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(Page 15 of 22)
Player Profiles

Elliott's hard work has him No. 1 in Blues' net

Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:43 PM / Player Profiles

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

By his own admission, Brian Elliott's battle to win a roster spot with the St. Louis Blues this season was nothing new.

"It's something that I've gone through my whole career," the 26-year-old Elliott said. "In college, I came in and backed up the first two years (at the University of Wisconsin), but I definitely pushed for that starting spot. When I got the chance, I ran with it."

Elliott seems to be running with it again.
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Brown plays his part in Toronto's hot start

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 12:55 PM / Player Profiles

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Mike Brown arrived in Toronto from Anaheim in the summer of 2010, it was safe to say his facial hair preceded him. The bruising winger joined the Leafs sporting an impressive Fu Manchu that helped him appear more rugged than even his 391 career penalty minutes would suggest.

Brown maintained the unique facial hair throughout the 2010-11 season, in which he recorded career highs in points (8) and assists (5) and endeared himself to fans for his relentless, physical style.

During the offseason, however, Brown knew it was time for a change of pace. The Maple Leafs had just watched the playoffs at home for the sixth-straight season, and once training camp for the 2011-12 season arrived, Brown was limited by injury.
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Kessel's defensive improvement fuels hot start

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 10:18 AM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Phil Kessel
Right Wing - TOR
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 15
SOG: 27 | +/-: 5
NEW YORK -- An argument can be made that Phil Kessel's hot start to this season was born out of one of the more frustrating stretches of his career last season.

About a week after suffering the indignity of being the final selection during the Player Fantasy Draft for the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C., Kessel found himself in a situation that was far more bothersome. Leafs coach Ron Wilson benched him during a blowout loss at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 5, then demoted him to the third line at the next day's practice. Kessel said he wasn't sure if things were going to work out in Toronto.
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Switch to defense suited Leafs' Gardiner well

Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 1:12 PM / Player Profiles

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner is sure glad Minnesota State University coach Troy Jutting provided the advice he needed prior to his senior year at Minnetonka High School in Minnesota.
 
"He suggested I make the move to defense, and while it was difficult learning the defensive zone, I just loved how much more of the ice I could see and cover," Gardiner told NHL.com. "My dad put me in skates when I was 2 and I began playing hockey when I was 4 and I never wanted to come off the ice. As a defenseman, I had an opportunity to stay on the ice even more."
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Liles wasting no time making contributions in Toronto

Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 11:18 AM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

John-Michael Liles
Defense - TOR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 6
SOG: 15 | +/-: -2
NEW YORK -- John-Michael Liles is a native of Indianapolis and, not surprisingly, a car enthusiast. The Maple Leafs' defenseman is the proud owner of a 1969 Camaro. During the summer, he was acquired by Toronto GM Brian Burke from the Colorado Avalanche just before the Entry Draft in a move designed to give the club more punch from the blue line.

So far, things are going pretty well for Liles in his new home.

The Leafs are off to a 5-2-1 start, and Liles has been making contributions from the back end. Through 8 games, the 30-year-old has 6 assists while logging 22:32 of ice time per game, second most on the team behind captain Dion Phaneuf.
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After initial shock, Booth embraces Vancouver trade

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 10:45 AM / Player Profiles

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

David Booth
Left Wing - VAN
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 14 | +/-: -6
VANCOUVER -- The tears had dried by the time David Booth "packed up his life" and arrived on a cross-continent flight from Florida to join the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
 
Booth's eyes, however, remained wide and open, matching his smile.
 
"This is nothing but good for me," he said with a grin.
 
Booth said all the right things after his first practice with his new team, even while admitting to crying after Saturday's trade from the Panthers. He coolly explained it was not just because he left behind the only NHL team he'd ever known, but also a younger brother and roommate with whom he was even closer.
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White proving to be perfect for Detroit's 'D'

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 11:17 AM / Player Profiles

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- After Brian Rafalski's unexpected retirement last spring, there were some who thought the Detroit Red Wings would be big spenders in free agency to help replace him.

Rafalski's departure not only left a gaping hole in Detroit's roster, but it also freed up about $5 million in cap space under the NHL's hard salary cap. Surely the free-spending Red Wings -- a team that prior to the salary cap was thought of as hockey's New York Yankees -- would spend big on July 1, the first day of free agency.

It didn't happen, though. Instead, July 1 came and went without Red Wings general manager Ken Holland making any real noise. He didn't go after any of the bigger-named unrestricted free-agent defensemen and hadn't pulled off any trades for high-priced stars or restricted free agents.
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Thornton hits 1,000th game cherishing everything

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 6:06 PM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- It was March 1, 1998 and Joe Thornton was a teenager trying to make his name with the Boston Bruins after being the No. 1 draft pick nine months earlier. Dave Ellett, then a month away from his 34th birthday, was lining up next to the 18-year-old Thornton at Nassau Coliseum.

Ellett was getting ready to play in his 1,000th career NHL game. Thornton was getting ready to play in his 42nd career NHL game.

"They gave him the (next) day off," Thornton recalled Thursday. "I thought, 'Wow, I would love to have a day off, so I hope I get to 1,000 games.'

"Here I am, and it's weird." 
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Couture discovering challenges in second full season

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 4:39 PM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

If Logan Couture is looking for advice on how to avoid a letdown in his second full NHL season, perhaps he can look at how Zach Parise excelled with heightened expectations while facing nearly the same scenario four years ago.

Parise didn't have a Calder-worthy rookie campaign with the Devils the way Couture did with the Sharks last season, amassing just 14 goals and 32 points in 81 games. But in his second season -- the first one in which he was playing consistently on scoring lines -- Parise had 31 goals and 62 points in 82 games as a 22-year-old, very similar numbers to what Couture posted as a 21-year-old rookie.

Parise followed his sophomore season with a nearly identical one, with 32 goals and 65 points in 81 games. Back-to-back 30-goal seasons would seem to be evidence that Parise thrived with a bull's-eye on his back after his breakout campaign, but he said it was anything but easy to repeat the feat in his third season.

"I wouldn't say it was harder. It was more frustrating because I wanted to take bigger step than I did," Parise said. "It was more frustrating of a season. I remember I started off really good and started to tail off in the second half of the season. It was more frustrating, but we were getting a little more attention out there."
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Kessel's torrid start adds to Leafs-Bruins storyline

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 2:20 PM / Player Profiles

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- It didn't take long for someone to ask Claude Julien this morning if he thinks the whole Phil Kessel/Tyler Seguin story will ever go away.

The Bruins coach quickly turned the tables on that reporter.

"That's up to you guys. It's certainly not created by us," Julien said after his team's morning skate in preparation for Thursday's game against Kessel and the Maple Leafs at TD Garden. "It's you guys that create the story all the time. We don't. We've turned the page, and I'm sure they have. Everybody wants to move on, but you guys control that. So I should be asking you that question, ‘Are you ever going to let that story die?'"
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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday