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NHL Insider

'Young Guns' making a big impact in Dallas

Friday, 03.15.2013 / 12:35 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars signed veterans Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in July, pundits wondered about adding two players who had passed their 40th birthday.

As Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk explained, the Stars added Jagr, 41, and Whitney, 40, for what they could bring on the ice as well as in the room as veteran mentors for a mostly young roster.

After catching a glimpse late last season of prospects like defenseman Brenden Dillon, a defenseman signed out of the Western Hockey League in 2011, and wing Reilly Smith, a third-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Nieuwendyk wanted to see how they would handle significant NHL ice time. Later he added center Cody Eakin, acquired in a June trade with Washington for Mike Ribeiro, and defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the 14th pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, to that list.

Dillon, 22, who has been paired with veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas, has been rock solid. He hasn't missed a game and ranks fourth on Dallas in ice time at 20:17 per game.

Realignment meets positive reviews from players

Friday, 03.15.2013 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Less time on an airplane, fewer nights in a hotel, more days at home -- who wouldn't be in favor of all that?

National Hockey League players are no different than anyone else when it comes to the rigors of travel, so it's no surprise that the League's two-conference, four-division alignment plan that was approved by the Board of Governors on Thursday and will go into effect starting next season was met with positive reviews from many of the guys who will be most affected by the changes.

"I like … a lot of things about it," Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "It makes sense."

Sharks' Burns ready for second game as forward

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 6:10 PM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - Correspondent

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he was just trying to help "fix" his team's problems on offense when he moved defenseman Brent Burns to right wing Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Burns opened the game on the third line, scored his first goal of the season at 11:41 of the second period and jumped to the top line with Joe Thornton and Logan Couture before that period ended.

Burns will play on the top line with Thornton and Couture from the outset Thursday night at HP Pavilion when the Sharks face the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the first time this season.

Thornton considered that to be great news.

Anaheim catches Chicago and 11 other predictions

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

This truncated NHL season has provided plenty of surprises in the first half of the 2012-13 campaign, but there are also plenty of storylines that were probably expected.

How Chicago found its way to the top of the NHL standings may have been a surprise, but the Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins vying for a high playoff seed shouldn't shock anyone.

Now, trying to predict what is going to happen in the second half of this season is another matter. Injuries have played a huge part in where teams are in the standings, and to be certain some clubs will rise or fade based on health in the second half of March and in April.

With that caveat in mind, here are 12 predictions for the second half of the 2012-13 season:

Flyers need to find elusive answers quickly

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 11:57 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said he has run out of answers. His team is beginning to run out of time.

"To be honest, I have no idea what to say to you guys," Bryzgalov said to a gathering of reporters after the Flyers fell to the New Jersey Devils, 5-2, at Prudential Center on Wednesday. "Just tired [of] losing, tired [of] losing. I have no emotions right now, nothing to say to you. Just another disappointment."

There have been a lot of them this season, but perhaps none hit the Flyers harder than the one they experienced Wednesday night in the first game of a home-and-home set with the Devils that will conclude Friday in Philadelphia.

A look at 24 surprises during the season's first half

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

What's that saying again -- expect the unexpected?

Yup, that's it -- and that defines the National Hockey League on an almost nightly basis. This season has been no different.

While dissecting the current candidates for the various pieces of hardware and looking ahead to the April 3 trade deadline and the stretch run of a short season is what we normally do at the halfway point, it's only right also to look back at the biggest surprises of the season to date.

Here are 24 things you probably didn't see coming:

Continuing success vs. Flyers vital to Devils' season

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The winning feeling may have returned to the New Jersey Devils' dressing room at the perfect time.

The Philadelphia Flyers have become easy prey for the Devils of late and they are on the schedule for two games over the next three nights starting with the NBC Sports Network Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

New Jersey has won six in a row and eight of its past 10 games against Philadelphia, including both games this season and four straight in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season.

Bryzgalov: Flyers 'done' if they lose twice to Devils

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 5:01 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

How important for the Philadelphia Flyers is the upcoming home-and-home set against the New Jersey Devils?

According to Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, they're the two most crucial games of the season.

"You win both games and you're tied with them and you have a good chance to continue to battle for the playoffs," Bryzgalov told reporters after the team's practice Tuesday. "You lose both games, you're done. You're done. That's it. This is it. This is probably reality. You'd be eight points behind … and not many games to catch up. It would be very, very difficult. It's not going to depend on you [if you lose two], it's going to depend more on other teams than you. That's the importance of these games."

Doing less has resulted in more offense for Subban

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 4:33 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- A day after P.K. Subban signed a two-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 28, his teammates and coaches all went out of their way to mention how important it would be for the flamboyant young defenseman to try to fit in on a team that was off to a 3-1-0 start to the season.

Subban himself recognized he did not want to do anything to disrupt that early-season success, and from the time of his first game at home against the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 2, it was clear he was making a concerted effort not to do too much, to let the game come to him and resist the temptation to take off on the end-to-end rushes that had become his trademark and made him such a fan favorite in Montreal.

Simplifying his game and making the easy play are things two previous coaches had attempted in vain to get Subban to buy in to, but coach Michel Therrien and his staff appear to have succeeded where their predecessors failed, and the results have been impressive to behold.

Whitney return means more changes for Stars' lineup

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:50 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- Back in January, Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan talked about what he had learned from his rookie season behind an NHL bench, which ended with a 42-35-5 record and 89 points -- six out of a spot in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At the halfway point of a 48-game schedule, the Stars are 12-10-2 (26 points), and enter Tuesday's game against the Nashville Predators 10th in the Western Conference, but only two points behind the eighth-place St. Louis Blues.

One thing Gulutzan has had to contend with thus far is not having a number of key players on the ice at different points this season, whether it was Jamie Benn missing the first five games due to a contract dispute or losing key veteran newcomers Derek Roy or Ray Whitney to injuries.

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— Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who on Wednesday became the ninth Russian-born player, and ninth Red Wings player, to score 300 NHL goals
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