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On the Beat

On the Beat: Blackhawks need to become road warriors, Havlat missing from practice, Habs shuffle lines, Penguins get some good news, Does phantom whistle hurt NHL’s credibility?

Ducks loan Erik Christensen to the Moose for conditioning; Lucic over stomach bug; Sabres gives some maintenance time; Flames quiet on closed door meeting; Hurricanes get younger; Panther set to unveil 3rd jersey; Pekka Rinne to make 4th straight start; Caps coach tempering expectations for 2008 1st round pick. These stories and more after the jump.

Word from the team beat writers:

  • The Ducks loaned center Erik Christensen to the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League for condtioning purposes.
  • Looks like Milan Lucic got over that stomach bug and will be arriving in Atlanta later today and is expected to play in the Bruins next game.
  • John Vogl of the Buffalo News is reporting that Sabres Derek Roy and Tim Connolly each took maintenance days today and that Mike Grier‘s groin injury is still preventing him from practicing.
  • Brent Sutter and the rest of the Calgary Flames were silent about what happened following the post-game “chat” held by the coach after the team’s loss to Colorado.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes have a younger roster as they have added four players to their roster who began the season with the Albany River Rats of the AHL.
  • Chris Kuc of the Chicago Herald writes that the Hawks are in for their biggest test of the season so far as they leave the friendly confines of the United Center and head off on a 10-day, six-game road trip.
  • Despite just being activated from injured reserver, the Columbus Blue Jackets Raffi Torres missed practice due to the flu.
  • In disalllowing Brad May’s goal last night the NHL’s ‘intent to blow the whistle’ play cheats Red Wings a point and hurts the NHL’s credibility writes George Malik.
  • David Staples of the Edmonton Journal has an excellent piece talking about the NHL’s need to crack down on head shots, after the incident involving Oilers captain Ethan Moreau, who took a shot to the head from Colorado’s Ryan Wilson.
  • The Florida Panthers are set to unveil the team’s 3rd jersey on Monday against the Penguins and I have to give them credit for a decent marketing ploy.
  • With Ryan Smyth out for about a month, the L.A. Kings are trying a few different players on the first line, but it appears that the team isn’t happy with the play of Alexander Frolov.
  • Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that Martin Havlat is missing from the Wild’s practice today.
  • Montreal coach Jacques Martin has shuffled his lines again and Glen Metropolit described the new lines as if he has won the lottery.
  • Goa­lie Pekka Rinne will match his sea­son high when he makes a fourth straight start tonight against the New Jer­sey Devils.
    Pekka Rinne
  • Veteran center Dean McAmmond, signed to a minor league contract in October, will make his Devils debut Thursday night against the Nashville Predators.
  • Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, making just his second start of the season and his first since Oct. 25, had a rough first period but rallied to make 37 saves and lead the Flyers to a 3-2 victory last night in the first game of a five-game road trip.
  • The Penguins finally got some good news as they will be getting back Sergei Gonchar and Maxime Talbot for tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star has a rather full Thursday mailbag answering questions on how the Leafs can salvage the season, NHL on graphite sticks, a Winter Classic game at BMO field, some Leaf prospects and many more questions.
  • Washington coach Bruce Boudreau is keeping expectations for 2008 first-round pick John Carlson, called up from Hershey in check