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NHL Insider

Toews out Saturday, hopes for Game 1 return

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 5:00 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The hope was to get Jonathan Toews back for at least one game before the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that's not going to happen for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago's top center and captain is still experiencing symptoms from a concussion and will miss his 22nd straight game Saturday afternoon in Detroit (1 p.m., NBC, TSN2) when the regular season concludes.

"It would've been nice to get him in a game, but Game 1 of the playoffs is way more meaningful than [this] game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after practice Friday at Joe Louis Arena. "We have five full days here [before the playoffs start]. Let's side with caution."

Crosby calls remarks by Tortorella, Flyers 'garbage'

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 4:08 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH-- Sidney Crosby dismissed Rangers coach John Tortorella's comments calling him a whiny star on an arrogant team Friday as "garbage" gamesmanship that is equally unwarranted and undeserved.

Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins' elite center who is back on his game after missing 61 games this season with concussion-like symptoms, usually shrugs off criticism from an opposing coach or player. But he showed a bit of an edge Friday while dismissing Tortorella's rant following the Penguins' 5-2 win over the Rangers on Thursday night.

Tortorella also suggested Crosby and Penguins star Evgeni Malkin spend considerable time whining to the officials.

Tortorella rips Pens for Orpik hit on Stepan

Thursday, 04.05.2012 / 11:41 PM / NHL Insider

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Rangers coach John Tortorella became visibly upset when Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik dropped New York center Derek Stepan with a knee-to-knee hit on Thursday night, and he turned his anger on the Penguins franchise.

Orpik drew a five-minute major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct for upending Stepan with less than five minutes remaining in the Penguins' 5-2 victory at Consol Energy Center – a hit that Tortorella called "cheap, dirty."

Stepan was carrying the puck in the neutral zone and, just as he released a pass at the blue line, he tried to cut the other way to avoid colliding with Orpik, only to be rammed knee to knee. Stepan remained on the ice for several minutes.

Capitals determined to make playoffs by any means

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 3:45 PM / NHL Insider

Ben Raby - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Mike Knuble has made a living scoring goals from the tip of the crease, jamming loose pucks and causing havoc around opposing goalies.

But in his 15-year NHL career, Knuble cannot recall ever seeing a goal-mouth scramble quite like the one in Tuesday night's game between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Trailing 5-4 with less than two minutes to play in the third period, Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold emerged from a nearly eight-second, eight-man scrum and slid the puck past goalie Ben Scrivens to tie the game. The Sabres eventually beat the Maple Leafs 6-5 in overtime to move into an eighth-place tie with the Capitals in the Eastern Conference.

Flyers-Pens rivalry intensifies with Berube comments

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 3:09 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"Crosby and Malkin are the dirtiest players on their hockey team. They slash, they punch guys in the face -- they do all these little things." -- Flyers' assistant coach Craig Berube

Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube added more fuel to the roiling rivalry between his team and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In an interview with Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia, Berube had some choice words for Penguins superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

"Crosby and Malkin are the dirtiest players on their hockey team," Berube said. "They slash, they punch guys in the face -- they do all these little things."

The late-game melee between the teams in Saturday's 6-4 Flyers win was sparked in part by a cross-check from the Flyers' Brayden Schenn to the middle of Crosby's back that knocked the Pittsburgh captain to the ice.

Panthers upbeat after letting chance to clinch slip

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 1:55 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- The day after, the Florida Panthers didn't try to pretend they didn't still feel the sting of wasting a great opportunity to clinch a playoff berth and the first division title in franchise history.

But the Panthers also took comfort in realizing they're still sitting in a great position.

Despite blowing a 3-0 lead and losing in overtime to Winnipeg on Tuesday, the Panthers still need only one point in their last two games to become Southeast Division champions.

Muller already seeing progress out of Hurricanes

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent

Watching Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller conduct a late-March practice, you would never know his team was a facing an early offseason. He is in full voice, explaining the finer points of gaining the offensive blue line and recognizing when forwards should drive the net.

"There is no hesitation in our game," he yells to the players.

That instruction summed up the second half of the season for the Hurricanes, who improved their puck pursuit and offensive intensity enough to be competitive nearly every night.

Toews feeling good, but won't target return date yet

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Jonathan Toews
Center - CHI
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 57
SOG: 185 | +/-: 17

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews went through another Chicago Blackhawks practice on Tuesday and said he felt good afterward.

The team's captain and top-line center, who has missed 20 straight games with an upper-body injury that's widely believed to be concussion-related, has now skated hard on his own or practiced for two weeks straight.

Still, Toews isn't ready to proclaim himself ready to play in games just yet.

"I hope so," he said of potentially playing on Thursday in Minnesota. "I think even when I'm ready to start playing again, there’s still going to be some days where you’re going to have to progress toward feeling like myself again. I haven’t made that decision for Thursday yet. I’ve have another full day before that. I’ll practice with the guys and we’ll see how that goes, and come Thursday we’ll make a decision."

Ex-Rangers greats see Cup potential in current group

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 4:16 PM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- With a sixth postseason appearance in the last seven seasons sewn up, it's starting to feel like seeing the Rangers in the playoffs is becoming an annual rite of spring once again.

There are few people who know what that feels like better than Mark Messier.

"Playoff time in New York is like no other," he said.

If there is anyone who understands the energy and excitement that can take hold of New York when the Rangers have a legitimate chance to bring home the Stanley Cup, it's the man whose captaincy was instrumental in giving the Rangers their first championship in half a century 18 years ago.

On Tuesday, Messier, 1994 Cup-winner Adam Graves and Rangers legend Rod Gilbert were all on hand at the unveiling of a new Rangers-themed subway train being put into service in honor of the upcoming 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it was clear all three could sense the tangible excitement surrounding New York ahead of the postseason.

Top individual surprises, disappointments in 2011-12

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 3:34 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer


The 2011-12 season has been full of surprises and disappointments. While some pundits liked the St. Louis Blues as a young team that could take a step forward this season, no one expected them to contend for the Presidents' Trophy.

The Ottawa Senators were expected to rebuild and be eligible to claim the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery, but instead they will be in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their opponents in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, the Anaheim Ducks, were expected to be in the mix for the Pacific Division title, but a disastrous start to the season will keep them out of the postseason.

Other teams like the San Jose Sharks and the Washington Capitals were expected to be among the League's elite, but are now spending the final days of the season trying to save a tumultuous campaign.

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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process