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NHL Insider

Martin feels no bitterness toward Canadiens

Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 1:34 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

When Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced the firing of coach Jacques Martin on Dec. 17, the team was 13-12-7 and sitting 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Almost four months later, Gauthier no longer is with the club, which will finish last in the conference this season. The team is 17-23-9 for interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and will finish 15th in the Eastern Conference regardless of what happens in the season finale Saturday against the Maple Leafs. However, Martin is finding no joy in the team's failings since he was let go.

"It's unfortunate. You don't like to see a team that you're associated with lose," Martin said. "We're in the business of winning and I had the opportunity to build some relationships with some of the players in my two-and-a-half years here. I firmly believed we were going to make the playoffs. But I think injuries have been a big factor in their season this year."

Chu: US team ready for early showdown with Canada

Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 11:12 AM / NHL Insider

Julie Chu - Special to

It's been a whirlwind tour so far with the tryouts and the preparation, but it's exciting now that we're in Burlington and we're getting a chance to see the Douglas Cairns Arena and be in this environment and soak up everything about getting a chance to host the World Championships in our home country.

I think that for us, it's a very special thing. The last time we did it was in 2001. It was actually my first World Championship ever. I was just a starry-eyed kid, and I kind of point back to that moment a little bit and it's unreal to think that I'm still able to be a part of this incredible program and see how far we've come and see how far I've come as an individual.

Getting a chance to play at Gutterson Field House reminds us of the history of women's hockey. There were some great pioneers that came in the 90s and the early 2000s that really helped to pave the way and kind of created the environment that we all have the opportunity to play in now. It wasn't that easy. The resources weren't there.

Fatherhood helped Sharp, Howard deal with injuries

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 7:37 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- One is a goalie; the other has a dog named "shooter" because of his own scoring acumen.

One plays goalie for the Detroit Red Wings, while the other is a star forward for Detroit's Original Six rival, the Chicago Blackhawks. There are plenty of differences that separate Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard and Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp -- but this season they also have more in common than either one might realize.

Not only did both get off to great starts for their teams, but both also went through frustrating injuries that cut short some statistical benchmarks they were on pace to reach. Yet it's what happened off the ice that makes their situations kind of unique as Sharp and Howard prepare to face each other again on Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena (1 p.m., NBC, TSN2) to conclude the regular season.

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.

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