-“I’d say St. Louis is probably the most physical team in the league." - Brooks Orpik (above) on the Blues.
-The great Joe Vitale will have a homecoming in St. Louis.
-How much does the absence of James Neal impact the production of Evgeni Malkin?
-“I’m more excited to see Malkin because he’s from Russia and Russian players are the best for me. He was playing in the NHL when he was young, and there were a lot of highlights with him. He is one of the best players in the world. It’s so cool when you can play against those guys.” - Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko on playing Malkin tonight.
-Sidney Crosby speaks:
-Pascal Dupuis speaks:
-"I cried. And I still remember going to school the next day, and it was one of the most devastating days of my life. The kids were saying the Flyers and your old man suck." - Ray Shero on his father, former Flyers coach Fred Shero, and the Flyers missing the playoffs after losing the last game of the 1971-72 season. Fred Shero will be posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday.
-Shero was in Toronto last night for a Hall of Fame ceremony prior to the Devils-Maple Leafs game:
-Malkin and several current and former Russian/Soviet Union star players "sang" in a music video promoting Russia's Olympic team:
-Chris Conner, Tom Kostopoulos and Harry Zolnierczyk each had a goal and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 6-5 home loss to the Albany Devils. Dominik Uher recorded two assists for the Penguins while goaltender Peter Mannino made 14 saves.
-A hat trick by Carter Rowney led the Wheeling Nailers to a 6-2 road win against the Fort Wayne Komets. Denver Manderson added a goal and an assist for the Nailers while Mike Condon made 28 saves.
-Happy 43rd birthday to former Penguins forward Bill Guerin. Acquired at the 2009 trade deadline in a deal which sent a draft pick to the Islanders, Guerin spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. Guerin finished 2008-09 by appearing in 17 games and scoring 12 points. In the 2009 postseason, he played in all 24 games, finished third on the team with 15 points and helped the franchise claim its third Stanley Cup title. He returned in 2009-10 and saw action in 78 games while scoring 45 points. He played in 11 games in that spring's playoffs and scored nine points. He retired following that season and is currently a player development coach with the Penguins. In 95 regular season games with the Penguins, Guerin scored 57 points. In 35 postseason games, he scored 27 points.
-After the Jump: Ilya Bryzgalov heads north.
Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division
"It definitely made me a better player later in my career from learning the tough lessons, learning the dirty work that has to be done if you want to win hockey games, especially in the playoffs," he said. "It’s easy, but you sit back now and you look at that situation and it might have been really almost the most important part of especially my NHL career going through that and learning those lessons and being able to at some point accept them and embrace them."- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/231255951_Gulitti__Scott_Niedermayer_credits_Devils_coaches_for_his_success.html#sthash.Mf0YvwPi.dpuf
-The Capitals signed forward Jason Chimera to a two-year contract extension worth a total of $4 million. In the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.75 million, Chimera's new contract will have a cap hit of $2 million. Chimera, 34, has appeared in 16 games this season and has scored 11 points (five goals, six assists).
-EN Says: Chimera is a speedy third-line winger who is a strong forechecker as well as penalty killer and provides some offensive pop as evidenced by his 20-goal season in 2011-12, the NHL's last full regular season. He's prone to inconsistency and due in part to his age, injuries. This is a fair contract.
-"It definitely made me a better player later in my career from learning the tough lessons, learning the dirty work that has to be done if you want to win hockey games, especially in the playoffs. It’s easy, but you sit back now and you look at that situation and it might have been really almost the most important part of especially my NHL career going through that and learning those lessons and being able to at some point accept them and embrace them." - Former Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer on playing for former Devils coach Jacques Lemaire. Niedermayer will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday.
-"I've been in the game for 47 years and I've never seen anything like this. We certainly know that we're more talented than we're showing on the ice. I think the question is, 'How talented are we?'" - Flyers owner Ed Snider on his team's 4-10-1 record.
-A shootout goal by James van Riemsdyk gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 win against the Devils. Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves in the victory.
-Check out the effort by Toronto's Phil Kessel on this goal:
-Check out this save by New Jersey's Cory Schneider against Kessel on a three-on-one in overtime:
-Kessel being popular:
-New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov got tied up here with Toronto's David Clarkson:
-“He was unhappy and I don’t blame him. He’s a fiery guy and a fiery competitor and an emotional coach, and I don’t blame him for being upset. I didn’t expect anything less from him. He’s a class guy, hard-working guy. It’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.” - Panthers general manager Dale Tallon on firing former head coach Kevin Dineen.
-Panthers forward Jesse Winchester was suspended three games by the NHL for a hit to the head of Bruins forward Chris Kelly Thursday. The NHL's explanation:
-EN Says: We understand Winchester's clean history and the lack of an injury to Kelly play a role into the length of the suspension, but this is too small of a punishment. Something along the lines of six or seven games would be more appropriate.
-The Panthers placed former Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney on waivers.
-With forward Johan Franzen ("upper body") being placed on injured reserve and forward Stephen Weiss dealing with a groin injury, the Red Wings recalled forward Luke Glendening and defenseman Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids of the AHL and assigned defenseman Adam Almquist to Grand Rapids.
“My daughter came in this morning to say goodbye before she went to school and I heard her crying afterwards,” Neil said on Friday afternoon, after practice.
“She was quite concerned for me, so it’s a tough one to swallow.” - See more at: http://www.senatorsextra.com/main/neil-dons-practice-visor#sthash.92TCmvpo.dpuf
“My daughter came in this morning to say goodbye before she went to school and I heard her crying afterwards. She was quite concerned for me, so it’s a tough one to swallow.” - Senators forward Chris Neil on his decision to wear a visor at practice after suffering facial injuries during a recent game.
-The Senators assigned goaltender Nathan Lawson to Binghamton of the AHL.
-Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is dealing with a "lower-body" injury.
-The Canadiens assigned defenseman Greg Pateryn to Hamilton of the AHL.
-Ondrej Pavelec made 41 saves for the Jets in a 5-0 shutout of the Predators. It was his 11th career shutout. Bryan Little scored two goals for Winnipeg while teammate Olli Jokinen added a goal and an assist.
-Check out this pass by Winnipeg's Evander Kane to set up Jokinen:
-A goal and an assist by Ryan O'Reilly led the Avalanche to a 4-2 win against the Flames. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves in the win. Mike Cammalleri scored both of the Flames' goals.
-Check out the release by O'Reilly on this one-timer:
-Check out this move by Calgary's Mikael Backlund to set up Cammalleri for a goal:
-Colorado's Patrick Bordeleau and Calgary's Brian McGratton had a pretty fierce bout:
-A good look at the fight:
-The Avalanche (13-2) tied the 1994-95 Nordiques for the best start in franchise history.
-Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson will be sidelined a minimum of two weeks due to a back ailment.
-Could Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad, a native of Gibsonia, make the United States' roster for the Olympics?
-Former Penguin Matt Cooke has been part of a strong third line for the Wild along with Kyle Brodziak and Justin Fontaine.
-The Stars recalled defenseman Aaron Rome from Texas of the AHL and assigned defenseman Kevin Connauton to Texas for a conditioning assignment.
-A hat trick and an assist by captain Ryan Getzlaf led the Ducks past the Sabres, 6-2. Dustin Penner added a goal and three assists for Anaheim while teammate Cam Fowler added a goal and an assist. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves in the victory. Mikhail Grigorenko scored both of Anaheim's goals.
-Getzlaf's hat trick, which was scored in the first period alone:
-Check out this pass by Anaheim's Rickard Rackell to set up Andrew Cogliano for a goal:
-Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller has become all too accustomed to the red light this season:
-With 22 points, Getzlaf is now one point behind Sidney Crosby for the league lead.
-The Oilers signed former Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million (prorated). In 40 games with the Flyers last season, Bryzgalov, 30, had a 19-17-3 record with at 2.79 goals against average, a .900 save percentage and one shutout. He will report to Oklahoma City of the AHL for a conditioning assignment.
-EN Says: This is a marriage of necessity. The Oilers are desperate for goaltending and Bryzgalov is desperate for a job. Goaltending has been a hole for the Oilers for several seasons and Brzygalov is a player who is only a few seasons removed from being a Vezina Trophy finalist. A disastrous tenure as the Flyers goaltender has largely overshadowed the fact that he is still a pretty talented goaltender. Bryzgalov's peculiar nature and the rabid media atmosphere in Philadelphia combined to make his time with the Flyers a mess. If he can level off his own mental foibles and deal maturely with the fishbowl that is the Edmonton media, he can make the Oilers a better team. At worst, this is a short-term risk for the Oilers who have nothing to lose at this point of the season.
-The Flames acquired defenseman Ladislav Smid and goaltending prospect Olivier Roy from the Oilers in exchange for forward Roman Horak and goaltending prospect Laurent Brossoit. Smid is in the first year of a four-year contract with a salary cap hit of $3.5 million. Smid, 27, has appeared in 17 games this season and has two points (one goal, one assists). In the final year of an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $615,000, Horak, 22, appeared in one NHL game this season and has no points.
-EN Says: This move was tied to the Bryzgalov signing as it cleared some salary cap space to make the signing. That said, it seems like a team with as many defensive issues as the Oilers could find another player on their roster to move than Smid who is a steady, dependable shot-blocking defenseman who is still years away from turning 30. That said, they do acquire a legit NHL goaltending prospect in Brossoit and the pipeline in net has been pretty dry for Edmonton. For the Flames, they acquire a player who can replace captain/defenseman Mark Giordano who is sidelined long-term due to an ankle injury. Additionally, Smid has a history in Anaheim with Flames executive Brian Burke.
-This was only the second trade ever between the rival Oilers and Flames.
-The Coyotes are giving out a bobblehead of goaltender Mike Smith and they are hyping it quite a bit:
-The Oilers assigned forwards Ben Eager and Linus Omark to Oklahoma City of the AHL.
-Devin Williams made 19 saves for the Erie Otters in a 3-2 win against the Oshawa Generals.
-A hat trick by Cody Wydo led the Robert Morris men's team past Canisius, 6-1.
-Matthew Skoff made 20 saves for the Penn State men's team which edged Sacred Heart, 2-1.
-Jimmy Sarjeant made 37 saves for the Mercyhurst men's team in a 3-2 win against RIT.
-Amanda Makela made 31 saves for the Mercyhurst women's team which shutout Robert Morris, 2-0.
-Shane Bednard had two goals and an assist for the Johnstown Tomahawks who defeated the Springfield Junior Blues, 2-1.
(Photos: Orpik-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Shero and Devils/Maple Leafs-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Flames/Avalanche-Barry Gutierrez/Associated Press; Sabres/Ducks-Reed Saxon/Associated Press)