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NHL on NBC Spotlight

Roenick: Sid's potential return Sunday adds 'jolt'

Friday, 03.09.2012 / 3:03 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Jeremy Roenick understands why there is an amped up Crosby Watch for a nationally televised Sunday matinee on NBC (12:30 p.m. ET). The ex-NHLer turned NBC Sports analyst says it should be escalated and promoted simply because it'll make for an even better matchup between the Penguins and Bruins.

"The possibility of Sidney Crosby coming back on national television gives a jolt to not only the Penguins, but the fans in Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto, everywhere," Roenick told "Wherever you may be, everybody is waiting for this guy to come back. It's early to tell, but it adds to the excitement."

Thomas ready for increased workload with Rask out

Friday, 03.09.2012 / 2:57 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- The 25 straight games he started while flaunting Atlas-like strength in carrying the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup championship at the end of last season are an indelible part of team history.
If Tim Thomas is going to duplicate that massive effort this season, it appears he's going to have to get used to a heavy workload a little earlier than he did before Boston's drought-snapping run to the title. Bruins No. 1A goaltender Tuukka Rask recently went down with a groin injury that's going to sideline him for at least six weeks, and recently-signed Marty Turco has played just 10 games in Europe this season coming off a subpar season with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010-11.
"To me it feels the same way as it did when me and Tuukka were going back and forth," Thomas said after appearing in his season-high seventh straight game Thursday night.

Roenick: Bruins need to prove they can beat Rangers

Friday, 03.02.2012 / 3:50 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The first of two opportunities for the Boston Bruins to get some confidence against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers comes Sunday at Madison Square Garden, according to NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick.

The Rangers already have beaten the Bruins twice at TD Garden, but Sunday's nationally televised game (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NHLN-CA) is the first of two meetings at Madison Square Garden in the next month. Boston also comes down to play the Rangers on April 1 in what could be another NHL on NBC Game of the Week.

Krejci credits shift to wing for strong play as center

Friday, 03.02.2012 / 11:35 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

"He likes to thrive on big occasions, and there's no doubt that every playoff that he's played in, he's been a good player. And every year, at the end of the year, he's always been a good player."
-- Claude Julien

BOSTON -- Despite this week's snow that coated New England, spring rapidly is approaching.

While the temperature is not expected to rise much until later next week, the NHL schedule already has that April-like feeling, as the Boston Bruins started their stretch of 21 games in 38 days to close the regular season Thursday.

Perhaps the early arrival of postseason atmosphere was what inspired Bruins center David Krejci to open March with a hat trick after he had scored just 2 goals in all of February. After all, since he cracked the NHL Krejci has proven that when the stakes are highest, he's usually at his best.

Hunter finds new challenge in returning to coach Caps

Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 10:00 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. --  It was about an hour drive for Dale Hunter, maybe a little less some days, but it was one he would make quite often.

Hunter lived in London, Ontario, where he and his brother Mark had built an empire in Canadian junior hockey. But the Hunter brothers have two distinct passions, and the other waited for him at the end of that drive west to the family farm outside Oil Springs.

Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said it best: "[Hunter] knows two things: farming and hockey." Finding time to help out on his family's 2,000-acre farm, which has fields of mostly soybean and wheat but also a little bit of corn, has always been a part of Hunter's life, even during the more than three decades when hockey became his first priority.

Roenick analyzes Sunday's Caps-Rangers matchup

Friday, 02.10.2012 / 6:31 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Despite the fact that the Rangers play in Philadelphia on Saturday and the Capitals have been off since Thursday, NBC Sports Network analyst Jeremy Roenick said New York will have a significant advantage in Sunday's NHL on NBC Game of the Week at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC. NHLN-Canada, RDSI).

"Advantage Rangers, because they're coming off of big wins and high competition, so their adrenaline is going to be flowing," Roenick told Friday from the Bellagio, where he was attending Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp. "I always found it better playing a back-to-back, getting right back into it. You don't have time to think. When you have time to think about something and stew over something, let it sink in, it's not good. I think advantage Rangers."

There are other reasons why Roenick believes the Rangers have the advantage.

Well-rested Lundqvist putting together finest season

Friday, 02.10.2012 / 1:53 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Henrik Lundqvist
Goalie - NYR
RECORD: 24-11-4
GAA: 1.80 | SVP: 0.939
Less has been more this season for Henrik Lundqvist -- a lot more.

The Rangers' goaltender leads all NHL starters in goals-against average (1.80), save percentage (.939) and shutouts (6). Lundqvist hasn't played fewer than 68 games since taking over the No. 1 job in 2006-07, but he's on pace to play about 61 games this season.

Lundqvist is one of two goaltenders to make at least 30 starts without having been pulled for ineffectiveness -- Montreal's Carey Price is the other -- a fact that speaks to the consistency he has provided the Rangers, who lead the Eastern Conference with 73 points as they get set to visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and face the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

Brouwer has brought variety of skills to Washington

Friday, 01.20.2012 / 4:26 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent

Troy Brouwer
Right Wing - WSH
GOALS: 14 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 24
SOG: 70 | +/-: 0
Washington forward Troy Brouwer couldn’t help noticing something was amiss last Wednesday as the Capitals prepared to play in Montreal.

"I got to the rink and my jersey wasn't there," Brouwer said.

The mystery was cleared up quickly. The Capitals' staff was stitching an "A" on his sweater. With Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup, Brooks Laich had been awarded Backstrom’s designation as alternate captain for five games. Now it was Brouwer’s turn.

"For me, it's not a huge thing," Brouwer said, clearly downplaying the honor. "There are a lot of guys here who are leaders whether or not they have letters on their jerseys. Everyone brings their own experience, their own charisma to the team. We need everyone as a whole to be successful."

Roenick: Penguins-Capitals still a marquee matchup

Friday, 01.20.2012 / 12:48 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Sidney Crosby is still out with his concussion problems, and Alex Ovechkin is far off his old scoring pace. Does that mean the NBC NHL Game of the Week on Sunday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals (12:30 p.m. ET) lacks juice?

Not so, says NBC Sports analyst and former NHL star Jeremy Roenick.

"This game doesn't have as much dramatics as it would if Sidney Crosby was playing, so the hype you would think would be a little bit down," Roenick told Friday. "However, Evgeni Malkin is making this game even more attractive for everyone to sit in front of the TV because I think Malkin is playing the best hockey in the NHL right now."

Malkin lit up the Rangers for two more goals in Thursday's 4-1 win, lifting his point total to a League-best 54 heading into Friday's home game against Montreal. He has 7 goals in the last four games, and not coincidentally the Penguins have won them all to get back into the middle of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference after going through a six-game losing streak.

Red Wings, Hawks ready for Saturday showdown

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 8:10 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

The Detroit Red Wings had lost four straight games after winning the season's first five, and coach Mike Babcock was asked why he thought his team was riding an early roller-coaster.

"When you come off it," he said, "we're all the same."

It was a reference to the parity that's swept through the NHL since the inception of the salary cap, which forces teams to spend money wisely and cultivate homegrown talent through good scouting and drafting. A look back at last season's nail-biting race for playoff positioning in both conferences is all it takes to realize that Babcock might be onto something.

More teams than ever are basically "the same" -- and the resulting intensity for regular-season games has increased because of it. Babcock's Red Wings and Joel Quenneville's Chicago Blackhawks know about it well; they are locked in a tight race both for the top spot in the Central Division and for Western Conference playoff positioning.
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