Nino Niederreiter Agrees with Scott Gordon

New York Islanders rookie forward Nino Niederreiter actually agreed with the decision that was made by coach coach Scott Gordon and GM Garth Snow to send him back to junior for another season in the Western Hockey League with the Portland Winterhawks. “I think it’s better to go back to juniors and get more experience and be a bigger leader out there,” Niederreiter who was drafted fifth overall last June and scored a goal and two points in the Islanders first nine games said. “At the end, I think it’s the right fit. I’ll try to make the team next year.” The main reason why the Islanders decided to send him down prior to the 10th game is to delay the start of Niederreiter’s contract. In other words, his three year entry contract won’t kick in until next season. Another reason for sending Niederreiter down is due to the fact that several injured forwards such as Rob Schremp,Trent Hunter and Michael Gabner and Kyle Okposo are all close to returning which means lots of depth up front. “I was just trying not to think about the ninth game,” Niederreiter said. “I tried my best, but it was pretty tough to not think about it.” Last year which was his first year in North America Niederreiter excelled by scoring 36 goals and 60 points with Portland. During the World Junior Championships with Switzerland he scored he scored six goals and 10 points in seven games. “I had a great experience up here,” Niederreiter who just turned 18 in September said. “I was really happy to be here. But you think about it, Okie’s coming back, then Hunts is coming back soon, too. Schremp, Grabner…it’s a lot of players. I’m still young. At the end, I want to be a better player. I think it’s better to get more ice time in juniors and be a better player there.”
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Graham James Arrested

Former NHL star, Theo Fleury, was obviously feeling tremendous relief upon hearing on Wednesday that convicted sex offender, Graham James, turned himself in to the authorities. He was immediately put on a plane for Winnipeg, where the former junior hockey coach was being charged with nine counts of sexual assault. “I think there’s one less predator on the street and he can’t hurt any more kids,” said Fleury, who was sexually abused by James back in the 1980’s while with the Moose Jaw Warriors. “I understand that it does take a while to put an investigation together –put charges together — and what not. So I’m pleased — at this point–with the result of what happened today,” said Fleury, who scored 455 goals and 1088 points in his career with the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks. A few weeks ago a warrant was issued which listed three new complaints among his former junior players, who came forward and gave their stories about what happened years ago. One of those stories, that came forward, was told by Fleury himself, who came out with an autobiography that talked about how he was taken advantage of by James, starting at the age of 14. “I’ll do whatever it takes from here on in — to make this come to an ending,” Fleury said. In 1997, James received a 3.5 year prison sentence, after being found guilty of numerous sexual assaults to teenagers, including another former NHLer, Sheldon Kennedy. During his coaching tenure James was with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and the Calgary Hitmen.

NHL Notes

1. ARMSTRONG SIDELINED WITH INJURY

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered a huge loss on Tuesday night when third line grinder Colby Armstrong suffered a serious finger injury in the opening period against the Florida Panthers. Toronto, who beat the Panthers 3-1 will be without Armstrong for anywhere between 4-6 weeks after popping a tendon in his finger. This 27 year-old who signed as a free agent this past summer has only one goal in eight games.
2. STARS LOSE ROBIDAS TO SUSPENSION

When the Dallas Stars take on the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday they will be without their number one defenceman in Stephane Robidas who received a suspension due to a boarding game misonduct he received on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks. For the season Robidas has scored one goal three points and is already has a +8 rating.

3. AVALANCHE LOSE ANDERSON TO INJURY

Backup goalie Peter Budaj will get his chance to impress as the Colorado Avalache have lost starting goalie Craig Anderson for an indefinite amount of time with a knee injury. Anderson who is 3-4 with an ordinary 3.15 GAA in the first seven games was injured during Tuesday night’s warmups when he was slated to play against the Vancouver Canucks. “It’s going to require some treatment and rehab, and we hope to have him back as soon as possible,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said.

Teemu Selanne Just Keeps on Scoring

With every goal Teemu Selanne scores it seems like he’s passing another hall of famer which is exactly what he did on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars. This popular Anaheim Ducks veteran forward showed that at 40 years-old he still has the soft hands as he scored on a third period power play which moved him past hockey legend Bobby Hull and into 15th place among the all time scoring leaders. “I’ve met (Hull) many times, and I never imagined I’d score more goals than him,” Selanne who now has 611 career goals said. “When I read my name in the same story with Bobby Hull or somebody else, it’s a big compliment. I’m thankful for all these years.” The next person on the list for Selanne is former Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic who scored 625 career goals. The important thing for Selanne and his Ducks was that his goal didn’t go to waste as they pulled out a 5-2 victory against a Stars team who has been hot since the season started. Leading the Ducks besides for Selanne was young Bobby Ryan who scored two goals. Other Anaheim goal scorers were Corey Perry and fighter George Parros. Another Anaheim star on this night was goalie Jonas Hiller who made 35 saves for the Ducks who go home after going 2-2 on their just completed road trip. Dallas who scored 22 goals in their first six games has seen the offence dry up lately as they have only scored two goals in their past two games. Penalty killing is something else that the Stars have been struggling with this season.
“The game came down to special teams,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “They had two goals right when penalties expired. We’ve been on the short end of the special teams battle too many times this year. Those are tought to take.” Meanwhile scoring for the Stars were Loui Eriksson and Brian Sutherby.

Lou Lamoriello Supports John MacLean

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello emphasized on Monday that despite getting off to a dismal 2-6-1 start, rookie coach John MacLean is not on the firing line. On the contrary Lamoriello was full of praise for MacLean and even backed up his coach’s decision to bench scoring star Ilya Kovalchuk last weekend. “John has done an exceptional job,” Lamoriello said. “I have no issue with him. Our record certainly isn’t what any of us like, but it has nothing to do with coaching.” Apparently according to rumours Kovalchuk who is getting paid 100 million over the next 15 years was late for a Saturday morning meeting which was a huge reason why he was scratched during what was a 6-1 loss that night to the Buffalo Sabres. “I am totally supportive,” Lamoriello said about the benching. “Without question I was aware of it… and without question I was supportive. So enough said. Even though Lamoriello said that MacLean’s job is safe there is no denying the fact that something is wrong with the Devils who many believed would contend for the Stanley Cup this year. If their losing ways goes on much longer than they just might end up playing catch-up for the rest of the season in trying to make the playoffs. “You’re always concerned when you don’t win,” Lamoriello said. “What I feel good about, if there’s something good to feel good about, is we’re we’re getting chances to score. The players are working on it. We’ll get through it. One way or another we’ll find a way to get through it.” Devils next play on Wednesday night in San Jose against the Sharks.

NHL Notes

1. HABS CLOSE TO GETTING MARKOV BACK

Life keeps on getting better for the Montreal Canadiens who are off to a fast 4-2-1 start. On Monday veteran defenceman Andrei Markov got the green light to participate in team practice after suffering a badly torn ACL during last spring’s Eastern Conference playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last season Markov played only 45 games due to ankle surgery but still managed to post an impressive six goals and 34 points. Markov, who is due to return either Friday or Saturday will drastically improve the power play which has been in a 1-24 slump to begin the year.

2. BLUE JACKETS NASH FINED BY THE LEAGUE

Former 2002 Columbus Blue Jackets scoring forward Rick Nash has been disciplined by the league after violently high sticking Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano on Friday night. Less than 24 hours after losing 6-2 the Blue Jackets learned that Nash who has three goals in his first seven games was being fined $2,500.

3. DOUGHTY ON KINGS INJURED RESERVE LIST

The Los Angeles Kings will have to do without their number one defenceman Drew Doughtly who has been placed on the injured reserved list. This 20 year-old who has one assist in his first five games was injured on Wednesday during the Kings 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season this 2008 Kings first round draft pick played in all 82 games and scored 59 points and was a +20.

Ilya Kovalchuk, A Healthy Scratch Against the Rangers?

Saturday night was a definite low point for the struggling New Jersey Devils, who apparently are having internal issues.
After being blown out at home 6-1 by the Buffalo Sabres the big story wasn’t the game, but the fact that rookie coach, John MacLean, decided to make high scoring winger, Ilya Kovalchuk, a healthy scratch. When MacLean was asked about it, he — as expected — didn’t elaborate on why he didn’t play the veteran, who is being paid 100 million on a 15 year contract. “He knows–why — said MacLean about Kovalchuk, who has scored two goals and five points on the season. Despite having a 2-5-1 record, MacLean wasn’t sure, as of Saturday night, if his star would be in the line-up on Sunday, in New York, against the Rangers. After the Sabres loss, Kovalchuk wasn’t in the Devils dressing room and GM/ President, Lou Lamoriello, who usually attends the post game news conferences with MacLean, wasn’t around. With the controversial summer signing of Kovalchuk the Devils were fined three million dollars and lost two high draft choices over the next four seasons. As for the Buffalo game — coach, MacLean, was at a loss for words about why his team is slumping. “I’m having trouble finding the answers for that myself,” he said when asked about it. “But ultimately it falls on my responsibility to get the guys prepared.”