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NHL Insider

MacDonald explains how Hurricanes got their man

Monday, 12.13.2010 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

It didn't take veteran scout Tony MacDonald very long to formulate an opinion on Jeff Skinner the first time he laid eyes on him in the fall of 2009.

MacDonald, currently in his fourth season as director of amateur scouting for the Carolina Hurricanes, was doing what he normally does that time of the year -- catching up on a few of the big names in the Canadian Hockey League before heading back to his home base in Guelph, Ont.

At the time, MacDonald began his eight-month crusade to find the best possible players available in the 2010 Entry Draft, traveling throughout Canada, the United States and Europe, he had no idea where the organization would be selecting. At that time, it made no difference.


Canucks retire Naslund's No. 19

Saturday, 12.11.2010 / 10:25 PM / NHL Insider

The Vancouver Canucks raised Markus Naslund’s No. 19 to the rafters of Rogers Arena in a ceremony prior to Saturday night's game against Tampa Bay. Naslund’s number joined Stan Smyl’s No. 12 and Trevor Linden’s No. 16 as the only ones to be retired in the history of the franchise.

The event featured a tribute video highlighting Naslund’s 15-year NHL career, a video message from close friend and former teammate Todd Bertuzzi, and a video showing the Canucks new "Hall of Heroes" exhibit. The ceremony also included a special Canucks for Kids Fund presentation unveiling a new sports equipment center to be created in honor of the Naslunds. Near the conclusion of the ceremony, Naslund, who was joined by his wife Lotta, son Alex, daughters Rebecca and Isabella, and parents Sture and Ulla, addressed the fans with an emotional speech prior to his number being officially retired.

Smarter Yandle anchors Coyotes' blue line

Saturday, 12.11.2010 / 3:13 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – All of a sudden "the book" on Keith Yandle is in serious need of a revision.

So much for that young, unbridled, offensive defenseman of the Phoenix Coyotes who held major potential but was a major risk in a close game.

Meet Keith Yandle, 2.0.

He's logging 25-plus minutes of ice time every night. He's on the ice with close friend and partner Derek Morris to consistently combat the opposition's top line. He's taking the smart play over the high risk/reward option when his team has the momentum. He's alternating between quarterback of the power play and stalwart on his own blue line.

And in September, he turned 24 years of age.

Jackets demote 2008 1st-round pick Filatov

Friday, 12.10.2010 / 7:50 PM / NHL Insider

The Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday assigned forward Nikita Filatov, their No. 1 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, to the Springfield Falcons, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, and recalled forward Tom Sestito.

Filatov, 20, has 7 assists and 8 penalty minutes with a plus-3 rating in 23 games with Columbus this season.  He has 6 goals, 13 points, 16 PIM and a plus-6 rating in 44 career NHL games during the past three seasons with the Blue Jackets.  The Jackets took Filatov with the No. 6 pick in the 2008 draft. He had 16 goals and 32 points with 24 PIM with Syracuse of the AHL in 2008-09, but spent most of last season on loan to CSKA of the Kontinental Hockey League after a slow start with the Jackets.

Gagner stepping into No. 1 role

Friday, 12.10.2010 / 2:42 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Sam Gagner has been cast into the role of the go-to player for the Edmonton Oilers because of injuries that will keep Ales Hemsky and captain Shawn Horcoff out for an extended period.

With Hemsky expected to miss a month with a groin injury and Horcoff expected to be lost for two months with a knee injury, Gagner will step in as coach Tom Renney's No. 1 center against Tampa Bay on Friday, playing between rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Brodeur to be back in net tonight for Devils

Friday, 12.10.2010 / 10:34 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"You know what? I'm ready to go. I'm ready like I was when I left and it was OK to go back-to-back."
-- Martin Brodeur

New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will make his second attempt at a comeback from a bruised right elbow Friday at Scotiabank Place against the Ottawa Senators.

Brodeur, who has missed the last eight games after aggravating the injury Nov. 18 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, first got hurt Nov. 3 when a shot by Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane slammed into his elbow.

Brodeur is looking forward to re-joining his struggling team. The Devils (8-17-2), losers of three straight, enter tonight's game 14th in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. The club is 3-7-0 over its last 10 games.

"It's like riding a bike," Brodeur told the (Newark) Star-Ledger. "You're anxious. I think that's where it's a lot different than when you're playing. But when the game starts, it's hockey. When you see guys struggle, you'd like to be there and try to help. It's my team. I've been playing here for 16 years now. I care a lot."

Shanahan discusses All-Star role on "NHL Hour"

Thursday, 12.09.2010 / 8:32 PM / NHL Insider

Brendan Shanahan, a former 600-goal scorer and the current NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Operations, learned about his role in the 2011 All-Star Game presented by Discover the same way everyone else did -- at a press conference Commissioner Gary Bettman gave during last spring's Stanley Cup Final.

"Sort of one of those things like you pick up a newspaper and say, oh, I guess I'm working on the All-Star Game," a laughing Shanahan told Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who filled in as host on Thursday's edition of the "NHL Hour with Gary Bettman."

"That was my heads up to it, and that was during the Finals last year. I've often felt that the best way to come up with good ideas or a solution is not to just be introspective but to reach out to all the people you know and ask questions, and that's what I started doing. I started talking to players who had played in many All-Star Games, I spoke to a lot of my friends who are fans and asked them what they liked and I even spoke to some of the broadcasters."

Coyotes have reversed their fortunes against Wild

Thursday, 12.09.2010 / 5:07 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There was a time when the Minnesota Wild owned the Phoenix Coyotes and Niklas Backstrom was a brick wall they could not beat. But the tables have turned, and now Phoenix is looking for a sixth straight win over Minnesota on Thursday.

The Wild won 10 of 12 meetings against the Coyotes from 2006-09, with Backstom posting three shutouts and tormenting Phoenix. But Phoenix swept all four meetings during its renaissance season in 2009-10 and made it five straight with a 4-2 win in St. Paul on Dec. 1. That win came during a run that has seen the Coyotes collect points in 12 of the last 14 games (9-2-3), with different players taking the scoring lead.

Recently, the leader has been Scottie Upshall, who had 2 goals and an assist in the win over the Wild, continuing a long run of success against Minnesota. Dating back to his days with Nashville and Philadelphia, Upshall has 6 goals and 6 assists in his last eight games against the Wild. Now paired with ex-Wild center Eric Belanger and captain Shane Doan -- who broke out of a long scoring slump with a goal in Sunday's 3-0 win at Anaheim -- the Coyotes have three lines with consistent scoring punch to put on the ice.

Phaneuf healthy and ready to go tonight

Thursday, 12.09.2010 / 3:39 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

After spending the last five weeks watching hockey, Dion Phaneuf is ready to play hockey.

After suffering a nasty skate cut to his left leg, the Maple Leafs captain will return to the lineup Thursday when Toronto hosts the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET, TSN).

Phaneuf hasn't played since Nov. 2, when the skate of Ottawa's Peter Regin cut him deeply; emergency surgery found the cut had nicked a knee ligament, and Phaneuf also suffered an allergic reaction to some medication, which further delayed his recovery.

However, Phaneuf has been skating with the Leafs for a week, and Thursday pronounced himself healthy and ready to go.


Injury news sounds encouraging for Blackhawks

Thursday, 12.09.2010 / 3:07 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Despite missing a few players from practice at the United Center on Thursday morning, there could be some good news on the injury front coming for the Chicago Blackhawks.
There's a chance that all three of their injured forwards -- Patrick Kane (lower-body), Marian Hossa (lower body) and Fernando Pisani (upper body) -- could return to skating on their own next week, when Chicago returns from a two-game road trip to San Jose and Colorado.
"I would say when we return, two or three could all be skating or close to their return (to action)," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure