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Five Questions With…

Five Questions: Gionta discusses turnaround season

Tuesday, 03.26.2013 / 9:30 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Brian Gionta
Right Wing - MTL
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 17
SOG: 79 | +/-: 4
NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta:

Brian Gionta's 2011-12 season was limited to 31 games due to bicep surgery. The Montreal Canadiens captain would have to watch from the press box as his team stumbled and slumped all the way to a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

One year later, Gionta is healthy, playing in every game, and helping the Canadiens rise toward the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

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Five Questions: Wild's Fletcher on building a winner

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 1:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Chuck Fletcher is in his fourth season of trying to build a winning franchise in the State of Hockey, and it appears he's on the right path.

Fletcher, the general manager of the Minnesota Wild, has built a team that is in the mix in the Western Conference race and searching for its first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2008 entering the NBC Sports Network Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

Minnesota's two expensive offseason additions, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, are working out well so far, and young players like Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund have all found their way onto the fabric of the team at various points this season. Other veterans are stepping up, and the goaltending has been solid enough to give the Wild a chance on most nights.

Fletcher spoke to NHL.com on Monday about his plan to build a winner in Minnesota, the inspiring play of Brodin, the usefulness of some of the other rookies, high expectations and modeling his team after the Red Wings.

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Five Questions: Clarkson on rise to 30-goal scorer

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 4:15 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed to gain insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson:

NEWARK, N.J. -- David Clarkson has gone from an undrafted, unknown, unproven, 21-year-old free agent to a 30-goal scorer and one of the most important players on the New Jersey Devils.

He's become a voice of reason inside the Devils' dressing room and a go-to threat in all phases of the game on the ice. He's developed a close friendship with future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, one that extends off the ice to their wives. Clarkson also has taken on an active role as a Devils' representative for the fast-growing Hockey in Newark program.

This season, Clarkson started out on fire with 10 goals in the first 14 games, a 34-goal pace in a 48-game season. He's cooled of late with no goals in the past 12 games, but he'll try to come out of his slumber in NBC Sports Network's Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center.

Clarkson spoke to NHL.com after practice Tuesday about his goals, his slump, his rise to the NHL, his friendship with Brodeur, and the Flyers.

Here are Five Questions With … David Clarkson:

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Five Questions: Landeskog knows it's time to win

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 11:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com periodically will be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed to gain insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog:

Gabriel Landeskog has been forced to play a tough hand in his first season as the captain of the Colorado Avalanche.

First there was the lockout, which Landeskog spent playing for Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League.

Gabriel Landeskog is healthy, Colorado is back to .500, Ryan O'Reilly is under contract, and the Avalanche are getting set to open one of the most difficult sets of back-to-back games they'll play all season: Tuesday in Detroit and Wednesday in Chicago. (Photo: Getty Images)

Then came a shortened training camp followed by a concussion that sidelined Landeskog for 11 games.

In the meantime, the Avalanche were struggling on the ice and didn't know when, or even if, core center Ryan O'Reilly was going to sign a new contract to play this season.

Now the National Hockey League is in full swing, Landeskog is healthy, Colorado is back to .500, O'Reilly is under contract and back in the mix and the Avalanche are getting set to open one of the most difficult sets of back-to-back games they'll play all season: Tuesday in Detroit and Wednesday in Chicago in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game.

We asked Landeskog about dealing with an injury early in his captaincy, the impact of O'Reilly, his thoughts on the Avalanche moving forward, and one question on the Blackhawks that prompted an answer you will want to read.

Here are Five Questions With … Gabriel Landeskog.

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Five Questions: Alzner on coaching styles, Flyers fans

Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 1:01 PM / Five Questions With…

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Throughout the season NHL.com will be doing a weekly series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner:

Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner was the fifth pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, but because of the role he plays as a defense-first guy he probably doesn’t receive the attention he deserves.

Alzner is in his third full season with the Capitals after two years of shuttling back and forth between Washington and Hershey in the American Hockey League, and in each of those three seasons he has been the top defensive defenseman on the team’s roster.

When he and fellow young defenseman John Carlson broke into the League together, they quickly became the go-to pairing against the other team’s top line while Bruce Boudreau was the coach. This season Carlson and Alzner, or "Carlzner" as they were affectionately dubbed by fans in Washington, have been split up but both have played better of late. Not coincidently, the Capitals’ play has improved from a wretched 2-10-1 start, as well.

Alzner sat down with NHL.com to answer some questions about the team’s improvement, playing for different coaches in a short span, and facing the Philadelphia Flyers in NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry presented by Coors Light (7 p.m. ET).

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Five Questions: Briere confident Flyers will rise

Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 9:51 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Throughout the season NHL.com will be doing a weekly series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It was almost as if you could see the relief on Danny Briere's face.

Not only did the Philadelphia Flyers put together arguably their most complete performance of the season in a 7-0 win against the New York Islanders on Monday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but Briere contributed with two goals and an assist.

Winning games and scoring goals has been a struggle for Briere and the Flyers this season, but it all came so easily on Long Island less than 48 hours after Flyers captain Claude Giroux called out his team following a 4-1 loss in Montreal.

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Five Questions: Backes has high hopes for Blues

Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 11:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features St. Louis Blues captain David Backes:

In the time that David Backes was named the captain of the St. Louis Blues, his team has gone from one with potential to a Stanley Cup contender.

So much has changed, including the power of his voice in the dressing room, since Sept. 9, 2011 -- the day Backes got the "C". However, Backes has changed with it in a seamless fashion.

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Five Questions: Gretzky believes Kings can repeat

Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 10:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky:

LAS VEGAS -- Wayne Gretzky comfortably calls himself a fan of the game and confidently says he is content with being just that for the foreseeable future.

As a fan, Gretzky watches as many National Hockey League games as he possibly can. He admires the skill, speed and toughness of today's young players. He sees them as the ambassadors of the game and believes the NHL's future is as bright as ever.

So with the spirit of his fandom in mind, NHL.com spoke with Gretzky from his fantasy camp this week to gather his thoughts and opinions on everything ranging from his potential Stanley Cup contenders to his favorite players to watch to his old team in Edmonton.

Here are Five Questions With…Wayne Gretzky:

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Five Questions: Stamkos on secrets to his success

Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com periodically will be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today, aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos:

Steven Stamkos is experienced enough to understand that this season he'll be judged on the sequel, not the original production. It comes with the territory when you're an evolving superstar in the National Hockey League.

The 60 goals Stamkos scored last season, the fact that he became the 19th player in NHL history to hit that single-season milestone, won't mean nearly as much if he doesn't come back this season with similar production, albeit in a truncated 48-game schedule.

Stamkos isn't blind to this. He knows about high expectations and pressure. He's been living with both since he was a teenager.

Stamkos also knows how to live up to those expectations, how to handle that pressure and thrive in front of the scrutinizing eyes of fans and media.

He's been doing all of that since overcoming a slow rookie season to score 51 goals in his second NHL season. Still, it's fair to say that since Stamkos broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old No. 1 draft pick, the expectations placed on him never have been as high as they are right now.

Read on for Stamkos' thoughts on how he handles pressure and so much more.

Here are Five Questions With ... Steven Stamkos:

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Five Questions: Davidson set for Columbus challenge

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 10:32 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson:

After six years of helping build the St. Louis Blues into a Stanley Cup contender, John Davidson is starting the process all over again -- this time in Columbus, where patience has been preached and losing has been the norm for a dozen years.

Davidson, the Blue Jackets' new president of hockey operations, is being paid to change all of that.

He has referred to Columbus as the NHL's "best-kept secret" because of the fans in the community, the facilities that the Blue Jackets have and the stable ownership provided by the McConnell family since the franchise was born.

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Quote of the Day

It's a little different but it feels amazing. A new chapter in my life and I'm excited. It's been amazing. Better than I expected. The weather is great, the place is just amazing. I can't say enough good things about it. I'm glad to get the season going.

— Ryan Kesler on his transition to the Anaheim Ducks