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NHL Insider

Bettman addresses realignment talk on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 6:38 PM / NHL Insider

With the topic of realignment scheduled to come up again at next week's Board of Governors meetings, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the matter at the opening of his weekly radio program Thursday night.

"There's a lot of speculation about what's going to happen on realignment, and the answer is, as I sit here today, I'm not sure," Bettman said.

"From the Board perspective of making whatever decision they want to make, people are all over the place. If you ask each of the 30 clubs what their preference is, my guess is you'd get 30 different preferences. And as a result, what we really have to do is find the biggest layer of common ground. You're not going to get everybody's first choice, but as we go through this process, and there are many steps of the realignment process that have to be done in and outside the boardroom, the fact of the matter is the starting point is to figure out what the will of the board is."

Blackhawks shift Kane back to right wing

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 5:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

It wasn’t too long ago that Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters the experiment of moving Patrick Kane to center was “no longer an experiment.”

Things were going well then, with Kane flanked by the gritty Daniel Carcillo on the left and two-way star forward Marian Hossa on the right. It seemed like the playmaking Kane had found a new home on the ice for the long haul and it was right down the middle of it.

Well, the long haul lasted about a month. At Thursday’s practice in Chicago, Kane was moved back to his old spot of right wing on the top line -- which is centered by Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and includes speedster Viktor Stalberg on the left side. The “experiment” at second-line center now focuses on rookie Marcus Kruger, who’s worked his way up from being cut on the last day of training camp.

"Kane at center has been a good option for us," Quenneville told reporters after Thursday’s practice. "Kruger is playing well. It gives us a different look. We just wanted to try something else."

Doan ready for regular-season return to Winnipeg

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 4:51 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

"The connection between the two (organizations) is obviously there, and you can't deny that. You get excited about that. You get excited about people getting emotional about their team. The fans of Winnipeg love their Jets. They're going to be passionate about their team. They're not going to take kindly to anyone playing against them." -- Shane Doan

WINNIPEG -- Shane Doan and the city of Winnipeg both have done considerable growing since April 1996.

When Doan last played hockey in this city for the original Winnipeg Jets, he was a 19-year-old NHL rookie battling the attendant pressures of being a first-round selection with a club facing relocation. Doan played 74 games with the original Jets in that 1995-96 season, notching 7 goals, before the club moved to Phoenix.

Doan needed some time to evolve into the franchise player he is now. He spent half a season in the American Hockey League at one point and did not break out until his fifth pro season, when he scored 26 goals for the 1999-2000 Coyotes. Doan's 1,142 NHL games lead the franchise, and he trails only Nicklas Lidstrom and Martin Brodeur among active players for the most games played with one team. Along the way, Doan also built a family and became a key public face for the Coyotes in the competitive Phoenix sports market.

Contract extension comes as relief to Krejci

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 3:11 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- It turns out it wasn't the recent trade rumors that motivated Boston Bruins center David Krejci to break a nine-game goal drought and lead his team past the Toronto Maple Leafs into first place in the Northeast Division Wednesday night.

It was actually his celebratory mood that inspired Krejci's 1-goal, 2-assist performance in the Bruins' 12th win in their last 13 games.

The 25-year-old native of the Czech Republic had signed a three-year contract extension with the team in general manager Peter Chiarelli's hotel room prior to the game, it was revealed during a Thursday press conference at the TD Garden. Any distractions his uncertain status was causing Krejci during his recent scoring slump were wiped away with one stroke of the pen.

"Well, I know that my agent and Peter talked in the summer. I didn't know what was going on," said Krejci, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent next summer but will now make $5.25 million annually beginning next season. "Obviously, it was on my mind a little bit, especially when things weren't going my way at the beginning of the season. And it got me thinking, you know. But then we got a deal done and I'm happy to be here for more years and now I can just focus on hockey."

Despite sizzling start, Crosby looks to get better

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 3:08 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- He has 11 points in five games after spending 10 and a half months on the shelf recovering from a concussion, and yet nobody around the Pittsburgh Penguins is surprised with how quickly Sidney Crosby has raced back onto the scene and into the NHL scoring race.

"Not really. Not really at all," linemate Pascal Dupuis told "He was with us in practice and we could see his speed and everything was still there. He was the best guy in practice for the last couple of weeks before he got back. We kind of had that feeling that he was going to come back on top of his game. But to come back like this and look the same as he did before is probably what surprises other people."

"He's played some awesome hockey," added Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "The way he's prepared for months coming into playing these games has been at a high level, so you expected to see him at that high level speed-wise and skill-wise."

If Crosby stays at his current pace of 2.2 points per game and doesn't miss another game, he would finish with 136 points this season. That would give him the most points for any NHL player since 1995-96, when Mario Lemieux put up 161 points and Jaromir Jagr had 149.

Even if you think it's unrealistic for him to continue at such a torrid pace, Crosby has at least landed himself in the discussion for this season's Art Ross Trophy. He has 57 games to make up the 21 points that current leader Phil Kessel has on him right now.

New set of challenges face Boudreau in Anaheim

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 2:45 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

That didn't take long.
A little less than 72 hours after being released from his duties in Washington, Bruce Boudreau resurfaced as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night when general manager Bob Murray fired Randy Carlyle with the team 14th in the Western Conference despite a 4-1 win over the Canadiens.
So now that Boudreau becomes the fastest coach in League history to go from fired to hired, the big question is can he turn around a team that has been entrenched in a six-week free-fall. After opening the season 4-1-0, the Ducks have suffered several bad stretches, including losing streaks of six and seven games.
While many would agree that the 56-year-old Boudeau has a proven track record in the regular season, the 2008 Jack Adams Award winner has suffered miserably in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Boudreau sported an impressive 201-88-40 regular-season record in four-plus seasons with the Caps, but was never able to guide the club past the second round of the playoffs.

Stars look to resuscitate power play

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 2:08 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- As the Dallas Stars start the month of December, they do so on one streak they'd rather not have. Glen Gulutzan's club is on an 0-for-21 run on the power play and hasn't scored with the extra man since the second period of a loss at Detroit on Nov. 12, a span of eight games.

Of course, the Stars have lost key personnel off that unit in the past month, guys like point man Alex Goligoski, captain Brenden Morrow and Trevor Daley. And having a rotating cast of personnel has definitely contributed to their current lack of scoring with the man advantage.

When Dallas hosts Ottawa on Thursday at American Airlines Center, the Stars will look to put their lack of punch on the power play to a quick end.

"We have to start creating those second chances. We have to shoot the puck and make sure we have guys at the net," Gulutzan said. "Ottawa's a fairly aggressive penalty kill, so I think it comes down to work. I think tonight's a different animal. We watched their PK and they're very aggressive."

Boudreau latest NHL coach to land on feet quickly

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 12:58 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

NHL coaches: 2 teams, 1 season

Season Head coach Teams
2011-12 Bruce Boudreau WSH, ANA
2006-07 Ken Hitchcock PHI, CBJ
2002-03 Bob Hartley COL, ATL
2002-03 Darryl Sutter SJS, CGY
1986-87 Ted Sator NYR, BUF
1983-84 Roger Neilson VAN, LOS
1971-72 Fred Glover CAL, LOS
It was a whirlwind three days for Bruce Boudreau.

Fired by the Washington Capitals as coach early Monday morning, he was hired to replace Randy Carlyle as coach of the Anaheim Ducks late Wednesday night. According to the time stamps on the press releases, Boudreau was unemployed for a total of 65 hours, 25 minutes.

Boudreau was on the ice with his new team Thursday afternoon, and he'll be back behind the bench Friday night, when the Ducks host the Philadelphia Flyers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the six-day span between games coached with two teams (Boudreau last coached for the Capitals on Saturday in Buffalo) is the fastest in NHL history.

He'll also become the seventh man to coach two NHL teams in one season, and the first since Ken Hitchcock in the 2006-07 season. 

B's looked like champs again in amazing November

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 12:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

The Boston Bruins didn't have a perfect November, but they came about as close as a team can without pulling it off.

A 3-2 loss at home to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday was the only blemish on the otherwise flawless face of the Bruins' past 30 days. But it was a shootout loss with backup goaltender Tuukka Rask coming up short in the unenviable task of stopping Pavel Datsyuk in the 1-on-1 competition.

That doesn't count, does it?

A loss in the shootout is still a loss, but it shouldn't diminish what was a historic 12-0-1 month for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Bruins left October with a 3-7-0 record, facing incessant questions about a hangover from last season's high of winning it all. They sat in 29th place in the NHL standings, one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The fire was gone, the passion sporadic at best and the drive that carried them through four rounds of mostly grueling hockey was nowhere to be seen.

Fired on Monday, Boudreau gets right back to work

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 2:47 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman and John Kreiser - Staff Writers

Bruce Boudreau's "vacation" didn’t last long -- and just as he did four years ago, he'll try to pump some life into a struggling team.

When Boudreau first arrived in Washington in November 2007, he was best known for his effusive personality and a small role in the hockey classic "Slap Shot." Just over four years later, he left Washington as one of the most successful coaches in League history -- but one who seemingly had lost the ability to motivate his players.

That didn't deter the Anaheim Ducks, who fired Randy Carlyle and hired Boudreau Wednesday night -- less than 72 hours after he was fired by the Capitals during a dismal 3-7-1 stretch, capped by a 5-1 loss Saturday in Buffalo to a Sabres team missing nine regulars and dressing six players who started the season in the AHL.
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Quote of the Day

I was going nuts and I saw [Subban], he was going crazy, and the ref had no idea where to go. [Subban] was skating to me, and I was skating to him and the ref was right in between us and I don't know, I kind of hit him pretty hard, I thought, but those were some emotions and I'm pretty sure he understands that.

— Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk on the celebration following his OT goal against Ottawa in Game 2