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NHL Insider

Hedberg not concerned with sitting vs. Thrashers

Friday, 03.11.2011 / 3:11 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

ATLANTA -- In almost any other season, it would not be news when the New Jersey Devils' back-up goalie did not earn a start.

But this is not any other season for the Devils, and Johan Hedberg is not any other goalie.

As the Devils surged from the bottom of the League standings in the first half to unbeatable juggernaut in the second -- they're just 10 points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference entering Friday's game here against the Thrashers -- Hedberg helped lead that renaissance. His record is 13-11-2 with a .913 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average while Martin Brodeur, one of the all-time greats, is 17-20-2 with a .902 save percentage and 2.55 GAA.

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Capitals' Fehr finally feeling healthy

Friday, 03.11.2011 / 12:57 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

"It was just a bad situation. I've taken big hits all season long and nothing has happened, but I got put in a bad spot and my shoulder went out. It makes it more frustrating. I thought I had that all behind me with the surgeries. I was clear for about a year-and-a-half with no symptoms. I was getting excited that it wouldn't happen again, but that kind of came out of the woodwork." -- Eric Fehr

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Eric Fehr spent the summer before last season with both of his arms immobilized before of surgeries on both shoulders. His wife had to help him with even the simplest of tasks.

So when he collided with Washington Capitals teammate David Steckel on Jan. 14 and felt his shoulder pop out of place, forgive him if he was momentarily gripped by fear.

"Yeah, I knew it wasn't great. I was worried about it," Fehr said. "It took a lot longer to come back than I expected, but I am back playing and I am hoping that problem is behind me and I can just continue playing."

Fehr originally hoped to only miss 3-4 weeks, but he ended up being sidelined for nearly two months. The total damage ended up being 22 games -- more than a quarter of a season for an unfortunate accident.
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Banged-up Coyotes could be without five key pieces

Thursday, 03.10.2011 / 3:58 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the Phoenix Coyotes had the best season in franchise history in 2009-10, team health played a big role in their success.

This season, however, more injuries have made the road a lot harder, and the stretch run is no different. The Coyotes, who have lost nearly 100 man-games to injury already, could be without as many as five key players -- three of them defensemen -- when they face the Calgary Flames in a huge battle at Jobing.com Arena Thursday.

Defenseman Ed Jovanovski is out indefinitely following orbital bone surgery, and fellow blueliner Derek Morris missed Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Vancouver with a lower-body injury. Rostislav Klesla, acquired from Columbus in the Scottie Upshall deal to replace Jovanovski, had a Daniel Sedin shot ride up his stick and hit him in the face Tuesday. He left the game in the second period and played less than 10 seconds the rest of the way.

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Ovechkin's hot streak lifting Caps up standings

Thursday, 03.10.2011 / 1:26 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals are starting to look more like legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup again, and Alex Ovechkin is a big reason why.

Washington went through an identity shift in the middle of this season, as coach Bruce Boudreau decided the team's offensive struggles made it imperative for them to be more responsible at the defensive end. The team's ability to prevent goals dramatically has improved from last season, but the offense continued to slump -- much like it did in the final three games of the club's first-round playoff loss to Montreal last spring.

In the last few games, however, Ovechkin's production has spiked, and Washington's offense now looks more like it the one from the past few seasons.
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Price's strong play has made Halak deal old news

Thursday, 03.10.2011 / 12:23 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Que. -- The release of the NHL's 2010-11 schedule last summer had a greater level of interest in Montreal than usual, because a city full of angered hockey fans wanted to see when this day would come.

"Yeah, well, obviously Jaro's playing. But it's another big game and we need the points. Obviously we were former partners and what have you. But at the end of the day it's just another game."
-- Carey Price

The date jumped off the page to all of them -- March 10, 2011.

The legion of fans who felt Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier chose the wrong goalie when he sent playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a couple of players they never had heard of in Lars Eller and Ian Schultz saw this as the day they would get their comeuppance.

Now that it has finally arrived, with the Canadiens visiting the Blues on Thursday, it is practically a non-event in Montreal thanks to Carey Price proving all those doubters wrong and re-emerging as one of the League's top young goaltenders.
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Flames back where their season turned around

Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 2:57 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- The Calgary Flames have good reason to feel a special connection to Dallas and American Airlines Center heading into Wednesday's critical game against the Stars.

According to coach Brent Sutter, it was there in that same city, that same building, against those same Stars on Dec. 23, 2010 that the Flames' season turned around. Alex Tanguay scored the game-tying goal with 1:21 remaining in regulation and then went on to score the shootout winner, lifting the Flames to a 3-2 victory.

Calgary is 21-6-6 ever since and has climbed to seventh in the Western Conference with a chance to jump to fourth Wednesday. The Flames have to win in Dallas and hope Chicago loses to Tampa Bay in regulation.

"We were down 2-1. We scored and we won in the shootout. That seemed to spark our team a little bit," Tanguay said Wednesday. "I'm not sure if it's that exact game that sparked the team or the ones before that we couldn't win, but we've certainly been playing very good hockey as a team since that point. It's been fun."
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Wings want to see a more simple game at home

Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 2:30 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- In order to halt an ugly trend of sub-par play at home, the Detroit Red Wings think they need to stop being so pretty.
 
"I don't think it's a matter of being too comfortable," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said after Detroit's Wednesday morning skate. "I think it's a matter of forcing things and trying to make plays when they're not there. We're more simple on the road and don't have to make that extra pass to make it look pretty. That's what we've been guilty of (at home)."
 
The Red Wings have gone a meager 7-9-2 at Joe Louis Arena in their previous 18 home games – including back-to-back losses to the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars the last time they were in town. Detroit is 17-10-4 overall at home and ranks 15th in the League in home record. The Wings are also tied in home points earned (38) with the Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes.
 
They've been a lot better in other cities. The Red Wings are 22-9-4 on the road and are tied with the Boston Bruins for the most road points earned (48). The reason is literally simple -- or simplicity.

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Lemaire believes Josefson's time will come

Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 10:32 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"This kid has it, there's no doubt. He just turned 20 (March 2), and he's a good player right now. If you look at his stats, his stats are not that great, but as a hockey player, you want him on your team." -- Jacques Lemaire

It's only a matter of time before New Jersey Devils rookie center Jacob Josefson is awarded his first NHL goal.
 
He notched his first assist Sunday on a nifty drop pass to Ilya Kovalchuk during a victory against the New York Islanders. He came close Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators, but his deflection in front was ruled to have been played with a high stick.
 
Josefson appears to be gaining more confidence with each start under coach Jacques Lemaire, who has always had a knack for turning young skaters into productive players. In 12 games, the 20-year-old Swede has only 15 shots while averaging 12:15 of ice time, but he's also won 31 of 68 faceoffs (45.6 percent). 
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Youth line provides important spark to 'Yotes

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Three days after posting their most thrilling win of the season, the Phoenix Coyotes have to face the team that handed then their most embarrassing loss.

Down 4-1 to Detroit after two periods, the Coyotes rallied for three goals in the third period and pulled out a 5-4 win when Radim Vrbata scored the only goal of the shootout. The win snapped a five-game losing streak and the play of Phoenix's young forwards -- Mikkel Boedker, Kyle Turris and Brett MacLean -- played a key role in the win, producing 2 goals, 2 assists and lots of energy from their line.

The trio prefers an up-tempo game and they will be asked to provide more of the same Tuesday when the NHL's best team, the Vancouver Canucks, return to Jobing.com Arena. Vancouver last came to town on Feb. 2 and handed the Coyotes their lunch in a 6-0 loss that was a low point in Phoenix's season.
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Refreshed Flyers hope to regroup against Edmonton

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 3:02 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- There were two vibes coming out of the Philadelphia Flyers' locker room Tuesday morning -- confidence and anger.

After ordering the players away from the rink Monday, the team was back on the ice Tuesday for a spirited morning skate that left mostly smiles on the faces of the players.

"I think it was good for everybody to get away from the rink for a day," forward Danny Briere said. "Come back re-energized, get ready to get back to work. Hopefully put this little bad stretch behind us and start moving on."

The "bad little stretch" Briere speaks of is a season-high four game losing streak, capped by a 7-0 shellacking Sunday by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

That loss -- called a "beat down and a half" Sunday by captain Mike Richards -- still is eating at a bunch that despite their struggles enters the game Tuesday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers atop the Eastern Conference standings.

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Quote of the Day

Hockey means everything to people here [Winnipeg]. They take their team's success to heart. We've had an incredible year and they've given us incredible support.

— Jets center Mathieu Perreault after losing to the Ducks in Game 3 of their playoff series on Monday