Resurgent Del Zotto Saving Rangers Battered Blue Line

Written by Mike Salerno on .

If you were to look up the current leaders among NHL defensemen in plus/minus, you'd see some names you've come to expect to be at the top of that list. Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber are all represented in the first ten names. Standard, right?

But above all three of those perennial all stars sits 21-year old Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto at +20. No, I'm not kidding.

This is the same Michael Del Zotto who couldn't find his way out of John Tortorella's doghouse with a GPS at this time last season. What a difference a year makes, huh?

USA Hockey Releases Final Roster For 2012 World Juniors

Written by Mike Salerno on .

USA Hockey just released their final 22-man roster for the 2012 World Junior Championships starting December 26 in Calgary, Alberta. Head coach Dean Blais trimmed their preliminary list of 28 players to the IIHF-mandated 22 this morning.

Among the list of names are 2011 returnees Charlie Coyle, Nick Bjugstad, Jon Merrill, Derek Forbort and Emerson Etem, as well as third-year players Jason Zucker and Jack Campbell.

The one name that was surprisingly cut was forward Kenny Agostino, a sophomore from Yale University and fifth-round selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2010 NHL Draft. Agostino had impressed a number of scouts during this week's camp, but was ultimately left off the final roster.

Brian Ferlin, Shane Prince and John Gaudreau were the other forwards cut. Defenseman Austin Levi and Seth Jones, who will miss the tournament with an upper body injury, were also omitted from the team.

After the jump, we give you the entire roster.

The Three Stars of HBO's 24/7 Road To The Winter Classic: Episode II

Written by Mike Salerno on .

Each week, the THS staff will select the three stars of each airing of HBO's 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic.

Once again, HBO did an amazing job giving us an inside look at the Rangers and Flyers. There were plenty of moments to choose from, whether it be Jagr going out of his way to avoid Bryzgalov at breakfast, a 10-year old boy who's made a bunch of new friends thanks to the Garden of Dreams, and of course, Brad Richards' buzzer-beater in Phoenix. This week's ballot was tough, but here are Tonight's Healthy Scratches' Three Stars of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic:

Flyers Giroux Could Return Tonight vs Stars, But Is It Too Soon?

Written by Mike Salerno on .

Big thanks to everyone who read yesterday's column remembering Marie Drisco and shared it with friends of the St. Anthony's organization. She was a very special woman and will be deeply missed. The THS staff honored her by making that column our only post of the day, sort of our very own moment of silence.

Plenty of headlines this morning, but none bigger than the potential return of Claude Giroux to the battered Flyers lineup. Giroux, who is tied for the points lead with 39 despite playing in only 28 games this season, was knocked out indefinitely after getting kneed in the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds on December 10.

With all the concussion problems surrounding the NHL, the Flyers had feared they could have lost their franchise player for the season in addition to their captain Chris Pronger. Giroux, however, has been practicing at full speed for the better part of the last week and appears ready to go. But is he ready?

Celebrating The Life of Marie Drisco

Written by Mike Salerno on .

On the morning of December 20, 2011, the Long Island youth hockey scene lost possibly it's most influential member. Marie Drisco, the general manager of St. Anthony's hockey for over 20 years, finally lost a decade-long battle with cancer this morning.

To all those connected with St. Anthony's hockey, losing a devoted, motherly figure like Marie is difficult. Today is certainly a day for heavy hearts, but it's also a day for remembrance and appreciation of everything she's done for the organization, and the legacy she leaves behind.

In an organization that's now more known for an abundance of trophies and talent, Marie always fought to ensure everyone who wanted to be a part of it would have a place to play. She ran the club like a well-oiled machine, making it a desired destination for some of Long Island's top players. She maintained a winning tradition while cultivating the happiness of so many lesser players, who just wanted to be part of the team.

Marie was a once-in-a-generation kind soul who came down to the rink for every Tuesday practice just to see "her boys" happy and playing hockey. The lady who quickly became the mother of St. Anthony's hockey loved nothing more than seeing her Friars win. And win we did, quite often in fact. Marie helped build one of the most dominating high school hockey programs in New York. After serving as the program's general manager while her son was attending the school, Marie prepared to resign, as per club rules, when he graduated in the early 90s.

No Faulk For Team USA: Jones and Trouba's Time To Shine?

Written by Mike Salerno on .

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford released a statement earlier today that the organization will not be releasing rookie defenseman Justin Faulk to play for Team USA in the 2012 World Junior Championships in Calgary, Alberta later this month. Faulk, who has bounced around between the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL and Carolina, has four points (1 G, 3 A) in 18 games in the NHL.

The 19-year old, who won a bronze medal with Team USA in last year's tournament in Buffalo, NY, would've certainly been a part of the top defensive pairing for the Americans at the upcoming tournament, most likely playing upwards of 25 minutes per game. However Rutherford and the Canes felt it was best for the organization that he stay with the middling club instead of making the trip to western Canada.

MISSING! THS' Milk Carton Player Of The Week: Brandon Dubinsky

Written by Mike Salerno & Frank Castaldi on .

Welcome to the first installment of Missing! THS' Milk Carton Player of the Week. It's pretty self-explanatory. Every week our staff will select one player that has unexpectedly seen a dramatic dropoff in production.

It's pretty hard to argue with our first ever selection, so without further adieu, we present THS' first ever Milk Carton Player of the Week: Brandon Dubinsky of the New York Rangers.


MISSING: Brandon Dubinsky, center, New York Rangers. If found, please contact Glen Sather immediately at Madison Square Garden 2 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, New York.

Sunday Night Around the NHL

Written by Brian McCormack on .

Brian was right with tonight's pick! The Blackhawks topped Calgary in Chicago tonight to make Brian 1-1 in his picks for the season.  In the evening's other two games, the Hurricanes took the Panthers to overtime in Sunrise, while the Blues let loose a rare offensive explosion in St. Louis.

  • The Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead into the third period in Florida on goals from Tim Gleason (1) and Chad Larose (9). The Panthers responded 5:47 into the third on the powerplay with Jason Garrison's 10th of the season, which leads all NHL defenseman. Kris Versteeg had several chances late in the third period to give the Cats the lead, missing on a wide open net at 13:35 and hitting the post with 14 seconds left in regulation. Shawn Matthias had his opportunity to end it at 1:54 of overtime when his breakaway chance was turned aside by Ward. It wasn't until 3:08 of OT that Brian Campbell's centering pass ticked off of Stephen Weiss and came to Kris Versteeg (16) who, this time, cashed in on the empty net and gave Florida a 3-2 win. The Panthers hold an eight point lead in the Southeast Division.

Saturday Night Around the NHL

Written by Brian McCormack on .

The NHL had 24 teams in action in what turned out to be one of the more exciting Saturdays this season. Teemu Selanne returned to Winnipeg after 16 years, the Bruins, Penguins and Red Wings won big, Nashville and the Islanders earned extra points in the shootout and the Rangers pulled one out literally later than anyone ever has. Once again, here's Brian McCormack to take you through the night's action:

  • The Rangers came into Phoenix losers of two straight, and it took them all 60 minutes to pull out a win on Saturday night. Marian Gaborik opened the third period with his second of the game and 17th of the season. In the waning moments of regulation, Brad Richards spun a bad-angled backhander towards the net, off the foot of Keith Yandle and through Mike Smith with .1 seconds remaining. After review, the Rangers had their 18th win of the season, 3-2 over the Coyotes. New York has still not gone more than two games without earning a point.

Darryl Sutter Hired in LA, Brent on the Hot Seat?

Written by Brian McCormack on .

Darryl Sutter back behind the bench

Helene Elliot of The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Darryl Sutter will be hired as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Kings.

Sutter has coached in Chicago, San Jose and Calgary, reaching the playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons behind the bench. In 2004, he led the Calgary Flames to the Stanley Cup final before moving upstairs to general manager in 2006. Sutter was relieved of his duties in December of 2010. no comments

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