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NHL Insider

Panel's consensus opinion says West is best

Monday, 04.11.2011 / 1:19 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The question posed to's mostly anonymous eight-person panel was this: Which conference is better and why?

The consensus will not surprise anyone who has followed the NHL this season -- five votes for the Western Conference, zero for the Eastern Conference and three on the fence. But the reasons why our panel of experts leaned in favor of the West and the reasons why three of them were on the fence should pique your interest.

Over the final two weeks of the regular season we polled six general managers, including three from the West and three from the East, as well as two NHL Network analysts -- Calgary-based Craig Button and Toronto-based Kevin Weekes. The results found that the three Western GMs as well as Button and Weekes favored the Western Conference while the three Eastern GMs were on the fence.

Wings pleased with response against Hawks

Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 5:51 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – It wasn't so much about putting the rival Chicago Blackhawks on the brink of missing the playoffs as it was about pride for the Detroit Red Wings.
That's what meant the most to Detroit after Sunday's 4-3 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champions in front of 22,046 at the United Center – a repayment in kind for the 4-2 victory the Hawks handed the Wings on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Chicago had also won four straight against the Red Wings after Detroit spoiled the Hawks' home opener this season – in which Chicago raised its fourth Cup banner before the game.

Babcock not surprised by Blackhawks' finish

Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 5:35 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Mike Babcock is not the least bit surprised that the Chicago Blackhawks are standing on the cliff right now, hoping that the Minnesota Wild can save their season.

"They left points on the table early, but there's no way to get your guys engaged early," Babcock said following Detroit's 4-3 win at United Center on Sunday that put the Hawks on the brink of elimination. "How do you get a team to play in September and October when the games in your mind as a player, no matter what you say to yourself, don't mean anything compared to what you just played in June? That's the facts."

Penguins prep roster for playoff tuneup

Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 2:35 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

ATLANTA -- Since Sunday's season finale against the Thrashers represents the proverbial, late-season meaningless game -- his Pittsburgh squad is locked into the Eastern Conference's fourth seed and a match-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning -- Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said that Brent Johnson would start in goal and that he would rest center Jordan Staal and that wing James Neal also would not play.

With Philadelphia's 7-4 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday, Philadelphia clinched the Atlantic Division and prevented the Penguins from having a chance to win it with a victory on Sunday.

As a result, Johnson ended up earning his second start in the last nine games over No. 1 Marc-Andre Fleury and center Mike Comrie, wings Eric Tangradi and Chris Conner were inserted into the lineup with enforcer Eric Godard sitting out. (Atlanta's leader in fighting majors Eric Boulton sat with an injury while rookie Carl Klingberg, the 34th overall selection in the 2009 Entry Draft, was set to make his League debut.)

Staal has played an amazing amount of minutes for a forward in recent weeks, including 25:13 of time on ice on Friday so it seems Bylsma wanted to give him some rest.

Flyers have faith in Bobrovsky

Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 12:13 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers beat the New York Islanders 7-4 at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday in their regular-season finale to win their first division title since the 2003-04 season.
That last division title also came in Game 82, after a game against the Islanders.
Their goalie that day was Robert Esche, who allowed three goals on 26 shots in what ended as a 3-3 tie. Esche had been named the playoff starter by then-coach Ken Hitchcock, but was going into his first postseason as a starting goalie on a four-game winless skid.
A similar situation is playing out this season, as Sergei Bobrovsky will enter his first Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Game 1 starter, but in his final regular-season game he allowed three goals on 10 shots and was pulled 12:05 into Saturday's game. Bobrovsky will enter the postseason without a win in five games.

Crawford compiles team MVP-worthy campaign

Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 4:25 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"He's got a great disposition about him and he handles all situations. How he's handled preparing himself going into games knowing the workload is big and the time of year is even bigger is a complement to how he approaches the whole game." -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell still raises both of his eyebrows when he tells the story of how he learned what goalie Corey Crawford was all about.

"When you're one of the last few guys on the ice and he goes around to each individual guy on the ice and asks them if they need anything else from him, more shots, anything -- he did it to me this year and I was just like, 'Wow, that's awesome and that's a goaltender that wants to get better,' " Campbell told "He did that not just once but a few times to me, asking if I need anything else or if there was anything else he can do. What a great team guy."

Campbell stressed that never before in his 11 years in the NHL has a goalie done such a thing at the end of practice.

Injured Bolland skates briefly with Chicago teammates

Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 1:51 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- One day after skating on his own for the first time since a reported concussion on March 9, Blackhawks center Dave Bolland joined his teammates on the ice Saturday morning for a quick workout.

Troubling stretch run continues for Red Wings

Friday, 04.08.2011 / 11:33 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- They've stormed into the playoffs before and lost in the first round, and then stumbled into the playoffs and won the Stanley Cup.
So does it really matter that the Detroit Red Wings aren't streaking to a great finish to the regular season?
Does Detroit need to rebound strong on Sunday in Chicago from a lackluster 4-2 loss to the visiting Blackhawks on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena -- and does it even bother them that they're now just 1-3-1 this season against the Hawks?
Maybe a little yes and no -- but this one definitely caught their attention.
"I've been through it a number of different times and a number of different ways," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "(We've been) on a roll, going in bad, going in wondering if you'll ever win again and my first (year) here we couldn't lose. Six games later, we were done. There's lots of different ways we've gone about our business here and obviously this isn't what you draw up. You don't want to be going into the playoffs the way we have. There's no question about it."

League reacts to Adam Foote's retirement

Friday, 04.08.2011 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

What others are saying about Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote, who on Friday announced his retirement:

Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix: "Adam was a warrior, a player who gave it everything he had every night. He was an integral part of the team that moved from Quebec to Colorado in 1995 and established a winning tradition in Denver. We thank Adam for helping lay the foundation for this franchise."

Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman: "On behalf of the Colorado Avalanche, congratulations. Your career has been an excellent career and it will come to an end Sunday. You should be proud of what you have accomplished."

Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who has been living with Foote's family for two years: "He's been a huge mentor. There's probably a group of people I can count on one hand -- maybe two at most -- that have been influences on my career, and he's one of them. He's going to be a guy that when I'm hopefully still in Denver and sitting at that table in my retirement, he's going to be a guy that's going to be here. I'm thankful for what he's brought to me. It's amazing to be able to experience and be a part of a great career like that, having him as almost a family member, as an uncle figure. He's been great for me."

Retiring Foote reflects, ready to play one more

Friday, 04.08.2011 / 5:50 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche captain Adam Foote announced his retirement Friday morning, but the 39-year-old defenseman isn't quite ready to put the finishing touches on a 19-season NHL career.

Foote, who will sit out his 12th consecutive game Friday night against Dallas because of an ankle injury, plans to put on his No. 52 sweater one last time Sunday when the Avalanche close out the regular season against Edmonton at the Pepsi Center.

"I bled burgundy and blue, and it's great that I can retire today in an Avs uniform," Foote said during a news conference at the Blue Sky Grill inside the arena.
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Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier