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NHL Insider

Arnott travels memory lane in visit to Nashville

Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 3:06 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Maybe the hockey gods didn't have it scripted for Jason Arnott to make his return to Nashville in a visiting uniform for the first time since being traded in 2010. But as the St. Louis Blues visit Music City for the third, and final, time in the regular season, it looks like a third time's going to be a charm.

Arnott will make his belated return Thursday night when the Blues and Nashville Predators square off in a key Central Division showdown here at Bridgestone Arena.

The 37-year-old missed out on his first opportunity because he was suffering from the flue when the Blues were first here Dec. 17. He also missed the last visit here 19 days ago after injuring his left shoulder the previous night in a home game against the Los Angeles Kings.

"It's always a little weird, but you always have great memories being here," said Arnott, who spent four seasons from 2006-10 with the Predators, three of them as captain. "I loved playing here, great city to be in. The game's changed so much in the past year with all the new faces over there, I don't know half of them. It's crazy how things change."

Espo returning to Russia for Summit anniversary

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 5:09 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

It’s been 40 years since Phil Esposito set foot in Russia, but this week he's returning to the scene of one of Canadian hockey’s greatest triumphs as the 40th anniversary of the Canada-Russia Summit Series takes place in Moscow this weekend.

"Maybe I'll re-enact the famous fall. I'll go on the ice and slip and fall on my butt and throw a kiss. That was a crazy moment." -- Phil Esposito

Originally, Esposito planned to sit out the reunion, telling reporters that he had "no desire to go to Russia," but recent events, including the passing of his daughter, Carrie, caused him to rethink his decision.

"I had a chance that if I went, my grandsons could join my wife and me in Russia," Esposito told "We'd get to spend four or five days with them and I thought, 'Wow, this is a great opportunity.' So I decided that I would go and I talked to (the people planning the reunion)."

Esposito -- currently a radio analyst and vice president of corporate relations for the Tampa Bay Lightning -- and his wife, Bridget, will leave for Moscow just five days after agreeing to go. 

Canucks try to snap Wings' home streak, nab first

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 4:48 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

The stakes could not be much higher for a regular-season game when the Vancouver Canucks visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m., NHLN-US).

Vancouver, the defending Western Conference champion, sits just two points behind Detroit for the top spot in the West and the League itself. Then there's the matter of the Red Wings' League-record 23-game home winning streak being on the line.

With a 20-10-2 mark, the Canucks bring the League's best road record into the game.

Along with great plot lines, the game also has intriguing subplots.

Two-thirds of one of Vancouver's top forward lines are natives of the Detroit region -- Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich.) and David Booth (Detroit).


Booth finally gets chance to play at Joe Louis Arena

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 2:36 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

There will be a lot of focus on streaks and Joe Louis Arena heading into Thursday's first-place showdown between the Canucks and the Red Wings. Vancouver forward and Detroit native David Booth has both in mind, but in a much different way.

For Booth, a Detroit native who grew up watching the Red Wings and saw them clinch the 1997 Stanley Cup from ice-level seats, it will his first game at The Joe in six NHL seasons.

"The Joe is the only arena I have never played in my career," Booth, who was 12 years old when he saw that Stanley Cup victory in person, told "I grew up watching the Wings with my family, even when I was in college, going to the games for the longest time. It was always special when we went down to The Joe and watched the Wings play. They have a great organization and it was great growing up with them."

That it took until career game No. 344 for Booth to experience Joe Louis Arena from the other side of the glass is a function of scheduling and bad luck – during five-plus seasons in Florida, the Panthers only visited twice and both times he got hurt shortly before the games. 

Comebacks, goaltending keep Detroit's streak alive

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider Staff

1. Nov. 5 -- Red Wings 5, Ducks 0 | Recap
The start of the home winning streak was the end of a six-game slide. Nicklas Lidstrom scored twice and Jimmy Howard made 22 saves.

2. Nov. 8 -- Red Wings 5, Avalanche 2 | Recap
Johan Franzen had a hat trick as Detroit jumped to a 3-0 lead and never looked back.

3. Nov. 11 -- Red Wings 3, Oilers 0 | Recap
Jimmy Howard's third shutout of the season was supported by goals from Drew Miller, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula.

4. Nov. 12 -- Red Wings 5, Stars 2 | Recap
It was 2-2 entering the third period, but Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Brad Stuart scored for the Red Wings.

5. Nov. 23 -- Red Wings 5, Flames 3 | Recap
The difference was three-power play goals, two from Tomas Holmstrom and one from Pavel Datsyuk.

Capitals regroup after 'embarrassing effort'

Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 11:07 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

It's tough to find the words to describe just how poorly the Washington Capitals performed in their 5-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night, so perhaps it's best to let the owner do the talking.

"That was the worst game of the season; we came up small when we needed to come up big and win a game on the road," Ted Leonsis wrote Tuesday in his blog ( "Another wasted opportunity to get two points and move up in the standings. An unacceptable performance."

To a man, his players shared in that sentiment.


MacKenzie finds his niche in Columbus

Monday, 02.20.2012 / 5:37 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

Derek MacKenzie
Center - CBJ
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 11
SOG: 54 | +/-: 3
Derek MacKenzie said that like a lot of things that come out of the mouth of former Stanley Cup-winning coach Bob Hartley, the words were not easy to hear.

As a young player trying to break into the League with Atlanta, MacKenzie was often called up and then sent quickly back to the Chicago Wolves of American Hockey League. Between 2001-02 and 2006-07, he played 28 games with the Thrashers spread out over four seasons.

During one discussion after a demotion, Hartley questioned MacKenzie's identity as a player.

Habs honor Gary Carter in pregame tribute

Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 6:22 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- "The Kid" would have loved it.

The memory of the late Gary Carter was honored by the Montreal Canadiens prior to their game Sunday evening against the New Jersey Devils at the Bell Centre.

The Habs came out for their pre-game warmup wearing jerseys with Carter's No. 8 on their backs, while house organist Diane Bibeau played the old Montreal Expos fight song that rang through Olympic Stadium back when the Hall of Fame catcher was winning over the hearts of this city in the 1970s and 80s.

Those jerseys will be signed by the Canadiens and sold at auction, with all proceeds going to the Gary Carter Foundation. The foundation's mission is to "better the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of children," according to its web site.

A somber mood as Kubina leaves Tampa Bay

Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 5:23 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Once Pavel Kubina was held out of practice and scratched from both Tampa Bay Lightning games this week, it was just a matter of time until the defenseman was gone.

On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled the trigger and traded the defenseman to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for two draft picks and minor-league forward Jon Kalinski.

Sunday, an emotional Kubina cleaned out his locker at Tampa Bay Times Forum for the last time.

"Steve (Yzerman) brought me to the office a couple of days ago and asked me for a list of five teams," Kubina said. "He said, 'We would like to move you,' and after that he sent me home."

Kubina never supplied the list, but the trade came about quickly anyway.

"I was just sitting home, waiting for what was going to happen. I could have come up with a list of five teams but I didn't do it," Kubina said.  "I could have waited another seven days to do that, but when I spoke to Steve (Yzerman) about Philly, I thought it was the right thing to do.

Rocker Alice Cooper is a hockey buff too

Saturday, 02.18.2012 / 8:21 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- To Alice Cooper, no sport resembles rock n' roll more than hockey – which is why it's been his favorite sport since he was a young boy in Detroit and remains so as a long-time resident of Arizona.

"Baseball is slow, basketball is slow. Football is better on TV," Cooper said. "But hockey never stops, just like rock n' roll. It's very similar. It's relentless."

One of the state's most recognizable stars, Cooper comes to see the Coyotes about 20 times a year, but Saturday he was at Arena for "Alice Cooper Bobblehead Night" -- he is depicted in full stage makeup with a snake wrapped around his shoulders, but wearing a Coyotes sweater inside his leather jacket.
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Quote of the Day

I think everyone left it out there. Every game this season, regular season and playoffs, we played as hard as we could. We're not out of the playoffs right now because of lack of effort, and that's all that we can ask of each other.

— Predators defenseman Seth Jones after Nashville was eliminated by Chicago in Game 6 on Saturday