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HPT Power rankings (Week 19): The Olympic break is now upon us. Here's hoping it's not the last time NHL players get to represent their countries in the Winter Games. How does an entire season of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Ilya Bryzgalov playing in the KHL sound? That could be the reailty if the NHL forbids its players from competing in the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia – the home country of some of the aforementioned superstars. Ponder that thought while we break for two weeks. 1. Washington Capitals (41-13-8): The Caps have 90 points with 20 games left in the season. Their 23-3-3 record at home is amazing. 2. San Jose Sharks (40-13-9): Dany Heatley is goalless in three games going into the break. Canada hopes this mini-slump won’t carry into the Olympics. 3. Chicago Blackhawks (41-15-5): The Hawks have won four in a row after ekeing out a victory Sunday over the Blue Jackets. They look up only at the Sharks in the West standings. 4. Los Angeles Kings (37-20-4): The Kings are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and are showing no signs of slowing down. Scott Parse and Brandon Segal were shipped out this week; could Alexander Frolov (two goals in 20 games) be next? 5. New Jersey Devils (37-21-3): The Devils went limping into the break; they have three wins in their last 10 games. David Clarkson and Paul Martin will return to the lineup after the break to help the team shape up. 6. Phoenix Coyotes (37-21-5): At this point, it’s time to wonder what kind of damage the Coyotes are going to do in the playoffs instead of wait for them to drop out. They are here to stay. They have won seven of 10. 7. Pittsburgh Penguins (36-22-4): The Pens are only one point behind the Devils going into the break. Sidney Crosby has 42 goals on the season. Fans are getting to see a whole different element of his game. 8. Vancouver Canucks (37-22-2): The Canucks finished their seven-game, pre-Olympic road trip with a 6-2 loss in Minnesota. They’ll get homesick after the break, too — as they don’t host a game until March 13. 9. Buffalo Sabres (33-18-9): The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 and have the Senators hot on their tails. If they don’t shape up once play resumes in March, the division lead may be gone. 10. Ottawa Senators (35-23-4): The Sens are 5-2 in February after Sunday’s matinee with the Islanders. The acquisition of Matt Cullen helps them down the middle. 11. Colorado Avalanche (35-20-6): The Avs are 5-5 in the past 10 games. No team can afford to slip in the West right now. Five teams are within nine points of their No. 6 spot. 12. Nashville Predators (33-23-5): The Preds defeated Pittsburgh 4-3 on Sunday after being blown out in New Jersey, and head into the break in seventh place in the West. 13. Philadelphia Flyers (32-25-3): The Flyers swept a home-and-home with the Devils and have won four in a row going into the break. Jeff Carter is on an absolute tear, with five goals in the last four games. 14. Calgary Flames (30-23-9): The Flames are only 15-14-3 at home this season, a surprising stat. Jarome Iginla has three goals in the last two games. 15. Boston Bruins (27-22-11): A four-game winning streak has put the Bruins right back into seventh place in the East. Look for them to be buyers at the deadline, likely targeting an offensive goal scorer. 16. Detroit Red Wings (28-21-12): This year has been quite the rollercoaster ride in Detroit, between injuries and players not living up to expectations. The one man who has exceeded predictions, goalie Jimmy Howard, is a rookie. Will the Wings target a goalie toward the March 3 deadline? 17. Montreal Canadiens (29-28-6): Andrei Markov is hurt again. If this turns into another long term injury, the Habs can kiss the playoffs goodbye. They absolutely suffered without him earlier this year and new GM Pierre Gauthier may shake things up. 18. New York Rangers (28-27-7): The Rangers will be handcuffed at the deadline because of cap issues. They’d like to unload Wade Redden’s contract, which would would provide a lot of room to make a move. But it’s unlikely that another team would help. 19. Anaheim Ducks (30-25-7): It’s hard to know how good any team really is after seeing them play the Oilers – the free space in the Bingo card of the NHL – twice in one week. That said, Anaheim is now only two points out of a playoff spot. 20. Minnesota Wild (30-27-4): Marin Havlat has seven goals in his last 20 games. He will have to pick it up to help the Wild get into the playoffs, with five teams ahead of them in the standings. 21. Dallas Stars (28-21-12): The Stars are a completely different team at home (41 points) than they are on the road (27 points). The big question is, which team will Marty Turco be traded to now that the Stars have acquired Kari Lehtonen? 22. Atlanta Thrashers (26-24-10): Niclas Bergfors seems to have found a home in Atlanta; he now has goals in three straight. Who wants to see them sneak into the playoffs and get the Devils in the first round? 23. St. Louis Blues (28-25-9): The Blues have won three in a row and are only four points out of a playoff spot. Davis Payne for the Jack Adams award, anyone? 24. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-24-11): Even after losing three straight, a weak East makes it possible for the Bolts to fight for the playoffs this year. 25. Florida Panthers (24-27-10): The Panthers look to be the most active team at the deadline after a message to the fans popped up on the team’s Web site – the owners and GM vowed to make a huge roster overhaul. 26. New York Islanders (25-29-8): They’re 2-8 in their past 10 games and the playoff hopes are dimming on Long Island. Maybe the expectations were a little too high for John Tavares, who has scored two goals in the last 31 games. 27. Carolina Hurricanes (24-30-7): The Canes are playing very good hockey, having gone 9-2 in their last 11, and won five straight. Surprisingly, the playoffs are not out of the question. 28. Columbus Blue Jackets (25-28-10): One year after finally reaching the postseason, the Blue Jackets figure to be sellers at the trade deadline. Was last year’s squad overachieving the whole time? 29. Toronto Maple Leafs (19-31-11): Alex Ponikarovsky, well on the way to back-to-back 20-goal seasons, seems destined to land with a contender soon. Brian Burke could look to rebuild his forward corps over the summer. 30. Edmonton Oilers (19-36-6): Scary thought: If the Oilers won their next game 57-0, they still will have allowed more goals than they’ve scored all season.
| News/Features | Sunday, 14 February 2010 23:37 | Print | PDF
Northeast Division notebook: The funeral of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s son, Brendan Burke, was held Tuesday in Canton, Mass. The 21-year-old died in a car crash on a snowy Indiana road four days earlier. "From birth, he had an unshakable faith in the genuine good that resides in all people," his brother Patrick said at the funeral Mass. "Along with that faith is hope -- hope that he could bring that good out from inside of people and into the world by being open, caring and kind to everyone he met." Brendan Burke played goalie at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., but declined to play as a senior because of increasing anti-gay sentiments in the locker room. An advocate for gay rights, Burke publicly revealed his sexual orientation in December and made headlines that transcended hockey. Burke was a senior at Miami University in Ohio, where he was student manager of the hockey team. He died after his car slid sideways into the path of another vehicle. His friend, Mark Reedy, 18, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., also died in the accident. The entire Toronto Maple Leafs team attended the services, as did the entire Miami squad. The elder Burke conducted a heavy-hearted news conference on Friday in which he thanked the team, fans and media for their support. BUFFALO The Buffalo Sabres lost their sixth straight game on Thursday night, 4-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss was Washington’s second straight after a team-record 14-game win streak was snapped. … D Steve Montador got back in the Buffalo Sabres’ lineup Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing Tuesday's game against Boston with a sore hip. He missed the previous six games as a healthy scratch. ... Jason Pominville has 4 goals and 9 assists in 13 games. ... Pominville enters the game as the team's active leader in consecutive games played at 310 -- the seventh-longest active streak in the NHL. … Since Lindy Ruff was named Buffalo's head coach on July 21, 1997, there have been 151 coaching changes in the NHL. … D Tyler Myers leads all NHL rookies with 100 blocked shots. … The Sabres (20-0-0) are one of two undefeated teams when leading after two periods. OTTAWA The Senators bolstered their lineup as they prepare to battle for the division title by acquiring Matt Cullen from Carolina in exchange for D Alexandre Picard and a second-round draft pick. ... The Senators won for the 13th time in 14 games on Thursday night, beating the Washington Capitals 6-5. … GM Bryan Murray was rewarded for the team's success with a one-year contract extension. ... The Senators' win on Thursday was their second straight after having an 11-game winning streak snapped last Saturday in Toronto. ... Jason Spezza has 11 goals in his last 11 games.   MONTREAL Bob Gainey, who served as the Canadiens’ general manager since 2003, stepped down on Monday. Assistant GM Pierre Gauthier took over the duties on an interim basis. Gainey joined the Canadiens as director of pro scouting in 2003. He added the title of assistant general manager three years later. Gainey played with the Canadiens from 1973 to 1989. … The Florida Panthers traded struggling C Dominic Moore to Montreal on Thursday in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2011. Moore, signed by the Panthers as a free agent after the start of the 2009-10 season, had eight goals and nine assists in 48 games for Florida. ... Moore scored in his first game wearing the red, white and blue on Friday in a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia. BOSTON After scoring the first goal of a 5-4 victory in Tampa Bay on Thursday night, Boston’s Miroslav Satan only ended up playing 4:24 after he suffered a cut to his hand. The injury came after Satan got into a fight with Steve Downie and was called from tripping. Downie was given a roughing double minor after throwing several punches. ... The Bruins have won their past three games and gained at least a point in six of their last seven. The Bruins' chances seemed dim after the 10-game winless streak, but they have bounced back into the playoff picture and can stay there through the Olympic break with a road win in Florida on Saturday.
| News/Northeast | Saturday, 13 February 2010 00:17 | Print | PDF
Patrice Bergeron arrived in Vancouver on Sunday, 24 hours after his Boston Bruins played the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. While there will be no rest for Bergeron or five of his other teammates competing in the two-week Winter Olympic ice hockey tournament, the 24-year-old Team Canada center hopes the rest of the Bruins get some rest and relaxation. “Hopefully for most of the guys they can get to go home and rest and get to think about things,” Bergeron said before the Bruins lost in another shootout — to Vancouver, of all teams — on Feb. 6, “and hopefully regroup for the last part of the season.” The loss was Boston’s 10th straight before a 3-0 victory against Montreal the next day avoided tying the longest losing streak in franchise history, set by the Bruins in their inaugural 1924-25 season. Two nights later, the Bruins finally won a shootout by beating Buffalo 3-2 and two nights after that they beat Tampa Bay. Bergeron, who missed the 2007-08 season with a concussion, had 12 goals and 25 assists through 53 games this season but knows he has a lot to learn from his teammates on the heavily favored Canadian team. And once the tournament begins it will be all business, leaving little time to check out all the other events in Vancouver. “I’m going to be in my little bubble there and stay focused,” he said, “but at the same time I’m sure I’m going to have a chance to meet all the athletes. “I’m looking forward to meeting all the athletes from different sports, not really one in particular although I’m looking forward to speed skating and stuff like that. Just really enjoying the whole experience of the whole thing.” Speaking before the Canucks game and the Bruins' eventual three-game win streak, however, Bergeron was looking forward to joining a squad that is actually favored to win something. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the guys. I’m actually looking forward to the whole experience,” he said. “It’s going to be amazing. Playing at home we’ve played there against the Canucks and the crowd is so loud and the building is always so loud and sold out it’s always fun to play there. So I think the crowd will help us.” In 2005 Bergeron won gold in the World Junior Tournament and hopes to repeat that success. “I have two [medals] actually,” he said. “They’re nicely sitting on the wall there back home. … We have high expectations for ourselves so I think its fine that we got pressure from all the fans and the whole country. Obviously we want to win, especially at home like that. So I think that’s normal. As a team we gotta handle the high expectations if we want to do well. “That’s fine. We have high expectations of ourselves. It’s something you have to enjoy the moment. The fans are going to be behind us. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
| News/Northeast | Monday, 15 February 2010 04:59 | Print | PDF
Northeast Division notebook: Starting an NHL game for the first time since Feb. 2, Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas collected his first win on Thursday night since a shootout victory at San Jose on Jan. 14. The 3-2 victory against Toronto also ended the Bruins' 10-game home winless stretch. Boston's 0-7-3 home streak was just as staggering as Thomas’s 0-4-2 record since the Sharks win. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner stormed onto the NHL scene in 2006 but has been getting dumped on lately by fans and media. Perhaps for good reason. He hadn't won a home game since the Winter Classic at Fenway Park and he hadn't won at TD Garden since Dec. 23. "I didn't become a bad goalie,” he told reporters after the win. “Like I said before, I don't think I've played that bad this year. Have I played to the level I did last year? No. But the whole year hasn't gone anything like last year.” His goals-against average is now 2.50 and his save percentage is .915. Bruins coach Claude Julien was impressed by the half a period Thomas played for Team USA against Finland in the semifinals of the Olympics, and decided to give Thomas another chance. Tuukka Rask has been pulling much of Boston’s goaltending duties, starting the last seven straight. "When I talked to him the other day, I told him, 'You're a Vezina Trophy winner. You don't go from being a great goaltender to a bad goaltender. So the whole organization here, your teammates, your coaching staff, upper management, we all believe in you and you've just got to go out there and have fun playing again and doing the job that you've always done,' " Julien said. "So it was nice to see him respond well." TORONTO The new-look and much younger Toronto Maple Leafs got some encouragement in Thursday’s loss to the Bruins when three players under the age of 23 teamed up to score. Tyler Bozak’s game-tying goal in the final period was assisted by Nikolai Kulemin and Luca Caputi, and pushed the game into overtime. … "I thought I got better as the night went on," Caputi told reporters after the game. ... Former Boston Bruin Phil Kessel has yet to record a point against his old club this season. ... View the Maple Leafs' pitch booklet for a future NHL all-star game. BUFFALO In his first game after leading Team USA to a silver medal at the Olympics, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller received a 45-second standing ovation from fans in Washington before a 3-1 loss to the Capitals. Miller, who didn’t play in Buffalo’s 3-2 loss at Pittsburgh, picked up right where he left off in the Olympics, stopping 37 of 39 shots. ... After allowing an overtime goal to Sidney Crosby in a 3-2 loss to Canada in Sunday's gold-medal game, Miller was selected the tournament MVP with a 5-1 record and a 1.35 goals-against average in the Olympics. … Although Buffalo (33-20-9) is fifth in the Eastern Conference – six points ahead of sixth-place Philadelphia (33-26-3) – they have gone 1-6-2 since Feb. 1. ... Who's the odd man out of the lineup with the acquisition of RW Raffi Torres from Columbus? According to the Buffalo News' Sabres Edge blog, it could be D Chris Butler, with Steve Montador moving to the blue line from forward. ... On Friday, Lindy Ruff moved into sole possession of third place on the career list for most games coached with one franchise (965). MONTREAL New Montreal general manager Pierre Gauthier didn’t feel the need to make his mark at Wednesday’s trade deadline. Despite calls to overhauling his roster, the Habs only move was ship forward Matt D'Agostini to St. Louis for minor-leaguer Aaron Palushaj. "I told the team that any success we will have this season will come from the group being able to put it together from within," Gauthier told reporters. "It doesn't mean you're telling them there's not going to be any changes, but you are telling them you are not looking to add to the challenge." ... A 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday dropped the Habs to 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, further dimming the team's playoff hopes. ... G Carey Price made 37 saves in the loss. ... The Canadiens continue to possess one of the league's best power plays, converting 24.4 percent of their chances. They've scored four power-play goals during their current four-game winning streak over Saturday's opponent, the Los Angeles Kings. OTTAWA G Pascal Leclaire was yanked from the net on Thursday by head coach Cory Clouston after allowing two goals on five shots in only 6:23. The Senators went on to lose 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. ... Forwards Peter Regin, Ryan Shannon and Jarkko Ruutu are suffering from the flu and were not on the ice for practice Friday at Scotiabank Place, the Ottawa Sun reports. Also absent was centre Jesse Winchester, citing personal reasons. ... Listen to Clouston's post-practice comments. ... During the U.S. national anthem prior to the Wednesday's home game against the New York Rangers, the Scotiabank Place scoreboard video screen showed video of every Canadian gold-medal winner, and even threw in a shot of Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal from Sunday's gold-medal game.
| News/Northeast | Friday, 05 March 2010 15:35 | Print | PDF
| RokTabs/RokTabs | Monday, 28 September 2009 09:46 | Print | PDF
| RokTabs/RokTabs | Monday, 28 September 2009 09:46 | Print | PDF
| RokTabs/RokTabs | Monday, 28 September 2009 09:46 | Print | PDF
| RokTabs/RokTabs | Monday, 28 September 2009 09:46 | Print | PDF
| RokTabs/RokTabs | Monday, 28 September 2009 09:46 | Print | PDF
| RokTabs/RokTabs | Monday, 28 September 2009 09:46 | Print | PDF

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