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NHL Insider

Stamkos calls loss to Rangers 'embarrassing'

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 11:36 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Steven Stamkos' frustrations were already building before he got to New York City. The effort he witnessed from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden sent him over the edge.

Stamkos pulled no punches with his comments about the way his team played in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers, its third straight defeat, fourth in the past five games and ninth in regulation over the past 13 games.

The Lightning were outshot 20-3 in the first period, 35-11 after two and 42-25 overall.

"It's embarrassing, the first 20 minutes," Stamkos told seconds after tossing the final scoresheet out of his hands. "I mean, 20-3 in shots, we need to wake up. There's really nothing else. Our goalie kept us in the game, thank God, but it's embarrassing."

Staal felt he traded one 'brother' for another

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 4:13 PM / NHL Insider

Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent

Jordan Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 15
SOG: 46 | +/-: -3

RALEIGH, N.C. -- When Jordan Staal and Brandon Sutter were traded for one another in June, it was Staal who drew most of the attention.

After all, the Pittsburgh Penguins center was about to join his brother, Eric, with the Carolina Hurricanes, setting up a solid one-two punch down the middle of the lineup. The trade also occurred on Jordan's wedding day, adding a bit of the surreal to an exciting story line.

Sutter's move to Pittsburgh, on the other hand, didn't cause quite so many ripples. It became a secondary story played out quietly. But while Eric was thrilled to welcome his brother to Carolina, he was disappointed it came at the expense of his "other" brother.

Hartnell's return gives boost to Flyers' top line

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 12:01 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Scott Hartnell clutched his black mesh laundry bag tightly in his hands as he swayed back and forth while backtracking toward the exit of the Philadelphia Flyers dressing room. He smiled, said three quick words -- "Everybody plays hard" -- and bolted through the back door.

Scott Hartnell
Left Wing - PHI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 4
SOG: 21 | +/-: 1
After talking to the media for approximately five minutes following Philadelphia's 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Hartnell simply didn't want to answer the last question -- and it's hard to blame him.

Hockey players don't typically like talking about how much they mean to their team, about how much they're worth, about how much the team misses them when they aren't in the lineup.

That's what was facing Hartnell late Wednesday night and he wanted no part of it.

The rest of the Flyers? They had no problem answering for Hartnell after a game in which he was front and center on the team's first two goals and played nearly 15 energetic, emotional, solid minutes.

Injuries leave Hitchcock's Blues in scramble mode

Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 6:52 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Two days ago, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock would have said playing the Chicago Blackhawks is the exact challenge his team needs right now.

A statement like that would have had merit too. The Blues have gotten back to playing the type of hockey that was good enough for 109 points last season, the type of hockey that might be good enough to stop the Blackhawks' record-setting streak of 19 consecutive games with a point to start the season.

But then Andy McDonald and Alex Steen were both injured during practice Tuesday and Hitchcock's plan for conquering the challenge he has eagerly anticipated blew up.

McDonald is listed as week-to-week with a knee injury and Steen (shoulder) is day-to-day. The Blues, who are also playing without rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, have recalled Andrew Murray and Adam Cracknell from Peoria of the American Hockey League.

What they're saying about the Blackhawks

Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 6:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The record jumps off the page.



In an era ripe with parity created by a salary-cap system that has helped crown seven different Stanley Cup champions and enabled 29 of the 30 teams to make the playoffs since 2006, the fact the Chicago Blackhawks still don't have a regulation loss this season defies what we have come to view as logic in the National Hockey League.

Yet winning, or at least pushing the game beyond 60 minutes, has become normal for the Blackhawks. It's almost expected of them.

Why is that? Why have the Blackhawks been able to do something at the start of a season that no other team in NHL history has done? Why are they entering Thursday's game at the St. Louis Blues with a chance to stretch their record for most consecutive games to start a season with a point to 20 games?

We asked around the League and got a variety of answers to the following question:

"What do you see when you watch the Blackhawks play?"

Return to roots has Ryder excited for future

Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 3:16 PM / NHL Insider

Neil Acharya - Correspondent

TORONTO -- What once was old is new again for forward Michael Ryder.

Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1998, Ryder, 32, has returned for a second stint after being traded by the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Ryder, who spent his first four seasons with the Canadiens, reflected on how things have changed since he departed from Montreal and signed with the Boston Bruins in 2008.

"As you go around the League, you learn a lot of things and experience is a big thing," Ryder said. "I've been through a lot, won [the Stanley Cup] in Boston, then I went to Dallas -- [I'm] just trying to bring some experience to the young guys here and try to help everyone as much as I can."

Kings find success in a return to team basics

Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 10:50 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Ron Hextall couldn't have been any clearer as he cut straight to the heart of what has already happened to the Los Angeles Kings in just 17 games.

"We got smacked and we woke up," Hextall, the Kings assistant general manager, told

Succinct. Honest. True.

The Kings don't want to talk about the Stanley Cup hangover, but for the first 10 games this season their play was inconsistent, somewhat erratic. They struggled to move the puck around the ice and keep it out of their net. They struggled to come down from the top of the mountain and start again as the equal to 29 other teams.

"The whole team is back and they were Stanley Cup champions," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. "Becoming emotionally attached again I think is a difficult thing."

But not impossible.

Tavares emerging as a star on Long Island

Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Statistically speaking, John Tavares had one of the better games of his career against the Washington Capitals on March 13, 2012.

The 21-year-old was on the ice for all four goals scored by the New York Islanders that night. He scored twice, assisted on another and delivered a shootout goal while winning 11 of 17 faceoffs and holding his own against NHL mega-star Alex Ovechkin at Nassau Coliseum.

Tavares played 23:07 and wasn't on the ice for a single goal against.

It was the sixth time during the 2011-12 season Tavares had at least three points in a game – he had four points in consecutive games in early October. Only Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin (9), who won the Art Ross Trophy, Steven Stamkos (9) of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Claude Giroux (11) of the Philadelphia Flyers, Jason Spezza (7) of the Ottawa Senators and Ilya Kovalchuk (9) of the New Jersey Devils had more games last season with at least three points.

Tavares finished last season tied for seventh in points with James Neal of the Penguins and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, two of the bigger names in the League. He was one of three players, along with Malkin and Spezza, with at least 30 goals and 50 assists.

Burke eager to help Ducks

Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 7:38 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIMBrian Burke was back in familiar surroundings Sunday and declared himself ready to resume his partnership with the Anaheim Ducks, however brief it might be.

"It's a familiar feeling to walk back in the building," Burke said. "I have a lot of respect for [Ducks general manager] Bob Murray. I think he's a real good hockey guy. We've worked together, worked in Vancouver, worked here. I think he's an excellent GM, and I hope my experience can help at some points, and it's nice to be back."

Burke was hired as a part-time professional scout this week for Anaheim, the team that he built into a rough-and-skilled Stanley Cup champion in 2007. Murray and the Ducks reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs about employing Burke, who was fired Jan.9 as their GM.

Saad joins list of Hawks' heroes during streak

Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 1:11 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – The day before scoring the game-winning goal of Friday night's NHL historic performance for the Chicago Blackhawks, rookie Brandon Saad was the "Saad man out."

Brandon Saad
Left Wing - CHI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 3
SOG: 33 | +/-: 2

As teammates changed in front of their lockers at the Blackhawks' practice facility, Saad sat in the middle of the small room on a black folding chair. His "locker stall" was a hockey bag -- and he couldn't have cared less.

A day later, Saad rushed down the ice at United Center at the tail end of a big penalty kill early in the third period and fired a shot from the left circle that not only beat former Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi, but eventually decided Chicago's 2-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks.

"It's a huge win to be a part of," the 20-year old Saad said after being named the game's first star and scoring Chicago's first shorthanded goal of the season. "To end up getting the winning goal … it's a special time."

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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