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NHL Insider

Ladd, Byfuglien continue to hold ties to Hawks

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 3:44 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- One of the first things that Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien did upon arriving at the United Center was look up.

The former Chicago Blackhawks took a good look at what they each helped accomplish in the Windy City in 2010 -- which is now commemorated by a Stanley Cup banner, the fourth in Hawks history.

"I checked it out," said Ladd -- now the captain of the Winnipeg Jets, who will play the Blackhawks on Thursday night (8:40 p.m., TSN). "Every (national anthem in Chicago) I kind of looked that way toward those banners. So, to see that (fourth) one up there … it was pretty neat."

Byfuglien thought so, too.

Emery to make Blackhawks debut vs. Jets

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 2:40 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford dealt with a reported minor groin pull toward the end of preseason, but the Chicago Blackhawks starting goalie said that's not the reason he'll be the backup Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets (8:40 p.m. ET, TSN).

"Corey's ready to go. We just want to get Ray playing. He's been here and we want to get him started. (Crawford has) played so many games in a row (in the past) and it's nice to get the other guy involved and we're happy to get him his first start here at home, as well."
-- Joel Quenneville

Instead, veteran free-agent pickup Ray Emery -- who made the team on a training camp tryout offer -- will start for the Hawks in the return of former Chicago stars Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd.

"I feel 100 percent, so I'm ready to go now," said Crawford, who missed the first two days of practice this week to rest. "I like to play. I like getting ice time and playing. I'm not disappointed. I'll just be ready for the next game."

Crawford, who started both ends of the Hawks' home-and-home series with the Dallas Stars last weekend, missed practices Monday and Tuesday while resting an injury that he said was not related to the tweaked groin.

Erat, Hornqvist to miss Nashville's home opener

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Predators placed veteran top-six scoring forward Martin Erat on injured reserve Thursday retroactive to Oct. 8. In addition, right wing Patric Hornqvist also will be out for Nashville's home opener on Thursday with Phoenix, meaning that Niclas Bergfors and Brian McGrattan will make their debuts for the organization.

Erat has an upper body injury while Hornqvist, a 30-goal scorer in 2009-10, has a lower body injury.

An all-rookie selection in 2009-10, Bergfors is with his fourth team since February 2010. He was a healthy scratch for Nashville's first two games -- both wins on the road over Columbus and St. Louis -- but is a former 20-goal scorer.

Kings enjoyed visit to U.S. Naval Academy

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:45 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Please excuse the Los Angeles Kings if they have difficulty remembering exactly where they are and what time of the day it is.
After all, they totaled some 16,000 airline miles and completed a five-city world tour comprised of preseason and regular-season games to kick off the 2011-12 campaign. That's a pretty demanding schedule for even the best touring rock bands out there.
Since late September, the Kings have traveled for preseason games in Kansas City against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Las Vegas against the Colorado Avalanche and Hamburg against the Hamburg Freezers. Then it was off to Stockholm for its regular-season opener against the New York Rangers and one day later Berlin to face the Buffalo Sabres before finally returning back to North America on Sunday.
Instead of flying back to the West Coast, however, the Kings opted to spend three days practicing at the Gardens Ice House rink in Laurel, Md. There, players also had an opportunity to visit the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, something Indiana native Jack Johnson enjoyed.

Caps, Pens unite to benefit Lokomotiv families

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 3:44 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin knew he had to do something.
As soon as the Pittsburgh Penguins' star learned about the devastating plane crash in his native Russia on Sept. 7 that killed 44 people, including most of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the Kontinental Hockey League, he was determined to help the families of those who lost their lives.
In Washington, Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin had exactly the same thought.
Both Malkin and Ovechkin have played with members of the Lokomotiv team, and knew some of their wives and family members. While both players contacted those they knew to express their sympathies -- "I told them I would be there for them," Malkin said -- they also wanted to do something for all of those involved.
As a result, two of the NHL's biggest rivals, the Capitals and Penguins, will team up Thursday night during their game at Consol Energy Center to raise money for the crash victims' families. The teams will wear commemorative Lokomotiv patches on their jerseys, which will be autographed and auctioned on The auction will run from Oct. 13-27.

Home opener vs. Canucks another test for Flyers

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 2:14 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- If it's true that to be the best a team has to beat the best, then the Philadelphia Flyers are getting a terrific opportunity early in the season to see where they rank among the League's elite teams.

The Flyers will host the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RIS) in their home opener. The matchup against the defending Presidents' Trophy winner and Western Conference champion comes on the heels of last week's season-opener at the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

That night, the Flyers scored twice in the final minute of the first period to win 2-1 and ruin the Bruins' banner-raising celebration.

"I guess that's a positive," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of the schedule. "You play good teams, you hope to do well and like the way you played. I don't know if it necessarily translates to meaning you're going to have a great year. You have to do a lot of work, and any team can beat anybody on any given night. It's always fun when you play good teams and have success."

College student fills in for Mason at Jets' practice

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 7:10 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG – Distance, admonishment, light-hearted relief and a goaltender missing geography class served as the ingredients at work for the Winnipeg Jets' recovery on Tuesday.

After a 5-1 season-opening loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, the Jets stayed away from the rink Monday. The off-day allowed the players and coaching staff to spend the Canadian Thanksgiving with their families. It also allowed the team to recover from the non-stop frenzy that has surrounded the club since players trickled into town for informal workouts in late-August.

But Tuesday's arrival brought the Jets back to the ice, and coach Claude Noel unleashed a spirited admonishment to his club after seeing what he considered to be sloppy execution from his young club.

Early on, Habs being tested by injuries again

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 5:13 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. -- All through training camp, the Montreal Canadiens players consistently said that if there was one thing that needed to change for them to have some success this season, it would be their collective health.

Just two games into the regular season, though, the Canadiens have already lost three regulars in defensemen Chris Campoli and Jaroslav Spacek and top-line left wing Michael Cammalleri.

When you add the continued absence of defenseman Andrei Markov recovering from ACL surgery he underwent 10 months ago, Jacques Martin's team is limping pretty significantly heading into its home opener against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

"We hit the injury bug a little bit early, but that's OK. We've got guys that can step up and play hard," defenseman P.K. Subban said after practice Tuesday. "We've been through this sort of thing before. Guys have to step up."

Pens without Malkin; Crosby to see doctors this week

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 2:31 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 3 | +/-: -1
PITTSBURGH -- This is becoming uncomfortably familiar to the Pittsburgh Penguins -- no Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin, who is recovering from season-ending knee surgery in February, will sit out the Penguins' home opener Tuesday against the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN2) with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He was held out of Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss in Edmonton with the same problem, one coach Dan Bylsma said is not related to the knee injury.
Rather, Bylsma said Malkin is having "soreness," and it isn't a major worry, but it's obvious the Penguins don't want to take any chances with a player who tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee just eight months ago.

Wild back in Ottawa for first time since fire

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 1:39 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

With the Minnesota Wild just hours from playing a game in Ottawa on Tuesday night, they can already call this visit a bigger success than the previous one they had two years ago.

The Wild put forth a lackluster effort in a 4-1 loss at Scotiabank Place on Dec. 18, 2009. You can forgive the players, though, considering they lost about 95 percent of their equipment in a truck fire about 24 hours prior to the game.

The fire was caused by a blowtorch that ignited in one of the equipment bags, something that the team made sure to avoid this time around before they flew from Long Island to Ottawa over the weekend.

"I called the truck driver and told him, 'We won't need a torch in the truck for this pickup, so leave it at the rink,'" Wild equipment manager Tony DaCosta said jokingly to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "As an equipment manager, that would be your worst nightmare. I've seen where you can lose a bag and make that work. But you lose the whole team, or 95 percent of it, when you think back, it's amazing we actually played the game and the League made us play the game."
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