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NHL Insider

O'Brien lends valuable experience to young Avalanche

Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 1:00 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

At a point in the season when veteran experience is the commodity a Stanley Cup Playoff contender can't get enough of, the Colorado Avalanche have a valuable presence protecting their blue line in Shane O'Brien.

With eight games remaining and the Avs locked in a frantic battle for one of the final Western Conference berths, the 28-year-old from Port Hope, Ont., can draw upon his past experience in stretch runs with Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Nashville. O'Brien has suited up for 40 postseason games with those clubs, making it as far as the second round each of the past three springs.

"I just tell the boys that there's nothing to save it for here -- we've got to dig in every night, leave it all out there," O'Brien told during Colorado's recent East Coast road trip. "We're in a situation where we can't take nights off and we can't take shifts off. Anything I can do to help the boys realize how desperate and urgent we have to be, hopefully that will help us down the stretch here."

Led by a nucleus that includes Calder Trophy candidate Gabriel Landeskog, fellow first-round picks Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson, second-rounder Ryan O'Reilly and goaltender Semyon Varlamov -- none of whom has reached his 24th birthday -- the Avalanche, by average age, are the NHL's youngest team.

Brylin, Button believe Radulov return will go well

Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 10:21 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"I don't know if he's that home run hitter, but to use a baseball analogy, you know when you get somebody who is really good and will fit right into your batting order and be a hard out, that's what he is and that's what he does for Nashville -- he makes them a harder out." -- Craig Button

Sergei Brylin has seen enough of Alexander Radulov over the last four seasons in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League to understand the impact he can have on any team in any league on any continent.
Brylin, the ex-New Jersey Devil and three-time Stanley Cup winner, expects Radulov to have that type of powerful impact on the Nashville Predators.
"He tries to play an NHL style game in Russia," Brylin told of Radulov, who is expected to join the Predators Thursday in Pittsburgh. "He's not afraid of going into the corners and battling. He's not afraid to get hit and give a hit. I think he's going to be fine. The fact that he is four years older than when he last played in the NHL -- he has matured a lot."


Playoff berth only start for business-as-usual Blues

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 3:04 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

2011-2012 Standings

Western Conference
ROW = total number of regulation plus overtime wins. For tie-breaking purposes, wins obtained in a shootout are not counted. For full standings tiebreakers, click here.
03/19/12 3:06PM
ST. LOUIS -- When the St. Louis Blues were a Stanley Cup Playoff team three years ago, winger David Perron said the game they clinched felt like they had just, "won the Stanley Cup."

At the time, it was a natural feeling since it's one many on the team had never experienced before that day.

But when the Blues became the first team this season to clinch Saturday night after winning 3-1 at Tampa Bay, the feeling was more laid back.

"It's something we talked about briefly, but everybody was pretty calm about it and we know we have a lot more work ahead of us," Perron said. "That's what I told David Backes, and I liked how the feeling in the room was. Yeah, we clinched a playoff (berth) but it was nothing more special than having a lot more work to come.


Avs, Preds, Flyers see rapid results from trades

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 12:13 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

It has been three weeks since the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline, and there are three weeks left in the 2011-12 regular season. Which teams are reaping the benefits from the moves they made, and which teams are still waiting for their bold strokes to show results?

A couple of trends to note at this point are teams that made their moves early (before deadline day) have collectively had more success than those who waited (though Chicago and Buffalo are exceptions), and adding a veteran defenseman or two has helped a few teams in a big way. Here is a breakdown of teams that made moves before the deadline, with their record since the transaction in parenthesis:


Trotz hopes to have Radulov in lineup by Thursday

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 12:09 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM, Calif. – It appears that Alexander Radulov is one step closer to joining the Nashville Predators.

In a somewhat expected news break Sunday night, Radulov and his Russian team, Ufa Salavat Yulayev, "appear" to have reached a deal allowing Radulov to leave for Nashville, Slava Malamud of Russia's Sport Express reported via Twitter.

Computers latest technology to train players' brains

Sunday, 03.18.2012 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

Muscles can be toned, endurance can be refined, leadership qualities can be taught. But how do you train a hockey player's brain? Can a coach work the areas of a player's brain responsible for awareness and intuition?

The Israeli Air Force, of all people, has the answer.

More specifically, the answer comes from Applied Cognitive Engineering, or ACE, an Israeli technology company that has worked with the Israelis and the  U.S. Air Force, as well as NASA and the American military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Originally used to train fighter pilots, ACE's IntelliGym is now being adopted by more and more hockey coaches.

The cognitive training system develops players' awareness and ability to make fast-paced decisions and has already made its mark on the hockey world in just three years.


A look at the NHL's All-Patrick team

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 11:00 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in honor of the man who, as legend has it, drove the snakes out of the country.

In Montreal, "St. Patrick" had a whole different meaning -- rather than casting out snakes, Patrick Roy's specialty was keeping pucks out of the Canadiens' net. Roy is the starting goaltender on's "All-Patrick Team," a group made up of the League's best players with the given name or surname of Patrick.

Roy is one of the two modern-day Hockey Hall of Famers with the first name Patrick -- the other is longtime Islander and Sabre Pat LaFontaine, the big gun on our all-Patrick club.

On the surname side, the Patricks -- Lester, Frank, Muzz, Lynn, Glenn and Craig -- are one of hockey's first families. Two other Patricks, James and Steve, aren't related to the others but made their own mark on the NHL.

Fleury underappreciated, except by his teammates

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 8:25 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

NEWARK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are the hottest team in the NHL, and many pundits have anointed them as one of the favorites to claim the Stanley Cup.

There are plenty of reasons for this kind of optimism. Evgeni Malkin is the favorite to win the Hart Trophy as League MVP. The team won nine games in a row and had the fourth-most points in the NHL -- and that was before Sidney Crosby returned after missing 3 1/2 months and No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang came back after missing five games. Both were key contributors in the Penguins' 10th straight win -- a 5-2 victory against the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers in New York on Thursday.

If there is one guy who probably isn't getting enough of the credit for the march of the Penguins, it is the one star on the team who hasn't missed a lot of time because of injury -- goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Rangers are part of rehab for Yanks' Chamberlain

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 7:36 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Believe it or not, New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain is a rabid hockey fan.
He appreciates the strategy involved, the finesse and the rough stuff that makes the game so entertaining. In fact, listening to him for five minutes, you kind of get the feeling the 6-foot-2, 240-pound right-hander missed his calling.
The guy would probably suit up for the New York Rangers in a heartbeat.

Crosby ready for Penguins' busy weekend

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 6:24 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Sidney Crosby had another point added to his total hours after Pittsburgh's 5-2 victory at Madison Square Garden against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers on Thursday night.

More important for him and for the Penguins, he participated in practice Friday at Prudential Center -- and expects to play in both of Pittsburgh's games this weekend. Crosby played Thursday for the first time in 3 1/2 months, the second celebrated return from concussion symptoms stemming from a pair of hits in early January 2010.

The Penguins collected an important victory in the race for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, and they have two more critical contests Saturday against the New Jersey Devils and Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, NHLN-Canada, RDSI).
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Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
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