "I almost wore a muscle shirt today. Talking to everyone back home, it's been really cold. It's been snowing for a while. It's actually nice to see some snow on the ground here. It feels a little familiar now."

Hamonic is a little familiar with the NHL these days, too. It's been almost a month since he made his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thanksgiving Eve. Since then, his ice time and responsibilities have only increased. The 20-year-old is now averaging more than 20 minutes per game and is playing in all situations.

Extremely tight West race could leave Hawks in cold

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 4:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- If the Stanley Cup Playoffs had started on Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks wouldn't even get a chance to defend their championship from last season.
Before Wednesday's games, the Hawks found themselves in ninth place in the Western Conference -- on the outside of the playoff field with 35 points. Los Angeles and San Jose would both qualify with 35 points, while Phoenix (34 points), Columbus (34 points) and St. Louis (33 points) would also be left out.

It's not a position the Hawks figured they'd find themselves in after 32 games as they try to repeat as Cup champions, but it's the cold, hard reality of their situation regardless.
"I'd say right now, there's 13 teams (in the Western Conference) that think they're going to be in and maybe even 14," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's probably how it's going to play out all year long. Certainly, the final picture, who knows how it's going to be? It can unfold later on where maybe it becomes clear, but right now we've got to believe (making the playoffs) is our objective and that's our goal and we've got some work to do."


Kane a possibility for Friday vs. Red Wings

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 3:35 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Good news for the Chicago Blackhawks has been a relative term this season.
In fact, the Hawks' perception of good news often has come in relation to injured players and the speed at which they are recovering. That being the case, there was a little more good news following Chicago's morning skate at the United Center on Wednesday, as they prepared to face the Colorado Avalanche for the second time in three days.
Injured forwards Patrick Kane (lower body) and Fernando Pisani (upper body) skated with the team, while injured forward Marian Hossa (lower body) did off-ice exercises after skating on his own Monday and Tuesday. None will play against the Avs, but it was encouraging for the Hawks to see a couple of them back in practice mode.


Well-rested Habs ready for League-leading Flyers

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 2:35 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. -- The Montreal Canadiens will be at full strength Wednesday when they face the League's top team, the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS).

The Flyers had to travel last night after an emotional 3-2 home win against their cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins -- one that allowed Philadelphia not only to end Pittsburgh's 12-game win streak, but also leapfrog the Penguins into first in the League standings.

The Canadiens have been sitting at home for three days waiting for this game, and the time off has allowed a couple of injured key players to heal. Coach Jacques Martin, however, has no illusions that this will be an easy game in spite of that advantage.

"It's a big challenge," Martin said after Wednesday's morning skate. "They have a very well-balanced team and some of the best offensive production in the NHL. They have three lines that can score and their defense is much improved."

Council vote met with smiles among Coyotes

Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 1:34 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- While it's always a great day for hockey, the players on the Phoenix Coyotes exhibited a little extra jump Wednesday in preparation for their contest with the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
Less than 24 hours earlier, the Glendale City Council voted 5-2 to approve a $197-million deal that will keep the team in the city.

A crowd of about 300 packed the chamber and roared their approval when the decision was finally rendered after four hours of deliberation, clearing the way for the sale of the team by the NHL to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer, who would become the fourth owner of the franchise since it moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996.

Malkin in, Kunitz out for Penguins

Tuesday, 12.14.2010 / 7:30 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a boost to their lineup when forward Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup Tuesday night after being sidelined for four games due to a knee injury.

Malkin was in the starting lineup playing on a line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. He took the place of Chris Kunitz, who was scratched after both players took part in the morning skate. Coach Dan Bylsma said Kunitz got banged up during Saturday's 5-2 victory at Buffalo.

The Penguins are seeking their 13th consecutive victory as they face the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Gomez, Spacek practice for Habs, hope to face Flyers

Tuesday, 12.14.2010 / 2:56 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. -- The banged up Montreal Canadiens had a full complement of players at Tuesday's practice, but it's not yet clear who will be available for a matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers at home Wednesday, where the Habs will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Center Scott Gomez (lower body) and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (upper body) skated with the team for the first time since they suffered their respective injuries, while defenseman Josh Gorges also skated after missing practice a day earlier to treat some minor ailments.

Gomez has missed the last two games with a mystery injury suffered last Tuesday against Ottawa, one that was not caught by television cameras and which Gomez has been deliciously evasive on.


Hall: No disrespect meant toward Maple Leafs

Tuesday, 12.14.2010 / 2:17 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Did Edmonton Oilers rookie Taylor Hall inadvertently provide the Toronto Maple Leafs added motivation with what he told reporters Monday heading into tonight's rematch at Rexall Place? Not intentionally, said Hall.

"Hopefully we can compete a lot harder. Because (Toronto) is a team that, if we do, it’s there for the taking," Hall told reporters the day after Edmonton played poorly in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

Given that the Oilers shut out the Maple Leafs 5-0 on Dec. 2 at the Air Canada Centre, Hall was asked by a Toronto reporter if he might have phrased what he intended to say poorly.


Drury back for Rangers on Wednesday

Tuesday, 12.14.2010 / 1:28 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

New York Rangers captain Chris Drury will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins after missing the past 29 games with a broken left index finger.

Drury didn't play in the Rangers' first two games of the season due to a different break in the same finger he suffered during a scrimmage Sept. 20. In his return from that injury, he played just 9:11 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 15 before leaving with his latest injury.

The 34-year-old took part in a full practice Tuesday and rotated skating on a line with Sean Avery, Erik Christensen and Todd White. Coach John Tortorella said either Christensen or White will go to the press box to make room for Drury.
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