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2014 NHL Draft
Over the Boards
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Over the Boards

Over the Boards: Ducks deep at center

Wednesday, 01.29.2014 / 2:15 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Look no farther than Nick Bonino's stat line this season if you want to analyze just how deep the Anaheim Ducks are at center.

Bonino, considered the Ducks' third- or fourth-line center, depending on the game, opponent and his linemates, would lead eight teams in scoring right now despite being 77th among centers in ice time per game (16:27).

He has 40 points, which is third on the Ducks behind fellow center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry. Bonino is one of five centers who routinely make coach Bruce Boudreau's job one of the easiest yet toughest in the NHL.

"When you've got that many guys that can play minutes, I mean, Bruce has a task every night," Getzlaf said.

The Ducks talk about their four-line balance as one of the main reasons for their success this season. They wouldn't have that four-line balance without at least four centers Boudreau trusts in nearly all situations.


Over the Boards: Grand impact in Detroit

Wednesday, 01.15.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

It's partly by choice and partly because they have had no choice, but as many as 10 players who were part of the Grand Rapids Griffins' Calder Cup championship team last season have been playing key roles in helping the Detroit Red Wings stay in the hunt for a record 23rd consecutive berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

"I looked the other day we had eight guys from that team in our lineup," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told NHL.com. "Any way you look at it that's a chunk, and with that lineup we were able to win in Los Angeles (3-1) and lose 1-0 in Anaheim in a game I thought we could have easily won. They're ready to play."

They have had no choice but to be ready with all the injuries the Red Wings have endured this season to players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Stephen Weiss and Brendan Smith.


Over the Boards: Seguin finds home with Stars

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The notable differences between Tyler Seguin's game with the Boston Bruins the past few seasons and his game with the Dallas Stars this season are attitude, position and production. Ask anyone around the Stars organization and they'll sing Seguin's praises for how good he's been in the dressing room, in the community and on the ice.

"He's been outstanding for us," Dallas general manager Jim Nill told NHL.com.

Seguin feels two of the biggest differences are the makeup of the Stars' roster and the stage the team finds itself in its development, and that those may be the reasons everything else has fallen in line for him this season.

Nill is building around a core of young players that includes Seguin, captain Jamie Benn, rookie Valeri Nichushkin, Alex Chiasson, Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon. Benn, at 24, is the oldest player in that group. Nichushkin, 18, is the youngest.


Over the Boards: Equipment staffs gear up for Classic

Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 7:30 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The players and coaches have done their share of personal prep work for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, such as securing enough tickets and making sure their families got on the University of Michigan ice to skate.

However, such prep work pales in comparison to the ongoing efforts put forth by the hardest-working guys associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings these days.

The equipment managers and their staffs are in charge of making sure every player is comfortable enough to play at a top level and every coach is warm enough to work the bench the way they normally would in an indoor game.

Preparing their teams for the Winter Classic has been the equivalent of a second full-time job for Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer and Maple Leafs equipment manager Brian Papineau.

"For the last six weeks, it seems like your main focus is getting ready for this big event," Papineau told NHL.com as he watched the Maple Leafs practice Tuesday. "As excited as we are to be here and to be a part of it, it will be rewarding when it's over to look back at a lot of good memories."


Over the Boards: Greene appreciated in New Jersey

Wednesday, 12.25.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene appreciates the fact that people are asking him how he feels about not making it on to the United States' long list for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but he's actually somewhat shocked that it's even been a topic of conversation in hockey circles.

"To tell you the truth I guess I would be more surprised if I was on that list," Greene said.

Greene is not subject to the Olympic drug-testing protocol administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency under guidelines set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency because he was not put on the USA's long list. A USA Hockey representative said players omitted from the long list are not technically ineligible to play in the Olympics because there is an appeal process, but it's clearly more difficult for them.

"It honestly wasn't really something that was on my mind," Greene said. "It didn't cross my mind one way or the other, being disappointed or excited."


Over the Boards: Jackets' Johansen hitting stride

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Though Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen feels like the weight he carried on his shoulders for two seasons has been lifted, all it means is that expectations for the 21-year-old are on the rise and the pressure is mounting.

"I can see a level I want to get to," Johansen told NHL.com. "In Pittsburgh [on Dec. 9], my line was matched up against Sidney Crosby's line the whole game, and he was pretty tough to keep up to. At times I felt I was right there with him, and then there were times when I was chasing him all over the ice. It's exciting, though, feeling that I'm getting close and can be a good player in this League."

Johansen has proven at least that much this season with a team-high 27 points in 34 games, including 11 during his current nine-game point streak. He had 33 points in 107 games over his first two seasons.

Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky said Johansen's preparation has improved this season.


Over the Boards: Will Lightning benefit from injuries?

Wednesday, 12.11.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper believes his team will go from survivors to contenders by the end of the season because of the injury problems it is currently dealing with.

"There's no question we come out of this a better team," Cooper told NHL.com. "The one thing is if we ever do get healthy, which eventually we should, there are going to be really tough decisions for us to make. That's a good thing."

The tough decisions Cooper is making nowadays have more to do with the psyche of the young players who have been thrust into larger-than-expected roles because of the injuries to Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer (who recently returned) and others.

The Lightning have 13 players on their roster who have played in 71 or fewer NHL games, including four defensemen and goalies Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback. They dressed eight rookies Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. They have played nine this season.

"Guys that should be developing in the minors, they're cutting their teeth in the NHL," Cooper said. "That can be twofold. For some players it can work in the sense that it accelerates their growth, and for some guys it hurts because it's too much too soon. It's a really tough balance because you don't want to ruin these guys for the future and demoralize their confidence because it's a really tough League to play in, but we have no choice."


Over the Boards: Capitals' Oates gets Fehr on ice

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates insists he likes forward Eric Fehr, values what he brings to the team and wants to be sure to put him in a position to succeed.

It's for those reasons Fehr has played the past five games as the left wing on the Capitals' second line with Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer. It's also for those reasons that Oates said he scratched Fehr for nine straight games in November after watching him contribute three assists in two games as the replacement for an injured Alex Ovechkin on the Capitals' first line.

The first part of that makes sense on its face. The second part requires some explaining.


Over the Boards: LaFontaine did research with Neely

Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Cam Neely thought Pat LaFontaine was merely picking his brain to see how things were going as one longtime friend and former competitor checking in with another. Little did Neely know LaFontaine was on a clandestine advice-seeking mission each time the two spoke earlier this season.

"Looking back I can say maybe it was research," Neely, the Boston Bruins' president and alternate governor, told NHL.com, "but during the conversations it felt that it was just his interest in what was happening."

LaFontaine and Neely are laughing about those conversations now, two weeks after LaFontaine was named the Buffalo Sabres' president of hockey operations. He was hired on Nov. 13.

"I couldn't quite tell him everything," LaFontaine told NHL.com. "After he found out he sent me a funny email, called me and wished me good luck."


Over the Boards: Text from Richards relaxes Giroux

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- A text message from a guy who recently walked in Claude Giroux's shoes helped the Philadelphia Flyers captain rediscover his passion so he could start to break out of his scoring slump.

"It wasn't going right, and I got a nice text from Mike Richards. … I think he gave me a boost to relax and play the game," Giroux told NHL.com on Tuesday prior to playing the Ottawa Senators at Wells Fargo Center. "It's a great game. There's a reason why we play in the NHL. It's because we know what we're doing. It's just about going back to basics, going out there, have fun, play the game."

Giroux couldn't remember exactly when he got that text from Richards, the former Flyers captain who is now playing for the Los Angeles Kings. He said it was a couple of weeks ago, well before he scored his first goal of the season against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 9.

He also wouldn't reveal what Richards wrote in that text message, but it was enough to lift Giroux's spirits and get him pointed in the right direction.

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Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp