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(Page 165 of 259)
NHL Insider

Miller on the mend, defends Sabres teammates

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 3:25 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said his neck is feeling better than it did Saturday night after he was hit by Boston's Milan Lucic.

However, what really seems to be paining the Buffalo netminder is some of the pointed comments directed at his teammates, who some observers felt didn't do enough to defend their goalie when he was knocked down in the first period of the game by Lucic. Miller stayed in the game through the end of the second period, but was removed before the start of the third due to a neck injury.

"I don't think you need an all-out donnybrook," Miller said Tuesday. "I think they tried to handle it with the power play and over the course of the night. If they want to get in and scrap I appreciate it. … It's something that a lot has been said about it. These guys in there have my back. I was disappointed in the direction that started to take, where people were talking about how these guys don't have my back.
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GMs discuss protecting goalies, avoiding collisions

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 2:42 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Goalie protection was not on the original agenda for Tuesday's meeting of the NHL general managers, but due to the controversial collision between the Sabres' Ryan Miller and the Bruins' Milan Lucic during Saturday night's game in Boston the NHL Hockey Operations Department brought it to the attention of the managers in the morning session.
 
The discussion that ensued reaffirmed for the GMs the position that goalies should never be considered fair game for contact no matter where they are on the ice, which is already spelled Out in NHL rules covering charging (Rule 42) and interference on the goalkeeper (Rule 69). The GMs, however, want to emphasize the importance of both rules and make sure the League is being stringent in its enforcement.
 
"I'm not talking about plays around the crease because there is going to be incidental contact," Penguins GM Ray Shero said. "But, we're talking about a regular-season game with the incident with Lucic and Ryan Miller. If you get into a playoff series and these guys are going to play pucks and you run (goalies) over and get a two-minute penalty, I think you're going to open up a set of pretty dangerous circumstances."
 
Lucic received a two-minute minor for charging when he and Miller collided in the left faceoff circle. Miller continued to play after the collision but was removed after the second period. He is suffering from symptoms associated with whiplash and a concussion and has already missed one game.
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Hitch's offensive philosophy changed with times

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 10:58 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock remembered the days of the high-flying Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s and wanting to emulate them.

Who wouldn't? After all, names like Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri and Anderson, who racked up points by the second and won four Stanley Cups together, signified a recipe for success.

But as the game evolved away from the open-ice, high-flying, high-scoring affairs, players got bigger and smarter, while coaches got more technical. The old-school coaches were forced to change to a certain degree.

Hitchcock, 2-0-1 since taking over the Blues three games ago after Davis Payne was fired, has seen a smooth transition in a week on the job after it was projected that his hard stance and demeanor would take time to absorb.
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A PK turnaround has Phoenix on right track

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 10:20 AM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Last season, the Coyotes managed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite  finishing an unsightly  No. 26  in the NHL in penalty killing -- second-worst among all postseason qualifiers. Taking far too many infractions, Phoenix watched player after player trudge to the box while allowing a goal 21.6 percent of the time.

Something had to change. Actually, a lot of things had to change.

But when the Coyotes allowed three goals on the first four San Jose power plays on Opening Night, it appeared exactly nothing had changed. The new faces were even less successful than their hit-and-miss predecessors.
 
But with Mike Smith and his deft stick in goal, Boyd Gordon handling opponents in the faceoff circle and players like David Schlemko, Rostislav Klesla, Derek Morris, Lauri Korpikoski and Martin Hanzal selling out to block shots and clear the zone, the Coyotes righted the ship quickly and have allowed just three power-play goals in their past 14-plus games, and have turned a decided shortcoming into a pillar of strength.
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Oilers see successful blueprint in Chicago

Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 3:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

"(The Blackhawks) are a good team to go by. They went through that whole rebuilding stage that Edmonton’s been going through. They obviously got some great picks and made some good decisions. They’ve had a great team for a few years and they still do. Hopefully we can emulate something like that, because that’s definitely what we’re trying to do." -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

CHICAGO – Back when Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup above their heads to conclude the 2010 season, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looked on with a smile on his face.

"I was actually at my friend's house watching it on TV," said Nugent-Hopkins, now an 18-year old star rookie for the upstart Edmonton Oilers. "It was pretty cool. I was rooting for them, actually. I really liked the Hawks. I liked the way they played. They were a fun team to watch. They had some high offensive young guys who worked their bags off. It's always fun to watch that."

People are starting to say some of those same things about this Oilers team, which is full of young talent and off to a fast start. Edmonton (9-5-2) finds itself atop the Northwest Division with 20 points and is third in the Western Conference prior to Sunday night's game at United Center (7 p.m. ET) against the West-leading Blackhawks (10-4-3).
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Kings' Murray quietly heading into 1,000th game

Friday, 11.11.2011 / 7:10 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There's usually a moment at the end of Terry Murray's off-day media sessions where the tape recorders are turned off and the notebooks are put away.

Murray, in his fourth season as coach of the Los Angeles Kings, is rather informal and open to small talk, and often he will offer a glimpse of a lifetime spent in hockey.

"I remember playing a minor-league game in Salt Lake," Murray said. "They (the opposing team) only had 14 players, and every time they got the puck they iced it. They put five guys below the hash marks and iced it every time.
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Jets suffer through growing pains in Winnipeg

Friday, 11.11.2011 / 6:54 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Many sports teams talk about changing organizational cultures.

But a successful culture change requires much more than good intentions, and the Winnipeg Jets are enduring the growing pains that the process brings. A 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday evening saw the normally fiercely partisan Winnipeg crowd boo the Jets following the second period and deliver more than one sarcastic cheer during the game.

For the Jets, who are now winless in four games (0-2-2), what resulted was a Friday morning practice at the MTS Centre that featured contact drills and plenty of colorful language from coach Claude Noel that was easily audible to the assembled media.
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Quincey enjoying big comeback season with Avs

Friday, 11.11.2011 / 6:50 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- It seemed so fitting when Kyle Quincey completed the Colorado's improbable rally from a three-goal deficit Thursday night with an overtime goal to give the Avs a rousing 4-3 win against the New York Islanders.

The 26-year-old defenseman is enjoying quite an individual comeback season after missing the final 55 games of 2010-11 to recover from a left shoulder injury that required surgery and had him wondering if his hockey career was over.

"I had a fear of retiring," he said after practice Friday. "It was really scary."
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Several storylines make Stars-Pens matchup sizzle

Friday, 11.11.2011 / 3:47 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Yes, the season only may be six weeks old. And, yes, no team has played 20 games yet, so much of the season's story remains to be told.

Yet, there was no denying that Friday's matchup between the visiting Dallas Stars -- the top team points-wise in the League -- and the Pittsburgh Penguins -- the Eastern Conference leaders -- has a big-game feel full of intriguing storylines.

Even the continued absence of Sidney Crosby, who had been rumored to make his return from season-long concussion issues Friday, won't tarnish the shine on this East-West heavyweight battle (7 p.m., NHLN-US).
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Blues pleased to add Russell to defense corps

Friday, 11.11.2011 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues have created a logjam on their blue line. It's a problem they have no problem dealing with.

The Blues completed a trade Friday morning, acquiring defenseman Kris Russell from the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Nikita Nikitin, a trade that gained heavy traction Thursday night but had been in the works for weeks.

"These trades don't happen in a day," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "(Columbus GM) Scott (Howson) and I have talked over the last couple weeks on just both of our teams. Russell's name came up."
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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff