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Player Profiles

Blues' Redden stayed with it to reach 1,000 games

Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 9:00 AM / Player Profiles

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- When days turned into months and months into years, one could understand if pessimistic thoughts crept into Wade Redden's mind.

Through good faith and a solid work ethic, Redden never wavered. He believed all along that another opportunity in the NHL would present itself. But when the defenseman was cast aside by the New York Rangers in 2010, little did he imagine it would take nearly three more years to reach 1,000 career games.

At long last, the 35-year-old, a Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native, will become the 282nd player in NHL history to do so when the St. Louis Blues host to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

Redden was playing for the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, after his last NHL game in 2010. Instead of wallowing in self-pity about whether he would ever get the opportunity to play in the League again, Redden continued his everyday life in a businesslike manner, believing the chance would arise.

Price hitting his prime ahead of schedule

Wednesday, 02.06.2013 / 1:17 PM / Player Profiles

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL – There was a time in Montreal when people believed Carey Price was washed up, that the No. 5 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft was a bust, that he wasn't committed enough to become the type of elite NHL goaltender to which Canadiens fans had become so accustomed.

That time was as recently as 2010.

Carey Price was 22 years old.

Throughout that period, Price always insisted most NHL goaltenders don't hit their prime until they turn 27 or 28, that he had a lot of learning left to do and that fans needed to show some patience.

Well, as it turns out, perhaps Canadiens fans didn't need to be quite as patient as he first anticipated.

Now 25, Price appears to be entering his prime years as an NHL goaltender, a beneficiary of an accelerated development plan put in place by former general manager Bob Gainey that has resulted in the young goaltender already playing 278 regular-season games – and learning a little something from each and every one of them.

Hejduk surprised he's lasted 1,000 games

Monday, 02.04.2013 / 5:11 PM / Player Profiles

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Milan Hejduk could speak only a few words of English when he joined the Colorado Avalanche as a rookie for the 1998-99 season, and he had a few doubts about his ability to make the transition from his native Czech Republic to North America and the National Hockey League.

Little could Hejduk have known then that he would develop into one of the NHL's top forwards, win a goal-scoring title, help the Avalanche win a Stanley Cup and be named team captain for the 2011-12 season.

The 6-foot, 190-pound right wing, now in his 14th NHL season, will become the first player in Avalanche history to play 1,000 regular-season games Monday when Colorado faces the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center. He will join Joe Sakic as the second player in Quebec/Colorado franchise history to play in 1,000 games (Sakic played 508 games with the Nordiques and 870 games with the Avalanche).

Smith assembling shutout streak under heavy duress

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 5:09 PM / Player Profiles

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When he set the modern NHL record with five straight shutouts and a 332-minute scoreless streak eight years ago, Phoenix Coyotes goalie Brian Boucher stopped 146 enemy shots in a row before one finally got past him.

Mike Smith is still two shutouts and more than 100 minutes away from Boucher's marathon mark, but the current Coyotes netminder has been a lot busier during his scoreless streak -- one which reached 219 minutes, 59 seconds and earned him an NHL record of his own after Tuesday's 2-0 win over Columbus.

Opponents have put 157 shots on Smith during that span. He's stopped them all -- many with cool control and a few that had him flailing around like he was on fire.

Add the timing of this run which has rolled into the final week of the regular season -- with the Coyotes pushing not only for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot, but the first division title in franchise history -- and the magnitude of what he's doing really starts to set in.

Home fans cheer on Selanne -- for one final time?

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 11:50 AM / Player Profiles

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

If Teemu Selanne is looking for help in making his decision to play another season, the sell-out crowd of 17,266 at Honda Center on Sunday made their choice quite clear.

Fans who chanted "One more year!" after Selanne scored the Ducks' lone goal in their 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers did it again as they gave him a standing ovation with 5:02 remaining in regulation, and another during a post-game on-ice television interview.

Even the linesman got into the act, delaying dropping the puck to allow the ovation with five minutes left to continue.

Crosby's first 10 games back have been a big success

Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 4:46 PM / Player Profiles

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Sidney Crosby has played in 10 straight games since his second celebrated return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup this season.

He has been bounced off the boards, pummeled into the corners, and bloodied because of a puck to the face -- but Crosby has gotten up every time and played on with the same edge and speed NHL fans everywhere came to appreciate before he went out with a concussion Jan. 5, 2011.

Crosby has 17 points since returning to the lineup on March 15 at Madison Square Garden. He has 29 points in 18 games this season.

He will play in his 11th straight game and 19th of the season Sunday in Pittsburgh against Philadelphia. It'll be Crosby's second game against the Flyers this season.

Boucher thinks Stamkos is only getting better

Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 12:24 PM / Player Profiles

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

In his 13 NHL seasons, Vincent Lecavalier has left an indelible mark on the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise.

Among his records was the club's single-season goal-scoring mark of 52, which he set when he led the League in the 2006-07 season.

Lecavalier is a proud, accomplished player, but he's also a realist. He knew that teammate Steven Stamkos, who entered a game Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers with 52 goals this season, was going to own that record at some point.

"He's probably going to beat (52 goals) many more times," Lecavalier said.

Stamkos beat 52 for the first time Monday, blistering a first-period wrist shot past Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for his 53rd of the season. 

Whitney proving a magician again in 19th season

Friday, 03.23.2012 / 9:53 AM / Player Profiles

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's not hard to find someone in the Phoenix front office, among the coaching staff or in the Coyotes' locker room who will talk about what might be the single most impressive season of Ray Whitney's distinguished, 19-year NHL career -- and the impressive milestone that will come along with it.

"He's playing as well as any offensive player in the League right now," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said.

"Every time he touches the puck, it looks like something good is going to happen," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.

"He's been our MVP this year, hands down," defenseman Derek Morris said.

Dubinsky doing his best to reclaim difficult season

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 1:18 PM / Player Profiles

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Brandon Dubinsky has had a terrible season. There's no way to sugar-coat it.

Coach John Tortorella will tell you just that, and Dubinsky himself has owned up to his career-worst 8-goal, 21-assist output that had his name heavily discussed in trade rumors last month.

But for the first time this season, Dubinsky is showing signs of once again becoming the player who was deemed worthy of a four-year, $16.8 million contract during the summer.

Over the past four games, Dubinsky has 1 goal and 2 assists, including a helper on Ryan Callahan's OT winner against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. Dubinsky has 10 shots over his past four games, which doesn't seem like much, but it's the same amount of shots he had in the nine games that preceded that.

Playing on a line with Callahan and Derek Stepan, Dubinsky has seen added responsibility and added minutes. Dubinsky is averaging about 18:45 of ice time the past three games, and the 19:46 he played against the Red Wings was his most ice time since playing 20:09 against the Phoenix Coyotes on Jan. 10.

Flyers thrilled with rookie Couturier's development

Wednesday, 03.21.2012 / 10:55 AM / Player Profiles

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- It may surprise you to learn that Philadelphia Flyers rookie Sean Couturier is among the team leaders in several major categories.
On top of that, he's usually given the task of playing against the opposing team's top line. Some might view that as a daunting role, especially for a 19-year-old in his first professional season -- but Couturier isn't one of them.

"It's a great challenge playing against the best on the other team and trying to shut them down ... not give them too much space," Couturier told "I take pride in what I do, so whatever I can do to help the team, I'll do it."

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