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Maple Leafs recall defenseman Brennan from AHL

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 10:59 AM / News

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that defenseman TJ Brennan has been recalled from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

Brennan, 25, has skated in five regular season games with the Toronto Marlies this season, collecting one assist. Prior to being acquired from Chicago on February 25, Brennan registered 36 points (nine goals, 27 assists) and 59 penalty minutes in 54 regular season games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks). Brennan has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 40 career NHL games between Buffalo and Florida.


Islanders' Leddy will miss at least two weeks: report

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 10:43 AM / News

New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy will be out at least two weeks because of an upper-body injury, according to Newsday.

Leddy was injured during the second period of the Islanders' game Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he did not play Tuesday against the New York Rangers. That absence ended Leddy's streak of 320 consecutive games played.

"He was missed, of course, but we have guys who have been out of the lineup who are more than capable," Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, Leddy's defense partner, said Tuesday, according to Newsday. "He's missed but I thought we did a good job."


Bruins' Eriksson hears criticism, sticks to his game

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Out of his Boston Bruins uniform and equipment, forward Loui Eriksson walks through the dressing room and strikes a figure more reminiscent of Stefan Edberg than Terry O'Reilly.

At 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, Eriksson might be a few pounds shy of qualifying as a "big, bad Bruin." But one look at his coat-hanger shoulders and lanky legs completely rules out any chance that Eriksson can rival O'Reilly, Cam Neely or even teammate Milan Lucic in terms of punishing physicality and the stereotype that has characterized the ideal Bruins player for more than 90 years.

Eriksson is not built to punish opposing defensemen on the forecheck or staple combatants to the glass in the corners. That doesn't mean he can't use other means to be effective and make himself invaluable to the Bruins.

Obviously he has found a way during his second season to increase his importance to Boston's fortunes; after 66 games he leads all Bruins forwards in average ice time at 18:19.

Eriksson has played in all but one of the Bruins' games and he has 17 goals and 39 points, seven goals and two points more than he had in 61 games last season. His 2.7 shot attempts relative (SAT Rel) ranks fifth among Boston's forwards. Eriksson's bounce-back sophomore season continues when the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA, SN360, SUN, NESN).

"That's not really been my game," the soft-spoken Eriksson said about the bruising approach many Bruins stars have taken to the sport over the years. "I've always been trying to have a good stick and try to take away pucks from other guys. That's how I've been playing ever since I came over and [began] playing in the NHL. I don't think it'll change in that way."


Unmasked: Lessons learned letting Lack succeed

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack, the mantra "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is more than a cliché or the lyrics of a pop song by Kelly Clarkson.

Lack has lived the lesson behind those words. Last season, he survived an all-out attack on his game and faced a litany of doubters about his ability to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL. Neither was likely the intention of coach John Tortorella, but instead the result of Lack being thrown into the fire by starting 19 consecutive games during a 41-day span after Roberto Luongo was sent to the Florida Panthers prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

The heavy workload, combined with the fact Lack was a little more than one year removed from major hip surgery, caused his body and his game to disintegrate. His save percentage, which was .925 when the streak started Feb. 26, dropped to .900. When the streak ended with a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on April 7, Lack was too tired and too sore to accept an invitation to represent Sweden at the IIHF World Championship.


Wheat Kings' Provorov proving self in North America

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Defenseman Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League has been described by teammates as a breakout machine.

The 6-foot, 191-pound native of Yaroslavl, Russia, has lived up to that billing in his first WHL season.

"He's good in all aspects of the game," defense partner Ryan Pilon said. "He can take the body and score some highlight-reel goals."

Provorov isn't your typical one-year wonder from Russia having success in North America.


Around the League notebook: Wednesday, March 11

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 1:30 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


J.T. Miller scored the eventual game-winning goal at 16:34 of the first period and Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots, including a goal-line glove save on Nicklas Backstrom, to guide the New York Rangers past the Washington Capitals and to a 12-1-3 record in their past 16 outings, including three straight wins.

* With the victory, the Rangers (42-17-7, 91 points) leapfrogged the idle New York Islanders (43-22-4, 90 points) into first place in the Metropolitan Division and past the idle Montreal Canadiens (42-18-7, 91 points) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and entire NHL, where the top seven teams remain separated by two points.

* The Rangers have won their past three meetings with the Capitals – including two contests this season, and are 11-4-1 in their past 16 regular-season games dating to Dec. 12, 2010. They will play twice more this season on March 29 at NYR and April 11 at WSH.


Roberts to work with new sports performance center

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 5:00 PM / News

Former NHL player Gary Roberts announced plans Wednesday for a familiar role of off-ice instruction in his return to Pennsylvania.

He will be the coordinator of the Sports Performance Center at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pa.

Since his NHL retirement in 2009, Roberts, 48, has been on a mission to make sure hockey players maintain a structured workout regimen away from the rink. He aided many of the NHL elite at his personal training center in Toronto the past seven years and will try to offer a similar philosophy at the 185,000 square foot center scheduled to open in August.

Roberts, who seven years ago played in the Stanley Cup Final with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will coordinate, lead and work at the Sports Performance Center. He'll work with youth hockey players and other athletes, and consult with the full-time UPMC staff.

"I love the city and the fans of Pittsburgh," Roberts said in a statement. "These are philosophies I honed during my career and afterward. I'm thrilled to team up with UPMC to bring philosophies and programs that we've put in place to train, develop and mentor athletes from the youth levels all the way to the professional ranks."


Blues' Shattenkirk on track in recovery from surgery

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:34 PM / News

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Shattenkirk admitted the play was rather innocent.

But on that Feb. 1 day against the Washington Capitals, once the St. Louis Blues defenseman received MRI results, the diagnosis was cut and dry.

Shattenkirk, who has missed the Blues' past 17 games after having abdominal surgery, spoke to reporters for the first time since the injury Tuesday. He resumed skating with defenseman Zbynek Michalek (concussion), and though Shattenkirk's status remains week-to-week, the recovery seems to be progressing.

The Blues have gone 10-6-1 in Shattenkirk's absence.

"They've felt good," Shattenkirk said of the recent skates. "I guess about a week ago now, the scar tissue released and that kind of spooked me a little bit. They say if that happens, just take some time, take a day off, let it rest and it's going to feel better, and it has. The groin is still something that I need to work on and strengthen, and then once that gets back, hopefully I can jump into real team practices and then get my conditioning back and ready for games."


Panthers' Luongo won't return Thursday: report

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo will miss a third straight game Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets, according to the Miami Herald.

Luongo sustained a shoulder injury March 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He left the game but later returned after backup Al Montoya sustained a groin injury that has him out for several weeks.


Fantasy top 60 'D': Flames' Russell in high-profile role

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

The Calgary Flames are in the middle of a rebuild, but that didn't stop them from becoming one of the best stories of the season. Their situation dimmed a bit when the face of that success, Mark Giordano, was lost for the remainder of the season after surgery to have a biceps injury repaired, but they aren't done yet, managing a 3-1-1 record without their captain.

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final