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(Page 5 of 12)
Across the Pond

Canada aims for 12th Spengler Cup championship

Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 9:45 AM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The annual Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland, is the hockey world's second-oldest on-going club-team tournament, after the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For fans, the annual six-day event at Vaillant Arena is one continuous party, on and off the ice, from the day after Christmas to New Year's Eve. But to the participating teams in the five-team invitational event, it's a grueling test of endurance to play up to five games in less than a week.

Now in its 84th edition, the 2011 tournament pits host team HC Davos against a field consisting of fellow Swiss National League A team Kloten Flyers, KHL team Dinamo Minsk, Czech team HC Vitkovice, Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg from Germany's DEL and Team Canada.
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Sundstrom links Modo past, present and future

Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 4:39 PM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

In the pantheon of great Swedish hockey players who hail from or got their start in the small city of Örnsköldsvik, former NHL forward Niklas Sundstrom often gets overlooked. Once considered one of the premiere defensive forwards in the NHL and on the Swedish national team, Sundstrom slowly faded from the international limelight but continues to be a critical player for Modo Hockey at age 36.

This season, despite missing five games due to injury, Sundstrom ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 6 goals and 20 points. He now ranks second on the Modo franchise's all-time assist list, 25 behind Per Svartvadet and fifth on the team's all-time point list. With 270 regular season points, Sundstrom would need to play two more productive seasons to catch Modo's all-time leader, Magnus Wernblom
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Turco joins Austrian host team for Red Bull tourney

Wednesday, 12.14.2011 / 9:00 AM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Former Stars and Blackhawks goalie Marty Turco has signed a short-term contract to play for reigning Erste Bank Liga (EBEL) champion EC Red Bull Salzburg. (Photo: Getty Images)
Former Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco has decided to take a "working vacation" in Salzburg, Austria. The 36-year-old veteran of 538 NHL regular-season games and 47 Stanley Cup Playoff matches has signed a short-term contract to play for reigning Erste Bank Liga (EBEL) champion EC Red Bull Salzburg in the seventh annual Red Bulls Salute tournament hosted by the team.

With five of the team's key players -- including leading scorer Thomas Raffl (9 goals, 34 points in 28 games) -- slated to suit up for the Austrian national team during a concurrent international tournament in Klagenfurt, Austria, the Red Bull club recruited significant outside help to improve its chances of winning the tourney on home ice. The three-day tournament starts Friday.

Turco is one of five import players who have been added temporarily to the Red Bull lineup for the tournament, along with Akim Aliu, Tyler Redenbach, Scott Barney and Ryan Glenn. The latter four were obtained on loan from other teams. EC Red Bull also recently signed former San Jose Sharks defenseman Rob Davison for the rest of the season.
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DEL: Wolfsburg quintet lighting up scoreboard

Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 11:00 AM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Tyler Haskins of Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg battles Darin Olver of Eisbaeren Berlin. (Photo: Getty Images)
It's not too often that four of the top-six scorers in a 14-team league are all members of the same club. That's the case so far this season in Germany's DEL, where Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg forwards Matt Dzieduszycki, Tyler Haskins, Kai Hospelt and Norm Milley rank among the league's top six overall point-getters and young defenseman Christopher Fischer ranks in the top three scorers at his position.

Calgary native Dzieduszycki, 31, is in his first season with Wolfsburg after spending the four previous campaigns with the Hannover Scorpions. Although the winger, whose nickname is "Diesel," was a productive player for Hannover, this is the first time he has been among the DEL's scoring leaders at this point of the season. To date, he has registered 11 goals and 26 points in 25 games to rank second only to Krefeld Penguins' native German center Daniel Pietta (12 goals, 27 points in 24 games).
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Zibanejad heating up for Djurgarden

Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 10:57 AM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Since returning to his native Sweden after a nine-game stint in the NHL, it has taken 2011 Ottawa Senators first-round pick Mika Zibanejad a few weeks to get his legs under him and establish chemistry with his linemates. But if his last three games are any indication, it appears as if the 18-year-old center is beginning to hit his stride with Djurgardens IF Stockholm.

Through his first nine games this season with DIF, Zibanejad had 2 goals and 2 assists. However, he now has points in three consecutive games while centering his team's second line, flanked by veteran forwards Mathias Tjarnqvist (formerly a member of the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes) and Mattias Carlsson.
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Switzerland: Sinking Lakers turn to Niinimaa, Brendl

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 9:00 AM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The Rapperswil-Jona Lakers have signed former NHL player Janne Niinimaa to help turn their season around. (Photo: Getty Images)
In the midst of a month-long slump that has seen the club plummet to the basement of the 14-team Swiss National League, the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers have opened their wallet to bring in a pair of veteran former NHL players: Finnish defenseman Janne Niinimaa and Czech forward Pavel Brendl.

The Lakers, who finished 13th last season and have not made the playoffs since 2007-08, have lost seven in a row and nine of their last 10 games, dropping from fifth place to last in the process. During their current swoon, Rapperswil has been shut out three times, managed three or more goals on only two occasions and has been outscored overall 34-14.

Brendl, 31, started the season in his native Czech Republic with HC Pardubice. In six Extraliga games before transferring to his new Swiss club, Brendl had five goals and eight points. The well-traveled former WHL scoring sensation and NHL player with the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Phoenix Coyotes has spent most of the past three seasons in the KHL.
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A Look at leaders at Karjala Tournament break

Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 12:04 PM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The annual Karjala Tournament begins in Helsinki on Wednesday, with national teams representing Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic taking their first steps toward the IIHF World Championship this spring. Last year, Finland broke Russia's four-year tournament winning streak. In three of the last four years, the country that won the Karjala went on to take gold at the Worlds.

With the senior national-team season under way, the top four European leagues -- Russia's KHL, Sweden's Elitserien, Finland's SM-liiga, and the Czech Extraliga -- are on short-term hiatus until next week. Here's a look at the league leaders and biggest surprises in each league to date.

KHL muddling through tragedy

The global hockey world remains devastated by the Sept. 7 plane crash that killed the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl roster and all of its coaches who were on board en route to its regular-season opener in Belarus against Dinamo Minsk. The tragedy has cast a pall over the entire hockey season, and although the 2011-12 KHL season has gone on, the grief remains fresh, and there are constant reminders of all who were lost.
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Across the Pond: KalPa surges into Sm-liiga lead

Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 9:51 AM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

One of the international hockey world's most compelling comeback stories has unfolded over the last five years in Kuopio, Finland. The venerable KalPa team, which was founded in 1929 and was on the brink of financial death in the early 2000s, now has become a model of success in the small markets that comprise the majority of European hockey teams.

A cellar dweller that was relegated from SM-liiga to minor league Mestis in 1999, the team not only rose from the ashes in 2005 to return to the top league, it also has become a contender in recent seasons while maintaining a modest budget. KalPa long has been known for having one of the top junior programs in Finland, and graduates of the junior team have been supplemented by astute (but generally inexpensive) veteran additions brought in from elsewhere.
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Iggulden has been golden for rising Lakers

Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 12:23 PM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Through the first 15 games of the 2011-12 Elitserien regular season, Mike Iggulden has been the most electrifying offensive player in the league. (Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI)
When the Växjo Lakers signed former NHL forward Mike Iggulden to a one-year contract in June, it was hardly considered earth-shattering news around Elitserien. The 28-year-old who played 12 games spread across two seasons for the San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders has been something of a hockey nomad in his career.

Although "Iggy" was a fine scorer in the American Hockey League, the KHL and Switzerland's National League A, the Cornell University graduate was not considered a game-breaking player. That is, until now.

Through the first 15 games of the 2011-12 Elitserien regular season, Iggulden has been the most electrifying offensive player in the league. In what generally has been a low-scoring season around the SEL, Iggulden leads the league in goals (10, including 4 game-winners) and points (21), while also converting several shootout attempts. Iggulden, who is listed as a right wing, generally has played center for the Lakers, and has won 56 percent (70-for-125) of the faceoffs he's taken to date.
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Extraliga: Nearly 40, Nedved still going strong

Wednesday, 10.19.2011 / 2:29 PM / Across the Pond

Bill Meltzer - NHL.com Correspondent

More than four years removed from the last of his 982 regular-season NHL games, veteran forward Petr Nedved remains a highly productive player in the Czech Republic's Extraliga.

Now in his fifth Extraliga season since leaving the NHL, and his fourth with his hometown Liberec White Tigers (HC Bili Tigri Liberec), Nedved has 8 goals and 16 points through the first 11 games of the 2011-12 regular season.

The center, who will turn 40 on Dec. 9, has taken a long and winding road in a life and career that ultimately has led him back to the place where it all began. Born in Liberec and raised during the communist regime of the former Czechoslovakia, Nedved defected to Canada at the age of 17. He has represented Canada and the post-Velvet Revolution Czech Republic in international competitions.

Nedved's 14-plus seasons in the NHL best can be described as bittersweet. Taken by the Vancouver Canucks with the second pick of the 1990 Entry Draft, Nedved reached some lofty heights over the course of his career, but also went through more than his share of struggles, on and off the ice. 
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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares