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NHL Insider

At last, Devils have stability behind bench in DeBoer

Wednesday, 06.13.2012 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Of the many difficult decisions New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello will have to make this offseason, replacing the man behind the bench is not one of them for a change.

When Peter DeBoer was hired by the Devils last summer, it marked the team's seventh head coach in seven seasons -- certainly no formula for maintaining some order of continuity and consistency.

But DeBoer made changes for the better. He stressed the importance of puck battles and playing as a five-man unit, how to frustrate the opposition with a relentless forecheck, and outnumbering your opponent to loose pucks all over the ice.

The players bought in and came within two victories of claiming the organization's first Stanley Cup in nine years.


Despite end, Kovy had 'most successful season'

Wednesday, 06.13.2012 / 2:51 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ilya Kovalchuk turned out to be everything you would expect of a world-class athlete in the second season of the 15-year, $100 million contract he signed in September 2010.

"In my NHL career, it was the most successful season for me and I'll take a lot of good things from the year and move on. You got to lose before you win something big. Hopefully this will help and we'll be even stronger next year."
-- Ilya Kovalchuk

But there's no denying the fact a lower-body injury that Kovalchuk aggravated at some point in his team's opening-round playoff win against the Florida Panthers took its toll in the end.

"I don't have the exact answer [to how limited Kovalchuk was], but I can tell you he was quite a bit under 100 percent," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said Wednesday. "I could tell you that, but I can't give you [an exact percentage]. A back injury is not like a broken bone where you have a handle on it … he wasn't close to 100 percent."

Kovalchuk, DeBoer and the rest of the team discussed the season that was Wednesday at Prudential Center during the team's breakup day. It will be a long two months of reflection on what could have been.

Still, it was a season Kovalchuk admitted he never will forget.


Lamoriello, Leiweke discuss Final on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 7:50 PM / NHL Insider

Although the Los Angeles Kings spent Thursday traveling back across the country instead of celebrating the franchise's first Stanley Cup in 45 years, team governor Tim Leiweke was looking on the bright side that the team still held a 3-1 series lead following a Game 4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

"We always thought this was going to be not only a competitive series, but we'd be lucky if we won," Leiweke said. "The series is turning out the way we thought it would, which is it could just as easily be 3-1 Jersey. They are here because they earned it, and we have huge respect -- and in fact the very essence of the Kings hockey operations is largely patterned after the lessons that [Devils general manager] Lou Lamoriello was generous enough to share with me when I was a younger lad than I am today."


Roy appreciative of chance to interview with Habs

Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 4:07 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Patrick Roy said he had a three-hour meeting with Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin in Miami and a phone conversation with assistant general manager Rick Dudley to discuss the possibility of becoming his former team's new coach, but that it never progressed any further than that.

Roy, speaking to reporters Wednesday in Quebec City, also denied the widespread rumors that he had demanded Bergevin allow him some say on player personnel as a prerequisite for him taking the coaching job.

"None," Roy said when asked what demands he made. "People were saying I wanted a veto on the draft. I don't know the players, and I'm not going to start traveling all over Western Canada and Ontario to watch these players. Even at the junior level, 90 percent of the decisions are made by our scouts. … So I can safely say that if I was coach of the Montreal Canadiens I wouldn't start meddling in the NHL Draft. It's the same process when it comes to trades."

Roy was speaking one day after Michel Therrien was named coach of the Canadiens after a month-long search.


Therrien can hit the ground running with Canadiens

Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 7:36 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. – When a coach takes over a new team, often times he can avoid answering specific questions about the changes that need to be made by saying he hasn't seen his new team often enough.

Michel Therrien didn't have that luxury when he was named coach of the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Through his work as an analyst for RDS the past year, Therrien very closely watched the Canadiens and picked their games apart on the all-sports network's post-game show.

The one thing that appears to have jumped out to Therrien from the Canadiens' 2011-12 season -- where they finished 28th overall in the NHL standings -- was an unwillingness to work.

"I want to give this team a work ethic, a level of discipline that will be exemplary," Therrien said in his opening statement at Tuesday's press conference. "I want fans to be proud to come to the Bell Centre and cheer on a team that works hard."


Matthew Perry talks Kings on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 8:08 PM / NHL Insider

The Los Angeles Kings might want to think about reserving a seat at Staples Center for actor Matthew Perry in future seasons.

"I have had season seats to the Los Angeles Kings twice in my life -- this year and 1993," Perry said during an appearance Thursday night on "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman."

Of course, 1993 was the only season prior to the current one when the Kings reached the Stanley Cup Final, so Perry would seem to be something of a good luck charm.


Lidstrom discusses his retirement on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 7:24 PM / NHL Insider

As part of a hectic Thursday that started at Joe Louis Arena, where he announced his retirement after two decades playing for the Detroit Red Wings, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom appeared on the "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman," where he was praised for all he has contributed to the League over the years.

"First of all, congratulations on a spectacular career," Bettman said. "Thank you for all the thrills you've given us. Thank you for the classy, terrific way you've always represented our League and our game and the Red Wings."

Lidstrom, a seven-time winner of the Norris Trophy and a four-time Stanley Cup champion, reiterated some of the comments he made at his news conference earlier in the day about coming to the conclusion that he didn't have the same drive necessary to continue playing at an elite level.


Zetterberg, Kronwall, Datsyuk top candidates for 'C'

Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 6:37 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The question has been kicked around a few times before, but now that Nicklas Lidstrom has made his retirement official it's time for the Detroit Red Wings to think about the answer for real.

Who will be wearing the captain's "C" on his sweater when the 2012-13 season begins?

Lidstrom wore it for six seasons, starting in 2007 after he inherited it from fellow Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman -- who retired after the 2006 season. Yzerman wore it for 22 seasons, so between the two the "C" has only been worn by two Wings in almost the past 30 years.

It's become a pretty big deal in Motown, and by the sounds of it there are three candidates -- all of whom are currently alternate captains. Henrik Zetterberg is the favorite for many speculators, while Niklas Kronwall is thought to be another strong candidate with dazzling center Pavel Datsyuk in the mix, as well.


Lidstrom tributes pour in on Twitter

Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 12:44 PM / NHL Insider

There aren't many NHL players more universally respected than Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

So when the 20-year veteran announced his retirement Thursday morning, the NHL fraternity immediately began flooding the Twitterverse with their personal tributes to a player who walked away less than a year after winning his seventh Norris Trophy as the League's best defenseman, second all-time behind Bobby Orr's eight. It's part of an incredible mantle that includes four Stanley Cup wins, an Olympic Gold medal, a world championship, and 1,142 NHL points.

But when it came time for Lidstrom's NHL peers to send off the future Hall of Famer, the discussion wasn't about stats but about the class, respect, and dignity exhibited by one of hockey's all-time great.

Here are some of the player tributes that appeared on Twitter immediately after Lidstrom announced his retirement:


Larionov: Lidstrom 'set the example' for rest of NHL

Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 12:11 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov was overcome with emotion on Thursday morning when asked here at the Westin Bristol Place hotel about the playing career of former Detroit Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom.

But a bloodshot Larionov, who teamed with Lidstrom for eight seasons in Detroit, certainly found the right words when discussing his good friend and his decision to retire from the game following two glorious decades.

"He set the example for the young guys and everyone in the League on how to behave on and off the ice and how to play the game," Larionov told "It's not just muscle and toughness, but smarts, and that's what he brought each and every night."

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