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Player Profiles

Last year's disappointment at root of Price's success

Tuesday, 11.23.2010 / 10:46 AM / Player Profiles

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL – While Jaroslav Halak was charming the entire hockey world this past spring by hoisting the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens on his back and leading them to the Eastern Conference Finals, no one had a better seat from which to watch the coronation than Carey Price.

The one who was once considered a can't-miss prospect, who was supposed to be the latest in a long line of dominant goalies for the Canadiens, was sitting on the bench as an unheralded goalie from Slovakia stole his spotlight and the hearts of the team's fans.

The chosen one had become the forgotten one.

When all was said and done -- after Montreal's Cinderella run ended against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Finals -- it was clear to everyone that the Canadiens would be forced to choose between the playoff hero and the supposedly washed-up 22-year-old wunderkind.
Most everyone in the hockey world figured it would be Price, and not Halak, who would be forced to change addresses during the summer.

Lidstrom shows he's still got it at age 40

Friday, 11.19.2010 / 12:43 PM / Player Profiles

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Crazy as it may seem now, there were some last spring who thought Detroit Red Wings star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom should call it quits.
After getting off to a slower-than-usual start, Lidstrom was thought to be slowing as a skater and deteriorating in general as a player. Despite Detroit making back-to-back runs to the Stanley Cup Final the previous two seasons and Lidstrom playing for Sweden in the 2010 Winter Olympics, a growing segment thought his rock-solid consistency on the Wings' blue line was diminishing with his increasing age.
Regardless of Lidstrom's six Norris trophies and four Stanley Cups -- all with Detroit -- more than a few Wings fans called local radio stations saying he should think about retiring after the Wings were eliminated by San Jose in the second round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Teammates know Stamkos is more than 'good player'

Friday, 11.19.2010 / 11:20 AM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Martin St. Louis didn't really know what else to say. At this point, when it comes to Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay's veteran forward is at a loss for words.

"Yeah, I know, he's a good player," St. Louis said after the Lightning won a wild one at Wells Fargo Center, 8-7.

That's it? That's all we get? A good player?

Stamkos has 19 goals and 35 points in 19 games. He's on pace for 82 goals this season.

We already know he's a good player, Marty.

"What else am I supposed to say?" St. Louis later said.

Then he winked, and that pretty much said it all.

Stamkos did something even he hasn't done yet Thursday, however. He recorded his first 5-point game in the NHL thanks to his second hat trick of the season and assists on two of Tampa's other five goals.

Fleury seems to have rediscovered his form

Monday, 11.15.2010 / 2:58 PM / Player Profiles

Sergei J. Feldman - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- There's a default set of high expectations placed upon the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It's due to recent successes, like back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final and the 2009 Cup, plus a roster that features some of the League's most prolific players, including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Marc-Andre Fleury's name also could be part of that star listing for his performance during those trips to the Final.

Through the first month and a half of the 2010-11 season, however, Fleury belonged in a much different discussion.

Going just 1-6-0 in his first seven starts and posting a goals-against average of better than 3.00 and a save percentage less than .900, Fleury has taken a healthy dose of heat. So much so, in fact, that his trademark happy-go-lucky demeanor and bright smile has been absent.

Keith tries to find answers for early struggles

Friday, 11.12.2010 / 9:55 AM / Player Profiles

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – There's a TV ad for EA Sports' NHL '11 video game that starts with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith behind his own goal, looking to bring the puck out.
After running through several options – all of which end badly – Keith decides the best option is calling his own number.
"I'll just take it myself," he says before leaping over a sliding defender and scoring.
It's an entertaining way to sell a video game -- but the sight of Keith saying he'll do it himself now stands out a little during a somewhat disappointing start to his season. On the bright side, Keith is solidly among the League's Top 10 scorers among defensemen with 1 goal and 12 points. He's also leading the League in ice time at 28:43 a game.

Green proving he's about more than just offense

Tuesday, 11.09.2010 / 12:48 PM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"I was asked to play more of a shut-down role and I'm taking pride in that. In the past that wasn't my job and now it is. I take pride in what's asked of me." -- Mike Green

NEW YORK -- Fair or not, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has been labeled as an offensive defenseman who is a liability in his own zone.

But so far in 2010, Green is doing everything he can to prove his critics wrong.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau is using Green in crucial situations and so far it's paying off. Green was on the ice in the final minutes of the Caps' 5-3 victory against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, helping to protect a precarious one-goal lead before Alexander Ovechkin salted it away with an empty-netter.

Hard work has Bobrovsky no longer an unknown

Friday, 11.05.2010 / 10:51 AM / Player Profiles

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"Since he's been here, Sergei has worked hard. Both off the ice and on the ice he's working to improve his communication with his teammates. He's obviously taken a liking to what (goalie coach) Jeff Reese is trying to get him to do. I'm surprised, but obviously we're all quite pleased with how he's played."
-- Paul Holmgren

PHILADELPHIA -- How does goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Philadelphia Flyers go from anonymity to one of the most talked-about free-agent acquisitions in the NHL this season?
Never mind he'll take a five-game winning streak into Saturday's game against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, but how about the fact he -- finally -- was added to EA Sports' NHL '11 with an impressive 81 rating Tuesday.
With every save, the fans at Wells Fargo Center chant "Bob" while the scoreboard urges them on even more. Heck, his personalized mask even has the inscription "Bobs" across the bottom. His initial season in North America certainly is becoming quite the occasion.

Selanne still fabulous at 40

Friday, 10.29.2010 / 4:18 PM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Middle-aged hockey players will say just about anything to kid themselves into believing time isn't chasing them down like a feverishly backchecking forward. There's no shortage of clichés in which they can find comfort.

Life begins at 40.

40 is the new 30.

I'm not getting old. I'm getting ... older!

Teemu Selanne is so old -- how old is he? -- that he broke into the League in 1992 as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Eighteen seasons and 611 goals later, the 40-year-old Selanne isn't just desperately clinging to his career with the Anaheim Ducks. He entered Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils leading the team in goals with 5 and is tied for 18th in the League in scoring with 10 points.

Bourque doing the work, not the sticks

Tuesday, 10.26.2010 / 5:02 PM / Player Profiles

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

It's the artist, not the paintbrush, says Rene Bourque.

Bourque switched to a new stickblade last week, and the result was a two-game outburst that saw him score 5 goals, including a pair of game-winners. It was part of a week that saw him score six times in three games, with 3 game-winning goals, and earn recognition as NHL First Star of the Week.

The scoring outburst rocketed Bourque up the goal-scoring standings. He entered Tuesday's game against the Oilers tied for sixth in the League with his 6 goals, ahead of more heralded scorers like Alexander Semin, Pavel Datsyuk, Danny Briere and some guy named Ovechkin.

Bourque's week started Oct. 17 -- his first game back after missing time with a concussion -- when he scored 2:10 into overtime off a rebound for the lone goal in the Flames' 1-0 win against the Predators in Nashville. 

Ovi takes GQ magazine inside his Russian life

Monday, 10.25.2010 / 5:42 PM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Ovechkin in GQ

Ovechkin in November's GQ (Click image to enlarge)

Eloquently described by writer Michael Idov as someone who looks "more like Jaws, the henchman from the Bond films, with a touch of Jaws the shark," Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is featured in this month's issue of GQ Magazine. He's labeled as "the best hockey player in the world," but also one of the most unpredictable.

"Nobody doubts Ovechkin will be one of the sport's all-time greats, if not the greatest -- but that's only if he doesn't derail himself in the process," writes Idov in his story titled, 'Ovechkin With Love.'

Idov dives into Ovechkin's childhood, which was buoyed and perhaps even salvaged by his athletic parents, Tatyana and Mikhail. It was controversial due to the changing of times in Russia after Alex was born in 1985.
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