Stanley Cup Final
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NHL Insider

Enroth gets Sabres nod; Miller's streak snapped

Tuesday, 02.15.2011 / 2:55 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The Buffalo Sabres will be practically unrecognizable Tuesday night when they face the Montreal Canadiens as a perfectly healthy Ryan Miller will not be in uniform.

After starting each of the last 31 games, Miller will watch from the press box and minor-league call-up Jhonas Enroth will leapfrog regular backup Patrick Lalime to grab the start in goal, the first of his young career in Montreal.

"I'm very excited for tonight, it's going to be fun," said Enroth, 22. "Montreal is always Montreal, and hockey's a big thing. Just seeing the arena and practicing in this rink is pretty exciting."

Enroth has played 5 games for the Sabres this season, going 2-2-1 with a 2.89 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage. Lalime, meanwhile, has an 0-5-0 record thus far, which explains head coach Lundy Ruff's reluctance to give him the start in his home province of Quebec.


Yzerman ready to take on Wings for first time

Tuesday, 02.15.2011 / 12:36 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"Right now, I want to clinch a playoff spot. Our goal at the start of the year was to make the playoffs, that's our No. 1 priority." -- Steve Yzerman

Steve Yzerman said he's going to treat Thursday's game just like any of the other 81 his Tampa Bay Lightning will play this season.

"Honestly I'm trying to look at it as I want to watch the game and analyze it, take all the emotion out of it, and just think how does our team match against some of the best players in the game," Yzerman said during a conference call Monday. "I'm trying not to spend a lot of time thinking about the obvious."

The obvious is who his Lightning will be facing Thursday -- the visiting Detroit Red Wings. It will be the first time in 27 years -- since Yzerman was the fourth pick of the 1983 Entry Draft by the Wings -- that he'll be sitting in the opposite corner from the team for which he played and worked for most of the past three decades.

Rangers need Sunday's win to be start of strong play

Tuesday, 02.15.2011 / 12:12 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Marc Staal made sure to temper the high he and the Rangers felt after beating Pittsburgh on Sunday by taking a realistic stance.

"It's good to get back in the win column," Staal told following the Rangers' 5-3 come-from-behind win. "We'll see where it goes from here."

Where it goes is entirely up to the Rangers, who are out of excuses. Save for Chris Drury, who had knee surgery last week, the Rangers are healthy and in the middle of a fight to the finish line in the Eastern Conference.
If they learned anything from last season, it's not to let this thing go down to the final weekend of the season because a crapshoot is the last thing the Rangers want or need.


Foot problems bring end to Forsberg's comeback

Tuesday, 02.15.2011 / 9:56 AM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

"One thing's for sure, I won't second-guess myself. I really tried and I tried and I tried. I'm really sure about the decision. I'm done, period. I can't do it." -- Peter Forsberg

Citing problems with his troublesome right foot, the 37-year-old forward announced his retirement Monday afternoon as a member of the Colorado Avalanche during a press conference at the Ridgeline Restaurant inside the Pepsi Center, ending his latest comeback attempt after just two games.

The Avalanche announced that it would retire Forsberg's No. 21 jersey during a ceremony next season, with details to be disclosed at a later date.

"The time has finally come," said an emotional Forsberg, who spoke with his fiancée, Nicole Nordin, next to him. "I'm retiring from the game of ice hockey. I've played hockey all my life, but I've come to the decision that I've played my final game. It's perfect for me to announce my retirement in Denver, as a member of the Colorado Avalanche.


Avs surprised by Forsberg's retirement

Monday, 02.14.2011 / 8:46 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVERColorado Avalanche players knew something was amiss when they arrived at the Pepsi Center Monday morning to prepare for Monday night's game against the Calgary Flames.

Peter Forsberg's name wasn’t listed on the lineup and he wasn’t in the locker room getting ready for the morning skate.

"We thought it was kind of strange," Matt Duchene said.

Shortly after, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco relayed the news that Forsberg had decided to give up his comeback attempt and retire after playing two games, Friday in Columbus and Saturday in Nashville.

Emery happy to be back on the ice

Monday, 02.14.2011 / 6:11 PM / NHL Insider

Lindsay Kramer - Correspondent

Goalie Ray Emery was a hard man to miss when he stood between the pipes for his first Syracuse Crunch practice of the season Monday.

"It was one of those days when it was easy to get out of bed. I got up before the alarm clock." -- Ray Emery

It wasn't just the way he effortlessly flicked shots into the corner, or absorbed shots into his pads the way a paper towel soaks up water.

"You can just tell he's had that experience at a high level. There wasnt a whole lot of rebounds around his net today," Syracuse coach Mark Holick noted after practice.

No, Emery stood out even to the untrained eye with his neon orange paddle and orange-tinged mask, remnants of his tenure with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Modano feeling good, aiming for late-February return

Monday, 02.14.2011 / 1:17 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Mike Modano huffed and puffed, trying to catch his breath.

"It's starting to get good. The hand's really feeling good, as far as pushing and shoving and getting a little bit more involved in the traffic and some other contact things. Strength-wise, it's really close." -- Mike Modano

He'd just come off the ice at Joe Louis Arena after a post-practice workout this past Saturday and scanned the Detroit Red Wings locker room. The 40-year old Modano eventually locked onto his target and asked 23-year old forward Justin Abdelkader a light-hearted question.
"Where'd you go?" Modano said, smiling. "Huh? Where'd you go?"
Abdelkader laughed and lofted a couple of barbs at Modano, who told reporters he's eyeing a possible return from surgery to repair severed tendons in his right wrist during a road trip at the end of the month. His play in practice this past weekend suggests that's more probability than possibility.

Penguins not in the mood to make excuses

Sunday, 02.13.2011 / 8:10 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- With a stiff upper lip the Pittsburgh Penguins are acting as if the elephant in the room is not the reason for their current slump.

Sure, any team that's missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would have trouble winning, but the Penguins, who are missing so much more than just their two superstars right now, say the lineup and lack of star power are not the reasons for why they've lost four out of five and gave up 14 goals during a forgettable weekend trip to New York.

They followed Friday's fight-filled 9-3 loss on Long Island with a 5-3 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

"It shouldn't be," Max Talbot said when he was asked if opponents are finding it easy to play against the Penguins nowadays. "They're (Crosby and Malkin) obviously two of the best in the League and there are a lot of other guys that are hurt, but it's no excuse for us. Everybody in this dressing room has a role, everybody takes pride in playing the right way and we should be able to win some hockey games."

'The Fighter' goes back to center ice in Boston

Sunday, 02.13.2011 / 1:35 AM / NHL Insider

Bob Snow - Correspondent

"I never got the chance to fight in the old Garden – my brother [Dicky Eklund] did. But I did get to fight here," said Micky Ward about his return to the TD Garden, the site of some memorable bouts in his storied ring career.

The life and times of Ward – from nearby Lowell, Mass. -- are the backdrop of the recent box-office hit "The Fighter," starring Mark Wahlberg.

Friday night, the Bruins brought Ward back to center ice for the ceremonial first face-off before the Wings whitewashed the Bruins, 6-1.

Ward was also in attendance two nights earlier when the Bruins-Canadiens battle was more aligned with the pugnacious Ward's experience with pugilism.

Forsberg his own worst critic in comeback bid

Sunday, 02.13.2011 / 12:37 AM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Peter Forsberg might be his own worst critic.

Having started the NHL season at Game No. 55, the 37-year-old former Hart Trophy winner hit the ground running this weekend with back-to-back games in Columbus and Nashville on Friday and Saturday -- his first NHL action since 2008 because of chronic foot problems.

He finished minus-2 in each game and without a point to show for his efforts, as the Colorado Avalanche, with just one win in their last 10, officially tied Ottawa as the coldest team in the League in that span.

Under such circumstances, one might think that Forsberg might cut  himself some slack. Not so after Colorado's 5-3 loss to the Predators on Saturday, which followed a 3-1 defeat at Columbus 24 hours earlier.
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Quote of the Day

We have no doubt how he can play. You don't, with four teams that are left, you're not getting here without good goaltending. All great goalies left, and [Bishop] is a top-tier goaltender in this league and he's shown it.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper on goalie Ben Bishop, who shut out the Rangers in Game 5