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NHL Insider

Injury woes a road bump in Oiler trio's bright future

Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 3:50 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- It has been a rough few weeks for the Edmonton Oilers on the injury front, and the past few days have been a microcosm of it.

Second-year sensation Jordan Eberle skated Tuesday and chatted with the media about his approaching return from a knee injury. Later that night, roommate and close friend Taylor Hall lost an edge during warm-ups and ended up on the wrong end of a scary accident when teammate Corey Potter caught Hall's forehead with his skate.

Eberle will rejoin the lineup Thursday for the Oilers -- the same day Hall met with the media for the first time since the incident and pictures of him proved a harrowing reminder of how lucky he was, all things considered.

Hall will be back soon for the Oilers, though, perhaps as early as Saturday. The third member of Edmonton's top line, rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, is also injured but could be back by the end of the month after his left shoulder heals.

"We were playing well, our line in particular," Eberle said. "We had a lot of chemistry. We lost [Hall] to injury at first (Hall missed seven games with a shoulder injury in early December) and he came back, but then it was [Nugent-Hopkins] and then me -- it was almost like we were dropping like flies."

Peterson's Parkinson fight inspires Trotz

Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 9:53 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

It's been gratifying for Barry Trotz to watch his friend Brent Peterson get his life back. (Photo: John Russell/NHLI)
For the Nashville Predators' first 12 seasons, coach Barry Trotz and associate coach Brent Peterson were fixtures behind the team's bench. That changed this season, however, as Peterson's battle with Parkinson's disease worsened and he had to be shifted into a new role, as a hockey operations advisor, where he works with GM David Poile and Trotz, as well as being active in the community and in sponsorship and business operations.
He also established the Peterson for Parkinson's Foundation, which raises money to benefit Parkinson's Disease research, education and support groups.
"One of the reasons that he had to ultimately leave the (bench) is the fact that he couldn't go on the ice because he'd get locked up," Trotz told "He said I'm fearful for the players because I can't get out of the way and I may hurt someone, but I'm more fearful for myself because I can't get out of the way and I can't do my job the way I was hoping I could."

Trotz's influence remains foundation for success

Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 9:40 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz had a conundrum on his hands going into the 2011-12 season.
Coming off the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff-series victory this past spring, expectations would be raised. But to reach another level, he'd have to do so with the youngest team in the NHL.
How would he accomplish that? Trotz said even he wasn't too sure. Somehow, though, it's mostly worked in the Predators' favor as they currently sit sixth in the Western Conference, but just six points behind conference-leading Chicago.
It's a good place to be now, but Trotz told that he wasn't feeling so good when the season started.

In tough season, Sanford a success story for Jackets

Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 6:59 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- Curtis Sanford entered a game Jan. 13, 2009, for the Vancouver Canucks after the New Jersey Devils had already grabbed an early 2-0 lead. Sanford replaced starter Jason LaBarbera, stopped 19 of 21 shots and kept his team in the game for them to stage a third-period comeback before an empty-net goal sealed a 5-3 defeat.

Pretty standard stuff, really -- except it wasn't for Sanford. Vancouver's franchise goaltender, Roberto Luongo, was ready to return from a groin injury. Sanford had been with the Canucks as Luongo's backup since the beginning of the previous season, but his own groin injury caused him to miss a few games just before that contest in New Jersey.

The Canucks needed a goalie when Sanford got hurt and chose to trade a seventh-round pick to Los Angeles for LaBarbera instead of calling up 22-year-old prospect Cory Schneider. Now with Luongo back there was a logjam, and on Jan. 14, 2009, Sanford was waived. The next day he cleared waivers and was sent to Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

Weber, Suter focus on playoffs; contracts later

Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter said Friday he didn't anticipate signing a long-term deal before the League's trade deadline on Feb. 27. Suter made his comments during the 2012 NHL All-Star Media Day presented by Allstate.

Suter will be an unrestricted free agent following the season while teammate and fellow All-Star defenseman Shea Weber will be a restricted free agent for the second consecutive summer. Weber was awarded through arbitration a record-setting one-year, $7.5 million contract in August after he and the Predators were unable to come to terms on a long-term deal.

Trade has Bourque facing Backstrom-less Caps again

Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 1:22 PM / NHL Insider

Martin Leclerc - Correspondent

"I don't feel good about what I did and I apologized, but I'm sure there will be some guys coming after me. It's a part of the game, it happens to guys all the time. You just have to be prepared to have every check finished on me and who knows, whatever else." -- Rene Bourque

BROSSARD, Que. -- The last time Rene Bourque faced the Washington Capitals, he left the game facing a near-certain suspension for elbowing center Nicklas Backstrom.

That suspension wound up being for five games, and Backstrom has not returned to action since that Jan. 3 contest.

Bourque was with the Calgary Flames back then and figured he would not face the Capitals again this season. But life in the NHL has a funny way of changing your plans.

Traded by the Flames to the Montreal Canadiens last Thursday, Bourque played his first game since the end of his suspension Sunday night.

GM Fletcher discusses Wild's slide in standings

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 11:50 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"It's a bit of a challenge with some of the forwards we have out of the lineup, but I think there's been encouraging signs. For us to be successful we have to play a strong team game and really play a structured defensive style."
-- Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher

PHILADELPHIA -- When Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher woke up on the morning of Dec. 17, he found his team atop the NHL standings with 45 points. One month later, he has a team on a precipitous slide that has seen it drop from its lofty perch to eighth in the Western Conference with 51 points, one point ahead of ninth-place Colorado.

On Dec. 17, the Wild lost a 2-1 shootout at home to the Islanders. Since that game, they're just 2-9-3, including a 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

So what's happened?

NHL-leading Rangers want to rectify choppy play

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 2:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"It's not acceptable to have a stretch of bad games. You're not going to play every game perfect. You have to find a way to bounce back, and right away without digging a hole." -- Brandon Dubinsky

NEW YORK -- Save for a period of three days, the New York Rangers have sat atop the NHL standings since Jan. 3, a place they occupy heading into Tuesday night's game against the Nashville Predators.

The Rangers have led the Eastern Conference since the calendar flipped to 2012, the latest they've held that spot since the 1995-96 season.

Yet, there isn't an air of confidence around the club as they prepare to face the Predators (7:30 ET, NBCSP) at Madison Square Garden. Instead, there's more of a concern about rectifying their choppy play of late that has seen them drop two of three, including a truly lackluster showing in a 4-1 loss in Montreal on Sunday night.

Miller talks frustrating season, state of the Sabres

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 11:16 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Ryan Miller
Goalie - BUF
RECORD: 11-13-2
GAA: 3.12 | SVP: 0.898
DETROIT -- The term "interesting" probably best describes the day that Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller had in his homecoming to Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

Frustrating and forgettable might work, as well.

After spending a great day on Sunday catching up with family and friends -- including younger brother Drew Miller, a Detroit Red Wings forward -- Miller started his day on Monday with a pre-game skate at Joe Louis Arena followed by a chat with the media for nearly 20 minutes.

He covered a lot of topics, too. Miller gave his thoughts on everything from dealing with a concussion that kept him out for about three weeks and what kind of things he's doing to guard against further concussions to why he thinks the Sabres are struggling to his feelings about Drew's increased role with Detroit to his own struggles in net.

Sabres look for answers after 5-0 loss

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:27 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT – There couldn't have been two more starkly different emotions on display at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night following the Detroit Red Wings' 5-0 pasting of the Buffalo Sabres.

While the Red Wings celebrated setting a franchise record with their 15th straight home win this season – besting the 14 that Detroit strung together in 1965 – the Sabres were down the hall fielding questions about another mistake-filled, lackluster effort that had Buffalo reporters pressing for answers afterward.

Prior to reporters being let into the Buffalo locker room, Sabres owner Terry Pegula and other team executives walked directly into the room as players dressed while trying to wrap their minds around the fact they've got just 43 points and have a steep mountain to climb if they even want to get into the playoffs.
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