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2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Sharks, Jackets got most out of Stockholm trip

Sunday, 10.10.2010 / 4:50 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- To participate in the Compuware NHL Premiere Series, players and coaches have to spend nearly two weeks of their lives in Europe away from friends, family and the comforts of home.

A combined 10 days in Germany and Sweden may sound like a dream vacation for some, but it was practically all business for the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets. On top of the day-to-day rigors of practicing and the stress of traveling across the world and adjusting to a drastic change in time zones, players are asked to be ambassadors for the League. There are autograph sessions, trips to hospitals and a lot more media requests for those who are returning for an NHL game in their home countries.

It's an awful lot of excess work even before the Sharks and Jackets played back-to-back regular-season games for valuable points in the standings. But after San Jose's 3-2 victory Friday and Columbus' 3-2 overtime win Saturday, players on both sides said they wouldn't have traded their overseas experience for anything.

Power play clicking early on for Sharks

Saturday, 10.09.2010 / 8:43 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- It's just two games, but the San Jose Sharks have every reason to be excited about their power play.

Even-strength play -- what little there was of it during their two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets in their 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere Series -- was the difference between coming away with four points instead of three. The Sharks had just one goal at 5-on-5, but were 4-for-14 with the man-advantage against the Jackets.

Richards happier with Wild's play in second game

Saturday, 10.09.2010 / 12:42 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

HELSINKI -- Was Minnesota coach Todd Richards happy?

Good question, because it was hard to tell after Friday's 2-1 shootout loss to Carolina at Hartwall Arena, the final game of the Helsinki portion of the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere.

"This is absolutely the way we need to play," Richards said.

Early travel doesn't get any easier for Hurricanes

Saturday, 10.09.2010 / 12:30 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

HELSINKI -- Cam Ward cracked up.

Eric Staal shook his head.

Joe Corvo? Well, he still just can't believe it.

"No, it is ridiculous," Corvo told when the topic of the Hurricanes' schedule upon their return from Finland was brought up. "From the start here (in Helsinki) to the West Coast trip and then to starting at home against Washington and Pittsburgh, it's just like, how much can you guys handle in one month?

Coyotes and Bruins happy play time is over

Friday, 10.08.2010 / 10:00 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PRAGUE -- Tourist season is over here, at least as far as the NHL goes.

Friday saw the Phoenix Coyotes and Boston Bruins conduct their last practices of the preseason in preparation for the start of the 2010-11 season.

Saturday will see the first of two 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere games at the O2 Arena here (Noon ET, TSN, VERSUS), as both teams will start their seasons looking to better their fortunes from 2009-10.
"Serious stuff going on now," Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov told after Friday's practice. "The joke is over. This is what it is all about. The race has begun."

Niemi helps Sharks get off to good start

Friday, 10.08.2010 / 9:20 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Risto Pakarinen - Correspondent

STOCKHOLM -- The San Jose Sharks brought in Antti Niemi to play the way he did last spring, when he helped the Chicago Blackhawks sweep them on the way to winning the Stanley Cup.

That's exactly what he did Friday, making 30 saves as the Sharks won their season debut by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Friday in the first of two games in the Compuware NHL Premiere series at the Globe Arena.

Niemi looked a lot like the goaltender who shut down the Sharks as the Hawks swept the Western Conference Semifinals. Still, he played down his contribution.

"The most important thing was the win, but for me personally, it was great to get the win in my first game with my new team so that I don't have to worry about that," Niemi said.

Columbus takes solace in hard work

Friday, 10.08.2010 / 8:52 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Risto Pakarinen - Correspondent

STOCKHOLM -- The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't get the win they wanted, but there's another W-word that describes their regular season opener very well: Work. The Blue Jackets worked hard, and worked all game, but the San Jose Sharks' two power play goals, and Antti Niemi's solid goaltending were too much.

"San Jose is a good team, we just have to keep them off power play. They have a lot of talent, but if we do that, we have a chance," defenseman Mike Commodore said after Friday's 3-2 loss in their Compuware NHL Premiere game.

Murray's smarts and skills help Sharks beat Jackets

Friday, 10.08.2010 / 8:06 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- A degree from Cornell doesn't necessarily mean anything in the world of professional hockey. But one intelligent play by San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray made it seem he aced a course in anger management during his time at the Ivy League school.

Murray, a native of Bromma, Sweden, made his presence felt against the Columbus Blue Jackets right away Friday night. With the Sharks attacking midway through the first period, the puck slid up the wall and threatened to escape the zone as it came toward Jackets bruiser Derek Dorsett. Murray pinched and drilled Dorsett with a clean hit that kept the puck in the zone.

It also had a secondary benefit that meant more for the Sharks.

Ekman-Larsson's skills impressing Coyotes

Friday, 10.08.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

"He has good hockey sense and his skating and skills are real solid. I wouldn't say there is one real area where he is outstanding, but he has a real lot of poise about him for a young defenseman."
-- Dave Tippett, on Oliver Ekman-Larsson

PRAGUE -- For the Phoenix Coyotes, age certainly is in the eye of the beholder.

Where outsiders look upon defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and see a rail-thin teenager in his first NHL training camp, the Coyotes see a mature-beyond-his-years, NHL-ready defenseman.

That's why the soft-spoken 19-year-old Swede, the sixth pick of the 2009 Entry Draft, has broken training camp with the Coyotes and will make his NHL debut Saturday against the Boston Bruins (Noon ET, VERSUS, TSN, NESN) in the first of two 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere Games at O2 Arena here.

Start to Finn-ish with Rosen

Friday, 10.08.2010 / 7:16 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Draws, Dwyer, Defense and Dad
10.8.2010 / 7:16 AM ET

The Wild might not have picked up a point in the first game of the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere series, but it wasn't because they didn't have the puck. Minnesota went 52-33 in the circle with Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen combining to go 40-21.

No, it didn't translate into enough goals to win the game, but it still was impressive enough to be a topic after Friday's optional morning skate.

"We have some good centerman that take pride in the faceoff circle," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "I had Mikko last year so I know what Mikko can do and with Kyle (Brodziak) it gives me a good right-left combination. Then we had a (John) Madden and a (Matt) Cullen and you look at where they have been at in their careers so it just adds to our having success in the faceoff circle."
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