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NHL Insider

Finns look to replicate 1995 glory against Sweden

Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 12:49 PM / NHL Insider

Bill Meltzer - Correspondent

When Team Finland takes to the ice on Sunday to play Sweden for the gold medal at the 2011 World Championships, it will be carrying the hopes of an entire nation on its shoulders. It has been 16 years since Finland won its first -- and only -- gold medal in a major, senior-level international tournament. In many ways, Finland's gold medal at the 1995 Worlds marked the start of a new chapter in the country's hockey history and stands to this day as an enduring symbol of national pride that goes far beyond the rink.

The Finns' gold medal in 1995, won at Stockholm's Globe Arena at the expense of Sweden, left an indelible mark on every member of the current squad. Just as the Miracle on Ice squad is venerated in the United States, the members of Finland's gold medal winning squad and the memories of the culminating effort against Sweden will forever be held in the highest esteem among Finns.

Bruins GM discusses dealing with last year's collapse

Thursday, 05.12.2011 / 7:59 PM / NHL Insider

By the end of Thursday evening, the Boston Bruins may no longer be known as the most recent sports franchise to blow a 3-0 series lead and lose a best-of-seven series, depending on how Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between Detroit and San Jose plays out.

Regardless of the outcome of that game, and regardless even of whatever the Bruins go on to accomplish in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs after rallying past Montreal in seven games and then redeeming themselves against Philadelphia in the second round, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli admits memories of last year's postseason collapse will probably remain with him.

"I don't think I'll ever get over it," Chiarelli said during a guest appearance on Thursday's “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman.”

"We've had to deal with it in some shape or form throughout the whole year. Personally, it's something I probably think about it every other day at the very least. You just try to build on it, you try to learn from it, learn lessons from it -- I've had a manager call me and ask how we dealt with it at certain stages, so I guess there's other people who are benefitting from it."

Bettman talks Thrashers on NHL Hour

Thursday, 05.12.2011 / 7:11 PM / NHL Insider

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed speculation about the Atlanta Thrashers' ownership situation during his weekly radio show Thursday night and comparisons to the Phoenix Coyotes, who are currently under League ownership and will remain playing in Glendale, Ariz., for the 2011-12 season after extending its agreement with the city of Glendale this week.

"I think everybody needs to take a step back because I think there's been a fair amount of speculation, supposition and even hysteria in the media, which has been largely fabricated," Bettman said during the "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman.". "I wish I had a dollar for all of the reports a month ago that said the Coyotes were definitely moving and it was going to happen in a matter of days.

"I mean, people who are reporting on this stuff are simply making it up, and that's unfortunate for our fans. It's unfortunate for the fans who have a club they don't want to lose, and it's unfortunate for building up expectations in other places.

Boucher discusses his rise with Bolts on NHL Hour

Thursday, 05.05.2011 / 7:51 PM / NHL Insider

As his whirlwind first season as an NHL coach continues on, Guy Boucher of the Tampa Bay Lightning takes it all as it comes -- a philosophy that seems to have served him well in his meteoric rise from relative anonymity to one of the League's hottest commodities.

"As a player you always want to make the NHL, but as a coach the weird thing is I always focused on where I was and I always enjoyed where I was and I always felt that if I did a good job where I was I'd never need to leave," Boucher said while appearing as a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman."

"And it's because I think I focused on the present and enjoyed so much where I was that I went up through the ranks without pushing. Not that I didn't mind going up in the NHL, but the fact was that if I didn't make it to the NHL and stayed in the American League for a few years and know that I was surrounded by good people there, too, I think the fact I didn't make it a dream and I didn't make it a goal and every day in my life try to push for it, I think that's what helped me get here."

Habs try to sort out defense

Friday, 04.29.2011 / 12:20 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. – He's played so little over the past two seasons, it's sometimes easy to forget that Andrei Markov is considered by many to be the best player on the Montreal Canadiens.

A sublimely talented defenseman that is among the best in the world at his position, Markov, 32, is still working his way back from his second reconstructive surgery on his left knee in a span of eight months, a knee that limited him to just seven games this season.

With the Canadiens being eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night in Boston, the focus shifts to how GM Pierre Gauthier handles the delicate situation of Markov's impending unrestricted free agency on July 1.

Bowman optimistic about Hawks despite early ouster

Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 9:06 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Almost a year ago, Stan Bowman stood in front the media at the United Center and talked about the many changes he'd be forced to make to his Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

On Thursday, the Blackhawks’ general manager was right back in the same spot -- but this time under much different circumstances. The Blackhawks, after a turbulent season in which they needed help to get into the playoffs, were ousted in the Western Conference Quarterfinals by the Vancouver Canucks, a team they’d beaten in the second round in each of the past two seasons.

The bright side is that it took the Canucks seven games to beat the Blackhawks after getting up 3-0 in the series -- with an overtime goal by Alexandre Burrows in overtime finally advancing Vancouver into the conference semifinals.

Ducks appear set to turn to Emery in Game 2

Friday, 04.15.2011 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It appears that Ray Emery will start in goal for the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Nashville on Friday.

Emery was first off the ice at Anaheim’s morning skate, an indication that he will make his first playoff start since Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final when he was on the losing side of the Ducks’ Cup clincher at Honda Center.

Bylsma: No pressure on Crosby to return

Friday, 04.15.2011 / 12:45 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby still isn’t ready to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup, playoffs or not.

Crosby skated on a fifth line with Mike Comrie and Eric Godard during the Penguins’ morning skate in advance of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against Tampa Bay on Friday. But the Penguins’ captain is not ready to take part in any drills with contact.

AHL Checkers buy house for young fan

Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 12:51 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Lappan - Special to

The Charlotte Checkers announced Friday, April 8, that thanks to donations, fan support and help from team partners and friends, a house has been purchased for Zach Bennett and his family, who will relocate to Charlotte from Albany, N.Y.

Zach is an 11-year-old boy who suffers from neurofibromatosis (NF1). As former season ticket holders of the Albany River Rats, the Bennett family has established close relationships with many current Checkers players and will now head south to the Queen City for better medical care and to be closer to the team.

Second-half collapse shows Avs have work to do

Monday, 04.11.2011 / 3:44 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

"Obviously there were 20 games there where everyone was struggling. It is what it is; it happened. I think it's good to get it out of the way at a young age. For a lot of us, especially guys like me and (Ryan) O'Reilly, I think it's good to learn how to lose before you win. If we ever go through this situation again we'll know how to handle it better. Hopefully it won't happen again." -- Matt Duchene

DENVER -- Now that the nightmarish season is over, the Colorado Avalanche have plenty of offseason work to do to return to respectability, along with a playoff berth.

The Avalanche finished 29th in the NHL's overall standings with a 30-44-8 record and 68 points, the team's worst record since it arrived in Denver from Quebec City in 1995-96.

Hard to believe the Avalanche were in the hunt for first place in the Northwest Division as recently as Jan. 24 with a 25-18-6 record before collapsing. Colorado went 5-26-2 in the final 33 games, a drought that included two 10-game losing streaks.

"It really went bad for us. It wasn't fun at all," said second-year center Matt Duchene, who led the Avalanche in scoring with 67 points (27 goals, 40 assists). At 20 years, 84 days old, he passed Joe Sakic (20 years, 268 days old with Quebec in 1989-90) as the youngest top scorer in franchise history.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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