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Over the Boards

Conacher fights through obstacles to stick with Bolts

Friday, 02.08.2013 / 8:11 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The two drawbacks that could have easily prevented Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Cory Conacher from making it to the NHL are instead the two biggest reasons he is thriving and playing second-line minutes for the top team in the Southeast Division.

Cory Conacher
Center - TBL
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 12
SOG: 19 | +/-: 6
Conacher's diminutive size (5-foot-9, 179 pounds) and potentially debilitating disease (type 1 diabetes, diagnosed when he was 8 years old) never got in his way before he got to the League and certainly don't figure to be detrimental now that he's arrived with a fearlessness built on a foundation of always having to prove people wrong.

Through 12 games, Conacher had 12 points on five goals and seven assists (though he'd gone pointless in Tampa Bay's recent three-game losing streak). He's scored all of his goals from right around the blue paint, a testament to his fearlessness.

Crosby admits Pens' PP should be better than it is

Saturday, 02.02.2013 / 1:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Sidney Crosby agrees with the sentiment that any power-play unit that includes him and Evgeni Malkin should be effective all the time.

"A hundred percent it should," Crosby told "We've proven it."

So why isn't it? Why is the Pittsburgh Penguins' power play -- one that in fact does have Crosby and Malkin on the same unit -- 2-for-20 during this five-game stretch?

Sidney Crosby agrees with the sentiment that any power-play unit that includes him and Evgeni Malkin should be effective all the time. (Photo: Getty Images)

Could it possibly be that the Penguins' skill is getting in the way of actually getting the puck to where it needs to go?

"We think sometimes we're in Game 40 and we can make those through-the-seam passes when sometimes we don't have to," Crosby told "I think it's just a matter of making sure we keep it simple and let those plays come to us.

"You see it. It's pretty clear," he added. "You know the traits that make a good power play successful and sometimes it's the simplest things that open up the really nice play that everyone wants to see. You can't forget that."

The Penguins have admittedly forgotten that in the early part of this season. Instead of just getting the puck to the net, they've been focused on working it around the zone then trying to get ill-advised passes through.

Newest NHL referee learned to skate in Saudi Arabia

Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 10:30 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The NHL's newest referee is a 31-year-old native of Albuquerque, N.M., who learned to skate in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Say what?

Meet Mark Lemelin, who worked his first NHL game Monday at Nassau Coliseum alongside veteran official Dennis LaRue and linesmen Greg Devorski and Brian Mach.

The NHL's newest referee, 31-year-old Mark Lemelin, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., learned to skate in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Getty Images)

"My dad was originally from Sherbrooke [Quebec] and we were hockey fans growing up," Lemelin told before the game between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. "But I actually learned how to skate in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [My dad] was over there in the military and then working for a U.S.-based communications company. I skated over in the king's rink in Riyadh."

Lemelin laughs as he retells the story because the reaction is always the same:

Huh, come again?

"That about covers it for now," he responds, smiling.

Lemelin started his professional career in the United States Hockey League. He jumped to the Central Hockey League in Texas before moving to Hartford to start working games in the American Hockey League three years ago.

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