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Five Questions With…

Five Questions: Clarkson contract has expectations

Tuesday, 09.10.2013 / 11:01 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With ..." returns for the 2013-14 season. We'll talk to key figures in the game today and ask them poignant questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the state of their teams.

The first edition of the 2013-14 season features Toronto Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson:

David Clarkson will be the toast of Toronto or the target of the fans' fury in about two months.

The former New Jersey Devils forward put himself in that precarious position by signing a seven-year, $37 million contract to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 5. Clarkson knows that a mega-contract signed with a big-market team always is accompanied by notoriety and scrutiny, but it can be even more pressure-packed when you're a local guy returning home.

Clarkson, who is from the Toronto suburb of Mimico, Ontario, hasn't even pulled the blue and white sweater over his head yet and his contract has been the target of criticism by some fans and media members.

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Five Questions: Lupul set to embrace Cup craziness

Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Throughout the season NHL.com will be doing a weekly series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul.

The Toronto Maple Leafs spent nearly a week in Florida after clinching a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004. They were sheltered from the growing hysteria in their city. They only got second-hand information on what people were saying until they finally got back home last Friday.

"I would assume that after a nine-year absence everyone is really ready to rally behind our team and go on a special run," Maple Leafs left wing Joffrey Lupul told NHL.com.

Lupul would be correct, but just getting into the playoffs won't be enough for the postseason-starved fan base in Toronto. The euphoric feeling of being there will dissipate quickly if the Maple Leafs don't get off to a good start against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

The Maple Leafs will have to handle the hype, hysteria and inevitable adversity. They will have to manage their emotions before games and play tight defense during them, something with which they have struggled to do during the season.

Lupul spoke to NHL.com about all of that in the latest installment of our Q&A series.

Here are Five Questions with … Joffrey Lupul:

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Five Questions: Brown sees Kings hitting stride

Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With ...," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives, careers and the state of their teams.

This edition features Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown:

Editor's Note: The interview for this edition of Five Questions with .... was conducted before the Department of Player Safety convened a hearing with Dustin Brown for his actions in a game Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.

The Los Angeles Kings are rounding into playoff form at just the right time. They're beginning to resemble the team that won the Stanley Cup last June.

The Kings are 4-0-1 with a perfect penalty kill (12-for-12) and nine goals-against in their past five games. Jonathan Quick, last year's Conn Smythe Trophy winner, has started all five, posting a 1.72 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown broke out of mini scoring slumps in the Kings' 4-3 overtime win Sunday. Mike Richards is starting to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis, and Anze Kopitar continues to be a point-per-game player, with five assists in the past five games.

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Five Questions: Outspoken Ott on Sabres' season

Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 5:27 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With ...," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott:

As irritating to other players and as controversial as Steve Ott can be on the ice, he is just as honest when he talks to the media off the ice.

It doesn't matter if it's after a win, a loss or following a practice, Ott is typically one of the first players inside the Buffalo Sabres dressing room that the media go to because they know he'll truthfully answer some hard questions.

"They usually come to the veteran guys in the dressing room, and obviously I have lived through experiences of good times and bad times, ups and downs in my NHL career," Ott told NHL.com. "It's easy to answer those types of [hard] questions on a daily basis."

The questions this season have been particularly difficult because of how inconsistent the Sabres have been, even though they're still mathematically alive for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs heading into their Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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Five Questions: Rask on following Thomas

Tuesday, 04.09.2013 / 5:08 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com periodically will be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask:

Tuukka Rask is making everyone in Boston forget about Tim Thomas.

Rask, long considered Thomas' eventual successor in the Bruins' net, consistently has been excellent this season. He has 17 wins, including three shutouts, a .928 save percentage and a 1.95 goals-against average heading into the Bruins' NBC Sports Network Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Tuukka Rask
Goalie - BOS
RECORD: 17-6-4
GAA: 1.95 | SVP: 0.928
But nobody is surprised, least of all Rask, who never has lacked in the confidence department.

He discussed where that comes from and talked a bit about his role behind Thomas, what he's out to do this season and how the Bruins have been playing in front of him of lately in this exclusive Q&A with NHL.com.

Here are Five Questions with … Tuukka Rask:

When you first came to the NHL, the confidence you had and the bravado you showed were impressive. Where does that come from and why do you think you could exhibit it so early in your career?

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Five Questions: Nash with Rangers, without rumors

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 6:00 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rick Nash is not only on a different team in a new city and conference at this year's trade deadline, mentally the New York Rangers forward is far more at ease knowing he's not the main subject of speculation and rampant rumors with the clock ticking down to 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Nash knows what it's like to be that player and he wants no part of it ever again.

Nash was the center of the trade universe last year, when as the captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets he privately asked to be traded and said it was for the betterment of the organization going forward because of the assets it could acquire for him.

Former Columbus general manager Scott Howson opted to hold on to Nash through the deadline, instead choosing to wait until July 23 to trade him to the Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and New York's first-round pick in 2013.

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Five Questions: Gionta discusses turnaround season

Tuesday, 03.26.2013 / 9:30 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Brian Gionta
Right Wing - MTL
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 17
SOG: 79 | +/-: 4
NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta:

Brian Gionta's 2011-12 season was limited to 31 games due to bicep surgery. The Montreal Canadiens captain would have to watch from the press box as his team stumbled and slumped all the way to a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

One year later, Gionta is healthy, playing in every game, and helping the Canadiens rise toward the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

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Five Questions: Wild's Fletcher on building a winner

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 1:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Chuck Fletcher is in his fourth season of trying to build a winning franchise in the State of Hockey, and it appears he's on the right path.

Fletcher, the general manager of the Minnesota Wild, has built a team that is in the mix in the Western Conference race and searching for its first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2008 entering the NBC Sports Network Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

Minnesota's two expensive offseason additions, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, are working out well so far, and young players like Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund have all found their way onto the fabric of the team at various points this season. Other veterans are stepping up, and the goaltending has been solid enough to give the Wild a chance on most nights.

Fletcher spoke to NHL.com on Monday about his plan to build a winner in Minnesota, the inspiring play of Brodin, the usefulness of some of the other rookies, high expectations and modeling his team after the Red Wings.

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Five Questions: Clarkson on rise to 30-goal scorer

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 4:15 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed to gain insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson:

NEWARK, N.J. -- David Clarkson has gone from an undrafted, unknown, unproven, 21-year-old free agent to a 30-goal scorer and one of the most important players on the New Jersey Devils.

He's become a voice of reason inside the Devils' dressing room and a go-to threat in all phases of the game on the ice. He's developed a close friendship with future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, one that extends off the ice to their wives. Clarkson also has taken on an active role as a Devils' representative for the fast-growing Hockey in Newark program.

This season, Clarkson started out on fire with 10 goals in the first 14 games, a 34-goal pace in a 48-game season. He's cooled of late with no goals in the past 12 games, but he'll try to come out of his slumber in NBC Sports Network's Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center.

Clarkson spoke to NHL.com after practice Tuesday about his goals, his slump, his rise to the NHL, his friendship with Brodeur, and the Flyers.

Here are Five Questions With … David Clarkson:

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Five Questions: Landeskog knows it's time to win

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 11:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com periodically will be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed to gain insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog:

Gabriel Landeskog has been forced to play a tough hand in his first season as the captain of the Colorado Avalanche.

First there was the lockout, which Landeskog spent playing for Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League.

Gabriel Landeskog is healthy, Colorado is back to .500, Ryan O'Reilly is under contract, and the Avalanche are getting set to open one of the most difficult sets of back-to-back games they'll play all season: Tuesday in Detroit and Wednesday in Chicago. (Photo: Getty Images)

Then came a shortened training camp followed by a concussion that sidelined Landeskog for 11 games.

In the meantime, the Avalanche were struggling on the ice and didn't know when, or even if, core center Ryan O'Reilly was going to sign a new contract to play this season.

Now the National Hockey League is in full swing, Landeskog is healthy, Colorado is back to .500, O'Reilly is under contract and back in the mix and the Avalanche are getting set to open one of the most difficult sets of back-to-back games they'll play all season: Tuesday in Detroit and Wednesday in Chicago in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game.

We asked Landeskog about dealing with an injury early in his captaincy, the impact of O'Reilly, his thoughts on the Avalanche moving forward, and one question on the Blackhawks that prompted an answer you will want to read.

Here are Five Questions With … Gabriel Landeskog.

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Quote of the Day

I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.

— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level