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Player Profiles

Fleischmann's journey includes Masterton nomination

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 3:29 PM / Player Profiles

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- There was never much doubt about Tomas Fleischmann's hockey skills. His nickname of "Flash" might have come about because of his last name, but it also applies whenever he shows off some of his deft stickhandling and playmaking ability.

Now, the only question with Fleischmann when he became a free agent this past summer was whether he'd be healthy enough to play after he was sidelined by blood-clotting issues in each of the past two seasons.

Yet, the Florida Panthers were confident enough that they signed him to a four-year, $18-million contract July 1. The move, questioned by some analysts, clearly has been a positive for a team poised to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

Rookie won't get consumed by 'Landeskoging' craze

Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 10:26 AM / Player Profiles

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

A social media-driven fan craze based around a young Denver-area professional athlete is gaining in popularity by the day -- and it has nothing to do with Tim Tebow.

Fans all around the Mile High City have latched onto a new craze -- Landeskoging.

"I think it's pretty funny," the subject of the fad, Colorado Avalanche rookie forward Gabriel Landeskog, told "I think it's our fans and how great they are with coming up with funny things and how involved they are. It's a lot of fun. Denver is a great sports city with the fans, social media and everything."

Landeskog said the pose -- face-down on the ice, legs bent at the knees, fists clenched next to his head -- was far from planned. 

O'Reilly leading Avs offensively and defensively

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 4:01 PM / Player Profiles

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Ryan O'Reilly
Center - COL
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 52
SOG: 159 | +/-: 0
Rookie Gabriel Landeskog isn't the only player from the Colorado Avalanche proving himself worthy of postseason accolades.

Perhaps first-line center Ryan O'Reilly should be considered in the mix with those unique skaters capable of shutting down opposing players while providing occasional strikes on offense.

Hey Ryan, do you consider yourself worthy of the Selke Trophy as the League's best defensive forward?

"Wow, to even be considered for an award like that would be an absolute honor," O'Reilly told "I always approach a game from my own end out and always want to work hard defensively because only then do you become more confident in the other areas of your game."

Unlikely hero Baertschi helping Flames burn bright

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 3:50 PM / Player Profiles

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

The Stanley Cup Playoffs can create the most unlikely of heroes.
So too, it seems, can the race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Sven Baertschi, called up as cover for an injury ravaged roster that currently has six forwards on the injured reserve list, has made for the unlikeliest of crusaders as the Calgary Flames set their sights on a postseason berth.
On an emergency recall from the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, Baertschi has punctuated his stay by scoring three goals in four games, including the opening goal just 17 seconds in against the Phoenix Coyotes, pacing the Flames to a 4-1 victory -- their fifth in a row. 

Swagger back, Bryz sets new Flyers shutout mark

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 10:30 AM / Player Profiles

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 29-13-6
GAA: 2.52 | SVP: 0.909
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- As time ticked toward the midway point of the second period of Thursday's game against the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers skaters knew what was at stake.
Ilya Bryzgalov, with three straight shutouts and a scoreless streak of 196:13 entering the game, was approaching the team record for consecutive scoreless minutes played.
Bryzgalov entered just 31:27 shy of the mark of 227:40 set by John Vanbiesbrouck in October 1999.
"We couldn't stop thinking on the bench about the shutout streak that Bryz had going on," Scott Hartnell said.

Consistency, competitive spirit mark Erat's career

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 9:00 AM / Player Profiles

John Manasso - Correspondent

Martin Erat
Right Wing - NSH
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 52
SOG: 93 | +/-: 14
NASHVILLE -- The first and the fourth picks in the 1999 Entry Draft were forwards from the Czech Republic.

Predators right wing Martin Erat, a Czech native who was taken in that draft, has 454 points in 677 career games -- an impressive haul -- and has proven himself incredibly consistent in his 10 seasons. Of late, he is one of the hottest players in the League, with 29 points (9 goals, 20 assists) in his last 31 games, helping to power his team near the top of the League standings, where Nashville entered the day tied for fifth with Pittsburgh.

But back in '99, Erat was selected by Nashville in the seventh round, 190 players after Atlanta took Patrik Stefan first and 187 after Carolina took Pavel Brendl. Stefan's career ended after seven NHL seasons in which he totaled 188 points in 455 games and he never scored more than 14 goals in a season. Brendl played only 78 games with totals of 11 goals and 11 assists.

Lehtonen's strong play carries Stars up standings

Monday, 03.12.2012 / 5:42 PM / Player Profiles

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Stars currently are on a 10-game point streak (9-0-1), a stretch where the lone game where they didn't get the full two points was Feb. 29 in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Penguins, a team on a strong run of their own.

"It's just hard to explain, but it's nice when this time of the year and you're fighting for a playoff spot with so much on the line every game. It just makes it special." -- Kari Lehtonen

While there have been many reasons for the Stars' recent surge to the top of the Pacific Division standings, the stellar play of starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen has been a major factor.

During this streak, the 28-year-old netminder has started eight of the 10 games, going 7-0-1 with a 1.46 goals-against-average, a .950 save percentage and two shutouts. He even picked up an assist during the Stars' recent road trip through Western Canada.

Lehtonen's recent performance has put a smile on the face of Mike Valley, Dallas' goaltending coach. In the past, Valley has worked with current NHL netminders like the Wild's Niklas Backstrom, Brian Elliott of the Blues and Al Montoya of the Islanders.

Toughness defines Koivu's march to 1,000 games

Monday, 03.12.2012 / 3:47 PM / Player Profiles

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

"You only have so many chances to play and enjoy it, especially being able to be around that long. It doesn't happen very often. And then what I went through, it makes it really, really special. I think it's one of the milestones that really means a lot to the players."
-- Saku Koivu

Ten years ago, Saku Koivu wasn't concerned about his next game as much as his next breath.

In the middle of a workout, Koivu would bend over on his skates and feel the weakness, the air failing to fill his lungs. Later, after eight rounds of chemotherapy, he would look in the mirror and see someone bald and 20 pounds lighter.

The man that would serve as captain of the Montreal Canadiens for nearly a decade would struggle to make it through the day, let alone a practice or a game.

His 1,000th NHL game?

That's difficult to envision when it's time for another hospital visit, more needles and more looks of concern from your family.

Selanne's swan song headed toward unfitting ending

Monday, 03.12.2012 / 3:13 PM / Player Profiles

Sean Gentille - Sporting News

Really, it isn't supposed to end this way for Teemu Selanne.
Players as good, as fun as the Anaheim Ducks' 41-year-old winger, are lucky if they pop up once in a generation. Selanne has bridged the gap between at least two, and today he's as exciting as ever, providing the rest of the League and its 15-years-younger stars with a nightly how-to guide on staying vital and relevant. When it's 2012 and you were a rookie during the first Bush administration, you're not supposed to lead your team in scoring, but that's where Selanne finds himself.

And therein lies half the problem; Selanne, for all his talents, shouldn't lead Anaheim in scoring. Despite the presence of Selanne, 2011 Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan, the Ducks dug themselves such a hole early in the season that coach Randy Carlyle was fired before November was over. A post-New Year’s surge brought Anaheim back into the playoff discussion, but the Ducks have since lost steam.
Now, as March winds down, Selanne is faced with potentially ending his career with his team toward the bottom of the Western Conference. Considering his motivations in September -- Selanne made his latest "one more and we’ll see" decision because he thought Anaheim was a legitimate Cup contender -- the end may be even less satisfying than the standings show.

Hot stretch has Bryzgalov getting 'the love' in Philly

Friday, 03.09.2012 / 12:09 PM / Player Profiles

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 26-13-6
GAA: 2.65 | SVP: 0.905
Ilya Bryzgalov hasn't been around Philadelphia Flyers fans all that long, but the goaltender already has learned they're a fickle bunch.
Performance counts -- play well and the fans will pour out their appreciation. Fail to meet expectations, well, you won't have to go far to hear about that.
"From hating to the love in one step," Bryzgalov said. "And the same in the other direction."
After Thursday's 28-save shutout in a 5-0 victory against the visiting Florida Panthers, the fans definitely had stepped onto the love path.

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