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Over the Boards

Over the Boards: Sid on Fleury; Bruins' RW dilemma

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 9:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still believes in goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He just hopes Fleury still believes in himself, because it may be the only way the Penguins live up to their championship expectations.

"I think he does [believe in himself]," Crosby told NHL.com. "He has no reason not to, but when you go through the scrutiny and dealing with adversity, to say you don't have any doubts, anybody would be lying. You obviously have doubts, but I think those doubts are going to push him to be better and to prove himself."

Crosby knows how much Fleury's performance means to the Penguins' success this season and in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, should they make it there. He's coming off back-to-back playoff flameouts -- including last season, when he lost his starting job to Tomas Vokoun in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.


Over the Boards: Marc Staal OK; Olympic dark horse

Tuesday, 08.27.2013 / 8:26 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CALGARY -- Despite the fact that the vision in Marc Staal's right eye remains slightly blurry and  always may be, the New York Rangers defenseman is proclaiming himself 100 percent healthy and ready to rediscover his All-Star form starting at training camp in September.

"The eye is still not normal, but I feel back to normal," Staal told NHL.com Tuesday at Canada Olympic orientation camp. "I don't see myself having any issues once camp starts. It'll be good to get into camp to get that timing and feeling back, but I'm excited for that to get that started, get that rolling."

Staal suffered a right-eye injury at Madison Square Garden on March 5, when a slap shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen was deflected and struck him just above the eye, flush into the area slightly below his eyebrow.


Over the Boards: LeBlanc believes in Phoenix

Tuesday, 08.13.2013 / 5:30 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Anthony LeBlanc stayed the course even when his goal seemed impossible to reach. Four years and thousands of airline miles later, he's finally putting his big plan in motion to turn the Phoenix Coyotes into the type of first-rate and profitable NHL franchise he always believed it could be.

Once his immigration paperwork goes through, LeBlanc will add president and CEO to a title that already includes alternate governor of the Coyotes. He plans to move to the Phoenix area full-time and recently gave up his season tickets to the Ottawa Senators.

He's all in.

"I'm a Canadian kid, and being involved with the NHL is something that the average Canadian boy would do anything he can to be a part of," LeBlanc told NHL.com. "But from the moment we first started looking at this franchise four years ago, we were intrigued at the opportunity. We felt it was an asset that hadn't been managed properly on the business side, and we always felt Phoenix could absolutely be a hockey market."


Over the Boards: Ryan embracing new lifestyle

Tuesday, 07.30.2013 / 1:55 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Bobby Ryan recently experienced what life for a star hockey player in Ottawa is all about during a half-day marathon of media commitments, fitness assessments and a youth hockey camp. It was a small sample of what's in store for the newest scoring right wing of the Ottawa Senators, acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on July 5.

"That it has a lot of passion for the game," Ryan told NHL.com, discussing the lessons learned about Ottawa during that whirlwind day on July 17.

Ryan twice referred to his day as an "eye-opening" experience for a guy who isn't used to being in the blinding spotlight of an entire sports market.

He estimates he did between 40-50 interviews with various local media outlets, including television, radio and print. He said he stood on the ice for his final media session of the day, in front of one of the benches at Bell Sensplex that was completely full of reporters and cameramen leaning on his every word.


Nill trying to bring Detroit success to Dallas

Tuesday, 07.16.2013 / 1:57 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Like the 28 other general managers who are not named Ken Holland, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill will have quite a bit of job security if he replicates the success and stability the Detroit Red Wings have had during the past two decades.

"Half of [Detroit]'s success would make me happy because they've done something that is hard to do in today's sporting business," Nill told NHL.com earlier this week.

Nill is in a better position than just about anybody -- except ex-Red Wings great Steve Yzerman, now the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning -- to make it happen. He learned from Holland and Red Wings Senior Vice President Jim Devellano for 19 seasons, including 15 as the assistant GM, and now is getting to put his on-the-job experience to use in his first role as the leading man.


Over the Boards: Teams like pressure on penalty kill

Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 10:05 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The shorthanded breakaway goal New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo scored Sunday was an example of how applying pressure on a penalty kill can disrupt a power play and create an offensive chance on the other end. According to several experts around the NHL, pressure on the PK is becoming more of a trend and something we're seeing a lot of early in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I have definitely seen a trend to more aggressive penalty kills," New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer told NHL.com.

The Islanders, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are examples of teams that apply pressure on the PK. The New York Rangers did it to the Capitals late in the third period of Game 3 on Monday night and it worked to prevent Washington from scoring a game-tying goal on what was a 90-second 6-on-4 after goalie Braden Holtby was pulled for an extra skater.


Over The Boards: Stepan big key to Rangers' success

Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 10:51 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Derek Stepan had 19 points in 14 games last month. Even he was surprised.

"A little bit, yes," the New York Rangers center told NHL.com Tuesday. "I'm really happy with the way it went, but now it's a new season, a new start."

Stepan will have to continue his surge into May if the Rangers want to match offensive wits with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals starting in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

There's no reason to think Stepan can't -- or that he won't. He's 22 years old and he has hit the next level of his career, so much so that outside of Henrik Lundqvist, a case can be made for Stepan being the Rangers' most important player going into the playoffs.


Over the Boards: Ovechkin switches, Quick recovers

Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 11:39 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

It been more than a year since NHL Network analyst Craig Button offered this comment about Alex Ovechkin:

"In my view Alexander Ovechkin could improve his game by watching Ilya Kovalchuk a little bit closer," Button told NHL.com for a story that ran Jan. 20, 2012.

Who knew Button was such a visionary?

Ovechkin did take note of Kovalchuk's effectiveness last season after then-New Jersey Devils assistant coach Adam Oates helped him transition from left wing to right wing, the same thing Oates did successfully with Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis several years ago.


Over the Boards: Suspensions, Soderberg, Dekeyser

Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 9:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Brendan Shanahan isn't interested in statistics anymore, not even the ones that appear to work in his favor, such as those that show the number of suspensions, fines and warnings he has handed out this season being down considerably from last season.

Shanahan, the NHL's senior vice president of safety and hockey operations, has handed out 15 suspensions totaling 34 games, eight fines and 15 warnings through 631 games (totals through Monday) this season, according to numbers provided by the Department of Player Safety. He handed out 22 suspensions totaling 73 games, 17 fines and 49 warnings in the same amount of games last season. There were another 29 regular-season games missed because of eight suspensions handed down during the preseason.

"I'm glad [the numbers are down], but in my mind teams are getting ready for the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs and my team [at the Department of Player Safety] is getting ready for the playoffs," Shanahan told NHL.com.

Shanahan admits he is leery about what awaits because of what happened in the first round last season.


Red Wings coach says 'We're not going away'

Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 1:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he's a big believer his team is just going to get it done, that it will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 22nd straight season.

Just don't call Babcock an optimist, because that's not what he's trying to be with nine games left in Detroit's regular season.

"I don't know if it's optimistic; I think it's realistic," Babcock told NHL.com. "Optimism, I think, is a totally different thing than a realistic approach of what we've got going on. I think we're a team that does a lot of good things. I'm a big believer that we're just going to get it done, but I think like that all the time."

The Red Wings have done enough to be eighth in the Western Conference with 43 points. They don't play again until Thursday at home against the San Jose Sharks.

"We're not going away," Babcock said.

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Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis