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Blue Jackets help build a house for Air Force veteran

Monday, 11.11.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

As coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Todd Richards is used to giving orders. But on a recent crisp fall afternoon, he was more than happy to be on the receiving end of someone else's direction.

Richards, assistant coaches Craig Hartsburg and Dan Hinote, players Jared Boll, Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski and other members of the Blue Jackets organization helped construct a home for United States Air Force veteran Kelley Flanagan and his family through a program with Habitat For Humanity-MidOhio.

Neither Richards nor the players professed much acumen with tools. But there they were on Oct. 30 about 30 miles east of Columbus in Newark, Ohio putting up siding and installing railings.

"I follow directions really well," Richards said. "It's nice to get out of the rhythm of the hockey timeline day in and day out and the grind of it. It was a beautiful day. There were lots of people there. It was a great cause and everyone was enjoying the time helping this family."


Ducks' Getzlaf out with upper-body injury

Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 7:48 PM / News

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIMAnaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is out with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day, the team announced Sunday before its game against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center.

Reporters did not witness it, but Getzlaf apparently took a spill in the morning skate Friday, and coach Bruce Boudreau mentioned after the game Friday night that Getzlaf was nearly a game-time decision. Not only did Getzlaf play that night, he had his first career hat trick, with all three goals in the first period in a 6-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres.


New assistants bring winning experience to Panthers

Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 7:42 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- New Florida Panthers assistant coaches Brian Skrudland and John Madden couldn't have more contrasting personalities. Skrudland is the brash, outgoing type, while Madden is known for his reserved style.

But as players, they were cast from the same mold. Both played in the NHL for more than a decade and survived in the League as hard-working penalty-killers and faceoff experts. They also won the Stanley Cup five times between them. And it's that winning history that interim coach Peter Horachek, who replaced fired Kevin Dineen on Friday, hopes can awaken the struggling Panthers (3-10-4).


Inductees relishing unforgettable weekend

Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 7:15 PM / Hall of Fame

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- A player or coach who is successful enough to earn induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame has spent a lifetime celebrating, whether it was goals, victories, contracts or championships.

They've had fans shower them with adoration. They've accomplished things most people can only dream of.

Even for people who are heroes and role models to so many, this weekend, these days leading up to the induction ceremony, are a different kind of experience. The Hockey Hall of Fame will host the 2013 induction ceremony Monday night, and the coronation of the careers of Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan and Fred Shero will be complete.

"It's been like an amazing reunion with a lot of hockey fans, a lot of old high school friends and family," Shanahan said. "It's a weekend that I was probably approaching it like it was self-indulgent to ask people and come see me here. But as I said to my crew of friends last night, I'm all in now. I'm enjoying it."


Daily Primer Nov. 10: Oilers face tough end to trip

Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider


Little has gone right for the Edmonton Oilers this season. That's why they'd like to end their four-game road trip Sunday with a victory against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Oilers fell short again Saturday afternoon, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. They immediately got on a plane and headed for the Windy City, where they will face theChicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday night.

With four wins in 18 games, the Oilers know they need to turn things around quickly if they're going to attempt to salvage their season.

"If you want to be part of something and build it, then we're going to have to be better as a group," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said after his team's latest loss.

Here's a look at all of the action Sunday:


Sunday Long Read: Cup champs used down time well

Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

George McPhee had constructed a Stanley Cup Playoff team in 2002-03 that included the highest-paid player in hockey, a Vezina Trophy winner and two other All-Star-caliber skaters.

But something was amiss for the Washington Capitals. The $11 million man, forward Jaromir Jagr, was not producing at the level expected of him. Nor was he providing a boost at the box office. A franchise known for regular-season consistency (and postseason disappointment) wasn't moving forward or backward, and the roster was getting older and more expensive without improved results.

A terrible start to the 2003-04 season confirmed the suspicions of McPhee and owner Ted Leonsis. It was time to try something else.


Islanders' Vanek leaves with upper-body injury

Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 10:19 PM / News

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS – New York Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek left the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday after a 23-second opening shift in the first period due to an upper-body injury. He did not return.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard took Vanek's place on a line with Kyle Okposo and John Tavares.

There was no official update after the game, but Newsday reported Vanek will not be in the lineup Sunday, when the Islanders wrap up their four-game road trip against the Montreal Canadiens. New York dropped to 0-3 on the trip after suffering a 5-2 loss Saturday.


Chat with Parker sparked Chelios' career

Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 7:29 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- What if Bobby Parker wasn't at the beach that day? What if he never walked over to Chris Chelios to ask him about hockey? What if?

"He probably wouldn't have played," Parker said Saturday from the Hockey Hall of Fame, where Chelios will be enshrined Monday as a member of the Class of 2013.

It was fate, nothing more, that Parker was at the beach in San Diego that day 34 years ago. It was also fate that Parker approached Chelios and asked him what he was going to do next about hockey.

Chelios had just been cut from the upstart college team at the United States International University, the same team Parker had made. Parker wasn't sticking around, though. The rink was old and ratty. The team wasn't what he was looking for. He was heading back home to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, but first he saw Chelios on the beach and figured he would go talk to him.


Hall inductees relive great moments at Fan Forum

Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 6:30 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- The question came near the end of the hour-long annual Fan Forum at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Saturday. It was posed to the four living members of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2013 by a boy with a high-pitched, squeaky voice in the front row.

"How did you know when it was time to retire?"

Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan and Geraldine Heaney had to think about it. They seemed a bit surprised that such a question, one that was sure to garner an emotional response, especially on this weekend of reflection and induction for the soon-to-be enshrined legends, came from such a young person.

Chelios went first.

"Zero goals, zero assists, zero points," he said, referring to his numbers in seven games with the Atlanta Thrashers at the end of 2009-10 season, his 26th in the NHL. "Time to go."


Motivated Maple Leafs return to site of playoff collapse

Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 2:08 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 because of a lot of different factors.

One major motivator was the disappointment of their demise the prior spring. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in their 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals series with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Bruins became the third team in League history to squander such a commanding lead.

There are parallels that can be drawn between the Bruins' downfall in 2010 and that of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013. The Maple Leafs return Saturday to TD Garden for the first time since they held a 4-1 lead with less than 11 minutes to go in the third period of Game 7 of their 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series.

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It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday