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Over the Boards

Over the Boards: 2013 draft class living up to the hype

Wednesday, 10.02.2013 / 9:05 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

It may still be a few years before anyone can determine just how deep the 2013 NHL Draft was, but the early returns are matching the hype that accompanied this year's class.

Seven of the top 10 picks survived the final round of training-camp cuts to make the opening-night roster of their respective teams. Six will definitely be in the lineup, with an injury potentially postponing the debut of Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm.

It's the most top-10 picks to make opening-night rosters since seven members of the 2008 NHL Draft survived the final cuts in their first training camp. That year's rookie class included Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn, Mikkel Boedker and Josh Bailey, who started the season on injured reserve and didn't make his debut for the New York Islanders until November.

Over the Boards: Gray area exists with hybrid icing

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 6:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The regular season begins in less than a week and it's still too difficult to get a consensus for how the players feel about hybrid icing and if it will be used this season.

"It's not one way or the other right now," San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle told "It's kind of all over the place."

Hybrid icing is currently being tested in the preseason, but the players have to give their approval in order for it to be used in the regular season, which begins Tuesday.

The National Hockey League Players' Association has begun conducting a player survey on hybrid icing. The Competition Committee is expected to review the results and let the NHL know of its decision before the start of the regular season.

Over the Boards: Green, Kesler healthy, ready to go

Wednesday, 09.18.2013 / 9:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green finally is buying what he's been trying to sell to himself for the past three seasons.

For the first time since he entered training camp in 2010 fresh off his most productive NHL season, Green is saying with certainty that he is healthy, hungry, excited and raring to go. He had been talking a similar game as he entered training camp in 2011 and 2012, hoping that somehow his optimism would mask the underlying truth, only to jump onto the ice, get to work and realize it couldn't.

Now he has nothing holding him back.

"It's kind of like an emotional rollercoaster, because you tell yourself you feel good and then you go on the ice and you think you're good and you feel good, but you're not," Green told last week after a practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. "You're not 100 percent and it kind of weighs on you and you're not just able to go play the game. Now it's all gone and now I feel I can just go play the game."

Over the Boards: Olympic snub motivating Spezza

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 9:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean and general manager Bryan Murray ought to send thank-you cards to Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock for leaving Jason Spezza off the invitation list for Canada's Olympic orientation camp last month.

For as much as the perceived snub left Spezza angry and upset, emotions he admittedly still feels today, it also gave him the exact kick-in-the-pants type of drive that should mean only good things for the Senators this season.

"It's great motivation," Spezza told "I didn't play for most of last year, so coming into the year I feel like I have a lot to prove just to get back to where my game was before I got hurt. I was pretty motivated coming into the season just on that alone, but not being included in the Olympic camp definitely gives me an extra chip on my shoulder.

Over the Boards: Sid on Fleury; Bruins' RW dilemma

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 9:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still believes in goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He just hopes Fleury still believes in himself, because it may be the only way the Penguins live up to their championship expectations.

"I think he does [believe in himself]," Crosby told "He has no reason not to, but when you go through the scrutiny and dealing with adversity, to say you don't have any doubts, anybody would be lying. You obviously have doubts, but I think those doubts are going to push him to be better and to prove himself."

Crosby knows how much Fleury's performance means to the Penguins' success this season and in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, should they make it there. He's coming off back-to-back playoff flameouts -- including last season, when he lost his starting job to Tomas Vokoun in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Over the Boards: Marc Staal OK; Olympic dark horse

Tuesday, 08.27.2013 / 8:26 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CALGARY -- Despite the fact that the vision in Marc Staal's right eye remains slightly blurry and  always may be, the New York Rangers defenseman is proclaiming himself 100 percent healthy and ready to rediscover his All-Star form starting at training camp in September.

"The eye is still not normal, but I feel back to normal," Staal told Tuesday at Canada Olympic orientation camp. "I don't see myself having any issues once camp starts. It'll be good to get into camp to get that timing and feeling back, but I'm excited for that to get that started, get that rolling."

Staal suffered a right-eye injury at Madison Square Garden on March 5, when a slap shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen was deflected and struck him just above the eye, flush into the area slightly below his eyebrow.

Over the Boards: LeBlanc believes in Phoenix

Tuesday, 08.13.2013 / 5:30 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Anthony LeBlanc stayed the course even when his goal seemed impossible to reach. Four years and thousands of airline miles later, he's finally putting his big plan in motion to turn the Phoenix Coyotes into the type of first-rate and profitable NHL franchise he always believed it could be.

Once his immigration paperwork goes through, LeBlanc will add president and CEO to a title that already includes alternate governor of the Coyotes. He plans to move to the Phoenix area full-time and recently gave up his season tickets to the Ottawa Senators.

He's all in.

"I'm a Canadian kid, and being involved with the NHL is something that the average Canadian boy would do anything he can to be a part of," LeBlanc told "But from the moment we first started looking at this franchise four years ago, we were intrigued at the opportunity. We felt it was an asset that hadn't been managed properly on the business side, and we always felt Phoenix could absolutely be a hockey market."

Over the Boards: Ryan embracing new lifestyle

Tuesday, 07.30.2013 / 1:55 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Bobby Ryan recently experienced what life for a star hockey player in Ottawa is all about during a half-day marathon of media commitments, fitness assessments and a youth hockey camp. It was a small sample of what's in store for the newest scoring right wing of the Ottawa Senators, acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on July 5.

"That it has a lot of passion for the game," Ryan told, discussing the lessons learned about Ottawa during that whirlwind day on July 17.

Ryan twice referred to his day as an "eye-opening" experience for a guy who isn't used to being in the blinding spotlight of an entire sports market.

He estimates he did between 40-50 interviews with various local media outlets, including television, radio and print. He said he stood on the ice for his final media session of the day, in front of one of the benches at Bell Sensplex that was completely full of reporters and cameramen leaning on his every word.

Nill trying to bring Detroit success to Dallas

Tuesday, 07.16.2013 / 1:57 PM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Like the 28 other general managers who are not named Ken Holland, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill will have quite a bit of job security if he replicates the success and stability the Detroit Red Wings have had during the past two decades.

"Half of [Detroit]'s success would make me happy because they've done something that is hard to do in today's sporting business," Nill told earlier this week.

Nill is in a better position than just about anybody -- except ex-Red Wings great Steve Yzerman, now the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning -- to make it happen. He learned from Holland and Red Wings Senior Vice President Jim Devellano for 19 seasons, including 15 as the assistant GM, and now is getting to put his on-the-job experience to use in his first role as the leading man.

Over the Boards: Teams like pressure on penalty kill

Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 10:05 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The shorthanded breakaway goal New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo scored Sunday was an example of how applying pressure on a penalty kill can disrupt a power play and create an offensive chance on the other end. According to several experts around the NHL, pressure on the PK is becoming more of a trend and something we're seeing a lot of early in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I have definitely seen a trend to more aggressive penalty kills," New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer told

The Islanders, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are examples of teams that apply pressure on the PK. The New York Rangers did it to the Capitals late in the third period of Game 3 on Monday night and it worked to prevent Washington from scoring a game-tying goal on what was a 90-second 6-on-4 after goalie Braden Holtby was pulled for an extra skater.

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