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Over the Boards

Over The Boards: Stepan big key to Rangers' success

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

Dan Rosen - 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 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 - 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 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 - 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

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 - 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 "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.

Deadline experience tough for some players

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 11:23 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

As the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline approached, Minnesota Wild forward Nick Schultz was doing his job when Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher called him into the office and told him he would no longer be working in the only NHL market Schultz knew.

Fletcher traded Schultz to the Edmonton Oilers on deadline day, Feb. 27, 2012, in exchange for defenseman Tom Gilbert. Schultz had to be on a flight to Edmonton that night.

"I was in shock," Schultz told as the 2013 deadline approached. "[Fletcher] thanked me for everything and that was it. I didn't really say anything to him. I was in shock and couldn't really believe it. I was there for 10 years and then, poof, I was packing my bags and moving on. It happens in a hurry."

Buffalo GM Regier could shuffle deck before deadline

Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 8:49 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Odds are the Buffalo Sabres' curve in the 2012-13 NHL season still goes from reeling to at least some dealing by April 3, but amid the early-season chaos and trade-deadline rumors, general manager Darcy Regier's up-and-down team has found a way back into the discussion for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We have to climb, and it's going to take a lot of work," Sabres captain Jason Pominville told Monday. "But if there is a group that can do it, we'd be it."

Confidence is good and it usually helps, but the Sabres hurt their chances Tuesday with a regulation loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning. Buffalo was 12th in the Eastern Conference, five points out of eighth with 16 games to play, so thinking about the playoffs may seem farfetched with one week to go before the April 3 trade deadline.

Trading not focus of GM meeting

Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 7:00 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Despite the fact all 30 of the NHL's general managers will be in Toronto on Wednesday, expectations of significant movement on the trade front this week should be tempered -- even though the NHL trade deadline looms two weeks away.

There is no denying that the seeds for future deals could be planted Wednesday, when the general managers get together for a one-day meeting in Toronto, but a number of GMs told that the majority of trade hype coming out of the meeting won't carry much weight in the run-up to the April 3 deadline.

A lack of time to formally consummate a face-to-face deal, as well as the fact trade discussions rarely have to be conducted in person, are the main reasons cited by those GMs for their pessimism about the meeting setting in motion a trading frenzy.

Over the Boards: Olympics, visors among hot topics

Saturday, 03.09.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will be among a group of League personnel leaving for Sochi, Russia on Sunday to conduct a site visit and participate in meetings regarding the potential participation of NHL players in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"I would hope to be in a position where this is resolved one way or the other by the end of this month," Daly told

Daly said the League is on track to present the concept of Olympic participation to the Board of Governors "at an appropriate time." He stressed, however, that present discussions among the League, the National Hockey League Players' Association, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee have been on a conceptual level and haven't yet broached specifics.

"Maybe when we get down to the specific level we might come up with a problem that might be difficult to resolve, but, to this point, we've been moving forward," Daly said.

Over the Boards: Schedule creates playoff atmosphere

Friday, 03.01.2013 / 11:00 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are arriving early for the Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes, say their coaches.

Due to a scheduling quirk resulting from building issues and other factors involved in the compressed 48-game NHL season, the Ducks and Coyotes will play each other three times in five days, starting Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. They also play Monday in Glendale and finish the three-game set Wednesday in Anaheim.

The teams won't play again until the final day of the regular season, April 27.

"I don't think the first game is treated any differently, but after the first game, depending on the result, you figure out how you treat it," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told "But I always liken [home-and-home series] to doubleheaders in baseball, and what you want to do is win the first game of the doubleheader, because if you don't, it makes it more paramount to win the second game. This is a tripleheader and the other team is right in your division. You can have an eight-point lead on them and that could be dwindled to two in a matter of five days."

Murphy: Coach's challenge could be in NHL's future

Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 12:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Mike Murphy, the National Hockey League's senior vice president of Hockey Operations, isn't ruling out the possibility that one day -- possibly soon -- the concept of a coach's challenge could exist in the NHL.

However, Murphy also warns that the concept is not one that can be adopted without clearly defined criteria for what a coach would be allowed to challenge and what elements of the challenged play would be admissible in the review process.

"Sure, I think that there is a real possibility it could happen, but you'd have to sit down with a group of smart people and you'd have to go through just about every type of play you'd want to allow a challenge for," Murphy told "It can't be used as a tactic. That's a concern. It has to be a legitimate play that has been defined into the coach's challenge rule. Mainly, it's goals."

The concept of a coach's challenge was first brought up by Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon at the November 2010 general managers meeting in Toronto. Tallon proposed allowing coaches one challenge per game in order to contest a disputed goal.

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