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Player Profiles

Savard still dealing with symptoms, hopes for return

Saturday, 01.21.2012 / 2:34 PM / Player Profiles

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON – While some might consider Marc Savard's NHL playing career over, the inactive Boston Bruins center is still classifying himself and his battle with post-concussion syndrome symptoms as day-to-day.
Savard, who was at TD Garden on Saturday to promote the suite at the Bruins' home rink he's donated for pediatric patients at Children's Hospital Boston with a focus on children suffering from the effects of head trauma from both a medical and psychological standpoint, said he's wants to see how things go with his recovery this year before making any more definitive decisions about his future.
He last played in an NHL game in Colorado on Jan. 22, 2011, when he suffered his most recent concussion on a clean hit by ex-teammate Matt Hunwick.
"Right now, the way I'm still feeling and the daily issues I'm having, it's tough to see a bright future right now," he said. "It's tough, but there's still some days when you want to get back and play. But again, I know too if I possibly get hit again, what could happen. So it's a day-by-day thing still. I'm still hoping that something happens that I feel a lot better."

Olympic effort shined light on Predators' Suter

Saturday, 01.21.2012 / 9:00 AM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Ryan Suter knows precisely when and where he transitioned from being a relatively unknown, yet solid NHL defenseman playing in the shadows of an emerging star to the famous and perennial All-Star defenseman the Nashville Predators can't win without.

"The Olympics up in Vancouver, playing on that big stage, it really helped people see me differently," Suter told "Playing with Shea (Weber), he's got the big shot, he's the captain and he throws the big hit, so I think sometimes I get overlooked. That's fine. He's a great player. He should get the recognition. But I think Vancouver helped me with that."

Suter played the most minutes of any U.S. player at the 2010 Olympics. He finished with 4 assists and a plus-9 rating to help Team USA take home a silver medal.

Malkin's heroics carrying Pens in trying time

Friday, 01.20.2012 / 1:21 PM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 24 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 54
SOG: 187 | +/-: 9
Since Sidney Crosby exited the lineup Dec. 5, the Pittsburgh Penguins have limped to a 9-9-0 record in his absence.

If not for the heroics of Evgeni Malkin, things could be a whole lot worse.

In those 18 games without Crosby -- and not to mention Kris Letang, one of the NHL's best offensive defenseman who returned to the lineup after a two-month absence Thursday -- Malkin has 15 goals and 15 assists. He has factored in 30 of the Penguins' 53 goals during that time (56.6 percent) and has been on the ice for a whopping 34 (69.8 percent) goals during that stretch.

Kovalchuk changing perception with two-way play

Friday, 01.20.2012 / 10:04 AM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- As Ilya Kovalchuk continues to pile up numbers and earn the trust from Devils coach Pete DeBoer to play in all situations, the perception of him around the League appears to be changing.

"If you had a negative opinion of Ilya, I don't know how it can't be positive now," NHL Network analyst and former Flames GM Craig Button told "And, yes, there are people around the League that have had a negative opinion of him. If you want me to go one step further, in my view Alexander Ovechkin could improve his game by watching Ilya Kovalchuk a little bit closer."

"He's on a better track," added fellow NHL Network analyst and former Devils goalie Kevin Weekes. "There is less cherry-picking and he's maturing some, too. (Jacque) Lemaire helped him and Pete has been good to him. He needs to keep doing the same things now."

Kovalchuk is finally scoring in New Jersey at the rate he was for seven-and-a-half seasons in Atlanta. He leads the team with 19 goals and is second behind Patrik Elias with 40 points. He has 7 goals in his last seven games, and five two-point games over the same span.

Early returns favorable in union of Turris, Sens

Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 12:33 PM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

After a tumultuous time with the Phoenix Coyotes, Kyle Turris has made a new home for himself with the Ottawa Senators.

Kyle Turris
Center - OTT
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 11
SOG: 43 | +/-: 9
It's been less than a month, but he's already settled into his new digs quite nicely.

Since arriving from Phoenix, Turris has made an immediate impact centering Ottawa's No. 2 line with Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Condra. The Senators are 11-2-2 since landing Turris, who has three goals and eight assists during that 15-game span.

The last thing Turris wants to do is take credit for the hot streak that has vaulted the Senators solidly into the Stanley Cup Playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

Whitney keeps ticking, closes in on career milestone

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 4:39 PM / Player Profiles

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

Of all the numbers that serve to encapsulate the impressive 20-year hockey career of Ray Whitney, here are three that might surprise even the most observant NHL followers:

Two, two and 38.

Whitney has been waived twice in his career -- once after just nine games by his hometown team, the Edmonton Oilers.

Whitney has been bought out of his contract twice -- once in Carolina a few years after leading the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup.

But as he laces up his skates for the 1,191st time in the NHL tonight in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, where his one-year stint with the Red Wings ended with one of those "it's not you, it's us" buyouts almost eight years ago, the impish, 39-year-old winger stands just 38 points shy of the 1,000-point mark in his career.

Playing time, aggressive approach helping Vokoun

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 2:48 PM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Tomas Vokoun told Washington's defense corps prior to Wednesday's game against Pittsburgh that he was going to play the puck more, so be ready for it.

The result was Vokoun's best performance as a member of the Capitals in a 1-0 victory against the Penguins. He made 30 saves for his second shutout and the Capitals didn't have many, if any, egregious turnovers deep in their defensive zone that led to scoring chances. In fact, they didn't give much in the way of "Grade A" scoring chances until the final few frantic minutes.

So it's safe to expect Vokoun continuing to play the puck more in games, and he should get plenty of chances if he continues to play the way he did Wednesday.

Unsung Hillen settling in on Predators' blue line

Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 2:17 PM / Player Profiles

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- With its top farm team located in Milwaukee and so many players with Wisconsin ties, the Nashville Predators sometimes feel like Wisconsin South.

Jack Hillen
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 6
SOG: 37 | +/-: -1
Defenseman Ryan Suter is from Madison and went to the University of Wisconsin, which is also true of rookie Craig Smith, who leads all Predators forwards in points. Blake Geoffrion, recently sent back to the AHL, won the Hobey Baker Award with the Badgers.

Yet another addition to the Predators this season can be found, like Suter, sporting a Green Bay Packers cap sometimes after practice: defenseman Jack Hillen.

Given that Hillen is from Minnesota -- and that the NFL's Vikings and the Packers border on blood rivals -- it would be analogous to a hockey player raised in Massachusetts wearing a Yankees' cap.

As it happens, Hillen's father is a Green Bay native and Hillen was raised there in his early years. Hillen tried to explain just how ingrained the Packers are in the small city of 100,000. His father grew up and played golf with the son of Bart Starr, the legendary Packers quarterback. Hillen's family had season tickets and he grew up going to games at Lambeau Field.

Elias, a career Devil, set to play in 1,000th game

Friday, 01.06.2012 / 12:07 PM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Devils center Patrik Elias has won the Stanley Cup twice and is the franchise leader in every important offensive category. Friday night at Prudential Center, he'll add to his list of milestones when he becomes the third player in Devils history to play at least 1,000 games with the team.

Ken Daneyko (1,283) and Martin Brodeur (1,156) are the others.

Elias will also become the 46th player in NHL history to play 1,000 games with the same team.

Slow start, criticism doesn't derail Luongo

Friday, 01.06.2012 / 10:23 AM / Player Profiles

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Roberto Luongo has rediscovered his game -- just in time to return to the place where it seemed to disintegrate.

The Canucks' goaltender doesn't draw the same straight line as many observers between his Jekyll-and-Hyde performances in the Stanley Cup Final in June -- mostly brilliant on home ice, brutal in Boston -- and another horrific start to the regular season.

Luongo has always struggled in October, though rarely as badly as this season. But as the Canucks return to his personal House of Horrors to face the Bruins on Saturday for the first time since losing the Cup to them in seven games, Luongo said the biggest carryover was in the way some fans in Vancouver reacted to his annual early-season slump.
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