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NHL Insider

Special blankets will star as Craig makes ice in L.A.

Monday, 05.06.2013 / 5:36 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

A common response from people when they hear about the National Hockey League planning an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles is, "Won't the ice melt?"

It won't, promises Dan Craig, the NHL's Senior Director of Facilities Operations. The reason: reflective insulated blankets.

Those blankets and the refrigeration truck parked outside the stadium will be Craig's best friends when he and his crew of 10-plus members build the rink for the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series game between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, set for Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium (10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. PT).

"When the sun comes up in the morning we will put reflective insulated blankets on top of the surface," Craig told "When the sun goes down, we remove the blankets and then we will continue to make ice overnight."

Golden era: Hockey flourishing in California

Monday, 05.06.2013 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Now that the NHL announced Monday that outdoor hockey would be coming to Dodger Stadium in January, fans in Southern California can pay tribute to the Los Angeles Kings and California Seals, each of whom played their part in bringing the game to the area in 1967.

But it can also be said that hockey really didn't arrive in "The Golden State" until the summer of 1988 with Wayne Gretzky's arrival to the Kings via a trade with the Edmonton Oilers.

In their first season with Gretzky in 1988-89, the Kings improved from 68 points to 91, and won a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time since 1982. In 1990-91, they won the only division title in club history and finished with 102 points. Two seasons later, they had their unforgettable run to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final.

It's no act: Lipton witness to Rangers history

Friday, 05.03.2013 / 8:05 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

James Lipton, the celebrated host and executive producer of Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio," is a man of many tastes. He's primarily known as dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City. But he's also an accomplished equestrian and pilot who has been known to enjoy travel and countless other activities.

And when he engages in most of these activities, he just so happens to have a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame by his side.

"I met Rod [Gilbert]… I don't even remember, it goes back so far. We spend a lot of time together, out in the Hamptons, here in New York, at the games," Lipton said of the Rangers legend. "We do a lot of things together. He's one of my best friends."

Gilbert is one of the iconic former Rangers to have befriended Lipton over the years. Through friendships with Ron Duguay and Mark Messier, Lipton has shared a unique link to Rangers history. For the 86-year-old who grew up playing hockey in Detroit, it's a dream to have been present for many of the team's most memorable moments.

Blackhawks excited for Soldier Field game

Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – Once hockey players become focused on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's hard for them to think about anything other than the next game in a series.

It takes something out of the ordinary to break their singular focus, even for a second. But the NHL  did that Wednesday morning for players, coaches and fans of the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The League confirmed those teams will play outdoors next season at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Soldier Field, which opened in 1924 and is home to the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. The event is part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, in which the NHL plans to play a number of regular season games in outdoor venues during the 2013-14 season.

"It's a great experience," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who rates coaching the Blackhawks in the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field as one of his favorite moments in professional hockey. "You go back to when we were at Wrigley and I think everybody had the time of their lives. It's a special game. Once we get into that season, you really anticipate it and look forward to it."

Season in review: Streaks, trades, and a new-look NHL

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 9:24 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The 2012-13 NHL regular season will be remembered for its 48-game schedule, a historic streak, some wild trades, several key injuries, intriguing playoff races and a frantic finish on the final weekend.

Here's a look at the 13 storylines that made 2012-13 memorable:

Streak, Presidents' Trophy for historic Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks went half the season without a regulation loss. Granted it was a shortened schedule, but their streak of 24 straight games with at least one point to start the season shattered the previous mark of 16, set by the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07.

The Blackhawks were 21-0-3 before the Colorado Avalanche handed them their first regulation loss. Chicago wound up running away with the Presidents' Trophy, finishing with 77 points, five more than the Pittsburgh Penguins, who couldn't catch the Blackhawks despite going 23-4-0 during their final 27 games.

Lightning's St. Louis in line to win Ross Trophy

Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 11:46 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

TAMPA -- With a goal and an assist Saturday, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis likely nailed down his second NHL scoring title.

If/when the Art Ross Trophy, signifying the top scorer, is awarded to St. Louis, it will come with a few very significant "firsts."

At 37, St. Louis would become the oldest player to win the award, and it would mark the longest gap between wins of any player. Nine years have elapsed since St. Louis won the title for the first time, in 2003-04. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup that season.

In addition to the historic award, St. Louis continues to gather accolades from his teammates and opponents.

In addition to the historic award, St. Louis, who finished with 17 goals and 43 assists for 60 points in the 48-game season, continues to gather accolades from his teammates and opponents.

"It's incredible what St. Louis is doing," Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier said. "Age is just a number and it doesn't slow him down. He's ahead of the game all the time. A great player."

Future of Miller, Vanek focus of Sabres offseason

Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 2:13 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Ryndak - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Ryan Miller left the ice from his 500th NHL game Friday to cheers and chants of his name by an arena full of fans. Saturday morning, the 32-year-old goaltender was cleaning out his stall in the Buffalo Sabres dressing room for what could be the final time.

As a disappointing season ends for the Sabres, a summer of change could be on the way.

General manager Darcy Regier would not use the term "rebuilding" at the NHL Trade Deadline, but he is trying to change the structure of the roster so the franchise is in position to become a perennial Stanley Cup contender.

That could mean trading away veteran leaders Miller and alternate captain Thomas Vanek. They each have one year remaining on his contract.

Maple Leafs juggle roster as playoffs near

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 5:37 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- There is no question the physical contribution of tough guys Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren played a significant role in the Toronto Maple Leafs making the playoffs this season.

The hulking Winnipeg natives made Toronto one of the toughest teams to play against. But do two players who are best known for their pugilistic skills have what it takes to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

That's just one of the questions facing Toronto coach Randy Carlyle as he prepares his club to participate in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Carlyle must also decide which six of the eight defensemen the team carries will dress.

Wild playoff math simple: Win and get in

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Breaking down playoff scenarios this time of year sometimes can get confusing.

But for the Minnesota Wild, who haven't been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2008, getting there this season can't be any simpler: Win on Friday against the Edmonton Oilers and they're in.

History would indicate Minnesota has a reasonably solid chance of becoming the seventh team in the Western Conference to clinch a postseason berth. The Wild have won 19 of their past 20 games against the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center. Niklas Backstrom, expected to get the start in goal for Minnesota, never has lost to Edmonton at home.

No shocker, Karlsson dazzles in return to ice

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 1:52 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean met with reporters Thursday after the team's morning skate to announce the return of defenseman Erik Karlsson, he said the plan would be for him to play 35 minutes and be named the First Star of the game.

Erik Karlsson
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 12
SOG: 71 | +/-: 7
After Karlsson's performance Thursday against the Washington Capitals, MacLean should invest in lottery tickets.

Expected to need four to six months to recover from surgery to repair a 70-percent tear of the Achilles tendon in his left leg sustained during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 13, Karlsson hit the ice 10 weeks to the day after the operation and looked like he never missed a beat.

Playing a game-high 27:11, Karlsson had the primary assists on both Senators goals in a 2-1 overtime win that allowed the team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His eight shots on goal were more than any player who skated in one of the 11 games played Thursday.

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