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Posted On Wednesday, 10.08.2014 / 11:00 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Oct. 8, 2014

Here is the Oct. 8 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

The New Jersey Devils appear to have four young defensemen and three veterans in their top seven. How do you see the playing time being split up? Is Eric Gelinas most likely to sit? Peter DeBoer seems to favor Jon Merrill and Damon Severson might be the best. -- @MattSuszko

First off, this should be an exciting time for Devils fans because their defense is loaded with potential. I would not be surprised if the three veterans -- Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky -- paired with three young players. I'm not 100-percent certain of DeBoer's affinity for having three lefty-righty pairs, but it could work as the Devils will have four lefties and three righties. In this equation, it's possible that Gelinas sits as the fourth lefty. It won't be Greene, Salvador or Merrill. That would put Severson in the opening-night lineup. But that's just my theory.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.07.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Maple Leafs' Dubas on analytics, publicity and more

Kyle Dubas' stock in the hockey world soared during the summer as he went from a bright, young executive in the Ontario Hockey League to a bright, young executive in the National Hockey League in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

Dubas, the assistant general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, sat down with for a 20-minute interview inside Air Canada Centre at the start of training camp. He talked about everything his new job has to offer, including the challenges.

Some of what he spoke about was included in a feature on the developing three-way relationship between Dubas, Toronto president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Dave Nonis.

Here are five questions and answers that were left on the proverbial editing-room floor. It's Dubas talking about the publicity he has received since being hired in July and labeled as the Maple Leafs' new analytics guru, analytics in general, how he is integrating change into the organization and more:

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.07.2014 / 10:31 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Sharks' Couture on leadership, Thornton and Marleau

LOS ANGELES -- San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture has heard about how he's supposed to take on a bigger role in the dressing room this season, and about how it's time for him to start filling the shoes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau as the Sharks transition their leadership responsibilities to their younger core players.

Couture understands all that and appreciates it, but he also sees one problem with it.

"Those guys are still around and they're still leaders on our team," Couture said of Thornton and Marleau during a phone interview Monday. "Both of those guys are looked up to by a lot of players in the dressing room and they mean a lot to the organization and to the guys in the dressing room."

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 6:00 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Lightning's Cooper won't rush Drouin

Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Jonathan Drouin saying, as he did Tuesday according to the Tampa Bay Times, that he hopes to be ready to play in the season-opener next week isn't enough to convince coach Jon Cooper that he should rush him into action.

Drouin hasn't played in the preseason because of a fractured right thumb. The Lightning open the season Oct. 9 against the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena.

"He hasn't even started practicing with us yet," Cooper said in a phone interview Wednesday. "He skates around, but he can't touch pucks. We're about a week away from opening night. Do the math in that respect. He may be ready but I just don't know if he'll be game-ready to play."

Cooper said he hasn't seen enough of Drouin competing against NHL players yet. He has to see that before he puts Drouin in the lineup.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Oct. 1, 2014

Here is the Oct. 1, 2014 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Will Jiri Sekac make the Montreal Canadiens roster, and if so is he worth picking up? -- @swandad

All indications are that he will make the roster and be in the opening night lineup Oct. 8 at Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sekac appears targeted to play with Rene Bourque and Lars Eller to start the season. If he can make it work with those two, that should be a good line for the Canadiens. And I'm very high on the Canadiens this season.

As for the fantasy part of your question, it's a risky pick. I'm not an expert in this, though I am playing fantasy hockey this season for the first time in a long time. Sekac never has played a real game against NHL competition and it's unlikely that he'll receive time on the power play. If he's available in the later rounds and you like your team and are willing to take a risk then go for it.
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 10:05 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Parise likes Wild's top-six forward group

Zach Parise feels the Minnesota Wild will enter the season with a defined top-six forward group for the first time since he's been on the team. Parise is entering his third season in Minnesota.

The group features Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund.

"It's great for us, and there's a few guys even that if something does happen that can slide right in there and do well," Parise said. "We do have a pretty definitive top six right now, which is going to be really good for us."

The Wild appear ready to enter the season with Koivu and Parise playing apart from each other. They were regular linemates last season. Koivu (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) has been centering a big line with Vanek (6-0, 217) and Coyle (6-3, 221) throughout preseason.

"We needed some size up front and that'll be a good line for us," Parise said.

Parise has been on the left side of a line with Granlund (at center) and Pominville, but his history with Koivu will give coach Mike Yeo the confidence to move Vanek and Parise back and forth between the top-two lines whenever he wants to.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.30.2014 / 6:41 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Bettman: World Cup talks with players ongoing

NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that discussions between the League and the NHL Players' Association about bringing back the World Cup of Hockey are ongoing, but he didn't have an update as to where they stand.

The World Cup hasn't been contested since 2004.

"At this point to announce we were doing a World Cup would be silly," Commissioner Bettman said. "We want to be in a position to have an agreement on essential terms so if and when we're ready to announce it we can give you details because you're going to have lots of questions. We want to make sure we have as many answers as possible."

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.30.2014 / 11:58 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Maple Leafs' Kadri looking to take next step in career

For all the publicity he's received and the controversy he's been in over the five years he's been with the Toronto Maple Leafs, center Nazem Kadri has technically played one full, lockout-free NHL season, and even then it was 78 games last season, not 82.

Maybe that's why on the first day of training camp general manager Dave Nonis said for Kadri to be successful this season he "has to be prepared to compete for 82 games. If he is then he's going to have a very good year."

Nonis' words suggested he doesn't think Kadri has shown a level of consistency commensurate with his ability and the hype he has gotten since he was selected with the seventh pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. It's a fair assessment, one even Kadri would agree with.

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Posted On Monday, 09.22.2014 / 2:33 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Capitals' biggest battle at second-line center

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Arguably the most intriguing internal competition in the Washington Capitals training camp will be on display Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia: Marcus Johansson vs. Evgeny Kuznetsov for second-line center.

"They're going head-to-head in my mind [Monday]," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said before boarding the bus for Philadelphia.

Johansson and Kuznetsov are among four players who are vying for the No. 2 center position to start the season. The other two are Brooks Laich and Andre Burakovsky, neither of whom will be in the lineup against the Flyers.

Kuznetsov is No. 3 on the Top 60 prospect ranking and got one first-place vote. Burakovsky is No. 14.

Burakovsky scored the only goal in Washington's 1-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at Verizon Center, but he's the longshot of the group to be the No. 2 center because he didn't start playing center until Washington's development camp in July and because he's a 19-year-old who has yet to play a professional game in North America.

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Posted On Friday, 09.19.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Maple Leafs' offseason made Reimer excited to return

TORONTO -- With a two-year, $4.6 million contract in his back pocket and a vote of confidence from his coach, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer sounds like a player ready to settle in with a team he wondered if he'd ever play for again after last season.

"Obviously there was some doubts about where I stood or what the direction would be going forward," Reimer said. "Over the course of the summer I really liked what was going on here. I think good things have gone on here. I'm pretty excited."

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens