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NHL Insider

Bailey's back with Islanders -- and staying put

Wednesday, 12.22.2010 / 1:07 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Some players would sulk after being demoted to the American Hockey League. Josh Bailey, however, did not.
And now, he's back for good.
The New York Islanders recalled their first-round pick from the 2008 Entry Draft on Wednesday morning after watching Bailey tally 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 11 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Bailey will be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Isles host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.


Hawks surprise Marine's family

Tuesday, 12.21.2010 / 8:44 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The bank of television cameras in the back of the Chicago Blackhawks locker room had to be a dead giveaway that something was up.
The Blackhawks had told the Handley family of Aurora, Ill., they were being granted an all-access tour of the Hawks' practice facility on Tuesday because their son, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. George Handley, wouldn't be home for Christmas.
What they didn't know was that he was already home, courtesy of the Blackhawks -- who with help from the Illinois USO arranged for a surprise reunion with his family on Tuesday at Johnny's Ice House West after practice.
Unbeknownst to the Handleys, who thought George was still in Okinawa, Japan, George was hidden away in a back room. After being led into the Hawks' locker room by captain Jonathan Toews and forward Patrick Kane, the Handleys saw the large media contingent -- which probably gave something away. 

Hawks hope to return to full health after holiday

Tuesday, 12.21.2010 / 4:03 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Slowly but surely, the Chicago Blackhawks are getting their injured players back on the ice.
The only one who didn't skate during Tuesday's practice was forward Patrick Kane, who seemed to aggravate his lower-body injury this past weekend during a practice. Otherwise, forwards Marian Hossa (lower body) and Viktor Stalberg (upper body) both went through a full practice session -- which was held in front of fans at Johnny's Ice House West.
Hossa also skated for about 30 minutes after the regular practice session concluded, but neither he nor Kane will play on Wednesday night at home against the Nashville Predators. Stalberg might return, but Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will make the final call after Wednesday's morning skate.

Getting a win helps Hannan settle in with Caps

Tuesday, 12.21.2010 / 2:14 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- This has been a long month for all of the Washington Capitals, but probably more so for Scott Hannan than any of his new teammates.

Hannan waived a no-trade clause to join Washington on the final day of November and watched his new team defeat the St. Louis Blues the next day. After that, Hannan was inserted into the lineup at quite the unfortunate time – the onset of an eight-game losing streak.

Now the Capitals have won a game with Hannan -- a 3-2 victory Sunday in Ottawa -- and he is nearing the end of sorting out everything away from the rink as well. Normalcy is rapidly approaching, and he can't wait.

Habs' commitment to 'D' key to their success

Tuesday, 12.21.2010 / 9:55 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

As the Montreal Canadiens made their way to the Eastern Conference Final last spring and began this season as one of the League's top teams, the players often have mentioned the system of coach Jacques Martin as a reason for that success.

Critics, however, preferred to pin all the credit on the goalies playing behind that system -- Jaroslav Halak last spring, and Carey Price this season.

Well, those critics will be pleased to know that they are right -- at least partially.

"The goalie stops the puck," defenseman Jaroslav Spacek told NHL.com when asked to provide the philosophical basis of Martin's defensive scheme. "That's one of the most important things. If he doesn't stop the puck, then you can play any defense you want and it won't matter."


Around the East: Hannan enjoying spotlight

Monday, 12.20.2010 / 10:38 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Little did Scott Hannan realize what he was walking into when he was traded from Colorado to Washington.

Hello spotlight. Hello microscope.

"The west coast seems to have a smaller following in terms of media, and to get here and have '24/7' come through, it is a little bit different," said Hannan, who became a Capital on Nov. 30. "The '24/7' thing was definitely not something you're used to as far as cameras in the room, in meetings, wherever. It's been different, but at the same time it's good, it's exciting."

Hannan's timing couldn't have been any better, or any worse.

The defenseman arrived in D.C. just in time for the Capitals to start an eight-game winless streak that finally ended Sunday in Ottawa. He also arrived in D.C. just in time for HBO's camera crews to begin capturing the Capitals in their daily lives as a lead-up to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Capitals' spirits lifted after snapping lengthy skid

Monday, 12.20.2010 / 4:33 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Members of the Washington Capitals woke up Monday morning and were reminded how much fun it is to go to work the day after winning a hockey game.

It had been too long for the Capitals -- 19 days, to be exact -- since they defeated St. Louis to push their record to 18-6-2. Eight losses later, Washington had fallen from the top not only of the NHL standings, but the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division, as well.

A 3-2 victory in Ottawa has the team at least temporarily back in front of a crowded Southeast, but more importantly could help propel the Capitals back toward their typical level of play.

"You see the coaches walking around and George (McPhee, GM) walking around and you can look them in the eye and think, 'Yeah, we won and we battled hard,' instead of just putting your head down and feeling shame," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "We've tried our best but we've had some bad results. It was really tough to handle."


Flyers have no plans on taking foot off the gas

Monday, 12.20.2010 / 2:21 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have no intention of lowering their guard in their final game before a seven-day break for the holidays.
The Flyers, riding a five-game win streak and sitting atop the NHL with 49 points, host the Florida Panthers on Monday here at Wells Fargo Center.
"If we do (lower our guard), we'll lose," coach Peter Laviolette told the media following his team's morning skate. "We have to be ready to play a hard-working team."
For the Flyers and Laviolette, being regarded as the best team in the League is new territory. Not until the final game of the 2009-10 regular season -- a shootout victory against the New York Rangers -- did Philadelphia begin its surge, peaking at the right time prior to the start of a long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even then, they qualified only by the slightest of margins.


Pronger confident Flyers will be OK without him

Saturday, 12.18.2010 / 3:14 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Chris Pronger doesn't anticipate a letdown in his absence.

Pronger, who has become the backbone of Philadelphia’s defensive corps since his arrival via trade in the summer of 2009, will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his right foot. But he’s pretty confident the team will carry on and maintain its consistency in the back end without him.

"I think this is one of the exact reasons and instances why we made the moves we did in the offseason -- to have more through our defense corps," Pronger explained during a conference call on Saturday morning. "When Homer (GM Paul Holmgren) made these moves, he talked about our top four defensemen missed a total of two or four games, something silly that most teams don't go through."

Isles to start rookie goalie vs. Coyotes

Saturday, 12.18.2010 / 1:15 PM / NHL Insider


The New York Islanders recalled goaltender Nathan Lawson from their AHL farm team in Bridgeport on an emergency basis on Saturday. The 27-year-old will make his NHL debut Saturday night when the Islanders host Phoenix.

Lawson is getting his opportunity because starter Rick DiPietro has a swollen knee. DiPietro took part in the morning skate, but the Islanders opted to take no chances with a player who missed most of the last two seasons with knee and hip problems.

"It's one of those things where it's day-to-day," DiPietro said. "It's been awesome so far, but there's always good days and bad days when you come back from an injury like this. It's been a tough two years and it's just a point where I'm trying to be as smart as possible. You keep telling yourself that there's a lot of season left."

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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory