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2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Sabres will cherish trip to Europe

Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 5:22 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

BERLIN, Germany -- Sure, the four points that Buffalo takes home from Compuware NHL Premiere action are nice. But just as important are the memories the club will take home after its week-long journey through Germany and Finland.

The Sabres departed Europe for western New York about an hour after the final horn of Saturday's 4-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings at the O2 World Arena.

As the team boarded the bus for the airport to begin a long journey home and toward Friday's home opener against Carolina, the players and coaches had nothing but glowing things to say about the entire experience.

"I think the one only real tough part about coming over here is now we have to go back," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff.
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Ducks' third line looks solid in opener

Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 4:17 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- Anaheim's new-look third line only has two games together, but the trio looked like it had played together for much longer Saturday.

Andrew Cogliano scored the lone goal for the Ducks that was set up by linemates Andrew Gordon and Devante Smith-Pelly in the first period, and each of the trio played a key role in the team's excellent work on the penalty kill in a 2-1 shootout victory against the New York Rangers at Ericsson Globe Arena in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere.

Gordon and Smith-Pelly nearly got mixed up on a connection as they entered the offensive zone midway through the first period, but eventually Gordon corralled the puck in the right corner and sent it toward the slot. Cogliano was there waiting for it unmarked, and snapped the one-timer just under the crossbar and past New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist at 9:26 for his first of the season.
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Rangers' Tortorella comfortable with altered lines

Friday, 10.07.2011 / 6:02 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"There wasn't much going on early in the game and we were slowed by penalties. I thought we started to do some stuff in the third. We'll just build on that." -- Rangers' center Brad Richards on his line's performance Friday

STOCKHOLM -- John Tortorella understands the risk he's taking by borrowing from a line he trusts in order to make a line that potentially holds the keys to his future in New York work.

For one night at least, the coach feels comfortable with his decision.

Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov looked at ease playing with Ruslan Fedotenko instead of Brandon Dubinsky throughout the entire game against Los Angeles. They combined for the Rangers' first goal.

Dubinsky looked like he fit right in with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik on the top line. That group worked together to score the go-ahead goal in the third period.

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Kings' power play comes through in nick of time

Friday, 10.07.2011 / 4:39 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- After falling short too many times last season -- and too many times in regulation of Friday's game against the New York Rangers -- the Los Angeles Kings finally found success on the power play in overtime and rode it to a season-opening 3-2 victory.

Defenseman Jack Johnson got the goal in the final minute of overtime after Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made saves on Anze Kopitar's shot from the point and Mike Richards at the side of the net, but he couldn't stop Johnson as the Kings won at Globe Arena in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere opener for both teams.

The Kings were 0-for-4 on the man advantage in regulation.
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Pominville head of Buffalo's home-grown leadership

Friday, 10.07.2011 / 9:12 AM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jason Pominville
Right Wing - BUF
Goals: - | Assists: - | Pts: -
Shots: - | +/-: -
HELSINKI -- The "Residents of Pominville" have reason to rejoice before the season even begins.

Jason Pominville was named captain of the Buffalo Sabres at a private team function Thursday, one day before the team faces the Anaheim Ducks in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere at Hartwall Areena (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"I think it is a great honor. I think it is going to be a good challenge, and I'm up to the task. I'm definitely excited about it," Pominville said. "I think you have a lot of different type of characters on the team, and I'm not the only guy who is going to step up and say things. I think I might be more of a 1-on-1 guy, just kind of going up to the guy and talking to him.
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Coaching called Numminen back into the game

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 3:19 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Risto Pakarinen - NHL.com Correspondent

"He's going to be the guy upstairs on the headset. In the past we've had various people fill that role and now we're going to have a full-time assistant do it. His role is going to be helping out on the player-development side with the younger defensemen." -- Lindy Ruff

HELSINKI -- It's often said that star players never make good coaches, that it's the mediocre players who still have something to prove that make the best bench bosses.

However, there are exceptions -- very successful players, like the Buffalo Sabres' new assistant coach Teppo Numminen, who have no problem switching one role to the other.

When he skates around, talking to the players in practice, he looks like the right man in the right place, a man doing what he loves.

"I'm here to help the players and be somebody for them to talk to, and maybe get them a cup of coffee every once in a while," he said jokingly, downplaying his role.
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Kings excited to see how new-look team fares

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 3:07 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

STOCKHOLM -- The Los Angeles Kings might not know where they are at times on this European trip, but they do know they are ready to start the 2011-12 NHL regular season -- one they believe could be among the most successful in franchise history.

"I'm not kidding, it feels like midseason," veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell told NHL.com after the Kings' 75-minute practice Thursday, their final on-ice workout of the 2011 preseason. The club begins the regular season here at Globe Arena with a 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game Friday against the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN).

The Kings made some major moves this summer -- most notably adding Mike Richards and Simon Gagne to the forward ranks -- with the hopes of becoming more of a player in the Western Conference. Much of the preseason, which included an earlier stop in Hamburg, Germany, was spent trying to mesh the newcomers into the fold.
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Ducks' Hiller healthy and ready for season

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 12:10 PM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

HELSINKI -- Every player on the Anaheim Ducks roster has his reasons for being excited for the start of the new season.

"Having something which nobody can put a finger and there were days where you feel like, 'Well, it doesn't hurt and nobody knows what it is, so it has to be better, right?' At the same time I felt like I wasn't moving anywhere and it was frustrating, especially because I am normally such a competitive guy and it was something that I could just push, push, push -- that had the opposite effect and I had to give myself time and back off. That was a tough situation."
-- Jonas Hiller

Devante Smith-Pelly and Maxime Macenauer will fulfill a dream by making their NHL debuts. Andrew Gordon and Andrew Cogliano will play for the Ducks for the first time. And of course there are the two Finns, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, who will play an NHL game in their home country.

But one player who might be anticipating the start of the 2011-12 season with the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere more than all of them is goaltender Jonas Hiller. Hiller has not played in a game since March 24, and not finished one since Feb. 13 because of … well, even to this day no one really is sure why.

Hiller played just three games after the All-Star break because of vertigo-like symptoms, but never officially was diagnosed with anything.
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Erixon's week could end with NHL debut in Sweden

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 9:56 AM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Tim Erixon could make his NHL debut with the Rangers in his home country Sweden. (Getty Images)
STOCKHOLM -- Imagine Tim Erixon's emotions the last six days.

Last Saturday, Erixon, a 20-year-old Swede, was told by New York Rangers coach John Tortorella that he wasn't ready to play in the NHL, that he needed time to learn the North American game and was going to start the season in the American Hockey League.

A day later, Erixon was on a flight to Hartford to join the Connecticut Whale.

Now he's back in Sweden after making his third trans-Atlantic trip in 10 days, and he could make his NHL debut for the Rangers in their regular season-opener Friday against the Los Angeles Kings (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN) here at Ericsson Globe Arena, the most notable hockey rink in his home country.

"It feels surreal," said Erixon, who was born in Port Chester, N.Y., but grew up in Skelleftea, which is in the northwest part of Sweden, about an eight-hour drive from Stockholm. "It'll be a great feeling."
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Lundqvist focused on starting season in right way

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 9:53 AM / 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"It's so different for me to go to Gothenburg. … Now I'm so focused on getting my game going and helping the team to win that I don't focus on the overall experience like it was last week. Now it's about doing your job. I remember this feeling and it's coming over me more and more." -- Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundqvist

STOCKHOLM -- Wojtek Wolski fired a high shot toward the end of Thursday's practice that drilled Henrik Lundqvist in the right shoulder, knocking the goalie to his knees.

Clearly OK but still in pain, Lundqvist easily could have called it a day right then. There was no reason for him to face another shot after seeing what had to be over 100 during the 90-minute workout.

He didn't care. Lundqvist motioned to goalie coach Benoit Allaire, who was passing the puck to Wolski and the rest of the shooters, telling him to the other side of the ice so they could continue the drill.

He stopped four more shots before skating away from the crease and eventually off the ice.
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Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com