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NHL Insider

Stepan's big night eases sting of alma mater's defeat

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 12:49 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

From a team standpoint, Derek Stepan's two-goal performance Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets couldn't have come at a better time. He scored the game-winner and helped provide a big two points for a New York Rangers team that had been shut out in its previous two games.

From a more personal standpoint, the breakout game helped take some of the sting off a difficult week for Stepan's alma mater, the University of Wisconsin.

The first blow for the Badgers came March 22, when Wisconsin's men's basketball team was upset by Mississippi in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Despite being ranked fifth in the West Region, Wisconsin dropped a 57-46 decision to 12th-seeded Ole Miss after finishing second to Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference tournament.

Jets know it's time to step up

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 9:38 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- In a season in which the Southeast Division is ripe for the taking, the Winnipeg Jets have been trying to give it away over the past week.

The trend continued Monday at Madison Square Garden. Staked to an early lead, the Jets faltered on the power play and watched a 2-1 lead against the New York Rangers turn into a 4-2 loss, their third in a row and sixth in the past nine games.

Even with that extended slide, the Jets were in control of the division after a 4-1 road victory against the Carolina Hurricanes last Tuesday. The Jets held a six-point lead on the Hurricanes, who had played three fewer games at the time, but that lead has become more precarious after losing to the Rangers.

Sid's scoring missed, but Pens have vets to fill void

Monday, 04.01.2013 / 4:55 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- During the Pittsburgh Penguins' first practice since Sidney Crosby was lost for an indefinite period of time because of a broken jaw, it was learned the player who will replace the National Hockey League scoring leader as their first-line center is Tyler Kennedy.

It was also learned there is no shortage of players who will replace Crosby's role as team leader.

Former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla's first practice with the Penguins was overshadowed by the news that Pittsburgh's captain was not on the Consol Energy Center ice.

"It's definitely terrible to lose Sid," said Iginla, who made his Penguins game debut during the same Saturday game in which Crosby was struck with a puck in his mouth about 90 seconds in. "I was really looking forward to being in the same locker room with him, playing on the same team and stuff.

"Hopefully he'll be back sooner than they say and be back for the playoffs and he'll be flying."

Multiple players said that over the previous 24 hours they had visited Crosby at a hospital a few miles down Forbes Avenue from Consol Energy Center, where Pittsburgh has won 12 in a row. The Penguins' overall 15-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest in NHL history.

Leopold ready to bring veteran know-how to Blues

Monday, 04.01.2013 / 11:35 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

When Jordan Leopold dozed off for his pre-game nap Saturday afternoon, he did so as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. Waking up was a different story.

It began a 24-hour whirlwind that saw Leopold change teams in a split second. But the newest St. Louis Blues defenseman has been through this routine before, with it being his sixth National Hockey League stop.

The 32-year-old Leopold, traded by the Sabres to the Blues for a 2013 second-round pick and a conditional 2013 fifth-round pick (that can turn into a fourth-round selection should the Blues win a playoff round), got the call from Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier prior to the Sabres facing the Washington Capitals.

"I was pre-game napping yesterday to get ready and play the Capitals," Leopold said after flying in and taking a physical. "I woke up and got a call from Darcy Regier and (he) quickly said, 'I ended up trading you.' … I really didn't sleep (Saturday) night. I think I finally dotted out about 1:30 (a.m. local time). I got up at 4:30 (a.m.). It wasn't a good, quality night of sleep. After two short flights, here I am."

GM Holland has blue print for Red Wings' defense

Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- When Nicklas Lidstrom speaks, young defensemen listen.

That's why Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland used the "Nicklas Listrom card" when making a sales pitch to coveted 23-year old college free-agent defenseman Dan DeKeyser.

Holland just handed the phone to Lidstrom, the retired Red Wings captain and defenseman who now lives in Sweden but happened to be visiting Detroit with his family to start a vacation.

DeKeyser, who grew up a Red Wings fan in the Detroit suburb Macomb, couldn't believe it.

"He just told me about the organization and how special of a place it is to play," said DeKeyser, who went through his first NHL practice Saturday afternoon with Lidstrom watching from the bench. "They have a great management team and a locker room full of great guys. He said it would be a fun place to play, so I took his word for it."

Iginla feels like rookie again in debut for Penguins

Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 7:02 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The veteran of 1,220 NHL games felt like he was an 18-year-old rookie all over again.

Jarome Iginla
Right Wing - PIT
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 22
SOG: 103 | +/-: -6

Jarome Iginla said the emotions and mindset associated with making his Pittsburgh Penguins debut Saturday afternoon were unlike anything since the first game of his career 17 years ago. Saturday was his first game playing for any NHL team other than the only team he'd known, the Calgary Flames.

"You know what, I was trying to think of it, and the closest thing to it was like my first game," the 35-year-old said after Pittsburgh defeated the New York Islanders, 2-0, for its 15th consecutive victory.

"You're literally all the way back to when I was 18 when you're trying to stay calm. And we had an afternoon game that game, too, and you're trying not to be too excited or too nervous, and then I tell myself, 'I've played lots of games. Relax.' But it's different.

Blackhawks still can't find way to beat Ducks

Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 12:53 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO Niklas Hjalmarsson saw the red light flash behind goalie Ray Emery, glanced at his stick and then summed up the Chicago Blackhawks' frustrations against the Anaheim Ducks this season.

After Sheldon Souray's point blast with just 2:08 left in regulation hit the Blackhawks defenseman's stick and redirected past Emery for Anaheim's game-winning goal in the Ducks' 2-1 win on Friday night at United Center, Hjalmarsson heaved his stick at the boards in disgust. He looked like a golfer whose tee shot headed straight into a lake.

It's been that kind of season for the Blackhawks against the Ducks, the team right behind first-place Chicago of the Western Conference standings. Anaheim (23-7-4) not only ended a four-game losing skid, but also swept the three-game season series against Chicago and downed the Blackhawks at the "Madhouse on Madison Street" for the second time.

"I just tried to block it at the end there, and it bounced off my stick … nothing I can do about that," Hjalmarsson said. "I tried to block his shot as much as I could, but you've got to let it go and try to win the game."

Ducks don't want passengers undermining fast start

Friday, 03.29.2013 / 3:40 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau bluntly used the term "passengers" after a 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, his team's fourth defeat in a row.

The time for being gentle was over.

"I think I was just telling the truth, more than anything else," Boudreau said Friday morning from United Center, where his Ducks will try to snap their season-high losing streak against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-U.S.).

If the Ducks continue to have passengers against the Blackhawks, odds are their losing streak will balloon to five and their deficit in the Western Conference standings will widen to seven points.

Cooper follows winding, winning road to Lightning

Friday, 03.29.2013 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

For a man whose job was to render potentially life-altering rulings every day, it was a pretty easy decision for Judge Thomas Brennan Jr.

A circuit judge in Lansing, Mich., Brennan's son was playing hockey at Lansing Catholic Central High School when the varsity coach resigned. In his search to find a replacement, Brennan eyed a teammate on his local rec league team, the Legal Eagles. He was a young lawyer named Jon Cooper who had played in prep school, a little in college and had recently earned his law degree at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a college founded by Brennan's father.

At the time, there was no way for Brennan to know he was kick-starting the career of a future NHL coach. Cooper will be behind the Tampa Bay Lightning bench Friday night for the first time when they host the New Jersey Devils.

Holland addresses futures of Datsyuk, Howard

Friday, 03.29.2013 / 1:00 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Ken Holland doesn't live in a cave, without access to the Internet or television, so the Detroit Red Wings general manager is aware of the talk circulating about star center Pavel Datsyuk.

Pavel Datsyuk
Center - DET
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 35
SOG: 74 | +/-: 14
Some believe 34-year old Datsyuk might want to return to Russia and finish his career playing in the Kontinental Hockey League after his contract with the Red Wings runs out following the 2013-14 season. Datsyuk, who makes $6.7 million a year and will turn 35 on July 20, played in the KHL for CSKA Moscow during the lockout. He appeared to enjoy the experience greatly, which helped spark some of the speculation about where he'll play on his next contract.

Holland, however, said he will likely wait until the end of this season to address the situation.

"Obviously, I've heard the rumors," Holland told "I have not had any real conversation with [Datsyuk] or his agent, Gary Greenstein. Gary lives in California and I just saw him the other day. Basically we're going to sit down at the conclusion of this season, before Pav goes home. I don't know what will come out of it."

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