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NHL Insider

Sawchuk, Messier jersey leaders on 1-11-11

Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 1:05 PM / NHL Insider


Prior to the start of the 2010-11 season, NHL.com columnist John Kreiser wrote a series of articles detailing the top players in the League's history by jersey number, from 00 all the way to 99.

In honor of today's date -- 1-11-11 -- here's a look back at Kreiser's top No. 1 and No. 11 along with runner-up and some of the other notable NHL players to wear those numbers.

The complete lists were broken down from 00-33, 34-66 and 67-99.

1 -- Terry Sawchuk
The owner of the NHL records for wins and shutouts until Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur came along wins a close race with a number of Hall of Famers. Sawchuk wore No. 1 from the time he broke into the League with Detroit in 1949-50 until he went to Toronto in 1964-65 and took No. 30 because his old number was owned by Johnny Bower.

Runner-up: Jacques Plante
Also in the mix: Georges Vezina, Glenn Hall, Johnny Bower, Ed Giacomin, Bernie Parent

Around the East: Rangers' Stepan getting smarter

Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 10:12 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Derek Stepan needed to get about 30 games in before he started to understand how to maintain consistency through the NHL grind. The Rangers' 20-year-old center is hoping to spend the second half of his rookie season proving he can do it for the long haul.

"I think that at this point my body is in good shape, I'm not too banged up and I'm playing with a good amount of confidence," Stepan told NHL.com Monday. "I'm still learning, still a rookie and I'm still going to make mistakes, but I feel good."

He should. Stepan has been earning his steady ice time.

Stepan closed the 2010 calendar year with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) over the final 22 games of the year. He went pointless in his first four games of 2011, but he said they were some of his best games of the season. He finally was rewarded last Saturday with a goal in a 2-1 win at St. Louis.


Caps trying to change their identity

Monday, 01.10.2011 / 7:11 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – Something very odd happened to the Washington Capitals in the first period Saturday night against the Florida Panthers.

A team that has been defined by its offensive prowess since Bruce Boudreau became the coach forgot to play offense. The Capitals are in the midst of an identity shift – they are focused on becoming a better defensive team – and the first period against Florida showed Washington is still working on finding the right balance.

The process has produced immediate results, but it hasn't been a transition without some hiccups along the way. During the first intermission against the Panthers, Boudreau reminded his players they still needed to forecheck and create offensive chances and they did enough to claim a 3-2 victory after a pretty ugly first 20 minutes.

Home ice, special teams plaguing Avalanche

Monday, 01.10.2011 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- It's been quite a while since the Colorado Avalanche could view playing at the Pepsi Center as an advantage.

The Avalanche are just 11-8-3 at home heading into Monday's game against the Detroit Red Wings, and have gone 1-4-2 there in the past seven games.

The Avalanche have lost three of the first four games on its current five-game homestand, with the only victory a 4-3 overtime win this past Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I think over the last sequence here we've had some ups and downs," Avs coach Joe Sacco said after Monday's morning practice. "We've faced some adversity, but I try to remain as patient as I can. If you look back over the first half of the season, it was a pretty good first half for us. We haven't played as good lately, but I think it's not just one or two guys that you can point the finger to; it's everybody."


Hull, Mikita to receive statues outside United Center

Sunday, 01.09.2011 / 9:55 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO – Michael Jordan's statue will be getting some company outside the United Center.
On Sunday evening, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that Hall of Fame legends Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull will also have their bronze likenesses placed outside the stadium sometime next season.
The Hawks informed both Mikita and Hull of the honor before Sunday night's game against the New York Islanders on a Blackhawks Heritage Night celebrating the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team – which featured both Mikita and Hull.

Blackhawks honor '61 championship squad

Sunday, 01.09.2011 / 9:42 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO – They donned Chicago Blackhawks sweaters once again and the music at the United Center on Sunday evening was their music, hits from the early 1960s sung by groups like The Marvelettes and The Tokens.
The video screens on the scoreboard played their highlights, both in color and black-and-white, as fans filed in for Sunday night's game against the New York Islanders. Down below, members of the 1961 Blackhawks celebrated the 50th anniversary of their Stanley Cup championship on a Blackhawks Heritage night to remember.
Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita were there, now official ambassadors for the Hawks. Goalie Glenn Hall and defenseman Pierre Pilote came back, too – as did Ab McDonald, Eric Nesterenko and Bill Hay. Even Wayne Hicks, who was called up as a rookie during the playoffs that season, made it back to help a proud Original Six team celebrate a major piece of its history.

Habs have chance to reclaim first from Bruins

Saturday, 01.08.2011 / 2:44 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- It may only be the midpoint of the season, but everything suggests that Saturday night's game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will have a playoff-type intensity to it.

First off, the natural rivalry between the two Original Six franchises always makes their games hotly contested.

But a regulation-time victory by the Canadiens would allow them to jump past the Bruins into first in the Northeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference, while Boston would slide down from third to eighth in the conference.

The way things are shaping up in the division -- with Buffalo, Ottawa and Toronto all struggling -- it's a flip-flop game that could continue right up until the end of the season.

Fresh off bronze, Leddy is back with Hawks

Friday, 01.07.2011 / 4:07 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- After helping the United States win the bronze medal at the IIHF World Juniors Championship in Buffalo earlier this week, Nick Leddy thought his next stop was back home in Minnesota.
Instead, the Chicago Blackhawks called him up to the NHL to rejoin the team he started playing with this season. The Hawks officially recalled Leddy on Friday from Rockford of the American Hockey League after sending veteran defenseman Jassen Cullimore there on Thursday.
Cullimore played in 36 games for Chicago and had 8 assists with a plus-4 rating.
It's been quite a week for Leddy, a 19-year old puck-moving defenseman. After Chicago's morning skate on Friday, Leddy said playing in the WJC and 22 games with Rockford helped him improve from the six games he spent with the Hawks to start the season.

Sitting on sidelines hurts Gorges more than knee

Friday, 01.07.2011 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- A lot of people made the assumption that Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges had been playing hurt for some time before it was finally announced he would undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee.

But no one could have fathomed just how long it had been.

Gorges revealed Friday that he has been playing with a torn ACL in his right knee since his final season of junior hockey seven years ago.

Now, after playing all of his 509 regular-season and playoff games as a professional on an injured leg, the time has finally come to get it fixed.


Personal history sold Nieuwendyk on Langenbrunner

Friday, 01.07.2011 / 3:20 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk and the Stars newly acquired veteran right wing Jamie Langenbrunner are proof of how hockey deals can come full circle.

Nearly nine years ago it was then Dallas general manager Doug Armstrong working a deal with Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to send both Nieuwendyk, then a veteran forward, and young Langenbrunner to New Jersey. Friday morning, Nieuwendyk, now occupying Armstrong's old chair inside the Stars' front office, brought Langenbrunner back to Texas.

"He's the boss and not my roommate anymore," Langenbrunner said. "It's going to be a little bit different."

Nieuwendyk clearly didn't do this blindly. He knows exactly what his surprising first-place team should get from Langenbrunner, now a 35-year-old right wing, two-time Stanley Cup winner and Olympic silver medalist.

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Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets