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2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Heatley's focus remains on his Canadian side

Saturday, 10.02.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

MANNHEIM, Germany -- Dany Heatley doesn't remember much about his younger days growing up in Germany. After all, he was just 3-years-old when his father retired from Freiburg ERC of the German Bundesliga and moved his family home to Calgary.

Heatley's mother is German and his father is Canadian, and since Heatley was born in Freiburg, he carries dual citizenship. So with the San Jose Sharks having this four-day visit to Mannheim that includes an exhibition game Saturday and a free day Sunday, it wouldn't be shocking to hear Heatley say he would use the trip to reconnect with his past and learn about his heritage. Or perhaps strap on a pair of lederhosen and dance a polka.

But while his bloodlines are rooted in Germany, his heart belongs to Canada.

"I'm just Canadian," Heatley said. "I grew up there my whole life and played hockey there, so Canadian then German for sure."

Move to America right one for Sharks' Murray

Saturday, 10.02.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray is a bit of an oddity among the five Swedish players who will take part in the Stockholm leg of the Compuware NHL Premiere Series.

Just like teammate Niclas Wallin and Columbus Blue Jackets players Sammy Pahlsson, Kristian Huselius and Anton Stralman, the 30-year-old Murray spent his formative years playing youth hockey in Sweden while dreaming of playing professionally someday. But unlike his countrymen, Murray wasn't learning the ropes in the Swedish Elite League as an 18-year-old. Instead, the native of Bromma crossed the Atlantic Ocean and enrolled at Cornell, an Ivy League school better known for graduating defense attorneys than defensemen.

Murray has been plying his trade in the United States ever since.

"I was actually only going to come over for one year and learn some English and try out the hockey and then go back to Sweden," said Murray, whose Sharks will face the Blue Jackets at Globe Arena Oct. 8-9. "But then the whole college route opened up. I wasn't a huge prospect at the time, not like a first-rounder or anything. I thought it was a great route to go with having one of the better insurance policies in a college education. So I got stuck over here."

Only souvenirs 'Canes want from Euro trip is wins

Friday, 10.01.2010 / 5:07 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The whirlwind is just beginning for the Carolina Hurricanes.

They handed a few necessary documents, as well as their passports, to Brian Tatum, the team's senior director of team services, weeks ago. When he returned the traveling documents to the Carolina Hurricanes' players, each had a Russian visa stickered on one of the pages.

Since their game at Florida scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled due to tropical storm warnings, the Hurricanes used this week to practice in the morning and get some last-minute errands done in the afternoon. They had to pack for an extended road trip to Russia and Finland, countries where the weather is expected to be about 30 degrees cooler than it was in Raleigh on Friday.

By 12:30 p.m. Friday, Carolina's entire traveling party, including players, coaches, staff, media and NHL personnel, had to load their luggage onto the yellow Ryder moving truck parked at the security gate on the north end of the arena. It was bound for the airport and the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere.

Stars align for Wild's Backstrom

Friday, 10.01.2010 / 10:15 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"I heard rumors and read in the Finnish papers that maybe the Wild could go next. That's when you think about it and how cool it could be to go there, but there are a lot of things that need to go your way to be able to go over there."
-- Niklas Backstrom

After seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins go to Helsinki for an exhibition game in 2008, Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom started to wonder if it would be possible for his team to ever get that chance.

"I started to think that maybe here in Minny, we have Finnish players here so maybe we'll get to go over there and play," Backstrom told

When it was announced that the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks were going to Helsinki to open the 2009-10 season, Backstrom's hopes were rejuvenated.

Sharks to visit military hospital in Germany

Friday, 10.01.2010 / 9:41 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"The hospital here in Landstuhl, it is the first stop they make when they fly them out of Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever the conflict may be. This is the closest hospital to the combat area that is outside of the combat hospital on-site."
-- Michael Lewis, director of USO Germany

The San Jose Sharks are spending four days in Germany, many of them filled with fun activities, before flying to Stockholm to get down to the business of starting the NHL regular season. But Monday, players will give up their free time to take part in something more meaningful than a round of golf or sightseeing.

Sharks players and coaches will visit patients at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest military hospital outside the United States. The hospital is about 20 minutes from Ramstein Air Base and an hour from Mannheim. It houses military members who have suffered the most catastrophic injuries during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those who have lost limbs in IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks.

Thornton to learn family history in Belfast

Thursday, 09.30.2010 / 3:06 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

"This will be his claim to fame, being here in his mom's hometown. He's been excited and I've seen it in his face. So I told him he would enjoy it watching the game from the stands on Saturday. He lost his smile for a few seconds until he realized I was joking around."
-- Bruins coach Claude Julien

BELFAST -- Hockey has given Shawn Thornton many things in life, but he never imagined it would bring him back to his roots.

Yet, there Thornton sat Thursday afternoon -- after an overnight flight from Boston -- in the city of his mother's birth, peeling off a sweaty Boston Bruins jersey and ruminating exactly on what the game has given him.

Just since signing with Boston in 2007, Thornton has found a hockey home and been exposed to experiences he never believed to be possible.

"I'm pretty fortunate, my first exhibition game with Boston after I signed was in Newfoundland and I hadn't been back there in five or six years and now this," Thornton told Thursday. "The timing has been pretty good for myself."

'Canes know KHL foe won't take them lightly

Tuesday, 09.28.2010 / 12:23 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"Playing in Europe, even now but especially in those days, when those teams were so strong, it was really hard, very difficult competition. That's something I'll remember my whole life."
-- Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, on playing against Russia in the 1979 World Championships

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford last went to Russia for the World Championships in 1979, when the country was still part of the now disintegrated Soviet Union, the Cold War was experiencing a re-awakening and the Soviet national team was virtually unbeatable.

Traveling with Team Canada to Moscow for the tournament, Rutherford recalls staying at a hotel a block away from Red Square and experiencing the most difficult competition he'd face in his 13-year playing career.

"Playing in Europe, even now but especially in those days, when those teams were so strong, it was really hard, very difficult competition," Rutherford told "That's something I'll remember my whole life."

Wild to hold open practice in Helsinki

Tuesday, 09.28.2010 / 8:43 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

New York – The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild, in conjunction with the city of Helsinki, Finland, the NHL® and the NHLPA are offering free admission to their practice on Sunday, Oct. 3 at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki.  This is the fourth straight year the NHL will begin the regular-season with games contested in Europe.

Doors to the arena will open at 11 am local time in Helsinki, with the Wild scheduled to begin practice at Noon.  Fans coming to the arena are asked to arrive in their seats by 11:45 am.  There will be no charge to enter the arena and watch the NHL players take the ice as they prepare for the start of the regular-season.  There will be a parking fee.

Taking Stock-holm with Lozo

Monday, 09.27.2010 / 1:30 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Pahlsson ready for homecoming
09.27.2010 / 1:30 PM ET

When the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets take the ice at Globe Arena in Stockholm on Oct. 8 as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere Series, a combined five Swedes will be playing their first NHL game on home soil.

Three Jackets (Sammy Pahlsson of Ange, Kristian Huselius of Osterhaninge, Anton Stralman of Tibro) and two Sharks (Douglas Murray of Bromma and Niclas Wallin of Boden) will receive the special honor of playing in the country where they grew up. Pahlsson, who is entering his second year with the Blue Jackets, is hoping the fan support lands with his team.

"I hope so," Pahlsson said. "I don't know who they're going to cheer on but I hope at least my family and my friends are going to cheer for us."

Pahlsson is just like any other Swede who has received the chance to play in Stockholm the last few years. He has to rein in the excitement of getting to play in front of friends and family who otherwise don't get to see him play in the NHL. With most NHL games starting between 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. in the United States, the time difference makes it hard for Pahlsson's fellow Swedes to watch him play in North America.

"It's a big honor for me to get a chance to play in my home country," Pahlsson said. "I played my whole NHL career in North America far away from friends and family at bad times, usually in the middle of the night back in Sweden. So it's fun for me to get a chance to play when everyone can watch.

"I'm getting tickets, but I don't think I'll have time to hang out with anyone. Maybe I can at least say hi to all those people."

The strange hours at which games were broadcast in Sweden also made the dream of playing in the NHL seem like a distant one. But in a way, it makes returning home to play in the NHL that much more special for Pahlsson, who wanted nothing more than to play for his national team as a child.

"It was Sweden and the national team and the world championships," Pahlsson said. "That's what I could watch on TV. I never had a chance to watch the NHL. It's changed a little bit now, people can watch it, but it's at a bad time. It's at the middle of the night."

-- Dave Lozo

Belfast Giants Select finalize roster for Bruins

Monday, 09.27.2010 / 11:03 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

The Belfast Giants Select roster is now complete. Monday, the team added its final four players to the roster that will face off against the Boston Bruins in a 2010 Compuware Premiere Challenge exhibition game on Oct. 7 at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.  

Belfast Giant coach Doug Christiansen, who will coach the Selects, named goalies Craig Kowalski and Ervins Mustukovs, defenseman Tim Cook and forward Mike Hoffman to round out the 23-man roster.

Kowalski, a Nottingham Panther and Mustukovs, a Sheffield Steeler, will battle Belfast's Stephen Murray for the starting goalie job in Saturday's game. Cook and Hoffman are both from the Giants.

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