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Five Questions With…

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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Five Questions: Alzner on coaching styles, Flyers fans

Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 1:01 PM / Five Questions With…

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff 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 Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner:

Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner was the fifth pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, but because of the role he plays as a defense-first guy he probably doesn’t receive the attention he deserves.

Alzner is in his third full season with the Capitals after two years of shuttling back and forth between Washington and Hershey in the American Hockey League, and in each of those three seasons he has been the top defensive defenseman on the team’s roster.

When he and fellow young defenseman John Carlson broke into the League together, they quickly became the go-to pairing against the other team’s top line while Bruce Boudreau was the coach. This season Carlson and Alzner, or "Carlzner" as they were affectionately dubbed by fans in Washington, have been split up but both have played better of late. Not coincidently, the Capitals’ play has improved from a wretched 2-10-1 start, as well.

Alzner sat down with NHL.com to answer some questions about the team’s improvement, playing for different coaches in a short span, and facing the Philadelphia Flyers in NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry presented by Coors Light (7 p.m. ET).

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Five Questions: Briere confident Flyers will rise

Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 9:51 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 Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It was almost as if you could see the relief on Danny Briere's face.

Not only did the Philadelphia Flyers put together arguably their most complete performance of the season in a 7-0 win against the New York Islanders on Monday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but Briere contributed with two goals and an assist.

Winning games and scoring goals has been a struggle for Briere and the Flyers this season, but it all came so easily on Long Island less than 48 hours after Flyers captain Claude Giroux called out his team following a 4-1 loss in Montreal.

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Five Questions: Backes has high hopes for Blues

Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 11:00 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 some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features St. Louis Blues captain David Backes:

In the time that David Backes was named the captain of the St. Louis Blues, his team has gone from one with potential to a Stanley Cup contender.

So much has changed, including the power of his voice in the dressing room, since Sept. 9, 2011 -- the day Backes got the "C". However, Backes has changed with it in a seamless fashion.

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Five Questions: Gretzky believes Kings can repeat

Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 10:00 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 movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky:

LAS VEGAS -- Wayne Gretzky comfortably calls himself a fan of the game and confidently says he is content with being just that for the foreseeable future.

As a fan, Gretzky watches as many National Hockey League games as he possibly can. He admires the skill, speed and toughness of today's young players. He sees them as the ambassadors of the game and believes the NHL's future is as bright as ever.

So with the spirit of his fandom in mind, NHL.com spoke with Gretzky from his fantasy camp this week to gather his thoughts and opinions on everything ranging from his potential Stanley Cup contenders to his favorite players to watch to his old team in Edmonton.

Here are Five Questions With…Wayne Gretzky:

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Five Questions: Stamkos on secrets to his success

Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 9:00 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 movers and shakers in the game today, aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos:

Steven Stamkos is experienced enough to understand that this season he'll be judged on the sequel, not the original production. It comes with the territory when you're an evolving superstar in the National Hockey League.

The 60 goals Stamkos scored last season, the fact that he became the 19th player in NHL history to hit that single-season milestone, won't mean nearly as much if he doesn't come back this season with similar production, albeit in a truncated 48-game schedule.

Stamkos isn't blind to this. He knows about high expectations and pressure. He's been living with both since he was a teenager.

Stamkos also knows how to live up to those expectations, how to handle that pressure and thrive in front of the scrutinizing eyes of fans and media.

He's been doing all of that since overcoming a slow rookie season to score 51 goals in his second NHL season. Still, it's fair to say that since Stamkos broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old No. 1 draft pick, the expectations placed on him never have been as high as they are right now.

Read on for Stamkos' thoughts on how he handles pressure and so much more.

Here are Five Questions With ... Steven Stamkos:

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Five Questions: Davidson set for Columbus challenge

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 10:32 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 movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson:

After six years of helping build the St. Louis Blues into a Stanley Cup contender, John Davidson is starting the process all over again -- this time in Columbus, where patience has been preached and losing has been the norm for a dozen years.

Davidson, the Blue Jackets' new president of hockey operations, is being paid to change all of that.

He has referred to Columbus as the NHL's "best-kept secret" because of the fans in the community, the facilities that the Blue Jackets have and the stable ownership provided by the McConnell family since the franchise was born.

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Five Questions: Snow on career, Islanders' move

Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 1:59 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 movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow:

With a move to a new arena in Brooklyn three years away, Islanders GM Garth Snow will soon be unshackled from the antiquated facility that has ruined countless sales pitches he's attempted to give every July 1 since 2007.

Snow figures the Islanders' move 25 miles away to Barclays Center, set for the opening of the 2015-16 NHL season, immediately gives him the opportunity to sell the team's future, Long Island and New York City to free agents who typically wouldn't have given him much more than the courtesy of answering the phone.

"That certainty of where we're going to be is crucial," Snow told NHL.com Tuesday.

Snow's job now is to continue building the Islanders' bridge to Brooklyn. It's a job he started in earnest more than six years ago, when as a rehabbing aging goaltender he received an opportunity too good to pass up, an opportunity he knew he wanted since he was a college student trying to make it in hockey.

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Five Questions: Krueger on unorthodox path to NHL

Thursday, 12.13.2012 / 7:02 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 movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger:

Most coaches follow a somewhat similar path to the area behind the bench in the National Hockey League.

Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger isn't like most coaches. He stopped dreaming about the NHL long before he finally got his chance to work here.

Instead of playing in North America and catching on with a franchise somewhere as an assistant coach, Krueger went to Germany as a 20-year-old and spent the next three decades in Europe learning the game, dissecting the sport as if it were a science project and developing an impeccable list of contacts, including the group of Oilers executives who eventually brought him to the NHL.

Two-and-a-half years ago, when Tom Renney, Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini hired Krueger to be an assistant under Renney, the only official ties he had to the NHL were the few players who played for him on the Swiss national team and the five years he served in a minor consulting role with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Krueger coached in Germany and Austria before landing in Switzerland as the coach of a national team ranked 15th in the world in 2000 by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Krueger had the Swiss up to No. 7 by the time he left in 2010.

He was promoted by the Oilers this summer to take over for Renney.

"People say, 'Well, you've waited 23 years for this,'" Krueger told NHL.com. "No, no, no. I didn't wait 23 years for this, it just evolved this way."

How did it evolve? Why did it take Krueger until he was 51 years old to break into the NHL? What does he think about the task in front of him now?

Read on for the answers.

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins